Blog Series: Introduction – Building Story Worlds by M&M Mariam

blog series building story worlds

Cities:Skylines Can Do Way More Than Just Build Cities

Ever since Cities: Skylines was released in March of 2015, it has sold 1.5 million copies and came out with its first expansion last week. It’s almost mind boggling what this game can do. I am thoroughly excited about it! But I’m not the typical demographics for this type of game.

I am a middle and high school English teacher by profession. I taught for 6 years and did some youth work until I became seriously ill in 2014 and was bed ridden for two months. Since then I’ve been blogging, vlogging, writing about books.

I started playing Cities:Skylines after I was unhappy with the Sim City re-boot that came out in 2013. Personally, I don’t think the name of the game (CSL) does it justice. You can really do more than just build an urban city using the game designed by Colossal Order.

Most Cities: Skylines users are gamers who just enjoy playing video games. I wont deny I’m a fan of Super Mario and logged hours and hours of it as a kid, but Cities: Skylines can also be used in more ways than that.  It can be employed in a middle school social studies classroom to teach kids about the functions of a city, natural resources, sewage and plumbing, garbage disposal, urban and suburban life and architecture. For a writer like me, I can create worlds with breathtaking geography and intriguing city life.

For example, you can build worlds for your story characters to live in, stories such as:

  • a boy gets lost in the forest searching for the Fountain of Life which has healing powers to cure his dying sister
  • a suburban girl joins an all-male rock band specializing in pop-punk music
  • two parents travel to an medical research facility on another planet in search of a scientist to genetically reverse their child’s Asperger’s disease
  • a man seeks complete financial independence as the newly appointed CEO/president of a corrupt multi-national corporation

These are just a handful.  The story ideas are truly plentiful!

In Cities:Skylines with the help of its map making tools you can create waterfalls, tropical paradises, urban masterpieces, mountain villages and military worlds. I’ve still yet to experiment with desert, jungle, and dystopian worlds — however, I have confidence with this game and a little creativity, it can be done! Many of the story worlds you and I have in mind require mods and assets, but the list of items you can add to your city are virtually endless with what the online Steam community has been producing over the few months this game has been out. Also, they’re very easy to download. Like my Instagram tutorials from last year, I will be posting some easy-to-use tips on downloading the best assets. For someone who does not have the talent of an visual artist (like me), this is the perfect tool to build story worlds.

Here is some work I did with the recent “After Dark” Night Lights update release:

Screenshot 327 post for series 1

Pre-“After Dark”

I’m not the perfect nor most talented city-builder, I could stand to learn a few tips and tricks — but I feel Cities: Skylines gives me the tools I need to experiment with world concepts. It’s very exciting! I don’t watch lots of of Let’s Play videos, except when I first started playing the game in July and had no clue what I was doing. I have watched Fluxrance, TOVlogs, Asilksworld, and StrictCoaster in the past.  Since the game seems to have few limits, it helps to share good ideas with other city-builders on YouTube.  It’s a lot like Sim City, but significantly different as I wrote in my review. I also like looking at City Journals on, which I also found to be a very helpful city-building community.

In this blog series, I intend to look at this game with the eyes of story writer. I enjoy playing the game, and thrill at come up with fantastic ways to put my characters into difficult situations in their worlds and then write them out of it.

I will be posting my review of the “After Dark” expansion next week, so look forward to that as well as this series.  If you play Cities: Skylines or come up with any specific tutorials you’d like to see, please leave me your requests down below in the comments.  Meanwhile, take care and enjoy the week!


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One thought on “Blog Series: Introduction – Building Story Worlds by M&M Mariam

  1. Pingback: Building Story Worlds #2: Assets in Cities:Skylines Workshop | Mariam Mimi's Bookish Blog

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