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“What you see is what we sim”
March 28, 2012 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Twenty-four years after the original, Maxis (sans Wil Wright) is rebooting SimCity. RPS' preview states that, thanks to the bottom-up approach of the Glassbox engine, each entity "...will be its own discrete software agent, running its own little simulation of its own little life." In their own preview, IGN state that having animations reflect behind-the-scenes processes will "[give] the players tangible signals that they need to step in..." However, is there trouble in (simulated) paradise already?
posted by griphus (114 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Always-on? PASS
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:09 AM on March 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Instead of seeing your city with an array of symbols, you see through an intuitive colored lens, painting areas that aren't getting power red and the ones that are green. You can quickly drag and drop in new power plants or connect areas to the grid with lines, watching how the colors rapidly alter to reflect your changes.

On an even more basic level, though, you can see how the changes you're making are affecting your city by simply looking at it. Previous SimCity games were largely spreadsheets given life, with graphics that, while impressive for the time, didn't necessarily represent the underlying simulation. But the new SimCity's GlassBox engine allows Maxis to accurately represent what's going on in real time. If portions of your city are off the power grid you won't see lights in the structures as night falls, and if your garbage disposal system isn't up to snuff the trash will start to pile up on the streets. Whether or not you regularly check on the needs of your people you should be able to tell what they need based on what you see. Even small things like traffic jams are actually given life, with actual citizens in actual cars jamming up an area. This gives the players tangible signals that they need to step in and re-evaluate their transit system.


Oh good, they're including all the features that SimCity 2000 had in 1993.
posted by theodolite at 7:12 AM on March 28, 2012 [23 favorites]


Since it's roughly a year until it's done, maybe they're just floating the idea of always-on DRM to see if they can get away with it?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:14 AM on March 28, 2012


I would totally have bought "Simcity 2000 with current-gen graphics." But fuck always-on DRM.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:14 AM on March 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Apparently people are subverting the Diablo 3 always-on by emulating authentication servers. So there are (very pain-in-the-ass ways) around it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:16 AM on March 28, 2012


This is exciting news, but where's my SimAnt sequel, Maxis?? I want to slaughter red ants by the thousands with my lazer-shooting daddy long legs in 3D.
posted by Kevtaro at 7:17 AM on March 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


Previous SimCity games were largely spreadsheets given life

That's not at all my memory from the original. Granted, I haven't looked at it in years, but I don't remember charts and graphs. I remember you had to scroll around the city to find out what was going on—whether power was down, or whether Godzilla was wandering through a residential district. Maybe I'm misremembering, but I don't think so. Charts and graphs don't seem fun and I wouldn't have played.

I'm not sure I understand what "always-on" means. I wouldn't keep any game on my computer's desktop all the time, so maybe it's a moot point for me, but does the last article (rockpapershotgun.com) mean to suggest that if you log off, things will continue happening to your city? If that's the case, would there be any difference between logging off versus just walking away from the computer to get a cup of coffee, or going to work for the day, or taking a week-long vacation? The article seems to be implying that the developers want/expect people to actually play the game 24/7, but maybe I'm not understanding. (Not a gamer.)
posted by cribcage at 7:17 AM on March 28, 2012


I loved SimCity2000 and felt it was the apogee of the series. After that the level of simulation was too thorough and it changed from something fun to something tedious. I don't want to hand-time each stoplight or figure out the optimum trashcan-emptying schedule. I want to play a game. This sounds like something I wouldn't do unless it had a generous retirement package.
posted by Legomancer at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Since it's roughly a year until it's done, maybe they're just floating the idea of always-on DRM to see if they can get away with it?

I've resisted Settlers 7 for all this time. I'm sure I'll be able to resist SimCity. I'm sure. I'm....... sure........
posted by Talez at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2012


I'm not sure I understand what "always-on" means.

It means that you must maintain a constant internet link to the DRM activation servers. No internet, no game. DRM servers go down? No game. Company decides to shut down the servers after a couple years because not enough people are still playing to justify the cost of running them, or because the sequel came out and the want to force people to buy the new one? No game.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:20 AM on March 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Since it's roughly a year until it's done, maybe they're just floating the idea of always-on DRM to see if they can get away with it?

People keep buying these games. They'll keep getting away with it until people STOP buying the games. But principles always lose out to, "Ooh, shiny game!" Not to mention that the vast majority of people who buy games don't read/aren't aware of gaming news in the first place.
posted by curious nu at 7:20 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Always-on" means the game is a MMORPG without the roleplaying. I'd say "without much interaction with other players" but most MMORPGs are already like that.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:23 AM on March 28, 2012


If it is so terrible, you could always not buy it.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:23 AM on March 28, 2012


Anyway, people disappointed with the degenerate Maxis that's been enmeshed into EA can always jump ship...
posted by LogicalDash at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


People keep buying these games. They'll keep getting away with it until people STOP buying the games. But principles always lose out to, "Ooh, shiny game!" Not to mention that the vast majority of people who buy games don't read/aren't aware of gaming news in the first place.

It's annoying as hell watching Ubisoft patch the DRM out of their most popular games but then leaving it as is with Settlers 7, HOMMVI and the Mac versions of AC and Settlers.

The second they patch that annoying activation crap out of Anno 2070 (oh they allow us to change video cards now those benevolent sons of bitches) I'll buy it on Steam.
posted by Talez at 7:25 AM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


The "multiplayer" stuff they're talking about adding sounds really unnecessary; a "we'll do it because everyone else is doing it and because it gives us a fig leaf for our DRM scheme" kind of feature.

I enjoy simulators, but I'm going to pass on this one -- though I would have anyway, because CitiesXL already exists.
posted by ook at 7:26 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know who has unreliable Internet access? Deployed soldiers.

Why does EA hate our troops?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:30 AM on March 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


But fuck always-on DRM.

