SimCity: 10 Reasons You Should Be Excited

Ten ways Maxis will make infrastructure fun again.

With the rise of casual games on smart-phones and Facebook, the Sim genre is getting an increasingly bad reputation. It wasn’t always so though, with games like Maxis’s SimCity being among the gaming elite when it first launched back in 1989. Those were indeed the days, a time when managing a whole city was actually made into a complicated and engaging task. In our current climate where you can apparently survey an entire farm with merely a few clicks in casual games, the return of the original Sim game is a cause for great cheer. Here are ten reasons why you should start getting pumped for the return of SimCity this March.

10. GlassBox

The biggest change to the SimCity formula is the introduction of GlassBox, the new engine powering SimCity. Rather than data based simulations occurring in the game with generic visuals being used to represent these calculations, GlassBox simulates all these elements with their animations occurring simultaneously. Individual cars have to build up on busy roads to create a traffic jam, and each individual resident of your city is rendered to create the various situations you must deal with as the leader of your own SimCity.

9. Audio Feedback

Improved feedback can be given to the player now on account of the GlassBox engine, with the use of audio getting a huge overhaul in SC on account of this. Rather than generic uses of sound effects as in previous SimCity games, the upcoming 2013 version features individual sound bites that play based on your focus. Zooming down to city level will trigger the hustle and bustle of your cityscape, with a more microscopic camera yielding the sound of the birds in the sky. It’s a small addition, but one that will improve the series’s immersion endlessly.

8. Multiplayer

A first for the series since the rather unassuming network edition of SimCity 2000, the upcoming 2013 SC will feature full cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. Regions can incorporate cities from multiple players, and they can compete for resources or share infrastructure as they please.

7. Inter-city Gameplay

simcity_8_605x

In order for this multiplayer element to make sense, cities must be able to interact with each other. And so it remains in the upcoming SimCity, now offering players the option to share resources, infrastructure and, above all, the fun. You can also manage multiple cities at the same time yourself, should you wish, as has been seen in various previews for the game.

6. Modern Cities in a Modern World

To add gameplay depth and to link in with modern day concerns, you’ll have to contemplate the sustainability of your Sim society as you build your city up. Many resources are now finite, such as oil, coal and other fossil fuels, to the point where players will have to get more strategic with how they build their fictional empires, lest their entire economy rest in peril.

5. Modding

SC4 mod

Mods are the lifeblood of a decent PC game, but they are becoming increasingly scarce as developers want to keep control over their tech and the way it is used. Maxis have never been in this camp though and, even though there seems to be a lot going on under the hood of SimCity, the developer seem like they’re happy to let us play around with it. We won’t have access from launch as with other SimCity games, but it’s only a matter of time.

4. Better Data Visualisation

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Supposedly taking inspiration from online cartography sensation Google Maps, the interface for SC 2013 will be more intuitive than ever before. It’s one thing adding extra features and depth but, if there’s too much for anyone to comprehend, that’s a serious issue. Rather than fiddling with tonnes of menus, clicking on certain building types will shift the players view to represent necessary information. Clicking on a water tower shifting to a view of water density in your city, for example.

3. Greater Economy Depth

As if finite resources weren’t enough, a complete global economy is simulated that you must take into account if your city is to survive. Prices of various materials are constantly on the move, allowing entrepreneurial mayors to maximise their earnings and minimise their costs. Of course, this kind of thing can always backfire if you aren’t attentive enough.

2. More Customisation options

simcity

Mods are definitely one way of making a game your own, but there seem to be a few more in-game options Maxis are introducing in SimCity. Cities can be segued into various specialisations, such as industry, tourism or education. If that isn’t enough choice for you, various modules can be attached to your buildings to increase their functionality as you see fit. Who needs two fire stations, when you can have a pimped out one with a billion vehicle bays?

