MaxisOcean328 karma2012-12-14 19:35:16 UTC
1) What new feature in this Simcity that wasn't in the previous iterations are you most excited for (besides the paint-brush like roads)?
For me, it's not so much a specific new feature, but all of the things that follow from a fundamental reworking of the simulation (basing it on roads, agents and units, rather than grid-cells).
For example, having sims walking about and seeing what they need, where they came from and where they're going. Also, looking at a specific buildings and seeing what it's doing at that moment. Creating systems that work together.
I'm also really happy with the visuals, and the way that the visuals represent what's going on with the simulation.
2) Is there a feature that was in the previous Simcitys but isn't in this one that you miss?
Sure, terraforming is the big one (and I'm the guy who designed SimCity 4's terraforming!). But, we put all of our chips down on the city simulation and on city regional play. That's the heart of the game. We're a fairly small team, so we can't do everything we want.
Also, building tools for free-form city creation turned out to be much harder than I thought! In retrospect, having everything on a nice, neat gridded landscape would have been much easier to program.
3) Can you go in depth at all about modding? How you will support it? What you're doing to make it accessible.
It's still too early -we need to get the game out first. Our simulation engine (GlassBox) is modular, our data format is the same one we've been using for years (SimCity 4, Sims2, etc.), so we've laid the groundwork.
But it's going to be tricky! Buildings in SimCity 4 were sprites, projected onto low-poly cards, so it was easy to make new ones. Our new buildings are pretty complicated - they're rigged, animated, LOD'd Maya models, with complex material assignments. They're more like animated characters than like SC4 buildings.
Remember, modding didn't get off the ground on SC4 until a year or so after the Rush Hour expansion - this stuff is hard, and can take a while.
4) What is, in theory, the maximum population a city could hold in Simcity?
Oh, I don't know. Hundreds of thousands, in any case. Depends on how well you do it, and if your city is focused solely on residential (so you're packing nothing but apartment blocks in and doing everything else in other cities)
5) Simcity 4 had a great balance between macro (early game zoning, highway building, roads/mass transit) to micro (school/health/police funding, budget balancing, mass transit perfecting). How would you say your game tackles this balance? Do you feel that it sways to more micro than macro, or the other way around? Can you give some examples of early, mid, and late game macro/micro?
There's still that micro to macro balance. Like you say, you're doing macro things like laying out roads & zones, you're building utilities and services. At the micro level you're querying buildings and sims and seeing what their needs are, and you're customizing your buildings to satisfy those needs. With various big-businesses, you're optimizing your city for tourism, or mining or manufacturing, and setting up the systems to grow.
Ok - more specifically.
Early game macro: roads, zoning, utilities. Early game micro: Seeing who moves in and what they want.
Mid game macro: expanding, developing services, connecting with neighboring cities. Mid game micro: tweaking & tuning transit options, capabilities of services & utilities.
Late game macro: City specialization, large scale regional projects. Late Game micro: Optimizing big businesses, taxes, transit.
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MaxisOcean202 karma2012-12-14 19:49:18 UTC
We're still working on infilling between buildings with appropriate stuff. Asphalt, concrete, storage yards, etc, depending on what sort of buildings are nearby.
MaxisOcean183 karma2012-12-14 19:38:24 UTC
I kept myself amused for days writing silly business names.
The tricky thing was the names need to tell you something about what's actually going on in the building, so they couldn't be arbitrary.
MaxisOcean149 karma2012-12-14 19:05:56 UTC
Buildings come in at different densities - low density buildings (like standalone houses) have space between them. By the time you get to middle density, buildings are packed much more tightly. High density buildings are mixed. Some have plazas or other spaces around them, some are tightly packed.
MaxisOcean90 karma2012-12-14 20:06:01 UTC
No, even criminals making their getaway wait at red lights, and there could be tens of thousands of Sims walking about in your city -we don't have the computing horsepower to have them collide with vehicles. Be cool, though.
The garbage system is modular, and you can upgrade it just not with motorized arms.
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