The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Sim City 2013 Screenshots

Way back in April, I caught wind of the latest incarnation of Sim City. Simply called Sim City, it will be released in March 2013 and carry on its predecessor’s tradition of being a city-building/urban planning simulation computer game. Maxis is developing the game using a new simulation engine called GlassBox, which takes a different approach from previous simulation games. Those games first simulated high-level statistics and then created graphic animations to represent that data. The GlassBox Engine replaces those statistics with agents, simulation units that represent objects and have the potential to exhibit some emergent behaviours in a sufficiently complex city. I’ve exhibited eight screenshots here depicting various parts of the game.

  • Unlike Sim City Societies, Sim City appears to have superior graphics, and more importantly, a return to the traditional paradigm of the older games in the form of zoning. The inclusion of curved roads is a much-welcome one, allowing for players to finally begin building cities resembling real ones.

  • The agent-based models used in the game appear to allow for a richer in-game experience, depicting everything as autonomous entities that react to events in the simulation environment and approximating real-world events more effectively than the mathematical models used in older games.

  • Terraforming in Sim City is restricted to what can be realistically done by engineering crews, contrasting the all-powerful God Modes of the previous games that allowed players to raise mountains and sculpt valleys.

  • I believe this is an earlier concept screenshot depicting the kind of architecture available within the game. From the looks of it, landmarks will make a return in the game and add character to cities with a particular architectural style.

  • Much like Sim City 4, it will be feasible to build small towns in Sim City. The night visuals look impressive: the idea of a night mode was first introduced in Sim City 4.

  • Players can specialise cities for specific industries, such as manufacturing, tourism, education, or others. Each of which have distinct appearances, simulation behaviour, and economic strategies. Players have the option to heavily specialize on one or build multiple specializations in any given city for diversity: with resources in mind, it is probably prudent to have some diversity to prevent a city from dying once a resource is depleted.

  • For instance, cities specialising in tourism and gambling will require a large amount of public safety and law enforcement in order to maintain order.

  • Disasters will return in style for Sim City, including tornadoes, meteor impacts and earthquakes. The meteor impact appear to be my favourite in visual terms for now, and in this screenshot, out-do even the impacts from Sim City 4. They were first introduced in Sim City 3000 as “space junk”.

  • The opportunity to build a thriving coastal city was something I thoroughly enjoyed in Sim City 4. If the graphics in the actual game are anywhere near as nice as those depicted in these screenshots, the game will be a true update to the franchise. I’ll also need a new machine to run it.

  • Get a load of those graphics. Sim City 4 came with two stadiums: one for soccer and one for baseball. They looked spectacular and were unlocked after meeting certain in-game criteria. In Sim City 2000, players could build as many stadiums as they desired, while the ever-awesome domed stadiums appeared in Sim City for SNES.

Along with many of the cosmetic changes (such as up-to-date 3D graphics), SimCity will use the new GlassBox engine. Two other new features are a multiplayer component and finite resources. Unlike previous games in the series, the game will have non-linear curved roads and zoning areas that can conform to different road types. Types of zones will include residential, commercial and industrial. The density will be driven by the types of roads and general traffic around these zones. Cities in a region are connected to each other via predefined regional networks such as highways, railways, and waterways. Elements such as traffic and air pollution will be visible flowing between cities; coupled with resources, Sim City will reintroduce multiplayer from SimCity 2000 Gold/Network Edition, and allowing for regions to house multiple cities from different players. Regions can alternatively be set to private for solo play, although both game modes require login to EA Origin to function.

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