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VeritaScientia

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  1. I guess because to me it comes down to the foundations of the game. The Sims 1 and 2 are good examples, that when you build a game with certain logic and constraints, you may stumble accorss a way to expand upon the initial design down the track...but it can go horribly wrong and at a cost. In The Sims case, it was with bugs. For each pet, holiday, weather effect that came to the first two games...the bugs were soon to follow. The Sims 3 is slightly different, as you may of heard the fans complaining about the gfx...Sims 2 went for realism (detailed textures), Sims 3 went cartoon (more PC friendly). Maxis said at the time it was a design decision as Sims 3 was ment to scale and be exandable, add new areas without breaking existing content which wasn't really considered when the original Sims came out. In context of SimCity2013, I wonder if this is the very expansion, this is the very engine stretched to its peak. One thing about The Sims, you could add new gaming areas (universities, downtown, holiday islands) but in every case, you could never expand the playable areas or the original neighbourhood. Sum it up...I personally don't believe larger map sizes are as simple as flicking a switch ("When PC's are better in 5 years, we'll flick this switch"), I think it'll be more than that...and that's not in the original foundations of Glassbox. Bingo... "focus of the new game" Going back to many of the comments made months ago about this new simulator just not feeling like a 'SimCity' I remember when maxis were developing Simsville and I still have all of the movie files and screens ever released of that game, as I was following it like a hawk. Very similar, plop the land and buildings, watch the moval van drive up...Nancy and Bill Sim move in and you track them around the town getting jobs, going to the cinema etc... The more detail that was released of this game made me feel like it was the reincarnation upon the late Simsville game that got canned. I just think it can be a bad idea to cross genres like this. If this game fails...will it have a prolong effect on the SimCity franchise? If they marketed this as a different Sim-type other than SimCity, would we all have less to criticise, or would the game not sell as well? GlassBox expresses everything in a city in terms of an agent. How these agents move about determines how the city grows, moves, and feels. This engine's implementation in SimCity is not about following a Sim, or even a group of Sims around in their everyday life, though that is possible if that is what you choose to do. As for the comparison of the Sims and Sims 2, the GlassBox engine has been built from the ground up to be expandable and moddable for future development. Remember, the Sims was a gamble. Nobody initially dreamed that the game would become the best-selling PC game in history. If I remember correctly, the game started as a modified form of architecture software. What made the Sims so open-ended was that it was an agent-based simulator, good luck trying to play through The Sims twice and having the exact same gameplay. What a shock when the gameplay style of SimCity, Maxis's pride, joy, and flagship, became too tired, they turned to agent-based simulation to give it a more realistic simulation feel.
  2. Stone, you claim that Maxis would have expanded the tiles if that was possible, but in the future wouldn't do that. Why exactly do you think that?
  3. If you "generalize" the simulation, you're basically back to the simulation style they used before, which isn't what they're going for. They spend YEARS working on GlassBox, it was the ONLY project Maxis worked on since Spore came out. Scalability isn't an issue with the software if it's designed smartly, and since everyone doing the coding at Maxis likely has a college degree, I'm pretty sure scalability isn't a problem. All GlassBox is is an engine, the engine can handle 2, 4, 16, 256 or 4,294,967,296 agents, the only issue is the performance specs of the hardware. That leaves the question "well if the engine can handle billions of agents, why can't the game have enormous cities?" Because it's a game that is built to have a competition edge to it, like the real world. In order for the game to be accessible, they have to "underclock" the game, just like computer makers will "underclock" their hardware, software companies do it too. "Underclocking" is a simple concept, say you have a smartphone that has a 1GB processor, but at any one time, the phone's software is only allowed to use, say 85% of the processor's capability, this is done to make sure the computer doesn't crash. I know some on here have bemoaned the new aspect of competition, but without competition, there would be no economy.
  4. No engine is designed with a "floor" like that. Maxis did think about simulating from the Sim up, and showing how the Sims themselves, affect a city. Accusing them of not fleshing out where they wanted to go with SC13 is frankly, stupidly uninformed. Many engines are designed before games, especially broadly-applicable games. I can conceivably see GlassBox being used to create a simulation of the human body. Computers don't care what the variables stand for, and with tweaking, GlassBox could be used to create a biological simulator. The one thing people here still refuse to believe is the reason why the game is so limited, is because they're not going to overwhelm the average specs of the average computer. They're not aiming this game at the 30-something established SimCity fan who went out and spent five grand on a computer with maxed specs. They're aiming it at the teenagers, the same market they captivated with the first SimCity. I don't know how any more plain it can be stated.
