city building sim

First SimCity 5 screens and details surface

Tom Senior at

It turns out that SimCity 5 may exist! Scanned images of a feature in German magazine, Gamestar, seem to show lots of concept art and a few early details of a sequel.

According to the feature, picked over by NeoGaf, the next SimCity will be set 20 years after previous entries and feature organic cities that won't have to stick to America's regimented block system. There's also mention of global leaderboards to celebrate the most efficient player metropolis and a new graphics engine to power everything. It's also supposedly due out next year.

It's all unconfirmed at the moment, but the timing is good. Maxis are due to announce a new game at GDC next week. Hopefully it'll turn out to be the SimCity that fans have been waiting for.

SimCity devs to announce new game at GDC

Tom Senior at

A tweet from EA senior PR Erik Reynolds, noted by CVG, has teased a big Maxis reveal at this year's GDC conference, which is due to kick off in just a few weeks time. He mentions that more information will be appearing over the next few weeks on the Game Changers Facebook page but there's already rampant speculation suggesting that it'll be a new SimCity. We'll get to find out in 13 days, 20 hours and counting according to the reassuringly massive clock on the Game Changers page, where EA's GDC event will be broadcasted live to the world in just under two weeks time. Anyone up for some more SimCity?

Anno 2070 update adds new buildings, increases "probability of tornado disaster"

Tom Senior at

You know what's way too easy? Building a city and managing resources when there are absolutely no tornadoes happening. Perhaps realising this, the Anno 2070 devs have updated the game with a patch that increases the "probability of a tornado disaster" and "the interval at which they can occur." Regular, predictable tornadoes. That is the key to exciting city building.

The latest patch also adds new "ornamental buildings" and makes loads of fixes and balance tweaks. If you wondering whether Anno 2070 is worth a punt, check out our Anno 2070 review. Meanwhile, here's the full patch list from Steam.

Anno 2070 review

Chris Thursten at

Of all the things to bring a civilisation to a grinding halt, it’d have to be truffles. My fisheries, oil refineries, pig farms and distilleries operate with total efficiency. My surplus goods are loaded into cargo haulers and sold at a premium to the hippies across the waves. Yet I can grow no further. If I want to expand to the rest of my island home, I need to meet a sudden and unexpected demand for lobster dinners.

Anno 2070 is a real-time management sim that tasks you with creating the biggest and happiest empire you can in a future where resources are scarce as a result of climate change. It’s a shift from the historical foundations of the previous games in the series in favour of something socially-minded and forward-looking.

Anno 2070 demo arrives, play the first two missions

Tom Senior at

Upcoming city-building sim, Anno 2070 has a demo! It covers the first two missions, in which you're tasked with funding and building a hydroelectric power plant at the behest of a tycoon leader. It should provide a gentle introduction to the construction and resource management mechanics, and also give us an opportunity to gawp at the lovely graphics engine (see more of it in these Anno trailers). The full game contains two factions, and will let you extend your cities beyond the shores of your island to the bottom of the ocean. Grab the Anno 2070 demo here.

Anno 2070 trailer is gorgeous, features WAR

Tom Senior at

The new Anno 2070 trailer above drew a small crowd in the office. Owen's the only one who's seen it in action, and we demanded that he tell us whether the city building sim looks that good in real life. "Yes!" he said. "It even looks just as good under that ocean!" NO IT DOESN'T, we asserted unfairly. "It does!" said Owen. "It does!"

According to the trailer, it doesn't just sit there looking lovely. It has war, too. We're growing steadily more interested in Anno 2070, and look forward to sucking up all of Earth's resources when it's released in November.

Anno 2070 trailer shows Eco and Tycoon factions

Tom Senior at

The latest Anno trailer highlights the difference between the city-building sim's two factions. There's the Ecos, who use sustainable energy sources, floating blimps that clean the air and a smug sense of satisfaction to power their economy. The Tycoons plough through Anno's luscious terrain with complete disregard for the eco-balance. Their cities are sprawling masses of rust and fumes. They can store the negative products from their enormous factories inside mountains, which is the equivalent of sweeping all your rubbish under a sofa in the vain hope it will one day turn into gold. This never works.

Anno 2070 trailer shows gigantic future cities

Tom Hatfield at

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This new trailer for Anno 2070 shows off some of the hi-tech cities, which look simply gorgeous. Sadly there's no shots of the incredible underwater cities, although we've seen them in action and they're equally as beautiful.

We'll have more on Anno 2070 when it comes out later this year.

