Maxis Will "Eventually" Increase SimCity's City Sizes

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Maxis Will "Eventually" Increase SimCity's City Sizes

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Ocean Quigley says SimCity was built to to run on "your Dad's PC."

"Cities are too small" was one of the biggest complaints players had during SimCity's open beta, and while we won't see larger cities for the game's March 5 release, an interview with lead designer Ocean Quigley reveals we will see them "eventually." Quigley states that the city sizes were made deliberately small as a performance decision, but assures Incgamers that "We'll eventually get around to expanding the city size but I can't make any promises as to when."

"We need to keep in mind that SimCity is a mainstream game, it's not a game that is only going to run on high-end gaming PCs, it has to run in your Dad's PC as well," said Quigley, when asked about the performance trade-off that led to city sizes being limited. He says that given the performance restraint that he had to work under, he opted to go for larger region sizes instead, so players could have more, smaller cities in a region, rather than fewer, larger ones.

Quigley also addressed another major concern beta testers had: the inability to demolish a failed city and start over from scratch. "Well if it really bothers you, you could destroy the whole region and start over but if you don't want to do that you could send the city that is affecting the area a big gift of cash from the adjacent cities and use that to clean up," says Quigley. He claims that leaderboards and challenges were the main factor behind limiting city destruction.

Multiplayer is a large part of the new SimCity, with players being able to invite friends into their region to build cities. A concern players had was that an invitee could start building a city, then forget about it, leaving it as a "dead zone" for the owner of the region. Quigley says that Maxis would be fairly hands-off with this. He urges players to only invite trusted friends into their region, as there will be no-way for players to "kick out" inactive players from the region. "There is no mechanism where I can take over your city without your permission and there's no mechanism where EA or Maxis are going to kick you out of the game."

As for the future of SimCity, Quigley said "This SimCity architecture is much more like the Sims. In the previous SimCities it was difficult to add any additional content. We built this SimCity to be 'composable', which is the best way to describe it. It puts us in a position to make more stuff for the game and to build more content. So we'll see what people want and ask for in particular and we'll make more content."

Quigley ended the interview by encouraging those new to SimCity to try it out, telling us "It's the deepest, richest most beautiful SimCity ever, the most sophisticated SimCity ever, and it's trivially easy to get started."

Source: Incgamers

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From the videos I've seen of the beta, it looks fun enough, but a part of me can't help but feel we'll 'eventually' be able to unlock larger cities with real money.

Which would be unfortunate.

Loop Stricken:
From the videos I've seen of the beta, it looks fun enough, but a part of me can't help but feel we'll 'eventually' be able to unlock larger cities with real money.

Which would be unfortunate.

You can be 100% certain that's the case. I was, even before this announcement.

The performance thing is bullshit, as long as you give players the option to either play on the 4000*4000 (I think) size maps they are using now and larger maps, with a nice, clear warning saying that the larger the map the more it will tax your system.

I can guarantee a LOT of core gamers will be playing SimCity, so that's plenty of people with rigs that can handle it.

Anyway... I except a lot of shitty monetization for this game in the future.

I have mixed feelings on this, but they're mostly bad feelings. it seems that they're trying to appeal to people that have "meh" spec laptops and thus, put a limitation on the whole game because those laptops would not have been able to handle it. I remember seeing an article saying that the game is made to be modable, perhaps there might be modding tools or a world editor right at release and we can make out own sized city plots!(HAHAHA fat chance)

Loop Stricken:
From the videos I've seen of the beta, it looks fun enough, but a part of me can't help but feel we'll 'eventually' be able to unlock larger cities with real money.

Which would be unfortunate.

Don't be silly, EA would never do that.

Steven Bogos:
Quigley also addressed another major concern beta testers had: the inability to demolish a failed city and start over from scratch. "Well if it really bothers you, you could destroy the whole region and start over but if you don't want to do that you could send the city that is affecting the area a big gift of cash from the adjacent cities and use that to clean up," says Quigley. He claims that leaderboards and challenges were the main factor behind limiting city destruction, as otherwise players could keep destroying cities and pooling the "start-up money" they get from starting a new city.

