Cities XL 2012 Will Have Mods, Buildings

By Jim Rossignol on July 14th, 2011 at 10:14 am.

Alpine huts of the near past.
It seems as if the failed city-building MMO has become a fairly regular offline city-building series. Cities XL 2012 will be arriving in October, and expands on the previous offering considerably. Focus explain: “Cities XL 2012 allows players to become real urban planners, balancing economic & energy developments of their cities while managing transportation, housing, social services and recreational activities. Content is key to the new game, as Cities XL 2012 offers a staggering number of unique structures with over 1,000 in total.”

The game also now, apparently, open to modding, with a bunch of mod tools included in the 2012 release. A wise move, I suspect.

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33 Comments »

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  1. coffeetable says:

    And the premium-rate content will of course be entitled Cities XXXL

  2. Khemm says:

    I’ve never played any Cities XL game, how do they compare to SimCity, especially 3000 and 4 – my favourite ones? I might be tempted to buy this one.

    By the way, for obvious reasons, I’d love to play SimCity 5. Who do I have to bribe at Maxis/EA for that to happen?

    • HolyLiaison says:

      This game tries it’s hardest to be like SimCity. I just can’t get past all the bugs and the nonexistent support in CitiesXL 2011. They’re worse than Activision with the CoD franchise. New one every year with no support in between… and maybe a patch or two if your lucky.

      I purchased it on Steam during the sale and it wasn’t polished enough for me. Not even close.

    • Khemm says:

      @HolyLiaison
      Thanks. Well, that’s a shame. For economy games/city builders, there’s only Anno 2070 to look forward to at the moment.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Sim City 4 is still far ahead of Cities S. By such a huge margin in fact that it is no contest.

    • Was Neurotic says:

      @Khemm et al

      Excuse me, excuse me. Voice of Positivity here. Cities XL 2011 is actually a superb game. It beats City Life hands-down because it takes the social thing from that and refines it down to a very simple rock-papers-scissors mechanic which means you have to balance different types of residents to make sure your city functions properly (not hard to do for any experienced Simmer).

      Where it has the upper hand on Sim City 3000 and 4 (3000 is also my favourite SC) is CURVEY, BENDABLE F***ING STREETS AND ROADS – something thatm as far as I know, has only been done in Wii Sim City. It also has giant maps, compared to SC, which work similarly in that building roads to edges connects your city to NPC cities, or others that you’ve built nearby.

      It also has the zoom-down-to-street-level-and-walk-around view that is nothing but a wet dream for Sim Cityers, as well as SC4 Rush Hour’s ability to ‘ride’ in your citizens’ vehicles.

      Yes, there are quirks and of course there are a few bugs, but the UI is intuitive and works very well, and if you don’t try this game out, consider your City Builder Gamer license revoked! ;P

    • Archonsod says:

      Personally I prefer it to Sim City. Probably the only real drawback is that the buildings don’t develop over time.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Cities may have curving roads, but rectangular plots, which still looks silly.

    • Mctittles says:

      Cities XL actually got me into Sim City 4. Prior to this I had only played the old original Sim City game. I found cities XL to look neat at times, but overall have little gameplay, poor performance on a nice rig, and MANY bugs.
      The fan site forums had lots of people talking about SC4 so I went and picked it up. I instantly thought what have I been wasting my time on, this game is great! Uninstalled XL and never looked back :).

    • satsui says:

      @Khemm, don’t forget about Tropico 4!

    • Premium User Badge

      distantlurker says:

      @ Was

      All positivity aside, if you run it for more than a couple of hours, you can set your watch by the regularity of the blue screens.

  3. Zeewolf says:

    I liked the first Cities XL (though the online thing felt a bit useless and underdeveloped – and not really what I was after in a city builder anyway). Skipped last year’s edition because it didn’t seem to offer enough new stuff, but now I’m kind of feeling the city building urge again. So this could be exactly what I need.

    • Targaff says:

      I have the first but missed 2011 because of the DRM, which policy will continue to apply for 20xx.

  4. cpy says:

    I don’t know what are you all talking about, but this game gets closest to Sim City 4 as any other sims tried before. And you can make cities that are real eye candy.

  5. Jimbo says:

    A well made Sim Cities Online (or off-brand equivalent) could be fantastic, but CXL wasn’t even close to getting it right.

    It would need something like Spore’s content creation and sharing tech, so that the community can easily create and distribute building/bridge/road designs etc., in return for in-game currency (Forza style) or prestige points which could be used to bid for unique landmarks or whatever for your city. Why have 1000 building types when you could have a limitless supply from the community?

    The underlying game mechanics also need to be more organic than they were in CXL. The problem with CXL was that it was more about placing the buildings rather than creating the right conditions and then watching your city grow naturally. The latter is far more engaging. I sunk about 100 hours into the CXL beta and the near universal consensus amongst the testers was that it should have played closer to Sim City in this regard. They kept insisting they weren’t making Sim City, which is fine, but if practically everybody playing the game is telling you it would benefit from playing more like that, then it might have been wise to listen.

    Some of the cross-player trade elements in CXL were interesting (but they were terribly implemented to the point of just being plain broken). Having some city maps be rich in certain resources but poor in others is great, but those maps need to be randomly generated so that every player’s city is different, not just use ~15 fixed map designs like CXL did.

  6. cpy says:

    I don’t even know why they used just one bigass texture that look good only on premade terrain levels, this things bothers me, and i agree with the growth, it’s not like in SC4, well yes you basicly say what will be where.

