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  1. Engineering SimCity for Offline Play

    So glad this is coming but I just can't help but imagine... instead of spending 6.5 months to re-engineer something to be offline when it arguably "should" have been offline in the first place, and instead putting 6.5 extra development months making the engine and game more kick-ass... we'd have a kick-ass game today? Still, good move Maxis... I hope this doesn't imply an EA exit strategy that once we get offline, and mod support, that's it for future development...
  2. IGN - Cities of Tomorrow Review

    SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow moves the city-builder forward with an interesting new layer of interdependent systems. The thing about OmegaCo and the Academy, however, is that although they are supposed to be futuristic, they don’t feel all that different from existing specializations. OmegaCo uses oil and ore to manufacture the addictive mystery substance Omega, so the city I built around it was basically a hybrid mining-drilling city except with more neon lights. The Academy, on the other hand, works similarly to the university in that it converts nearby industry to high tech, and the Academy city I built looked a lot like a typical “green” education-focused city. (Side note: the Academy requires high-wealth workers instead of educated ones, which I found to be a bit weird.) My cities didn’t start to feel new until I incorporated the third but by far most interesting specialization, MegaTowers. They’re enormous skyscrapers that you build one level at a time, and because levels can be dedicated to anything from apartments to offices to parks to new technologies, you can customize them to fit your cities’ needs. They don’t make cities physically larger (the small lot size remains woefully unaddressed), but they do let you build up instead of out and can hold large populations, leaving you more space for other things. Plus, if you plan them right, they can even be completely self-sustaining. That way, the Sims living there never have to leave (insert evil mayoral laughter here) and therefore won’t clog up already congested roads. Staying inside forever is the way of the future! ... After being stuck behind menu screens, unmanageable traffic, and general bugginess for quite some time, SimCity is finally moving forward. Cities of Tomorrow provides plenty to remind returning ones what SimCity is capable of, and it’s certainly something to behold. Some parts of the future are stuck in the past, but it’s strikingly well-balanced, providing solutions for existing problems and new toys to tinker with that counteract each other nicely. 7.5 Good. Full review: http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/11/20/simcity-cities-of-tomorrow
  3. Gamespot: SimCity - Cities of Tomorrow Review

    Cities of Tomorrow is something of a "more of the same" add-on. SimCity gameplay has been preserved for the most part, but accentuated with futuristic touches and technology that allow you to take your towns into the future. Granted, this is a future that still features ridiculously small city borders, an unhealthy emphasis on multiplayer, and the same old always-on Internet connection that alienated so many fans last spring, but hey, it's got all that plus mag-lev trains and robot drones now, so take the good future with the bad future. You're left with a game that hides the same dissatisfying experience under a more attractive surface. All of the tweaks in this add-on collectively let you evolve past the current era into a shimmery future that represents the later 21st century and beyond. The biggest symbol of this leap forward is the MegaTower, a cloud-touching superstructure that lets you fit almost all city accommodations and services under one roof. Forget about the crippled zoning mechanics in the original SimCity; you can place residential, mall, office, park, security, waste collection, and other specialized levels into single buildings. You can even top everything off with something eye-catching, like big neon signs, parks, or tourist-drawing lookouts. Granted, this is a future that still features ridiculously small city borders, an unhealthy emphasis on multiplayer, and the same old always-on Internet connection that alienated so many fans last spring. But even though building up, not out, would seem to be a good way to handle the tiny municipal footprints that are still imposed on city-builders, I had serious problems with how to use MegaTowers in my personal cities of tomorrow. Their sheer size remains an issue. Each tower occupies a tremendous amount of space, which means that you have to cram them into cities by demolishing huge sections of your original layout. Figure on getting rid of a good four square blocks of residential development to plop down just one tower, which really exacerbates the demolition-happy design of the original game. Don't go all future on an existing city if you have any emotional attachment to it, because the old place will be gone in no time... The Good New "Blade Runner by way of Coruscant" graphics take the game into the future Multipurpose MegaTowers are innovative, if also wildly expensive and huge The Bad Does very little to address core problems with the SimCity design Cities are far too small for the new structures, most of which have massive footprints High-tech nature of new buildings can strain your budget to the breaking point Full Review: http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/simcity-cities-of-tomorrow-review/1900-6415573/
  4. State of SimCity: Offline Being Discussed; Bigger Maps Not Coming

    Relevant quote here: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-10-04-looks-like-simcity-is-finally-getting-an-offline-mode
  5. Talking about why he quit EA, former SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley told Polygon he had been "dismayed" at the botched launch of SimCity, in which EA insisted gamers play always-online, while failing to provide enough server capacity. The botched launch closed many players out of the game and led to severe criticism of EA's processes. But Quigley added that he has been thinking of setting up a new project for some time anyway. "I was dismayed at the blundered launch of something that I had poured so much love and attention into, which made the leaving easier but it would have probably happened anyway," he said. "Honestly I think I would have left regardless of whether EA's launch of SimCity was smooth or rough. It was basically my third SimCity. I did SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4 and this new SimCity." Quigley announced on Twitter today that he, SimCity lead architect Andrew Willmott and lead gameplay engineer Dan Moskowitz are setting up a new developer called Jellygrade. They are working on an iPad simulation game that seeks to recreate the early formation of the Earth. Full article: http://www.polygon.com/2013/7/16/4529260/quigleys-dismay-at-simcitys-blundered-launch-and-why-he-quit-ea
  6. SimCity (2013): Amusement Park DLC, Release Date: May 28, 2013

    It's becoming increasingly clear who the target audience is for this game as these DLCs are released.
