How had it escaped my attention that best-named-developer Ocean Quigley is working on SimCity alongside challenging-for-the-title Stone Librande? You can hear the latter in the latest SimCity video, as he demonstrates multi-city play. I don’t think the feature was designed for the likes of me, who would rather operate a sort of mayoral dictatorship in a Dark City isolated from the rest of the world, but will you be convinced of the possibilities offered by this online mode?
Would you want to see SimCity‘s creative director showing you some of what the latest city-tinkering sandbox can do? No? Oh. Well, for you I’ve posted an alternative viewing material beneath the click. For me, though, with my keen interest in the ways of the simulated metropolis, there’s a video of best-named-developer, Ocean Quigley, doing his thing in the “ultimate construction set” of options that SimCity provides.
Clearly the ultimatest thing about it is the “clumph” noise on placing a building. Everything else in the game rests on that effect. Read the rest of this entry »
I lived with John for four years, which makes me an expert on sexy. So when I say that there’s something damn sexy about SimCity‘s data layers, then you have to believe me. Maxis’s reworking of their city simulation is getting a lot of attention for the way they’re attempting to display the graphs and percentages of the working of a city as part of the living, breathing world. You want to see if there’s a traffic problem? Follow a car and see where it gets stuck, then build bypass routes to clear the clog. It’s an idea that creates a startling looking game, but it can’t do everything. At a recent EA event I was demonstrated that to really peek at the population or divine the water, you’ll need to switch on the data. Read the rest of this entry »
Electrical grids? Meh. Highways? Fleh. Civic infrastructure? Poo. If you’re a real SimCity fan, you know it’s all about the disasters that the apathetic world throws your way. You know that something will come, and that you’ll need to deal with it. It’s inevitable. If it’s a worry you’ve had to relate to your psychiatrist, then you need worry no more. This is what you’ve been waiting for: a faux ‘olde’ style trailer showing off the various ways that your Simulated City (5) could be destroyed, and the various avenues open to you to protect it. Read the rest of this entry »
Maxis’ Lucy Bradshaw (senior VP and GM) invites you into her living room to watch some Sim City on her enormous telly. Originally broadcast live at some point during last night, it’s an hour and seventeen minutes of all things Sims and SimCity. It’s below, and I’ve highlighted the parts you’ll want to watch.
This is a treat. Ten minutes of SimCity, showing a city being simulated all the way from its humble beginnings as a field to its brash middle period as a nascent tourist trap. I’m unable to remove the frown that the social and online aspects of the game have stitched into my forehead, but I’m also unable to banish the smile that the multitude of systems at work brings to my face. Rather than being about plonking down zones and buildings, this SimCity tracks and models individual elements in great detail. That level of simulation fascinates me.
You maynothaveheard, but SimCity‘s making a big, connection-required-on-start-up play for online, er, play. That said, I doubt the decision was made entirely by a roundtable of cackling men in suits who meet in dark rooms and refer to themselves as “The Council.” There is, in other words, a method to the madness – almost as though it’s being guided by some omniscient presence that has a disturbing amount of trouble preventing tornadoes and wildfires from ravaging entire metroplexes. But what exactly are we getting for our trouble? Well, it’s called SimCity World, and EA’s dropped a video of the basics in action. Build a (curved!) road past the break to see for yourself.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
The pre-E3 news volcano keeps on spewing molten infobits, as is its over-exuberant wont. EA, for whatever reason (perhaps, you know, E3) is saving its trailers until next week, but it’s seen fit to toss a rather important morsel in hungry fans’ direction to tide them over. Namely, via an email touting the publishing kingpin’s trade show lineup, it pegged SimCity‘s grand opening for February 2013. Previously, all we had to go on was a vague “2013.” Now then, here’s hoping that actually goes according to plan – given the precedent set by a certain other recently launched “always online” game.
Maxis, meanwhile, has promised a grand unveiling next week – far beyond rough-around-the-edges tech demos. Most crucially, multiplayer’s apparently a lock for the show, which means we’ll finally understand how EA’s admittedly less potent connected tech will improve our experiences. So then, chatter excitedly amongst yourselves. Preferably in Simlish.
Fire! It’s nice to look at, pleasant to sit around during the harsh winter months, and – because Mother Nature likes a good laugh just as much as the rest of us – one of the most insanely destructive forces on this planet. And now, it’s coming to a SimCity near you. Well, OK, it’s only doing so if you’re a really miserable/sadistic city planner. Wondering how to avoid reducing all your hard work to ash? Hey, me too. We have so much in common. Near as I can tell, step one is to watch the following trailer and then do the exact opposite.
Shortly after seeing the new SimCity in its full bendy-road glory, I had a quick chat with one of its architects, EA Maxis’ producer Jason Haber. Tackled – its lengthy development, why we’ve waited so long for a sequel, why it’s a ‘real’ Sim City, difficulty, whether important content is being sectioned off for pre-order bonuses and DLC, and how a traffic jam could make your whole city burn down. Read the rest of this entry »
After all that back and forth about the DRM, let’s see what this new SimCity really is. There’s no number because it’s not a sequel as such, or so the word goes. I can’t help but see it as a statement of intent – the series first turned fallow and then was perverted, but now it’s back, back, back on track. Pure and faithful. In the same way Dexys Midnight Runners are, in their new incarnation, simply ‘Dexys’ there’s a consciousness that a long history can be as much an albatross as a boon.
