January 2002 News Archive

Friday, January 25, 2002

[SimGolf] Source: SimGolf.EA.com
SimGolf Ships!
by Kevin Stange @ 1:06 AM EST
According to a press release posted at SimGolf.EA.com, Sid Meier's SimGolf, the joint project between Maxis and Firaxis that puts you up to the task of building and maintaining the golf course of your dreams, has been released. The game began shipping on January 23rd and should appear in stores near you very soon.

The listed requirements for the game include Windows® 95 or higher, a 300 MHz processor or faster, an 8 MB video card with a DirectX 8.0 compatible driver, and a DirectX 8.0 compatible sound card. The game's suggested retail price is $39.99. You can order the game to be shipped to your door through the SimPage.net store, or pick up a copy at your local software retailer.

SimPage.net is working to bring you our SimGolf section within the next week. I haven't gotten the chance yet, but I'm eager to pick up a copy of the game as soon as I've got some cash and I settle all my other debts.

Monday, January 21, 2002

[SimGolf] Source: EBGames.com
EBGames.com's SimGolf Interview
by Tim Gowa @ 5:16 PM EST
I just picked this tasty little tidbit up from EbGames.com while I was searching for a new game pre-order. Michael Prell, an in-house editor for EBGames.com interview Sid Meier about his highly-ancipated new game, SimGolf. This is an excellent interview for both people who don't know about SimGolf, and those who know almost everything - it asks all the right questions.

Without further ado, a large snippet:

What was the nature of your collaboration with Will Wright?

I've always been a big fan of Will's games and have spent countless hours playing SimCity and The Sims. Of course, being a game designer, I soon came to the conclusion that I'd like to write a game like this -- to borrow some of the ideas that Will has pioneered and combine them with my own. Once we at Firaxis began design on SimGolf we presented it to Will and Maxis. While all the coding and design was completed at Firaxis, Maxis has been very supportive and has given us some great design feedback. The game has been a lot of fun to work on and I think once you play SimGolf you'll find it's a totally unique experience.

Is this game for golfers or for fans of The Sims and SimCity?

SimGolf has something for everyone: golf course design, building, managing, playing the course and a lot of fun player and story customization. I think this game will appeal to fans of Sims games and gamers that have played and enjoyed some of my other titles like Railroad Tycoon and Civilization. You don't have to be an avid golfer or a fan of golf simulations to enjoy this game but I think if you do play those games you'll find that it can test your knowledge of golf and course design as well. There really is something for everyone here.

You can view the entire interview by clicking here.

Saturday, January 19, 2002

[SimGolf] Source: Penny-Arcade
Penny-Arcade hooked on SimGolf
by Tim Gowa @ 1:05 AM EST
Penny-Arcade's new comic today is related to SimGolf, specfically Gabe's addiction to the SimGolf demo. (The Further Adventures Of) Considering it's usually once in a blue moon Penny-Arcade will write something specfic related to The Sims, SimGolf or SimCity, I wrote a news article about it! (The last time I can remember they did a comic regarding Maxis was about SimsVille.. A Crying Shame... correct me if I'm wrong..).
[TheSims] Source: Bil's blueprint
blueprint Update
by Tim Gowa @ 12:56 AM EST
Bil made his normal quickie Friday post today, but he mentioned that this weekend will see updates to exisiting programs, but possibily a new version of FarExplorar (FarEdit). Still too early to tell if we will get a new version this weekend, but check the site once or twice during the weekend and I'm sure you'll figure it out :P
[MaxisEA] Source: SimGaming.net
NPD Sales Rankings for December 23-29th
by Tim Gowa @ 12:52 AM EST
I don't see Nick Steffel posting these yet, so here they are, NPD Intelect's stats for the week of December 23th to the 29th.

The Sims: Hot Date is in 1st place, with The Sims still doing wildly popular (3rd place), and The Sims: House Party and The Sims: Livin Large clocking in at 6th and 7th, respectively. As noted by Alex McKenzie (at SimGaming.net), RollerCoaster Tycoon is still on this list, even though it's still quite an old game.

