Posted by spiralcut (118 posts) -

Ok, just to alleviate some of the terrible rumors and opinions about this game. All of my information is from (a) the designers of the games themselves, taken from the interviews posted on Gamespot, and (b) the dev comments made about the background systems involved in the Glassbox engine.

City Size; The one fundamental reason that they decided on the city size cap is that this game, unlike all other past SimCity titles, simulates every citizen of your city continuously. This means that they go home, commute, work, and play in a simulated fashion. What that means is that instead of cars magically appearing at intersections to show congestion (as in past titles), you can track the cars as they drive throughout the city without them magically despawning (until they get to their destination).

Now, where past SimCity titles have made extensive use of size and scale, this version is significantly deeper. The whole concept of specializations and inter-region play is meant to simulate your average metro area. Where I live, D.C. metro area, there are over a dozen municipalities within a one hour drive, each with their specific industries, facilities, and management. Even the largest cities in America are rarely above 200 sq miles (NYC is 303) and that one is actually five separate municipalities incorporated into one consolidated city. The only major criticism left then would be the arbitrary square boundaries which are mostly due to limitations of the engine.

Simulation Depth; Expanding on the above concept, the team wanted to make your independent cities feel distinct, while maintaining regional cohesiveness and keep the whole thing entertaining. Because Jeff chose not to beautify his city, he put a ceiling on the overall quality of the residents who would move in. This point was elaborated in his second city, where he couldn't understand why placing beautification and entertainment suddenly made people like living there. You can make a crappy coal mining town with low tax rates that encourages poorer Sims to move in, while exporting that coal to more luxurious towns with massive technology and parks. Just go watch some of EA's videos and let them coach you through the diverse ways you can change your city. Most of these factors are not hidden, but rather simply kept under the hood, accesible from a few quick mouse clicks.

Future Expansion/Modding; EA has already announced that there will be extensive mod support for this game, just not at launch. I suppose this is something that one could be critical about, but hey, they have a vision of their product and deserve to let the consumers speak with their wallets about what they desire. If you are complaining about the size size, then build a mod for it. It's that simple. I imagine the average user will simply take what they are given and never change a thing, but there are always the idiosyncratic gamers, which I imagine are represented in higher than average numbers on GiantBomb.

Seriously duders, just give this thing a shot. At the very worst, you get a reminder that your childhood was way better than the kids these days (and you get to complain like your grandpa). On the flipside, at the very best you get one of the best simulations likely to grace the market for a long time to come.

Cheers.

#1 Edited by cbarnes86 (556 posts) -

I agree with you on all fronts. I don't think people understand that this game is almost like a reboot of the series (hence why it is called SimCity, not SimCity 5). They are focusing on more specialization of cities rather than having cities do everything. If one city could build every building, the region play would be pointless. I do (in a little part of my brain) wish there were varying boundary sizes of city plots (both smaller and larger) but I know that this will either come in the form of a patch, mod, or dlc/expansion pack. I took part in two of the betas and couldn't get enough of it and I could only play 1 city in a region. There is so much to do in one city and if you are getting bored, claim another plot and change up your building strategy.

#2 Posted by Kidavenger (3530 posts) -

Even the largest cities in America are rarely above 200 sq miles (NYC is 303)

What are you getting at here? Based on the blocks Jeff was building in the quicklook, the city size is between 2-3 square miles, that is nowhere near 200, it's not just small, it's ridiculously small.

Saying that it's a trade off so they can model the behavior of ever citizen is also silly, A) who cares about citizen behavior, if that's your bag, go play the Sims; B) it seams that they can't program worth shit if that is actually the case, we've been building huge complex cities since SimCity 2000; 20 YEARS AGO, all the advances in cpu power over 20 years can simulate that? It's a bad trade off.

After watching that quicklook, I wouldn't be surprised if that game is port of some crappy browser game they were working on that some EA suit decided they could put in a box and sell for $60.

