SimCity is 30 years old - But is that a good thing?

Oddjob OTP

True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Started with Simcity 2000. I probably played the most SimCity 3000. Bounced off (unmodded) SimCity4 pretty quickly. I think I legitimately enjoy SimCity 2013 more then Cities Skylines. Cities just seems awkward and mildly broken to me, whereas SimCity 2013 works fine although it's obviously designed around always online BS requiring you to make multiple smaller cities that trade with each other then one big city. I came in to it sometime after they added offline mode though.

Also, since this is just going to degenerate into City Builder general real quick, Tropico 5 was the first one that I felt was actually a pretty fun game and not just banking on the humor inherent in Caribbean dictatorships.

Some guys made a game called "Parkitect" recently, it's basically a remake of Roller Coaster Tycoon. I wish someone does something similar with Sim City 2000/3000 soon.
Relevant: I will strongly conciser sexual favors for anyone that remakes SimGolf.
 

Lackadaisy

chew jew
kiwifarms.net
Sim City 3000 was my jam, all the Maxis games of that era were really. I've tried Cities: Skylines, but I just can't get into it. There's no baked in scenarios or sample cities to play around in to learn the mechanics or challenge yourself, and that's half of what I enjoyed with Sim City.
 

Xarpho

kiwifarms.net
Could you give a detailed comparison between the two? I'm interested. Use as many curse words as you want.
Agree with you on SC4 being incomplete, IIRC the region editor is pretty, requiring you to edit bitmaps to get it to work properly. And "reconciling your cities" would just fuck them up.

What's wrong with Cities Skylines? Everybody else says it is the SimCity replacement.
This is going to be part from some posts I wrote on /v/ on the issue but here goes...

A huge part of SimCity 4's problems is just lack of testing and release before getting ready. Many features were scrapped, including having "snow" and "decay" masks for abandoned buildings (link) as well as things like buildings that could expand over time (link), then couple that with lack of forward-thinking technology (like being able to take advantage of multi-core processors, as SimCity 4 ran very slow on computers circa 2003). The Rush Hour expansion pack was probably just things that were taken out of the main game to begin with, and the flagship U-Drive-It feature was hobbled by the fact that it was all still isometric (and buildings had to render), and vehicle speed was tied to the network, meaning that you could have thrilling police chases on the streets...at 30 mph, which was what avenues and roads were set with (to be fair, that's the posted speed limit on major thoroughfares in big cities, but if it's not congested, people will usually go at 40 average...trust me, I know).

But Cities Skylines isn't nearly the thing SimCity 4 was. From the start, it's incredibly ugly. SimCity 4 was born out of the "real is brown" era of video games but it has its own color scheme (subtle pink, a layer of grime) that works well and provides a semi-convincing, if somewhat stylized, "real city" appearance (well, as "real" as 2003 technology got), whereas Cities Skyline has plasticky crap that looks awful and runs even worse. The core Cities Skylines game is incredibly poorly coded, and that's without mods. Many of the "good" Cities Skylines "art" pictures you see are made from games that have so many mods that the game chugs along on frame rates you could count with one hand. Moreover, the core game is awful. In SimCity 4's base game, there'll be traffic issues that shouldn't be there because the traffic simulator isn't well-built (based on "steps" rather than distance, or something like that--I've been sick with for nearly a week and don't want to go into a mini-explanation of how the traffic simulation works), but with Cities Skylines, the traffic simulation is even worse, with even JavaScript-based traffic simulations being more realistic (for example, congestion around a busy on-ramp should happen BEFORE the on-ramp, not AFTER, as cars have to slow down because there's so many cars trying to merge). My first and last time playing Cities Skylines ended because I had a small town (like literally a few blocks) and everyone kept sick because the hospital (again, looking something out of a Playmobil set) wasn't within a block of them, and then DYING, causing hearses to jam the streets. Meanwhile, the coal power plant wasn't even enough to supply everyone. Mods can, of course, readjust the numbers to not completely suck, but you know it's a bad game when the simplest thing has to be outsourced to mods. I haven't bothered with the DLC because I refuse to pay the developers for more broken concepts when they can't even fix the core game.