Would you rather have horrible system-crippling rootkit style shit like Starforce? What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?
(Not directed specifically at you, but to "everyone complaining about this")
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:31 AM on March 28, 2012


DRM doesn't work. It only hurts the people willing to pay for the games, as people who are going to steal it will do so anyway. In fact, DRM actually makes Piracy more attractive, not less, because who wants to deal with all that bullshit?
posted by Apoch at 7:33 AM on March 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


How long will EA keep up their servers?
posted by Talez at 7:34 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?

You could always incentivize people who bought the game legally -- free DLC, for instance -- rather than punishing everyone trying to play the game. Well, punishing for the duration of time it takes to crack the DRM, which is a simple matter of time.
posted by griphus at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2012


Instead of seeing your city with an array of symbols, you see through an intuitive colored lens, painting areas that aren't getting power red and the ones that are green.

Well, this should make life interesting for Red-Green color blind folks like me.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:38 AM on March 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?

Always on DRM won't really deter pirates, as there are ways around it (you just need to emulate the responses of the authentication server on your local machine). It causes a bit of extra work for pirates, but creates a whole hell of a lot of inconvenience for the honest paying customer.

Also, this is SIM CITY. This is going to make money hand over fist, so the smart thing to do is to make a great game and make it easy to buy and play. Don't sweat piracy - it's gonna happen regardless, so just make a great game and let me give you my money without reservations over whether the game will be crippled.
posted by boubelium at 7:39 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


DLC - you'd have to prove that you purchased it, by making some sort of online account or getting a token/key/code/whatever. And then they'd have to enforce the DLC going to only these "registered" users. How is that not "DRM?"
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:39 AM on March 28, 2012


My favorite game of all time is possibly SimCity 4. I'm excited!
posted by agregoli at 7:41 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I stopped playing after SimCity 2000. After that point, it just became work. I don't want to lay out every freaking sewage pipe.
posted by snookums at 7:43 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bought SimCity 2000, but I played a pirated version. I hated having to hunt down and plug in the disc every time I wanted to play for an hour.
posted by Trochanter at 7:43 AM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Their publicity leads with all the simulation wizardry. Which is good, I like simulation games and there are precious few of them anymore. But the problem is making the simulation fun. It's not enough to be realistic, it needs to be a good game. And comprehensible. Personally I found SimCity 4 the opposite of fun because the simulation was too complex and opaque; I had no idea what was going on in my little world-in-a-jar. Hopefully the new game will be more comprehensible.
posted by Nelson at 7:45 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's not at all my memory from the original. Granted, I haven't looked at it in years, but I don't remember charts and graphs.

I think the point was that the simulation of the previous games was top-down, and they're going for a bottom-up approach this time around. So, "behind the scenes" in previous games you have your stack of criteria for each square on the terrain that determines its success (does it have police? fire protection? road?) and then the people and traffic are drawn accordingly. This time around they're going in the reverse direction - the individual sims (and buildings and cars) are given algorithms to determine what to do, and these interactions determine the success of the land unit.

I'm excited - I've always been a huge fan of the Sim City games. One of the reasons I suck at RTS so much is that my inclination is to build as big and complicated a base as possible before I go out and bash up the other folks, so Sim is a good alternative. The big drawback to SimCity 4, to me, was the regional play - I'd much rather just deal with one city at a time, and by the time I got around to building separate industrial zones or whatever the interactions between the various cities were so asymmetrical that it was unproductive. It's very frustrating to have to load each individual city to allow them to progress, then close it out and head back to my "main" city to gain the advantages of that progress.

The other thing that I'm beginning to hate about Maxis/EA is the increasing trend towards microtransactions. A large chunk of pay-to-play DLC is... not my favorite, but I can stomach that. Paying a dollar for a new building type, and then another couple of dollars to include freeways, and another dollar for different bus types - screw that. It drives me nuts in The Sims and I'll be very upset if they carry that over to the new SimCity game.

That line about agricultural waste flowing downstream and polluting your marinas is really cool to think about, though. That's some simulation I can get behind.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:46 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


CitiesXL 2012 looks awesome...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:47 AM on March 28, 2012


What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?

Make good games worth buying, budget against realistic market expectations about who the actual buying public is (rather than imagining that if you just shit up your game with enough DRM then pirates will suddenly become customers en masse), and then release the game and start making another good game.

Positive incentives for affirmative proof of ownership instead of negative incentives for failure to prove your honesty to a DRM scheme. Making honest customers prove they're honest is terrible customer relations, and has pissed off a whole lot of gamers over the years.

DLC - you'd have to prove that you purchased it, by making some sort of online account or getting a token/key/code/whatever.

A token/key/code/whatever can be handled as a one-time-use string printed in the box (apparently you can still buy boxes!) or delivered via email when ordering online, whether via membership in a system like Steam or as a one-off fulfillment thing from an independent game dev. You need access to the token-acquisition channel once, at the time of token acquisition.

The distinction is huge between that (imperfect but largely painless, and for bonus-incentive DLC also something that fails gracefully even when it doesn't work for legit customers because their core game is still complete and working) approach and the always-on DRM approach that requires constant internet checkins for the lifetime of the game.

I say all this as someone who isn't even remotely militant about this stuff; I have good internet and have played a number of DRM-laden games without much if any problem and I understand that for a good segment of the gaming population this isn't a thing to be worried about particularly because it literally doesn't cause them any serious headaches. But it is a problem, and it's painfully dumb, and the big publishers are working in the wrong direction on this stuff.
posted by cortex at 7:48 AM on March 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


How is that not "DRM?"

Well, it is, in a way. But it's a much more consumer-friendly form of DRM than forcing always-on internet or rootkitting the customer, which you earlier implied were the only two available options.
posted by ook at 7:49 AM on March 28, 2012


Make good games worth buying, budget against realistic market expectations about who the actual buying public is (rather than imagining that if you just shit up your game with enough DRM then pirates will suddenly become customers en masse), and then release the game and start making another good game.

