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City-building game(s)

Found 14 results

  1. Interview with Karoliina Korppoo, lead designer of Cities: Skylines. Cities Skylines has sold over 3.5 million copies. Considering the success of Cities Skylines and the intense interest in the launch of SimCity 2013, why do you think the city building genre has so few games? Simulation games were until recently seen as slightly outdated and oldfashioned. Simulation, aside from city-builders, has usually been a niche market and not very interesting to the general public. I believe lots of city-builders will emerge is the next couple of years, but the mobile and console trend had previously made them almost obsolete. We have seen in the last few years a sort of “old school revival”, with many developers making games inspired by or based on old classics. Both the SimCity series and Cities Skylines have been critiqued by players for flaws in their depth of simulation. Do you think we will have to wait until the advent of human level artificial intelligence before a city building game could have the simulation depth players want? When players talk of simulation games, they very often bring realism into the discussion. Realism is important to any simulation game, in allowing the user to have an understanding of the consequences of their actions. Still, realism is usually not a very good direction for a game. Flight Simulators are ultra realistic, but have lost a lot of their game likeness in going for a 1 to 1 simulation of reality. In city-builders, the real building of a city is not very fun and takes a long time. When people pick up a city-builder game, they usually wish to be god-like beings ruling over the whole city, so that they can take actions which have consequences in the game simulation. Often when a player asks for more realism or deeper simulation, what they are really talking about is more challenge, or that a certain game feature feels off. This is very valuable feedback, but more often than not is not actual lack of simulation, but rather an usability issue or something to do with balancing. It is very easy to think that if a simulation game feels “off”, it is because of the lack of realism or depth, but from a game developers perspective, we have to be really careful to make sure we understand what the players are really talking about. Making simulation more detailed can have its cost in the game being less fun. There are technical limitations to the algorithms we use, and surely they could be improved to make the game world seem even more alive. Currently the level is enough for a very enticing simulation with realistic cities and believable citizens you can relate to. Read the full interview at the source.
  2. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspriation and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our third guest: An Interview with Korver Thank you very much for taking part in this interview korver. Sure We all have our own unique Simtropolis story. How did you first discover this community? I first found out about ST actually back in late 2009. I finally got a computer that could play SC4 (I was playing SC3KU before then), so one of the first things I did was buy it and see what it was all about. I wasn't too impressed with the graphics at first.. well, until I discovered ST and started seeing all of the stuff people were making. Once I downloaded skyscraper's Burj Dubai.. I was instantly hooked. For a while, at least. I was off and on with the game over the next couple years, slowly improving my skills, but never really accomplishing a whole lot. Finally, towards the beginning of 2016 I rediscovered ST/SC4 and started to take it seriously for once. I finally built up enough courage to start a CJ, something I always thought about, but never thought I would be able to do. What areas of the site do you tend to visit most frequently? Currently, I tend to visit the CJ section the most, constantly seeing what everyone's up to and on the lookout for inspiration. I still browse the forums regularly - I used to participate more actively, but then RL and my CJ started eating up more time so I slowly became more of a lurker. I hope to become more active in 2017. You usually create amazing realistic CJ entries. Outside of this genre, what is a work you have been very impressed with which is thematically at opposite ends to your style? One very unique CJ which I have been very impressed with has been Utopolist's CJ "Utopolis". It's one of a kind, creating truly unique surrealistic scenes through SC4 and PS. Sometimes you don't really know what's going on, but that's the fun of it. You really have to think about each picture he makes and what it might possibly represent. What are the steps in your creative process? The first step for me is to pick out a scene that I think is going to be visually interesting. Usually, I want to pick out something that hasn't been done before, or will make the viewer say "wow!". So I'll do some research, digging through atlases, online lists, and then try to pick out the best scenes possible. From there, it's a matter of trying to recapture that feeling in the game, which can be difficult. Nature scenes are generally easier, as it's usually a bunch of MMPing. City scenes are much more of a time sink, as everything I do is custom lotted to ensure the highest level of realism possible in SC4. Some things like people and cars occasionally are MMPed after the fact, but generally the rest is lotted. After that, I'll make some adjustments in PS to make it seem more authentic and to bring it to life even more. Your work is a source of inspiration for many. Who’s work inspires you? I take my inspiration from many. It's something that I do in all phases of my life - I start off by doing some serious research, seeing who's the best in each aspect of whatever, and then putting my own spin on it in the end. So for SC4, that means my lotting is being inspired by the likes of Badsim, elavery, & Bastet. My MMPing is inspired by Yan077, Benoit, and Ln X. My photoshop is inspired by Huston, MilitantRadical, and marsh. So on and so forth. But.. If I had to choose one name, i'd have to go with SimHoTToDDy. His SBU is still one of my favorite CJs ever - everything in that CJ simply seemed to come together perfectly. What advice would you give to a CJ newcomer, who was planning on creating their CJ? I can think of two pieces of advice that really stand out to me above the rest. The first being, don't get too ahead of yourself. I actually struggled with this concept for many years. I'd always download entire region maps and try to complete it all, or make a recreation of an entire country, etc or something similarly overwhelming. As a result, I got very little done and it really slowed down my progression. Now, I just make recreations of smaller scenes (Well, except for Sydney, but I only did it once I knew I was capable of something like that), and it works out great for me. My second piece of advice would be to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Do something really unique and interesting, I think this is one of the best ways for people to really notice your work. So overall, it's all about finding that fine line between constantly pushing yourself, and not overdoing it. Tell us one of your favourite pieces from the STEX in 2015 and 2016 and explain what it is about and why this is your favourite piece? Favorite from 2016: Heblem made a surprise appearance in 2016, and this building was well worth the wait. It's truly one of the most detailed, beautiful, and majestic looking buildings I've ever seen before on the STEX. Few buildings take your breath away when you first see them, but this is certainly one of them. Favorite from 2015: To me, this building was certainly the best of 2015. First off, it was in production for over 2 years and went through a number of revisions to make it absolutely perfect. But that final rendering time though, 332 hours! Now that's some real dedication. Not to mention some of the best nightlights I've ever seen before on a BAT. I just hope one day I'll be able to put it to good use in an update! What's a quality piece of work on the STEX from the last two years which you think has been overlooked? I'd have to go with Flunight Props Vol 01 MMP. For the longest time, Girafe has supplied us with great deciduous MMPs, but there hasn't been the same level of quality and variety when it comes to tropical MMPs. This pack changed all of that, and I've been using it extensively since it was released back in late May. Has anyone's content surprised you from the last two years? In what way was this a surprise? I think the biggest surprise to me was seeing the progression of Akallan's work in his CJ, "Phoenix Project". From the summer until the end of the year, it was truly amazing to watch how fast he progressed and how realistic his scenes got. It takes most people many years to become that talented with MMPs, and he got there in a couple of months. He sorta came out of nowhere and now has one of the best CJs on ST, in my opinion. Who is an up-and-coming member that we should look out for next year? I'd probably go with Krisman here. I'm a obviously big fan of custom lotted cities, and I think he produces some of the best ones here on ST. He produced a string of very detailed updates towards the end of 2016 in his CJ "Principauté de Caravella-Guatalaga", and if he keeps it up in 2017 he could have a big year. What are your favourite Simtropolis moments? For me, my favorite moments are always seeing the comments and support I get after working really hard putting together an entry for my CJ. It really motivates me and makes the whole process worth it. Thank you again for taking part in this Korver! I wish you the best! Same to you, and thanks for letting me take part in this interview! I hope you enjoyed reading this interview - We can assure you there will be more to come during the build-up! - _Michael, Staff and Trixie Team
  3. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favourite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspiration and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further adieu, please welcome our next guest @Tarkus, which many of you will know as one of the leaders of the NAM team. An Interview with Tarkus Hi Tarkus, how are you? Alright, though fairly busy of late—having two jobs will do that to you. Many people know you as one of the brains behind the NAM, but that wasn’t always the case was it? How did you get into modding SimCity? I first picked up SimCity 4 Deluxe sometime in early 2004, and played it quite regularly in vanilla form for close to two years. And then I ran across Simtropolis almost by accident, and as soon as I saw the NAM (Version 19 back then), the early prototype of something called an RHW, and all the other content that had been made for the game, I was absolutely over the moon. My first real effort at making content was a set of road sign lots, which were on the STEX for awhile, and picked up a modest number of downloads. I kind of fell inactive for a bit after that, as I was finishing up my master's thesis, and then didn't have reliable internet access for awhile. Once I finally got back onto the site in late September 2006, the thing that immediately hit me was that most of the transit modding community had seemingly gone silent, and a lot of the promising things that were in the works had come to a halt—including the RHW, which I had really taken a liking to, even in its early state. The NAM itself hadn't seen a release in a number of months, either. I had really come to care about these projects, and felt an urge to do see if there was a way I could contribute. There was really just one thing I wanted to add—a puzzle piece to allow an Avenue viaduct to cross over an RHW-4 (the only RHW network back then). At that point, the only real tutorial out there on transit modding was @redlotus Interchange Tutorial, which was a pretty intense read. After a couple months of staring at hexadecimal in the Reader, and learning what RULs