Trying to recreate an IRL city is going to be even harder, because of a few factors, zoning is based to roads (rather than just planting big subdivisions of residential, you have to start at roads and just branch outwards, and feels incredibly sticky), and the scale is off. With SimCity 4, each tile was 16 meters squared, which let you build semi-realistic roads and subdivisions (the isometric scale required making the building height a bit distorted to look more in scale, but was a good reflection of reality. Houses often were 2x1 tiles, which is about the size of single family home plats in America, and 48m^2 buildings could develop on zoned tiles (I don't know if 4x4 buildings could develop on zoned tiles, but that's about the size of "downtown" buildings), but in Cities Skylines, the tile size is smaller. This is great as it could allow for more diverse building sizes as well as some tiny hole-in-the-wall facades...but only theoretically, so the largest size a building can be is 32x32 meters squared (for comparison, that's about the lot size of a small gas station). Modders have made bigger buildings, but for a semi-functional city it means pencil-thin skyscrapers and housing for midgets.

Even Cities Skylines "best" features like free-form highways, aren't really that good. They all resemble Hot Wheels ramps and you can count the angles in them, and you'd need hours of fiddling with mods to make them even close to "right".

SimCity 4 also had a proper "scaling" system, known as "staged growth", meaning that even if you had high-density commercial, skyscrapers wouldn't grow overnight, there were 8 stages that your population would have to reach (and satisfying proper demand "caps", like an airport) before you could get the nicest and best skyscrapers (there's a mod for SimCity 4 that breaks it down even further), whereas for Cities Skylines, your city can go from nothing to a city of luxury skyscrapers (all pencil-thin, of course) in the in-game equivalent of a few months. SimCity 4 had a clear goal of where it wanted to go and what it wanted to be and featured polish (like an excellent top-tier soundtrack). Cities Skylines does not.

Part of the issue, I think, is that SimCity really was out of a different, bygone era, where PC games were segregated from console games with more complex, difficult-to-get-into games (advanced adventure games, wargames, RTS, simulations, etc.) that required thick manuals, which started to wither up under the multi-CD "FMV" games and finally died around 2000 when a series of events (mostly in the way that the industry moved) put an end to it.

While there hasn't been a good SimCity (or SimCity type) game since 4, indie games have reached the stage where they can make a mid-range product that hits most of the same notes. I really liked Prison Architect (unfortunately sold to Paradox, which publishes Cities Skylines), for instance...
 

Just Some Other Guy

kiwifarms.net
This is going to be part from some posts I wrote on /v/ on the issue but here goes...

A huge part of SimCity 4's problems is just lack of testing and release before getting ready. Many features were scrapped, including having "snow" and "decay" masks for abandoned buildings (link) as well as things like buildings that could expand over time (link), then couple that with lack of forward-thinking technology (like being able to take advantage of multi-core processors, as SimCity 4 ran very slow on computers circa 2003). The Rush Hour expansion pack was probably just things that were taken out of the main game to begin with, and the flagship U-Drive-It feature was hobbled by the fact that it was all still isometric (and buildings had to render), and vehicle speed was tied to the network, meaning that you could have thrilling police chases on the streets...at 30 mph, which was what avenues and roads were set with (to be fair, that's the posted speed limit on major thoroughfares in big cities, but if it's not congested, people will usually go at 40 average...trust me, I know).

But Cities Skylines isn't nearly the thing SimCity 4 was. From the start, it's incredibly ugly. SimCity 4 was born out of the "real is brown" era of video games but it has its own color scheme (subtle pink, a layer of grime) that works well and provides a semi-convincing, if somewhat stylized, "real city" appearance (well, as "real" as 2003 technology got), whereas Cities Skyline has plasticky crap that looks awful and runs even worse. The core Cities Skylines game is incredibly poorly coded, and that's without mods. Many of the "good" Cities Skylines "art" pictures you see are made from games that have so many mods that the game chugs along on frame rates you could count with one hand. Moreover, the core game is awful. In SimCity 4's base game, there'll be traffic issues that shouldn't be there because the traffic simulator isn't well-built (based on "steps" rather than distance, or something like that--I've been sick with for nearly a week and don't want to go into a mini-explanation of how the traffic simulation works), but with Cities Skylines, the traffic simulation is even worse, with even JavaScript-based traffic simulations being more realistic (for example, congestion around a busy on-ramp should happen BEFORE the on-ramp, not AFTER, as cars have to slow down because there's so many cars trying to merge). My first and last time playing Cities Skylines ended because I had a small town (like literally a few blocks) and everyone kept sick because the hospital (again, looking something out of a Playmobil set) wasn't within a block of them, and then DYING, causing hearses to jam the streets. Meanwhile, the coal power plant wasn't even enough to supply everyone. Mods can, of course, readjust the numbers to not completely suck, but you know it's a bad game when the simplest thing has to be outsourced to mods. I haven't bothered with the DLC because I refuse to pay the developers for more broken concepts when they can't even fix the core game.

