Previously, Maxis confirmed that they've no plan to extend SimCity's maximum city size. And so it falls to modders to help those feeling hemmed in by the game's virtual borders. Can it be done? Yes, sort of. Project Orion is such a boundary extending mod, and will let the game's mayors build free of the vanilla base limit. Don't plan a ribbon cutting ceremony for your city's east wing just yet, though, as its use will mean dealing with some pretty significant performance issues and glitches.
The Sims 4 is coming, as you may have heard, and as we told you last month, you'll probably be able to run it as long as you actually own a PC. But what if you want to run it well? That's a bit of a different matter.
If you didn't see EA's Sims 4 live demo at their Gamescom press conference, you missed out on long minutes of incredibly awkward banter. Actually, no, you didn't; you can see it all via the magic of Twitch VODs. Other than a sense of deep embarrassment, the session also provided news of a general release for the Create-A-Sim demo. You can now prepare for the game's imminent release by pre-creating your subjects of vicarious virtual living.
Electronic Arts has made a lot of noise about the power of emotion in The Sims 4. In fact, Senior Producer Lyndsay Pearson said on Twitter in June that there will be "multiple types of emotion deaths" in the game. But while your Sims might die laughing, they won't be able to die of depression, because Maxis wants to keep the game lighthearted and fun.
I've been eager to get my hands on the Sims 4 since seeing the trailer revealed at E3 this year. Last week, I got a chance to play for a little more than five hours. I didn't find the new emotion system to be as exciting as Maxis is selling it to be, but there are a number of smaller, meaningful improvements to playability that I was really happy with. Watch the video for my full thoughts on the latest Sims installment.
As we know, The Sims 4's Big Thing is the emotions of its virtual people. Emotions such as 'happiness', 'disappointment', 'regret', 'the nagging feeling that some godlike figure is manipulating everything I do', and who could forget 'insouciance'. This latest trailer focuses on a bunch of less exciting feelings such as boredom and confidence, and the sims' constant over-gesticulation makes me think their latest game might be set on some terrifying Planet of the Mimes. Sure, that hyperactivity has always been a thing, but it seems extra mimey now that everyone's expressing emotions all the time.
Okay, so it won't run on anything too old: you're out of luck if you're rocking, say, a C64, difference engine or anything powered by a potato. Still, the recently released minimum requirements for The Sims 4 are low—as you might expect from a series that targets such a wide audience.
Maxis has been around for the better part of 30 years, during which time it's developed an awful lot of Sim-stuff, from SimCity to The Sims. Now it's working in something new, which based on a recently-posted job listing may be a free-to-play MMO.
Damn, The Sims got dark. It's always been a playground for the sadistic, of course—for those who like to torment their digital charges with inescapable rooms of terror. But now, it seems, the game takes place in a Twilight Zone episode where excess emotions are punishable by death. In this 20 minute walkthrough of The Sims 4's E3 build, characters once again chuckle themselves to an early expiration. And to think, they say laughter is the best medicine.
The Sims 2 has lived a long and productive life. It was born, it made lots of friends, it worked at H&M for a period, and now it's ready to retire. In an email sent out to Sims 2 owners, EA claim that the game will "lose technical support" next week, on 22 July. As a concession to the game's owners, all copies registered digitally through Origin will be upgraded to the Ultimate Collection—a complete edition containing every expansion pack and "stuff pack" released for almost 10-year-old game.
Sims fans are a bit miffed that The Sims 4 won't feature pools or toddlers, two seemingly small details that have nonetheless caused a fair bit of outrage over the last couple of weeks. I imagine much of the anger is less about which features are missing in 4, and more about why features present in previous entries haven't been included in this latest version—the worry being that EA might be holding them back for one of The Sims' many, many, many expansion packs. That worry probably won't be mollified by EA's latest blog post addressing the matter, but it does explain the reasons behind the decision not to include those two features. Essentially, it was a trade-off with the game's new AI, animation system, build mode, Create a Sim etc.