and exemplars were, and some help from a couple of NAMites who re-emerged from the woodwork ( @Swamper77 was especially helpful), I finally figured out how to get a puzzle piece in-game. Of course, by that time, I started having all these other ideas, and kept learning more about transit modding to better facilitate them. Eventually, that led to my being added to a newly-reconstituted NAM Team in February 2007. I was never sent an invite PM or anything—I just suddenly had access to a new private thread, and discovered inside that I had indeed been invited onto the team. It was a very pleasant surprise, to say the least! You grew the quality of add-ons in the NAM through your continued development of the RHW, what has been the most challenging aspect of that project as it grew over the years? It's certainly been a challenging project over the years, but that's really what's kept me coming back to it. As far as what's been most challenging, I'd say dealing with all the crosslinking between all the various RHW networks, and between RHW networks and other NAMcomponents. There's 33 RHW networks at present. That presents an enormous number of options compared to the base game, but enormous complications as well—especially when you try to add 20 networks at once (as we did in NAM 31—it would have been 26 if we hadn't shelved three levels of RHW-12S and 10C). What the general user may not know about how we “add” networks (really, we've just adeptly tricked the game into transforming behavior and appearance of existing networks, as we can't add true new ones), there's no high-level programming language or scripting involved. Most of it is if/then statements with hexadecimal pointers that operate two tiles at a time, like this: 0x57030000,1,0,0x57000000,1,0=0x57030000,1,0,0x57030000,1,0 The RHW, as a whole, presently consists of over one million lines of that. We actually had to change how we save the file back around NAM30, as Maxis did some strange things with compression that had capped the size at around 200,000 lines. One of the other big challenges has been sneaking in time for my other transit modding projects. I have plenty of stories about the myriad delays on the Network Widening Mod (NWM), which, in terms of development time, is only about a year younger than the RHW (2006 vs. 2005), but didn't see its first release until 2010. The FLEX Turn Lanes (FTL) project, which is my main area of focus for the NAM 36 cycle, has actually been in development since January 2014, just after NAM 32 was released. When you took over development of the RHW, did you ever see it being as big as it is now? What feature would you have never thought possible when you first started but that we now take for granted? I had a flood of ideas come to me for where the project could go once I really started figuring out transit network modding. The 8-lane RHWprototype that project founder @qurlix showed off right around the time I joined the community was a huge inspiration, and I knew from that and the various conversations I had with the RHW thread regulars back then that this was a project that could go on for a very long time. That said, I never expected it to still be going over a decade later. My big proclamation back when I first started formulating the Modular Interchange System (MIS) was that I wanted to have a system that could replicate all the designs in the Kurumi Field Guide to Interchanges. It took 10 years (the stack was the killer—NAM 35 finally stabilized it, though we can still improve it further), but we've basically gotten there, in addition to covering types that weren't even out there when we started, like the Diverging Diamond. As far as things I never would have thought possible, I still remember my shock at seeing the first FLEXFly that @Wahrheit (then Blue Lightning) developed. That development really changed the face of the game, and laid the ground work for many of the FLEX items that have shaped development in the past several releases. Amazingly enough, the FLEX functionality is going to allow us to break the longtime prohibition on fully-assembled plop interchanges, which will make the RHW far more accessible than it ever has been in the near future. The NAM had another big release in 2016, what's the development mentality like behind the scenes now? Right now, the team is probably the smallest it's ever been, outside of that brief “dark age” of 2006. We're down to just three fully-active developers right now, plus a small number of semi-active ones who contribute when time permits, and a handful of testing/power user types. There are some advantages to our smaller, leaner size in terms of coordinating different projects, particularly as our small group is intensely dedicated to keeping this project going. We don't see an end in sight. The big downside is that those of us left have occasional spurts of pretty heavy RL. Given that we're also still working through some of the ongoing large-scale efforts that were started several years ago, when our development team was much larger, it's really felt when one of us has to dial back for a bit. Through NAM v32's development, was there someone's work which you found outstanding when you first saw it? @Droric joined the team during NAM 32 development, and was around through part of NAM 33's marathon cycle. He joined in 2013 and picked up transit modding almost instantly. Even more impressive was the fact that he wasn't afraid to pick up big projects, starting off by getting the NAM to play nice with @Daeley's Advanced Menu Navigator (DAMN), and then being a major contributor to the major Elevated Rail Dual-Networking expansion in that release, working with veteran NAMites @memo, @z1, and @jdenm8. NAM 32 was also the marked the initial edition of RealRailway (RRW) system, an effort started by another relatively new member of the team, @Swordmaster, intended revamp the standards of the default Rail network to improve realism. While he was whisked away by RL shortly before NAM 32's release, and has only been intermittently active since, he laid the initial tracks for what has become a very substantial new area of content development for us. Is there anyone who might not have got the praise they deserve for their role in the development of the last update? Both @Eggman121 and @rsc204 have been an indispensable part of the NAM Team for the last three releases—NAM 33, 34, and 35. I really can't thank them enough for their efforts in keeping this project going, some 13 years after its first release. eggman121 is almost single-handedly responsible for taking Swordmaster's RealRailway idea and fleshing it out into one of our largest projects in scale, adding the FlexTrack system and Draggable Fractional Angle Rails in the past two releases. For NAM 36, he's working on the long-awaited arrival of Draggable Rail Viaducts. He's also been instrumental in getting the Multi-Radius Curve standard implemented, which has added a lot of new flexibility into the NAM's grid-breaking repertoire. rsc204 has been a veritable “Swiss Army knife” for both the NAM Team and the RTMT Team. He has a unique and diverse skill set, and an amazing attention to detail. We finally managed to get a NAM release out on Christmas Day with NAM 34—the first time we've successfully been able to pull that off—and I really don't think we could have done that without his efforts. He's been phenomenal to work with on the team, and in the community at large. You help run the biggest custom creation team for SC4, what team outside of the NAM do you admire, and why? I've always been a big fan of the BSC. I have been particularly impressed by the way in which both teams were able to streamline the custom content process, which resulted in an amazingly prolific output of really top-notch stuff. As someone who does care quite a bit about functionality, I especially appreciate how they undertook careful research on gameplay mechanics and balance, and used that knowledge as part of their creation process. I'd mention the SFBT in the same breath as well. Do you still get time to just play the game? Or has creating mods become the game? Right now, with RL being as busy as it is, and my desire to rebuild my plugin setup a bit more, my SC4 time has largely been limited to NAMwork. It's been that way for at least a couple years now, though I do occasionally get a little carried away with my test cities and actually flesh them out a bit. I definitely do want to get back to actually building cities and bring Tarkusian Cities back at some point (likely with a new region), though finding the time is the caveat. Was there anyone's creations from the last two years which you've admired? I'd say the most amazing thing to come out in the past two years was the DLL work that @simmaster07 did, particularly with SC4Fix. Piecing together an incomplete Software Development Kit (SDK) and then using it to solve the long-thought-unsolvable TE Lot/Puzzle Piece crashes after all these years is too amazing to put into words. Beyond that, I'm impressed with @Reddonquixote's work, @Bipin's bold ideas, and the re-lot work that @nos.17 has been doing on @Bobbo662's old files. You active on the forums with NAM development and answering questions, in the past two years has there been anyone you've noticed who has been answering questions before you get to them, or giving you continual feedback in development threads? I'd put @APSMS near the top of that list—that trait is one of the main reasons we brought him on as a NAM Associate awhile back. He's knowledgeable, thoughtful, and makes great points, and has really helped us out with support. Among the development team, @rsc204 has been very helpful in terms of keeping an eye on our support threads and springs into action with useful detailed responses. Before his unfortunate passing, @A Nonny Moose always had something interesting and encouraging to say and was a big supporter of our efforts. It still feels a bit empty not seeing him around Modding-Transit Networks. I've also been quite impressed with @matias93 recently on these fronts, too. You had a very successful MD/CJ, do you still keep up with the CJ scene? Are there any which you just can't stop reading? Unfortunately, I'm not nearly as up on the CJ scene as I used to be. I'd say it's largely a product of more limited SC4 hours. I will occasionally check some out periodically—I've been impressed with @Ln X's work, and I check in on @bakercity's Region of Salem from time to time. I do watch some of the “Show Us . . .” threads fairly regularly, however—as you can probably guess, the interchange one is probably my most frequently visited there, in part because tech support issues sometimes get reported there, and it occasionally gives me some ideas of where to go with development. While the NAM has pushed the limits of what is possible over the years, there must be something which you know is impossible but would love to add to the game? Surprisingly, I am fairly content with what we have and are able to do with the game. It would be nice to have a little bit more control over certain network properties—namely, killing RHW auto-connect and wrangling some of the more annoying aspects of the One-Way Road network's tidal flow system. Lastly, how often do you still read RHW as Rural Highway? For the life of me I still can't bring myself to read it as Real Highway, no matter how hard I try! Believe it or not, back in the day—and much to my chagrin—I used to routinely encounter folks who would inexplicably say something to the effect of “this looks great, but I'm not going to use it simply because it says 'rural' in the project name.” I don't think anyone involved with the project ever liked the old name— @qurlix himself didn't care for it—and there used to be multi-page arguments in the development threads about changing it. Personally, I cringe heavily whenever I see “Rural Highway” used nowadays, so “RealHighway” was very, very easy for me to adopt when we finally changed it in late 2009. Thanks for your time, enjoy the trixies! You're welcome--and thanks to the ST staff for reviving this great community event!
