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next-generation city-builders

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Just wanted to know what you people would rather see in a city building game? Should such a game integrate RTS components (Stronghold/The Settlers), focus on individual behaviors and contentments (The Sims''s integration within the upcomming SimCity IV), or focus on/revive a specific time in history (Caesar/Zeus/Pharaon). I''d very much appreciate your feedback. And, would porting the game to 3D bring anything to it? Does the city-builder audience have the right hardware?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
If were talking about building games, games where construction is a significant part of the enjoyment and purpose of the game, rather than combat, as would be in a RTS. Games which fall under this catergory would be :

Simcity series
Roller Coaster Tycoon, all the "Tycoon" games really

Examing each we see a common thread of construction, whether it be a building, rollercoaster, railroad, or ancient city. Also we can note their relative success, and the reasons for it.

By far the Simcity series is the most successful of all the building games. Why is this? I feel it''s a combination of appealing graphics, powerful interface and deep world dynamics. Follow up on that thought and we can see why Roller Coaster Tycoon would be number 2, it too has all those features.

The next generation building game must have the best features of its predecessors, thusly being appealing graphics (doesn''t have ot be 3D), powerful interface (more on that below) and deep world dynamics (see below as well).

Appleaing graphics, has to be pleasing to the eye (that is an overall positive first impression). You know when you have this, when the first thing they say is "wow" It''s not really that difficult, most competent artists can achive this. Though styliticly, building games which have bright and crisp graphics do better.

A powerful interface, bascially building games all suffer from complexity. Building a city, roller coaster or anything non-trivial is going to involve juggling many variables. Creating an interface which present not only the depth of the game but in a friendly and intutive fashion, is critical to the success of a building game. For city building games, SimCity is as simple and intutive as you can proably get it without sacrificing too much depth.

Depth is what keeps the player hooked on these games. The best sims, form a glance seem relatively simple, however underneath lies complex networks of interaction and dynamics. There is alot of litature on simluations, from academic papers too military simulations. But to make a game, you have to create a balanced system, which can provide the approriate feedback and enough interaction to keep a players attention. Not all systems posses this trait.

Themeatically I would like to see a fantasy based SimCity, ala Tokens middle earth type citites. One thing Settlers and Stronghold tells us, combat and building games dont mix very well. Perhaps it can be done, but not by those games. Combat always seem to overwhelem the buidling aspects, dominating the choice of buildings to the warefare centric choices.

Good Luck!


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I''d like to see more of a sense of people in my artificial society. I also got a kick out of the antics of the SimCity folk (the traffic jams and election issues) because it made the world feel more alive. Anything that furthers this is ok by me.

As to the 3D aspect, I don''t see it as necessary. If you can get away without it, and it doesn''t hurt your presentation, I''d say do so. I don''t have hard facts to back this up, but my sense is that the Sim type games are more mainstream, where you find far fewer high end systems (where gaming is an afterthought, rather than the goal of the system as it is for hardcore folks).

Just waiting for the mothership...

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what I''d like to see? the ability to visit other people''s cities as a "citizen" using the net. Morrowind makes this semi-possible, except building the city is more important that actually running it in any simulated sense (which is better imo because its a more introverted experience)

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