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SimCity (2013) is the sixth major release of the SimCity franchise and is the first new SimCity game is nearly a decade. There are plenty of brand new features and updates to the gaming formula for longtime fans. Are you ready to get back into the Mayor's chair and create your own city? Here are a few things to remember before you lay your first zones. Have something you'd like to share? Be sure to leave it in the comments!


1. New Engine

SimCity 2013 sports a brand new simulation engine called GlassBox, which takes a different approach to simulation when compared to other games. Previous games would simulate high-level statistics and then created graophic animations to represent the data. This time around, the GlassBox engine replaces those statistics with agents, or simulation units that represent objects like water, power, and workers. Each graphic animation is directly linked to an agent's acitivity.


2. Roads

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One of the most fundamental aspects of gameplay, roads, have been overhauled in the new game. This time around, roads automatically act as pathways for water, power, and sewage. New tools are available for drawing roads, including a straight line tool, a rectangle tool, arch roads, and circle roads. There are seven types of roads, starting from low density dirt roads to complex avenues that can support streetcars. Streets are 24 meters wide while avenues are 48 meters wide. When high and low capacity roads intersect, the higher density roads have the right-of-way and stop signs/stop lights are placed automatically. It's good to remember just how you lay your roads out, because traffic is now detected in real time. More placement or flow of transportation routes could lead to congested streets during rush hour!


3. Data Visualization Maps

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SimCity 2013 includes a variety of very clear data maps that help transmit data to the player in a very visual way. These maps can draft up plots like land value, water table, pollution levels, education enrollment, happiness, and more. These maps are inspired by Google Maps and infographics. These maps are colorcoded and give off several visual cues that easily represent how well the city is functioning. You can preview these maps by selecting a area of development near the bottom of the screen, and then checking the bottom left corner. These maps can easily tell the player what is strong or what needs to be improved, and make managing your city much easier.


4. City Hall

City Hall is your center of your mayorship and the also the pride of your city. As you city expands, the hall can grow in size and support different departments that all bring their own benefits. The city hall is upgraded as the population of the city grows. If the mayor isn't doing a proficent job at managing the city, then sometimes citizens of the city will protest outside of the building. When this happens, you can mouse over the building and see exactly what they are protesting about. Some of the departments that can be built include Department of Energy, Department of Tourism, Department of Fiance, and more. You can only build one of these departments with every upgrade, so be sure to choose wisely and decide w hich department is most needed for your city.


5. Building Modules

One way to make your utility buildings more efficent in SimCity 2013 is the use of building modules. Modules are attachable structures that can add functionality to existing placeable buildings. These modules are usually cheaper than purchasing a brand new structure, and they can be very helpful when the population spike makes delivering these services more difficult. For example, some of these structures include additional garages for police cars, fire trucks, and street cars. Modules for schools can include additional classrooms, gymnasiums, or specific wings for your University. Some of these modules can be purely cosmetic as well, including signs or flags that can be placed on these buildings. 


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6. Region Play

Similar to the foundation laid in SimCity 4, now cities are placed into larger land areas called regions, that house multiple cities in the same spot. Elements such as traffic and air pollution can actually be visible flowing between cities in real time. The game sports a series first online mode, where various players can build cities within the same region and interact with each other. This unfortunately requires the game to constantly require an internet connection. Cities in the same region can share or sell resources, whether it's power or water utilities, or the ability to transport to hold trash for arranged deals. Cities can also pool their resources together in order to build a Great Works site, which are explained below.


7. Great Works Sites

Great Works are special projects that require a lot of materials to create, but bring huge benefits to all cities within the region. These great works take up a space about as large as a stand-alone city, and require a multitude of cities to create. Some of these great work sites include Arcology, International Airports, and other large structures. Depending on what structure the cities decide to build, many benefits will come across all cities. For example, if an international airport is built in a region, this will pull in more international Sims, and allow for populations to increase more dramatically over time, especially if you combine this with a Department of Tourism.


8. Building Density

Density with buildings are created depending on what road type the zoning is against. When building cities, it's a good idea to keep density low and spread out, in order to fully take hold of the space available for expansion. Once free space for the city has dwindled, rezone by building roads that support higher densities. Roads can be upgraded, so you won't need to demolish roads (and by extension, buildings) in order to change up the density with buildings. 

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