  7. GameHorizon Live: The Sims creator discusses the evolving relationship between player and designer, and the impact of new technology on the games business "I'm very interested in how we build a game around a player's life….I want to figure out how to bring games back into everyday reality, games that intersect with players' lives," he said. Not only did Wright speak about his personal ambitions, but he also said the time is right for the industry to blossom, thanks to a proliferation of talented designers. "We have a much bigger crop of skilled designers than we ever have," he said. "Some of the greatest designers out there are just getting their start right now." Full story with video: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-05-08-will-wright-the-future-game-design-and-its-impact-on-the-player
  8. Why has the SimCity story gone away? It’s a good question. And the answer for it reveals much about how both the games industry, and the games journalism industry, work. In March, shortly after SimCity’s disastrous launch (servers couldn’t cope, the game barely ran, features had to be removed, and the always-on DRM was seriously crippling the game), EA and Maxis’ PR went into damage protection mode. And one refrain we saw over and over was a line from Maxis’ studio head, Lucy Bradshaw, that the ‘single-player’ game had to “offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers.” On 12th March, RPS revealed that this statement simply wasn’t true. Via a source from inside Maxis, we learned that the server was doing no such thing, and that the calculations were running on the player’s PC. Two days later these claims were confirmed by a modder who had the game running indefinitely offline. It was clear that the message coming from Maxis simply wasn’t true. (There’s no better round-up of the events than the one put together by Kotaku.) (One thing that’s important to note here: That the claims weren’t true does not provide room to conclude that Bradshaw was “lying”. Not knowing the circumstances within Maxis at all, there’s no way to know that Bradshaw did not believe what she was saying to be entirely accurate. Miscommunication, deliberate misinformation, we just don’t know, and as such accusations don’t help this discussion.) So what to do next? Via RPS, and much of the gaming press, the reality that the servers were not running offline calculations became widely understood. So how did EA or Maxis handle this situation? With silence. And if simply telling the truth isn’t considered an available option, silence is by far the most effective response in this industry. Full story: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/22/the-power-of-silence-why-the-simcity-story-went-away/
  9. Screw the game, SimCity has become a cynically brilliant advertising platform So the good news is that Cheetah Speed has returned to SimCity, and some new content in the form of the “Attractions Set” has been released. Who doesn't love new buildings to add into their cities? So this is something that's free right? Or will we have to pay? Son of a $%&^!. So there's no way to buy the content, and it certainly isn't free. It's just a way to get people who like SimCity to buy toothpaste. This isn't a cosmetic addition to the game, as these additions - and I think a giant ball of twine is seriously an awesome addition - will give you an advantage during play. “The Attractions Set adds happiness to low wealth Sims,” the official post stated. “They will also bring in all three wealth classes of tourists into your city.” This is why I have such a deep loathing for EA at the moment. It's not that you get neat stuff for buying a certain brand of toothpaste, it's that the game seems designed around these sponsorship deals and monetization strategies. It doesn't feel like EA and Maxis sat down and tried to create the very best version of SimCity possible, it feels like they designed the game that would be the easiest to control, monetize, and sell to advertisers. Source: http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/simcity-as-advertising-platform-how-ea-rewards-you-for-buying-real-world-pr
  10. Google Translation: We've got news for you one, dear mayors. The novelty of one big novelty, you're going to SimCity - update labeled 2.0! This update, which will be published soon (more on April 9 at 18:00), to include several critical fixes for which you have asked us most, and also some other improvements. For an idea of ​​providing you with a complete overview of upcoming changes: Tourism: Repairs unexplained fluctuations tourists - passenger numbers of tourists are now collected in a better way. Casinos: Casinos adjusted so that it is more profitable gambling - to activate this enhancement is needed to demolish the old casino and replace them with new ones. More casinos: Number of modules Sci-fi casino casino and neat rose to six. Game in the region: bankrupt city may receive financial assistance from the city. Education: Addressed an issue with buses that are stuck in secondary schools; existing schools are already corrected themselves. Education: Fixed a bug where school buses picking up students in neighboring towns as well as the absence of bus stops. Education: Better student