Is this really scary to no-one else? They cut out a key feature of the game because of MULTIPLAYER. They just cut a feature from their game, not because it unbalanced the game as it were, but because it unbalanced the MULTIPLAYER. Multiplayer should never, ever be this big a component of a game unless the game is multiplayer-only and was never meant to be single-player in the first place. If that's the case, I apologize...

Steven Bogos:
Multiplayer is a large part of the new SimCity, with players being able to invite friends into their region to build cities. A concern players had was that an invitee could start building a city, then forget about it, leaving it as a "dead zone" for the owner of the region. Quigley says that Maxis would be fairly hands-off with this. He urges players to only invite trusted friends into their region, as there will be no-way for players to "kick out" inactive players from the region.

...but why in the name of Gaben would you not include a kick function??? Has this man even LIVED on the internet? EVERYONE is a troll. Kicking a troll is the only way to get rid of them. I just... there are not enough head-exploding gifs to explain how na´ve and stupid not having a kick function is. Even if it was meant to be friends-only, what if you have a falling-out with one of your friends? He turns his city into a dead-zone and boom, region ruined, start from scratch.

Of course, I kid. Nobody is that stupid. They WANT you to demolish your region over and over, so you have to keep paying for microtransaction resources to rebuild. It's built-in obsolescence. It's the one way they can make sure you keep playing forever.

I haven't played the beta so I don't have an inside knowledge of this version but the part where he says there is no mechanism for kicking out inactive players seems odd to me. Partly because the absence of the feature is because they decided not to make it, which is the excuse they are using for not wanting to make one... Surely they could have an option for the owner of a region to take over a city that hasn't been active for x number of days, with a 'vacation mode' so that you can be inactive for a set amount of time if you know you'll be away? I've seen shitty browser based city games use a similar system, so I would expect a decent developer to at least have figured something along the same lines.

And not having a demolish city option just because of the leaderboards sounds lazy too, figuring out how to have both must be too much like effort for them. If you get a certain amount of cash to start a new city then put a limit on when you can transfer that money to other cities, or have a minimum transfer amount that is high enough that you have to have done a fair amount of play time maybe with a 'tax' too. Maybe even have a huge cost to demolish a city (although that would probably encourage more 'microtransactions') so demolition is a major decision and not taken lightly. It is a city planning game after all and demolishing an entire city isn't going to be cheap. Why not have a orbital nuclear strike option, that destroys the entire city but has a cooldown timer so you can't rebuild it right away? Hell, just do away with the leaderboards.

I'll probably give the finished game a miss though. With EA wringing as much money out of players even more with each successive game, I forsee this will have 'optional' extras galore. I'll just fire up an older version and have fun starting a tornado during a riot.

Either he's lying or they have software engineers that only know how to program for the lowest common denominator.

Reading about people filling the region with a thriving city in an hour during the beta doesn't instill confidence.

For me all of the concessions made in the name of multiplayer are the real issue. You can't demolish a town because of it, you can't save your city at a point and do different stuff, you can't have very large cities that don't rely as heavily on your neighbors, you can't mess around with cheats, you can't design your own map for your city (or import other people's creations). Basically your city is no better than a mmo character, you don't own it at all, but at least with a mmo character you can demolish it.

Maybe reviews will tell me otherwise but all of the restrictions that are put in place are things that make the game less interesting to serve an aspect I have zero interest in. Add on EA's new stance of "games are more fun when you keep paying us even after paying full price for the game!" and frankly I hope it fails. It is just a sign of the whole multiplayer >> single player that has served as a poison seed for so many games.

Carnagath:

Loop Stricken:
From the videos I've seen of the beta, it looks fun enough, but a part of me can't help but feel we'll 'eventually' be able to unlock larger cities with real money.

Which would be unfortunate.

Don't be silly, EA would never do that.

Ah, my fears have been instantly alleviated. Thanks.

Don't mind me, I'm going to just sit back and play some Sim City 4, or, if I'm feeling like focusing on a different aspect of city building, Sim City Societies.

