Cliff Empire – Beginners Guide

User Interface Information

1: Tutorial / Missions Information

  • This section denotes the next suggested action and shows the way forward through the game.
  • Completion of these goals results in a financial reward.

Cliff Empire - Beginners Guide

2: Game Speed and Cursor Illumination Buttons

  • The hourglass button is the game speed controller. The default hotkey for this is {Ctrl}. The available speed options are 1x, 3x, and 6x. The game cannot be paused, and the speed controls cycle, so to get back to 1x, you’d click or press {Ctrl} again while at 6x.
  • The flashlight button is for cursor illumination. The default hotkey for this is {Shift}. During the night cycle, you may have a hard time seeing what is going on near where you’re trying to click so this option highlights a fairly large region around your cursor to better see what you’re working on.

3: Efficiency / Population Information

  • Efficiency is indicated as a percentage sign which can be summarized as how many jobs are available that are being filled. This does not reflect unemployment, but instead shows that of X number of jobs, Y of them are fulfilled. Workforce shortages would be visible by a less than 100% number.
  • Of the population indicator, you have four figures to look at:
  • The first is current population written as “Population”.
  • The second is how many living spaces you have total (regardless of whether or not they’re occupied) written as “Place”. 
  • The third is how many people are waiting to arrive, which grows based on the prestige of your city, but will not come down to your city if you have no places to live or enough fuel to transport them. This is written as “Wish to Settle”.
  • The fourth is how many jobs you have available to be filled by population. As you build workable buildings, this number will grow and be filled by available workers. As denoted earlier, if this number is greater than the population, you’ll see a lower efficiency number. This is written as “Work places”.

4: City Information

  • The city prestige at the top right is an indicator of how pleasing it would be to live in this city. Having higher prestige will mean a faster growth rate of people who wish to settle, while lowering the prestige will decrease this growth.
  • The clock in the middle is an indicator of the current time of day on a 24hr clock, and will mostly impact whether or not solar panels function due to the day/night cycle.
  • The taxes indicator at the top right has a moving stop watch that indicates the cycle of taxes to be paid. Based on your working population, they will pay out taxes in the amount shown at every cycle of the stopwatch in credits.
  • The needs bar shows the current satisfaction level of all possible needs of your population. Depending on how full and orange the bars grow, indicates how well these needs are being met.
  • Water, food, fish, furniture, appliances, and gadgets all have stopwatches on them. Upon completion of the stop watch cycle, an item of that category will be depleted, so all of these resources are considered to be consumable.
  • Ecology is a special attribute that shows the wellbeing of the environment surrounding the city. Certain things like mines and nuclear power generators will detract from this, while open fields and some parks will increase this.
  • Power is the current level of power satisfaction of all of the buildings in the city. Any drop below full on this bar indicates that some buildings are not getting enough power. 

5: Power information

  • The top section here provides an overview of how much the power needs of the city are being taken care of. A drop below 100% means an insufficiency and that buildings are not receiving enough power, while an indicator over 100% means that energy is being produced in excess and can be converted to battery power.
  • The grey bar provides quite a bit of information at a glance, showing what systems are providing what amount of power. When you first get started, you’ll see a battery indicator, showing that all of your power is coming from batteries. As you progress, you’ll see that adding additional styles of power production such as wind, solar, and nuclear will divide up this line into portions representative of what percent of your power comes from that source.
  • The battery consumption stopwatch at the bottom means that upon completion of a cycle, a battery will be reduced from your storage.

6: Tourist and Orthographic View Buttons

  • The camera button is the tourist view. The default hotkey for this is {Tab}. Selecting this will put you on a street view style camera angle so that you can explore your city from the view of citizens.
  • The cube button is to switch to Orthographic View mode. The default hotkey for this is {F2}. People familiar with Sim City and some other games may be familiar with this term, but in short, it locks the camera into a mode where all 3d objects appear to be perfect 2d representations of the item. In this case, this would be at a 45-degree angle vertically, with the camera being centered on the corner of the building grid and complete removal of depth of field. 

