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  • Maxis: SimCity’s “lonely experience” influenced always-online play


    Hellken

    “If you look back at previous SimCities, they were almost all self-contained,” Quigley said. “Every city wound up doing pretty much everything. That drove all the cities to a certain level of homogeneity, and all the cities sort of converged onto the same sort of thing over the arc of play. That struck me as being a little sad. If you look at real cities, they all clearly do distinct things and have identities based around those things. I wanted to let cities differentiate themselves and let them find some way that wouldn’t automatically make them converge and allow them take on unique identities.”

    Cities with personality? Obviously, Quigley doesn’t realize the dangerously short hop between that sentiment and a fully sentient metropolis. Either that, or he’s visited Portland one too many times.

    SimCity is always kind of a lonely experience; you’re planning your cities all by yourself,” continued Quigley. “One of the ways that things you do take on significance is how they affect other people. The things that you do for other people give meaning to your own life and your own existence. I wanted to make cities more resonant and meaningful, and thought they would have more presence if they were doing things for other cities as well. The cities matter to the people around you, not just to you.”

    I’m worried that I may not even want my cities to matter to the people around me. The important decisions in previous SimCity games only affected my personal urban achievements, but responsibility to others isn’t what I associate with the series. The idea of working together to build SimCity’s “Great Works” does look attractive, so long as these cooperative projects don’t diminish the personal feeling of accomplishment from handcrafting a thriving burg by myself. Older SimCity games pulled that off quite well—yes, while I was all alone—and I’m not sure if I’d much enjoy seeing “MaYoR420BLAZE” of Yolotown on the leaderboards picking apart my stats. But Quigley could be right: it’ll all come into clearer focus when SimCity releases on March 5.

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    Hellken

    Posted

    “If you look back at previous SimCities, they were almost all self-contained,” Quigley said. “Every city wound up doing pretty much everything. That drove all the cities to a certain level of homogeneity, and all the cities sort of converged onto the same sort of thing over the arc of play. That struck me as being a little sad."

    Where did MAXIS get that idea?

    Maxis should look at the Mayor Diary (MD)/ City Journal (CJ) sections on Simtropolis, SC4Devotion, SimPEG, TSC, CapitalSim, and probably the site with the most epic CJ's of all time... SimCityCHINA. They had 9 years to get an idea of what people wanted to see. When I look at the best CJ's, I see art, imagination, creativity, and beauty.

    Please click the links below, then read the article:

    http://www.simcity.cn/thread-80608-1-1.html

    http://www.simcity.cn/thread-98513-1-1.html

    People are not "sad" to see these things because they are beautiful.

    Ocean Quigley is a very talented, successful artist. I find it strange that he never had a vision of what SC4 was capable of doing. He has a point. But people are interested in sharing these things he is talking about with their creations, ideas, and imagination.

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    A Nonny Moose

    Posted

    Well, for a change we have a writer who expresses some skepticism about this idea. I am afraid that Ocean Quigly has never really explored the worlds of SC4. A simple walk through a few CJs would help disabuse him of the idea that SC4 is a lonely experience.

    He wants a game, not a canvas for great art. Missed the boat, that boy.

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    cirugo

    Posted

    Well, for a change we have a writer who expresses some skepticism about this idea. I am afraid that Ocean Quigly has never really explored the worlds of SC4. A simple walk through a few CJs would help disabuse him of the idea that SC4 is a lonely experience.

    He wants a game, not a canvas for great art. Missed the boat, that boy.

    They could've provided both. They could've looked at the limitations of what their focus on micro-simulation was going to force them to sacrifice and toned it down somewhat so they didn't have to cut so much out of what people have previously liked.

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    Tonraq

    Posted

    That would be probably the greatest insult to the fans that I have ever seen.

    SimCity is always kind of a lonely experience; you’re planning your cities all by yourself

    I bet Mr. Quigely hasn't really explored the community. Some of the City Journals/Mayor Diaries here have been planned by several people. Look at the SimCity Unions (USNW, AIN) for example. Their cities are interconnected and people share ideas with each other through the forums and through chat. Look at modders here too. They also share ideas with each other through the community. People here have supported each other for more than a decade here, through constructive criticism, through helping, through chats that are scattered around the community. It does not make SimCity 4 a lonely experience for everyone. In the community, there will be always someone to help you.

    If we were "sad" for a decade then we would have stopped playing SimCity 4 a long, long time ago.

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    katherman111

    Posted

    I'm a lone player. now leave me alone

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    Cyclone Boom

    Posted


    Definition of 'Lonely':

    "Affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone."


    I completely disagree. In what way did SimCity 4 make people feel depressed? It can't possibly be defined as a 'lonely' game since we have been here as a community, actively discussing it for over 10 years. For me, this is just making excuses, trying to justify the decision to make it an 'online based' game. I bet there are other reasons behind the scenes.