  4. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favourite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspiration and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further adieu, please welcome our next guest @simmaster07, which many of you will seen around the forums, or you may have downloaded one of his many mods. An Interview with Simmaster07 Hi Simmaster07, how are you? Fairly busy but otherwise pretty well, thanks for asking! What is your earliest memory of the SimCity? Oh jeez, I was tiny back then, maybe six years old. I think I was walking through Target or some sort of department store and I was bored, so I dragged my dad to the video games section while my mom did some shopping. For some reason SimCity 3000 was the game that caught my attention, and I guess my parents had no issue with it since it was pretty innocuous. Of course as soon as I found the disaster menu I spent a good amount of time spawning locusts and toxic clouds. So much for learning about city planning — though I did manage to get SimCity 4 not long afterward, and that was a pretty good long-term investment. Has this game helped inspire you at all in real life endeavours? Not directly, but I did learn a lot from Simtropolis after finding it through the SimCity BBS. A lot of aspects of modding tied into my interest in programming in some way, and some of my early content was making tools for things like creating NAM packages for Mac installations or automating city backups. In retrospect a lot of the code was absolutely awful, and that content is deleted now since I didn't feel confident that it would function properly now. Still, that was a big part of the process in allowing me to learn more about programming and create the more advanced mods I've made recently. Recently you've been pushing the boundaries of what mods can bring to the game, specifically around features which were left out of the game. What inspires you to create these mods? How much time and effort goes into researching and developing these files? The effort to get DLLs capable of modding the game to work has been an effort that dates back to over six years ago. I was in way over my head but heard that Paul Pedriana was the one of the development leads for SimCity and figured I'd email him about how to implement DLLs like the extra cheats mod. To my complete and utter surprise, after a bit of back and forth, he did respond with some source code. It was incomplete, but Paul said that it should've been enough to pull it off. My main motivation, up until I got something working, was trying to decipher how to take this code and and get a working program. It took years upon years of accumulating knowledge about programming and debugging to figure it out, and it definitely seems to have been worth it. Perhaps most helpful was the community's prior efforts to learn about the game's internals, and I stumbled upon a post from GoaSkinmentioning how the PowerPC Mac port of the game had a lot of debugging information left in the final version. Because of how the game's architecture was modeled, this was actually incredibly helpful in learning about the Windows version and the generic APIs, so I'm extremely grateful that the community documented their findings as well. You also created a patch for SimCity, a game more than ten years old, which fixes a substantial issue that was only found after significant modding. What amount of work goes into finding a fix for such a frustrating crash which so many of us experience? Again, it takes a lot of cumulative knowledge from both personal experience and the community. SC4Fix requires some understanding of how assembly language works and how to debug a program without any reference code before you can start to build it. Once you have that, it's not a terrible amount of work to build that patch — especially since the TE lot crash is pretty isolated from the rest of the program — but it's still a good amount of work to get to that point. How rewarding is it when you have this idea and toil away until you eventually get the patch working? The very first thing I did when I got SC4Fix working, even in a primitive and virtually unreleasable form, was post on the forum, because I was incredibly excited about the prospect of fixing one of the biggest remaining issues with the game and sharing that with as many people as I could, so it was very rewarding to say the least. Even now, over a year after having released it, it still comes up in other threads with people hailing it as a must-have mod now, which is pretty heartwarming. Your work is a source of inspiration for many. Who's work inspires you? Insofar as SC4 modding goes, I've always been inspired by the work of some of my friends and fellow modders here — @Wahrheit, @meister1235, @z1 are a few that come to mind, as well as and especially the NAM Team, which has been here iterating on their work for as long as I've been here, if not longer. They and many other people here piqued my interest in modding the game, and even though I haven't been able to get into BATing or network modding I am glad I've been able to carve out my own niche and contribute that way. More broadly, I've been inspired by entrepreneurs like Bill Gates who managed to lead revolutions in how we live and have given back to the global community after achieving that kind of success, as well as programmers like Dennis Ritchie and Linus Torvalds who haven't made billions of dollars but have still contributed with their code and their openness to and advocacy for sharing information. (I couldn’t find a way to @ mention bill gates ) A lot of the work on mods happens behind the scenes, who has been someone that's helped you the most during development in the past two years? I only know of one other person who's tried to pull off DLL modding, and they acted independently for the most part, so I can't say there's anyone or anything in the past two years specifically that has helped me. Unfortunately most resources I used go even further back, especially the forum threads that I used for reference. Do you get to sit down and actually play the game very much anymore? Sometimes on really long plane rides, but I find myself more fascinated by the game's internals than by the game itself now and so I don't ever really play the game so much as I have it running in the background while I use a debugger and a code editor to dig deeper. I used to have a huge Plugins folder with over ten gigabytes of content, but looking at it now it seems I just have the NAM, a few lots, and the extra cheats DLL, which is probably a good analogy for how much I play the game properly now. What's a quality piece of work from the last two years which you think has been overlooked? I wish I could answer this but I haven't been watching the forums or the STEX closely at all. Generally speaking I notice @CorinaMarie and @rsc204 contributing regularly and probably deserve some recognition, but I might also be just a tad biased since they've tagged me at least a couple of times and their posts usually give me an excuse to investigate some part of the game internals I hadn't considered looking at before. Has here been a STEX file review/comment from the past two years which you absolutely love, or find incredibly funny? Not particularly, but it is also generally nice to see people like @T Wrecks consistently offering positive and constructive comments. Lastly, what would be your perfect Sunday? A good Sunday would probably just be doing something new with my friends. Thank you for joining us! We can’t wait for the opening of the nominations which is now just a couple of days away
  5. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspriation and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our next guest @Prophet42, a long time Simtropolis member and moderator. You may have seen him around the forums at some point over his 13 years here with us. An Interview with Prophet42 Hi Prophet42, how are you today? I'm doing great. Justing relaxing by the fire. What do the trixies mean to you? The trixies are a chance to showcase the great talent we have in the community. For me, it is a great chance see content from members that I may have missed and also inspire me to build better cities. What's the best part of celebrating others achievements over the past year? The best part is that it gives well deserved recognition to members for their contribution and hopefully inspires them to continue creating great content. How did you first discover SimCity? Back in the mid 90's, a friend of mine recommended SC2000. So I went out a bought a copy. I have been addicted ever since. By far, SC4 is my favorite city simulator, and probably my favorite game of all time. What would be the most substantial project that has left a meaningful impression on you from the past two years? Why is that? @Ln X city journal My SC4 CJ Scrapbook has really made an impression on me. His attention to detail, and realism has made me strive to be more creative when building my own cities. What's a quality piece of work from the last two years which you think has been overlooked? I think Modern Row Home #4 from @gutterclub has been overlooked. It is a nice detailed residential piece that doesn't seem to have been downloaded all that much. Has anyone's content surprised you from the last two years? In what way was this a surprise? @Diego Del Llano has uploaded some great content in the last two years. What kind of suprised me is that the quality and variety of the BATs has been good from the beginning. Simtropolis is organized into ‘player' and ‘builder' categories. Regarding the ‘player' section, do you have any favourite CJers that you enjoy following? And what piece of content from them in the past two years would you recommend to others? For CJers, I enjoy @Ln X's SC4 scrapbook journal and @korver's True Earth journal. As far as content, I would highly recommend @madhatter106 Middies Office Pack 7. It fits seamlessly in with the rest of SC4 buildings and provides essential C$$ buildings. Who is an up-and-coming member that we should look out for next year? I think the recent work of @Aarsgevogelte is exceptional. I would look for continued great work from him in the following year. You spend a lot of time commenting on forums, specifically forum games. Who is someone which always has a funny or witty remark? @Toothless Stitch always seems to be able to provide humor and wit to the games. What forums games these past two years have been exceptionally fun? And are there any that you'd recommend people new to the forum games section get involved in to introduce themselves to the concept? I especially like "Why should the person above you be banned?" and "How is the person above you going to die?" A good game to get started with would be "Guess who’s Next" Lastly, if there was anyplace you'd want to go, where would you go and why? Australia. I am fascinated with the culture, geography, and unique life forms. Thanks for your time, here's to a great trixies season!
