SimCity's city size restriction explained as a necessary performance trade-off

Maxis' SimCity reboot runs on a pretty damn cool new engine, GlassBox, which simulates the activities of individual Sims, vehicles, and buildings. Its complexity has a downside, though: speaking to IncGamers , Creative Director Ocean Quigley said that simulation fidelity is the reason cities are confined to a smallish square border, calling it "a matter of trade-offs."

"The game has to run smoothly on ordinary computers," said Quigley. "And I decided that it's better to make cities with dense activity and visual detail over cities that are sprawling, but low resolution and inert."

So how big are they? SimCity's cities are "about the size of SC4's medium sized cities," said Quigley in a tweet .

It would be lovely if those of us with seven core urban processing reactors could knock a settings slider into metropolis mode, but that option won't be available—at least, not at launch. Quigley doesn't deny that more space would be nice. "Of course, I'd like to have it all," he said.

I recently spent a day playing SimCity and have a lot to say about it, but my impressions will have to wait until Friday. Until then, our recent interview with Lead Designer Stone Librande is as dense with detail as my first city, the great Port Foozle.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.