Despite including a revolutionary feature EA and Maxis are calling an 'offline mode', The Sims 4 won't manage to include all the stuff you might have liked about the previous games - namely Create a Style, pool-building, and spawnable toddlers, features that have been left on the cutting room floor and oh god that didn't sound right at all. The bad news was rather skillfully buried in a super-upbeat blog post outlining the game's included features, but if you peer closely (or scroll down to the comments thread beneath it) it soon becomes clear that something's amiss.
How do you beat a game about life, romance and ambition in three-and-a-half minutes? If you're thinking "well just create a charming character, pick the gold digger lifetime wish, marry a rich sim, then lock her in a tiny box and burn it down to secure her inheritance" then firstly, what is wrong with you, and secondly, yes, absolutely that.
After many months of hinting, promises, and—apparently—a substantial amount of work, the offline version of SimCity arrives today. In an update posted to the EA forums, a Maxis developer writes that the latest patch is almost entirely focused on bringing the world of SimCity offline.
The impossible will soon come to pass: SimCity's offline mode is "almost there Mayors" and will arrive as part of Update 10, which is now in "final testing", according to the offical SimCity twitter account. The long, arduous journey of SimCity's offline mode (it's like The Hobbit but with DRM) will soon be over. With Blizzard finally ditching Diablo 3's stupid real-world auction house on March 18th, this is shaping up to be a particularly good week.
SimCity is gaining an offline mode. That's pretty good news, eh? It'll allow people without access to a stable internet connection to enjoy the game, give modders significantly more freedom in what they can edit and create, and let anti-social old me sulk off to my own private toybox of industrial mismanagement. In fact, there are so many positives, you'd almost wonder why Maxis didn't give SimCity the option to work offline at launch.
Two reasons, it was revealed at the time. The first: a conceptual attitude. "We rejected [a subset offline mode] because it didn't fit with our vision," said Lucy Bradshaw in March last year, back when she was the general manager of Maxis. The second reason was a technical one, as Bradshaw revealed in a more infamous quote. "It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team," she said. So what's changed in the interim? According to a new post on the SimCity blog, the answer is a significant amount of engineering work.
In real life, you want your cities to have a strong internet pipe plugged into their veins. Anyone who lives in, or even occasionally visits, the arse-end of nowhere - or "the countryside", as it's officially called - will be aware of the frequent frustration of attempting to massage a game update into their computers just a few stray kilobytes at a time. For fictional cities, it can be less desirable - which is something Maxis found out when they released the online-only SimCity last year. But after denials, equivocation, and light teasers, they've finally confirmed that an offline singleplayer mode will be available with the release of the game's next update.
Before it was released, SimCity Creative Director Ocean Quigley (who has since left Maxis to form an independent studio) said that SimCity's GlassBox engine was "built to be moddable." That may be true, but SimCity the game is a curated always-online ecosystem, not a fertile, offline ground for experiments which would otherwise interfere with the official multiplayer experience. The two seem at odds with each other, but yesterday, Maxis wrote that it encourages us to "create, redistribute, and consume Mods for SimCity." How does that work?
"Welcome...to the world of tomorrow!" is not how SimCity lead designer Stone Librande begins this narrated look at the game's sci-fi expansion Cities of Tomorrow, and I think we can all agree that's a bit of a shame. At least the new content itself looks pretty damned nifty, evoking the shiny utopias of Minority Report or Mirror's Edge, which are both lovely places if you stick your fingers in your ears and obey the rules. The video also shows off a neon-tinged industrial city, surrogate-like drones and much more.
It's been seven months since the launch of SimCity, which means it's been slightly under seven months since players of SimCity could consistently connect to the always-online city building sim's servers. In an address to the community, Patrick Buechner, the general manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio, wrote about this and other controversial elements that have followed the game since launch. He reveals that the team are "exploring the possibility" of an offline mode for the game, touches upon potential mod support, and admits that, despite their efforts, SimCities won't be getting any bigger.