And release them everywhere simultaneously. People want to play the game not buy the game. If buying the game is the most convenient way to play the game (and in the age of Steam/Origin this is typically the case) it's a happy coincidence.
posted by Talez at 7:52 AM on March 28, 2012


Here's hoping that they're just flying a kite with this always-on nonsense, and will row back after a few weeks of internet fury from users, just to show that 'hey we listen to our audience.'
posted by GallonOfAlan at 7:55 AM on March 28, 2012


Always on DRM won't really deter pirates, as there are ways around it (you just need to emulate the responses of the authentication server on your local machine).

It's not a matter of making piracy impossible, but of raising the expertise requirement for pirating. I know more people who watch stuff they don't even want to watch on Netflix Instant because it's there, instead of taking the time and thought to come up with what they'd prefer to watch, find a working torrent, and wait for it to download. We're reaching a point where impatience is going to be among the most powerful tools for preventing piracy.

What I have been surprised to learn is that younger people today have less experience tinkering/hacking with computers than I did when I was growing up, and I'm only 27. There has been a polishing-over of the computer experience, through iPads, pseudo-walled-gardens like Facebook, and other types of corporate filtering. The number of people willing to "pop the hood" on their technology is going to get smaller and smaller.

Increase the complexity of pirating, and decrease the skill set of the average user, and companies will probably recoup a substantial amount of revenue.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:55 AM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]




DRM that locks players out of the base game they purchased because it assumes everyone is a thief and demands they prove otherwise during, quite literally, every moment of gameplay (whether or not the ability to prove it is within their means,) and DRM that prevents people who didn't legitimately obtain the game from accessing bonus content are utterly different scenarios.
posted by griphus at 7:58 AM on March 28, 2012


I want to slaughter red ants by the thousands with my lazer-shooting daddy long legs in 3D.

If you don't mind playing as the ants, might I suggest....

Threeway Handshake: If it is so terrible, you could always not buy it.

You miss the point. Many of us would really like to buy it, but stupid decisions made by the publishers, decisions that have nothing to do with the worth of the game, prevent us from doing so.

>But fuck always-on DRM.
Would you rather have horrible system-crippling rootkit style shit like Starforce? What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?


False choice. It's better to do nothing that include DRM as the problem is way overblown. But if it were a necessary choice, then I'd say Steam.

Talez: How long will EA keep up their servers?

Yeah, this. I can set up VirtualBox right now, install DOS on it and install SimCity on that thing and have a blast. Will I be able to do that with SC5 a like number of years after its release?
posted by JHarris at 7:58 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


each entity "...will be its own discrete software agent, running its own little simulation of its own little life."

This sounds like... a terrible idea.

You know why SimCity is fun? Because it lets you say "Okay, you all build this sort of stuff over here. No, I don't like that one, build a different one. There we go."

This, as it turns out, has absolutely nothing to do with city planning.

So you've got your nine zone types, or whatever, right? R/C/I with light/medium/dense ratings. Seems reasonably granular, right?

Wrong. Know how many types of zones my city of just under half a million people has? Twenty-four. Which is more than the game, but probably still manageable. Know how many residential zones Philadelphia has? Thirty. R-1 through R-20, though no R-17 but with R-1A, R-9A, R-10A, R-10B, R-11A, and then RC-1 to RC-6 but no RC-5. And that doesn't even touch commercial, industrial, recreational, food distribution, sports stadium, or trailer camp zones.

This, I submit, is No Fun At All.* And we haven't even started talking about variances and permissive uses, i.e., a property owner wants to do something the zone doesn't technically permit, but the zoning board lets him do it anyway, or the zone permits a certain kind of use only by application.

And the whole thing skirts one of the must fundamental rules of American property law: the government can't take your shit without paying you for it. A municipality can't just decide to stop using that block for residential purposes and convert it straight to commercial. The property owner doesn't have to do it if he doesn't want to, and "If you zone it, they will build it" simply does not apply. At all.

So I'm fine with SimCity being not all that realistic. The reality of urban planning is miserable. Just ask the city fathers in Detroit, which is as excellent a candidate for the Bulldoze tool as I've come across.

*Unless you're a complete Land Use Geek, but then you are a strange, strange person. Which is awesome, by the way, but still true.
posted by valkyryn at 7:59 AM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Steam's DRM isn't ideal, but it's at least decent. Getting it into offline mode if it's not currently online can be a bitch, but once it's offline, it works nicely for at least a couple of weeks. Admittedly, you can't always think ahead about your Internet connection going down, but lots of people can tether through their cell phone and get their network up long enough to get Steam into offline mode. Yes, this sucks, but it could suck a lot worse.

Games with Steam's DRM sell oodles of copies, despite the DRM being relatively easy to crack, so it appears to be a good compromise -- it actually offers enough convenience to make the relatively light DRM worth dealing with. I don't know what the relative sales figures are like, but there's lots of games (all of recent Ubisoft titles, for instance) that I've passed on because of the super-evil DRM, so I really wonder if it helps sales.

Serious pirates will get it free no matter what, so focusing on making your paying customers' lives better strikes me as the way to go. Don't focus on the thieves. Those people who are waving money and asking you to take it? Make them very happy, and they'll convince other people to wave money too.
posted by Malor at 8:00 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I plunk down 60 bucks for a game, I'd like to be able to return to it whenever. This goes double for simulation games, which I'll tire of after a while and then return to after a few months or years. Personally, the idea of having the servers shut down after a few years makes it less worth the money.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:00 AM on March 28, 2012


Every SimCity player is a part of a larger game world...if a neighbor's city is super industrial and, say, very focused on coal production, they will cause a lot of pollution. They might be dealing with that within their own city by focusing on keeping things like ground water clean, but the smoke overflow could drift into your town and cause citizens to get sick.

Wait, so I'm required to play online, and if the server plonks me down next to some griefer with three dozen coal plants, I'll spend all my budget on hospitals trying to keep my citizens from dying at age 30? This does not sound like a game at all.
posted by echo target at 8:02 AM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


By the way, I always buy first from GOG if something is available that way, even if it costs a fair bit more. (I suppose I might cave and buy it on Steam instead if they're running one of those super-ridiculous sales they do, but that hasn't happened yet.) GOG games come completely DRM-free. You download them, and they'll just work, with no further hassle.

