SimCity Timeline

SimCity (2013) is an upcoming city-building video game, developed by Maxis. The game serves as the sixth major release of the SimCity series, and is the first game since SimCity 4, which was released in 2004. The series has been long running and a major contributor to the popular simulation genre of videogames. The series has gone through many changes since it's inception. Let's take a look at the key features introduced through these games, and how the series would evolve to where it is today.

The first SimCity was published in 1989. Originally developed by game designer Will Wright, the inspiration of the game came from another game, Raid on Bungeling Bay. Wright enjoyed the map creating aspect of Raid on Bungeling Bay and wanted to mold his own idea from it. The first version of the game was developed for the Commodore 64 in 1985, but the game would not be published for another 4 years. Publishers felt uneasy backing the game since there was no formal win-lose state. They felt it wouldn't sell. Maxis eventually took the game ad published it as one of the first two games in it's catalogue. The first version of the game included zoning for residental/commerical/industrial, modifying tax rates, building power grids and transportation systems. Disasters were also introduced in this game, a few including flooding, tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes.

SimCity 2000
The somewhat unexpected success of the first SimCity led to it's first true sequel, SimCity 2000. SC2K brought forth many extensions, including an isometric view. The surrounding landscapes and environments of the city areas were no longer completely flat. Underground layers were introduced for water pipes and subway systems. New facilities were brought forth, including prisons, schools, libraries, museums, marinas, zoos, stadiums, hospitals, and arcologies. Transportation systems were expanded to include a variety of types, with highways, bus depots, railways. All utility types were expanded to include different choices, all with their own effects. Budget and finance controls became much more elaborate, allowing the player to have a greater control over the budget of their city.

SimCity 3000
SimCity 2000's successor, SimCity 3000, was released in 1999 and introduced several changes to both the city management and the general appearance of the game. The number and complexity of city services would increase again in this next installment. A whole new dilemma of waste management of added, giving players challenges on how to properly dispose of landfill waste in their city. Farms and agriculture were introduced, which could be created in low density zones. Power plants would also naturally degrade in maximum output over a long time. Players could interact with neighboring cities, and enact agreements such as sharing water, electricity, or waste management services. This was the first game in the series to simulate land values in real time, which would effect the rate at which high-rise buildings would be created. Business deals could be made to gain profit from specific buildings. Different tree types were introduced, and there were five distinct steepnesses of slopes, creating more varied landscapes.

SimCity 4
SimCity 4 was released in 2003 and places the player in the role of a mayor again, but this time cities are located in regions were are divided into segments, each of which can be developed. Each region represents the metropolitan area of a city. The player has the option of starting a city in any segment size. Zoning and building size have been improved for SimCity 4, Agriculture is now a separate industrial zone-type. Zones are now atuomatically aligned towards transportation ways. Buildings are classed into several wealth levels, zone types, and size stages. Buildings and lots can also be built on slopes for the first time. SimCity 4 featured cross-compatibility with Will Wright's other simulation franchise, The Sims. Sims can be imported into a city for use in the My Sim mode.

SimCity Societies
SimCity Societies is significantly different from previous SimCity titles, with a greater focus placed on social engineering. Public works and tax systems do not play any part in the game. Instead, players can get daily income from workplaces in the city. Transportation networks have been reduced to simply dirt roads, paved roads, subways, and bus stops. PLayers do not take responsibility of zoning, but instead have the ability to directly place individual buildings. There are six social energies that the player must interact with, including productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, authority, and knowledge. The city will look and act in accordance to the energies that the players focus on. The game is fully customizable and allows the players to customize individual buildings, decorations, citizens, and game rules.

SimCity (2013)
And finally, we reach the present. SimCity (2013) is the first game in the flagship titles since 2003, and provides the same classic gameplay, but redefined in various ways. The game will utilize the new simulation engine, called Glassbox, which alters the graphic animations to represent data. For example, rather than simply displaying a traffic jam animation to represent transportation flow, traffic jams are instead produced dynamically by masses of Sim agents that simulate travel to and from work. SimCity 2013 includes several cosmetic changes, including up-to-date 3D graphics. The new GlassBox engine allows visual effects such as traffic, economic troubles, and pollution to be clearly represented to the player. New options include a multiplayer component, as well as finite resources that can help provide an additional challenge to expading your cities. SimCity 2013 will be the first version of the game to feature a full online experience, allowing for regions to house multiple cities, each being controlled by a different player. These regions can be tuned to either private play, solo play, or open play.

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