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Insider Look blog 3: water in Simcity

Gisteren hebben we deze 3e Insiders Look video voor SimCity al gemeld en daar hoort ook een blog bij. Zodra er een vertaling beschikbaar is melden we dat uiteraard meteen./

De volgende video en blog zal over branden die kunnen uitbreken gaan.

Update: Inmiddels staat de Nederlandse vertaling ook online!

Hello SimCity Community! Following in Dan Moskowitz’s footsteps, I’d like to thank you for all the positive responses to our videos so far. I hope you found them interesting and instructive.

As lead gameplay scripter on SimCity, I’ve had the honor and pleasure to write large parts of the game’s simulation and am now leading our very talented team of scripters to make this the best SimCity ever. I also was a tester on SimCity 4 Rush Hour and have played more SimCity over the past 20 years than should be considered reasonable.

In this video, we talk about how the water system works, from the pumping of the precious liquid to its distribution to your thirsty Sims. This system uses almost all the tools that our simulation engine, GlassBox, has to offer: units, maps, agents, paths and resources.

When the team starts on a new feature, we usually spend some time researching real-world examples in books, movies, the Internet and also look for examples in our local environment. From here, we give the information to Stone Librande, our Lead Designer, who then boils down the whole system, abstracting internal processes and writing a one-page design containing only what really matters.

In the case of water, a unit (the pump) pulls a resource (water) out of a map (the aquifer) and sends it on a path (a water pipe) via an agent (a flow of water) at a regular rate to consumers. In order to do that, we created a simple set of game rules that take care of each step, adding various properties so that our tuning designer can easily change how much water is pumped, how often it is sent, as well as how much of it is consumed in buildings. This way, while a house may use one hundred gallons per day, a big factory could use a whole lot more.

From SimCity 2000 on, the player had to lay all of the pipes independently from other networks, repeating the same pattern over and over again in every city. In this SimCity, much like in real life, the water pipes are placed underneath your streets and roads, so you can focus on the management of the system at a higher level.

This time around, we also changed the effect of ground pollution on your water system. Instead of lowering the amount of water your pumps and towers get out of the ground, pollution is now sent along with the fresh water as “germs” to your Sims, making them sick if they consume too much of it. Sick Sims can’t do much of anything and become a drain on your economy until you have a hospital to cure them. A healthy Sim is a productive Sim.

Figuring out what’s going on under the ground surface will also be much easier in this SimCity, both through the terrain coloring and the gorgeous visualization layers. The water table is drawn as green in the terrain, deep blue in the visualization layer where water is plentiful and brown where pollution is creeping up. Similarly, the amount of water and its color varies in the water towers based on the exact same parameters.

That’s it for this time! Check back soon for the next video, where we’ll talk about fire. It will be hot.

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