7: City / Cliff Information

  • This shows the name of the current cliff/city that you are hovering over. In the game, you’ll spawn with 2-3 cliffs available, each with its own name, resources, and build area. 
  • Expanding this by clicking the [ i ] will show more detailed information. This includes Soil Fertility, Matter deposits, Groundwater, Sunshine, Windiness, Fish, and Uranium deposits.

8: Finance Information

  • Your current funds are indicated at the left.
  • Loans to this city are shown in the center indicating the remaining loan to be repaid.
  • Unemployment benefits is a vital negative which indicates that you have population not working and must pay them from your funds every time the stopwatch performs a full cycle.

General Information

So the UI seems simple at first, but it’s a lot to decompress. Below is just a list of items to think about while getting started, and some lessons learned from a few early games that brought me to a screeching halt.

Follow the mission / tutorial! It will get your first colony up and running smartly.

There are 5 plot types: small; medium; large; extra-large; special. Small and large are both squares, while medium and extra-large are rectangles. The special blocks are always on the medium sized spaces, are colored either blue or orange, and denote something special can be built there. Each plot type allows for different buildings that are only available for that plot size, so build carefully.

Scout around the map and look at the information on each cliff. You’ll notice that no information is available immediately on soil quality, matter deposits, or uranium deposits. For these, you’ll just have to risk it. What is important is that you have a fairly high ground water, and at least Sunshine or Windiness in high quantities. What this reflects is the ability to produce off this cliff – if you start in a location with low Sunshine and Windiness, you’ll spend a lot of resources and space building the relevant power systems to keep it powered. In a similar vein, this helps you with knowing what to build. For instance, having a cliff with 80% windiness and 20% sunshine, means you should not build solar panels, and only build wind turbines. The results will be more fruitful.

For spaces with special structure placements, avoid placing generic buildings there. For instance, on the blue medium spaces that are on the side of a cliff near another cliff, you can build a bridge to the other side. Placing something here means that you’ll eventually have to tear it down if you want to connect the two with a bridge. Blue medium spaces on the edges not facing another cliff are ideal spots for landing platforms, and the orange medium spaces near lakes are the only spots where you can put fishing ports.

Keeping production moving forward is important – growth of the population, available jobs, and resources is key. Without this growth, your finances will stagnate, and you’ll be left in a situation where you deplete on resources that you can’t rebuild.

An example of this is to make sure you build a matter mine right away once you get your first batch of people. If you expend your initial collection of matter, you’ll not have sufficient resources to build the matter mine, and eventually zero out on matter which means game over.

While you might see the high amount of worker buildings that produce “things” don’t neglect office buildings. Having a strong financial bedrock will make everything easier to build upon, and having funds is essential to expanding.

Going back to the topic of essential buildings to get placed as soon as possible… This list isn’t too long, but missing any will mean at least painful growth if not outright failure. Below is a list of buildings and why:

  • Matter Mine [Large plot]: As mentioned above, you’ll run out of matter fairly quickly, and if you don’t have your early settlers working on getting more, you’ll reach an end game situation soon. 
  • Recycling Plant [Medium plot]: The recycling plant will be very helpful while learning, and later on as you grow and refactor. Essentially, when you destroy a built building, some ruins will be left behind. Unless you have a recycling plant, this area cannot be cleared and will be unusable until taken care of. In addition, when scraping a building, the recycling center will be able to glean some matter from the wreckage making it a win-win. Once you’ve grown in confidence about what to place and where, you can put off building this for a while, but it is still essential at some point.
  • Airport [Extra-large plot]: One of my most critical early mistakes was not building an airport. Although it is a bit of a resource hog and takes up a large plot, it is the only way to manufacture additional drones. You’ll notice that when placing your first storage facility, it comes with 3 free drones. This only happens the first time! If you start expanding, and don’t produce some additional drones, you’ll find yourself slowed to a crawl where picking up/dropping off of matter, food, building construction and more is dependent on only the three of them and will often put you in a bind. An example of this is having to stop all construction so that you can focus on having them move food to storage so your population doesn’t starve and being stuck in a loop of moving food while being unable to free them up to build an airport.
  • Battery Station [Small plot]: If you are running a solar powered city, this is of the utmost importance. Having enough battery stations to maintain production of batteries to get you through the nights will be critical in not grinding to a halt every day come sundown.

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