All without installing that Origin shit on my computer! :D

Well, these statements have me running for the lifeboats.

'No, no, we can't give you big cities, then you couldn't have big regions for your multiplayer experience and your achievement leaderboards.'

'No, no, you can't delete cities, that would mess with the multiplayer experience2 and your achievement leaderboards.'

'No, no, we can't give you any control over other cities of other players on your server, that would interfere with the multiplayer experience and your achievement leaderboards.'

SimCity is just about the last game where I would give a fuck about highscores. I want to have fun building cities, loading an old save if I'm not happy with it, not get saddled with tiny maps with no control over them because EA decided they'd rather be making Farmville with 3D graphics and the SimCity logo plastered on it.

Well, screw it then, if EA's marketing division has calculated it can make much more money by turning one of their oldest franchises into a mandatory facebook game, I'm sure they won't need my money.

To summarize: They've made a big F'ing mess of single player trying to make the games multiplayer work.

So you can't remove inactive players from your region? ... And how much is larger cities going to cost us? This game is definitely on the do not buy list now.

Can't they have a competitive mode where they put all these restrictions in, and a casual mode that lets you have the features normally? Is that just not a feasible thing for them that they cannot comprehend or afford?

weirdguy:
Can't they have a competitive mode where they put all these restrictions in, and a casual mode that lets you have the features normally? Is that just not a feasible thing for them that they cannot comprehend or afford?

Of course they can.

But then they can't SELL you those single-player features down the line any more.

I don't understand can't they just make a "city size" small-medium-large option?

Having played the beta, unlike, well, every poster here so far it seems, let's address some of the issues shall we?

City Size: It's more about quality of the city then the quantity of the sprawl. Sure you can fill up the city limits within 10min if you wanted to, but good luck trying to get a higher population. Larger capacity roads, set up some parks to increase the land value, convert those land wasting single houses into large scale condos. Balance the mix of zones to achieve denser ones, as you also need high tech commercial businesses to support the higher wealth of the citizens now. It's actually quite challenging, as after a bit you start setting up a second city to offset some of the load and start specializing.

Computer power: It might LOOK like a simple graphics engine, but believe me, there's a crap load of stuff going on. Every object is its own object agent, it's not abstracted like in SimCity 4 then represented as an animated texture. If you have a traffic jam somewhere, it's because every citizen is actually there trying to get from their home to workplace, and are actually stuck in traffic. As with the above about the quality of the city, better give some alternate, better routes from the residential to industrial zones. Protesters at your city hall in front of said traffic jam? That's 100 individual citizens being rendered with their likes and dislikes and goals, as well as the 100 cars in the jam. It will tax both your CPU and GPU due to the sheer amount of objects on the screen. Then the buildings around it. And visual effects if a fire broke out. And all the lighting, since this is a city building game, so the environment is dynamic, so you can't bake lighting like in FPS games. Lighting is usually one of the most expensive operations in a game, especially with shadows enabled.

It has chugged sometimes on my computer and it's a quad-core Q6600 2.4ghz, 6gb RAM, GTX 560 Ti 2gb, running at 1920x1200. I've turned shadows to low and disabled anti-aliasing to improve performance. While not exactly a powerhouse compared to some current gen systems, it should give you some perspective on how much it can tax your computer.

Multiplayer, really, if you don't trust your friend to stick around, just don't invite them into your region. You can lock everyone out and manage the whole place by yourself if you wanted to. I'm sure they'll add in kick after X days of inactivity eventually, as it can be a problem in the future. Of course, a mayor can abandon a city to let someone else take over, so it still reverts back to quality of friends who have the decency to say "Hey, not playing for awhile, I'll hop out and let someone else take over", instead of just disappearing.