population census. Education: Fixed a bug where the children after leaving the school bus stop teleported to the nearest walking route instead to go to school. Education: The University building extensions now a player gets the correct bonus. Recycling: Recycling center cleared errors due to which ceased to operate; recycling services now also serve other cities. Air pollution: Fixed a problem that caused the contamination occurred suddenly without any apparent cause; fixed the problem for which it is manifested regional air pollution double penalty. The mayor's villa: The Mayor will now go to work with their catching cars. Helicopter will fly or ride in a limo and sports cars, if the built-ins. Fire Services: Fire cars are now getting to fires faster. Water: Water pump now pumping water from rivers with a much larger area, so that better use of water resources. Trade: Fixed ports that stopped working for no reason. Public transport: Tram first stops to come with a higher frequency of movement of passengers. Public transport: Cities with population and public transport region now transmit the correct number of employees and customers. Public transport: Circular vehicle now will not attempt to load other Sims, but leaves the garage. Public transport: Buses neighbors do not often visit the surrounding cities and will focus more on serving passengers "home". Processing center: Fix problems that caused that some cities do not process correctly. Data maps: Maps are now displayed in a standard color, even if the player uses any of image filters (except for color blind mode). HUD: The user interface now supports mode for colorblind correct color settings. Tuning: Pure City resident now support "state failure". Budget: Fixed bugs in monthly transactions that permit circumvention of the system. The above changes certainly do not represent a complete list of new version 2.0. Expect further details on the day of the release, that is next week on Tuesday. Meanwhile, although the 2.0 update does not fix the loss of the gaming process and the "rollback", but very hard to solve these problems we work. Because it is the first major update so we would like to warn you in advance that all game servers will be updated at the time of 2.0 to two hours off. Issuing updates for such a large number of players is not a simple task, so it's a necessary step. Neither was it easy to choose the right time for the release, according to statistics gaming servers but we worked out that at least players just damage the outage at 18:00. We believe that, given the list of repairs you will understand that you two hours waiting worthwhile. For now, try the Cheetah speed by going back to the game again! Thanks for your patience, mayors!
  11. Following last year’s surprise Worst Company In America victory by Electronic Arts, there was hope that the video game giant would get the message: Stop treating your customers like human piggy banks, and don’t put out so many incomplete and/or broken games with the intent of getting your customers to pay extra for what they should have received in the first place. And yet, here we are again, with EA becoming the first company to ever win a second Golden Poo from Consumerist readers. After an astounding number of votes, Consumerist readers once again chose EA over Bank of America, with the video game company taking nearly 78% of the vote. Full story: http://consumerist.com/2013/04/09/ea-makes-worst-company-in-america-history-wins-title-for-second-year-in-a-row/
  12. You hate us because we're so good at what we do EA COO Peter Moore wrote a reaction to the poll, and his defense of the mighty publisher is both tone deaf and insulting. He blames homophobes who dislike EA’s push for allowing LGBT characters in games. He says that many dislike microtransactions, but you can’t argue with results! He once again says that the always-on require on SimCity isn’t DRM, as if the only thing keeping us from loving that game is a matter of semantics. His message is simple: EA doesn’t really care what you think about it, because it’s successful. Which is an argument that doesn’t hold up to the faintest of scrutiny. Your CEO doesn’t deploy his golden parachute due to lower than expected revenue because your games are doing well. EA is losing both the battle for gamers’ wallets as well as the battle for our hearts. They can say that they don’t mind being hated as long as we give them money, but fewer of us are giving them money. This is not the time for a victory lap. The Consumerist has a rather damning response to Moore’s arguments about why so many people hate the publisher, and the post dismantles Moore’s arguments one by one. “EA received hundreds of nominations from Consumerist readers this year, by far the most of any contender in the bracket, but not a single one mentioned anything about sexual orientation,” the post stated. “Consumerist does not condone homophobia or hate speech of any kind, and our readers understand the Worst Company contest and nominate businesses based on their merits.” ... EA has given us ample reasons to hate them SimCity not only requires an Internet connection, a decision that has led to no end of technical problems, but we can no longer create huge cities. We can’t save our game, experiment with the design, and then reload. It’s not a sandbox anymore, and the playful nature of past games in the series has been replaced by a game that forces us to play a certain way. ... “The tallest trees catch the most wind,” Moore wrote. “At EA we remain proud and unbowed.” I have bad news for Peter Moore: Activision is the tallest tree, and people are actually buying their games. EA is fast becoming kindling, and the company ignores its customers throwing matches at its peril. ... Full story: http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/ea-earned-hatred-with-poor-games-lack-of-vision-and-contempt-for-the-audien