  6. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspriation and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our next guest: An Interview with Takingyouthere Hi @Takingyouthere, how are you? I'm doing great, thanks for asking. We all have our own unique Simtropolis story. How did you first discover this community? I can't recall the specifics as it's been 12 years and 9 months since I joined the site, but I'm pretty sure I found Simtropolis through a link on the maxis simcity 4 site. Back then there were quite a few more active sites than today but Simtropolis has always stood out as one of the best. How was it that you first came across the SimCity franchise? The first Sim City I played was the original on the Nintendo platform. Even though I was just a little kid who didn't know the first thing about real world city building I somehow became completely enthralled with a game about city building. I still remember building up the old island map from the game over and over again, each time trying to set a new high mark in population;image credit; http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/Data-Maps-in-SimCity-Part-1 What have been some of your favourite Simtropolis moments? As a highway aficionado the NAM releases are always a big deal for me and release 34 with it's additional flexfly pieces was probably the most exciting release. On a personal note entry 25 of my CJ published last Jan 4th was quite the watershed moment for me, I couldn't believe the community response at that time which was a great source of motivation going forward. As well as when I finally released the HD versions from that niche project of mine, the Towers of Steel(fyi the supertalls are coming!) How would you introduce your work to anybody who's new to it? The easiest and quickest way would be to take a look at my city journal. If I had to narrow it down I would recommend entries 32, 34, 35, 40 & 41 each one of which shows examples of; my urban city building from close up and afar, transportation networks, industry and landscape work. For a really quick introduction here's three pictures which sums it up best; What are the steps in your creative process? The creative process for me begins at the regional level. The first step is to figure out a rough estimation of the paths the road and railway networks will take as they meander across the landscape. I don't like simple grid patterns and instead I build my networks more organically and have them 'follow the terrain'. Next I determine the type of development which will be built in specific areas, starting off with large scale infrastructure projects such as power plants and continuing down what types of zoning will be built in each city tile. When I start an individual city tile the process is more or less the same. Determine the optimal routing for highways, roadways, railways and other kinds of networks like hydro corridors, this all comes first. After that is done I place all the institutional buildings which are necessary to help the city grow and function properly eg. hospitals, schools, police, etc. This is then followed by the zoning itself. I've really never been interested in intentionally making it difficult for my cities to grow. I like them to build as easily as possible and not have buildings abandon afterwards. The problem that I'm most interested in solving is figuring out how to get people from point A to point B. Unfortunately Sim City 4 is rather limited in realistically simulating real world travel patterns. Some areas end up being overbuild and some underbuilt in regards to the traffic they should have in game. From then on I continue to make adjustments to each network while trying to do everything I can to get sims to use what is available to them. Aside from mmp placement almost everything I do in game serves a functional purpose. I don't want to build a city that is just eye candy alone, it has to be a living and breathing functional entry. At the same time though building placement is very important to me from an aesthetic perspective as well. I'll let things grow organically for a while and see what pops up, but it's rare that I'm ever satisfied with the 'look' of whats been grown. In fact most of my commercial and industrial areas are predominately plopped and I would do the same for residential development if only sims could travel in and out of them. I prefer to be entirely in control of all developments much in the same way as how a real world city council or planning department approves and rejects what kinds of development and what density can be built in any particular location. This comes from being a architectural aficionado and in fact before I switched careers I had want to be an architect. It's only once all the functional aspects of the city are complete that I'll focus on the last step which is beautifying it with mmp's. You usually create metropolitan style CJs, what other members are creating similar CJs to yours? How does this competition in your genre help develop your own work? And which piece of their work has inspired you in the past two years? There are quite a few other members who also build similar types of urban environments. I think I've probably taken ques & inspiration from nearly all of them at one time or another. I could easily name a dozen or more but in the interest of brevity I'll limit my answer to three examples which focus on what are my favorite types of things to create in game; mmp work, industrial zones & transportation networks. I guess that was kind of obvious for anyone who follows my work I've taken a lot of inspiration last year from @Akallan's R.C.D & Phoenix Project when it comes to landscaping and mmp usage. His work in the genre is simply fantastic and just as great is his willingness to help others in creating their own meticulously landscaped scene. There's many examples of his superb work which I could link to but the one that I think which best highlights his creative ingenuity is Eréphore - Pt. I @Ln X's My SC4 CJ scrapbook has been an invaluable source when its come to creating large-scale industrial zones especially in the earlier days of my CJ when I didn't have the best understanding of scale. Broadsville's Industry part 1 & 2 for instance really opened my eyes up to what was possible with industry; For transportation I highly recommend taking a look at @kingofsimcity's Exploring Onyx. For members who are trying to create more realistic highway networks look no further than Arcadia Metro I & II - that is what it should look like. Also his prodigious use of angled roads continues to inspires me to incorporate more in my own work. What advice would you give to a custom content newcomer, who was planning on creating their first item? In regards to BATing, I would recommend using 3ds max from the get go. Gmax is easier to use and render your work with but it generally doesn't produce the level of quality that SC4 players expect from custom models today. 3ds has a much longer learning curve but if your having difficulties I would recommend starting a BAT thread, you'll be amazed at how supportive other members of simtropolis can be. Tell us one of your favourite pieces from the STEX in 2015 and 2016 and explain what it is about and why this is your favourite piece? There are a number of very high quality BAT's that have been released over that time which makes this a difficult question to answer. My favorite would probably be Solar das Paineiras by @JP Schriefer image credit; JP Schriefer It's not a well-known building but I choose it for two reasons. First the model and textures used are incredibly detailed. For instance you can clearly see the detailed brickwork on the facade of the building. Secondly, as a art-deco & postmodernism aficionado this type of building style really appeals to me, that is buildings that make use of set backs, solid building surfaces i.e brick & stone and a combination of well integrated and varied building elements, all of which appeals to me which is also why I'm particularly fond of most of JP's releases. What's a quality piece of work from the last two years which you think has been overlooked? I'll go with a @Simmer2 creation here, some of which haven't gotten as much screen time as they deserve. In particular the SM2 Gogar Tram Depot really stands out with an excellent combination of textures and models laid out over a realistically sized lot(real world). Who is an up-and-coming member that we should look out for next year? A few members that haven't been too active on the site yet but who's work shown so far has been excellent are @Mańkowsky, @Artimus, @antsel & @Krisman. You've had a successful year as an entrant in the Simtropolis Challenges, has there been images from other members which have just stunned you? Has there been images which are so different to your usual play style which you think you just couldn't recreate if you tired? I haven't been following some of the more recent competitions but here's one from a little while back which fascinated me; Plantation Metropolis Regional Night View by @pcwhiz24 On top of being a well designed and great looking road & highway network I'm still in awe of how he got the highways to light up just perfectly like that. Finally, if you had to choose, would you rather fight a one horse sized duck, or a hundred duck sized horses? I first read that as one house sized duck!! But even still a horse is pretty damn big. As long as there's no time limit, I'll take the one hundred duck sized horses please! I know I wouldn’t want to face a house sized duck, thats for sure! Thanks for your time, can't wait for the trixies! Likewise and thanks again for having me
  7. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspriation and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our third guest: An Interview with RSC204 Hi @rsc204, how are you today? (MGB204 on SC4D) Hello Hamish, I'm well thanks. What is your earliest memory of simcity? That would have to be the Super Nintendo (SNES) version of the original. I still have that along with it's original save files too. My parents were dead set against me having a computer as a child, so until I could afford my own, I never had access to one. Later when I did get a PC, I played the sequel SC2000, but I found it hard to balance the needs of the simulator and never really got into it. After a nasty car accident about 10 years ago, I was laid up for a while with an old laptop. This time round I managed to get on top of the simulation side, but all too quickly felt I'd done all you could do with the game. I've always been able to sink lots of time into simulators, I like the open-ended nature of them. But SC4 was simply off my radar until about 4-5 years ago. Then I found mods, next thing you know I'm so busy making mods, I barely play the game anymore. Has this game helped inspire you at all in real life endeavours? Perhaps a little, I keep looking at the world and trying to think of it in SimCity. But mostly, modding SC4 has unlocked some skills, especially more artistically based, that I never would have thought possible. That said, to date those skills haven't really found a real-world application outside of my modding activities. Content comes in many shapes and sizes. What do you look for when seeking new STEX items to download? My long term goal is to make a modern UK-themed region, I'm nothing like there after many years of hard work though. So if a building or mod comes along that fits that theme, it becomes a must have download. I'm also