Now, admittedly, the backward compatibility isn't always so good, especially on ATI cards. Older games on my ATI 5870 have been really, really flaky and squirrely for me for the last, oh, 10 or 12 months now. So it's certainly no guarantee that it'll work, but at least it doesn't have any extra crap to make your life difficult. It'll work, or it won't work, but it's not phoning home for authorization, or installing Starforce, or blowing up if you dare to change a graphic card. (see: Anno 2070).

I like being treated well, and I'm fiercely devoted to GOG because they do. I used to like Impulse before they sold out to Gamestop, but I hate Gamestop so much that I've just dropped the account and abandoned the games there.

Which is a lesson, in and of itself -- any DRM scheme, Steam's included, means that they can change the terms of the deal any time they want, and your sole remedy is praying they don't change it any further.
posted by Malor at 8:09 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every SimCity player is a part of a larger game world...if a neighbor's city is super industrial and, say, very focused on coal production, they will cause a lot of pollution. They might be dealing with that within their own city by focusing on keeping things like ground water clean, but the smoke overflow could drift into your town and cause citizens to get sick.

Wait, so I'm required to play online, and if the server plonks me down next to some griefer with three dozen coal plants, I'll spend all my budget on hospitals trying to keep my citizens from dying at age 30? This does not sound like a game at all.


Geeze, I missed that. Fuck all ya'll, EA!

What I'd really like to see is a city builder that doesn't assume 20th century-style Western cities are the be-all and end-all of human civilization. Let me lay out circular cities, instead of grids, and put everyone inside subterranean stone towers, or hobbit holes, or floating cities on lakes. SimCity is pretty interesting from some perspectives simply based on what it's encouraging you to do.
posted by curious nu at 8:10 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Make the game more granular" doesn't imply "simulate the particular details that you don't want to deal with".

"Simulate each building individually" doesn't imply "simulate every legal issue involving that building".
posted by LogicalDash at 8:11 AM on March 28, 2012


It's not a matter of making piracy impossible, but of raising the expertise requirement for pirating.

Only one guy needs to have that expertise, the rest just download the crack once it's been published and turned into an idiot-proof tool with a HOWTO. There have always been a relatively small number of very smart crackers feeding a large number of script kiddie consumers.

Personally, the idea of having the servers shut down after a few years makes it less worth the money.

Yeah. If they insist on doing this, the only way I'd go for the game is after it's been cracked, so that I know it'll be around indefinitely. I have no interest in buying a product that's dependent on an authentication server that can be unplugged at any time. No thanks, EA.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:19 AM on March 28, 2012


FYI: There's no box art because it's DLC.
posted by Talez at 8:20 AM on March 28, 2012


DRM doesn't work. It only hurts the people willing to pay for the games, as people who are going to steal it will do so anyway. In fact, DRM actually makes Piracy more attractive, not less, because who wants to deal with all that bullshit?

I am a gaming freak, and the core of my gaming existence is Sim City. I remember SCIV release - ordering it sent to my parents place before it was shipping, phoning every day checking, and getting my brother to send it by rush FedEx to Bishkek. I took the week off sick, because really I was sick - I was a fucking city simulation junkie that desperately needed his fix, and I played 24/7 until they pried me from my laptop and forced me back to work.

I am a shameless pirate, but I have paid for every version of Sim City since the original. I bought the super gold plated deluxe edition of SC IV, just for the hell of it... so I actually bought that game twice.

Two observations:

1. Of all the games I have played, Sim City is the LEAST multi player game I can imagine. I don't want any other sentience having any influence on my beautiful and intricate construct. Fuck off, shut the door as you are leaving, and leave me alone. This is serious me time.

2. There is nothing they can do to stop the pirates, and from the sounds of it the pirate version will be better - i.e., the always on DRM will be subverted. So HEY MAXIS, this is the guy who pirates everything but has probably spent $500 on your SC franchise, and I am telling you this is going to force me to pirate this game. What the fuck are you thinking???

3.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:22 AM on March 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


In the spirit of EA's strategy Meatbomb's third comment is DLC.
posted by Talez at 8:24 AM on March 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Fuckin' Meatbomb I'll never buy another one of his comments AGAIN

it's probably just a color-changed answer from askme anyway >=[
posted by curious nu at 8:26 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like SimCity in its various incarnations, but what I really, really want is an updated version of SimEarth, which is one of the very first games I bought for my first-ever PC way back in 1992. I loved being able to tweak all the conditions of my planet and watching life arise...oh, and occasionally dropping an asteroid right on top of India.

(NB: I don't actually have anything against India--it's just that the resulting crater was very aesthetically pleasing.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:29 AM on March 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


I like SimCity in its various incarnations, but what I really, really want is an updated version of SimEarth, which is one of the very first games I bought for my first-ever PC way back in 1992. I loved being able to tweak all the conditions of my planet and watching life arise...oh, and occasionally dropping an asteroid right on top of India.

THIS.
And also: my falling-out-of-the-chair astonishment upon accidentally learning, during a random dickin'-around game (but aren't they all?) some eight years after the game came out, how to make robots.
posted by fetamelter at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


valkyryn: "You know why SimCity is fun? Because it lets you say "Okay, you all build this sort of stuff over here. No, I don't like that one, build a different one. There we go.""

Have you played any of the Tropico games? I think they prove that this kind of fine grained simulation can indeed work for a city-building game. The city populations in Tropico are in the range of thousands, but I think with some simplifications of the simulation model and UI it could easily scale to SimCity sizes. You don't have to give the user control over each inhabitant.

In the other direction (incredibly detailed simulation), there's Dwarf Fortress. I don't think that's the kind of model they're aiming for here.

Mr. Bad Example: "and occasionally dropping an asteroid right on top of India. "

I'd really prefer if you didn't, it's going to be a miserable summer as it is.
posted by vanar sena at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mr. Bad Example: multiple favourites! SimEarth was great and it's still a great idea. I think it was the game where I was most going, "It's so cool that I'm doing this."

