Webmaster's Note

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Poll News Updates  

A lot editor! Maxis has released the first in a hopefully long line of game customization tools for SimCity 4. This is an excellent way to get people to start customizing their games without actually letting them edit the graphics or functions of the individual buildings. Also, the lot editor gives us an interesting look at how the game actually deals with a building. Unlike SimCity 3000, we can see how much more dynamic the SimCity 4 lot is and how many pieces need to fit together to make it look realistic.

Since the game appears to treat just about all the parts of the lot as props, the logical next step to allow for full building editing would be a prop editor tool. I would like to see Maxis come up with something that can actually edit the buildings directly, rather than rely on importation of data from professional tools, and I know that's no easy task. Useability is a major factor if the tool is to be worth the effort. I believe Maxis can do this without oversimplifying the design process as they did with BAT, but I still doubt you'll end up with final results that look nearly as nice as the buildings in the game. Either way, this lot editor is a great start, and like always, people will extend it beyond Maxis' imagination and produce amazing things.

In a related note, I am resuming work on that tool I promised to allow users to submit regions, cities, and lots. If all goes well enough, I will have a useable version to go live with before the end of the month.

Also noteworth, I've changed the poll. I'd like to hear what you think about the Rush Hour expansion pack now that we're getting a pretty good picture of what it will include.

News Headlines

Saturday, July 12, 2003

[SimCity4] Source: SimCity.com
Lot Exchange Opens at SimCity.com
by Kevin Stange @ 12:02 AM EDT
The official SimCity 4 Lot Exchange (to go along with the newly released Lot Editor tool) opened yesterday at SimCity.com. Players can now teleport their own custom lots or download any of over 200 that have already been uploaded. Looks like an interesting collection so far!

As is unfortunately typical of the SimCity 4 web site, you can neither upload nor download lots unless you are using Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

[RushHour] Source: IGNpc
IGNpc Publishes Exclusive 'Rush Hour' Content
by Tim Gowa @ 9:28 PM EDT
IGNPC's uploaded several new exclusive screenshots and movies featuring Maxis's upcoming expansion pack SimCity 4: Rush Hour. There are eight succulent high-resoultion screenshots, and two quick movies, 4 and 3 megabytes, respectively. IGNPC's also promising several new "goodies" over the next several days.

"We have all kinds of Rush Hour goodies coming up over the next few days, including an interview with producer Kevin Hogan, a huge preview of the expansion pack and a video of the developers taking us through the entire demo of the game." (IGNpc)

SimCity 4: Rush Hour is due out September 23rd, 2003

Friday, July 4, 2003

[SimCity4] Source: simcity.ea.com
Lot Editor Released
by Rand Huck @ 11:09 PM EDT
Maxis has released the first of, hopefully, many addons that will help customize SimCity 4. The Lot Editor enables you to edit the land that your buildings are built on, with which you may add props, and the general landscape of that lot.

To download the program, click here. An update for the lot editor that enables software driver support is available here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

[SimCity4] Source: SimCityscape
SimCityscape Moderated Region
by Kevin Stange @ 4:37 PM EDT
One of the biggest complaints about Maxis' SimCityscape idea that I heard was that players would annoyingly upload any city they chose to, ignoring the actual landscape of the region, and making the region into a massive mess of nonsense.

In reponse to these concerns, Maxis started a moderated region called Kitty Creek recently. The rules of the region are simply that players get five days to build on the terrain without modifying the landscape.

So far it is working, and Kitty Creek is the most popular region on the SimCityscape site. If you want to play on it, you're probably going to have to wait a day or two for a city to become available. Not a single other region is actually fully occupied. Hopefully we'll see more moderated regions so more people can join in.

If you'd like to check out the Kitty Creek region, head on over to SimCityscape now.

Note that SimCityscape is viewable in most browsers, but is only playable in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Monday, May 26, 2003

[SimCity4] SimCity 4 in Linux
by Kevin Stange @ 6:09 PM EDT
I have tested and managed to successfully run SimCity 4 in Linux using the following items:
  • Linux with accelerated X video drivers
  • Transgaming WineX 3.0
  • SimCity 4 for Windows
  • SimCity 4 Update 2
  • A No-CD executable
If you can get together these items, you too can run SimCity 4 in Linux. I'll post a tutorial very soon to explain how!

Edit: Here's the article explaining how to do it!

Saturday, May 10, 2003

[Community] Source: Simtropolis.com
SimCity 4 Fans at Simtropolis release mods for SimCity 4
by Rand Huck @ 2:41 PM EDT
The first series of a potentially strong trend has emerged in the last couple of weeks. A group of fans at the Simtropolis forum have teamed up to bring you a mod'ed version of SimCity 4. The mods offer the following tweaks:

- Commute times - Sims go farther to get to work and back in all forms of transportation (including pedestrian commuting); All roads, rail, and subway have increased capacities.

- Clinic and Hospital Capacity - Medical buildings have an increased capacity.

- Disease Center Capacity - The disease center has an increased capacity (without this mod, if your disease center goes above capacity, which often occurs in high populated cities, your health grade falls dramatically)

- Elementary School Capacity - Schools have an increased capacity (3000).

These features are separated by file in a zip file, so if you would like to just use one alteration, you may do so by just installing that one, and leave the rest alone.

These mods are not supported by EA/Maxis, and the creators do not guarantee that they will work on your computer.

But, speaking personally, I have installed the mod, and have found a dramatic change in the way my cities grow. Sims actually do commute between cities now (and sometimes jump 2 cities!).

To download the mod, simply click here.

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