Lack of multiple save slots. Stop thinking this is a solo, single-player SimCity. Like mentioned before, it's a coop, multiplayer, oriented design, so if you think about this as more of a SimCity MMO, then the design decisions make sense. You don't have save slots for your characters in WoW like you do in Dragon Age right? The city exists on their server farm for the MP aspect, since you can share resources and such to the other cities in the region, either managed by you or other mayors. Thus there's only one state for everything, since multiple save slots would be problematic. If you save your city, does it save the region too? Does it overwrote your friend's city on load? Oops. Plus there's the issue of cheats and such - if you could load up a saved city only and not replace the region, then gifted $100k to your friend, then reloaded and repeated? Kind of ruins some of the fun there.

weirdguy:
Can't they have a competitive mode where they put all these restrictions in, and a casual mode that lets you have the features normally? Is that just not a feasible thing for them that they cannot comprehend or afford?

If you wanted unlimited funds to goof off, there's a sandbox mode where all buildings are unlocked, but the region doesn't register on the leaderboards.

uncanny474:
Of course, I kid. Nobody is that stupid. They WANT you to demolish your region over and over, so you have to keep paying for microtransaction resources to rebuild. It's built-in obsolescence. It's the one way they can make sure you keep playing forever.

You are limited to joining a maximum of 10 regions at a time, but there's no real money cost in starting a new place. You just have to make sure you abandon every city in the region to remove yourself from it, so it doesn't take up a slot. The region itself probably stays on the server farm and maybe someone else will take over, who knows.

Any sort of MT, from what it looks like, is just around city skin themes like the digital deluxe having a British, German and French skin for the buildings. Basically cosmetic stuff, maybe a landmark or two like the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.

Making design decisions based around features I don't care about and never use? Yay. Seriously I can't remember the last time I gave a damn about leaderboards and we're taking away core game functionality for it?

ThriKreen:

Lack of multiple save slots. Stop thinking this is a solo, single-player SimCity. Like mentioned before, it's a coop, multiplayer, oriented design, so if you think about this as more of a SimCity MMO

It's almost like the games had a strong singleplayer fan base were excited about a having a new game after a decade and didn't want a co-op focused multiplayer MMO.

I approve them doing it, I don't approve their excuses for not doing it in the first place.

How hard is it to say "larger maps may tax your system? I cant play huge maps on Civ 5, that doesn't mean no one else should be ale to.

EA is like a dealer, I want so very hard not to buy their games but the just so happen to publish the series I love.

BrotherRool:
It's almost like the games had a strong singleplayer fan base were excited about a having a new game after a decade and didn't want a co-op focused multiplayer MMO.

Yet everywhere that I've read with people that had that same thought, after playing the beta they changed their minds and actually like the new features.

ThriKreen:
Any sort of MT, from what it looks like, is just around city skin themes like the digital deluxe having a British, German and French skin for the buildings. Basically cosmetic stuff, maybe a landmark or two like the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.

They had MTs in the BETA? Wow, that's ridiculous.

Yeah, if they were bad enough to include skin MTs in the beta, they're definitely going to have other MTs for each region in the full game. Not, like, to start a region, but maybe an MT to give you more starting resources or something that you don't technically *need* but you realistically do. Otherwise, it's just TERRIBLE game design, and I refuse to believe they're THAT stupid.

Gabanuka:
I approve them doing it, I don't approve their excuses for not doing it in the first place.

How hard is it to say "larger maps may tax your system? I cant play huge maps on Civ 5, that doesn't mean no one else should be ale to.

EA is like a dealer, I want so very hard not to buy their games but the just so happen to publish the series I love.

Don't forget, the regions also reside on their servers too, not just yours, as part of the multiplayer. Larger city area == more storage required, even if nothing is there yet, since the database still has to allocate and reserve the empty space for when it does get used. They might want to stick to manageable, smaller sizes first to gauge server farm capacity before expanding it further down the road.

ThriKreen:

BrotherRool:
It's almost like the games had a strong singleplayer fan base were excited about a having a new game after a decade and didn't want a co-op focused multiplayer MMO.

Yet everywhere that I've read with people that had that same thought, after playing the beta they changed their minds and actually like the new features.

okay I'll leave the snark alone now. It's still irrelevant to me, in the last 5 months I didn't have reliable internet access for 1 and a half so it's just impossible for me to consider buying a game with always online requirements. The thing I fear most is that it might actually be a good game like you suggest and then they'll try this with other franchises and there will be more games that I'm unable to play.

uncanny474:
They had MTs in the BETA? Wow, that's ridiculous.

