The Beat

simcity_news_header_723x250.jpg POSTED BY John Giordano ON 01/16/2013

The City Services of SimCity

Greetings fellow SimCity lovers! My name is John Giordano I am a Gameplay Scripter. My role in the project has been focused on scripting mainly for the Fire, Power, Garbage, and Recycling systems. What I do is write code in the GlassBox Engine scripting language that determines how these systems will interact with the simulation. The work that I do involves a lot of logic. It’s like a giant, crazy game of chess, only we have hundreds of thousands of game pieces and one-hundred times more rules! In any case, I've been knee-deep in building this game with my scripting brethren here at Maxis. Needless to say, we are proud of what is shaping up to be a fantastic simulation game!

I am very proud to be working on this game because I am a huge SimCity fan in my own right (I have all the Maxis manuals from SimCity classic onwards scattered on my desk). I am glad to have worked on many of the building expansion options that you will have for city services. To give you an example, you can open any city service building in the building editor, and start modifying it in a number of interesting ways. For instance, I worked on a fire bell that you can add to the fire station that will halve the amount of time it takes for a fire truck to respond to fire. This is important, because you will find that in order to build a thriving city, you will have to expand services in ways like this. If you’ve got buildings that are at a high-risk for fire, like industrial factories, you may decide to add a Fire Marshal’s office to the Large Fire Station. When you do this, you'll see someone going from door-to-door, inspecting hazardous buildings, and reducing the risk of fire significantly!

The best part about our city services this time around is that everything is a real simulation. In past games, these systems would be statistical models that would add to a radius in which all nearby buildings would get an area-of-effect. In this SimCity, the simulation is that a house really catches on fire and the fire trucks really respond to it. There is no invisible simulation here; it's all raw and right in front of you.

Each city service building has a basic and more advanced type of building that you can put down. For instance, the Police system has the classic Police Station that you start out with that can be expanded with more police cars, but if you're really steering your city towards safety, you will get offered a Police Precinct. This is a huge building with more police coverage and expansion options. My favorite so far is the Detective Wing. This guy will actually go throughout your city to start solving crimes, finding out where suspects live, and calling in back-up to come take them down.

All these options can be shared with other cities in a region. For instance, if my neighboring city builds a Hospital with a Surgical Center, we can share those benefits together. In this case it would allow our injured Sims to heal much faster, making it easier to manage health in both of our cities. If I wanted, I could tell my neighboring city to add a Diagnostic Lab, which would help detect diseases and reduce sickness recovery time.

There's really much more gameplay that you will get out of these expandability options that past SimCity games didn't have. Every service building you build will be a little bit different, with different functionalities. You might make a helicopter-only service town. You may invest in community outreach and prevent problems before they start. There's so much more meat on the bone this time, and we can't wait to get you digging into this delicious SimCity experience as soon as possible!

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