SimCity Hands-on Preview: Mayor on a Mission

by Ben Salter Featured 10 Comments 23 Votes 2635 Views 20/12/2012 Back to Articles

Directing excrement, managing finances and trying to organising thousands of people -- it’s hard to convey why SimCity in so exciting in one sentence. Perhaps creative sewage solutions and masterful city-planning would be a better way to put it.

EA showed us five games at a recent mammoth preview session, but none were more exciting than the return of SimCity. A game in-which you don’t murder anyone (well, ideally) and are actually actively encouraged to work with your friends, rather than shoot them in the face.

The grand return of SimCity has vastly increased the game’s size. Instead of managing just one city, you’ll need to take control of several that work together to create a viable ecosystem.

You’ll eventually be responsive for a massive region full of vibrant cities, but it’s so easy to get lost in the exploits of just one person.

Producer Jason Haber gave us a presentation showcasing 16 cities working together within one region. Developing a region requires the perfect balance between residential, commercial and industrial zones. The residents need somewhere to work and material possessions, the industry needs shops to sell its products, and the commercial sector needs plenty of suckers to buy their merch.

Hey, that’s just like real life.

One town can be developed full of populous suburbs, another might be an industrial sector that produces bucket-loads of money, but is unfit for living, while another city might make all of its money by handling waste disposal for the entire region.

We even saw a city that was essentially Las Vegas and required infrastructure to transport tourists from neighbouring cities, and had to manage the profit and losses of a casino strip.

We saw much the same thing at E3 earlier this year, except with four-players. Whereas Mr Haber showed us what it was like to manage all the cities yourself, the demonstration at E3 was all about four-players collaborating.

The pollution from one city affected the others and congestion became an issue when too many residents were trying to drive to the industrial zones. In this situation, one player could build power-plants and sell electricity to the others. They also pulled their funds to build an international airport, which would have taken considerably longer alone.

Get Colourful

With an abundance of statistics, SimCity could overwhelm even an experienced player. To offset any confusion, Maxis has introduced a colour-coded data-layer system to make it easy to identify which aspects of the intricate ecosystem are working efficiently, and which need attention.

The screen above demonstrates the distribution and density of crime in the city. The darker red areas show where criminals are most prevalent, possibly at an overcrowded gaol. This simple formula is applied to every aspect of the game, from the distribution of the three zones to property prices and how your sewage treatment plant is holding up.

It allows you to consume, and most importantly understand, a wealth of information at a glance.

This is all made possible by EA’s new Glassbox engine, which is taking SimCity somewhere it has never been before. Glassbox allows up to sixteen regions to share resources and become dependent on aspects of the ecosystem that are controlled elsewhere. It’s the supreme attention to detail that really brings the game to life.

In a hands-on session, I could zoom-in on one single sim going about her daily life looking for a job. I was also able to see individual builders getting to work right away on that new factory I just ordered (okay, maybe that's more fictional). It’s this attention to detail that makes SimCity so enthralling. You’ll eventually be responsive for a massive region full of vibrant cities, but it’s so easy to get lost in the exploits of just one person.

I’d make a great mayor.

SimCity will be released in Australia on March 7, 2013, for Windows PC and Mac OS X.

By Ben Salter

Link to us http://pc.mmgn.com/Articles/simcity-hands-on-preview
Vote for this article Log in with Facebook

SimCity Hands-on Preview: Mayor on a Mission Comments

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
Game sounds like its gonna be fun. Damn shame about the DRM tho, my internet is so unstable I doubt I'm gonna be able to play it.
I am really looking forward to this.
I'm still pretty peeved about having to be connected to EA's servers to play it.
Mayor on a Mission [Shifty]

I'd rather be the governator [Derp]

i cant wait for this one!!
I haven't played a SimCity since the original one I had on Win95. I'm excited for this one.
cant wait
I applied for the closed beta a few weeks ago, I can't wait to play this game.
can't wait to pick this up.
really looks like fun might pick this up and play some coop/mp with some of you guys

bunter1980 said: really looks like fun might pick this up and play some coop/mp with some of you guys


The beta was great.. It's a must buy for me day one

Post a comment

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
  • SimCitySimCity Video
  • SimCitySimCity Video
  • SimCitySimCity Video

Recently Read

Featured PC Content

Most anticipated game of March

Most anticipated game of March

6 days ago Polls 4 6
CoD: Advanced Warfare is getting 15 new prestige levels
Gryllis 27 mins News 1 1
WoW Tokens can be used to buy game time or gold

WoW Tokens can be used to buy game time or gold

Gryllis 44 mins News 0 2
Will Australians embrace video streaming in 2015?
Gryllis 1 hour Articles 5 4
Battlefield Hardline Premium costs $60 - What you get

Battlefield Hardline Premium costs $60 - What you get

Gryllis 4 hours News 4 2
Netflix is launching in Australia on March 24

Netflix is launching in Australia on March 24

Gryllis 6 hours News 11 16
Ikea's fake games show it is not as hilarious as JB Hi-Fi

Ikea's fake games show it is not as hilarious as JB Hi-Fi

Gryllis 22 hours News 2 10
Bad games that sold really well

Bad games that sold really well

Tano 23 hours Articles 17 5

Community Content

Work Experience at The MMGN Office

Work Experience at The MMGN Office

12/01/2015 Blog 10 0

MMGN Updates

Status
Updating..
Username

Tano, MicDaMan, Mobe1969 and other 2 users commented on Will Australians embrace TV and movie streaming in 2015 and reduce piracy?

Tano 32 mins ago
Username

MicDaMan, SlappyWag commented on Bad games that sold really well

MicDaMan 2 hours ago
Username

XxmadmanxX, milo, MicDaMan and other 2 users commented on Netflix is launching in Australia on March 24, but still no price

XxmadmanxX 3 hours ago
Username

commented on The Order: 1886 is Australia's most popular game

Mealtime 6 hours ago
Username

commented on Bad games that sold really well

Armige 10 hours ago
Username

BishHenin shared a story - Isbarah 

BishHenin 13 hours ago
Username

BishHenin is now Level 6!

BishHenin 13 hours ago
Username

Zinker posted a news - First Steam VR game is a Simulator

Zinker 16 hours ago
Username

Matrix6, Blob, Zinker commented on The Order: 1886 is Australia's most popular game

Matrix6 16 hours ago