1. It Has Been A While

Do you know how long it has been since the previous SimCity was released? Excluding the rush hour expansion for SC4, over ten years have passed since the last full SimCity game was in our hands. That’s a long while indeed. It’s about bloomin’ time we got our next dose of virtual town building.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • Jeff Alberda

    3 Big Reasons to not get excited about Simcity

    1. Always on DRM.
    2. Cannot play when not connected to internet – apparently because servers handle a lot of calculations for the engine. I call BS other than the commodity prices.
    3. The above mean that once EA stops making money on Simcity, servers go by by and then you can’t play the game anymore.

    Maxis – Include an offline mode with dummed down resource markets.

  • HellK

    More reasons to not get excited:

    1) Many transportation options have been axed for no good reason.

    2) NO terraforming. (WHY????)

    3) Cities that are idle can now get hijacked by some random player.(WTF?!)

    4) Small city size and no urban sprawl.

    5) Unable to build a normal looking metropolis because Maxis put this giant no man’s land in between cities (MAJOR WTF!?)

    6) Single player cannot be accessed unless you have internet connection (Really now? Why do you need to connect to the internet for single player? Good luck when the servers get laggy.)

    7) Kip Katserelis’ infamous answer on Reddit to “What happens if my internet connection is disconnected while saving?” is not assuring in any way.

    8) 16 small cities is already considered the max size for a region.

    9) Regions are all preset. NOOOOO!

    10) Preset road/highway connections that player cannot edit. NOOOOOOOO!

    11) EA cannot even assure people if the game will still be playable in any form once the servers get shut down for maintenance or permanently.

    12) Perhaps the most WTF Reason to not buy this game:

    !!! THERE IS A SAVE CAP LIMIT and Limit to how many regions/ cities you can create!!!

    That’s right, for the first time in Sim City history, the game eventually ends once you max out the number of save slots for your cities to you. You will be given save slots per user and you can create a limited amount of regions/cities with those save slots. Once you run out, you will have to delete a region or city to make room for more.

    With the NAM Team coming up with draggable Curvy Roads and F.A.R., Multi – stack system for the RHW, and a long conveyor belt of amazingly realistic custom content from many talented people, numerous mods, HD terrain, water, and props, just stick with a modded Sim City 4: Rush Hour. It is now superior to its default factory version.

    Hell, even the base unmodded Sim CIty 4; Rush Hour has more features and tools than SimCity (2013). I can never understand why they axed so much stuff. SC4 Deluxe (SC4: Base Game + Rush Hour+ Patches) are now available at Gamersgate for $4.99. This game will go for $60 – 90.

    • Alvin Brinson

      You’re right. The more I learn about SC5, the more I feel they’re going to have to pry SC4 from my cold, dead, pizza stained hands.

  • Gurning Chimp

    It’s best not to attempt to defend the undefendable.

    After Ocean Quigley’s remarks regarding ‘lonely gamers’, ‘homogenous cities’ and a need for a more social environment, ignoring the existing communities online, a lot of Sim City fans are annoyed and rightly so!

    Sim City 2013 will be the death knell of the franchise due to forced online, a holding hands approach to gameplay, the destruction of freedoms regarding freeways, railways and road connections, day 1 DLC, as well as there no longer having the option to make sprawling metropolises.

    Thanks EA, you money grubbing scumbags…

  • LLOYD Francis

    i am still getting this game, it looks like it offers new experiences that i am eager to try. I love the old sims city4 game play but after building so many cities you want to experience a city that seems more alive that just having tall buildings. this new simcity have interactions and experiences that are new and engaging, such as you can see criminals doing their evil deeds and super villains and super heroes headquarters. i know ea don’t tell you every thing but they hit at a few things because they want you to have an unexpected experience while playing the game.

    so what if it is always connected? at least they are not making you pay every month to enjoy the game, and they are not penny pinching you like those “free to play” models that is all about sales and grinding instead about user experiences. I think they are going in the right direction with this game “User Experience” guys. Don’t knock it as yet until you have tried it.

