Finally, curvy roads: no longer will every city look like Manhattan. Check out those adorable houses, too -- I like their simple charm, which also has to do with the necessity for SimCity to scale without losing performance. Keeping frame rates smooth as suburbs grow is an issue Quigley talked much about.
"We wanted to make sure there was enough detail in those buildings so that when you get down to them and look in, you get this illusion of an interior, you get the details of the bricks, the sculpted façade—stuff that's worth looking at,” he said. “But we've also had to do this at scale. It's not enough to have a really high-polygon model of the power plant and call it a day."
One of Maxis' techniques is called "interior mapping." Quigley didn't explain precisely how it works, but the gist is that building and vehicle interiors, which you can see through windows, aren't actually modeled with polygons -- the engine creates the illusion of volume while allegedly using fewer system resources.