focussed on aesthetics, I like everything to blend in together too. Any mod that either improves the content of the vanilla game, especially replacement HD props is useful to me. But being able to mod, what's more important is usually the models themselves. I can always customise anything I find to work as desired. I probably don't do as much downloading/installing of mods as you might think. I'm running a tight ship where my plugins folder is concerned. Occasionally, I enjoy playing regions without worrying too much about custom content too. It's a little freeing to not have to try and find the perfect buildings all the time. Which is the very problem that keeps me modding, rather than playing. But I hope one day I'll get past this and be able to enjoy the game more. I'm in no rush, there is nothing out there that can come close to the longevity and flexibility SC4 offers. You've made some pretty amazing mods, most recently ones which unify ground texture under NAM pieces. What inspires you to create these mods? When I first started getting into modding, I really disliked the Maxis Sidewalks. They probably fit the San Francisco theme of the game, but were not for me. So I installed a sidewalk mod, but hated the contrast between a custom sidewalk and the Maxis ones. They just stand out, there is no way to hide them or make them work together. A similar thing happened when I started using HD Terrain mods. Gobias' excellent Berner Oberland terrain came with the grass-equivalent of a sidewalk mod. But whilst I really liked what it did, I intensely disliked the mis-match of textures it left behind. In both areas, I've been working to unify together a complete set of Sidewalk and Grass textures, which are the main component of both my SEN (SWN) and TGN mods. How much work goes into something like this which, on the surface, seems so simple? Simply put a hideous amount. I don't exactly make things easy for myself either. I think part of my philosophy of trying to give back where I can, does add to the development process. I don't simply make these mods thinking about my game only. I try to make something that can be reused and is as flexible as possible. I'm also very picky, I spend a lot of time trying to ensure I've not missed a single texture and testing everything until I'm satisfied there are no problems or missing pieces. Of course, there is always something else to add, not to mention updates to cover new releases along the way. It's probably very easy to miss just how comprehensive both mods are, no similar mod even gets close to the level of coverage I've achieved. From the beginning, I made huge efforts to automate as much as possible. But due to the ever-improving tools I helped develop with @rivit (GoFSH), I must have restarted this process 2 or 3 times over now. I simply can not go on without mentioning both @memo and @rivit in respect of TGN. Without Memo's tool I originally used to make v1, TGN simply would never have existed. Likewise, 6 months of intensive development work together with Rivit has transformed the possibilities on offer. He was always the brains behind how to do most things. But provided assistance countless times and was very open to feedback on new features and changes. In fact, that's still evolving, so keep an eye out for the next iteration, I'm genuinely excited by what we're cooking up behind the scenes. All told, it probably runs into hundreds, if not thousands of hours, not that I've been keeping a record. But I'm slowly getting to the point where I can sit back and simply maintain the repositories that make these mods happen, the bulk of the work is almost complete. When I get there, that will be a very good day. But the real goal here, is that hopefully my work will have solved the issue of mis-matching textures for everyone. It's not all about textures... If you'll indulge me with a little self-promotion however, I would briefly like to talk about my non-texture work. I keep saying I'm done with texturing, because that's really only a small part of what I'm doing, even if it's probably the most well known. I started learning how to make models in 2015, with my first release being some simple pedestrian bridges. But I'm really very proud of both my Rail Depot and Convenience Store models. Both of which took a very long time to complete, partially because I'm very picky, but also because I'm still learning how to make textures. I also managed to make a small but significant addon for CALs re-mastered SG Canals. Matching up the textures took an extraordinary effort, to the point of finding archaic versions of 3DS Max/BAT4Max to match the textures. But the simple eight additional pieces that produced have brought about a renascence for me and using canals. Being stuck to the grid in 2016 is really a turn off for me, so that was another creation I feel really satisfied with. 2015: 2016: You've also made some great additions to the NAM, what's it like working with this team? Mostly until now I've been helping by contributing fixes/patches and helping out with support for users. I also try where possible to assist my team-mates, adding EU and LHD compatibility. Having access to certain information that would otherwise be off limits sure is useful. Alex's ( @Tarkus) long term commitment to all things SC4, unwavering patience and complete understanding of the underpinnings of the game, makes him a great ambassador. Working alongside him and the other team members is a real privilege. Not to mention the countless ways that being part of the team has allowed me to improve my modding skills. I was very pleased to bring the MHO refresh as part of NAM35, that really felt like my first solid contribution to the mod. It's another of those very long projects I seem to find myself taking on. My next goal is bringing everyone a completely new SAMmod for NAM36, the IndustrieSAM network. This is already mostly finished, but will represent a major contribution in terms of code for the first time. It's another accomplishment that I couldn't have realised, without the selfless help of my team mates. While the NAM Team is probably the biggest team of content creators, are there any other teams which you follow which you must download any creation they put out? Sadly there aren't so many active teams these days, so you've posed a bit of a tricky one there. If there was one team where I could say I'd grab every release without hesitation, that would have to be the VIP team. Although these days, that tends to be mostly the work of @Girafe. I'm a sucker for high-quality HD content and the VIP team made some of the best props/models out there. Girafe's flora is always a welcome addition and I use it whenever my lots/mods need some greenery. Outside of this genre, Transit mods, what is a work you have been very impressed with which is thematically at opposite ends to your style? Whilst it's not really the sort of thing I have much use for, I'd have to single out the excellent quality ChryslerBuilding by @Reddonquixote here. http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=3326 Seeing the development and the final renders, just felt like a new bar had been set for the quality of SC4 buildings. From the gorgeous metallic effect on the spire, to the unbelievable nightlighting and supremely detailed facade, it just oozes quality through and through. Yet, I don't think I've ever plopped it in game, I should rectify that. What would be the most substantial project that has left a meaningful impression on you from the past two years? Why is that? Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference. @ILL Tonkso created so many models, for anyone wanting to make UK cities, it's a real treasure trove of must have content. Not all of it has stood the test of time so well, but @kingofsimcity's re-lots have utterly transformed many of these models. Giving them the sort of environment (lot) that finally does justice to them. Add to that his work on the parking textures and smart use of modular complexes and you end up with some hugely visually appealing content. For example, using just one of those buildings, a fairly generic office, KOSC lotted a huge number of variations. This makes these lots really usable without ever feeling too repetitive. Link to KOSC's content... http://community.simtropolis.com/profile/33566-kingofsimcity/?do=content&type=downloads_file&change_section=1 If asked to pick a couple other specific lots, I guess these would be my favourites (all from 2015): Tell us one of your favourite pieces from the STEX in 2015 and 2016 and explain what it is about and why this is your favourite piece? 2015 In 2015, whilst perhaps not an obvious choice, it would have to be @simmaster07's SC4Fix.dll for me. As someone with a good technical knowledge, seeing this bug squashed was really quite astonishing, it was one of those things thought of as impossible. Then out of nowhere, along comes this fix, which personally has made playing SC4 so much better. I can't tell you how many times I fell foul to the CTD, being a big user of much NAM content. On many occasions, I lost a lot of work too. But since this was released, my game simply never crashes and is totally stable. As such, this was my favourite mod from 2015. 2016 For 2016, I wasn't able to decide on one clear winner, both of these little gems not only conform to my UK theme, but are of outstanding quality too. First is @Bombardiere's Clerkenwell Close buildings. Quintessentially British, with superb texturing and modded to be very flexible, it ticks all my boxes for a great download. Partially it's my love of the golden age of Steam Trains, but also partially because it's the Flying Scotsman (do I need explain that?). Both of these great mods, whilst being of a more historical nature, are completely usable in a modern environment too. I am simply unable to choose between them, sorry. Simtropolis is organized into ‘player' and ‘builder' categories. Regarding the ‘player' section, do you have any favourite CJers that you enjoy following? And what piece of content from them in the past two years would you recommend to others? I must be honest and confess I don't really get into the CJ section as much as I perhaps should. I do try to follow a number of CJs however and have been impressed with the work of @Dreadnought's Jade Bight series. His attention to detail is up there with the best of them. @Ln X(my SC4 Scrapbook), @Belfastsocrates (The Viceroyalty of Perseus) and @_Michael (Mikenstein) are three other CJs I always enjoy seeing updates for. Mainly because I feel they all have a coherent style that inspires me to create things for my own game. Who is an up-and-coming member that we should look out for next year? Although releasing models since early 2016, I will be keeping an eye out for more models from @Aarsgevogelte. In a short space of time, the quality of his releases have improved greatly, along with a frequent supply of new buildings. Most of them fit well in all European environments too. Lastly, What has been one of your favourite Simtropolis moments? Now you've really got me thinking, I see why you left that one for last... Since there isn't a single instance that comes to mind, I think I'll have to wriggle out of it with a more general answer. Being part of Simtropolis is in and of itself a wonderful experience. I enjoy trying to help others, but have too received my share of assistance. It's a real community that has been instrumental to keeping a game I genuinely love alive all these years. Once more it's a privilege to be a part of something like ST, a place where anyone can come and join in our passion for SC4 and city building. Thank you for joining us today RSC204, here's to a great Trixies
