WE BUILT THIS CITY ON ROCK N ROLL
While the Star was away because my real life work was keeping me occupied, Alan took a week's vacation from his job, and spent the time coding new stuff for Fed. He's been working on Blish cities, and if all goes well, the code to let cartel owners start building them will go in mid-week.
A Blish city is a mobile habitation, built in space by the cartel and able to move to other star systems in the cartel where it adds its production facilities to another planet. It is the reason why you all built your graving docks - the docks produce the Blish city. Building the cities costs money, uses commodities and takes time, just like when you built the graving dock itself. It also takes workthings from your population, to crew the ship when it launches. You can build as many Blish cities as you like (or you can afford) and the cities can vary in size, with the larger cities giving more production slots to the planets they visit, but taking more time and resources to build.
You start by issuing the build command: BUILD CITY cityname' where 'cityname' is what you want to call the city. You can have spaces in the name. Note that if you want the name to include the word "City" then you have to specify that along with the name - for example, for a city called Rumble City, you use the command 'build city Rumble City'.
The city name doesn't have to be unique - since your city will only operate within your cartel, it doesn't matter if there is a Rumble City in another cartel, too. In fact, the game will let you build more than one city with the same name within a cartel, but that's not a good idea because you won't be able to control them both!
The city name cannot be the same as the name of a production group, ie agri, resource, sea, tech etc, so you can't call your city Tech - although Tech City would be fine.
When you have started the build, you can see the details on the graving dock display with 'DISPLAY GRAVING'. The build process is the same as when you built the dock: you use 'DIVERT' to get the commodities needed sent to the dock.
The requirements for building a Blish city are:
The workers won't be taken from your pool until the build is completely finished and the city is launched.
It is intended that while the city is being built, the planets in the hub system won't suffer from disaffection, but that isn't coded yet - and won't be in for a while.
When the five days are up, you have a choice. You can fit the city out as a basic size 1 city, or you can expand it. A size 1 city will have one production slot, enabling it to produce one commodity for its host planet, a size 2 city two slots, and so on up to a size 5 city which will offer five production slots. To increase the city's size, you type ' BUILD CITY' - you don't have to specify the name because you can only build one city at at time.
Note: right now, the code to fit the city out hasn't been written, so your choices are limited to expanding the city, or waiting.
Obviously, the larger the city, the more benefit it will bring to its host planet - size matters! But each expansion takes more time, more commodities, and more money, but the details vary depending on the size. I'll give you more info about the costs for different sizes next week.
The code to let you start the build will go into the game this week - probably Wednesday, keep an eye on the noticeboard to find out when you can start building - and then the next set of code, to let you specify its economic level and send it off to other star systems, will follow later.