Sims 3 Island Paradise threatens happy houseboats with angry kraken attacks

Katie Williams at

So the Sims 4 might have already been announced, but that doesn't mean Maxis isn't still pumping content into the TS3. The end of this month will see in dragons, and the next introduces various terrors of the seas—houseboats, hedonistic tourists, and gratingly cheerful tiki music all make an appearance. And then, of course, our favorite additions involve new causes of flailing Sim-death in the form of sharks and krakens. Yep, just another fun-packed day in the Island Paradise.

The Sims 3 indulges in flights of fancy with a new dragon town

Katie Williams at

Looks like we'll be able to re-enact parts of Game of Thrones in The Sims 3 now, with the introduction of a new dragon-themed map—I wonder how to say "oh god help me it's eating my face" in Simlish?

SimCity 3.0 update sets sights on traffic, allows students to cross the road

Tom Sykes at

SimCity is turning 3.0 this week, a milestone that will hopefully go a lot smoother than the troublesome 2.0, which introduced all manner of bizarre bugs into the game. This time, Maxis have set their sights primarily on traffic, by updating the routing system and making drivers smarter, promising that "vehicles can now make right turns on Red". You'll be happy to learn that "university pedestrian paths can now cross streets" as well - and people say that higher learning is a waste of time. Full list of *fingers crossed* fixes after the break.

Will Wright: SimCity's launch issues "inexcusable," industry is "falling short"

Katie Williams at

Will Wright—creator of the SimCity series, The Sims, and other assorted explorations of simmery—abandoned his work in video games a few years ago, leaving his babies in the hands of EA. But how well are EA performing as adoptive parents? While Wright generally praises the mega-corporation for the way they've nurtured his unique concepts, he apparently felt the same way about SimCity's always-online DRM that the rest of us did, calling the initial unplayability at launch "inexcusable." Oh, and according to Wright, the games industry as a whole is not fulfilling its potential, either.

The Sims 4 officially announced, will allow offline play

Ian Birnbaum at

EA announced today that The Sims 4, a follow-up to 2009’s The Sims 3 and the latest in Maxis’s long-running life-simulation series, will be coming to PC and Mac in 2014. The news broke on the company’s The Beat blog, with more news promised later in the day.

Maxis working to address SimCity processing issues

Katie Williams at

I spent most of last night staring forlornly at my prettiest SimCity city, which was constantly at the “processing” stage and would not allow me to play it. I thought perhaps my citizens feared my mayoral skills too much to allow me to enter my own tiny metropolis, but apparently, mayors all over the world had been locked out in the wake of the 2.0 update. Yes, Maxis heard our echoed cries and moans, and they’re currently working to restore order. Here’s what’s the team is working on.

SimCity patch 2.0 introduces new round of annoying (but hilarious) bugs

Shaun Prescott at

Out with the old, in with the new: players are reporting that the new SimCity patch has introduced a fresh batch of errors, including one that overloads sewerage systems. The EA forums and Reddit are awash with frazzled mayors demanding answers, as understandably, healthy cities cannot exist in a world where trees make siren noises.

SimCity Update 2.0 to kill residential-only cities and fix numerous bugs on Monday

Tyler Wilde at

At 1 p.m. PST on Monday, Maxis will be rolling out the first major SimCity patch. SimCity Update 2.0 doesn't make any especially notable additions—mayors will now drive fancy cars or travel by helicopter if available, for instance—but it does implement a long list of bug fixes and improvements.

SimCity's first free DLC is a logo-plastered Nissan Leaf charging station

Omri Petitte at

Subtle. Maxis has a new SimCity building available for download starting today at no cost to your wallet, but with a slight hit to your integrity as a mayor. It's a Nissan Leaf charging station. How can I tell? It's probably because of the bright-red corporate nose-thumbing stretching across the station's turf. Since it's a plopable unit, the station provides additional effects for your population of a pretty lopsided nature.

SimCity 2.0 patch to improve Street Car efficiency, fix Recycling Center bugs

Omri Petitte at

EA's reinforcement efforts for SimCity's shaky foundations continue shoring up the city-builder's lingering faults, with the most recent update smarting up SimDrivers on the existence of more than one SimRoad. On the official forums, Senior Producer Kip Katsarelis has outlined the next batch of issues the upcoming 2.0 patch addresses, including smarter Street Cars and squashing a particularly heavy Recycling Center glitch.

