Urbane: Slightly More Of SimCity Revealed

A city that is actually simulated! Madness.
The mind of Maxis is brimming over with simulated city, and they’re sharing slightly more of that than we’ve seen already in a new trailer, which I’ve conveniently erected beneath this introductory text. I’ve also posted the “gameplay” trailer so that you can compare that with the slightly silly CGI version of their cheery urban world that they’ve bookended their blatherings with.


  1. phelix says:

    First thing I noticed was the terribly overdone DoF. Way to go.

    • Nailz says:


      It looks VERY much like SimCity 4, except with curvy roads.

      • UsF says:

        Those people, they have curved roads. Curved…roads…

        • Jasonopolous says:

          I was a city builder once, but then I took an arrow in the knee……………

    • simoroth says:

      Dof on a sim game? I do hope they realise that they are going to damage peoples eyes. :(

    • disperse says:

      That’s the ’tilt-shift’ effect they mention in the video. I like how it looks but wonder how it is going to hold up over a long play session.

    • takfar says:

      That’s an essential part of the “tilt-shift” look they’re going for.

      Me, I’m seriously hoping this can be turned off completely.

      • Cooper says:

        The “Tilt-shift” look works well in trailers. But dear lord I hope it’s optional in game.

      • crocoduck says:

        I don’t understand this “tilt shift” term. What has a depth of field effect got to do with tilting or shifting?

        • Fishbreath says:

          It’s similar to the effect you get with a tilt-shift lens (one that can slide up and down on the mount and tilt side to side) in macro photography, or indeed with a regular lens. As I (not a macro photographer) understand it, tilt-shift just gives you more control over the focal plane. Tilt-shift in photography of regular-sized things normally just refers to the same effect, rather than one you get with a tilt-shift lens.

        • Highstorm says:

          It’s a style of photography using a special lens (I believe) that makes real-life images look like they are scale models or micro machines. The DoF blurring is a natural result of the process, as seen here:

          link to webdesignledger.com

    • RaveTurned says:

      Yep, get the graphics card to spend extra cycles rendering an effect that makes it harder for the player to see what’s going on. Good one guys!

    • Catsplosion says:

      It’s a maxis game so even if there isn’t an option to disable it there will be a mod that can within the first few days.

      No need to panic.

      • RaveTurned says:

        Game requires Origin, and always-on internet authentication. No mod support – at launch at least.

        I suppose people could crack it? It’d be a bit extreme if you had to resort to breaking the law to remove such idiotic design decisions though.

        • Catsplosion says:

          What the hell, maxis have had mod support with every game.

          Fuck you EA.

          • Cooper says:

            This. Every single SimCity news post should come with “Oh, and it requires EA servers to be on, for you to connect, there’s no mod support, and you can’t save your city and go back to a previous state” until people get the message that this game is being shipped broken because of “features”

          • indexrps says:

            You’re both idiots. lol! Maxis said the engine is designed to be moddable. And with every SimCity, modding tools are always made available a few months after release.

            These gaming sites really like pumping up the news on worthless stuff.

    • indexrps says:

      They said it can be turned off. I just forgot where I got the info from.. >_>

    • zaphod42 says:

      I’m pretty sure “glassbox engine” is just code for “we think depth of field is really neato”.

    • Squire says:

      DoF doesn’t mean what you think it means. If it was terribly overdone, everything would be in focus.

      From Wikipedia – “Depth of field or DOF is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.”

      Its meant to convey a Tilt-shifted effect as some have pointed out.

      I agree though, it looks like it would be pain-inducing after more than an hours play.

    • noodlecake says:

      DoF is always option. I don’t see the problem. I’m an artist and personally I really like depth of field. I’ve rarely seen it get in the way of gameplay. I think it was a bit much in Borderlands but that’s about it.

      • Synesthesia says:

        this. As long as it’s turn-offable, i dont see why its a problem to so many people. I do like it , and my screenshot folder will Swell up happily. Im just torn about the origin stuff… guess ill do the wrong wallet voting on this one. Theres too much love in me for this game.

    • fatchap says:

      I think there may have just been some Vaseline on the cybercamera man’s computercamera

  2. byteCrunch says:

    Remove all the DRM/Online requirement and the lack of ability to save and reload, and maybe I’ll consider it.

    Another note, I can see EA’s tiny little mind working away right now on how they can cram this thing full of DLC.