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    fiver

    Posted

    A strange and disturbing feeling... After all the years of playing the SimCity series I'm now being told - by one of its creators - that the joy I have been getting from the game was kind of not meant to happen, while in fact I should have been feeling sad and lonely, because I didn't have oh so sweet and important things like muliplayer, always-online, leaderboards,cooperation with whoever to build "great works"... WTF??? ... Why would I need to build "great works" in SimCity if I can do that in Civilization (where I can also have resource-specialized cities, trade, etc)?

    (and what is that weird picture above the article?)

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    lew1984

    Posted

    Well the hole is getting bigger isn't it! lol.

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    katherman111

    Posted

    These guys definitely NEVER listened to the simcity fans

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    fiver

    Posted

    These guys definitely NEVER listened to the simcity fans

    Exactly. They don't really know who plays their game and why. A revelation so disappointing...

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    Decius

    Posted

    Lonelyness: to feel alone, suffering to be alone without company

    yeh when you use that word it sounds bad, he couldnt use solitary?

    the cardgame solitair names "loner" wouldnt be appealing.

    If he used solitude i'd agree and you know why? because I rest in solitude, i'm comfortable with solitude, also no people who let you down or screw it up for you. So I played SC4 in solitude, not in loneliness >_< One other thing, I always felt connected with my cities, they were my creations and I felt a story with each of them as they grew. The reboot will take away that feeling completely!! the cities are smaller so les to do, since they will HAVE to specialise, they actually become MORE homogenues since the building variety drops. Not a single of my cities in SC4 is or feels the same.

    EA, stop talking bullshit!

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    LivingInThePast

    Posted

    Ha! If anything, the forced online requirement makes cities look MORE alike. One of the things I liked is the way people built CJs and used custom content, they were actually able to emulate different parts of the world: you could even tell apart from Southern U.S. cities to northern U.S. cities. Of course, there were international cities, too--anything "international" I've seen in the new SimCity is basically stereotypes.

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    Evillions

    Posted

    Personally, after many years playing Simcity 4, I feel a sense of loneliness. Sure you can connect with the community via internet, but I wanna do that within the game. For that reason, I kinda lost interest in SC4 because the interaction is more roleplay than actual. The more I play SC4, the less interested I become because I'm playing in a sole world.

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    packersfan

    Posted

    Yeah, it is a lonely game, and obviously from their standpoint they don't consider the community as part of the gaming experience. Unfortunately, they missed the concept that part of the "loneliness" can also be known as "freedom". Most games are created with a single-player and a multiplayer option. Essentially they are eliminating any option of the playing the game for people with less than stellar internet connections. I wonder if I would even be able to play in China (without using a VPN). What happens when China decides the SimCity servers are a threat to national security? What happens when my internet is out and the only thing I can play is SimCity...oh wait, can't play SimCity 2013...so I go back to the tried and true. There lies the real issue. I have no problem with multiplayer SimCity. Fun concept. The issue is forcing everyone to play this way (in order to experience the "supposedly awesome" upgrades to the game engine).

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    Gurning_Chimp

    Posted

    So what makes you all think EA will take it out on us, the community, if (or should that be when?) this fails?

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    simMayor84

    Posted

    if u ever needed another reason not to spend your money on this game, there u go. i am so sick of the devs trying to justify their design reasoning. listen to the fans who still play sc4 and make improvements on that beautiful game. its sad to say but i want this game to fail so hard that other devs will take a good long look at what happens when they think they know better than their faithful customers who have supported them through the years.

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    Hellken

    Posted

    I wonder why the devs are ashamed of Sim City 4 and previous Sim City's. Even SC 3000 Unlimited had Euro and Asian tilesets, subways, and terrain level tools.

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    Sandis_van_Great

    Posted

    What ive noticed is that they are complaining that in SC4 every city ends up the same way, is built in the same way and its no fun.

    Well for me personally, in all the years ive played all sc series, that have never happened to me, especially in SC4. My city's and regions are never the same and every piece of what I do have its own story, every region from its start to end always have its story line, every action I do, every building I build, everything I destroy have a reason and a story. Its just your imagination that is limiting the game, and if they say that sc4 is boring and everything ends up the same, than sorry but you don't have creativity, and a person without creativity shouldn't be making games.

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    LivingInThePast

    Posted

    I highly doubt that everyone at Maxis really believes this is the "best SimCity ever". Maybe Kip, but not Ocean. All I'm saying is that someone big at Maxis really does understand that the online requirement is BS but can't say that out loud.

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    Hellken

    Posted

    What ive noticed is that they are complaining that in SC4 every city ends up the same way, is built in the same way and its no fun.

    Well for me personally, in all the years ive played all sc series, that have never happened to me, especially in SC4. My city's and regions are never the same and every piece of what I do have its own story, every region from its start to end always have its story line, every action I do, every building I build, everything I destroy have a reason and a story. Its just your imagination that is limiting the game, and if they say that sc4 is boring and everything ends up the same, than sorry but you don't have creativity, and a person without creativity shouldn't be making games.

    If they just took a look at people's CJ's then NONE of this would happen. It's as if they don't know their own customers.

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