Yeah, if they were bad enough to include skin MTs in the beta, they're definitely going to have other MTs for each region in the full game. Not, like, to start a region, but maybe an MT to give you more starting resources or something that you don't technically *need* but you realistically do. Otherwise, it's just TERRIBLE game design, and I refuse to believe they're THAT stupid.

No, they did not. In fact, there wasn't any hint of MT at all in the beta.

All we know is that there's a store that was hinted at in the manual, and the DD offers the mentioned Brit, German and French tilesets, which can be bought for $10 individually later. So you can safely assume it'll utilize said storefront. Much like what was in The Sims 3 for the cosmetic stuff.

That's it.

And yes, asking for money for each new region is stupid, and so is believing they'd be that money grubbing. They *can't* do it, because it disrupts the leaderboard ranking system if someone can just pay to maintain a positive cash flow despite whatever state their city is.

Again, there's always the sandbox mode for that.

ThriKreen:
Having played the beta, unlike, well, every poster here so far it seems, let's address some of the issues shall we?

City Size: It's more about quality of the city then the quantity of the sprawl. Sure you can fill up the city limits within 10min if you wanted to, but good luck trying to get a higher population. Larger capacity roads, set up some parks to increase the land value, convert those land wasting single houses into large scale condos. Balance the mix of zones to achieve denser ones, as you also need high tech commercial businesses to support the higher wealth of the citizens now. It's actually quite challenging, as after a bit you start setting up a second city to offset some of the load and start specializing.

Computer power: It might LOOK like a simple graphics engine, but believe me, there's a crap load of stuff going on. Every object is its own object agent, it's not abstracted like in SimCity 4 then represented as an animated texture. If you have a traffic jam somewhere, it's because every citizen is actually there trying to get from their home to workplace, and are actually stuck in traffic. As with the above about the quality of the city, better give some alternate, better routes from the residential to industrial zones. Protesters at your city hall in front of said traffic jam? That's 100 individual citizens being rendered with their likes and dislikes and goals, as well as the 100 cars in the jam. It will tax both your CPU and GPU due to the sheer amount of objects on the screen. Then the buildings around it. And visual effects if a fire broke out. And all the lighting, since this is a city building game, so the environment is dynamic, so you can't bake lighting like in FPS games. Lighting is usually one of the most expensive operations in a game, especially with shadows enabled.

It has chugged sometimes on my computer and it's a quad-core Q6600 2.4ghz, 6gb RAM, GTX 560 Ti 2gb, running at 1920x1200. I've turned shadows to low and disabled anti-aliasing to improve performance. While not exactly a powerhouse compared to some current gen systems, it should give you some perspective on how much it can tax your computer.

I can understand your points of view as well as EA's justification of the size limits (still don't quite agree with the no demolish thing but I'll have to see how that pans out).

As a avid player of Simcity 4 and Rushhour on a medium range PC of the time (a $15 cellphone about now) I HATED the fact that the game ground to a screeching halt when my city started to get slightly large but since in all honesty making huge cities was what the game was about I had to keep dealing with it.

The idea that the game can now be focused on smaller cities is something I like not only to prevent system issues but also to stop the attitude of "MORE!!! MUST BUILD MOOOOORRREEE!!!" that always made my cities boring cut and paste grids in an effort to stick the maxium amount of buildings in whatever region I was in. For me the smaller cities might also mean less stuff to manage and less focus on efficiency perhaps allowing me to try and being a bit more creative with my cities making them look a bit more organic and natural with some curved roads rather than grid city.

Tell me did you notice at all if the game looked a bit more natural that 4? That the cities look like they could actually be real cities?

BrotherRool:
okay I'll leave the snark alone now. It's still irrelevant to me, in the last 5 months I didn't have reliable internet access for 1 and a half so it's just impossible for me to consider buying a game with always online requirements. The thing I fear most is that it might actually be a good game like you suggest and then they'll try this with other franchises and there will be more games that I'm unable to play.

