Tobold's Blog
Monday, March 11, 2013
 
SimCity for the attention deficit generation

The good news is that EA started up a boatload of new servers, and SimCity was running smoothly over the weekend. The bad news is that after building a few cities over the weekend, I am thoroughly disenchanted with the game. You probably already heard that the cities you can build are rather small, more towns than cities. But did you know that they are also designed to be rather short in time? The game civilization is advertised with the slogan "Build an empire to stand the test of time". SimCity fails that test.

This is most obvious if you are specializing in mining or drilling oil: You have limited resources under your city, and the faster you dig them up, the sooner they run out. But the same is true for a resource every city needs: Water. Let your city run long enough, and it will run dry. That is if you ever get that far, usually a city suffers an economic collapse long before that. Income in SimCity is rather volatile, and gets increasingly so with time. Even something innocent can kill the economy, for example I had one case where for some reason most of my industry started building bigger factories at the same time, killing my industrial income for the long building period. At no point in time can you just let your city run unattended, even if it is stable right now, it will automatically grow to a point where it collapses. And that is without even taking into account random disasters.

The game might be better if you share a region with friends. Strangely enough it is difficult to share a region with strangers, as the "join game" doesn't have an option to show only regions with empty city slots. You can show regions with abandoned cities, but usually you wouldn't want to take those. And due to DLC I also ran into the situation that I wasn't able to take over an abandoned city because it contained DLC content I didn't own. Alone in a region you can try to play several cities and help each other out. But some things I just couldn't figure out: For example I had a recycling factory producing metals and plastics, and built a trading post to export those globally. But that never worked, the recycling plant stopped working because it was full of metal and plastics, the trading post never exported anything, and then power supply of my city broke down because the global import of coal to my power plant suddenly stopped.

So I built about half a dozen cities over the weekend, each of which failed in one way or another after a few hours. It seems to me that SimCity is designed to be a fast game for players who want action all the time. If you do well, you unlock disasters to tear your city down. People like me, who want to slowly build up an optimized city aren't the target audience. I often have more fun with the very slow Anno Online than with the fast SimCity style of city building game.

[EDIT: Quick link to a post of Stargrace I hadn't seen before. She seems to have similar problems with unattended cities and recycling.]

Comments:
I don't know what your doing but my first city is still going quite strong and into 120k now.. and that was without other towns feeding it as well. I let my town run for hours sometimes all on it's own just to accumalate more income (which often gets funneled off to others)

there are different settings in the trading post for local and global, maybe check that.. or it could be your distrubution network with traffic and such playing a big role in it as trucks need to make it in and out of the city and you need enough of those to collect and deliver. the money from trade like this doesn't count on the monthly earning either and is added, or subtracted straight from your bank.

resources appear to encourage cooperative play more then you would think. Water tables further from a water area will eventually run dry but those near a river replenish themselves leading towns to eventually rely on others for survival. I'm not sure about coal, ore, and oil but there may be something similiar.

perfecting cities will take a while as there are many ways the different system interconnect. with how small cities are is genius as well (for a multiplayer game) as you can never do it all and thus rely on others... I imagine if they were big enough then making a large sustainable city would be rather easy.

ok enough word spam.. just work on it, plan, change, communicate
 
I agree with the post above. Up until last night when Godzilla spawned and landed on the nuclear power station that was feeding power to several other cities I had a population just under 200k and fairly stable income. It's had a bit of a wobble now mind you (tax revenues are less then services costs because of the radiated areas) but the industry I've set up is still keeping me in profit.

What I found was your road network has to be carefully planned; supply factories need a clear route to the demand centres so traffic was less of a factor. I had a rather organic network that caused me several problems which I've taken the opportunity to fix with the nuclear accident. It's definitely a game of patience and planning with friends and others.
 
I agree with the post above. Up until last night when Godzilla spawned and landed on the nuclear power station that was feeding power to several other cities I had a population just under 200k and fairly stable income. It's had a bit of a wobble now mind you (tax revenues are less then services costs because of the radiated areas) but the industry I've set up is still keeping me in profit.

What I found was your road network has to be carefully planned; supply factories need a clear route to the demand centres so traffic was less of a factor. I had a rather organic network that caused me several problems which I've taken the opportunity to fix with the nuclear accident. It's definitely a game of patience and planning with friends and others.
 
In the trading post settings you need to switch around whether to import, export or use materials locally. Maybe you didn't set the recycled materials to export?

You say that the import of coal stopped, as previously mentioned that might be to ineffective road system/mass transit. That's the only thing I can think of at the moment. It's possible that you might have to set up more than one trading post.

And I've found that you almost have to start with the medium avenue right from the beginning even though it's expensive. You can upgrade roads, but not to avenues. So having to bulldoze roads to set up avenues will be more costly when you have to do that, also because every building connected to that road will be destroyed. Then also with avenues there are different optimal sizes of areas than for regular roads so you have to pretty much bulldoze everything when you want to upgrade anyway. I guess it's possible that you can have roads to smaller areas but once you start with avenues there doesn't seem to be much of a point.

I've had the water problems also. I'm not really sure how to handle that effectively.
 
"Build an empire to stand the test of time".

So *that's* why I tend to quit Civ in the Middle Ages.

I just can't stand the test of time!
 
Maybe you didn't set the recycled materials to export?

I did set the recycled materials to export, and coal to import. Didn't work. But then I did have some "not connected to the server" messages, so maybe global import/export didn't work because of server problems? I was alone in my region, so no regional trade.
 
You can totally aim for the long term with Sim City, but the long term cannot be the exploitation of minerals or oil. Once you are up and running with that kind of basic industry it is crucial to invest your money (hopefully you should have plenty of income at that time) into higher tier industry. Like processor's firm, foundry and so on. If you do it right you should be able to transition smoothly into a city where you import basic materials and transform them into more advanced goods.

Also placement is important : trading post should be close to the entrance of the city to optimize your income and so on...

Working with friends or with a network of city helps a lot too.

You can have an unlimited amount of water if you put your extractor close to your reprocessing plant (sorry for my english here, i hope it's understandable).
 
The trick with water is in sewage. Once you can build the filtration plant, it will slowly refill the land below with water. I usually align it so I have a sort of long rectangle box, on each short side the filtration on the other the pump station. Then build the sewage in one line upwards, while the pumps come down in a line the other side. Turn off of each as many as you don't need and turn them on when needed. Also let the sewage plant first run that way for a while so it fills up the water table to a nice deep blue, that will make the pump station more effective.

The other minable ressources (coal, metal and oil) are going bye bye either way. You are better off doing recycling for metal and plastic (the special metal needed for processors) and then build and sell those. Later upgrade to TVs. That way you can make a lot of cash.
 
Could be that SimCity's AI is completely

http://news.yahoo.com/simcity-pr-nightmare-escalates-150021213.html

fucking

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/03/fans-press-uncover-massive-holes-in-simcitys-ai-server-connection/

broken.

http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/1a914r/regional_gameplay_more_broken_than_trafficsim_ai/
 
One more, just for fun:

http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/1a98le/no_police_force_no_fire_department_no_hospital/
 
I'm not really into the sim-anything series myself (I think the only one I truly liked was sim-ant years ago) but I found something that may or may not be helpful for you:

http://www.geek.com/articles/games/modder-proves-simcity-can-run-offline-indefinitely-20130314/
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool