SimCity: Maxis Explains Limited City Sizes
Not happy with the limitations of the city sizes in the latest SimCity? Maxis claims there is a reason for this.
Published on Dec 17, 2012
SimCity is shaping up to be one of the best games of next year - and honestly, we never thought we'd catch ourselves saying that.
However, all the fancy new GlassBox tech that has gone into SimCity has imposed a handful of limitations on the game, chief among them being the size of the cities.
At 2 kilometers by 2 kilometers, the individual city spaces in SimCity are about the size of a medium map in SimCity 4, which has lead many to criticise the upcoming simulation game.
Taking part in a Reddit AMA, Maxis developers quelled fears over the size of the game:
"One thing about large cities in SC4," says senior producer Kip Katsarelis, "I often found myself repeating the layout of my city as it grew out. There's basically a formula for where you place buildings and zone to get the right balance."
Not so with the new SimCity, apparently. Katsarelis states that thanks to GlassBox Maxis can include "more variety, more change at local levels" and ensure there's "no "right" way to plan your city."
"It's always changing based on your actions, making that 2kx2k space feel big."
It wasn't all a design decision, however, which Katsarelis admits later on. "We had some performance constraints that factored into the decision. The difference with this SimCity, there's more to do at the city level and more simulation shared between cities, making the multi-city combinations and play mind blowing."
It's the multi-city and in-depth systems working together that really makes SimCity, says Katsarelis, and when they are combined at "both the city and region levels, it adds all new depth to the game. Don't let the size of an individual city box mislead you, it's a big game."
This is all confirmed by Maxis' software engineer Richard Shemaka, who claims that having all these "components all interacting in real-time on a mid-range home computer" is practically a technical marvel.
He later confirms that there are technical limitations, however: each region is restricted to 16 cities because of a "client performance issue".
"The memory required to store information of more cities," states Shamaka, "and the performance required to show even bigger regions and additional cities is too much. 16 was just the number that met the budget."
No doubt mods will be released shortly after the game is released for fans to really let loose on the city sizes, but is that enough? Should Maxis not be working on this itself?
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