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Updates in progress... Please stand by... 01/22/2016We're still in the middle of updating things, please bear with us! Some things may appear strange or not quite working right - we're working on it!
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SimCity 2013's creative director explains what we could have got without EA pestering
Maxis' 2013 reboot of the SimCity franchise will always be remembered for its disastrous launch more than anything else. But now, more than three years removed from that debacle, SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley told Game Informer that he's still proud of the game itself — even if publisher Electronic Arts' decision to require an internet connection ruined everything.
Like the SimCity titles before it, SimCity was a single-player game, but it was designed as an always-online experience. At the launch of the game in early March 2013, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the servers, and severe connectivity issues created a mountain of problems. Players had to wait in hourslong queues to access SimCity, and Maxis tried everything to rectify the issues, even disabling certain "non-critical" elements of the game in an effort to relieve the load on the servers.
SimCity originated with Maxis' desire to make a SimCity game in full 3D, and the studio's belief that the technology had finally gotten to a point that would support that, Quigley recalled on this week's edition of The Game Informer Show. EA greenlit the project, with a caveat: It had to be an always-online title, because that's the future that EA believed the gaming industry was heading toward. (Microtransactions were a part of EA's reasoning, said Quigley, but not the main impetus behind the decision.)
"EA wanted to make it more of a platform, an ongoing platform, that they'd sort of build and develop on," Quigley explained. "And so that [...] mandated, kind of, the server and online stuff. Which, in retrospect — I mean, obviously — was the fatal flaw in it."
Maxis had to figure out how to turn that onerous requirement into a feature that would deliver something useful to SimCity players. Networking allowed for elements like leaderboards, and opened up "interesting design-space possibilities" such as players being able to connect their cities with their friends' cities in a region. But Quigley wished those features had been optional, considering how SimCity's launch turned out.
"The tech got ahead of itself," said Quigley, describing a server "meltdown" when a million players attempted to play at once. "We didn't have the back-end infrastructure to actually pull that off, obviously."
Quigley told Game Informer that as SimCity's creative director, he and the design team were "pretty happy" with the game itself. The developers' pride in the product made the server issues that much more frustrating.
"The back end of it all, sort of, collapsing in flaming server rooms was, well — it feels a little bit like being somebody on a sinking ship, and you've done a really nice job on your part of it, but it doesn't matter," said Quigley. "It doesn't matter if you've made all these beautiful things, because the rest of the ship is exploding."
The failed launch became the storyline surrounding SimCity, and even worse, Maxis had to spend so much time fixing the server issues that the design team never got the chance to improve or expand upon the game. One of the major criticisms of SimCity was its limitation on city size, which was much smaller than in previous SimCity titles. Quigley told Game Informer that before launch, Maxis had big ideas for those land plots.
"The eventual vision was that the whole region — the whole vast, 32-kilometer by 32-kilometer region — would be one potential city, and you could build anywhere in it," said Quigley. He added that while SimCity's simulation engine "would have let us scale, eventually, to larger and larger cities," the back-end server infrastructure was the bottleneck in the system that prevented that grand plan from coming to fruition.
"I'd say that was pretty much the hardest part of my career, yeah," Quigley said of the SimCity launch. In March 2014, just over a year after SimCity's release, EA added an offline mode to the game.
Quigley left EA in July 2013 after 18 years at Maxis. He later returned to the company to do consulting work, and departed in October 2015 for an indie studio called No, You Shut Up Games. Quigley is the creative director at the Berkeley, California-based company, which is making a space combat game called Atomic Space Command. He is also an accomplished oil painter, with works that have been showcased in galleries and museums.
For much more on Quigley and his career, check out the lengthy interview that he did with The Game Informer Show. The full interview begins at 1:13:20, while the SimCity portion starts at 1:56:18.
SimCity Art (SimArt)
Welcome to my SimArt journal!
I decided to put all my city art together into one journal, so I can have them all in one place! This journal will have mostly SimCity-related art, (or just regular cities), and possibly some sneak peaks of future CJ updates (Million Sims challenge anyone?)
A little background:
I've been drawing cities since 6th grade (2008). My first City building game ever was SimCity Societies late 2007, (which was fun) and then I got SimCity 4 for the first time months later and got hooked to it. I was let down by the lack of 3D at first, but I accepted it since the game was so fun. It became my go-to game for a long time. Around 2008, I started googling SimCity 5, and I would wonder if it would ever come out. I decided to draw my idea of what I wanted "SimCity 5" to look like. A lot of the drawings were done while I was at school bored or during free time. I've been drawing cities even until this day.
I was all to familiar with the phrase "Put that drawing away" I got from teachers!
Anyhow, without any further ado, Let's get started!
I will save my most recent art for last (on the bottom). The top of the drawings contain the title and the bottom is the description/meaning. For most of my older middle/High-school drawings, I wrote what I feel they mean to me now and what they symbolize.
Blue Republic City: Main Street South (Commercial District) (Partial, will show the rest next update!)
(Completed in November 2013; Senior Year of HS)
SimCity 4 in 3D; Two MAVE-6's intersecting, note some of the Maxis CO$$$ buildings, and a R$$ on the right
City From above
Started in late 2011, beginning of my sophomore year of HS (10th grade). With only 4 blocks complete, it was put away in a pile of papers for over 6 MONTHS before I dug it out when I was throwing away other papers. Have I not found this, this drawing would've been thrown away too. It was finished just before my sophomore year in May 2012.