How high can a SimCity highway go? Insanely high, apparently

Omri Petitte at

I may as well stow my architect blueprints and hang up my dapper SimCity mayor's hat, because another townsman has managed to construct a jaw-dropping tangle of a superhighway while simultaneously keeping his citizens from fleeing in terror.

PC Gamer US Podcast #349 - Spiders in Space

PC Gamer at

Podcasting thrusters to max this week, as we discuss leadership changes at EA, BarCrafts, Lord British, Elder Scrolls Online, and the horror of extraterrestrial arachnids. They exist! For real!

Team Meat's stance on combating piracy: build trust and positive experiences

Omri Petitte at

Team Meat's take on piracy is just as blunt as its bloody platformer Super Meat Boy, with the two-man team stating in 2011 that it "doesn't #%)@$ care" about gamers stealing its game. Now, co-creator Tommy Refenes says in a tumblr post that a more worthwhile alternative to intrusive DRM systems is to forge trust with gamers and deliver a solid, reliable product. I know, that's just crazy talk.

SimCity sells over 1.1M units, free game offer includes Dead Space 3, Battlefield 3, SimCity 4

Tyler Wilde at

On the week of SimCity's ill-fated launch, during which a lot more people wanted to play SimCity than SimCity's servers could handle, Maxis SVP Lucy Bradshaw promised us each a free EA game for our troubles. Today, EA announced that SimCity sold over 1.1 million units in its first two weeks (well, there's your problem), and Maxis announced the list of apology games for SimCity owners to choose from.

Maxis: SimCity could have had "a subset offline mode" but the idea was rejected

Tyler Wilde at

Maxis GM Lucy Bradshaw has responded to criticism that SimCity could have featured an offline mode, saying that yes, it could have, but Maxis "rejected that idea" for a different vision.

SimCity traffic flow patch being tested, non-essential features to be slowly re-enabled

Tyler Wilde at

SimCity Lead Designer Stone Librande has posted an official blog entry explaining the causes of some of SimCity's most discussed design decisions and flaws, including the "unavoidable (and illogical) traffic jams" that can form in high-density cities. According to Stone, a pathfinding patch is currently being tested internally, and he hopes to release it soon.

SimCity tested: offline play, phantom Sims, and other controversies verified or debunked

Tyler Wilde at

The connection problems of SimCity's botched launch may almost be behind us, but now that more players are actually playing, the critical bombardment has adjusted its aim to target the simulation itself. Players are reporting bugs, quirks, and mysterious behaviors, and discontent has swelled into accusations. Our review criticizes many of these problems, but is there a bigger story? Were we misled?

Celebrity SimCity: Day 3 - Everyone poops

Tyler Wilde at

We took a brief hiatus while repair crews worked on the NA West 1 (giving us time to release a 3-page document outlining our criticisms), but we've finally returned to PCG County. Despite unusually frequent seismic disasters and more than one sewage debacle, the region lives on: Notchtopia continues to grow, Belmonte Carlo is a playground for the rich, Hepatitis Seas is turning yellowish, and Executive Mayor Evan Lahti has now founded Texas II: Origins—this time, it's personoil.

SimCity's official site now displays server availability

Tyler Wilde at

SimCity's server congestion was sneezing us out of the game all last week, but it may finally have kicked its launch cold. I've been in the NA West 1 server all morning without once seeing the words "connection" or "error"—just splines reticulating everywhere I look. SimCity's approval rating might be trending up elsewhere, too—its official site now displays the status of every server, and there are green lights from San Francisco to Antarctica. Wait, why is there a server in Antarctica? Don't penguins use Linux?

SimCity noir video paints an urban landscape black and white

Omri Petitte at

Midnight on the beat, and I could tell this city has an old heart. Homicide watch wasn't an exciting job—murder stopped becoming a punchline for me long ago—but it kept me on the streets, and that's where you go if you want both a lesson in personality and how to avoid a fender-bender when the garbage man's drunk again.