See that's the thing: do you complain to the game developers for trying to make use of (new) technology and designing the game around that, like, well, any MMO requiring you to be online? Or like a game utilizing Shader Model 2.0, so my laptop can't play it since it's GPU only supports 1.2?

Or perhaps instead complain to your city and ISP for lack of or crappy, price gouging service?

kajinking:
Tell me did you notice at all if the game looked a bit more natural that 4? That the cities look like they could actually be real cities?

You could make them cater to the land it's on.

Or stick to the grid.

Just... watch out for these guys.

And don't let Homer run your nuclear reactor.

And I need to try making a city with this layout.

ThriKreen:

BrotherRool:
okay I'll leave the snark alone now. It's still irrelevant to me, in the last 5 months I didn't have reliable internet access for 1 and a half so it's just impossible for me to consider buying a game with always online requirements. The thing I fear most is that it might actually be a good game like you suggest and then they'll try this with other franchises and there will be more games that I'm unable to play.

See that's the thing: do you complain to the game developers for trying to make use of (new) technology and designing the game around that, like, well, any MMO requiring you to be online? Or like a game utilizing Shader Model 2.0, so my laptop can't play it since it's GPU only supports 1.2?

Or perhaps instead complain to your city and ISP for lack of or crappy, price gouging service?

Thats not the issue and it also contains the issue very nicely, that a large percentage of a countries population lives inside a city, but a not insignificant percentage of that population live in rural areas where the numbers don't allow efficient internet access. Laying fibre optic cables up a mountain for the 30 people living in the hamlet isn't going to work.

I don't live in a city, but my problems with internet access are more that I end up moving around a lot and it takes time to set up a new internet connection when you're in a new place. And the time when I'm most wanting to play a game is when the internet is down and I can't surf.

ThriKreen:

kajinking:
Tell me did you notice at all if the game looked a bit more natural that 4? That the cities look like they could actually be real cities?

You could make them cater to the land it's on.

Or stick to the grid.

Just... watch out for these guys.

And don't let Homer run your nuclear reactor.

And I need to try making a city with this layout.

Oh I like! And I was so totally like in that last city!

...and for $14.99, you too can have maps larger than a gnat's left testicle.
Seriously, this is becoming increasingly ridiculous.
It's gotten to the point where the cons of the game vastly outweigh the pros.
The sad thing is that people will not only buy the game, but they'll buy the special editions for the asinine DLC which should have been in the main game from day one, and EA will continue to kneecap the industry with its cockamamy business models.

ThriKreen:

Computer power: It might LOOK like a simple graphics engine, but believe me, there's a crap load of stuff going on. Every object is its own object agent, it's not abstracted like in SimCity 4 then represented as an animated texture. If you have a traffic jam somewhere, it's because every citizen is actually there trying to get from their home to workplace, and are actually stuck in traffic. As with the above about the quality of the city, better give some alternate, better routes from the residential to industrial zones. Protesters at your city hall in front of said traffic jam? That's 100 individual citizens being rendered with their likes and dislikes and goals, as well as the 100 cars in the jam. It will tax both your CPU and GPU due to the sheer amount of objects on the screen. Then the buildings around it. And visual effects if a fire broke out. And all the lighting, since this is a city building game, so the environment is dynamic, so you can't bake lighting like in FPS games. Lighting is usually one of the most expensive operations in a game, especially with shadows enabled.

It has chugged sometimes on my computer and it's a quad-core Q6600 2.4ghz, 6gb RAM, GTX 560 Ti 2gb, running at 1920x1200. I've turned shadows to low and disabled anti-aliasing to improve performance. While not exactly a powerhouse compared to some current gen systems, it should give you some perspective on how much it can tax your computer.

Some might call that bad optimisation. Haven't played the beta but surely it could be handled better, it seems they're going for the Tropico approach really badly.

All that said, what about dynamic graphical settings? Lower res street models e.g. It mostly sounds like a cop-out to me. Quite frankly, it seems that the top-end systems, mid and lower systems are going to suffer regardless.