  5. They are not going to increase the size of the tiles until there's an expansion pack and an increase in computing power. Why? Because an increase from 2x2 tiles to a 4x4 will be a more than exponential increase of the elements that are going to be simulated. From what I've heard, software requirements are always slightly overstated, to make sure the computer's other processes can still run. EA is not going to change that if that is the standard practice. Frankly, until people try this game for themselves, any negativity about the size of the city or the way the game is simulated is blatantly prejudicial.
  6. Your first paragraph has no logical base from what I can see, unless you're referring to the selection of programming languages, in which case, most programming languages can ostensibly create any game's code, albeit not in as effectively a way as others. I don't know how much coding experience you've had, but it seems to me, a relative novice coder, that the coding is responsible for the depth of gameplay, since without code, there'd be no game. The impetus and stimulus would be there by the simple fact that people would be playing the game and needing resources other players would have. The rules and parameters are relatively easy to code. No system is bullet proof, but then again, whether it's in a virtual world or the real one, there'll always be people trying to screw over other people. In the real world, the SEC and other authorities would take over, in virtual worlds, there's admins.
  7. I wouldn't worry, I don't think anyone would accuse you of that after those posts Really, you have a few (understandable) preconceptions. First of all, the programming does not run the venture. The programming is not even part of the venture for anything more than it as a resource (and expendable one at that). Nor does the programming enter as a variable of decision processes. It is a resource element, it is fitted to decisions. Only in studios which have continuity issues in our industry do we see that the other way around This is the games industry. Big business. In your father's days matters would have been different. It is both interesting and sad to recognise how matters have shifted, but also how beneficial that has been (admittedly, selectively). Maxis is not going for a faithful representation of how a city works. That is part marketing, and part forgetting design decisions visible. Yes, they have made effort to present it as such, yet on the other hand Maxis like not other knows the innate limitations (of business and development) they face in such a venture. At the same time they have also made it clear that it is not going to be a representation of how a city works. It is an interaction model, pure and simple (their words by the way, from some time ago at a GDC). SC2013 is a product tailored to broad and current trends in the gaming industry. Yes, our industry does have its issues in such matters, but it is doing business according to priorities set. Never forget to seperate the marketing from the actual product. Making that mistake creates an awful lot of debates that cannot be engaged on without realising that we're dealing with perspectives that are completely subjective on the user's end, and completely dependant on strategic objectives set by the house / publisher (where the studio has about zero effective input). There will never be any way to roll with individual sims and "true" economy unless we manage to encapsulate actual humans as virtual constructs. Not even the world's best science fiction authors manage to agree on how such a concept would even work Don't expect us in the industry to get on that road anytime soon Even if we tried, I daresay half the world would be roleplaying various apocalypses in protest of such a post human aspiration. Ever seen how many economists swear they have the true economy as model or idea? It's often as bad as religeous debate. Which is only natural, because most people tend to (consciously or unconsciously) forget that it is about human beings. Proper simulation, again understandably subjective. There is no real definition possible on it. In game design we tend to deal with that "problem" on a basis of established research on what makes which type of gamer tick under what circumstances (artificial, derivative of actions, primary actions, and so forth). It's unfortunately a result of natural limitations that any such research has bottlenecks. One has to make choices and in our industry the definite trend has become that of catering first to the highest potential volume of generic players and only after that working on product elements which are actually tied to the concept of the product. Form comes first. Function must first meet strategic objectives. We see that with SC2013 very clearly, the look & feel but also the social elements as well as the preset multi and online play requirements. Either way, a "proper" simulation can not be seperated from either form or function. We can't simply say "discard graphics", because of how human beings think and are s/t/imulated (bit of a pun intended there ). Nor can we discard function to just present a derivative simulation of recorded & repeated data. For the same reason. A proper simulation will require an intrinsic balance between both form and function. And that is before any commercial considerations come in to account, considerations which tend to override that balance, because it "has to sell". And that, is visible particularly with SC2013. It is presented as simulation, is created to cater to broad generic targets as primary focus, but is a limited interaction model due to the choices in methods of how to cater to those broad generic targets. Some people see that as "meh", very often these people are of the non-leisure non-casual user categories. And very often they are clear users of SC4. It is understandable, because people operate on a basis of both expectations and established patterns (of behaviour, of play, etc). SC2013 