#3 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

I want to be able to zoom in on any building or Sim and start controlling it like in The Sims, and I want to have a city the size of NYC. EA drops the ball once again.

#4 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1958 posts) -

@spiralcut said:

Even the largest cities in America are rarely above 200 sq miles (NYC is 303)

What are you getting at here? Based on the blocks Jeff was building in the quicklook, the city size is between 2-3 square miles, that is nowhere near 200, it's not just small, it's ridiculously small.

Saying that it's a trade off so they can model the behavior of ever citizen is also silly, A) who cares about citizen behavior, if that's your bag, go play the Sims; B) it seams that they can't program worth shit if that is actually the case, we've been building huge complex cities since SimCity 2000; 20 YEARS AGO, all the advances in cpu power over 20 years can simulate that? It's a bad trade off.

After watching that quicklook, I wouldn't be surprised if that game is port of some crappy browser game they were working on that some EA suit decided they could put in a box and sell for $60.

Not that I agree with your opinion, but the city sizes are all 4km^2 = 1.54 square miles, not 2-3. I like the driection the game is heading in however, I want to make interesting looking cities not just gigantic monolithic concrete jungles and the cities in the new game are more varied looking than any previous SimCity game.

#5 Posted by Giantstalker (1624 posts) -

@spiralcut said:

Seriously duders, just give this thing a shot. At the very worst, you get a reminder that your childhood was way better than the kids these days (and you get to complain like your grandpa).

Well, that, and you're out like $50. I think that's the real bummer, it's a wad of cash that is - at least in one way - a pretty big step backwards.

Now this said, I'm gonna play it regardless. It's SimCity. But let me also be honest here, the whole scale issue does bother me and those that are freaking out about it have a perfectly valid point behind their anger.

Online
#6 Posted by Rudy (125 posts) -

I just played Cities XL Platinum today to bide my time until midnight... All in all, it's not a bad game... It's certainly not a great game, but these guys create city canvases that are HUGE! They let me zoom down to street level. They track who works where and how they get there. Maxis can do better.

I appreciate that this is a reboot, and I'll give them some time to refine their engine. However, I think Maxis should look at their competition and give those of us with powerful gaming rigs a Region we can play on with larger city sizes and appropriately scaled up Great Works requirements.

#7 Posted by Kaiserreich (690 posts) -

City Size; The one fundamental reason that they decided on the city size cap is that this game, unlike all other past SimCity titles, simulates every citizen of your city continuously. This means that they go home, commute, work, and play in a simulated fashion

"I can't build a city with more than 300,000 residents, but I can watch Ding Chavez commute to work!" Great trade-off.

#8 Edited by Subjugation (4719 posts) -

@kaiserreich said:

City Size; The one fundamental reason that they decided on the city size cap is that this game, unlike all other past SimCity titles, simulates every citizen of your city continuously. This means that they go home, commute, work, and play in a simulated fashion

"I can't build a city with more than 300,000 residents, but I can watch Ding Chavez commute to work!" Great trade-off.

Are you saying that Simcity is set in the Tom Clancy universe?

Edit: @spiralcut: Your points are pretty fair, but I think the only people who will realize that are those of us who are already of the same mindset. Everyone else seems too stubborn to educate themselves on the differences.

#9 Posted by Kaiserreich (690 posts) -

@subjugation: How else do you explain the disasters that constantly hit your cities?

#10 Edited by Kerned (1170 posts) -

How does the ability to watch individual sims commuting make the game more fun? How is that more important than city size?

#11 Posted by Ares42 (2619 posts) -

I get the whole "full simulation" angle, but it's a shitty trade-off. They implemented a background system that's barely noticable that sacrifices major parts of the front layer of the game. It's a nice thing to show off but it doesn't make the game better, all it does is make the game more of a tech demo than a game.

#12 Posted by Mirado (993 posts) -

@spiralcut: I'm going to preface this by saying that I have already purchased the game, and have no intention of canceling. Actually, I'm quite optimistic about the game and, barring any launch issues with the servers, I'm looking forward to all the new positives this game will bring (no pipes/wires, great looking data maps, curving roads, etc).

