Posts Tagged ‘Maxis’

Peeved Push Ups And Premium Memberships: The Sims 4

Bro out!

The word “bro” is tossed around a lot nowadays, but I can’t say I’ve ever met one of these curious beings. I’m choosing to treat a new The Sims 4 trailer as a documentary, 20 minutes teaching me about two bros who work out, bro out, party down, and die of laughter after their Kim Jong-un-lookalike housemate wees himself during a cupcake fire. What a strange bird, the bro.

The trailer also offers a glimpse of something as inevitable as a bro bump: Premium memberships.

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The Kerbal Sims Program: The Sims 4

I’m writing this because I care. For a while now, The Sims 4 has been showing signs that it might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the sort that would end with it covered in its own waste fluids in the middle of an executive meeting, babbling about the Keen rocketship that it’s building using old tin cans. We’re told that this game is a well-rounded emotional being and an architect – a partytecht, if you will*. It has a robust yet fluid Build mode and enjoys social engagements, but it cannot plan a pool party because it’s incapable of building a pool. Observe.

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Is A Sims Game Without Pools Even A Sims Game At All?

You will get NONE OF THIS.

The answer is, of course, “Yes, obviously,” but The Sims’ triumphant return to our lives (well, technically non-lives with The Sims ruling them) might be a slightly bittersweet one. The Sims 4 is bringing all sorts of new building, customization, and socialization features, but it’s losing some classics. Remember swimming pools? Of course you do, you SimSadist, you ladder-deleting devil. Well, they won’t be available, unfortunately. Neither will toddlers. Details below.

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Matters Of The Heart: The Sims 4

The on-stage presentation for The Sims 4 at E3 was a sinister piece of work. Forget your survival horror games and your gore-tastic third-person monster-choppers, this is the most disturbing video shown at the entire event. It begins with simple marketing buzz-speak – “In previous games you controlled the mind and body of your Sims. In the Sims 4, for the first time, you control their hearts.” This is demonstrated by showing what look like canned animations linked to personality traits. So far, so Sims 3. Then, toward the end of the video, the presenter really takes control of a poor jock’s heart.

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The House Always Wins: The Sims 4

I like The Sims. Quite what that says about me I don’t know but there it is. Actually, I can be more specific – I like the idea of The Sims far more than I like what the series has become. The third game seemed to be going in the right direction, simulating the lives of neighbours, workmates and friends, but without extensive modding those lives were empty. As is no doubt increasingly obvious to anyone who reads my wittering in a regular basis, I’m fascinated by the things that a game simulates while I’m not looking. I want those trees to make a sound even if I’m not there to hear it. I sense that The Sims 4 will be a step back from its prequel in that regard but the new ‘Build’ trailer is handsome.

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The Sims 4’s Character Creator Is More Powerful Than God

Chin elongations, the next big thing in fashion

Maxis has always had quite a knack for character creation tools, and The Sims 4 will apparently take that to a Whole New Level. Each Sim? Naught but an amorphous lump of flesh putty. And you? Some kind of divine hand that pokes, prods, and pinches your wildest dreams (or shrieking nightmares) into existence. There’s a trailer showing off the new tools below. I can’t wait to make so many oozing alien sludge babies.

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Walled City: SimCity Goes Offline Today

In a final [humiliating capitulation]/[act of goodwill and community empowerment] Maxis will today release SimCity’s offline mode, freeing city builders everywhere from the terrifying fear that a cleaner at the Origin data center will accidentally unplug the servers as he hoovers up the hopes and dreams of the developers. At the time of writing (lunchtime on Tuesday the 18th), the servers are down as the game prepares for the update that will mean the next time the servers are down, you’ll be able to play.