I can only think it was too "learny."
posted by Trochanter at 8:36 AM on March 28, 2012


Anyone complaining about how hard and complicated SimCity got after SC2000 is probably remembering SimCity3000. That game was too fiddly and labor intensive.

But SimCity4 is fantastic, and if you don't just plop schools, police departments and expensive parks everywhere you'll find that managing your city and reaping big budget surpluses is easy.

In fact, SC4 is so good, I haven't tired of it after 10 years and if the next SimCity is a bad game, I'll still play happily play SC4.
posted by General Tonic at 8:37 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


SimCity is pretty interesting from some perspectives simply based on what it's encouraging you to do.

They better have a decent mass transit model this time. No city in 1900 needs four lane arterials.
posted by thecaddy at 8:39 AM on March 28, 2012


Here's hoping that they're just flying a kite with this always-on nonsense, and will row back after a few weeks of internet fury from users, just to show that 'hey we listen to our audience.'

Ha! Hahaha! Hehehehehahahahah! Ho ho ho!

You really don't know how EA operates, do you? This is the company that has systematically bought out and ruined multiple game studios that were beloved by fans. They have puked out so many substandard sequels of excellent games that it's bordering on ridiculous. Hell, they are now managing to create bad runs of their original cash cow Madden. I had more than a few friends describe Madden 2012 being unplayable.

Here's what EA has done to studios thus far. Three of those studios are ones that I truly loved in the late 90's/early 00's. Now I wouldn't consider buying any of their new iterations. I loved Command and Conquer and all of its variants, but by the time EA got their mitts fully involved on it, C&C4 was a train wreck (complete with always-on DRM). EA took The Sims and made it DLC hell. I mean, a Katy Perry Collector's Edition? What. The. Fuck?

With SimCity getting the revamp, I wholeheartedly expect a major clusterfuck from EA. It will start on the release day when the DRM servers go down and you can't play the shiny new game that cost $60. DLC on pre-orders costing an extra $10-20, and before they stop adding DLC it will total somewhere around $300-400. Bugs will abound. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they change it from being a sandbox game to one where you play levels and the game lasts 10-15 hours.

As for the always-on nonsense: expect it to be fully implemented even to the detriment of the gameplay. Because money.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:45 AM on March 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Let me lay out circular cities, instead of grids

Apparently you can create circular cities. The Maxis dev team did an AMA for reddit recently. Most of the other questions are of the "Oh my God, I hope that you don't make another Sim City Societies". link
posted by cyberscythe at 8:50 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake: "If it is so terrible, you could always not buy it."

Yeah, and if enough of us do that to make a dent in the sales numbers, they'll reconsider the DRM. No wait, this is EA, so they'll blame piracy. Or second hand sales. Or something other than the DRM or the quality of their game.
posted by vanar sena at 8:58 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


There have always been a relatively small number of very smart crackers feeding a large number of script kiddie consumers.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them.
posted by Trochanter at 8:59 AM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Kevtaro: This is exciting news, but where's my SimAnt sequel, Maxis?? I want to slaughter red ants by the thousands with my lazer-shooting daddy long legs in 3D.

Came here for this. I'm holding out for a SimAnt sequel, or even a re-release. I'll invade your colony from beneath, then plug the hole with a rock! I couldn't get enough of that game.
posted by lostburner at 9:02 AM on March 28, 2012


Speaking (briefly) of GOG, as of yesterday they are selling new games as well as old ones (and have changed their name from "Good Old Games" to GOG). They are still committed to selling games without DRM, which will presumably limit the number of "AAA" titles they offer, but they have some promising indies lined up.
posted by whir at 9:05 AM on March 28, 2012


This is exciting! I've been waiting for a new SimCity game for years!

I feel like I'm the rare person who genuinely loved SC4. I really only had one complaint : give us a "let the budget track the demand" option for each of the micro-sims. After my cities got to a certain size, it became a major pain going around to all my schools/hospitals/etc and increasing or decreasing the capacity to match the utilization. After a certain point, I'd basically spend the entire game going to each of my micro-sims and tweaking sliders. OOOH, TWEAKING SLIDERS! SO MUCH FUN!

Also, I felt like the multi-region play was poorly-implemented, and seemed like sort of an afterthought. Don't get me wrong, I think it was a good idea. It was just never clear to me if my sims were ACTUALLY crossing the border to go to work, because there was no way to track it. Also, some of the transportation was equally opaque. Why did one subway station get overutilized while the one across the street was totally ignored? And how the hell do you get people to actually use your seaport? (shrug) Also, some more unlockable achievements would have been nice.

But really, these are minor quibbles. I'm a total non-gamer, and yet SC4 is the one game I find myself coming back to every so often. Even now, I'm feeling sort of a twinge.

Anyway, it's good to see them returning to the franchise after all these years, and I hope the result isn't a massive disappointment like Spore.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm almost more upset at the art direction which makes every city look like Seattle.

Also, can I please zone mixed use residential/commercial? please?
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on March 28, 2012


Wait, so this is why I can't play The Sims ("Free Play") on my tablet on the bus? Goddamn it. I was sort of enjoying it (I had a MASSIVE Sims habit circa 2001) and thought it would be a great way to spend my ~30 minute bus ride to work. But my tablet is wifi only and the game complained at me when it couldn't get an internet connection. WTF?
posted by epersonae at 9:14 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in your club too Afroblanco, SimCity2k was nearly perfect, 3 was a mess, and 4 hit the sweet spot of taking out all the crap from 3 and keeping in all the good stuff. Plus, like infinatley mod-able
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm actually still waiting for a decent pre-modern Sim City. Civ City: Rome almost stratches that itch it but only goes so far....
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The original Sim Sity had plugins to do Rome, ancient Japan, and moon colonies, as I recall.

