This is what happens when the marketing department takes over a company.
(I would have been perfectly happy with SC4k with curved roads, mixed-use zoning and a few fixes for highways and such).
And it only is poised to get worse over time, especially now that ARM is superseding x86 for a lot of computing. Is it reasonable to expect everyone to know how to run VMs of old operating systems (where you are already in questionable legal water if you download isos of, say, Windows 98, which is no longer available for money but still is copyrighted forever).
And titles like "Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition" I feel hurt the industry hugely by presenting the legal departments an excuse to deny source release, because later on they could touch the game up for a few weeks and sell it all over again. Same way companies like Square will re-release 20 year old games like Final Fantasy rather than do source releases on the original engine code. Except for most games they won't see a re-release, and they will just drift into the binary purgatory of unrunnable titles.
We expect English Students to study classic texts. It is hard to impossible (especially with legal considerations) for programmers to play the classics, let alone investigate the source code.
It is a very great shame that so much is effectively locked away and going to be lost.
Chaim Gingold, Simulation for Games:
Mark Sample, Criminal Code: The Procedural Logic of Crime in Videogames:
You won't get much with just the engine source when what matter in those games is the art and general content. Plus this did not stop people to hack the BG saga into BGTuTu.
Also, the Infinity Engine was used in half a dozen titles, and while it is detrimental that pretty much nobody releases game assets under permissive terms, my point is that games are lost to obscurity because their engines don't work. For better or worse, the game data is just as compatible with its engine as it ever was.
While it's nowhere near as fancy as the latest version, there are other directions to take it than adding lots of bells and whistles and complexity.
It's simplicity makes it idea for general education, as well as specifically learning about programming, game development and modding, and it's much easier for younger children (and even adults) to grasp and understand.
Doreen Nelson wrote the original SimCity teacher's guide, and her life's work has been "Design Based Learning", like Seymour Papert and Alan Kay's "Constructionist Education" philosophy. I believe SimCity Classic could be developed into a fun and wonderful educational tool, inspired by that work.
About Design Based Learning:
These are delightfully retro but timeless videos that are inspirational and still totally relevant to SimCity:
City Building Education: A Way to Learn. Written and produced by Doreen Nelson and David Olney through the Office of Charles Eames, l976. 11 mins. (This is well worth watching for the music by Morton Subotnick!) http://video.csupomona.edu/DNelson/CityBuilding-245.asx
Classroom City. Written, directed and produced by Doreen Nelson, l981. Looks at City Building's methods in various classroom settings: traditional, migrant teacher training and educationally handicapped. Students from the first City Building class of l969 are revisited. 16 mins. http://video.csupomona.edu/DNelson/ClassroomCity-245.asx
The new Simcity is nothing I wanted and really broke the game for me. I dont think I will be playing this franchise ever again, sadly.
I even tried Cities in Motion, and dear god is that micro-management hell for me.
Not going in to the rant, there were many around the time this PoS hit the market. All I can say is, as an avid sim city player, Sim city 4 had it. This new thing called Sim City, was more a city based sims level. I was just waiting for the "sim City delux edition where you could get +5 more houses, and some new cars"
Honestly I used to love sim City, but after spending £50 on sim city, it really is (and i said this before sim city) the last EA game i buy.
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me
It's also taken a frustratingly long time to patch major game-breaking issues - the main one I kept running into was getting the "accept revive yes/no?" prompt when you die, which you can then not get out of short of quitting the game entirely.
They also managed to break SLI support completely during a recent patch. Like, completely. SLI users would have their screens turn into a flashing disco-tron.
Client crashes are still an issue, but a lot less common than before. Server crashes are likewise still an issue, but a lot less common than before. The general stability of Battlelog seems improved also - right now the general crashi-ness situation resembles what the game should have looked like at launch.
No third party "helper" apps or non-standard or beta drivers, and a few background applications running clogging up some potential memory resources wanted by the game.
The user interface and graphics and music are just fantastic.
The concept and execution of using roads instead of tiles is a huge improvement.
But the limit on the city size is very frustrating.
I would trade a lot of the new bells and whistles (well the fancy graphics, but not the nice UI) just to be able to build a gargantuan megalopolis, even if it didn't run very fast.
I wouldn't give EA the benefit of the doubt about an 8 month patch. They probably began work on it late last week. The company has shown time and time again that they don't give a fuck about you -- the offline patch is just the minimum amount of work they have to do in order to unplug the servers on a new game without total outrage.
"Look, we pushed an offline patch before terminating the servers, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM A GAME LESS THAN A YEAR OLD!?"
I know I bought it because the articles about the game failed to mention the size issues or any of the faulty AI issues (like traffic). I was amazed the reviewers didn't find any of those faults because they happened pretty fast and ruined the game for me.
Offline or not, Simcity was a huge step back for me and not worth all the hype it got.
Compared to Sim city 3k/4k, that is less than half the sale numbers in a growing industry. I would also guess that Sim city 2013 had a much higher production cost, server costs, administration cost and support costs.
And most wonderful thing, they can't blame pirates.
Makes you wonder how big a margin there is between sales revenue and ongoing costs.