1. The Sims: Hot Date Expansion Pack
2. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone
3. The Sims
4. MP Roller Coaster Tycoon
5. Return To Castle Wolfenstein
6. The Sims: House Party Expansion Pack
7. The Sims: Livin Large Expansion Pack
8. MS Zoo Tycoon
9. Empire Earth
10. MP Civilization 3
[EAGames] Source: GameSpot
More Game, Less Box
by Tim Gowa @ 12:42 AM EST
Electronic Arts (EA) announced that in the future it will start manufacturing games to meet the new packaging standards developed by the Interactive Digital Software Association in June (of 2000). The game box, will look similar in size to DVD packages, and some console game packages, is 5.25 inches wide, 7.5 inches high, and 1 inch deep. The new packaging standards will help retailers put more games on a shelf, showoff more box art, save environmental materials, and save manufacturing money.

EA's first new game in this manufactured format will be Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, an upcoming first-person World War II shooter. SimGolf will shortly be shipped in these boxes, as will The Sims: Vacation.

Personally, I love these boxes, now that I have a next-gen console. Before I never appreciated them, but now that I use the GameCube discs reguarly, I consquently use the boxes a lot more. I've also started buying PC Games in DVD-style cases, and it makes keeping the CD clean (and keeping track of it) much easier. Thumbs up from me :)!
[SimGolf] Source: SimGaming.net
SimGolf Fan Site Pack
by Tim Gowa @ 12:33 AM EST
The official SimGolf website (simgolf.ea.com) are giving away a *free* fansite pack to encourage webmasters to start websites devoted to SimGolf. This fansite pack includes a number of graphics and screenshots, and would help any budding SimGolf webmaster start their site. For anyone who'd like to pick this pack up, it's avaliable at the SimGolf site.

EDIT: The chat with Firaxis employee, Dan Magaha (Firaxis Associate Producer/Web Wizard) at "The SuperCRAZYSim" site was postponed. It may take place on Thursday of next week, most likely at an earlier time then the originally scheduled chat (which would have started at 8pm est).
[TheSims] Source: The SimForce
2001 IGN Annual PC Game of the Year (GOTY)
by Tim Gowa @ 12:16 AM EST
PC.ign.com posted it's annual awards, and this year there were a few suprises, both by editors and the readers. The awards were broken up into 13 different categories, with 9 rating game genres, 3 rating technical aspects, and 1 as a "misc" category.

The Sims: Hot Date was chosen by the editors as a runner-up in the 'Best Expansion Pack'. However, it lost to Baulder's Gate 2: Throne of Baal. Yet, The Sims: Hot Date wasn't even a runner-up in the Reader Choice Awards.. very intresting.. :)

To hitup the actual 'Best Expansion Pack' page, click here, while anyone who wants to read all the awards can click here.

Friday, January 18, 2002

[(default)] Source: The Well Dressed Sim
New objects at The Well Dressed Sim!
by Tim Gowa @ 11:59 PM EST
The Well Dressed Sim posted a big batch of new objects for The Sims. There were a total of 23 'new' objects, with 14 different objects actually being new, and 9 being remakes of classic objects (not that vintage is bad or anything..).

"Granny's Living Room" by artist Robyn is almost enterily remade, while two new sets have been added. The first set is a ocean motif, that has a nice accent of colors, and the second set is odds and ends for the bathroom.

If you'd like to download any object furnishings (from WDS), please click here.
[(default)] Source: the SimForce
Object Dreamcast @ 7DS
by Tim Gowa @ 11:49 PM EST
7 Deadly Sims has yet again made another wonderul object for The Sims. This time they have created the latest, (and unfortunately last) Sega console, the Dreamcast for The Sims. Playstation 2, Xbox, and GameCube are on their way from 7 Deadly Sims, and then your sims may wage their own console wars on your free time! :)

The Dreamcast comes complete with a huge monitor, chair, controller, and of course the Dreamcast, and is a steal at $3300. It increase your fun rating by four, and can be used as a group activity.

You can download the Dreamcast by clicking 'Greed' in 7DS, or download it directly by clicking here.
[(default)] Source: The Sims Resource
Members-Only Access at TSR
by Tim Gowa @ 11:42 PM EST
The Sims Resource has gone the way of many "The Sims" based fan-sites, but to a much lesser degree. Visitors were forewarned about this change nearly 6 days ago, and the changes have now been implemented.