should really just be seen as a new (not a "next", btw) product in an established franchise timed and built to cater to trends in the industry. Best people can do is wait till release, see if it gives them that special feeling, and if it does they should buy it. And if not, they should not buy it, and see after a while if things have been added that add that special feeling. This entire situation is really not that different from the issues, decisions, mistakes and smart moves surrounding the Civ V development & release by Firaxis. Actually, I have been accused of being a member of Maxis on this very forum, albeit by people whose knowledge of anything about how games are built in the first place is dubious at best. You're misinterpreting my words. The point I was making was that in programming classes, sooner or later, you learn that only so much can be computed at once before your computer bogs down. Given the technology and how the game has been built, while you cannot exactly simulate humans, where exactly have they mentioned they were simulating humans? They never claimed to be simulating humans, but rather "Sims" a "Sim"pler "Sim"ulation of humans, thus allowing for a simplified decision tree. However, the simulation of the Sims themselves will lead to a more fluid, dynamic, and interesting depth of gameplay. The economy is totally separate from the Sims, and games have been proven to be able to simulate economies in rather a realistic way. As I've said before, the reason there is such potential depth in this game's economy is due to its being online and allowing the market to establish itself, since market dynamics are self-creating, and for the most part, self-sustaining. Are you a game developer of some sort? You've used "we" when referring to the game industry, so I'd like to know why.
  8. As for the plasticky textures, I can see how that can be a bit off-putting, but they may change that before shipping to have more textures with a matte finish.
  9. I've been accused of being a member of the Maxis development team in disguise. I'm not, I can't even point Emeryville out on a map. I've made my conclusions based off all the same information as everyone else here. Where I can extrapolate what the end product will look like, is because I took two years of computer programming, and learned quite a bit from my father, who also knows computer programming. While different applications use different languages, the principles are easily translated across the spectrum of computer languages. My love of SimCity also inspired me to learn just how cities work, something I would wager Maxis spent a good deal of time studying for this game. What they're going for is a faithful representation of how a city works. Other games allow for large expanse of playable land, but in turn don't have much simulation. People think that the same thing could be done with SC13, in the beginning, I was understanding, because some people may not understand that the simulation and graphics have to work off the same amount of computer processing power.
  10. I'd like to clear something up. I would love it if there were 32 square kilometer cities available for SimCity, I'd love to have subways too. This is not possible, however, because computers are not built with infinite power. I will put this next statement bolded, underlined, and italicized, and in very simple language, so everyone can understand it: computers only have so much computing power to go around, that means that an overly large 3-D map with the level of simulation in this game is impossible at the present time. As for the "expansion of cities" I never once meant for that to be more than 16, what I was meaning was that they may allow for city size to be expanded beyond the 2x2 square kilometer limit at the beginning. Lack of true player control eh? I guess the new features, like being able to specialize in cities, building modules that can be custom placed, a complete lack of a grid, and other things don't count at all? The scale in SC13 is marginally better than SC4 as far as I've seen, and it could be better. It's not wrong per se to have a solely underground layer for subways, however, we are dealing with the bolded statement above. Not to mention the functionality of the subways is replaced by the trams. The tram takes up a bit more surface space than the subway networks have, but Maxis has also stated that the subways aren't conducive with the vision Maxis had for the game, that a player could see all their Sims going about their business and being able to see the traffic use. Occram, I like you, but an artificial economy like you propose would lead to a game with no challenge beyond the first month because by then, the economic patterns would be easily discernable to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of how an economy operates. A player-driven economy will likely be stable, it's simple law of averages, if there's 10,000 players, only one of which is a troll out to skew the market, the 9,9999 other players would balance out the troll's impact, especially if the market-control software is designed right, and with the caliber of programmers EA has, I doubt they'll botch it. Above all, I'd like to know why is it such a mortal sin for Maxis to balance this game's target market between the casual player and the established player? They've said they wanted the semblance and feel of this game to be similar to that of the original SimCity because simplicity will get a young generation of new fans, new fans are a good thing, and the young new fans have had the internet for most of their lives. Personally, I have a feeling its primarily selfishness, but that's just me..... Think of it like this: developing a game targeted at teenagers without an online component nowadays would be like shooting a television show using black and white cameras in 1977, in other words, it'd be nearly anachronistic and within a few years would be totally out of date and behind the times.
