SimCity 5 Catch-All - Offline mode coming in next update

Based on what they've said about their sim engine so far, I don't think there's any reason to worry. Having the "worker wanted" and "worker traveling to/from work" packets travelling along the transportation networks doesn't prevent having more selectivity in terms of workers (different education levels, etc.), having congestion, or having workers travel from far away. I suspect it does make it naturally more likely that valid possible workers located near the work site will be selected for that site (the probability of selection should end up being a bell curve based on distance), but even if that's undesirable, it should be possible to negate that.

(More technically: You should be able to actually compute the probability curve based on distance, and then you could adjust the probability of selecting a valid worker based on distance to offset the probability based on packet travel. So if you really wanted to, you *could* have a flat probability distribution with respect to travel distance.)

The thing that I find exciting about the way they're describing things is that I think this may be groundwork for some very serious moddability. I would not be surprised if it would be possible to completely replace the worker selection model--for example, to replace the population behavior of SC5 with that of of City Life. (Not saying that would be desirable, necessarily, just that I bet it's going to possible to make some pretty radical changes to things. Adding new kinds of map resources (psychic energy, anyone?), adding new kinds of packets, changing mechanics of specific buildings and subsystems, etc.)

Enix wrote:
clever id wrote:

...
I'm not sure I buy into the the "basic" economic simulation they are using.

This didn't look much different than what SC4 did when you started a new city. I'd be stunned if education, pollution, traffic congestion and all the rest weren't factored in somehow.

Don't get too hung up on real-life parallels. SC4 favored an idealized New Urbanism approach that forced you to keep the R,C and I zones fairly close together unless you used a trip extension mod.

Yeah, I know. Like I said, I hope there is an advanced model yet to come, just some initial thoughts other than my usual "I hate Origin" babel

Wolfen Victrocious wrote:

Which even then I'd have the few odd cases where a guy half way across the city would work at a plant on the outskirts. So if they keep to the Sim City 4 ideals mentioned here, I think we'll be in for a treat. Even more considering this means trains, buses, and other transportation will really start making a difference in the city where in SC4 it didn't matter that much.

What do you mean? Remember the good old days when you could just plop rails everywhere and the game was fine with it?
Edit: Boom!
IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/nLmNK.png)

I've always enjoyed the traffic management aspect of SimCity so I'd like to see a robust commute system. Maybe Rush Hour on steroids?

Edit2:

Hypatian wrote:

More about probability, bell curves, and modding

And that's how they'll trick me into buying it...

Two more videos about the game engine.

I found the water table and water pollution bit quite interesting.

Developer interview posted at RPS.

No new big info, but worth a read if you're anticipating the game.

New video

I'm having a hard time determining if I've watched some of these videos or not. Could it be their naming scheme? "SimCity GlassBox Game Engine Part 2 - Scenario 3: Fire" Perhaps.

This one's new, but some others were repeats I think.

Man, if only a decent company were doing this. Sigh.

Malor wrote:

Man, if only a decent company were doing this. Sigh.

Okay, but who is a decent publisher?

Activision sucks the life out of franchises, THQ is in trouble, EA is both good and bad, and Valve is doing alright in terms of Steam.

Now developer wise... I don't think Sim City would be Sim City if it wasn't developed by Maxis, it would be called " Cities XL" if it were created anywhere else.

When you really get down to the nuts and bolts of this industry, much like the fire mechanic, recently each company has been getting a little too warm and the fire has started to spread from one to another. Maybe they'll be like a Phoenix and come out reborn but it seems most companies aren't that eager to change or fix their ways.

Kickstarter time for a city builder!

Malor wrote:

Man, if only a decent company were doing this. Sigh.

I assume you mean "if only a decent company were publishing this", right? 'Cause the Maxis team is awesome.

I do wish that they were able to self-publish and avoid the big-publisher shenanigans.

Farscry wrote:

I do wish that they were able to self-publish and avoid the big-publisher shenanigans.

Maybe once we discover time travel we can go back to the 90's and smack their board of directors upside the head so they don't go insane and try and become the next big publisher after the smashing success of SimCity 2000?

Seems to me that EA tried to adopt the RIAA/MPAA approach of industry consolidation and punishing customers, as they grew to become a giant in the field. They looked to existing media companies for guidance instead of trying to forge a new path.

Those are some truthy words there, Ro.

It just means they will be several years behind in giving up punitive DRM and absolute control over their products.

So when does this thing release, anyway?

Farscry wrote:
Malor wrote:

Man, if only a decent company were doing this. Sigh.

I assume you mean "if only a decent company were publishing this", right? 'Cause the Maxis team is awesome.

I do wish that they were able to self-publish and avoid the big-publisher shenanigans.

Are they? The last game released by them was Darkspore, which scarcely anyone cared about. And before that, they released Spore, a massive failure that completely undermined any credibility the studio had as developers. The last game they developed that had success was Sims 2, which in many ways isn't much of a game at all. And that was 8 years ago.