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Citybound Aims To Be What We Wanted From SimCity

Beneath a mess of half-baked systems and massively detrimental online requirements, SimCity actually had some pretty cool ideas. Simulation of individual people and entities? Community options for those who want them? Curved roads? All interesting stuff on paper. Unfortunately, the reality of Maxis’ latest city builder failed (rather miserably) to live up to those promises, and Maxis has been struggling to build something workable from the pieces ever since. Enter Citybound. Its goal? To construct a city sim from the ground-up with a focus on single-player, out-of-the-not-a-box moddability, and simulating a truly sizable geographical region – not an itsy bitsy ant hill town. Also curved roads. Always curved roads.

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EA Defends BF 4, SimCity Launch Efforts, Discusses Future

I recently attended the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas (which is not related to game developer DICE, actually), and there I interviewed the entire gaming industry. OK, that’s not entirely true, largely because many D.I.C.E. attendees spontaneously break out into hives if anybody so much as mentions the word “indie.” But still, I talked to a whole mess of people. I encountered EA chief creative officer Rich Hilleman on an award show red carpet, so time for chit-chat was brief. Given recent events, however, I had to ask: what’s the deal with EA and hideously botched launches on games like Battlefield 4 and SimCity? And while Hilleman (very vaguely) promised change, I found his response more than a little upsetting. Read on and see what you think.

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Maxis: SimCity Offline Took ‘Significant’ Work To Create

And they had to walk 15 miles in the rain up a (very long) hill every day

After months upon months of sidestepping the issue, EA and Maxis have finally seen fit to give SimCity an offline option. Victory! At least, for folks still soldiering on with the beleaguered and – to be perfectly honest – not terribly interesting city builder. But while we wait for modders to laugh off Maxis’ suffocatingly stringent guidelines and finally make the game great, some questions still need answering. Foremost among them, why the not-so-sudden about-face when the company once claimed that separating SimCity from its precious servers would be nearly impossible? According to the developer, it’s because rewriting the simulation to function offline took nearly six-and-a-half months of hard work.

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At Last! Maxis Are Adding An Offline Mode To SimCity

This fire has been burning for a long time.

Good news! In a post on the official SimCity blog, Maxis have confirmed that an offline mode is on its way. The new mode is currently in closed beta testing, with promises that it’ll roll out to everyone in Update 10. Maxis first mentioned they were working on the mode last October, although RPS threw sand on the initial claims that offline mode was prohibitively difficult just days after the game was out.
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Network Now Working: SimCity 4’s Network Addon Mod

It's still pretty, too.

You: SimCity… Network… Not this again! What are EA up to n– Wait. SimCity 4? Network Addon Mod?

Me: The latest SimCity might have been hamstrung by infrastructural problems, but there’s no reason your love affair with Maxis’ fair city-builder need end there. SimCity 4 has enormous cities. SimCity 4 had no internet requirement. SimCity 4 had… all the same traffic problems as the more recent release. But! It also had a vibrant modding community that’s still working on fixing problems and making the game better today. This pre-release (i.e. alpha release) of version 32 of the Network Addon Mod is testament to that. NAM improves the game’s pathfinding, fixes bugs in the base game, and adds “a myriad of new transport network items, ranging from ground light rail, to fractional-angle roads, to roundabouts, and much more”

Roundabouts!
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Let’s Fight: SimCity’s Cities Of Tomorrow Expansion Is Out

This might be the wrong crowd for this, but I thought the recent SimCity was a good game. I’m looking forward to playing the Cities of Tomorrow expansion. I’m glad it’s out today, and I like this intro trailer.

Come on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Want to fight me? Let’s take this below.
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SimCity: Cities Of Tomorrow Pollutes For Fun And Profit

Meanwhile, at EA HQ... er, I mean, OmegaCo.

In case you hadn’t heard/forgot/suffered from such a severe case of apathy that you did the human brain equivalent of a driver rollback, SimCity is going to the future. Yeah, it’s still gonna be tethered to the Internet’s infinite, un-flinching tangle of roots, but at least now you’ll have hover tech, environmentally friendly mega-towers, and curvy utopia buildings to compliment all your curved roads. Also, choking sink holes of pollution and corporate control, if a new video walkthrough of a potential city setup is any indication. Omega is a new resource that everyone and their ant-sized, Simlish-barking dog wants, and OmegaCo’s job is to build factories and franchises while also making sure we know its iron-fisted execs really, really liked Blade Runner.

