Maxis has provided details on SimCity's sandbox mode, a "gentler version" for mayors wishing to construct their budding burgs without the added stress of putting out a careless library fire or squeezing their citizenry for every stinkin' Simoleon. In a blog post (opens in new tab) , Lead Gameplay Scripter Guillaume Pierre described the effects of switching on sandbox mode, including access to all buildings and disaster toggles via keyboard shortcuts.
"Each city starts with a truck-load of Simoleons with the possibility to add more through a key press, and although the simulation functions just like in the regular game, certain 'pushback' systems can be toggled on and off at any time," Pierre explains. "Say you don't want fires to burn down your beautifully planned suburb? It's as easy as hitting Alt-F on your keyboard to eliminate all fires. Don't want earthquakes or meteors to strike in the middle of your downtown? Just press Alt-D, and you'll be safe from all disasters!"
Pierre also warned entering sandbox mode disqualifies you from achievements, leaderboard rankings, or affecting shared resource pricing on the global marketplace, but co-op region play stays available. I wonder: would the fun of working together on multi-city projects diminish without the extra challenge from recovering from disasters or pooling hard-earned funds?
It appears sandbox mode is an ideal option for testing out strategies, creative experimentation, or easing new players into SimCity's mechanics. I presume it's also an attractive fantasy for real-life mayors yearning to line up skyscrapers like bowling pins before a tornado.
We talked about SimCity a lot last month. Check out our hands-on preview (opens in new tab) , what we think of its size-restricted regions (opens in new tab) , and a conversation about permanent Internet connection requirements (opens in new tab) in games.(opens in new tab)