Well, it's not a bad game, exactly, but it's a morass of bugs and relatively poor design decisions. And I haven't seen any sign that Maxis has gotten better since.

Robear wrote:

Seems to me that EA tried to adopt the RIAA/MPAA approach of industry consolidation and punishing customers, as they grew to become a giant in the field. They looked to existing media companies for guidance instead of trying to forge a new path.

Let's not forget the parade of DLC EA has fallen in love with. Sim City is right up there alley in potential for that! Cosmetic DLC like famous buildings and landmarks, pre-made terrains matching real world city locations, and new, game effecting, building types!

Malor wrote:

Well, it's not a bad game, exactly, but it's a morass of bugs and relatively poor design decisions. And I haven't seen any sign that Maxis has gotten better since.

Well it's not like EA gave them much of a chance to really improve either product. From what I've seen with many EA properties, they get a support window of 9-12 months for patches and then they stop patching. This really doesn't work well with a lot of Maxis games because of the sheer number of moving parts.

As for Spore... I think they had a great concept but the original demo was a canned demo and fairly early in development. 100% inspirational to all the developers that were in the room (which was the point of that talk). They announced it too early (I don't think it was officially greenlighted at the time it was shown?) when they hadn't fully locked down what the game was going to be like (given the amount of cut content/features). EA also over-marketed the game which didn't help the fan echo chamber which whipped everyone into a frenzy of thinking it was the next big thing. I would love to see them come back to Spore again and it's a real shame that no one has really applied some of the technologies behind it in other products, the content delivery/sharing system in particular.

ZaneRockfist wrote:
Farscry wrote:
Malor wrote:

Man, if only a decent company were doing this. Sigh.

I assume you mean "if only a decent company were publishing this", right? 'Cause the Maxis team is awesome.

I do wish that they were able to self-publish and avoid the big-publisher shenanigans.

Are they? The last game released by them was Darkspore, which scarcely anyone cared about. And before that, they released Spore, a massive failure that completely undermined any credibility the studio had as developers. The last game they developed that had success was Sims 2, which in many ways isn't much of a game at all. And that was 8 years ago.

Good point, when you really think about it all of the Maxis accomplishments are like 15 years old, in that time the makeup of the team has completely changed, it's really not the same entity any more, even before you consider the likely terrible management of EA.

I think though that the idea of bringing the simulation engine down to the individual components interacting together (rather than just reflecting the state of a larger, less granular system) has a lot of potential for emergent behaviors. Should be quite interesting to see that in action.

That's a shame. Glad I haven't pre-ordered yet.

shoptroll wrote:

That's a shame. Glad I haven't pre-ordered yet.

It's almost like they DON'T want me to buy it.

This is EA. They're going to screw up a lot more than just that.

"What's that? You want to wreck and reload the city you built? You fool, that's not yours."

How can Maxis be so tone-deaf about SimCity?

I guess there is nobody left there who actually worked on previous SimCity games.

BadKen wrote:

I guess there is nobody left there who actually worked on previous SimCity games.

Sadly there are There was a staff listing for DarkSpore on their blog and they had a number of people involved who worked on SimCity 4 or earlier.

This game is starting to smell of cynical executive meddling, and that deeply saddens me.

The unfortunate thing here is that managers and CEOs are seeing product control and focusing on that, when they ought to be focusing on customer satisfaction, especially if they're transitioning to services-not-goods games model.

It's this that will differentiate the successful from the failures. I'm hoping EA will flounder and fail in the transition.

If there's no opportunity to revert a city, then how on earth are they planning to support mods like they say they plan on doing? Isn't that going to muck with network compatibility in a very big way? Or does mod support just mean custom skins and models for zoned buildings to them?

Also it's great to see Valve's Steam Workshop picking up momentum, considering SimCity 3000's SimCity Exchange pioneered a web-based discovery engine for user-generated content back in the mid-90's. Just another reminder of how close-minded EA is being lately.

FWIW, here are the possible benefits of a fully online SimCity assuming that EA wasn't floundering in their current "This is a DRM'd microtransactionable game!" morass.

1. You can save your cities in the cloud. This means that they will survive any hardware meltdown on your side.
2. You can access your cities from a variety of devices. Use terminals anywhere, use the browser, an iDevice, or phone.
3. You can share your city masterpieces with your friends. Challenge each other with maps and population/or finance high scores.
4. Interconnect your cities with your friends! Feed them excess Residentials demand, export Industrial and garbage demands, Satisfy the entertainment requirements of their Sims with a gambling Sin City of your own!
5. Shared access can allow your friends to "save" your cities if you're at your wit's end.
6. Borrow money from wealthier friends. Lend money for startups.
7. Kickstarter-esque development. Vote for improvements and additions to the game you want to see by pledging a purchase of that game feature before the next patch is developed.