  8. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspiration and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our fourth guest: An Interview with Akallan We all have our own unique Simtropolis story. How did you first discover this community? I discovered Simtropolis a few years after the release of SC4, it had to be around 2008 when I registered on the site. The site was easily accessible because it was easy to find by "SimCity 4" search engine. At first, my registration on Simtropolis was exclusively to download content Plugins for SC4, and in early 2016 I launched my first CJ on Simtropolis titled "R.C.D." (Republic and Canton of Dahammas). What areas of the site do you tend to visit most frequently? Most often is the CJ area, that's what I'm most interested in throughout the rest of the forum. And then, I also like to linger obviously on the STEX, every day I discover new things to download, to believe that the STEX is a bottomless puit! A few times, I go on the forums but I do not interact much because I do not write well enough English despite the translators I use (Google Translation, my girlfriend), I remain a simple viewer. You usually create highly detailed MMP-type CJ entries. Outside of this genre, what is a work you have been very impressed with which is thematically at opposite ends to your style? A style that has nothing to do with the MMP, is that of "Haljackey". I often watch his videos on YouTube because I like the cities he builds and especially the transport network on which he enjoys a lot! The road networks it makes are very American (multi-lane highways, and impressive motorway interchanges), it's really great that it does! Among the CJ, I can not choose only one author that I find amazing. I like a lot of different styles, like Ln X (My SC4 CJ Scrapbook), the Takingyouthere CJ (Pretoria Metropolitan Area) for its industrial zones, and many others. There are many talents and artists in the "City Journal" section, each with their own style that is different from mine. There is diversity and that makes the forum interesting. What are the steps in your creative process? When I create scenes for my CJ "Phoenix Project", the first thing I do is imagine what scene I want to create with which element such as a river or a scene where we see the city, as I Could do with my last entry of my CJ (Erephore). When I know what I want, I can download all the BATs, LOTs and mods (terrain mod, water mod) appropriate to create the desired scenes. Then I go through the Lot Editor software to modify the new downloads and create what I want and to finish with the Reader in order to edit some elements such as basic textures that I remove often. Arrives the real work on the game itself, the MMPing and the ploppage of all the batches created and modified. This can take a long time as it can be very fast for an equal work surface. For example, the scene of the city of Erephore which is a small image, took me more time than all the other scenes. This was the first time I built a city while plopping, it was necessary to go through the LE, it is not always obvious to end up in the list of props. But I have taken a lot of fun and I still have a little more to refine my knowledge with this software ... But the work that I like most is that of the MMPing, I love the freedom of movement, thanks to the MMPing there are no more problems of tiles. The scenes I like to create in particular are the rivers, the car on can do a lot of different things, small rivers that cross a forest, create bigger rivers that pass through cities, etc ... And MMPing Around the river is very important to have the best possible realism. In any case, there are many things to do that are endless with the MMP water! Your work is a source of inspiration for many. Who's work inspires you? The work that inspires me most is that of korver. I have always loved to create natural landscapes and try to make the scenes more realistic. When I was playing on the R.C.D., I used to do some natural scenes (Wardruna), but I could not do too much, because I also wanted to create towns and villages to make my scenes as lively as possible. So I created the Phoenix Project which allowed me to do what I like most, create landscapes. That's why the work of korver inspired me a lot, he made SimCity 4 even more beautiful than ever! What advice would you give to a CJ newcomer, who was planning on creating their CJ? Some logical tips, such as writing as accurately as possible, display good quality images in JPEG format (because of loading times) and especially do not hesitate to ask for advice. I also think that the author who posts a new CJ must try to have his personal signature. For example, people who watch the CJ images must be able to guess who the entry of CJ is, without even seeing the author's name. Personally, there are many new entries that I can know to whom it belongs without having read a single word, only by looking at the picture. But above all, you have to take pleasure! Tell us one of your favourite pieces from the STEX in 2015 and 2016 and explain what it is about and why this is your favourite piece? During the year 2015, the mod that amused me most is the NAM, version 32. In 2015 I started to download some mods, I was playing since the release of the game in vanilla, and to see CJ with Beautiful cities gave me still want to download content for the game. The NAM 32 was for me the rebirth of SC4! At the end of 2015, there was also a mod called "SC4Fix" that came out, for those who use the NAM, I really advice you! In 2016, the work that pleased me most was Simmer2. He made a new series of very realistic aqueducts and not forgetting everything else! What's a quality piece of work on the STEX from the last two years which you think has been overlooked? In my opinion, I think it is Aarsgevogelte's work. He made some very nice creations during this year 2016. He made a lot of W2W lots that are still useful for an old city. Despite the quality of his BATs, they have not been much downloaded and they are not seen much in CJs. Who is an up-and-coming member that we should look out for next year? Undoubtedly, Krisman for the work he does in his CJ. It has happened recently, but it shows very beautiful images with a city that it customizes entirely itself. I hope you enjoyed reading this interview! - We can assure you there are still more to come during the build-up! - _Michael, Staff and Trixie Team
  9. So as part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspiration and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our first guest: An Interview with Ln X So thanks very much Ln X for agreeing to take part in this special Trixie 2015/2016 Interview. Sure. I'd first like to talk about the community as a whole. We all have our own unique Simtropolis story. How did you first discover this community? I think about four or five years ago. I came across it by accident when I was looking at custom SC4 content, I had been playing the vanilla game but decided that I wanted more skyscrapers in the game. I'm sure many have had the same experience! And your work here, specifically your City Journals have definitely inspired me and I'm sure many other members, so they question is, who has inspired you over the years? And do you feel and competition in your genre has helped you personally improve? I have always liked @paeng's CJs, his special detailing was always impressive. He said something, in the now gone PLEX about how he focused on every single building, how if it didn't fit in he would try something else. I have gradually adopted this strategy. Other inspirations were @Fasan and @korver. Fasan began publishing his Krokanien MD, on SC4D, in 2014. The pictures were incredible as was his MMP work. He was a lotting/modding meistro who did unbelievable things in the game. He inspired me to pursue a MMP approach to rural areas and also urban areas where necessary. The city tile of Ravensworth, in my CJ, was my first emulation of his work. The link is here for all those interested- http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=16683.0 Finally @korver... Need we say more about his totally jaw-dropping entries... He started last year with incredible MMP scenes from around the world. He inspired me to go nuts with the MMPs for the last city I created-Erinsberg. As good as they are they can't be replicated in game. They involve taking 3D models in Sketchup and using huge amounts of photoshopping to transform most of the SC4 out of SC4. Note: Any model imported from an online resource (including Sketchup) may be functional in game, and not necessarily Photoshopped. So going back to the point of competition... I probably felt it in 2014 but now I don't really think about it anymore. In 2014 there was @Benedict's top ten CJs of the week, that's gone and so I did it all purely for experimentation. Now competition can only arise if members are updating and creating City Journals. Many though, may be fearful of starting one, so what would your number 1 advice be to someone wanting to start a City Journal? Plugins, plugins and more plugins. But I think number 1 advice is misleading and too arbitrary. It can't be condensed down to one point. Indeed, and with custom content being one of the cornerstones of this communtiy, who do you think has shone brightly during the past 2 years, in relation to custom content creation? This could be a BATer, Mapper, or LOTer. Anyone really that has made and published custom content. Mods are massive game changers since it helps to unify the grass textures, it is subtle but powerful. Others would be @kingofsimcity's parking sets and NAM. A huge shout out must be given to @rsc204. His Terrain Grass relots, another huge gamechanger. @T Wrecks is still going strong with his wall-to-wall industry. @InvisiChem created the CAM 2.0 (Colossos Addon Mod) to fix the buggy, but legendary CAM of 2007. Also @Simmer2 has made waves last year with his lots, RRW (real railway) work and modular sets- like the pipelines... And do you think there is content that you have used that has been overlooked by the community? That question is a tough one because of how old Simtropolis is. I would say content has been overlooked due to age: @Glenni, IL Tonkso, @Pegprod and other oldies, they did some fantastic work. I also think a lot of good work is found outside the STEX such as the LEX, PLEX, Simcity Polska and Working Man Production. My CJs would not have been the same without having downloaded nearly all the content from the WorkingMan Productions website and scouring the LEX for fillers and civics. And has anyone from the STEX surprised you with their work over the past few years? The quality of it, what it does etc. @JP Schriefer... When he first started I thought what he was doing was a novelty. But now he is cranking out content which is just as good as @Reddonquixote. I do agree - those buildings are truly wonderful. Another person would have to be @rsc204, his mods are subtle but very useful. So now moving slightly away from the community, but what do you do when you're not playing SC4 or C:S? Right now teacher training in the further education sector in England. Spare time: story-writing, listening to music, reading religious stuff, walking, skateboarding, reading the news, browsing Simtropolis' current events and watching films. Such