Trying to recreate an IRL city is going to be even harder, because of a few factors, zoning is based to roads (rather than just planting big subdivisions of residential, you have to start at roads and just branch outwards, and feels incredibly sticky), and the scale is off. With SimCity 4, each tile was 16 meters squared, which let you build semi-realistic roads and subdivisions (the isometric scale required making the building height a bit distorted to look more in scale, but was a good reflection of reality. Houses often were 2x1 tiles, which is about the size of single family home plats in America, and 48m^2 buildings could develop on zoned tiles (I don't know if 4x4 buildings could develop on zoned tiles, but that's about the size of "downtown" buildings), but in Cities Skylines, the tile size is smaller. This is great as it could allow for more diverse building sizes as well as some tiny hole-in-the-wall facades...but only theoretically, so the largest size a building can be is 32x32 meters squared (for comparison, that's about the lot size of a small gas station). Modders have made bigger buildings, but for a semi-functional city it means pencil-thin skyscrapers and housing for midgets.

Even Cities Skylines "best" features like free-form highways, aren't really that good. They all resemble Hot Wheels ramps and you can count the angles in them, and you'd need hours of fiddling with mods to make them even close to "right".

SimCity 4 also had a proper "scaling" system, known as "staged growth", meaning that even if you had high-density commercial, skyscrapers wouldn't grow overnight, there were 8 stages that your population would have to reach (and satisfying proper demand "caps", like an airport) before you could get the nicest and best skyscrapers (there's a mod for SimCity 4 that breaks it down even further), whereas for Cities Skylines, your city can go from nothing to a city of luxury skyscrapers (all pencil-thin, of course) in the in-game equivalent of a few months. SimCity 4 had a clear goal of where it wanted to go and what it wanted to be and featured polish (like an excellent top-tier soundtrack). Cities Skylines does not.

Part of the issue, I think, is that SimCity really was out of a different, bygone era, where PC games were segregated from console games with more complex, difficult-to-get-into games (advanced adventure games, wargames, RTS, simulations, etc.) that required thick manuals, which started to wither up under the multi-CD "FMV" games and finally died around 2000 when a series of events (mostly in the way that the industry moved) put an end to it.

While there hasn't been a good SimCity (or SimCity type) game since 4, indie games have reached the stage where they can make a mid-range product that hits most of the same notes. I really liked Prison Architect (unfortunately sold to Paradox, which publishes Cities Skylines), for instance...
Ah, so that's why the skyscrapers look so off. SC4 had much better looking skylines.

Can you link to those posts? Wouldn't mind reading more.
 

Monsieur Guillotine

Arrogant and standoffish
kiwifarms.net
When I was 8 or 9, I got Sim City 2000, but my shitty Compaq Presario didn't have enough RAM to run it (it had 2 MB, the game needed 4). My grandpa actually paid like $100+ for a RAM upgrade just so I could play it.

I remember playing it as a kid and not understanding that you have to tax your citizens and generate enough residential areas to maintain a decent income before you start spending money on shit like police stations. I just did whatever the "Citizens Demand _" ticker wanted, lowered taxes to 0%, and just borrowed money every time I needed more. I would always get a decent sized city built before they stopped giving me loans and I was too far into the red to ever get out.

I've tried to go back to Sim City 2000 a couple of times but it runs so shit on modern OS's (and still not that great on DOSbox) that I don't get the same experience I once did.
 

Xarpho

kiwifarms.net
Can you link to those posts? Wouldn't mind reading more.
Nah, the was the most of it (also from some bits from Simtropolis), unless you want more of my autistic opinions on what I think a city simulator should be.
I've tried to go back to Sim City 2000 a couple of times but it runs so shit on modern OS's (and still not that great on DOSbox) that I don't get the same experience I once did.
DOSBox (or equivalents, like Boxer for the Mac) run SimCity 2000 for DOS great! Unfortunately, it's the worst of the computer ports (tiny resolution, the worst music by default, no way to create scenarios from your own cities, missing the numerous v1.1 improvements that Mac and Windows got). I don't know the voodoo to try to get SC2k for native Windows running, but the next best thing is hacking together a Mac emulator (through SheepShaver) and finding a Mac copy of SC2k from there.
 