    “You want more than one type of car? £4.99 please.”

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Is this gonna require Origin? And no save? Srsly?

      One lost sale right here.

      • byteCrunch says:

        Yes it requires Origin, and it requires you to be connected everytime you launch it.

        On the save system, essentially if you destroyed your city for fun, you cannot reload, thanks to the online component.

        Edit: And no mods at launch either.

        • indexrps says:

          “No mods at launch”. lol You make it sound like it’s such a big deal. As if Maxis never allows modding a few months after a new SimCity launches.

          • byteCrunch says:

            Nope just thought I would point it out to those who who are unaware, and would sooner wait for mod support then pick it up.

          • Malk_Content says:

            Like they said in the video, they haven’t made a SimCity game for almost a decade. The industry environment isn’t the same, EA isn’t the same and Maxis isn’t the same.

          • Stromko says:

            There is no guarantee they will ever add modding support. Since it’s all online and ran through Origin, they have the capability to disallow all modding. So, they will, because it might threaten DLC and expansion profits otherwise.

        • Trent Hawkins says:

          I think it’s worse then that and requires you to stay logged in while you play, running the AI off the server like Diablo 3.

    • c-Row says:

      This. I might reconsider if they do, too.

    • Vinraith says:

      Yup, as long as those strings remain attached, my wallet remains closed.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Wow. I had not heard about the save thing. That kills my desire to play it right there. I love playing one game across multiple saves, letting it go forward a bit, and then picking the optimal path.

    • indexrps says:

      Ah.. The old Save-then-Reload cheat
      The game is now cache-based. So I’m not worried.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        There is so much wrong with that statement. “Oh the ability to turn back a page in the book? That’s such an exploit of the broken paper book system. I’m so glad these new e-books have a ‘no turning pages back’ feature. I so hated going back a page to reaffirm the story. Oh, and the publishers are defiantly not motivated by greed in adding this ‘feature’.”

    • Kdansky says:

      Wait, you can’t save/reload? That’s brilliant!

      Note that I hate games that don’t let me leave the PC whenever I want, but quickload kills any semblance of consequences to your actions instantly. This is terrific!

      • byteCrunch says:

        Yes its brilliant! A simulation game from Maxis that discourages experimentation.

        • Kdansky says:

          You don’t need quickload to experiment.

          See Dwarf Fortress: That game is a ton more fun if you don’t quickload. Or “save-scum”, as the Rogue-community calls it.

          • Sinomatic says:

            Nor do you need to use quicksave/load just because they’re there. If they’re included there is at least the choice for everyone to play the way they want to, and the ability to save and tinker/destroy then reload as and when necessary is clearly attractive/important to a sizeable number of players.

          • byteCrunch says:

            I would argue SimCity and Dwarf Fortress are quite different, the whole point of Dwarf Fortress is that you will inevitably fail and it is about how long you can survive.

          • indexrps says:

            Dwarf Fortress was one of the devs’ influences. Umad?

          • ichigo2862 says:

            …but this isn’t a roguelike. It’s a simulation. Oh well, leave it to EA to absolutely fucking destroy everything they stick their grubby fingers in.

        • indexrps says:

          There’s a fast build cheat. Who said they don’t allow experimentation?

          • Sinomatic says:

            Discourages experimentation. It would be a LOT easier to go back to a save of your carefully planned and built city than to build it over from scratch, regardless of how quick that rebuilding system can be.

          • indexrps says:

            It was never an intended feature of the original games per se. It was a form of cheat. And it’s only a matter of time before we find a new one. And I think it shouldn’t that hard since the game is connected to the net asynchronously.

    • aepervius says:

      “the lack of ability to save and reload”

      What. The. heck ?

      No ability to save / reload ???

      I was miffed (to not say mightily pissed) at the DRM, but this is make it a definitive “no buy until garbage bin discount”.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Waaait a second right there. Go back. No saving? What the actual fuck? I can understand it for the online cities, but will there be an offline mode where i can unleash 3 car godzillas and see what happens, then continue playing?

    • Curzen says:

      oh? never mind, I guess I don’t need this game after all.

  3. tomeoftom says:

    This’ll be the first SimCity game I’ll play, I think. The fine-grain simulation gets my geek-glands pumping.

  4. takfar says:

    Regarding their multiplayer thing:

    So, it means other players can fk-up my own cities? Why the hell would I want that? I sure as hell hope I can opt out of this whole deal and just play my cities all by my lonesome.

