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  1. SimCity 4 is nearing its seventh birthday [January 14, 2003], since then, a lot has happened in the computing world. Multi-core processors have hit the mainstream. We can stream high definition movies from the internet. We are stretching the capabilities of this game further and cleverer than anyone at Maxis/EA could've possibly imagined. And the end of it all, our appetites fuelled by great feats of mod engineering, we can only wonder, what next? How can they possibly top this, seven years of continuous and encouraging support? So that's what this Long Wall o' Text is for. This post is to collect various points that this game can be advanced, as well as examine the meta-components that make this game still great. Being a very, very, very complex game, there's no way I will address a fraction of the issues, or even correctly address all the issues, so your comments are greatly appreciated. Computer Engineering ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- True Multi-Core and Graphics processor support. Separate the rendering, pathfinding, condition-matching, interfacing so each core will be utilized. Lots of Commuters = Lots of opportunities to parallelize the problem. Procedurally Generated Units. This Paper from Siggraph demonstrates that given certain context rules, the system can create a realistic and logical building. This can also be extended to landscapes and foliage. It would truly be a wonderful feat if everyone's computer can do this on the fly a la Pixel City, but staying within the realm of possibility we can run it as a background utility while the game is running. Or offer it as an online DLC *shudder*, or more appropriately as a plug in for the BAT. Keep DX/GL compatability in mind. The average layman upgrades his computer every 4-5 years. Even those computers have wildly different specs. Current Games have to support DX 8 all the way to DX 11, although the lower the game runs at, the more computers can run it. Moddable. Molding the game to suit your needs is the reason Simtropolis is about and kicking. Make it relatively simple for the user to reach in and add/remove content. QED Game Mechanics ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Give the Fundamentals of the Game right out of the box. Nothing ticks off players more than trying to segment the market by giving the super-awesome-fun features to continually paying customers. Some people just want to buy the game ONCE. DLC should offer no absolute advantage. Too Much Choice is just as bad as No Choice. Generic Difficulty and immersion levels are a must, with some levels having more parameters and control problems, and having varying levels of forgiveness. Introduce new players with simple concepts and build up slowly but surely. Give Players the power to change their game on the fly. Maybe starting on easy was the wrong choice, since you want to now include realistic commute times to the simulation. Or maybe you didn't like the reduced garbage output on Medium mod. Or maybe you want your city to have 'realistic' population/household numbers. Help the players when they need it, but don't babysit them. Plopping down that newest police station might be a grand idea, but then a little popup informs you: "Caution, our budget will go into deficit if this station is added, place lot again to ignore." This gives a player a chance to do something else, or he could just plop it where he wanted it to, budget or no. Inform the Player, do not overwhelm them. Worries and issues should be as short as possible, becoming more detailed if the player requests it. "Commute times are too long" becomes "Traffic Problems in the North and West Neighbor Connections". "Schools are unsatisfactory" becomes "This School in this neighborhood is having issues with local crime" Let the player make mistakes. A 'blueprint' mode would let the player 'plot out' big projects [Highways and bridges anyone?]. Any changes would be highlighted as new things. Most importantly the player is informed of the tab for the TOTAL cost of the project, building and demolishing the same piece of road in blue print would have no effect on the end price. The player can then accept the changes and the blue print is executed and billed, or the player can cancel the blueprint and the city reverts to its original state. Let the player be creative. Trees parks and wildlife can be manipulated to one's content. Give the Player a self-imposed challenge. Issue a bond for additional cash, but the money can only be used for certain projects or buildings [a separate tab that is deducted when using those buildings, instead of your regular budget]. But the trade off is that you have to fulfill an obligation. An example would be to accept 150K to build police stations and educate the citizens to reduce crime by 75%, or accept 500K to build a subway system that would reduce traffic commute time to 45 minutes or less. Going even more above this, a great feature would be to randomly generate cities, and create victory parameters for the player to acheive in a certain number of years, like modernize a coal town or convert a slum beach into a tropical resort. Social Mechanics ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Give Players an Incentive to Compete, but not to Cheat. Bragging rights are ok. Money and exclusive content is not. Give Players something to be proud of. Let players show off their aesthetic artisanship, their sheer industrial know how, their cunning traffic patterns. Give Players a reason to cooperate, but do not punish them for going alone. Cooperation comes in many forms, players can form communities where their regions could form a superstate, swap utilities or just have their football teams go head-head in the SimBowl. And More ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Achievements! Like grow the World Trade Centers. Have 10% or less of commuters use their cars in a city >100K people. More bragging rights or off the wall ways of playing the game. Humor. Sizeable amount of the draw is the willingness to discard some of the realism and just have fun Teach the Player, expand his horizons! Articles or links to Architecture, Urban Design and theory, or even history as supplemental materials. Be willing to drop anything just for flow and intuition. Players are meant to enjoy the game. So there's my rant, please add your own. And thanks for reading.
  2. Growable Lots on STEX

    Thank you very, very much. Just as I thought, the process of converting Plop->Grow is fairly meticulous and long indeed. Ah well. Time to start learning the Plugin/Lot Editor and SUM Nothing ventured, Nothing Gained. Would it be fair play if I re-posted "Worthwhile" plops as growables on the STEX? (the original author would still be credited of course)
  3. "stages" ?

    See this website for population requirements for stages. Residential and Commerical Office can reach stage 8 [massive high rises] Whereas Industry is sorely stuck at 3. Stages Cheers IMBW267
  4. Hey All. Relatively new to the site, but my SC4 experience is made richer by the NAM (awesome), and other really cool mods and plugins. I want to create more variety in my city with more different types of structures (RCI). But looking through the BAT and Lot list, many of the beautiful offerings are "Plops". ... I don't just want to put buildings down, I want to see them grow. Subtle difference being culturing an orchid from a trimming or buying a mature one from the store. So is there a search feature I am sorely missing to distinguish Plops and Growables? Or better yet, are there instruction on converting the plops into actual RCI growables that will only mature when the conditions are right? Thanks for your answers