    • HellK

      Good luck to you when EA shuts down the servers. If you want to beat the save cap limit rule of death, you will need to make a new Origin Account or delete your regions and cities. Oh by the way, did you see the big fat space between cities?

      “I love the old sims city4 game play but after building so many cities you want to experience a city that seems more alive that just having tall buildings.”

      The old SC4: Rush Hour allowed you to have 100% freedom with all the space. if you looked at people’s city journals, you did not have to put skyscrapers everywhere. You were free to make mountains, forests, lakes, cliffs, beaches, etc.

      “this new simcity has interactions and experiences that are new and engaging, such as you can see criminals doing their evil deeds and super villains and super heroes headquarters. i know ea don’t tell you every thing but they hit at a few things because they want you to have an unexpected experience while playing the game…

      …at least they are not making you pay every month to enjoy the game, and they are not penny pinching you like those “free to play” models that is all about sales and grinding instead about user experiences.”

      I find it strange that you say that when the “heroes vs villains” pack = more $$$ to EA.

  • JaxonHmmnd

    The haters out there are vicious for this one! There’s been no beta, no demo and you’re all already jumping on board to slag it off! Ok, you think some features lessen the gaming experience you’re after but to come on and completely disregard the game pre-release just seems stupid.
    And HellK, you seem like a bully in my eyes. People are all entitled to their own opinions. So don’t go and shoot LLOYD Francis down for have a little bit of faith in Maxis.

    • HellK

      Please point out any parts where I shoot Lloyd Francis down. I am not bullying him at all. I know that the game has not been released, but making major cuts is unnecessary if you are trying to REBOOT the franchise.

      :)

    • JaxonHmmnd

      The way you quote and and argue against issues an aura of arrogance and sheer conviction in your belief that this game will be hopeless and that those who feel it deserves at least a chance are totally misguided.

    • HellK

      Haaaaay…. :-)

      Look JaxonHmmnd, I don’t want to start a fight. If you are going to accuse me of bullying someone just point it out. Otherwise, you are just making up your own interpretations of what I said and putting “your words into my mouth”. :-D

      Seriously where on earth did I even write ANYTHING like this down: “those who feel it deserves at least a chance are totally misguided”.

      Misguided? Seriously, where did I say that?

      =========
      BTW:
      Once EA shuts down the servers, it is game over. No ifs and no buts about that. As it stands, this SimCity will inevitably be short lived and will be at the mercy of EA (unlike previous games which did not have any strings attached to them).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Kearney/578944498 Shawn Kearney

    I can live with smaller city sizes – the artificial limits to city size without annexation option has always been unrealistic, but not if I can’t control how transportation between them is handled. Maxis seems to think the interest in Sim City is pretty exclusive to the economics. This simply isn’t true, and given the vast amount of attention transportation has received in modding – it should be pretty obvious that transit systems is a big part of gameplay.

  • iamihop

    The reason modding will be hella difficult? It’s forced multiplayer. So I couldn’t download a particular mod that I like and install it on my machine and play with it (much less design and implement my own mod); no, it would have to be on the server, so that everybody has access to it. And that also means I couldn’t use a mod that tweaks simulation settings, because it would then give me an advantage or not mesh with the other players.
    SC4 is perhaps my favorite game ever, but that’s
    largely because of the modding community and simtropolis, etc. Building
    diversity and design flexibility (esp transport options) are the bread
    and butter of a city builder, and this is a huge step backwards in both.
    I’m not completely set against the idea of multiplayer, but when it has all of these side-effects, it isn’t worth it:
    - Small maps
    - Predesigned maps
    - No terraforming
    - Predetermined connections
    - Gaps between cities
    - Very limited modding
    - Required internet connection
    - Limitations to saves, etc
    Every one of these serious shortcomings stems largely from their insistence on building this around multiplayer.
    It’s an even bigger shame, because the engine does look like a serious improvement, and it’ll be nice to have it in 3D – finally be able to take a stroll through downtown like I always wanted to in SC4.

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