ThriKreen:
And yes, asking for money for each new region is stupid, and so is believing they'd be that money grubbing. They *can't* do it, because it disrupts the leaderboard ranking system if someone can just pay to maintain a positive cash flow despite whatever state their city is.

I never said they'd ask money for each new region. I said they'd ask money for "optional" resources that make starting up and maintaining a new region easier.

And it's exactly because the leaderboards would be pay-to-win that they'd add this. The whole point is to get people to pay for leaderboard rankings instead of just giving the rankings away for free.

mad825:
Some might call that bad optimisation. Haven't played the beta but surely it could be handled better, it seems they're going for the Tropico approach really badly.

All that said, what about dynamic graphical settings? Lower res street models e.g. It mostly sounds like a cop-out to me. Quite frankly, it seems that the top-end systems, mid and lower systems are going to suffer regardless.

I should have clarified that it sometimes chugs when I had a fully loaded city with tons of high rises and such going on, not that it's always chugging. Obviously a pristine, new area before settling in is just blazingly fast since there's nothing to render.

I know shadows always impacts performance and in every game I always turn it down to a blob shadow since I prefer faster fps. Anti-aliasing is turned off since I play at a high enough resolution that I don't notice jagged edges that much. All the other settings were at medium or high. It runs well enough that I wouldn't be too bothered for the full game since I can still turn more details down.

I'd say it's pretty optimized for the detail they were going for. If you looked at my screenshots, you'd also notice in one of them that neighboring cities are also rendered in the distance. With the lit skyline at night too!

uncanny474:
I never said they'd ask money for each new region. I said they'd ask money for "optional" resources that make starting up and maintaining a new region easier.

Ah, I think there's some confusion here. They might sell entirely new regions for people to play on, basically like unlocking new maps or map packs. But they won't make you pay to start playing a new city/region in one of your available slots. I was thinking the latter, while you were probably thinking the former.

uncanny474:
And it's exactly because the leaderboards would be pay-to-win that they'd add this. The whole point is to get people to pay for leaderboard rankings instead of just giving the rankings away for free.

Yeah ... game balance says no. Plus you can sell resources on the global market for the ore, oil, technology, etc you can mine, drill, create in your cities. Letting people magically buy resource packs to sell on the open market would drastically disrupt that.

ThriKreen:
Having played the beta, unlike, well, every poster here so far it seems, let's address some of the issues shall we?

City Size: It's more about quality of the city then the quantity of the sprawl. Sure you can fill up the city limits within 10min if you wanted to, but good luck trying to get a higher population. Larger capacity roads, set up some parks to increase the land value, convert those land wasting single houses into large scale condos. Balance the mix of zones to achieve denser ones, as you also need high tech commercial businesses to support the higher wealth of the citizens now. It's actually quite challenging, as after a bit you start setting up a second city to offset some of the load and start specializing.

Computer power: It might LOOK like a simple graphics engine, but believe me, there's a crap load of stuff going on. Every object is its own object agent, it's not abstracted like in SimCity 4 then represented as an animated texture. If you have a traffic jam somewhere, it's because every citizen is actually there trying to get from their home to workplace, and are actually stuck in traffic. As with the above about the quality of the city, better give some alternate, better routes from the residential to industrial zones. Protesters at your city hall in front of said traffic jam? That's 100 individual citizens being rendered with their likes and dislikes and goals, as well as the 100 cars in the jam. It will tax both your CPU and GPU due to the sheer amount of objects on the screen. Then the buildings around it. And visual effects if a fire broke out. And all the lighting, since this is a city building game, so the environment is dynamic, so you can't bake lighting like in FPS games. Lighting is usually one of the most expensive operations in a game, especially with shadows enabled.

It has chugged sometimes on my computer and it's a quad-core Q6600 2.4ghz, 6gb RAM, GTX 560 Ti 2gb, running at 1920x1200. I've turned shadows to low and disabled anti-aliasing to improve performance. While not exactly a powerhouse compared to some current gen systems, it should give you some perspective on how much it can tax your computer.