a varied selection! That's the usual week for me. Busy Busy! And to top the interview off, what has been your highlight of this community over the past 2 years? My SC4 CJ Scrapbook. Such a great thing as well! And continuing from your personal City Journal, what inspires you when creating? The countryside and Teesside... Such diversity and variety in that part of the country. I build large industrial areas because every Sunday of each week I drive through Teesside, and past the industry, to get to a skatepark in Redcar. Did you know that the sci-fi movie BladeRunner was inspired by the steelworks in Teesside? Large cities in one direction, beautiful countryside the other. I did not know that. Now your City Journal has been highly important over the past two years, but what City Journals do you feel have been incredibly important? is a great one because of his CJ @Takingyouthere's lotting improvisation, I think he has definitely inspired many people with his experiments. I really admire @Mymyjp's CJs and her content, she has a great style of blending various mods and together. @philforhockey51 has done great work, the fact he uses Maxis terrain and makes it work is rather incredible. and photoshopping CJs @Huston's sci-fi has always been good to see. @Akallan, of SC4D and who now posts here, has done incredible MMP scenes. @Tonraq pumps out great Japanese scenes And finally @korver has at last created a CJ which truly feels global. I think's it safe to say that Korver can create any area on this planet. So that's it for the CJs... The quality definitely improves each year thanks to the new mods, BATs and LOTs. Even though the activity decreases a bit each year... It's the issue with ageing games. But as we know, a brand new city builder has been released was in 2015. So how has Cities affected the community? It's given SC4 a competitor. Some famous community content developers such as @Bipin and @xannepan have "jumped ship" so to speak and gone to Cities Skylines. is definitely the future and it exists largely on Reddit, C:S Youtube and the Steam Workshop community. C:S, with all the mods and custom content, has beaten the modded SC4 game by a mile and then some. The STEX can't compete with the Steam Workshop. With the range, diversity, size, quality? Just about everything: accessibility, popularity, quality, size... See, SC4, with all the mods, has become a great city painter. It's not about the simulation anymore, it's about creating beautiful cities and countryside with these great mods and BATs and LOTs. I must say, that's what I use SC4 for. And this is why Cities: Skylines has such a big community. What I have seen on Youtube, and on Reddit, it has become the most highly-detailed city painter to ever exist in the world of computer games. You can plop in decals (textures) for concrete, grass, skid marks, dirt... You can drag in props and place them anywhere. Or pick up any object and move it, and rotate it and shift its height... While SC4 cannot compete with this I do think there are certain areas where it can stay fresh. And still carry on despite Cities: Skylines being so detailed. There is hope, and I do believe the SC4 community on the Simtropolis and SC4D will be around for at least another ten years. I very much hope so! The modding which community members such as @Simmer2 and @rsc204 do have helped keep the game fresh and alive. They given everyone new toys and that is very important. But for the future I think SC4 needs something to the decals of Cities: Skylines and believe it not SC4 does have something similar. It has "paint" textures found in a mod made by http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=3077 xannepan, this HIGHLY overlooked mod is I believe the future for SC4 since it imposes a texture on top of current textures. Link to the mod in question. If there are more variations of textures then it could truly transform the game. Also more diagonal and FAR buildings would be nice too! I agree with this being overlooked. I only found out about it a few months ago. But this is why I'm hopeful. There is definitely more interest and development happening with SC4 mods, there are a few more movers and shakers out there (@rsc204, @Simmer2, @kingofsimcity, @T Wrecks, etc...) I dunno why but two years ago the STEX and LEX felt stagnant. It felt like everyone had ran out of ideas but 2015 and 2016 proved me very wrong. So that's why I'm hopeful for SC4's future despite there being a better game out there. And that's all I have to say about that. Well, thanks very much for participating. Thank you! Have fun with interviewing the other community members and I look forward to the Trixies coming out. C ya! I wish you the best, and the community a very good Trixie season! I hope you enjoyed reading this interview - We can assure you there will be many more to come! - _Michael, Staff and Trixie Team
  10. As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favorite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspriation and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further ado, please welcome our second guest: An Interview with feyss Thank you very much feyss for taking part in this special Trixie build-up Interview. You're welcome We all have our own stories about city-building games. So I'd like to start by asking, how did you discover Simtropolis? It was a long time ago, April 2009 according to my profile. I was first watching other people realisations on TSC (ToutSimCities), then I ended up here. I hadn't the game yet at that time but all of this really made me want to buy it, what I did in December 2009. Then, I lurked a lot before really posting something. And talking of posting, you've created one of my favorite City Journals, but what's your inspiration when you're creating? Well, first, thank you! Glad to have such enthusiast support As I said, I first began with TSC where there was a lot of awesome things at that time. The first people I really enjoyed watching his creations was K-ny, of course known for his 'Corsica'. But my source of inspiration was his first MD: 'Vlieland', some kind of Northern Europe city with a good collection of all the best BATs available at that time. Then there was also Ol Scare with his MD 'Med Inspiration', a masterpiece in my opinion. There was also Art28, known for his Japanse cities. At that time, he was making really awesome Russians cities with their Soviet blocks and colourful buildings. You've mentioned a whole host of amazing city journals from all sorts of genres, but shifting focus to custom content, has there been a STEX uploader from the past 2 years that has really impressed you? @Simmer2, for many different reasons. First, simply the scale of his lots. That's simply huge and that's awesome. Second, his talent. He has a lot of creativity, being able to use all the props from his collection and then, if something doesn't suit him, he just create a new prop. Lastly, because of the nature of those lots. A lot of them are transport facilities (train and tramway), which is something I would never say no to. And is there anyone who has created a mod that has been really useful to your creations? Well, simply the NAM team for the tramway. I'm sure I would already have stopped playing if there wasn't such a thing. I must agree. Still talking about custom content, but who do you think has improved the most over the past two years? I really enjoyed what Tyberius06 has recently done with his Heretic SeaPort Project. I wish I would have the time to try what he has done once in one of my cities: And for any want-to-be City Journaler or custom-content-creator, what would your number one piece of advice be? Advice in starting out in the content or CJ creation? Just do it! Sometimes people keep their awesome stuff for themselves, and it's a bit sad. And it also makes you learn foreign languages! Very true! And if you had to summarise your favorite CJ and custom download from the past 2 years, what would they be? I will have to launch the game for finding that BAT! Sure! Concerning my favorite CJ, it's a bit difficult because, even if there is less activity those days since it's an old game, there is quality everywhere. I would say Ln X's CJ, for many reasons: I'd be tempted to agree. It is truly wonderful. First, his huge collection of BATs and other custom contents, and the fact he uses all of them (and in an appropriate way). Everything fits perfectly. Second, because I find it very realistic. Why? Because he builds his industry in the middle of his cities, just right next to people houses, which is how it's actually done in any industrial cities in the world, from the UK where he's from or Belgium, Germany, etc. On that matter, I never liked that idea coming from the vanilla game to build those industries far away from the rest of your city. It never made sense for me. Very true. It is incredibly realistic. Finally, because of his consistency. He posted a lot of quality updates which also means he's efficient in his work (not like me). He knows what he wants to build and just do it. I personally never finish my cities. I know the feeling! Wooos, I was thinking about a special BAT, but he's already from 2012. Time flies... There is that c.p. Chicago post office I really like, but I only find it on the LEX:/ http://sc4devotion.com/csxlex/lex_filedesc.php?lotGET=3299 It's still a great BAT! I'd now like to briefly talk about you outside of SC4. Ok What do you tend to do when you're not creating or on ST? For the moment, looking for a job during the day, and playing other video games on the evening. I especially like team based online games, from CS:GO to Left 4 Dead... I also enjoy travelling (especially visiting cities) & making photography. Very busy! Has your interested in SC4 and city-building changed your viewpoint or appreciation of things in the real world? Like cities... This game made me more interested about city planning. Now, I'm always excited about new infrastructure projects or urban policies. I always like to read the entire project proposition and make myself my opinion about it. I must say, I'm very much the same. And one final question, what has been your favourite Simtropolis memory from the past 2 years? It's not a 'favourite moment', but I would just like to pay homage to A Nonny Moose, who passed away last year. Yes, a very tragic event, and a member who will always be remembered. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to me today, Feyss. It's been great speaking! Thanks to you! Is there anything else you'd like to talk about? Yeah, a huge thanks to Cyclone (and anyone else involved) for the St Challenges It has been a great Season! Indeed, I wish I had more time for the last ones Nevertheless, it has been great for everyone. Thanks again for speaking to me. No problem, have a nice evening I wish you the best, and hope you have a great Trixie season! the same! I hope you enjoyed reading this interview - We can assure you there will be more to come during the build-up! - _Michael, Staff and Trixie Team
  11. Designer blog of Stone Librande on the game - I remember this was the guy who narrated the gameplay video that got me hella excited. Sim City: An Interview with Stone Librande Edit: Updated with the original topic source
  12. Read the rest of the interview @|: http://www.incgamers.com/2013/05/simcity-mod-support-is-a-possibilty-says-maxis-kip-katsarelis This seems promisising, but still some ways off. Though it took them awhile until SC4 modding tools was released by them as well.