Though my favorite Maxis game is still probably RoboSport, which nobody remembers.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:19 AM on March 28, 2012


I still have a SimCity disc in a drawer at home somewhere. (Four, I think.) When mr. epersonae went back to school to get an urban studies degree, we both spent a lot of time with SimCity. :) I might have to go find it this weekend...or maybe get that CitiesXL. That looks fun too!
posted by epersonae at 9:19 AM on March 28, 2012


I don't believe EA or any other big studio is willing to take the risk of actually making a simulation based game of this magnitude. The Introversion guys were working on this sort of thing for the better part of a decade before giving up; EA is so risk averse that I doubt they would risk even a month of development time on a novel idea.
posted by Pyry at 9:22 AM on March 28, 2012


This is a simcity thread, so I must post this: Magnasanti, the largest city posible.
posted by jquinby at 9:23 AM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?
(Not directed specifically at you, but to "everyone complaining about this")


YOU CAN'T CUT BACK DRM! YOU WILL REGRET THIS!
posted by Hoopo at 9:25 AM on March 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Personally, I won't be happy until they reboot SimAnt.
posted by asnider at 9:27 AM on March 28, 2012


On preview, what Kevtaro said.
posted by asnider at 9:28 AM on March 28, 2012


The "City Building Series" published by Sierra did classical cities. Caesar and Pharoah were their big two titles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Building_Series
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:36 AM on March 28, 2012


The Age Of Emperors is the best one, but you know, I'd like something new.
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 AM on March 28, 2012


Will I be able to do that with SC5 a like number of years after its release?

Apparently it is really easy to emulate the server, so yes.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:46 AM on March 28, 2012


I'm sure MaxisEA took a long look at Anno 2070 before even thinking about building a game. Anno's always on connection is often married to the words "draconian" "Ubisoft" "DRM" and "gotohell" but in Anno's case, the developers actually make good use of the always-on "feature". There's free and paid content. You can vote on faction leaders and political issues that actually have impact on your single-player game, and it can change the way you play about once a week or more if you play a lot. You can see the aggregate stats of what all the other players are building/doing.

So they at least make it more than a way to ... be draconian. I hope the new SimCity offers similar features. If it's just a way for them to sell DLC and ... be draconian ... then I"m out.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:50 AM on March 28, 2012


Kevtaro: This is exciting news, but where's my SimAnt sequel, Maxis?? I want to slaughter red ants by the thousands with my lazer-shooting daddy long legs in 3D.

Came here for this. I'm holding out for a SimAnt sequel, or even a re-release. I'll invade your colony from beneath, then plug the hole with a rock! I couldn't get enough of that game.


Oh man.

Oh man.

What if

Oh man.

What if: Jaglavak: the Game?!
posted by curious nu at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2012


I'm hoping for a SimCopter remake. So many hours spent putting out fires, then switching to the Apache and starting fires, then putting out fires...
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:04 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


SimTower was awesome. The various tower apps in my phone do not compare. They are just rent collectors in disguise.
posted by soelo at 10:12 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


No love for SimFarm?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:20 AM on March 28, 2012


I love the idea of Sim City, but when I played it, I hated it, but now it sounds like I've been playing the wrong one? (SC:3K)...

I hate DRM, and like some upthread, have refused to buy Ubi products that I otherwise wanted or look interesting (hell, I won't even by Rayman: Origins, which is really sad, because the demo was fabulous!)

Make the games easily available, they don't need to be free, but 60 dollars is ridiculous, especially since I'd be downloading it, not going to a shore where a physical product was manufactured and shipped miles away, etc, etc, etc...

Steam does it mostly right. I use netflix because I like ease of use. I don't want to have to worry about whether something will work or not, I don't want to wait for unskippable scenes and warnings.

I think the simulation in this new one looks fascinating, but I trust EA about as far as I can throw them.

Should I try SC:4? Will it really be that much better than SC:3K?
posted by symbioid at 10:20 AM on March 28, 2012


From reddit's Maxis IAMA thread, regarding multiplayer:

We've addressed this elsewhere, but I just want to repeat, single player is definitely still a big focus. And if you want to play all the cities in a region yourself, that's absolutely possible. I think there's some research somewhere showing that, even with strictly multiplayer games, people wind up soloing for the majority of gameplay hours, so you're not alone

So thank goodness.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:27 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This comment from the IAMA makes me rage:

"As for custom content – think back to SC4 - first we just need to get the game out, and make everything work robustly."

No, first you need to make everything work robustly, THEN you need to get the game out.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:28 AM on March 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


As long as every slight adjustment to budget is met with YOU CAN’T CUT BACK ON FUNDING! YOU WILL REGRET THIS!
posted by yeti at 10:44 AM on March 28, 2012


Every SimCity player is a part of a larger game world...if a neighbor's city is super industrial and, say, very focused on coal production, they will cause a lot of pollution. They might be dealing with that within their own city by focusing on keeping things like ground water clean, but the smoke overflow could drift into your town and cause citizens to get sick.

This, for me, will be the primary reason I will never buy this game. I am simply not interested in being a part of a multi-player world for this game. Give me a stand-alone, locally-installed game so I can sit and fucking build my city.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:45 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


If it is so terrible, you could always not buy it.

This is, in fact, my approach to DRM-ed things (except for DVDs, whose nominal DRM has been so universally defeated that most people probably don't even know it's there.) Civ4 Complete came out unencumbered on DVD and I bought it right away. Civ5 came out requiring Steam... and I recently re-installed Civ4.

I'd suggest that "How would you make a product that people want to pay for?" is a better question than "What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?" And DRM isn't the answer.
posted by Zed at 10:47 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


SC4 is so much better than 3000; it's unreal. And it has a TON of free, cool, custom content.
posted by agregoli at 10:48 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd probably still play this game if it gave me herpes.
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2012


I hear the splines are 23% more reticulated than the original.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Have you played any of the Tropico games? I think they prove that this kind of fine grained simulation can indeed work for a city-building game. The city populations in Tropico are in the range of thousands, but I think with some simplifications of the simulation model and UI it could easily scale to SimCity sizes. You don't have to give the user control over each inhabitant.


I'm sure others have done this, but I've actually followed one or of two of my citizens in Tropico from the moment they were born to the moment they died, experiencing their going to school, college, finding a job, finding another job, getting married, an eventually retiring and going to live in one of my government tenement buildings because they could no longer afford nicer housing.