Multiplayer, really, if you don't trust your friend to stick around, just don't invite them into your region. You can lock everyone out and manage the whole place by yourself if you wanted to. I'm sure they'll add in kick after X days of inactivity eventually, as it can be a problem in the future. Of course, a mayor can abandon a city to let someone else take over, so it still reverts back to quality of friends who have the decency to say "Hey, not playing for awhile, I'll hop out and let someone else take over", instead of just disappearing.

Lack of multiple save slots. Stop thinking this is a solo, single-player SimCity. Like mentioned before, it's a coop, multiplayer, oriented design, so if you think about this as more of a SimCity MMO, then the design decisions make sense. You don't have save slots for your characters in WoW like you do in Dragon Age right? The city exists on their server farm for the MP aspect, since you can share resources and such to the other cities in the region, either managed by you or other mayors. Thus there's only one state for everything, since multiple save slots would be problematic. If you save your city, does it save the region too? Does it overwrote your friend's city on load? Oops. Plus there's the issue of cheats and such - if you could load up a saved city only and not replace the region, then gifted $100k to your friend, then reloaded and repeated? Kind of ruins some of the fun there.

weirdguy:
Can't they have a competitive mode where they put all these restrictions in, and a casual mode that lets you have the features normally? Is that just not a feasible thing for them that they cannot comprehend or afford?

If you wanted unlimited funds to goof off, there's a sandbox mode where all buildings are unlocked, but the region doesn't register on the leaderboards.

uncanny474:
Of course, I kid. Nobody is that stupid. They WANT you to demolish your region over and over, so you have to keep paying for microtransaction resources to rebuild. It's built-in obsolescence. It's the one way they can make sure you keep playing forever.

You are limited to joining a maximum of 10 regions at a time, but there's no real money cost in starting a new place. You just have to make sure you abandon every city in the region to remove yourself from it, so it doesn't take up a slot. The region itself probably stays on the server farm and maybe someone else will take over, who knows.

Any sort of MT, from what it looks like, is just around city skin themes like the digital deluxe having a British, German and French skin for the buildings. Basically cosmetic stuff, maybe a landmark or two like the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.

Its not chugging because it was hard to run.

Its chugging because you are asking a server from EA to run the program for you and send it over the internet. Have you ever WONDERED why the download size for simcity was so small and quick?

You aren't playing most of the game on your computer, practically you are just streaming it.

mad825:

ThriKreen:

Computer power: It might LOOK like a simple graphics engine, but believe me, there's a crap load of stuff going on. Every object is its own object agent, it's not abstracted like in SimCity 4 then represented as an animated texture. If you have a traffic jam somewhere, it's because every citizen is actually there trying to get from their home to workplace, and are actually stuck in traffic. As with the above about the quality of the city, better give some alternate, better routes from the residential to industrial zones. Protesters at your city hall in front of said traffic jam? That's 100 individual citizens being rendered with their likes and dislikes and goals, as well as the 100 cars in the jam. It will tax both your CPU and GPU due to the sheer amount of objects on the screen. Then the buildings around it. And visual effects if a fire broke out. And all the lighting, since this is a city building game, so the environment is dynamic, so you can't bake lighting like in FPS games. Lighting is usually one of the most expensive operations in a game, especially with shadows enabled.

It has chugged sometimes on my computer and it's a quad-core Q6600 2.4ghz, 6gb RAM, GTX 560 Ti 2gb, running at 1920x1200. I've turned shadows to low and disabled anti-aliasing to improve performance. While not exactly a powerhouse compared to some current gen systems, it should give you some perspective on how much it can tax your computer.

Some might call that bad optimisation. Haven't played the beta but surely it could be handled better, it seems they're going for the Tropico approach really badly.

All that said, what about dynamic graphical settings? Lower res street models e.g. It mostly sounds like a cop-out to me. Quite frankly, it seems that the top-end systems, mid and lower systems are going to suffer regardless.

Its the reason cities are small now because you are forced to care about little timmy son of a bitch when a real mayor wouldn't care.

Also, look up. Its not that straining.

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