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So how do you insult a city builder game?

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I have played war/strategy games for years.  Games were often said to be:

"grog" - from the French "grognard" (Napoleon's old grumblers; the real soldiers) ... for games meaning serious stuff

"beer and pretzels" - meaning combat comics for those of limited intellectual capacity

So, I have seen it thrown around from time to time that CS is a "city painter"; meant as insult in the sense that it is deficient.

Being relatively new to this genre ... what other good city builder insults are part of this hobby?


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Well, I think for SC4 you could basically call it 'unfinished' given the fact that it basically doesnt work without NAM traffic controller.

I do remember hearing he 2013 Simcity be referred to as 'Simtown' given the teeny-tiny space you actually were allowed to build your city in but i'm not sure the genre is really big enough for us to really drive wedges in order to make ever finer seams of definition!

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Yeah, the number of good city builders that are on the scope of SimCity can basically be counted on one hand. C:S I would actually put on that list, but it does limit the kind of criticism you can put on a game/genre when there's only a handful of examples.

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C:S is less obviously represented by its players in terms of its management and programming structure.   SC4 players are usually more prominent in expression of technical details because there is a following of SC4 and the SC series that goes back to the 1980's when graphics were mostly limited to ASCII-like primary color blocks.

C:S is the state of the art of City-Builders graphically, but requires vastly more computing power and visual space than what is found on the devices now more popular than desktop computers.   Many people are playing SimCity Build-it on a handheld or tablet.

The general limit of the interest of people in complex gameplay was seemingly realized in SC5 (2013) which requires massive effort and time by several players over many sessions to achieve its goals. 

C:S is apparently a balance of entertainment and recreation for most players, and SC4 is a balance of technical detail and 'city painting' for others.  

In the 'shooter' game genre, Call of Duty was and probably still is the standard.  I was immersed in CoD for about 2 years with full communication gear, and the level of pure-form social technical skill some of us achieved would probably exceed the actual capability of any military organization in the real world, but of course the bullets and blood are only phantoms in virtual reality.

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20 hours ago, RandyE said:

C:S is the state of the art of City-Builders graphically

Really? Because state of the art is not what I'd call it, not by a long margin. It's fully 3D, that's all. Even the best quality stuff released so far, doesn't come close to the details we could have years ago using SC4. Everyone seems to think that eventually computers will catch up allowing for C:S to surpass SC4, but that's actually real unlikely. Why? Simple really, because an Isometric game such as SC4 is simply orders of magnitude more efficient than full 3D can ever be. The sort of computing power required to match what SC4 can do, but in 3D, won't likely be around for many years to come, if at all in the short-medium term. The processes used to improve CPUs and GPUs are starting to hit the limits of what current manufacturing is able to handle already.

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52 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

Really? Because state of the art is not what I'd call it

I agree the isometric graphics are far more useful technically and so also reflect a 'beauty' that people who appreciate the geometry and design would prefer.  Reading some of the essays generated by SC4 players on this site is more like attending college than going to a movie theater and immersing in a fantasy where the technical details are all behind the scenes.     

If I say 'Lets Play SC4' I immediately get replies from hobbyists who could probably successfully manage an air-traffic control tower in the busiest airport.  If I say 'Lets Play C:S' I need to first go and start a GoFundme account to purchase $3000 fully-loaded gaming computers for everybody running C:S so we can enjoy the movies on an equal playing field.  

So to correct my own terms, I mean 'state of the art' graphically for the consumer market of 3D home computer gaming, not so much for City-Builder 'simulations'.   These are not either 'immersive' or VR simulators, they're not IMAX either, so state of the art for the tech. they are graphically. 

Cities Skylines is not the most advanced graphically, at least not developmentally, in the commercial market, but I don't see anything yet being mass marketed in North America that is more advanced. 

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  • Original Poster
  • I love old games.

    It is a sad truth that AI has not improved over the years commensurate with hardware.

    So, graphics have followed Moores Law, but not AI.  (Or in the case of something like SC, then simulation as opposed to OPFOR AI.)

    Graphics have always driven the games market.  Yes, computers are hitting the walls of physics.  So, we see multiple cores and parallelism as opposed to faster instruction processing.  But few applications and few games make any use of it.  A good example for applications is video editing can speed up linearly with each new physical core.  A good example for games is chess.  There are chess engines that show the same linear speed jump.  But most games are determined by a single core and the GPU.

    So, we had this trend which always emphasized graphics over AI/game play.

    Popular culture has made this worse.  The smart phone has produced a generation of multi-taskers.  (Humans don't actually multi-task well.  Psych studies show they simply handle many things poorly.  Without a PhD, you just need to look at highway accidents to see this.)  We now live in a culture where the ability to concentrate and focus intellect has been reduced.  I think we see it in our hobbies; which include games.

    Yes, not the entire market is like this.  But only indie developers blow everything on craft and art.  Business go for ROI ... so, the hardcore gamers come up short.

    Finally, an excellent proof of what a difference graphics make.  A few years back, the market for submarine simulations was stone cold dead.  Why?  A submarine really doesn't have much in the way of epic visuals (compared to a flight sim).  Then some European studio realized that they would make a subsim with the visuals of a flight sim.  In particular, the water had to be beautiful.  You got Silent Hunter 3, and it sold.  (But in many ways, the classic AOD {Aces of the Deep} was a better game.)

    Last night, I looked at SC4 and CS side by side.  For the hardcore players, SC4 still has a lot of mileage left in it.

    Finally, I see SC4 as a product of the Golden Age of PC games.  (even though released 2003)  The Golden Age was the 90s.  New genres were being born constantly; not we have safe templates to follow.  Will Wright, Sid Meier, and others were pioneering entirely new models of game play.  They were not simply porting board games to PCs, but makings games that could only exist on PC.  Budgets and teams and returns had yet to become huge.  You could gamble on ideas.

    SC4 although 2003 was born out of the culture and formula of 1990s and golden age of PC gaming.

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    On 29.3.2017 at 5:44 PM, rsc204 said:

    Really? Because state of the art is not what I'd call it, not by a long margin. It's fully 3D, that's all. Even the best quality stuff released so far, doesn't come close to the details we could have years ago using SC4.

    I have to agree here! The detail work on BATs released by our experienced members is just incredible. And to do this, it needs time and patience to grow the experience. I've never played C:S, and I've to say, the screenshots from ingame prevent me from buying it... 3D is not all, at least for me. *:D And on top of it, the newer city builders are simple said NOT complex enough! I understand the idea to create a game, that is "casual" and simple enough to convince every player to try it. But that comes with a price, right? Don't get me wrong here, I think, C:S is a great game, but with all the mods and extensions we have created here for SC4, it is hard to find anything, that is close to it... Some people would say, we are spoiled... *:ohyes: Yes, we are!

    Kind regards!

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