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If You Build It: Maxis Testing Waters On SimCity Modding

Testing waters, but still not putting out fires.

Believe it or not – despite EA and Maxis’ insistence on constant connection – SimCity has mods. Due to a lack of official tools, they’re not particularly elaborate, but people have managed to tinker around under the simplified simulation’s hunkered down hood. Before now, however, Maxis didn’t really acknowledge, well, any of it. But now, it appears that the developer has had a change of heart. It’s hoping to open up a dialogue with modders on its official forums, which is good news! Er, kinda. Problem is, there are still no plans for mod tools, and Maxis has no intention of letting modders change whatever they want.

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(Near) Futurama: SimCity Expanding Into Tomorrow

Play 'good' and rely on sources of clean energy, or make Blade Runner. Either way, we all win!

NEWSFLASH: SimCity still isn’t very good. It mostly functions now, but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly deep or enjoyable. But time has healed part of a wound, so maybe more of it will stitch up the rest? That, I suppose, is the idea behind upcoming expansion SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow, which takes your buzzing metropolis 50 years into the fuuuuuuuuuture. Will this bring it forward (or, I suppose, back) into the Good Ages? Time – as ever – will tell.

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Smiley-Face Bubble: The Sims 4 Will Be Offline

Once bitten, and bitten, and bitten, twice shy, it seems at Maxis. After their utterly stupid and inherently selfish decision to artificially force SimCity to be always online, and then lie about why, it seems this time out they’ve decided not to push their luck. Sims 4, the PC and Mac-only release (I can’t see that lasting – surely 3DS, Vita and next-gen ports will eventually appear?) will play one hundred percent offline, according to a report from VG247.

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SimCity Leads Depart EA To Go Indie, Grade Jelly

I was going to begin this post with a lament of “Oh, SimCity,” but then I discovered that Adam had already done that in our most recent piece on the fallen city-building empire. Describes the dismal set of circumstances surrounding the game rather perfectly, though, doesn’t it? Nearly everyone’s agreed that EA’s overly simplified, always-on catastrophe – which is said to be the subject of Syfy’s next disaster flick, SimCitynadovolcanoavodcado – botched its landing, and now it seems that a trio of its own developers agree. Fortunately, instead of leaving games altogether and becoming doctors/lawyers/mathletes like their mothers wanted, former creative director Ocean Quigley, lead architect Andrew Willmott, and lead gameplay engineer Dan Moskowitz have formed an indie studio called Jellygrade. Their first project is – what else? – a simulation.

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Darkspore Off Steam After Plague Of Server Issues

How much blood would a server serve if a server didn't suffer from intermittent months-spanning connection issues and apparent indifference from its creator?

I still wonder what sort of mad sparkle in EA’s eye led to the birth of Darkspore, but its ensuing post-launch existence has somehow managed to be even stranger. While the game itself was largely (and sadly) unremarkable, its early DRM server issues have since evolved into an eyeball-and-tendril-flailing monstrosity, rendering the whole thing entirely unplayable for some since May. Recently (possibly as a result), Darkspore was de-listed from Steam, though it’s still available on Origin. EA’s now claiming to have put the offending bugs to bed, but Steam continues to only carry spores of distinctly lighter shades.

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A Load Of Hot Air: SimCity’s Airships DLC

Oh, SimCity. Its launch was far from smooth and yet the powers that be now believe it would be wise to unmoor a series of airships, allowing them to drift into the skies above the game’s colourful sort-of-simulated neighbourhoods. The blimps and balloons cost $8.99, which seems expensive, but at least they don’t have giant adverts printed on the side. I must admit, I was concerned that SimCity might receive a series of pricey add-ons that actually improved the game, making its meager municipal offering rather more sinister, an intentionally hobbled creation awaiting a costly cure-all. In a way, this gust of hot air is preferable. Video below!

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