  11. That'd work, if data layers were capable of and designed for that, which all indications I've seen is they're not. Data layers are simple overlays, they're not designed to represent fine detail like the simulation is. Maybe I used the wrong word with "layer", they'd have to create an entire underground world, because I can see the whining already if they used a data layer to represent a subway. True, they would've needed to develop the underground world, which reminds me of another issue; water and electricty traveling along the roads. . I know, I know, in RL tubes and pipes and what not oftentimes run underneath the roadsurface. Still, I'd like to have seperate control over those things. Also, you might want to edit your first quote. Water and electricity were streamlined to go along with the agent basis of the simulation, had they included water pipes and electrical grids, that would have been two more agent-pathways that would need to be coded, debugged, and maintained, as well as two new potential fail-points. Most people would end up laying their water pipe under the roads anyway, and I'll go out on a limb here and say real-life mayors never, EVER get to decide where their city's utility infrastructure go, it may not even be controlled at the municipal government.
  12. Nobody knew about this game eh? So the 3D graphics, curved roads, and lack of a grid came completely out of left field. I also noticed that many people have asked for a realistic economy, as I've said, most game programmers will know that it's easier to handle user-input data than to create new data of his own, which means -gasp- multiplayer gameplay is pretty much a given. But I will take your challenge and run with it, I am going to start crunching the numbers on what everyone in the SimCity Wishlists thread asked for. It'll take some time though, stay tuned.
  13. Yeah, getting numbers is easy, since most programming languages feature a "Randomize" function to do just that, however, creating as realistic an economy as is possible with multiplayer input is incredibly difficult. Any first-year programming student can slap together a rudimentary program to "simulate" an economy, but it will never be as true a simulation as is possible with multiplayer, oh and each one of those "randomized" variables also takes power away from other aspects of the game, since computer power is finite, not infinite. That'd work, if data layers were capable of and designed for that, which all indications I've seen is they're not. Data layers are simple overlays, they're not designed to represent fine detail like the simulation is. Maybe I used the wrong word with "layer", they'd have to create an entire underground world, because I can see the whining already if they used a data layer to represent a subway.
  14. Many have said they want an offline SimCity, such a game would require much more code to adequately give the same feel of the online game’s economy. SimCity has been designed to be the first fully open-ended city-simulator that can promise completely unpredictable gameplay challenges tied into the market system, such a feature is impossible without thousands of lines of code which would rapidly bog down the performance of even the richest gamer’s rig. Another downside many have cited is the city-tile size, such a restriction prevents slower computers from bogging down, furthermore, no SimCity game has ever been to realistic scale, EVER. SimCity has always been a game that bridges gaps between demographics, and creating a game that would only be accessible to those with higher-ended systems would go against the nature of SimCity as a game with a wide appeal. Whether or not there will be a way to expand the city borders is yet to be seen, and until such is confirmed to not be in the game, deriding the game for not having it is premature. There have been hints that expansion of city tiles will be possible by release, and if not by then, it may be included in an expansion. Yet another common complaint I’ve heard the community demand from Maxis is the subways. Many have said it’s because they actually are giving us “SimSuburb”. Subways would necessitate an entire layer devoted solely to the representation of the subway tracks and trains, and the second, that players wouldn’t be able to easily see the subway working without switching to this layer. Maxis has designed this game so that players can see exactly what their city is doing with as little fuss as possible. Yes, SimCity 2013 is a deviation from the previous games, but the man who developed the idea for SimCity had, many years ago, acknowledged that the previous games had worked themselves into a niche. However, that this game is a deviation from the SimCity norm does not mean this game is destined to fail, it means this game is a different iteration of the franchise.