Jump to content
  • Hellken
    Hellken

    SimCity Blog: Sandbox Mode

    Hello, Mayors! I’m Lead Gameplay Scripter Guillaume Pierre, also known as MaxisGuillaume on the forums, and I’m here today to talk about an often requested feature by fans: sandbox mode.

    Choosing to set a new region in sandbox mode is like entering a gentler version of SimCity. Each city starts with a truck-load of Simoleons, with the possibility to add more via a key press, and although the simulation functions just like in the regular game, certain “pushback” systems can be toggled on and off at any time. Say you don’t want fires to burn down your beautifully-planned suburb? It’s as easy as hitting “Alt F” on your keyboard to eliminate all fires. Don’t want earthquakes or meteors to strike in the middle of your downtown? Just press “Alt D” and you’ll be safe from all disasters!

    Of course, when you’re being granted such great powers, you’re also opting out of the competitive aspects of SimCity: You can’t earn achievements, participate in challenges or the leaderboards, and all your trades to the global market don’t count towards setting the prices of goods.

    sandbox.gif

    On the other hand, all the cooperative and creative aspects of the game still shine: Region play and chat with friends for the social players, screenshot and video capture for the story-tellers, and a remarkable learning opportunity for beginning players. With all the buildings in the game unlocked from the get-go, sandbox mode is going to be a terrific way to explore the content the game has to offer, study the best way to lay out your city in a care-free environment, and test out strategies before applying them for a challenge or to climb up the leaderboards in the regular game.



    User Feedback




    I like the part where they make it sound as if not being on the leaderboards and in competitive gameplay is a downside rather than a plus to the sandbox mode.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This would have actually sold me on the game if it offered larger city sizes and offline play... but sadly it doesn't seem that way.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Sandbox mode seems to be a developer debugging convenience that they have decided to let users have as a result of all the screaming for off-line play.

    I don't give a tinker's **** for their "competitive leaderboards" and all that silly guff. This little feature won't get me to cough up my bucks for this tiny little simultation.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Sandbox mode seems to be a developer debugging convenience that they have decided to let users have as a result of all the screaming for off-line play.

    I don't give a tinker's **** for their "competitive leaderboards" and all that silly guff. This little feature won't get me to cough up my bucks for this tiny little simultation.

    Emphasis on tiny simulation.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Did you guys notice the way the city borders are defined in that image? Zoom in and if yellow is the boundary as it was in the Beta then we will have non-square regions! Look how it curves around the forest, river, etc.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It is nice to see a sandbox mode. I feel that, the ones here on ST that do decide on playing SC2013 will end up using sandbox mode the most. I fact I'll go as far as say that most of us feel this mode should be the main mode of SC2013.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have a feeling sandbox would be okay if there is an option to play offline. Since you are not connected to the market and leaderboard why should is it still always - online?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    @Hellken

    I'm not wanting to start a discussion nor offend anyone, but I think that the allways online system of this simcity is absolutely necessary due to the gigantic workload that the glassbox engine generates. The fact that every little "agent" is individually simulated creates an immense amount of work that would be impossible to process by current personal computers available in the market. that's why they need the allways online system, to transfer a lot of that work to a cloud-based server datacenter with hardware capabilities way beyond anything available to the common citizen.

    I understand all the debate about this allways online stuff, and I get it why we gamers feel disconfortable with this type of systems (I feel disconfortable to). But the "simulation depth" of the glassbox really forces Maxis to go this way (not including the obvious EA pressure on Maxis).

    About the sandbox mode, i think its a normal response to all the "negative marketing" that the game is having on us "hardcore fans". I think that this mode is going to be the way for Maxis to allow us to fill this game with mods without unbalancing the leaderboards and regional challenges.

    Having said that, I would like to see if Maxis comes up with a way for communities like Simtropolis, SC4Devotion, SimPeg, etc. to evaluate and submit a couple of balanced mods to Maxis for approval in order to be incorporated in "leaderboard mode".