However:

City Size and Simulation Depth - If I had to pick between large cities and being able to track individual sims, it wouldn't be close. Tracking individual sims has little to no bearing on how well your city works (any insight gained from watching them should be available in a data layer) and I'm not sure who would argue having bigger cities would be less fun than knowing all the names of your sims in your college. As it stands, the weird cuttoff between cities and the large space between them feels decidedly unnatural. Finally, the simulation is pretty janky at times; Jeff showed off buses and vans that would u-turn as soon as they entered his city, and I've seen very slow to update utility maps amongst other things like sims saying a town was full of crime (with one crime a day in a city of 100,000). One can only hope that patches will iron that out, but I doubt doubling the size of the city plots would have broken those features in a worse way. It would have been fairly easy to slap a "This'll melt your computer!" warning on tiles that were larger than standard, if performance was that much of a concern.

Multiplayer focus - The interactions between cities are almost unnoticeable. Yes, you can share resources and services, but it all feels...extraneous. Unnecessary. Or, at the very least, a poor positive for losing larger cities. Where it seems to cause a major impact, however, is when it turns into a negative; if your town isn't pulling its weight in a multiplayer setting, it makes those Great Words harder to achieve and could impact the whole region. For my first few attempts, I plan on keeping things to myself for that reason. I'm worried that town abandonment might be a major pain for many players, as they are left picking up the pieces of someone else's half finished mess. Jeff and Ryan debated an interesting point; yes, there is no wrong way to build a city (even if it fails), but it should never impact the play of another player, and something like making a giant pollution death ball to kill the air quality of a neighboring city doesn't seem too far fetched.

Modding - They haven't said what will be modifiable or when. While any speculation is just that, they have made mention the size of the cities may be addressed later (possibly in an expansion), which leads me to believe that it cannot be addressed in a user mod and that they're the ones who'd make a call to allow for size increases.

I'm still excited, I'm ready to lose hours and hours, and I'm downloading as I type, but these are all glaring faults I've noticed from pre-release info, beta streams, and review text. I'm worried that for all the positives, their design philosophy might let them down in the end.

#13 Posted by Subjugation (4719 posts) -

@kaiserreich: Does that mean that Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman will show up in my city when nuclear technology starts spreading?

#14 Edited by Deathpooky (1386 posts) -

These aren't "terrible rumors and opinions," these are facts about the game that people don't like. They may be what the developers intended based on trade offs made, but that doesn't make it any better. Simulation of 300,000 individual sims in a tiny town is far inferior than actually simulating a full, large city. Which is, you know, what the game is supposed to be about. Especially since the individual sims and cars appear to act as stupidly as ever.

Your size comparison doesn't make sense either. The game can't even come close to any of the cities in DC metro region. If you wanted to make Georgetown or a DC neighborhood, maybe, but good luck trying to make an actual city the size of DC in two square miles. If they couldn't make more than 10 blocks work with their engine, they should have made changes. If they designed it so you could only make tiny, disconnected, niche cities that have to work in a region to approximate anything close to an actual city, then that isn't the game I want to play.

The entire point of SimCity was to build a huge city, balancing growth, budget, and needs, and adding everything you can cram in there, stadiums, schools, landmarks, zoos, airports, and the rest, eventually stretching to the tens of millions of residents. They inexplicably didn't make that game.

#15 Edited by Veektarius (4769 posts) -

Understanding the reasons for a decision does not suddenly make one agree with it, therefore, people who disagree with a decision are not necessarily ill-informed.

#16 Posted by _Nuno_ (183 posts) -

@spiralcut: I think the most important point people are forgetting is that after a while, the Old SimCity "maps" also seemed small. I usually ocupied all of the space on the map without much trouble, and more importantly, when I was done I felt like "great... now what?"

This at least will allow for more longevity in gameplay I hope.

People just have a distorted view of the size of old simcity cities. They weren't that big either people...