Rise of Industry
Supply and demand in this strategic tycoon sim
Success is about figuring out what other people want, not what you want
Rise of Industry reminds me why I’m not an entrepreneur. Seconds after learning I could open both wineries and distilleries, I devised a ‘perfect’ plan to devote two different towns on one map to wine and whiskey production respectively. ‘The Battle of the Booze’, I called it. No one on the map actually seemed interested in spirits based on the tooltips scattered across the map, but I shrugged it off. If I just built it, I figured, they would come. I blame it on growing up in the ’90s. Take a moment to marvel at my well-intentioned hubris. RiseofIndustry is an attractive sim that covers both logistics and production, so I went all out. I built my distillery, of course, and I also built farms and water siphons. I even built glassworks to make the bottles and sand pits to make the glass itself. I was pumping in money by the millions, convinced that the appeal of my product would be enough for the AI to open some shops to meet the demand.
And for what? The town I’d chosen for my experiment might as well have been a convent. No stores wanted my exquisite spirits. The Battle of the Booze was a bust. Don’t follow your dreams, kids.
Success, RiseofIndustry tells us, is all about figuring out what other people want, not what you want. It makes this clear from the moment you generate a new location with Quick Start or whip up a custom one, unveiling a hamlet-dotted prairie ripe for early 20th century capitalist exploitation. It’s about studying the tooltips for the randomly generated scattered buildings and discovering your neighbors have the hots for orange juice and orange soda rather than exquisitely packaged 90-proof rye. Profits and smarter decisions followed almost immediately after I plopped down an orange orchard along the street. The modestly smart AI followed suit, opening a paper mill specializing in cartons nearby.
Mapping it out
RiseofIndustry is a fairly deep production sim, offering control of the entire production line from raw resources (sand) to components (glass) and finally to products (bottles) and finished goods (bottled whiskey). You’ll want to lay your roads and railroads for optimal routes across a sprawling map, set up harvesters, build warehouses to handle the surplus, and micromanage the three destinations trucks are allowed to deliver goods to. Sometimes communities will tire of some product and prefer another, forcing you to adapt to their needs.
And, miraculously, this never got out of hand. The menus are informative and elegant, and the currently dry text-based tutorial barely feels needed. City planners in the real world could benefit from studying such elegant simplicity. That elegance extends to the scenery. RiseofIndustry features just enough realistic detail to make zooming in on my little whiskeyphobic towns a joy, and just enough abstraction that I never lost sight of how all my trade routes and operations fit together. It’s beautiful. At least in cartographic conception.
The sparse landscapes of Riseof Industry’s huge maps left me all too aware how quickly I was turning the Shire I’d started with into a Mordorscape of torn earth and rusted steel. I grew sad and rich in equal measure. The sight made me look forward to future updates, which will bring features like landscaping, terraforming, and pollution management.
All of which reminds me: As the green vanished under asphalt, as the roar of trucks increased, as the smoke thickened, I looked around and saw that shops wanting whiskey had finally started to pop up. Sign of the times, innit?
RiseofIndustry is usually focused on the ‘big picture’, but it’s got charm close up as well.
Pay attention to what people want. Folks here like orange soda.