It really felt tragic in a transcendental way.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:19 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I say I hate DRM, and yet I love Steam, even games that are locked or inextricably linked to Steam, which offers DRM.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you're going to lock something down, lock it down with something really good and not too annoying. Steam offers a way to organize friends and your game library, and also runs the best digital games store in my opinion.

And Steam's DRM seems easily circumvented based on what I see on Demonoid. But I could never see playing pirated Left 4 Dead or Team Fortress 2, as I want the benefits of being a legitimate customer (downloadable content, updates, an easy server browser that, if I understand correctly, is indexed by Steam).

But this always on stuff is ridiculous. I know most core gamers aren't on 56K connections that are also the home phone line, but it's another layer of crap that separates you and the game that pirates don't have to deal with. Say your firewall messes up communication with the game's authentification servers intermittently. You get booted out of the game, while pirates get to keep playing. DRM treats customers like criminals, while a good crack/rip removes it entirely.

If I recall correctly, I think Microsoft or EA had an older game that required an authentification server to start, and eventually they shut down the servers. Rather than releasing a patch to disable this or copping out by saying the game was no longer supported, the company instead started hosting a crack made by pirates to work around the authentification.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:57 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


DLC - you'd have to prove that you purchased it, by making some sort of online account or getting a token/key/code/whatever.

If I plunk down 60 bucks for a game, I'd like to be able to return to it whenever. This goes double for simulation games, which I'll tire of after a while and then return to after a few months or years. Personally, the idea of having the servers shut down after a few years makes it less worth the money.

Guys. You're worried about all the wrong things. So they want a few extra bucks to unlock content, or they want to make you pay for a used copy, or whatever. Who cares? I have four easy words that will forever change how you think about spending money on games.

PORN TIPS GUZZ ARDO

Wait, that works on Maxis products, right?
posted by Mayor West at 1:00 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad they're still using East Bay landmarks as building models. I spotted the Oakland Cathedral in PC Gamer's preview article.
posted by clorox at 1:26 PM on March 28, 2012


This time around they're going in the reverse direction - the individual sims (and buildings and cars) are given algorithms to determine what to do, and these interactions determine the success of the land unit.

It will be interesting to see how well this works. Often the simplifications lead to non-intuitive behaviour due to feedback loops and such, and then you either make your model more and more complex (and slower) or you slap a controller on top of it all and it's not really bottom-up anymore.
posted by smackfu at 1:51 PM on March 28, 2012


Sounds like a poor mans' Dwarf Fortress with pretty graphics.
posted by dethb0y at 2:18 PM on March 28, 2012


overeducated_alligator: "Increase the complexity of pirating, and decrease the skill set of the average user, and companies will probably recoup a substantial amount of revenue."

Say what? You think it's harder to pirate games NOW than it was 10 years ago? 10 years ago you had to download like a billion rars from some newsgroup, find a key or a crack, move files around into the right place or edit some bullshit config files and it still didn't work half the time. Now you just download the torrent and you get a product that already has all the bugs patched and necessary 3rd party mods pre-installed.

KIDS THESE DAYS. Uphill both ways in the snow!!
posted by danny the boy at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sounds like a poor mans' Dwarf Fortress with pretty graphics.

If Toady One is the benchmark for nominal middle income emergent systems modeling metaphors, basically everybody in the industry is below the poverty line. Dwarf Fortress is a very specific, very of-its-own-kind sort of obsessive brilliance as far as that goes, but most things are not and should not be DF.

In any case, I'm excited about the new system. Systems models are never accurate when you look close, but the way they get wonky is part of the interest, and I'm interested to see what sort of behavior does emerge from this new go. I never going to be an actual city planning enthusiast, but I'm all kinds of enthusiastic about fiddling with models.
posted by cortex at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2012


I've always primarily seen Simcity as a traffic management game. People need to move from place to place - like blood in your body. Badly designed traffic systems will kill your city just like a narrowed or blocked artery.

I recall reading in the back of the manual - of Simcity 2000 I think, or it could even have been the original Simcity before that - about the traffic was simulated. The computer would periodically "test" traffic paths, either from R<>C or R<>I , and each test generated traffic - the heavier the traffic, the slower the average speed. Long average commute times would be detrimental to the desirability of the property, just like pollution or insufficient health / police coverage. The game was balanced on a razor's edge of competing tensions: people want short commute times, but don't want to be near polluting industrial zones. People want high density for short commute times, but high density itself causes traffic pollution. People want good services, but don't want to pay high taxes.

Which is why traffic comes to heart of it. Shorter commute paths = less road maintenance, since you need less roads. Less pollution due to traffic. Greater sim happiness. I remember this being my inspiration where for most of my life I wanted to grow up to be a traffic management engineer or planner.

I remember thinking this was pretty damn advanced for a game in the early 90s. I remember thinking that wow, imagine how good the simulations would be in a few years. But we were wrong, I guess. What they're talking about today sounds like what they had in the original Simcity...

Might be an idyllic foretelling of the future, but my most successful cities were the ones without roads, you could do this in Simcity 2000, Simcity 4, even the bastard of a game Simcity Societies. Just put down fast but expensive public transport, and force your sims to walk the rest of the way - the trip length is still acceptable to them even if they have to walk the last 2 blocks. Instead of roads breaking up the solid blocks of buildings you have parks, plazas, open spaces. It was really the only way to solve the problem of traffic generated pollution in the city core.
posted by xdvesper at 3:24 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


What would you do instead in order to stop people from stealing games?

Other users talked about ease of use (Steam) or added value (the manuals and maps of old games). Another factor is goodwill based on the previous products of a company: I adored Starcraft, so I bought Starcraft 2 despite the stupid always-on system. On the other hand, I liked Diablo, but I won't buy it because of the always-on requirement. Sim City has plenty of goodwill behind it and it will probably do fine on its own if EA doesn't smear its brand all over it.

