SimCity Cities of Tomorrow

If there were two things crippling what could be a great SimCity it’s the city sizes and the fact you always need to be online. Will either of these change?

The city size restriction are unlikely to change but the always having to be online “feature” may be relaxed in the future according to the latest forum post from Maxis.

The update comes on the back of new guidelines for mod makers, something Maxis has been  investigating since last October, which lay down the rules for anyone wanting to tinker with the game.

The mod rules are quite simple. You can’t mess with the online features, you can’t make money from mods, you can’t infringe copyright. It’s pretty much what you’d expect. Here they are in all their glory…

  1. Mods must not jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay or harm the experience of others. Mods that affect the simulation for multiplayer games and multiplayer features, such as leaderboards or trading with other players, are not allowed.
  2. Mods must not infringe any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or other intellectual property right of any third party and will not include content that is unlawful, tortious, defamatory, obscene, invasive of the privacy of another person, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate. SimCity has an age rating of ESRB Everyone 10+ and PEGI 7, and similar ratings from other ratings boards around the world. EA requires that Mods not include any material that would not be allowed under these ratings.
  3. Mods may not modify any .com, .exe, .dll, .so or other executable files.
  4. The terms and conditions of SimCity EULA and EA’s Terms of Service are specifically incorporated into this policy by this reference. In the event that the terms of this policy are in conflict with the terms of the SimCity EULA or EA’s Terms of Service, the terms of this Policy shall supersede and govern over any such conflicting terms.
  5. To maintain the integrity of SimCity and ensure the best possible gaming experience for our players, EA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke permission to use, distribute or make Mods at any time, to disable any Mod within SimCity and to take disciplinary action against players who harm the experience of others.

Now that those rules have been set in stone it’s highlighted a problem. If you create a mod you would probably want to test it fully in a single player mode before releasing it. Maxis has realised that it might be a good idea to go back and look at a solution to the online only problem. They posted the following statement today.

We want to support our growing Modding community. We are still exploring an Offline Single Player mode that will give our players more room to experiment without sacrificing the integrity and experience of our multiplayer game. In the coming months, we’ll be releasing “How Things Work” blogs to help you understand how we made our game. We’ve opened the Community Generated Content sub-forum here as a place for players to discuss and promote Mods. Finally, we’ve clarified our Modding policy below to make our policies clear.

SimCity players will remember the uproar caused by the online only requirement prior to and shortly after launch and the subsequent statement from Maxis’ Lucy Bradshaw in which she said that it was “fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity.  From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind”.

Player’s were not happy with the response to put it mildly because it was preventing people actually playing. It’s still a sore point as was highlighted in our readers’ poll for worst PC game launch of 2013 where SimCity won by a mile.

The Cities of Tomorrow expansion was an OK addition to the game but it was crippled by the feature restrictions of the core game. Perhaps Maxis are realising they need to win favour with the community by listening to the players and provide the tools and features needed to keep the game fresh for fans.

As a player who has sunk hours into the original and expansion, until more can be tweaked with the game I have no desire to return. City sizes being the game’s biggest problem.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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