Highway From Hell
RHW-6C highway that leads to Woodland City
Completed May 2013, this drawing took about two days to complete; The majority of it was worked on in my pre-calculus class (which I was failing miserably). My junior year was my worst year in all my 12 grades of school. This drawing symbolizes my "Junioritis." The storm represents my finals that I would still face before the end of that year (in June) and the city out in the distance represents summer. The clear towards the end represents the light at the end of the hell that I call, my Junior Year. The exit you see to the right (Exit 255) represents a break. Speaking of Storms...
Here Comes my finals!
I had to take the exit to the right of the previous scene (Highway From Boredom) to brace for the violent thunderstorm. The conditions became way too dangerous to drive through.
I made it out, thankfully:
Elm Street; Completion date around 2013
I dubbed this one: Good After-School! (Get it? 'Cause it's the afternoon and...school..*laughs awkwardly at silence*)
Completed my sophomore year of HS (Early 2012); Represents students walking home from school after dismissal.
We travel back in time!
Some random house I drew in 7th grade
Completed in 7th grade (January 2009) This drawing symbolizes...some random house.
Generic Neighborhood From Above
Completed March 2010 (8th grade), note the massive wreck just by the hospital, which symbolizes the only time that I would EVER got in trouble and written up in middle school, for the most ridiculous reason ever. Hence why the hospital is right there, to symbolize the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
A SPRING SERIES OF 8TH GRADE DRAWINGS
Highway To High School
Similar concept to "Highway from boredom," except that things are much happier Completed in April, 2010, towards the end of my 8th grade year and also the end of middle school road! The late afternoon setting symbolizes the fact that I am in my last few months of my middle school career. The storm clouds out towards the right however suggest that there are still obstacles to face before the end of my middle school career. There overpass out in the distance is the FCAT test. The rush hour traffic symbolizes all the graduates who would soon walk the stage, marching along...
Now I go under the overpass from the previous drawing, symbolizing that I have passed my FCAT (2009)
Same highway from above, just further along the road, and a bit later
I finally reach the Cloverleaf (in the distance)
Completed in late May 2010, the last full month of my 8th grade year, the traffic is heavy with graduates. The cloverleaf (it's still far, I know it's hard to see lol) symbolizes the different directions people will take in their lives from here. Some will go to other schools that are not in their zone, and others will keep going to the high school they're called for. Some friendships will end here. The late evening setting symbolizes the setting of my middle school, and the few hours left in that day, just as my days as an 8th grader, are numbered, soon to end. The highway past the clover leaf represents a new chapter in life.
Fast Forward To High School
Completed May 2014 my Senior year of High School; Senioritropolis. What does it symbolize? Here are the pieces: Seniorit-tropol-is. You put it together, I think it speaks for itself
(Still don't get it? Take "Tropol" away)
SimCity 4 3D Concept Art (from 2013)
More SC4 3D Concept Art
Now for the Most Recent SimArt
Oh yeah, and one thing I need to mention...
After Playing SC4 for almost 24 hours straight, I went to go take a shower and as I looked over to the living room I saw this...
Yes, if you play SC4 with the 3D Mod for too long...this happens. The bathroom is to the left, parent's bedroom to the right, the side door is right towards the end, and my front door is to the right of where the right wall ends. To the left of the left wall is the dining room, which leads to the kitchen and back door.
My parents definitely not happy when they saw over 500K tiny sims blocking any way out of the house with their metropolis.
Note: If you want 3D SC4 graphics, download the latest version of SC4 3D Camera mod (April Fool's Edition)
This is known to be duly noted that I am not responsible for any power outages, crashes, the destruction of your computer, or the Sims-colonization of your living room. Please download at your own risk
Before I get to my latest drawing, let us go back to 6th grade one last time (At least for this update)...
Blue Republic City: Main Road North (2008)
Completed in May 2008, this was my last drawing as a 6th grader. It is the same city as the first drawing in this entry.
Blue republic City is a young, growing city. It is the future capital of the Blue Republic senate and Capital. (more to come in future CJ)
8 Years Later...
Blue Republic City: Main Road North (2016)
Yes, this is the exact same scene and angle as the previous drawing, except 8 years have passed. The buildings under construction were complete, and the AVE-4 was widened into an MAVE-6. I wanted to see how much I improved since 6th grade, so I went and re-drew one of my old middle-school drawings (kind of like re-mastering a ps1 game with modern ps4 graphics) with my modern technique. You can see the difference 8 years makes! Practice makes perfect!
That's it for this update, I hope y'all enjoyed it and don't worry, there is more to come. Much more!
I post a lot of my art/works in progress on Instagram too. Mods, am I allowed to post a link to my Instagram account here? Thanks!
Cities of Tomorrow
Whether for good or bad I've purchased Simcity Complete Edition, which includes Cities of Tomorrow.
For the life of me I cannot locate any forum threads on issues pertaining to the version I own. It's supposed to include the an expanded core game
and Cities of Tomorrow (COT).
I have been known to be a newbie over the most obvious, but would appreciate someone pointing out where MODS, STEX buildings I should be able to use.
Thank you all so kindly!
Time lapse speed mod?
I am new to the forums, and just realized SIm City 2013 went offline, so I assume we can mod it now?
Is there a mod that increases the speed of the time lapse? THis is one of the worst features in Sim City, it goes so slow! The fastest speed needs to be 2 or 3x faster than it already is, imo.
Does anyone know of a mod that can achieve this for me? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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