Maxis has released the first video in a video-blog series entitled "Insider's Look: GlassBox Game Engine." It seems like we've heard a lot about the engine since SimCity was announced, but Dan Moskowitz, Gameplay Lead for SimCity takes the time in this video to walk us through some specific examples of what the engine actually does:
As Dan notes, the video isn't intended to be representative of the game's final graphics, so it's important to keep that in mind when watching. Still, the video does show off some gameplay aspects that we can hopefully look forward to when the game launches. I was particular drawn towards the ability to customize and upgrade certain buildings, such as a fire station, from within the game itself.The extent of possible customization is unclear at this point, but any customization at all will be nice for us non BATers who still want to change how certain buildings look and function. A quick glimpse at terraforming and zoning abilities look promising as well.
The main purpose of this video is to show off the Glassbox engine, and it seems every bit as powerful as we have been led to believe so far. As the video explains, the simulation consists of several interacting aspects, from resources like coal and workers, to resource-carrying "agents" like pedestrians and vehicles. All of the effects and animations are directly affected by the simulation rules, so nothing that you see is without a purpose.
Check out the video below, and stay tuned to Maxis's developer blog and Simtropolis for the game updates.