The game really only starts showing it's shallowness once you filled up one city space and started on your next one, only to come out with a homogeneous clone of the first city.
"Mods may not modify any .com, .exe, .dll, .so or other executable files."
Then what's the point? The game is still awful, and the means to fix that aren't available.
They're restoring original, sane functionality. The GM should be expecting relief/forgiveness, not excitement.
Take for example the Sim City world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3oFKhftK88
If you didn't play the Cities XL beta nor were around for the first bit of Cities XL there was something called the "Planet Offer". The world map Maxis shows 12 seconds into the trailer looks just like the Planet Offer's globe. Maxis even shows a commodities market at 22 seconds which looks like the Planet Offer's trading.
Just like the Planet Offer things did not work out as planned. Core components of the city builder were left undone such as the terrain manipulation or map creation. In part I suspect both were business decisions made to allow a DLC market.
From the beginning EA promised DLC. In the case of Cities XL the DLC was less obvious. The way things worked out the developers of Cities XL went bankrupt and the game was bought out by its current publisher. Every Cities XL game since has just been the original edition plus some extra maps and buildings.
The real shame is that both Cities XL and Sim City 2013 were beautiful and did not lack anything art wise. Instead they just failed at game play. Part of said problem was crippling the game to open DLC avenues. The other part was horrible balancing.
In the case of Cities XL there was no balancing. Every city service cost the exact same with no room to adjust service level like in Sim City 4. Cities XL also made the mistake of tying medium and large density zones plus most services to your city's population. In effect every new city felt the same since you had to bootstrap everything every-time. Of course finances were also dead easy to balance.
During Cities XL beta my biggest problem was opening enough inter-city transport capacity to export my over supply of office services. For a while I could just open international airports one after the other but I soon ran out of space. My city got so big I triggered a rare bug where the game replaced my entire city with a hilly field. Since said hilly field had no export routes I couldn't rebuild. This was a shame since the glitch managed to delete everything which was costing me money but leave all the export revenue. Thus despite being a hilly field I must have amassed more money than any other city during beta.
Sorry back on topic: just like Cities XL's planet offer Maxis is now stepping back from the online. In theory online would be fantastic but first you need to make a fun city builder. Maybe in the future we'll get one.
Instead of going the DLC route, they should have gone the user-gernerated content route. Allowing users to not only share and rank their cities but also to create additional content (3D models, conversions) and to interact with the game mechanics using an in-game scripting language.
By that last part I mean things like programming the logic of the in-game traffic lights, train schedules, and so on.
Pure, raw, script-based micro-management.
Had they managed to implement a game incorporating content-sharing, they might have seen the sales of their core game skyrocket, fueled by the positive marketing feedback of a content-generating community.
Doom was released as shareware. You got the first few levels for free. You paid and got the rest. Doom had a huge amount of user generated content, but the community was careful to make sure it would only work if you had the full paid version of the game. Obviously some people didn't, but you'll always get pirates. That's an early example of the community protecting the ip while helping to boost sales.
Minecraft is a more modern example of user generated content driving huge sales of a game.
We just need a short easy to read essay to point the accountants and suits at.
A browser based version of SimCity Classic could use WebGL to render the buildings with digital bricks (i.e. Legos). Then it would be very fun and easy for players to create their own buildings with existing tools (or new browser based tools build into the game), and even construct those buildings in the real world out of Legos.
There is an active community of Lego fans and a rich ecosystem of open source digital brick editing tools, and Lego Digital Designer even imports and exports some of the file formats that were developed by the open source community, as well as Lego's own xml file format. http://ldd.lego.com/
library for rendering digital bricks: https://bitbucket.org/msx80/brigl demos: http://www.lugato.net/brigl/index.html
Check out the Lego Micropolis Micro City Standard: http://twinlug.com/micropolis-micro-city-standard/ and the beautiful stuff people have made: http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/micropolis/Interesting
Bad day for Micropolis contest: http://www.reasonablyclever.com/lego/contest/badday/ winners: http://www.reasonablyclever.com/lego/contest/badday/badday.h... http://www.reasonablyclever.com/lego/contest/badday/basic.ht... http://www.reasonablyclever.com/lego/contest/badday/double.h... http://www.reasonablyclever.com/lego/contest/badday/doublepl...
Imagine importing that great stuff into SimCity, or rather, the open source version of SimCity, whose name also just happens to be Micropolis: https://code.google.com/p/micropolis/
I'd write a short essay, but I'm afraid it would end up being a long essay! ;)
Then it's not really a game; it's a graphics demo.
You can't fail at gameplay and still have a game; conversely, you can have great gameplay but terrible graphics (e.g. roguelikes).
How about a promise to never again shove always-on down the throats of their customers, and admit that it's a fruitless effort to exert absolute control over the ways users play their games?
How about Blizzard and Diablo 3, where you feel lag in a game that's predominantly single player?
Given that (and other ways in which the online-ness was pervasive in game design), this seems like the epitome of a band-aid fix on a bullet wound. Just inserting an offline mode won't make the game better, because the game design was based around online play from a very fundamental level, and it's not a feature that can be removed simply. I.e., 'you can take SCO offline, but you can't take the online out of SCO.'
