SimCity E3 trailer and screens show off tilt-shifted simulation, a purple monster


Smelting plant

The final new screenshot is this lovely smelting plant, which brings me to SimCity's industry system. It's much more involved than in previous games -- firstly, you can harvest resources like coal and wood, which is new, but more significantly: you'll be able to create and export complete products. Lead Designer Stone Librande explained the game's vertical integration system to me in detail.

“Every city that you start up will have some type of resource built into it, maybe that's oil, ore, trees, fish—who knows what? You can harvest those resources out.” said Librande as he pointed to the top of a daunting chart. “In this case lumber's going out, and we could sell it right away for maybe $90 on the global market, or maybe we could trade it with our neighbor.”

“I can also take those goods—those raw resources—and start running them through a supply chain. Every step of the supply chain increases the value of the commodity I'm manufacturing. I could sell these engines and get $2000 on the global market, but if I take those engines and combine them with tires, some metal, and some oil, I can make some cars, ship them out to the dock, the boat picks them up and I get $15,000 per car. So I can add value along the way, and it's kind of tempting for a player who wants to make a lot of money, but every step along the way I'm increasing the complexity, and one thing that's guaranteed about complex systems is when they fail, they fail catastrophically. With so many points of failure, one traffic jam or one fire just blows the rest of the chain and everything stalls, and my whole city could grind to a halt.”

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.