  7. Leelad says:

    I loved the design aspect of 2011 but I couldn’t for the life of me keep everyone happy. The only way I was able to actually keep the game going was the cheat menu built in to the main menu. Terraforming was weak too.

    I have high hopes for any improvement because the game itself looked wonderful!

  8. Was Neurotic says:

    F***ing bring it on, XL 2011 rocks.

  9. angramainyu says:

    I keep checking out Cities XL 2011 whenever it pops up for sale on Steam, but then I always see the SecureROM DRM and give it a pass and remember why I haven’t picked it up before. Hopefully the new one is sans-SecureROM.

  10. maniaks86 says:

    I actually enjoyed previous game. I hope they will fix the fucking memory leaks.

  11. Bluebreaker says:

    Will still have massive blackhole in its memory management?

  12. jonfitt says:

    I’ve been thiiiis close to buying XL 2010 and 2011 on sale, but I’ve held back several times. The yearly franchise thing at full price bothers me. I just feel like it’ll be abandoned and replaced before I get around to playing it.

  13. Sober says:

    I had high hopes for this series to be a successor the SimCity series, but unless they went and wrote a new engine for this, it feels like an annualization of the franchise.

    For those who don’t know, back when they made the engine for this game (I’m assuming for the first CitiesXL), it only supports on CPU core (even with the “Multicore tool” it only splits the work of one core across all the rest), and the devs said the only way for multicore support would involve having to write a new engine. Doesn’t seem new to me considering you can upgrade from last year’s version.

    • Bluebreaker says:

      Well CitiesXL 2011 suffered way more from memory leaks than lack of multicore support.

    • Mctittles says:

      While I agree the game runs terrible and has many bugs, I don’t think multi-core support is something you can really complain about. Very little games have multi-core support, even the newest released ones. When they do, it’s not always a big advantage either because of the work involved in correctly splitting the work load between the cpu’s.

    • Pharos says:

      I can play the Total War games at sensible settings on my Q6600 running at stock speeds. It eats FPSes and other “close-in” games for breakfast. I’ve never had performance issues in SimCity 4. However, in Cities XL (2011), once my city hits about 40-50,000 people the game speed just drops. It’s still playable but every time I click something on the build menu, the game stops and has a think for a couple of seconds. It makes for a bit of a miserable experience, especially since I’m a bit ham-fisted and keep clicking on the wrong button by accident.

      I’ve looked at the performance levels in the Task Manager. CPU usage in core one is 100%; cores two through four hover around 5%. The game rarely leaves me with less than 500MB of RAM (on top of whatever else I’m running); memory leaks are not the problem.

      Programmers have been writing with two cores in mind for years now. If the developers want me to buy this version, they’d jolly well better implement multi-threading and not just recycle the game code to add new shiny things. They’re like the city builder version of CCP. At least until CCP adds a city building element to EVE.

    • Bluebreaker says:

      As I said the problem is MASSIVE MEMORY LEAKS. Believe me in win7 this game grabs all memory available to it.
      Once towns grown a bit, the game becomes unplayable from 15 minutes in, depending on how much ram you got. Get out of the game, get in back 15 minutes or so of “lag free”.

    • macks says:

      Completely agree with OP. This game is absolutely awful from a technical perspective. As soon as your city starts to get large, CPU usage shoots up to 100% on a single core, and the game becomes basically unplayable. Despite the fact that plenty of non-threaded games run fine, and the fact that a city-builder like this is a perfect example of a game that should use threads, the game just isn’t programmed well at all. Go look at their forums, the game has been plagued with memory leaks and awful performance on top-tier hardware, even years after the original release.

      I bought the first one in hopes it would be as good as SimCity; it was a kindred spirit, but the broken and dated engine ruined it for me. There are lots of clunky gameplay elements leftover from when they tried to make this game an MMO and they were trying to include “features” that force cities to network together to trade resources.

      I stupidly bought the 2011 version not realizing it was the same engine, and thinking there would be performance improvements; there weren’t.

      Buying Cities XL 2012 is basically paying for a patch for a terribly programmed game that was already years behind the times when it came out a few years ago. Why hasn’t someone made a good city-building sim since SC4?

  14. Premium User Badge

    choie says:

    The last city-building game I played was City Life 2008, which was great (I love the ability to zoom through the city at street level). But the one thing I want to do, which no city-building game seems to let me do, is just DESIGN and build the city, without any of the frakkin’ economic requirements or social add-ons. I don’t care about whether the inhabitants get along, I don’t want to worry about budgets or sewage removal. I just wanna build a city with nifty buildings and roads and parks. Basically I want a sandbox city designing game, no restrictions (or at least offers the ability to turn ‘em off). Are there any games like that?

    • ttcfcl says:

      The closest I can think of is SCURK from the ol’ Sim City 2000. it had a Place and Print option which was just “heres some land, place building on it” and was effectively “legos in Sim City”. There may be cheats you can do in SC3k or SC4 to unlock all their buildings and do a similar thing too.

  15. nuh uh no way says:

    is it still a segregation simulator?

    yeah?

    not interested.

  16. Pointless Puppies says:

    Did they ever fix that memory leak that the games have had since the first Cities XL? Because that’s the reason why I stopped playing it and haven’t even looked at XL 2011

  17. ttcfcl says:

    How about keyboard shortcuts Cities XL 2011 was kinda fun (and actually worked, unlike CXL 2010) but no keyboard shortcuts! Very very tedious without them.