Members can expect a much cleaner and improved version of the site, not to mention the members area of the site is much faster. Plus no more pop-ups! I can't summarize it as well as the main page, so here's what I yanked as some features:

- A whole new site design. Faster loading, easy to navigate and cool on the eye!
- No more ad banners or pop-up advertising to slow you down.
- New, powerful sorting and searching additions to the download databases.
- Dedicated servers for the member areas to ensure reliable and stable browsing.
- Shopping baskets to add files as you browse and download in 1 file with ease.
- A new 'Sets' database, bringing together objects, walls and floors for easy downloading.
- Articles, strategy guides and other content from the Newsletter CD's.

The pricing plan is also excellent, considering the plethora of features that you get:

12 Months - USD 31.80 (USD 2.65 per month)
6 months - USD 17.70 (USD 2.95 per month)
2 months - USD 6.95 (USD 3.47 per month)

Alternatively, you can get a free (yes, I did say free) month of members access for buying the 'critically-acclaimed' TSR 3 CD Collection. Or for anyone who has bought or buys the web-based version of Issue 4 will recieve a free month of members-only access.

Most of the new features are already ready to go, but several are still in development. The excellent MGON development team is programming all of these features, and they're going to be powerful, fast, and very efficent. Very good news for all those object addicts out there!

You can sign up for members-only access at The Sims Resource by clicking here.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

[TheSims] Source: TheSims.ea.com
TV Guide.com reviews Hot Date
by Rand Huck @ 5:53 PM EST
In this article by TVGuide.com, they talk about what the expansion pack "The Sims: Hot Date" is all about. (Scroll down below the iMac article to reach The Sims one)

Here is a brief paragraph in the article:

But there's more to Hot Date than just romance. With newly enhanced environments and design elements, users can either explore the elaborate downtown that's provided with the game or choose to create their own — complete with restaurants, shopping centers and parks.
[MaxisEA] Source: TheSims.ea.com
Maxis wants to know where you want your Sims to vacation to
by Rand Huck @ 5:44 PM EST
Maxis is inviting all registered members of TheSims.ea.com to participate in their BBS to discuss what destinations sims should go to in their upcoming expansion pack, "The Sims: Vacation". If you have an idea, feel free to submit suggestions to their BBS!

Monday, January 14, 2002

[TheSimsOnline] Source: Multiple Sources
More TSO Shots!
by Tim Gowa @ 9:20 PM EST
Thanks to Alex McKenzie (of former Sim Games Network fame) who notified me of this first. GameSpot AU has (apparently) had several new screenshots of TSO for many days, and also had the two 'new' screenshots that The Sims Resource just posted (although, TSR's two screenshots are bigger and at a bigger definition). You can hitup GameSpot AU's screenshots by clicking here.

EDIT: Via my inbox SimsZone.de reached me earlier this morning confirming Alex's story. They've posted they're page of screenshots which can be viewed by clicking here.

Sunday, January 13, 2002

[TheSimsOnline] Source: The Sims Resource
The Sims Online: New Screenshots!
by Tim Gowa @ 11:50 PM EST
TSR has come across several exclusive The Sims Online screenshots. The first screenshot shows skills being used (among a multi-tiled door I believe - something I've personally wanted for a while). The second screenshot shows the friendship circle, among several other friends.

Both screenshots can be checked out by clicking here.
[TheSims] Source: Gamespot
Gamespotting, Sims Style
by Tim Gowa @ 11:36 PM EST
GameSpot's "Gamespotting" editorial hit it's website this week, and among the editorials is one about The Sims and it's expansion pack fever. Trey Walker has a very informative editorial (entitled "The Sims: Moon Colony 7") about the current state of The Sims and it's expansion packs. The editorial itself does a very good job summing up the information that much of the hardcore audience has been expressing for some time.

Here's a tidbit to wet your appetite:

"There is no real parallel to The Sims in terms of gameplay, but in terms of popularity, one can look to other successful games like Diablo II or Age of Empires II to see how other publishers have leveraged the popularity of their games. Both games sold extremely well, and both spawned successful expansion packs. But can you imagine either game getting three more expansions?

You can't blame EA--new Sims expansions are money in the bank. Each new expansion boosts sales of the original game, which in turn builds the potential market for new expansions. At this point, it seems like the game can't possibly keep selling so well, since everyone who plays PC games must already have it. And yet there it is, week after week, placing in the top five best-selling games. Could people who don't play games be buying it? If so, what do they use it for?"

