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The Bluejay

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  1. Expansion packs for SimCity

    There'll probably be an oribtal bombardment of DLC. As I understand it, the game is releasing with two DLCs - Some Heroes and Villians thingy, and a Stereotypes of Europe set. Doubtless they'll follow it up with a variety of other building sets in order to diversify the game from Techo-California into Techno-California-with-like-a-pagoda-and-some-stuff-over-in-this-corner. As for a proper, old style expansion pack, probably not. But then, they still release expansion packs from the Sims 3, so who knows?
  2. Takeaways from the Haber Interview at Gamescom

    I wish Yahtzee did these preview interviews. Even if it didn't result in any interesting information, it would be frightfully satisfying.
  3. On the one hand, I agree that these are only test cities - but I must admit it is rather odd that every single shown example of a city so far has been both very small and very similar in dimension. There must be a reason for this - they'd need to build right up to city limits to properly stress-test the game, so why not show those? They'd look far more impressive. It's very curious.
  4. You're missing something. How, in many of the trailers and screens, they showcase all the DISASTERS and MONSTERS and MAYHEM that one can (probably) choose to wreak on their citizens (OR their so-called friends' citizens )? I'd say that would appeal to the more casual, adrenaline-driven gamers that are everywhere out there. One almost wonders whether this will be a city-builder or a city-demolisher. Whether you like my wording or not (don't appreciate your subtle snide-ness btw), the normal gamer DOES typically have a very low level of attention, patience and creativity when it comes to gaming. And whether you like it or not, EA will try to appeal to at least some of the more open-minded of that group. I know some folks here like to think that the ST community calls all of the shots, but that's not the case. This game will most likely be yet another victim of the new gaming industry standard of profit over quality. One more thing - remember that game that nobody likes around here? SimCity Societies certainly wasn't received favorably by this community, and it didn't get nearly as many positive reviews as SC4 did, but it was still considered a success (sales-wise). Why? Because they simplified the game to the point where some casual, low-attention-span gamers (actually the game was marketed towards children as well and was most likely a success in that department) looked at the box/saw it online and thought it was worth buying. Doesn't matter what they thought of it in the end, it's the sales that count. I'm guessing SC2013 will be no different - they will market it to try and appeal to the broader audience, and in order to do that they will try to dumb it down at least a little, which will end up making it over-simplified. Even if it doesn't sell as much as SC4 (which may or may not happen; we'll see), as long as it makes them money, they don't care what we think. Yeah, this is a "niche" market, it always has been. Thus, if they can get some broader appeal (and thus more sales), they would gladly sell out the niche fanbase; heck, they already have. In fact, in the initial few weeks Maxis wouldn't shut up about how this was going to re-invent the fanchise, the citybuilding genre, and bring it more mass-appeal, and that is indeed what they're trying to do, for better or worse. Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I just happened to stumble upon the list of best selling PC games with sales figures for Sim City 4 - it shifted 2 million units, making it the second most selling city builder (SC3K is top, shifting 5 million) As for Societies? Well, the list doesn't show any games that sold below 1 million units. Societies is not on the list, which to me rather indicates that it did not sell so well as you say. In fact, none of the recent attempts to casualise city builders are on the list at all, which I think rather supports my argument that trying to diversify a niche game is an excercise in futility. I'm sorry you didn't like my snide tone, but then I don't like this elitist "In my day, games and gamers were so incomprehensibly superior to these pew-pew modern games with their shiny graphics and their 6.4 million Minecraft sales" attitude that so many seem to have, because it's ridiculous and rooted in nostalgia instead of facts. Minecraft, as referenced previously, has a rather impressive sales count of 6.4 million units shifted, is entirely a product of modern gaming, and has been successful precisely because it allows players to make use of their creativity and patience more than any other game out there.
  5. Some thoughts on the past few day