And so what might have been Sim City 6 is simply ‘SimCity’, and it is indeed a city management game. A proper one, with zoning and utilities and emergencies and traffic jams and crime and all that metropolitan jazz. My sense was that it’s more accessible than Sim City 4 was, but not in the way that Sim City Societies or – heaven forfend – a Cityville-type is. Yes, the ‘a’ word. Wait, calm down. While I can only speak from a quick, eyes-on impression of a very early build, the trick seemed be in the presentation of information, not sacrifice of the information itself. A surprisingly lavish and high-detail 3D world was backed up by a slick-looking interface, heavily customisable to show what you do and don’t personally want to see at any one time. Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve probably heard that SimCity will come tethered to a pesky always online requirement. You might have heard that we don’t like it very much. But then – like an absentee father – it’s really only an absolute necessity on start up, so things could be worse. Still, though, I like playing games when I’m thousands of feet in the air, in the middle of nowhere, or punching my incredibly spotty router for yet another hour of downtime. “Why,” I’m instead forced to bellow at SimCity, slumping to my knees in defeat. “Why can’t I play you in a car, on a tree, in a box, or with a fox?” “Piracy!” replies the roving Internet peanut gallery. Maxis, however, claims it’s prepared to prove everyone wrong.
SimCity wants to you show you its fluids, pumping around the place, most of them good for your thirst but some of them riddled with germs. Since my first trip to the beach as a nipper, fashioning a cathedral of sand and shell, I’ve always enjoyed building things, but now that I’m a withered husk of a man who is more likely to be found propping up a bar than lazing on a beach, it takes more than the promise of a construction set to grab my attention. I was surprised and delighted when I saw that today’s SimCity is a simulation driven from the ground up, tracking tiny people to their jobs, creating traffic jams and the spread of illness through the movement of simulated agents rather than some laws of certain averages. This video shows how that will impact on water distribution.
Seems like I managed to miss the first one of these, but not to worry, we can watch both of them today! These videos are Maxis’ first look at how the GlassBox tech they’ve built for the new SimCity will work. It’s relatively light on details, but they aim to show off the actual underlying simulation and behaviour mechanics, rather than the visuals that the game will finally display. I love these sort of glimpses into the innards of a game, and SimCity is the kind of game that likes to display its workings on the surface – it shows that Maxis believes its fans will appreciate a more involved approach to revealing how the game will work, too, so that’s promising. Go take a look. Read the rest of this entry »
EA have issued a clarification to Gamespy that while you will have to have an internet connection to launch SimCity, it will not boot you off if your connection goes down. Which is to say, it’s not as egregious as others’ “always-on” DRM, but we maintain is still an unnecessary and game-crippling mistake, which we really hope they will reverse before release. That the game won’t stop working if your connection goes down sounds great, but it makes no useful difference to those who wish to play the ostensibly single-player game without an internet connection, whatever the cause. As we’ve said before, the online features sound like they’ll superbly enhance your single-player experience, but enforcing them is cruel and stupid, and renders the game broken for enormous numbers of players. We desperately hope to see EA backing down from this position before release. Just as we expect to see Blizzard come to their senses and not release a self-sabotaged version of Diablo 3. The reality is, unofficial versions of the games will appear very soon after release, offering useful features that the publishers’ versions of the games will not. That’s simply crazy. We’ve contacted EA to ask if we can talk to them about this all.
Some good news and some bad news about the forthcoming SimCity reboot. Good news: you won’t have to buy it through Origin, meaning there can be pricing competition. Bad news: you will have to play it through Origin, with a permanent online connection all the time. That’s some fairly bloody enormous bad news. But there is time to convince EA that while there are many merits to having your game online, there are also some vastly more dreadful downsides, and failing to recognise that would be a terrible shame.
Pity the simulated citizens who will live in SimCity, the reboot of the franchise of the same name, due from the god-game guys at Maxis sometime in 2013. No easy life for them, no appearing as if by magic on the streets of your town and scurrying back and forth between the busy districts of the day. No – instead, life will be a precarious crap-shoot of existential uncertainty, in which no satisfaction, however small, may be taken for granted, and no need may ever be filled in more than momentary fashion. And, as if it need be said, in the game.
So while we all already knew, SimCity is back, and it’s being spelt like that. No number, no space. It’s going to be in 3D, resources are going to be finite, and technology pays a significant part. And it’s being made by Maxis, and it’s only on PC. More details, and a trailer below.
Heard of the One Laptop Per Child initiative? Probably, but just in case here’s a summary. It’s a charitable endeavour to provide computers to children in developing and impoverished nations. The XO Latop is a bespoke and dirt-cheap machine (a donation of just $200 sees one sent out to a child in need on the other side of the world) designed first and foremost for learning, but with the added benefit of being a compelling piece of technology in its own right. Oh, and it plays games.
A while back, Sims developers Maxis revealed they were working on a special version of SimCity to run on the XO. It’s ideal, really – as well as being one of gaming’s bona fide classics, its emphasis on statistics and organisation slots it neatly into the educational category too.
Seems there’s been some progress, as spotted by GamePolitics on the blog of Don Hopkins, one of the programmers on the original SimCity. There’s a ton of information about it on the blog, including its origins, its future (it’ll be open source, which hopefully means some fascinating mods) and how it differs from SimCity. I’ll leave you to read that in your own time, and jump straight to the video of it in action:
Looks pretty sweet, I reckon, and better than poorly-reviewed series newbie SimCity Societies.
Oh, and if you fancy an XO of your own, the recently-opened Give One Get One scheme will have one sent to a child in a developing nation, and one to you for $399. The offer’s only open until November 26th, and to Americans and Canadians only. Which is really annoying, as I’d totally do it – philanthropy and gadgetfuntime for me in one neat package would make me a happy boy. Curse my Britishness.