As always, you can read the entire article by clicking here.
[MaxisEA] Source: BluesNews
Simulation Stimulation
by Tim Gowa @ 3:30 PM EST
Here's a quicky news article.. Online Learning Magazine has done an article regarding simulation with a number of industry leaders (Jane Boston, Warren Spector, and of course, Will Wright).

Here's a snippet:

What makes a simulation work?

Wright: The more creative the player can be, the more they like the simulation. There is nothing more satisfying than solving a problem in a unique way. Another aspect is being able to describe yourself to the game - either directly or through your actions - and watch the game build around you.

Finally, you need a metaphor. People bought SimCity thinking it was like a train set. But they came to realize the game was, in fact, more like gardening. Things would sprout up, and they would have to weed. Players had to update their mental models to be successful.

You can read the rest of the article by clicking here. Thanks to Blues for the creative headline, too :)

Thursday, January 10, 2002

[TheSims] Source: TheSims.com
The Sims: Vacation - It's Official
by Kevin Stange @ 9:20 AM EST
Maxis has released an official press release confirming all rumors and announcing The Sims: Vacation Expansion Pack for release this spring.

The new expansion will allow Sims to escape to one of several locations for a much-needed vacation. Beach volleyball and snowboarding will be among the new activities in which they can participate. They'll even be able to pick up a number of souvenirs while they're there.

To read the full release, check here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

[SimGolf] Source: Gone Gold
Golf Gone Gold
by Kevin Stange @ 10:55 PM EST
Gone Gold is reporting that Sid Meier's SimGolf, has reached the "gold" stage of development. A game that has gone gold is completed and ready to be released. This means that SimGolf will appear on store shelves soon. In fact it is scheduled for release worldwide during the week of January 21st.

To beat the rush, you can preorder the game now through the SimPage.net Store (by way of Amazon.com) for $39.99. Click here to order now!
[MaxisEA] Source: Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences
Will Wright
by Nick Steffel @ 10:57 AM EST
The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has announced that Will Wright will be inducted into its hall of fame at their fifth annual ceremony, running from February 28th to March 1st in Las Vegas, Nevada. He'll join the ranks of Sid Meier (Civilization/Alpha Centauri series), Shigeru Miyamoto (of Nintendo fame), Hironobu Sakaguchi (Square USA) and John Carmack (id Software). Academy president Paul Provenzano said the following of Wright:

"Will Wright is a visionary in the truest sense of the word, and the natural choice for this year's award. In creating gaming experiences that are constructive, socially responsible, truly original, and totally entertaining, the wide appeal of Wright's games have introduced people of all ages to the interactive art form, redefining the popular perception of the audience for games."

Great press and good news for Maxis fans of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the event is closed to the public and costs $950 for qualified non-academy members. I should ask Will to smuggle me in, he might actually do it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

[TheSims] Source: Aspyr Media
 Hot Date  Heading to the Mac
by Nick Steffel @ 11:30 AM EST
Aspyr Media has begun the process of porting The Sims: Hot Date to the Mac OS X platform. Aspyr is the same company responsible for porting the original The Sims, as well as Livin' Large and House Party, to the Macintosh platform with good success. A release date is an anticipated for the latter-half of this year.

Sunday, January 6, 2002

[TheSims] Source: Gamespot
Fourth Sims Expansion Confirmed
by Nick Steffel @ 3:41 AM EST
Gamespot has brought formal news of a fourth expansion for The Sims. In a news piece that can be viewed here, Gamespot reports that Maxis has confirmed work on a fourth expansion pack for the popular game, and has gone on to gather details on it from "other sources." A quote describing The Sims: Vacation follows:

"The new expansion, The Sims: Vacation, will let players take their sims to a number of different locations, including a beach, a mountain setting, and a wilderness camping area. While they're on vacation, sims will be able to play beach volleyball, go snowboarding, fishing, and hunting. In addition to the new activities, The Sims: Vacation will include a wide variety of new objects, such as a snowman, a sandcastle, and a carousel, along with a number of souvenir items. "

A formal announcement regarding this new expansion pack is prognosticated for sometime next week. In the best guess of this newsman, an announcement regarding the new expansion would be well played on the January 10th "reopening" of thesims.com after a three-week holiday break.