Een preview van SimCity door (vertaald naar het Engels), een Duitse website is langs gegaan bij Maxis en heeft een preview van SimCity online gezet, met veel leuke informatie. Deze preview was oorspronkelijk in het Duits, wat voor vele toch wel lastig te begrijpen.

JanH van Simtropolis heeft deze preview vertaald naar het Engels, wat voor de meeste toch net een stukje makkelijker is om te begrijpen. Hoe dan ook, je kan het volledige stuk lezen in het meer lezen gedeelte!

Sim City 5 From the clouds down to the streets of San Francisco
Preview: PC • 15 March 2012 • Benjamin (bk)

Will Wright once created something which would captivate us forever: a building simulation with charm and depth. There’s nothing more beautiful than building your own paradise of beauty and wellbeing, and then having it destroyed by a tsunami. And now, the legend returns: GAMES.CH has visited Maxis, the creators of „The Sims“ in San Francisco, explains the new modular lego-like-system, how much attention to detail is being paid by the new Glassbox engine, which lets you zoom from the clouds down to the streets of your city, and why in multiplayer two players will get a sudden flash of inspiration. “Sim City 5” – the preview!

(by Raychul Moore)

“Sim City 5” – the exclusive preview!
Is there anything more beautiful than painstakingly creating a city, with much attention to detail, a paradise of prosperity and wellbeing, and then destroying it through a natural disaster? There hardly is, and that’s why the time has come for the “Sims” creators from Maxis to unveil “Sim City”. As if the developers knew what we wanted to see, a mysterious dark van is parking in front of a shopping mall. The camera zooms in smoothly and without any stutter on to the scene. We watch some guy get out of the car, but then, what the hell? He takes a petrol can out of the car… and sets fire to a kiosk. Inside of it, there is a lot of paper, and within seconds, the flames are devouring the building, and are threatening the rest of the mall as well. Code Red!

Could somebody please call the fire brigade?
Immediately, the cursor moves to a nearby fire station, and just as before, we can marvel at the fantastic look of the new Glassbox-Engine of „Sim City“. Unlike its predecessors, we are not stuck somewhere at half height, but can zoom in extremely close. We pass children playing around, romping dogs, and a postman delivering parcels. As we reach the fire station, the sun is being reflected in the office windows. The big gate opens, sirens wail, and the first fire engines are getting under way. The love and attention to detail is incredible: We can even see the fire fighters behind the steering wheel, and if we peer more closely, we can see their colleagues sliding down the pole from the control room down to the garage. Fire Brigade No. 63 is racing towards the incident, with all other cars on the streets pulling over to let them through. As we can see, these scenes clearly demonstrate with how much love for detail Maxis is making the game. At the same time, things are more dramatic than ever: We see burning sims fleeing the mall, who are then rescued with the aid of fire blankets. Ambulances are racing at top speed towards the scene of the accident, brake, and release armadas of paramedics, who are then running around carrying their cases and stretchers. If we keep in mind that this isn’t “The Sims 4”, but still an economy simulation, it is clearly impressive to see how the fire fighters are rolling out hoses and trying to fight the flames.

Modular lego-like police stations
At the same time, their colleagues from the police department are called to the scene, as well. But damn, it is much too small, after all, the police is responsible for evacuating the building and closing down the surrounding roads. Clearly, we need more officers. You don’t get them by simply recruiting though, instead, Maxis has applied the good old Lego approach, where you were able to expand your police station as much as you liked. In order to make this possible, they’ve implemented a tool which allows buildings to expand quasi infinitely. At the beginning, you start with the main building, where the officers are doing their job. If we add a garage, the station gains cars and motorcycles. If we build additional parking spaces, we get even more cars. A helicopter is expensive, and the landing area needs to be kept clear, so you’d need a lot of space for it. Therefore, the idea is to have lots of small stations spread around, fighting the crime locally, while the helicopter, special forces, cell blocks, and similar things are all concentrated at police headquarters.

Drama, Drama Baby. But now, back to start
All right, after this atmospheric and technical blow-away-moment, it is Maxis’s turn to explain what happens in the starting phase of a new game: As is typical for „Sim City“, it is important to divide your city into different areas, after all, nobody wants to live next to sewage works, coal-fired power plants, or factories in general. On the other hand, commercial zones, where big enterprises like Simtech are building their futuristic corporate headquarters shouldn’t be placed too far away from the residential areas. After all, everybody likes waking up late and the longer a sim’s commute, the more his productivity decreases. All amenities your sims are needing should be placed near their homes: super markets, a big shopping centre, kindergartens, schools, a post office, police and fire stations. Very handy: European-style curves and cul-de-sacs are now possible, which allows for better utilisation of the available building land. US-cities, especially San Francisco are built in a gridded fashion; there are some main avenues running parallel to each other, which are crossed at 90 degrees angle by other main avenues. This is very handy for US-cities, especially as it meant that we couldn’t get lost in San Francisco, but for a „Sim City“ player, a city looks much nicer and more realistic, if it is able to spread organically, like for example in „Anno 2070“.

Massive focus on multiplayer: The fight for citizens
Over the course of time, citizens, especially the wealthy ones, develop demands for various things, which need to be satisfied. They might want better security, which of course means more police officers. Or they might crave for a gigantic multi-storey US-style shopping mall, complete with its own miniature railway, like “The Grove” in Los Angeles. If we don’t offer our sims these amenities, they simply leave for another city. “Sim City” wants its players to be online as much as possible, and forces the competitive aspect in a similar fashion to Ubisoft with their “Anno 2070”. The idea behind this sounds extremely interesting: There is a world market where everybody can buy things. Just like in real life, the price is determined by supply and demand. If everybody wants coal, prices soar, and a player who is mining lots of it can sell it on the global market and become really rich.

A nasty method of sabotaging others: Toxic waste
As usual, there are lots of possibilities to harm opposing players. Some of them are completely legitimate, like starting a marketing campaign for your city and raising one’s media profile, which of course necessitates attracting media headquarters to your city. The more the media is reporting, the more sims are attracted to our city. Alternatively, we could turn nasty, and build sewage works and factories in such a fashion that the toxic waste water is transported away towards our adversary. If his health care system is inefficient, his sims will get sick, perhaps even creating an epidemic. People are then gathering on a bridge that strikingly resembles the Golden Gate Bridge, which in real life links San Francisco and Oakland, and in “Sim City”, the city of our adversary with our own one. The sims are standing there for a while, protesting and holding signs. If our opponent doesn’t react quickly enough, his citizens simply migrate to the other side, and move into our city’s homes.

Back the roots and yet very modern. While “Sim City Societies” earned the disapproval of fans because of its “casualification”, Maxis now wants to replicate the golden days of Will Wright. In any case, the demo leaves you wanting more: Graphics are superb and incredibly detailed, with all the different citizens living their own lives. There are nursing homes, where pensioners are resting on park benches and kindergartens with kids playing on the swings. There are busy police stations, with officers constantly coming and going, assisting staggering drunks, or escorting thieves in handcuffs from the police cars to the cells. Multiplayer seems promising as well: We especially like the idea of a world market, as it creates the good old “I sell, who will pay me…”-feeling from “The Settlers of Catan”. It remains to see whether natural disasters, such as floods, volcanic eruptions, or even abstruse things like an alien invasion as in one of the predecessors will drag our lovingly created city down into the abyss.

Door I_mJimmy

Hoihoi! Ik ben Jimmy, vind het leuk om te Simmen e.d. Ook houd ik van tekenen en grafisch ontwerpen.

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