  13. Hey everyone! First, I would like to thank everyone for their interest in our post-event impressions, and for their patience while we worked to get everything together. Second, I want to thank the people at Maxis for their awesome hospitality and for putting this event together. It was a blast to get to talk with the developers, especially since everyone was so excited to have us there for the day. Finally, this is my first time doing a write up like this, so I'm just going to go for it and see where it takes us. However, before we jump head first into the write up, let's take a moment to discuss the format of the event. Our day was split between play testing the latest version of the game, interviews, and opportunities for general chit-chat. That said, I'm going to jump between talking about play testing, interviews, and the like. The first impression upon starting up the game is that Maxis has been busy since the time that the beta was launched. Stuff has been tweaked as a result of feedback from the beta, and the game actually plays differently as a result (I think the end result is better balanced). Just to throw out a single example, road costs have been tweaked, which means that strategies that worked in the beta will now drive you bankrupt in a hurry. For those who think that the new SimCity has no difficulty levels, the taxes act as your primary difficulty levels. (This may not seem like much, but at the same time, the difficulty levels in SC4 really just altered the amount of cash you started with.) As we all know, one of the big new features of the game is city specializations. Some die hard SimCity fans are likely to regard this move as heresy, but I don't see it that way. If you want to play the new SimCity using the classic RCI model, you are totally free to do so, and you will find that the game responds in much the same way that you would expect it to. However, for those of us who might be bored of the classic RCI model, or want to try something new and different, city specialization is a great way to mix up the franchise. Some people will say that the "formula for success" with the city specializations is somewhat flat, but that is a superficial analysis as it takes some degree of skill and planning to capture the benefits of city specializaton while mitigating the negatives that go along with that specialization. There has been concern that the specializations are tilted to favor the resource-based specialization, which would logically mean that the city spaces rich in coal, oil, and ore would be the first to be claimed. However, this concern misses the unique challenge the resource-based specializations face: resource scarcity. These resources are finite, and it's only a matter of time before you have to address your sustainability problems. (During the beta, I built a city based on oil and drove it for everything it was worth. However, the oil fields couldn't sustain that forever, and they started to fail to meet the demands of my refineries. I had to start importing oil to sustain the refinery output, which took a big chunk out of my profits.) If you decide that you want to re-specialize the city, you face potentially even bigger challenges. For the Community Day event, I landed with a city laden with ore, so I specialized in ore production. However, I got tired of the ground pollution hurting my residential development, so I decided to "turn the city around." Except that it didn't turn around. It was like watching the decline of the American Rust Belt as my city slid into a financial death spiral. I had built a city with millions that was the third most economically powerful city in the region, and it all fell apart because I failed to plan far enough forward to ensure a successful transition away from an ore-based city economy. So if you're thinking that pumping oil is a cheap way to amassing millions, just remember that you're going to burn through millions trying to carry your city through the post oil boom days. So at this point, let's take an intermission from the play testing and talk about one of the group interviews that we did. We had the opportunity to do a small group interview with the design team concerning Glassbox and the depth of the simulation. We got to see under the hood and see the game through the eyes of one of the developer debug tools that is used to tune the simulation. With the drag of a slider, the dev shut down a coal plant and with another drag of the coal supply slider, the plant started up again. (Meanwhile, the coal supply animation responded to reflect the state of the coal supply.) Then with a few more clicks, we got to see the pollution simulation while Ocean Quigley explained how the simulation rules wrote air pollution to the map. A couple of clicks later, and we could watch one of the sims driving around the city and what his most pressing interests were. At 6AM, the little sims started getting up for work and we could see traffic picking up while watching how the sims were altering their most pressing needs in response to the events they were encountering. While I admit that I'm not a modder, I feel like if we can get even a fraction of this kind of capability in modding the game, we will eclipse anything SC4 was capable of supporting. Let's jump back to the play testing and talk about something that we all care about: region play. However, before we do that, let's talk about me for a second. I am a lone wolf gamer. My big interests are campaigns (like Halo or any other FPS game) and PvE (like Guild Wars 2 or World of Warcraft). I don't generally enjoy PvP or cooperative play with people I don't know well. That said, let's jump back to SimCity. It took me a few minutes to warm up to the vibe of the room and the people in it, but once that happened, it was magic. I decided that my city was going to be one of the trash dumps of the region, where the mayor didn't care about you and your troubles, and thus, Double Shift was born. And the place lived up to it's name. Double Shift dominated the crime leader board, and I was immensely proud with I became aware that my criminals were setting up franchises in neighboring cities. Fire services weren't set up until half the city was engulfed in flames, and with no health services at all, my sims lived hard and died young. Soon enough, my sims began clamoring for assistance from their neighbors, and Tosca Cliffs came to their aid with police and health services. But Tosca Cliffs had troubles too; trash was overflowing with no method for managing it. Except that Double Shift had just completed expanding its waste management services. A deal was struck and soon the residents of Double Shift began breathing the pollution of Tosca Cliffs's trash. While all of the above is important, it misses another important part of SimCity's region play: the social interaction. Admittedly, the bunch of us were in the same room and this enables conversation to flow in ways that isn't normally possible over the internet, but I'm fairly confident that none of us have had a string of random conversations like this in SC4: -"Oil is where it's at, man. Already making $750,000 a month." -"I want to build a green city. Who's going to take my sewage?" -"We don't want your *bleep*. No one's going to take your *bleep*." -"But I want to build a green city!" -"Send it to Double Shift. I hear he's building a trash dump of a city. He doesn't care." -"Sure, send it over. The ground in that part of the city is already dead anyway." -"JOIN MY CAPITALIST EMPIRE AND TOGETHER WE SHALL RULE THIS REGION!!! MWAHAHAHAH!!" Random amusing stuff like this is possible with the new SimCity. If you want to experience it, you can. If this doesn't interest you, you're under no pressure to engage in this stuff. Now do you want to voice chat with some random dude you don't know who is playing in your region? Probably not. Does it have the potential to be a lot of fun among friends, family, and whatnot? I think so. Another area that deserves mention is the visual filter capabilities. For some individuals, the default visual style is awesome, and for others, not so much. Filters offer an easy way to find a visual style more suited to your tastes. However, filters have so much more potential than that. As cheesy as it sounds, filters offer a new way to experience your city. A single filter change can fundamentally alter how a street feels. I didn't think to ask about this question during the event, but I hope that we get the ability to add in new filters to the game. If we do, I suspect we will the experience the growth of some truly wild and unique City Journals. If you're wanting to tell a story about your city, filters just offer too much potential to ignore them. Before we wrap this thing up, let's head back to the group interviews one more time to hopefully shed some light on what the devs were hoping to achieve with the new SimCity. One thing that was made very clear was that, in designing the new SimCity, the developers were hoping to capture the elements from the previous SimCity titles that made them so much fun to play. However, as even Will Wright admitted, the series was getting too complicated, so they felt that it was necessary to find a way to give the player the core essentials of the SimCity series without burdening the player with micromanagement and extraneous details. Additionally, Maxis is well aware of past efforts to reboot the SimCity series, and the dev team has made the effort to learn from those mistakes. You may think of it as "getting back to basics," or "the prodigal son returns home," or any other number of things, but the dev team has tried to keep the core fundamentals of the SimCity series in place while re-imagining how those core essentials can come together in a game. If you had asked me a while back if I would buy the new SimCity game, the answer would have been a definite no. As far as I was concerned, it was basically another Societies or Cities XL clone and I wasn't interested. I got the opportunity to participate in the beta, so I decided to try it out, and it had a very definite "this is a reboot" feel. It didn't feel like it warranted the title "SimCity 5," but as a reboot of the series, it was decent. However, after playing the version we did for the community event, it is evident that this isn't a reboot where the producer throws out all the old material simply because he didn't like it. This is Maxis positioning the SimCity series for a future it could have never achieved under the previous design paradigm. It may look like Maxis is taking steps backwards with the technology, but that is incorrect. Rather, Maxis is basing the series on a new technological underpinning that will be capable of carrying our favorite franchise into the future. We are witnessing a new stage in SimCity's evolution, and while SC4 hands the new game enormous shoes to fill, I feel it is up to the task. Bottom Line: I intend to buy the game.
  14. A anthor website just sharing talks about Multiplayer in depth http://www.incgamers.com/Interviews/393/simcity-interview---building-a-multiplayer-world just wanted to share it's ok to dislike. :-)

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