MysticMisty

kiwifarms.net
I was playing SimCity before I was in kindergarten. My dad had a terrain editor and some other program that'd allow us to input as much money as we'd want into our bank accounts and set all three taxes to zero. I wouldn't call anything any of us built then great, but we had a ton of fun doing it. Many years later one of the computer classes in my middle school had SimCity and SimCity2k but I didn't play much because I was more interested in SimTower at the time. A few years later I got SimCity3k as a gift and played the shit out if it. I never got to play 4, and I skipped the 2013 game once I heard about it having to always be connected to the internet. Considering all the other problems that came to light after it was released I know I made the right choice.
 

Meaty Spaghetti

kiwifarms.net
I used to play the shit outta Sim City for SNES when i was a kid, my cities used to suck until I figured how you were supposed to make a Megalopolis, found Map 061 the best to do it in, although that game on Hard Difficulty can be a pain in the ass and take you a shit load of time to just get something presentable and that if the disasters wanna troll you, if they destroy the power plant you might as well hit Reset. When i was dicking around in that game i used Game Genie and just see how fast i could build Megalopolis by using a infinite money code E28A-AD61

Then Sim City 2000 happened I had the version for windows 95 that had the Urban Renewal Kit, I Remember making Making the Buildings look like they a Nuclear Bomb Hit them and the Statue I drew a Mustache and a Penis on it, but Anyways I remember having an easier time building a city in that game then Sim City although your city couldn't be built outta Railroad like one could,

I played the Not bad on SNES Version and the Good for Saturn Version and the God Awful GBA version as well, The Snes Version was Cool for it Being on The SNES, The Saturn Version was good it automatically Loaded the 1900 Tileset if you started in that year, and would Change to the Original if hit 1950 and Change Again if it Hit 2050 and if you pop the Saturn Version in your CD-Rom Drive you could get the SEGACITY.SC2 to use in the PC version, The GBA Version was crap you can't have Mountains, just flat land and things never fucking worked either, i built a small city and then after a couple of building they kept being unpowered even tho i built a nuclear power plant and it doesn't even have the music, I never played the PS1 Version

I played a bit of 3000 but couldn't get into it like 2000 or 1 and I never Played 4 which I heard was pretty good
 

Wasted Potential

kiwifarms.net
Holy shit I haven't thought about that game in twenty years. I used to make gigantic towers that would always fail and get foreclosed on since I had no idea how to make money.
I remember loving SimTower but having that exact problem. I was impatient and wanted to unlock the new shops and such as quickly as possible, but I always went into a deficit and my tenants left. It took me awhile to figure out to build my tower in small stages, let it run for a bit to make money, and then build more. That strategy seemed to work well for me in SC2K as well. Such fun games. Time to find them and enjoy some childhood nostalgia.
 

dunbrine47

Rumpy Fish's Brother: Grumpy
kiwifarms.net
I remember loving SimTower but having that exact problem. I was impatient and wanted to unlock the new shops and such as quickly as possible, but I always went into a deficit and my tenants left. It took me awhile to figure out to build my tower in small stages, let it run for a bit to make money, and then build more. That strategy seemed to work well for me in SC2K as well. Such fun games. Time to find them and enjoy some childhood nostalgia.
For those who have never played Sim Tower before: focus on Offices and Hotel (when they become available). Screw condos. They house less people per space and if you fuck up and the tenants move out, you are forced to purchase the unit back (en masse this will bankrupt your tower). They are also a one time source of income compared to the daily/quarterly rent you get with Offices and Hotel.

Anyway I forgot to post this:
 

Guardian G.I.

СНГ scum
kiwifarms.net
Even though I generally suck at them, I very much love SimCity games. When I was a kid, I didn't really understand how it all worked, so I either kept borrowing money and running everything into the ground or destroying pre-existing cities with disasters.
The ones I've played the most were SimCity 3000 Unlimited and 4 (with Rush Hour). I did get my hands on every single game in the series, and I'm also the only person in the world that liked SimCity Societies.
SimCity 4 with NAM is still great, although NAM's custom road construction is incredibly unwieldy and inconvenient, especially building junctions and intersections. Also, 4 has the best soundtrack among all city building games, in my opinion:

But Cities Skylines isn't nearly the thing SimCity 4 was. From the start, it's incredibly ugly. SimCity 4 was born out of the "real is brown" era of video games but it has its own color scheme (subtle pink, a layer of grime) that works well and provides a semi-convincing, if somewhat stylized, "real city" appearance (well, as "real" as 2003 technology got), whereas Cities Skyline has plasticky crap that looks awful and runs even worse. The core Cities Skylines game is incredibly poorly coded, and that's without mods. Many of the "good" Cities Skylines "art" pictures you see are made from games that have so many mods that the game chugs along on frame rates you could count with one hand.
[...]
Trying to recreate an IRL city is going to be even harder, because of a few factors, zoning is based to roads (rather than just planting big subdivisions of residential, you have to start at roads and just branch outwards, and feels incredibly sticky), and the scale is off. With SimCity 4, each tile was 16 meters squared, which let you build semi-realistic roads and subdivisions (the isometric scale required making the building height a bit distorted to look more in scale, but was a good reflection of reality. Houses often were 2x1 tiles, which is about the size of single family home plats in America, and 48m^2 buildings could develop on zoned tiles (I don't know if 4x4 buildings could develop on zoned tiles, but that's about the size of "downtown" buildings), but in Cities Skylines, the tile size is smaller. This is great as it could allow for more diverse building sizes as well as some tiny hole-in-the-wall facades...but only theoretically, so the largest size a building can be is 32x32 meters squared (for comparison, that's about the lot size of a small gas station). Modders have made bigger buildings, but for a semi-functional city it means pencil-thin skyscrapers and housing for midgets.
I fully agree with this - that's my biggest gripe with Cities: Skylines. Its vanilla art design is awful, and most good-looking buildings are either recycled Cities in Motion content (the European style) or stuff other people made (the minor building DLCs like European Suburbia, etc.).

In fact, I think in many ways C:S loses to even SimCity 2013.
Hell, if SimCity 2013 hadn't been royally screwed over by EA and had bigger maps, an actually working traffic simulator and a proper single player mode, it would have wiped the floor with Cities Skylines. At day one, SC2013 had advanced industrial production chains and disasters - stuff that would only appear in separate DLCs in Skylines years after release. SC2013 had modular service buildings, C:S doesn't. SC2013 had regions and interactions between cities, albeit poorly made; C:S doesn't even have that. SC2013 had a proper art style and building scale reminiscent of SimCity 4 that still looks way better than Cities Skylines.

DOSBox (or equivalents, like Boxer for the Mac) run SimCity 2000 for DOS great! Unfortunately, it's the worst of the computer ports (tiny resolution, the worst music by default, no way to create scenarios from your own cities, missing the numerous v1.1 improvements that Mac and Windows got). I don't know the voodoo to try to get SC2k for native Windows running, but the next best thing is hacking together a Mac emulator (through SheepShaver) and finding a Mac copy of SC2k from there.
SimCity 2000 for Windows is a 16-bit application, from what I recall - it won't work on 64-bit systems, unless you have a virtual machine with an older operating system. But if you somehow still have a 32-bit system, it will work - SC2000 for Win3.1/9x runs flawlessly even on Windows 10, from my experience.
 

dunbrine47

Rumpy Fish's Brother: Grumpy
kiwifarms.net
Got a bit of an itch to play a city builder. Might reinstall SimCity4, but how's Tropico 5? I played some 4 and had some fun with it, how's the newer iteration compare?
It's....um different. One of the bigger changes you might not like is how salaries are paid out to workers. In the older games everything was in hard numbers (ex. A dockworker makes $5 a month, he pays $2 for a bunkhouse and pays a dollar to go to the pub) that you could easily see and set. In 5 there is a budget you pay out per month that combines pay and maintenance costs. Workers don't receive a numerical salary set by the player, they receive a wealth level. They can only interact with buildings at or below their wealth level. The only way to change wealth levels for buildings is to mess around with their budget.

Pardon the French but this was the only image I could find to quickly illustrate this. You have the budget and the workers are given the "poor" wealth class each month.
 

Just Some Other Guy

kiwifarms.net
It's....um different. One of the bigger changes you might not like is how salaries are paid out to workers. In the older games everything was in hard numbers (ex. A dockworker makes $5 a month, he pays $2 for a bunkhouse and pays a dollar to go to the pub) that you could easily see and set. In 5 there is a budget you pay out per month that combines pay and maintenance costs. Workers don't receive a numerical salary set by the player, they receive a wealth level. They can only interact with buildings at or below their wealth level. The only way to change wealth levels for buildings is to mess around with their budget.

Pardon the French but this was the only image I could find to quickly illustrate this. You have the budget and the workers are given the "poor" wealth class each month.
Is there anything I'd be missing playing 4 instead of 5? Don't really care about "muh graphics", 4 looks pretty good to me.
 
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