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    Can Americans Still Make SimCity?

    (1up.com) Japanese developers consistently create excellent SimCity games, while EA's internal efforts fail more often than not.

    Fans still fondly remember the Nintendo-developed SNES SimCity -- particularly in Japan where few players had the chance to play it on a PC -- because it managed to add a much needed layer of humor, character, and style to the iconic yet slightly bland original now known as SimCity: Classic. The series went on to inspire console and handheld sequels from Japanese developers, including SimCity 64 (N64DD), SimCity DS, and SimCity Creator (Wii). All of these titles take their immediate inspiration from the SNES version and capture at least some of its magic.

    Meanwhile, in the West, EA hasn't produced their own PC SimCity game since 2006's disastrous SimCity Societies, which, like all other EA attempts to dumb-down the series, failed to excite fans, critics, or anyone else. In retrospect, the game ranks somewhere between SimTown and SimRefinery in annals of the franchise's history. Even excluding Societies, EA's treatment of the series hardly gives fans reason for hope; the publisher's willingness to port shoddy versions of the game based on the aging SimCity 4 hardly qualifies as inspiring.

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    EA has been concentrating on the quick buck. I think it will be some new console/social media game that may very well have nothing to do with SimCity at all. Hiring at Maxis for console guruzim simply means they are staffing up for a new project.

    The only thing EA could do for us would be a set of fixes for the current CTD problems, and that will probably need a thorough debug and recompile, which won't happen because there is not much revenue, if any, in it, just a lot of expense.

    When has EA ever made a game on its own that had any longevity? Remember, they acquired the financially failing Maxis just at the critical release time for SC4.

    Writing simulations is not very difficult. What is difficult is coordinating a simulation with a graphics system that shows what the simulation is doing. Doing this on a PC, even today, is a major effort. The simulation is not allowed to run free, but must hold itself down to the pace of the frame buffers.

    We have all noticed that SC4 gets in trouble when you pass the knee of the simulation curve (an exponential hyperbola by the way) when the number of objects in the simulation becomes large enough. You soon get into mainframe territory as an individual city tile gets very loaded.

    A fully debugged expansion pack for SC4 would probably sell well. Just complete a few of the things that were left hanging, remove the My Sims to some kind of outside process and you might be able to make some more money from this old mare and even give it a few more years. The important thing here would be to maintain the plugins interface. A new EP could include the carrying of freight over city boundaries for example. You would have to find a termination for the freight, which could introduce some new destination objects, for example, distribution centers.

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    if they dont want to do an EP, they should at least allow the community to make one.. an EP could be used as a litmus test for a new game.

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