Monday, 11 March 2013

SimCity: An Update & Review


In EA's efforts to continue improving server stability for SimCity, following it's launch last week, they've given a straight-forward and honest response. In addition to that, everyone who has an activated copy of SimCity in their Origin account by March 18th will receive a free game. Check out the link for more information.
While there have been a lot of people upset over SimCity, and unable to play, conversely I've not really had much trouble! (I know, I know, "someone who works for a shop didn't have issues." Sounds like propaganda, but it's not)  Friday was certainly bad and logging on was difficult, and trying to get people into a group region was impossible, but over Saturday and Sunday I was able to play to my heart's content. I don't know if that's because of work that the EA team carried out, or that Europe just hasn't been as affected as other areas.
Once we were able to get a few of us in the same region though it's been great fun, seeing how the cities interact with one another. I'm trying out a new approach in a new city, which is to have a huge circular avenue coming off from the highway, which then branches off into different sectors of the town. Commercial zoned around the big roundabout, and then Industry and Residential on opposite ends of the map. Aside from the main branches getting a little clogged up in rush hour it seems to be working fairly well, and I think the investment into mass transit (at the expense of health services, and overall city upgrades) has really helped that. I've been trying to trade off the bonds for quick cash injections too, to play catch-up on health and education services. You can take out bonds, at the first level, of $25,000. You gradually pay them back, with a little extra, but if you only have a few thousand left to pay, pay it off, and take out another one for another burst of $25k. While this might not be the healthiest way to play, it's certainly working to help me improve core services. Of course, I won't really know if it's worked until the town grows to over 50,000 population. It probably won't. I'll just make more roads until it becomes evermore clogged and confusing. Like a real city!
The first town I'd made is somewhere around 130k population. There's people who have gotten a lot higher certainly (Saw it somewhere on /r/SimCity), but I've always favoured a slow and steady approach. And with each increase in the population I've seen certain roads getting more and more gridlocked, to the point where the police can hardly get out of the police station. It's steady at the moment, but I can just picture it going so horribly wrong very soon, because of poor planning with mass transit and avenues. It's that challenge for perfection that keeps me glued to the screen.

I'll be able to leave that city for another day though, because the excitement has been building over the weekend around the GMG office, and we'll be getting a big group region set up soon! There could be 8 or 9 of us in it, will it be a perfect utopia, or a fiery ball of chaos? Only time will tell.

-James

GMG Trivia: In a small region one of my neighbours keeps sending criminals to my town. That'd be fine if they didn't murder people when they got here.