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Maxis and EA. please put more time in developing the game and less in Propaganda. since u first need a good game to make advertations for it ;-)

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    they just keep coming up with more and more concessions to try to combat the limitations that their decision to make it server-based is causing. Except the obvious one...don't make it server-based.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Did you guys notice the way the city borders are defined in that image? Zoom in and if yellow is the boundary as it was in the Beta then we will have non-square regions! Look how it curves around the forest, river, etc.

    Nope. Those yellow lines are the highways, and the grey is rail. Yes they look like a mess, and only tie together three 'cities' and a great work site.

    Ugly, I know.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    they just keep coming up with more and more concessions to try to combat the limitations that their decision to make it server-based is causing. Except the obvious one...don't make it server-based.

    You're right. Should be start bargaining for more concessions then? Discounts? :-)

    Would they go as far as selling the offline single-player (sandbox) option for twice the price?

    I'm not wanting to start a discussion nor offend anyone, but I think that the allways online system of this simcity is absolutely necessary due to the gigantic workload that the glassbox engine generates...

    In an interview to a Dutch reporter the Maxis guy (not Guillaume) says it's mostly the multiplayer that causes the always-online restriction because the multiplayer is very resource-consuming. Safe to assume that single-player is not.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    There is nothing about how the data flow goes on the link. I think with the limitations that have been imposed any current machine could run this without the server.

    I get the impression that the server is strictly for gathering stuff for multiplayer mode (statistics) to create the leaderboards. I don't think that any processing of the cities can be done on the servers because they cannot rely on the link speed. Little XML packets containing summaries taken at some snapshot interval will be what the link is used for.

    EA is taking baby steps in collaborative processing. Transaction processing on a massive scale over the Internet has been going on for many, many years, and over private networks even longer. One project in which I was involved used TCP/IP interfaced to an ISO/X.25 network successfully in the late 1980s, so they are away behind on both data flow design, and the real world of computing.

    Generally speaking, I am not willing to particpate in getting them up to speed on this. They are not listening to the right parts of the industry. Gaming is nothing special.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    @Hellken

    I'm not wanting to start a discussion nor offend anyone, but I think that the allways online system of this simcity is absolutely necessary due to the gigantic workload that the glassbox engine generates. The fact that every little "agent" is individually simulated creates an immense amount of work that would be impossible to process by current personal computers available in the market. that's why they need the allways online system, to transfer a lot of that work to a cloud-based server datacenter with hardware capabilities way beyond anything available to the common citizen.

    I understand all the debate about this allways online stuff, and I get it why we gamers feel disconfortable with this type of systems (I feel disconfortable to). But the "simulation depth" of the glassbox really forces Maxis to go this way (not including the obvious EA pressure on Maxis).

    About the sandbox mode, i think its a normal response to all the "negative marketing" that the game is having on us "hardcore fans". I think that this mode is going to be the way for Maxis to allow us to fill this game with mods without unbalancing the leaderboards and regional challenges.

    Having said that, I would like to see if Maxis comes up with a way for communities like Simtropolis, SC4Devotion, SimPeg, etc. to evaluate and submit a couple of balanced mods to Maxis for approval in order to be incorporated in "leaderboard mode".

    You can't have both unfortunately. I highly doubt Maxis would really allow in depth modding considering that this game is online. It might be tantamount to "cheating" the leaderboards. One of the great things about offline SC4 is that you can always create a test region to test a mod. If anything goes wrong, you can always load your previous save. Since this game is online, everything you do is permanent. You cannot load saves. You cannot create a test region if you max out your save slots. Sandbox mode is OK. I just wish it was offline without save restrictions.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an Account  

    Sign up to join our friendly community. It's easy!  

    Register a New Account

    Sign In  

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now


×

Help Keep Simtropolis Online, Open & Free!

stexcollection-header.png

Would you be able to help us catch up after a bit of a shortfall?

We had a small shortfall last month. Your donation today would help us catch up for this month.

Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

We need to continue to raise enough money each month to pay for expenses which includes hardware, bandwidth, software licenses, support licenses and other necessary 3rd party costs.

By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

More About STEX Collections