That said, I gave my heart to Transport Tycoon Deluxe (free & cross-platform).
posted by ersatz at 3:49 PM on March 28, 2012


That said, I gave my heart to Transport Tycoon Deluxe (free & cross-platform).

hey! I hadn't heard that there was finally a wholly open-source TTD that didn't require a copy of the original game's graphics! Thanks for linking it.
posted by Zed at 4:15 PM on March 28, 2012


Can't wait to play this on my phone in 5 years.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:16 PM on March 28, 2012


There was a utopian aspect to SimCity 2000 that I felt the sequels didn't capture. They were too serious. I blame this on games becoming too "balanced". I think developers should construct a multimodal optimization of games so that sometimes craziness pays off. Or create wildly beautiful features that are incredibly destructive. If I was going to create miniature simulations (as they say here), I would create threads of lies at the heart of the simulation, bringing about a mystery that drags you deeper and deeper into the soul of your city until you in the middle of the night, in a moment of clarity that shocks your obsessed mind, see the true perfect purpose of the Braun Llama Dome.
posted by niccolo at 10:37 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


ersatz: "That said, I gave my heart to Transport Tycoon Deluxe (free & cross-platform)"

Speaking of TTD, it's a relevant case of the lack of persistent, individually simulated inhabitants harming the game. I may be wrong about the mechanics, but it looks like an individual traveller doesn't have a specific destination. This breaks both multi-modal transport and high-density transport like buses with a lot of stops. It's easy to work around, but it does make it it less realistic and fun.
posted by vanar sena at 12:30 AM on March 29, 2012


SIMTROPOLIS HERALD
June 12, 2016

NAYSAYERS SAY NAY -

In a study by the Network Commission, the SimCity Cloud Server was deemed unstable and ready to disintegrate within the year. The voluminous study commented, "compliant to the local laws of economics stating an overheated llama equals 50 squared over MC E, any form of EA legacy support will expire exactly three years after implementation. Expiration consists of instantaneous disintegration with minimal financial impact."

Players everywhere snarled lightly at the news. "I need to stomp their uvulas," averred one.

"What are we going to do?" Blurted a panicked cricketer, "only CAPTAIN HERO might possibly help us now!"

This will have serious ramifications for the future of Simtropolis. In this funky reporter's opinion, only the future can tell.

posted by Rhaomi at 2:32 AM on March 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've always primarily seen Simcity as a traffic management game. People need to move from place to place - like blood in your body. Badly designed traffic systems will kill your city just like a narrowed or blocked artery.

And yet, in the original SimCity you can completely do away with road traffic by using rails everywhere, everywhere, without not much, to my eye, downside.

The choice between road and rail in SimCity boils down to: do you want to pay a little extra money when laying it down in order to reduce this host of bad effects, or pay less now and suffer those traffic and pollution effects forever? Not really a choice at all.

(P.S. A discovery I made in the SNES SimCity that I haven't seen reported anywhere else, just for you guys:

SimCity for the SNES was the first version of the game to grant the player special buildings to place with special effects. It called these buildings "Presents." Each has a certain requirement to meet before they can be placed.

Many terrains in SNES SC don't provide enough land to make it to the game's ostensible "goal" of 500,000 population. But one kind of present, the "Landfill," helps to counteract this by turning a 3X3 square of deep water into land. The problem is, once placed a Landfill cannot be moved, and there are only a few available to place.

But it turns out that the granting requirement for Landfill is related to raw space utilization, that is, what proportion of the map is taken up by player structures. It's not uncommon for all the land to get used up by the middle of a city's life, and all the usable coast tiles to get reclaimed, by which time the player has gotten two to four Landfills.

But it turns out that the game counts water tiles in this determination. You can get several additional Landfills by filling up as many tiles of water as you can with the only structures you can build in water: Roads and Rails.

They don't make it much easier to get to 500,000 people, but it only seems possible in that game on a few maps anyway. On a boarderline map, it might just be enough to push it over the edge.)
posted by JHarris at 3:13 AM on March 29, 2012


Badly designed traffic systems will kill your city just like a narrowed or blocked artery

Now Sim Body is a game I would love to play. Map out your lymphatics, veins, arteries and nerves to your new organ! They stretch as you grow, but only with the right nutrition.

And for the purists, start with Sim Embryo, controlled solely with programmable timer genes, hormone secretors and an apoptosis button.

If anyone fancies making these, you will be welcome to my cash.
posted by fizban at 4:54 AM on March 29, 2012


Spore was totally going to be that, and turned out to be a pretty good minigame collection with some excellent modeling and animation software included.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:15 AM on March 29, 2012


Just noticed that this new SimCity has no Mac version. So, I guess my skipping it because of the always-on/multiplayer crap is moot.

Carry on.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:56 AM on March 29, 2012




From Wikipedia: On January 10, 2008 the SimCity source code was released under the free software GPL 3 license under the name Micropolis.

Shit, how did I not find out about this until now?

echo target: Wait, so I'm required to play online, and if the server plonks me down next to some griefer with three dozen coal plants, I'll spend all my budget on hospitals trying to keep my citizens from dying at age 30? This does not sound like a game at all.

IGN Article: In one situation we had a rich, largely clean and suburban town with a high level of education living next to a poorer, industrial city. The poorer, less-educated city relied on educated workers to travel to them, serving as management in their factories.

SimEconomicInequality? SimEnvironmentalRacism? SimEastStLouis?

Also, no love for SimLife? I was obsessed with that game for a good chunk of middle school. I'd use to make as big a world as the computer in the corner of the old computer lab could handle, with the maximum level of mutagens, and just wait. (Honestly, I just wish sometimes that Maxis could return to the era before The Sims, when they'd come up with some genuinely weird shit, throw it all into a game, and somehow manage to make gold.)
posted by kagredon at 2:28 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


They tried. See in above re: Spore.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:58 PM on March 29, 2012


I've always primarily seen Simcity as a traffic management game.

The ridiculously dense cities linked in the video earlier in the thread have no roads.

No roads. Just underground stations.

People walk everywhere, and take public transport.

and die at 60
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:52 AM on March 31, 2012


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