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Simulation Stimulation: A Peek Into Sim City's Glassbox

Get your microscope out

If the devil is in the details then EA’s city-running sim, cunningly called Sim City, is writhing on a bed, doing naughty things with a religious symbol and being doused in holy water. Ugh! It just turned its head 360 degrees! It is wickedly detailed, thanks to an engine that shows off exactly what the simulation is up to. A building like a power plant is not just a stack of boxes, but it contains the resources like coal and workers to create electricity. The effects and animations you’ll see on the unit are tied into how the unit simulates what’s going in and what’s coming out, so the pollution spouting from the chimney is represented accurately according to the game’s logic. Clicking in garages into a fire station will make it a more efficient station: a station with a few more garages in the model will actually run according to how you’ve built it. Everything you see is a one-to-one representation of what the simulation is doing. The video is below.
It’s not that you’d be getting all your feedback by watching the simulation running, but knowing that what the game’s showing is representative seems like a wholly insane thing to do, but ultimately helpful for you to get an overview of how your city is running.


Next year, people. Next year.

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Craig Pearson

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I love square sausage, cats, and climbing pretend rocks.

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