    I actually liked the ideas behind city trading in Cities XL (even if the execution was a bit flawed). If it were to be deepened and improved upon, it could be great fun to manage several cities by yourself and make them interact.

  5. Metaphorazine says:

    I love the idea that some other schmuck can stuff his city up and overload the generator in my city, stuffing my city up too! What a genius idea EA! This always online requirement makes so much more sense now!

  6. Jugulator says:


    Really, this looks like it could be a lot of fun.
    I also like the artistic style, everything looks like a little toy, which is awesome, because I’ve always wanted to have a huge miniature city and fill it with lego-man.

    • Torgen says:

      Yes, despite all the hate, I’ve always adored the tilt shift effect. I’d think it’s only logical for it to kick in only when getting close enough to see the detail on the little people and cars though.With no detail to focus on, you can’t really pull the effect off.

      That said, I have so many game now that there are games that I own and have never played, and have forgotten I own (opening my Steam library is like a surprise party sometimes,) so I can certainly afford to wait and see how the DRM etc shakes out before buying.

  7. Blackcompany says:

    Remove the always online, forced multiplayer, I am in. Otherwise, no sale.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      dear management of ea or whoever thought this:
      I know that “social” and “multiplayer” are hot buzzwords right now, but Sim City was always a game you could relax in the evening, when you had enough of outside world. Please, don’t force multiplayer on that great game. Thanks.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Dear RaytraceRat,
        Sorry we were unable to read your request sent to us via our “social gaming” connection. This is due to the vast sums of money piling up over our heads.

        Your truly, EA.

        (Sadly more money does not always equal a better gaming experience. :( )

    • indexrps says:

      “Forced” multiplayer? You can still play the game solo. Just not offline. :P

      • Trent Hawkins says:

        that’s only marginally better, as it will kill any chance of me playing it on a commute.

        • indexrps says:

          lol, I don’t play SC when on commute, I use my portables.
          Though… I’d like to thank ISPs for 4G wireless connections.

      • GamerOS says:

        I can play Diablo 3 solo while still online, doesn’t remove issues with having to be online either.

  8. Setheran says:

    This seems to be the kind of thing they’re going for with the tilt shift blur effect:

    it looks awesome on real film, giving the feel that you’re a giant peering down on a tiny version of the world. Whether or not that’ll be a good fit with the cartoon graphics here, though, I’m not so sure. I feel like I’d want my city to feel big rather than seeming like a miniature collection of toys on a table.

    • Torgen says:

      He zooms in too much in many of those shots, ruining the effect. There’s some really nice long shots though. Here’s an old favorite of mine, which introduced me to the band Rocky Votolato

  9. reggiep says:

    Sim City. Now with multiplayer griefing…

  10. StranaMente says:

    I’m waiting for a multiplayer only re-release of minesweeper, solitaire and tetris… oh wait: link to ea.com

    • misterT0AST says:

      EA you bastards! Mods are what made Tetris great in the first place!

      • StranaMente says:

        I must admit that I was sceptical about the circle tetromino mod at the beginning, but ended up loving it.

    • Kdansky says:

      If you’ve never played Tetris with two people on Gameboys and a link cable, you’ve missed out on one of the best game experiences ever. Multiplayer Tetris is awesome!

      Multiplayer SOLItaire*? How about Poker? That’s Multiplayer too, and uses the same cards.

      *Note that solitaire is a card-game that is designed with the explicit target to be played alone. It says so in the name.

      • StranaMente says:

        Tell me more about this poker game you know, kdansky… I bet it feels like playing solitaire, but with other people!
        And it really astounds me to know that solitaire was designed to be played alone! I wouldn’t ever know if you hadn’t told me!
        Lucky me, that I met you!

  11. neolith says:

    I would love to play this game – but all the horrible ideas like always online, DLC, Origin etc. make me put my money somewhere else…

  12. indexrps says:

    Ofcourse the poor pirates are dying to crack the game. Just like uncrackable Diablo 3.. lol

    I’m so buying this game… I feel bad for the whiners. Don’t worry guys, you will get there… Soon, or never. :P

    • BrendanJB says:

      You’re running all over this post replying to everyone and poking fun at them for raising legitimate concerns about the game; and using “lol” and “u mad?” like you’ve made some kind of irrefutable point.