    People keep saying "Oh it's not a seqel to SC4; they never said they'd make one!" as if that somehow makes the game better. Sadly, it does not. The criticism does not stem from some tribal loyalty to SC4, it stems from the simple fact that the game being shown does not look fun. The inability to create cohesive regions does not look fun, the pre-determined transit layout does not look fun, the size constraint does not look fun and the always online compenent definitely does not look fun. We're all fine with change, as long as it's positive change. You say we could have all the features in the world and yet not have fun, and this is true. However, the features of a game form an extremely large component of the gameplay, and important ones being missing severely limits the amount of fun one can have. You also pointed out that city-building is currently unfashionable, which is again true. Unfortunately, it is largely unfashionable because other attempts at city-building games have been almost unmitigated failures. People keep saying "oh EA have to appeal to the casual market or it won't sell, face it, the new generation is awful, back in my day..." and so forth. I don't think that's true at all, and I don't think people should buy into this myth of "Things have to be simplified to sell well" that's put about by marketing departments. The failed city-builder games in recent years all shared this belief, and they all flopped. Meanwhile, the Sims series and Minecraft - both games which use simple mechanics to allow users to create complex creations - maintain their position on the most sold games list, along with SC3K and Sim City 4.
  6. I think there's a good chance that EAxis's PR and Marketing departments have noticed the discontent and are running around like headless chickens trying to either mitigate or cover it up (I'm fairly sure that's what spurred the community interviews, ironically enough) but will there be any acknowledgement? Of course not; they still want to sell this game, and a statement that says "Yeah, people hate it" is not exactly going to engender much confidence. Unfortunately, there won't be any changes either. The game is far too advanced for radical change, and EA have always gone for a stick-their-heels-in approach to criticism.
  7. That's because the "normal" gamer out there has an attention span of a three-year old. Thus, they have not the patience nor the creativity to build anything larger than what you see in that picture. That's why Maxis is doing this. As much as some fanboys can't accept, Maxis is still driving to make a profit, and, believe it or not, the folks here on ST are in the sheer minority when it comes to the potential consumer base this game will have. Perhaps not entirely. What you just said is exactly what EA - and lets be honest, we all know exactly who are calling the shots here - think about Sim City, and about gaming in general. But it's not necessarily the case, especially here. City builders are pretty niche by definition, and there's only so much dumbing down and marketing can do to expand the consumer base here - if you are a "normal gamer" who has the "attention span of a three year old" (Hello, elitism) then why exactly would you spend whatever ridiculous number they've slapped on here on a city builder when there are plenty of other, shiner and shootier games just across the aisle, regardless of how much the city builder has been simplified? By all accounts, dumbing down niche games leads only to poor sales - niche games are niche, and there's not much one can do about it.
  8. One rather has to wonder how they could possibly get it so wrong. They've spent 9 years seeing how the community plays, what sort of thing is popular and what isn't - I daresay that absolutely nobody plays like this. It's a ridiculous limitation that stems from this equally ridiculous focus on multiplayer - and it can't be that hard to come up with a better solution! There, however, a chance we might be able to get our hands on some form of map editor (a la the Sims 3 World Builder, perhaps?) which will allow us to build the region and transport network ourselves. Limited and clunky, but better than nothing. May even be possible to site cities next to eachother. That said, the job of the community is to extend and enjoy, not spend time fixing stupid design descisions.
  9. SimCity Social

    As far as Facebook games go, it's perfectly decent. One oughtn't be misled by the name; it's absolutely not a Sim City game in the same sense as the others and oughn't be reviewed as such. Blasting a game explicitly designed to be a social game for being a social game seems a little unfair, especially while an actual Sim City is being developed at the same time. Also, IIRC, SimsSocial is the fastest growing game on Facebook at the moment and is quite a success.
  10. Chapter 2: The Bureau

