HipSoft is working hard on the next Build-a-lot game, and gave Gamezebo the lowdown on some of the brand new features that will be debuting in Build-a-lot 4: Power Source.

Power management

In Build-a-lot 4, HipSoft introduces the concepts of power and energy management. All houses and buildings require power, and there will be a meter at the top of the screen showing how much power you’re using and how much you are generating.

Players can construct Power Generators (Wind Farms, Solar Towers, Hydro Turbines, and Nuclear Reactors) to generate more power – the downside being that they have negative curb appeal.

You can also make your houses more energy efficient by adding Energy Savers to them (such as energy efficient windows, and solar hot water heater.) If the neighborhood requires more power than is being generated, there will be a neighborhood-wide blackout where all structures will be in the dark and no rent will be collected. The player can resolve the blackout by constructing a new power generator, making their houses more efficient, or even demolishing a house!

New resource unit – Technicians

Build-a-lot 4 also introduces the "Technician" resource unit.  Technicians are needed to improve houses with Energy Savers and repair broken-down Power Generators, and they can also staff Power Generators to make them more efficient (in which case, you lose the Technician). Technicians cost the same as workers, and you can construct a Tech Center later in the game to reduce the cost and allow supercharging of Power Generators.

Blueprints removed from the game

When HipSoft added Technicians to Build-a-lot 4, they also decided to remove the Blueprints from the game. There were a couple of reasons for this: some players didn’t like the tediousness and cost of having to purchase and draft a blueprint before being able to build a structure for the first time. Also, once you have all the blueprints, the Blueprints tab is a waste of space. HipSoft told us that according to early beta testing reports, many players are happy to see the blueprints go.

Achievement Awards

In Build-a-lot 4 you’ll be able to earn a variety of Achievement Awards, many of which can be tricky to obtain. For example, can you complete a level without any houses being damaged? Can you achieve 500+ Appeal on a level? How about playing through seven levels without encountering a single Blackout?

Multiple campaigns

Build-a-lot 4 will still have both Career and Casual modes, however Career mode will now include multiple campaigns to choose from. The tutorial is now a separate campaign, making it even easier for experienced Build-a-lot players to skip (which HipSoft encourages).

The Main campaign has 45 levels. If you complete it, you will unlock the Challenge campaign. This campaign is 10 new levels with even tougher goals. If you complete the Challenge campaign, you will unlock the Expert campaign – another set of 10 new levels with new goals that are really tough.  According to HipSoft, hardcore Build-a-lot fans will really enjoy playing these levels and trying to get the blue ribbon on every one.

More Mayors, hosts and level goals

Build-a-lot 4 will feature 15 unique town mayors and hosts to guide players through the game. As well, there can now be up to 5 level goals to complete (in previous games, there was a maximum of only four.)