Stronghold 3 trailer features pleased peasants and hungry wolves

Tom Senior at

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"I don't like the look of those torture engines!" a villager declares cheerfully in the latest trailer for Stronghold 3. The castle building sim looks set to feature the happiest peasants in PC gaming, even their cries of "the wolves are coming!" seem laced with a disarming sense of hope and optimism. "I'm being eaten, sire! Also might I say you're looking very fine today!" he might add.

But will their unshakeable faith in our good intentions stop us from pelting them with diseased badgers? No. Ready the animal trebuchets for Stronghold 3's release date on October 18. It's available to pre-order now on Steam.

Anno 2070 trailer builds cities under the sea

Tom Senior at

The first screenshots revealed that, for the first time, Anno will be heading into the future. What we didn't know until Gamescom last week was that you'll be able to use that future tech to expand your cities beyond the shores of their islands, to the seabed below, where there seem to be lava pits. Rich, tasty, resourceful lava pits. Owen saw the Gamescom demo, and says it looked so pretty it made him fear for his PC. Find out more on the official Anno 2070 site.

Fallen City: rebuild a broken town, save Angries from purple rage

Tom Senior at

Fallen City is an educational game commissioned by British broadcasting organisation, Channel 4. It aims to examine what it means to live in a British city, and explore the difficulties of maintaining inner-city communities by putting you in charge of one. It's the first game from new developers Big Robot Games, and is being headed up by friend of PC Gamer, Jim Rossignol, who has posted some new details and screenshots on the Big Robot blog.

Cities XL 2012 announced with first screenshots

Tom Senior at

Cities XL 2011 was a pleasant enough city building sim with alarmingly deep traffic management mechanics. By rearranging roads and adding additional routes, it was possible to disperse traffic hotspots. It was strangely satisfying, like smoothing out wrinkled silk. Cities XL 2012 will let you manage traffic in whole new locations where, according to the first screenshots, there will be sand, snow, and sometimes helicopters.

Tropico 4 trailer has tornadoes and tidal waves

Tom Senior at

Sunny dictator-sim Tropico 4 is out soon, and the latest trailer gives a look at the new natural disasters added for the sequel. Volcanoes, droughts and tornadoes will appear periodically to tear up your towns, which could contain some of the twenty new buildings, including stock exchanges, shopping malls and aqua parks. There have been some additions on the international stage, too, with the addition of new superpowers. Find out more on the Tropico site. The game's out on August 30.

Get free access to the 8Realms beta with today's code word

Tom Senior at

You can jump into Jagex' new browser-based, empire building game, 8Realms for free right now using today's mighty code word of power. All you have to do is head over to the 8Realms site, create a Jagex account and then enter the code "attilathehun" into the beta code box. Signing up with the code word will also grant you an exclusive flag for your towns. Once you've built your first farm, redeem your exclusive reward by clicking on the empire flag section of the activity screen.

Get free access to 8 Realms with today's code

Tom Senior at

Jagex' new empire-building game, 8Realms is in beta now, and we've got another special code that will give you free access. It's a game about building a tiny settlement into a bustling metropolis, then spawning other metropolises until you have an enormous empire full of great wonders, and protected by hundreds of warriors. If you fancy giving the game a go for free, read on for today's key word.

Free access to 8 Realms beta for 50,000 people

Tom Senior at

How would you like to try Jagex' new browser-based kingdom building game, 8 Realms for free? The game offers a persistent online world in which to grow a kingdom. You expand by trading and battling with neighbouring players, and by improving the culture of your cities. The first 50,000 people to enter the game using the code world below will be able to build wonders and crush their enemies for free using the special code word below.

Anno 2070 trailer offers a choice of futures

Tom Senior at

Futuristic city building sim, Anno 2070, offers you a choice. Will you go for ecological technology, or industrial standard factory complexes? Will you choose sustainability and sunshine, or mass consumption and dark shanty towns? Would you like to nurture this bunny, or strangle it with the factory fumes of capitalism? Whichever option you choose, it'll look really nice. Find out more on the official Anno 2070 site.

Anno 2070 takes city building to the future, first screens out

Tom Senior at

The Anno series of city building sims have so far been set in the distant past. They involved chopping down lots of trees and building up the most advanced settlement possible out of wood, sweat and tears. The next Anno game will thrust the series into the far future, where there is no wood: only iron, concrete and giant diggers. The first four screens of Anno 2070 are out, and you'll find them below.


Settlers 7 DLC released, free update adds new map and necromancy

Tom Senior at

A new update for Settlers 7 has gone live, adding a free map and a school of dark arts that players will be able to use to bring fallen soldiers back from the dead. A new DLC pack has also been released containing a new five-part campaign.