    Chapter 2: The Bureau click for full size! “What are you doing looking up my skirt! You’re peeping! Skirt peeper, skirt peeper! Constable!” Max hastily rolled out from under the bench and away from the threatening umbrella. Fortunately for him, before he had time to say anything, the constable arrived – a tall man in blue who seemed to be about 90% moustache and the rest beady eyes. “Constable! This – boy! – was peeping at my sensitive undergarments from beneath that bench!” Truthfully, and considering the age of the victim, this was an outlandish claim. Her general appearance was one of propriety and respectability so stiff that one could beat a presumptuous chambermaid with it. The constable turned and considered the strange specimen with spiky hair and a most insufficient suit that was standing – albeit barely - in front of him. “You’ve no idea where you are, do you boy?” Max shook his head. He didn’t particularly want to open his mouth at this point – who knows what might have come out. The constable frowned at him. “It is my consideration, ma’am, that this boy is very recently fallen to the area, and should be excused breaches in conduct pending transportation to the Bureau.” The Respectable Matron didn’t seem particularly pleased with this development. “These fallen! Why, they get away with absolutely anything around here. It’s victimisation of the cityborn, that’s what it is.” “Nevertheless, madam.” And that, as far as the constable was concerned, was that. It is fairly difficult to argue with a single “Nevertheless”, after all, and the Respectable Matron secretly relished the opportunity to set this castaway ruffian in exactly the right path. She peered down at the boy, who still looked a little green. “Come along then, boy. And if you feel suddenly nauseated, for heaven’s sake turn away from me. I do not want some frightful surface disease. Do you have a name?” Max peeled himself of the ground and told the Respectable Matron that his name was “Max” and then having opened his mouth to speak quickly resolved never to do so again. “Max, then? Hmm. Latin. It’ll do. Up!” She threatened him with the umbrella again. “I’m taking you to the Bureau. And thank you, Constable” she nodded to the sonorous police officer and bustled away in a cloud of brisk purpose. “Right” intoned Max, as he attempted to follow the rapidly moving Matron. “The bureau?” “The Bureau!” corrected the Matron, whose sensitive ears had detected the lack of proper capitalisation immediately. Onto this tram, now - have you not seen one of these before? The Fallen Person’s Bureau. They take in waifs like you and civilise them and” she sniffed, spotting Max’s impending retort “teach you some manners.” The tram route took them past the central station, which the Respectable Matron eyed with considerable dislike. Designed by a Fallen, of all things, and so vulgar! All those arches - spires are the thing. Only an uncivilised Fallen would go for arches over the proper Imperial Spires. “This happens a lot? And where is this place?” “East Carmine. Yes. Too much, in fact, you people get everywhere. Taking jobs and homes from respectable cityborn, voting for the socialists in our elections. No more questions! The Bureau is just a few stops away; I’m sure they’ll tell you everything you need. “ The tram pulled into Hangman's Way Station. It was by now getting on for evening, and the setting sun was casting a tastelessly pink light over the buildings. Sadly, the hue failed to make the Bureau look any less intimidating. Spanning a complex of three separate buildings (with plans afoot to convert the last holdout housing block into yet more office space) civil servants hurried back and forth in frock coats, trailing papers and bewildered people in a colourful variety of clothing. And shapes. Gods, does that one have tentacles? “The Bureau, they’ll take care of you. Main office in the buildings with the large clock tower, and try and avoid making your way underground. I’ve wasted the whole afternoon taking care of you, and I don’t want to utterly waste it by having you fall victim to the Statues, surface-though-you-may-be.” “Good evening” she added, before pushing him out of the tram and retiring to her seat, where she could get back to glaring at youth and arches. "Well." said Max. It about summed everything up. /plot This is where one assumes the Respectable Matron might live. The blocks are comfortable, if a little cramped, but the setting is highly sought after and the nearby terraces have backgardens attached, which is quite a novelty in this New Carnelian. The trains are, however, always late. And they are often late due to the students of this very University, in fact. Through either accidents or intentional shenannigans, the university often seems to be at the heart of any disruptions in the city. The academics, of course, claim that this is the price to pay for scientific advances, and they managed to find that woman. Eventually. Orial, as you can see from the modern building lurking behind the campus, intended to set up an office to keep a watchful eye on the actions of the academics, but have ended up with slightly more than they bargained for. Or rather, slightly less, if one considers the notable abscence of intact windows and the curious habit of secretaries to suddenly catch fire or run screaming into the shrubbery. The price to pay!
  11. I hardly ever get that building! You're frightfully lucky. Short of removing the plugin, there's really not much you can do. The best solutition would be to download a lot more 1x2 and 1x1 lots, which should add variety - I'm not sure I'd recommend the Skipjack ones, though - as lovely as they are, I had the same problem with them to the point I had to remove them.
  12. What "Day One" features do you require?

    Proper region play is a must for me, or I'm out. I've yet to decide whether or not the lack of ability to save has already torpedo'd my chances of buying.
  13. SimCity at E3 2012

    They are trams/trolleys, highway dividers look completely different. You can see stations in this shot and the actual tram in another, \ EA are putting in flexible transport from the beginning? There has to be a catch.
  14. SimCity at E3 2012

    No, those aren't trams, they're highway dividers. You can see it more clearly in the trailer.
  15. I thought 'plastic' when I looked at the images. Looks like a PlayMobile 'childrens toy mat'. Also I sure hope they make more props for the lots... (besides a few lego trees) the lotting is looking very bare. Not to mention the gaps between the lots! I know Maxis is California-centric, but this is ridiculous. Most places in the world don't leave spaces for a Hummer to pass between each building. You're right about props - everything looks bare.