SC4k also had region play, cities weren't really as effective until they were part of a region. The mechanic should have been to let you and some friends start a region, each pick a zone or two and start cooperatively developing them over time. Enhance things like cross-city usage fees (so I can recoup cost for putting up a huge airport in my city that my friends use) and it would have completely satisfied the multi-player requirement.
What you ended up with was a bunch of half-asses cities that nobody wanted to play with in regions that nobody wanted to be multi-players in, that the only benefit was regional construction projects that never really worked right and had cryptic requirements in order to construct.
Coupled with impossibly small city sizes and broken AI and the game is fundamentally broken in ways that no amount of patching or fixing is ever going to solve. Time to deep six this failed experiment and move on to Sim City 2.
But, to me, the most interesting news is the mod support. If you want to at least double your game's lifetime, make it easy to modify.
Corporate Execs from companies like EA and even Microsoft/Xbone are ruining gaming.
Too little, too late.
Would anyone be interested in a version of SimCity Classic that ran in the browser? (Playable offline, of course!)
In what ways do you think it could be brought up to date with modern technology, without spoiling the fun of the original game?
What do you like about the original SimCity Classic? And what do you think should be changed or added?
What I'd really appreciate is advice on how to fund the development. Kickstarter is out because I'm not in the United States, but I'm considering Indiegogo, but open to alternatives, especially ones focused on open source and educational software.
I would like to play it in the browser.
Things I'd like to see:
Nice graphics. Doesn't have to be high res or anything, just nice. Perhaps allow tilesets to be used so the community could easily create and share tiles.
Easy laying of road and track. I remember the odd rubber banding of classic being a bit frustrating.
Some nice easy to use terrain editor.
Some social features? Allow more than one person to work on a terrain map at a time? (I understand this raises complexity significantly). Or Allow people to passively view the terrain and sent chat suggestions?
Have a free play version, and a well tested challenges version with a wide variety of challenges. Eg "last X years", "grow to Y size", "survive these disasters", "earn Z money" etc.
Have a way for me to pay you. I much prefer a single payment for full access rather than a freemium model. (Wait x hours to collect enough coins to build this road, or unlock coins for $x now!!" Would not be pleasant.
Hope these are some use!
Definitely a terrain editor, plus more tweakable procedural terrain generation.
There are many interesting ways to support multiple players, beyond the "cooperative committee with god mode limited by unanimous voting on expensive things" approach I implemented with the X11/TCL/Tk version: http://www.donhopkins.com/home/movies/SimCityNetDemo.mov
Your friends could fly helicopters around your city, reporting on problems, or just chatting with you as you drive your brick laying machine around to make roads.
Your enemies could fly drones around and turn your citizens into terrorists by bombing their wedding parties.
Your governor could conspire to cause terrible traffic jams by closing lanes on your bridges.
Deconstruct the god mode tool pallet into something more like Magic the Gathering cards, that have particular tailored zones, purposes and budgets that multiple players can win, trade and play.
The code must be open source, and the basic game free down download and play (online or off), but I'd like to think of a revenue model that will support the development of the game, as well as educational courseware (for free educational use).
I don't think many people would pay to download other people's cities, but maybe artists/architects could sell their buildings in an online real-estate (virtual-estate?) market like eBay.
I'm seeking advice and suggestions about how to fund the development and support running it! It's futile to pitch an educational game to a big publisher like EA, but Indiegogo may be a good route. Are there other alternatives focused on open source or educational software? I would really appreciate some mentoring and guidance from people experienced with that.
And I think it would be great to create buildings with digital bricks (Legos), and render them in 3D -- that would make it fun and easy to create your own buildings with existing tools. And integrating browser based building editing tools into the game would be even better! See my other post with details and links: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7052399
I was curious as to why you would target the browser at all, but whatever roasts your toast, man. Enjoy game development!
Whatever your alternative is, remember that the point is opening up the simulator so the code is not only runnable but also understandable by a large number of people, including kids learning to program, and to motivate people to learn a useful programming language that they will be able to use in the real world. So Haskel is right out.
Relax. Maybe step away from your PC for a while and take a breather? I'd hate to hear about you on the evening news. Christ.
Stating that my testicles are twisted and implying that I'm going to shoot up an elementary school isn't a effective way to dodge my questions, it's just childish trolling.
Can you suggest any better alternatives, or can you better explain what you really meant by what you said, please? Because you're not making much sense to me, and you're getting very emotional about it.
I think I'm done here. Judging by your perception of me, you seem to be arguing with someone else anyway, so I'll go ahead and leave you to it.
Oh wait... It was just the worst of times.
People assume (with good reason) that the design choices that made Sim City a poor game were made with the publisher's interest placed above the player's.
Allow me to lift a review: "While you cannot build crazy windy roads, SimCity 4 is perfect for building a city with grid street plan and you'll get everything you didn't get in SimCity 2013: huge maps, multiple entrances, zoning lots, detailed statistics/graphs/budgets, multiple transportation options from subway, elevated train, freeway, toll gates... the list goes on."
Heck, I think even SimCity 3000 will give you more raw City to play with.