  13. Polygon.com: EA chief operating officer Peter Moore is, unsurprisingly, not thrilled at the prospect of "winning" the contest. But in a post on EA's official blog, it appears Moore's taking the poll's outcome to heart, writing, "We are committed to fixing our mistakes." "Are we really the 'Worst Company in America?'" Moore wrote. "I'll be the first to admit that we've made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn't meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this." ... Moore writes that some consumer complaints against EA's business practices are "100 percent legitimate," but outlines other grievances against the publisher which he says "just don't hold water." Those include claims that SimCity's always-online requirement is part of a DRM scheme ("It's not. People still want to argue about it. We can't be any clearer — it's not.") and that "free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming." ... Full statement: http://www.ea.com/news/we-can-do-better
  14. From Paradox Interactive, Cities in Motion 2 is a mass transit simulation game where you build transportation networks for cities. CIM2 brings new choices to building transportation networks. If you want to focus less on city-building, and more on transportation networks for cities, CIM2 might be worth your time to check out... Here's the marketing blurb: Cities in Motion 2 (CIM2) is the sequel to the popular mass transit simulation game Cities in Motion. Build, manage and lead your transportation network to provide cities with their ever changing needs. Cities in Motion 2 introduces new features including multiplayer game modes, day and night cycles, timetables and dynamic cities. Building the transportation network will directly affect how the city grows. Affordable transportation brings middle class housing and work places, while more expensive and exotic choices bring high end businesses. Take advantage of many different types of vehicles including buses, trams, ferries and more. Build alone or play cooperatively with a friend. Use the newly implemented bus lanes to build efficient traffic free roadways. Tackle rush hour by managing transportation timetables and meeting the needs of the citizens. Dynamic cities Player’s choices affect city growth Day and night cycle Manage the timetables Multiplayer, both co-operative and competitive modes Campaign and sandbox mode
  15. Hi everyone I wanted to give you a quick update about the state of SimCity and what the development team here at Maxis has been focused on in the last week. The good news is that we are seeing so many of you playing the game. Mayors have spent more than 33 centuries worth of time playing the game and enough road has been laid to circumnavigate the earth over 5000 times. Each day, we have more than three quarters of a million active cities being played. We've been heads down addressing the key issues we’re seeing reported from our community. This includes city rollbacks, lost progress, and the return of features like Cheetah Speed and Leaderboards. Like you, we want all of these resolved ASAP, which is why they are the top priorities in our studio. Matter of fact, we have all of these in a QA environment, giving them a thorough test before we release them back to you, the fans. On top of this, we’re also working on a number of bug fixes and other overall improvements that we’re planning to include in future Updates. Just last week we released two Updates 1.7 and 1.8, which included traffic fixes and other general improvements. For the future, in Update 2.0, we’ll be addressing the Recycling Center bug, fixing the fire engine clumping, improving the efficiency of Street Cars, and increasing the radius of river water. We’re also fixing the tuning on Casinos and are making them more profitable. These are just a handful of the substantial changes coming in Update 2.0. Keep in mind, if you don’t see a particular fix present in an Update, this doesn't mean we’re not working on it, or we’re not aware of it. Our team is constantly getting reports about the top issues being raised and this is helping us prioritize what we need to address. There are some issues that are more challenging and will take more time. If you have feedback, please visit our forums. In the meantime, we’ll continue to address the top issues in our updates. We’ll keep working while you’re playing. Thanks for sticking with us. We hope this gives you a better idea of what we've been working on. Now back to work! Source: http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/simcity-update-from-kip