      You might not find the always online aspect irritating, you may not mind not being able to save/load at will, and you might not mind the lack of mod support, but they are not non-issues because you personally aren’t affected by them. It is possible to have a conversation that doesn’t result in you sounding arrogant and defensive.

  13. zaphod42 says:


    Oh man, my favorite part of sim city 2000 was always trying to survive the disasters ( and or watching them destroy everything)

    • Cooper says:

      In the new SimCity you cannot revert to an old save after a disaster.

  14. The First Door says:

    Damn, the way the buildings are ‘placed’ in that trailer just feels so satisfying!

  15. Ministry says:

    Not having single player or having the option to revert to a previous save is really frustrating and insulting. All these new “wonderful possibilities” of being always online seem only to limit our freedom more and I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass or pirate this eventually if possible which I hate to do, but I can’t justify giving these assholes my money. When your hobby makes you feel like you are on probation something is wrong. I feel old. I know i’m not the only one.

  16. Joshua Northey says:

    Looks like a game that has the potential to be a good followup to SC4. Lord knows SCS was disappointing. I even gave SCS a chance after a year or two so that it could be patched up, and run more smoothly on my better hardware, and it still was pretty much terrible.

    I will definitely buy, and if it is good put many many mnay hours into it.

    It is too bad the people who bought the CitiesXL licenses steadfastly refuse to put any money into improving that game. It is much closer to what city builders want but is just riddled with problems they haven’t fixed despite 2! update releases.

    CitiesXL 2012 was basically a glorified patch/mappack, and a bad one at that!

  17. biofryd says:

    Need to start building time machine…..2013 soooooooooo far away…..Maybe RPS should get beta access to all their readers…..yes….YES…..New idea…..scrap time machine, get beta acces == more feaseble….problem is solved…..world makes sense again

  18. Artificial says:

    The game looks really nice, but sadly for me, I just can’t get past the fact that it’s always online, requires Origin, is published / interfered with by EA, is for some reason a multiplayer game, and will end up with a ridiculous DLC scheme. I don’t trust EA at all when it comes to supporting servers.

    So far I have 0 games on Origin, and I can’t see that ever changing.

  19. millerm277 says:

    Change it to one-time activation, and give me a completely off-line single player mode with local saves that I can backup/do whatever to by myself, and you have a sale, hell, I’d even buy the collectors edition or whatever.

    Otherwise, I’m not interested until the price is below $10, in spite of having spent hundreds of hours with SC4 and prior games.

    • macks says:

      Agreed. I refuse to buy a game with an always-online requirement.

  20. GamerOS says:

    To me it seems like this is just another set up for a load of DLC, pretty much what they did with the Sims but now with building packs.
    It wouldn’t suprise me if they would say they won’t allow modding because the tools would be to complicated.

    No offline, no saves, and DLC on launch?

    Yeah, I’m out.

  21. Shandrakor says:

    I’d love to buy this. I’ve probably clocked over a thousand hours into the Simcity series over the years; one of my finest gaming memories is from waaaay back in the day when the beam from a microwave plant went ‘awry’…and I got to fix it. =D

    Sadly, the lack of save functionality and the STUPID ANNOYING ONLINE DRM means that despite being rather interested in this, I’ll be giving it a miss. I tried D3 which has that ‘DRM-endeavoring-to-pass-as-a-feature’ function, and I won’t be doing that ever again. Origin? Sorry, I don’t find the modern manshoots nearly as compelling as Q3 once was. Don’t pollute my single-player games with this rubbish.

    There’s a market segment that EA is deliberately slighting here; to wit the older, disposable-income rich segment that first started gaming on Apple II Es & IBM clones and NESes. We could buy your games. We could buy them for our friends and family. But why WOULD we when the games we remember with great nostalgia get twisted into shapes we barely recognize (Syndicate, KoToR III [SWTOR]) or impose dumb restrictions that make you unable to play the game you’ve legally purchased (Darkspore, SimCity, any of the games that had their servers shut down mere years after release). Some folks may be drawn in by the interactivity and ‘social gaming’ aspects of things. But are they a larger market segment than the one you’re losing?

  22. Xzi says:

    Is anyone else starting to miss the OTHER Sim games? Like SimAnt, SimTower, SimCopter, etc? SimCity was good in its own right, but it has also gone in a direction that is very much NOT like the old SimCity 2000.