Posted on 9th July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment
Hey everyone! I’m Chris Schmidt and I’m a Balance Designer on SimCity. You may have read last week that with Update 6 we will soon be making some changes to how RCI works. Our general goal with this update is to not only give more importance to Industrial zoning, but also make Industrial cities play a more important role in region play. In addition to this, we’re also creating more interdependence between the zoning categories.
First and foremost, we’re adding a profit dependence on freight deliveries to Commercial buildings. Commercial buildings have always received freight shipments, but now that need is greater. With Update 6, Industrial deliveries are crucial to keeping your Commercial buildings happy. Having no Industrial zones will decrease the happiness of Commercial buildings. If they wait too long for deliveries, they may go abandoned.
We’re choosing this approach primarily for the flexibility it provides players in their strategy for building up cities, even those previously built. Residential/Commercial only cities are still possible, but now they will require some strategic reworking, as players will have to either find freight from their neighbors or rely on low taxes to compensate for the lack of local industry. Don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of time to ensure that your existing cities can function properly with this new update, as the effects are not immediate.
In addition to this change, we are making some refinements to how your RCI bars behave and how underlying manufacturing and consumption work. The “I” and “C” bars will be more responsive. We’ve modified freight production to match more closely with Commercial needs, modified freight deliveries to go to Commercial buildings first, and removed freight consumption from buildings like power plants to make the demand bars clearer.
Along with this, power plants and buildings containing freight modules (trade depot, municipal airport, etc.) no longer increase your freight demand, so the demand bars will now be more accurate.
Those of you loading up old saves will notice that cities lacking in Industrial, either locally or from neighbors, will slowly see their Commercial districts become unhappy and eventually abandon from a lack of freight. This won’t happen right away, but it will mean that either you or your neighbor will eventually have to get their hands dirty manufacturing the freight that these cities need to keep going. It’s still possible to build a city with mostly Residential/Commercial if you lower your taxes and/or supply your freight from neighboring cities.
What this all means is that the game has just become a little more challenging, Industrial cities are much more important in region play, and the RCI bars will provide you with clearer direction on what zones you need. We’ll be releasing Update 6 in the coming weeks, so I’m looking forward to hearing what you think. These changes are currently on our Dev Test server and we are currently collecting feedback from our testers. In the meantime, however, you can leave your own feedback in our forums.
Clean and green! That’s the way to make a Mother Nature-approved city. So when we asked our Community of Mayors to show their true colors, we received some eco-friendly entries for our Build the Best Green City contest. The top cities were selected and showcased on our official SimCity Facebook fan page for everyone to vote on their favorites.
And the award for the best Green City goes to… Mayor cocacola95950.
Congrats, cocacola95950 – your city is making us green with envy.
Want to be showcased in our next Build the Best blog? All you have to do is enter our next Build the Best contest. Next challenge: Build the Best Green City. To submit your cities, either e-mail them to SimCityCommunity@ea.com with the subject line “Build the Best: Trade City” or tweet your pictures to @SimCity with the hashtag #SimCityBTB.
Show us your trade-happy cities, Mayors!
Hello Maxoids – Balance Designer Ross Treyz here with another blog. Today, we’re going to go over how the Global Market works, how we came up with the different prices for the goods, and what that means for people playing with them.
Markets, how do they even work?
The first thing to know about the Global Market is that each good has its own minimum and maximum price. Every hour a new price somewhere between the minimum and maximum is calculated for each good based on the number of times that good was bought and sold in the previous hour. Each SimCity server calculates a price for each good, so some goods may be expensive on one server while being inexpensive on another server. To check how the prices are doing on your server, visit the Global Market graph by clicking the Global Market tab from the SimCity World button on the main menu.
Now let’s go into more detail. Here is a chart that explains how the market prices are calculated:
As you can see, each good has a “Min Multiplier” and a “Max Multiplier” which is used in conjunction with “Demand” and a “Base Price” in order to determine the “Current Price.”
We will use Coal as the good for these examples. Coal has a Base Price of 6,000 Simoleons. The Max Multiplier for Coal is 2 and a Min Multiplier of 0.5.
Here’s some examples:
Example #1: More buys than sells
In this example, we are going to say that in the past hour, people bought 75 loads of Coal from the Global Market on this server. However people only sold 25 loads of Coal to the Global Market.
So demand is (75 – 25)/100 = 0.5. So current price is 6,000((2 – 1)0.5 + 1) = 9,000 Simoleons.
Example #2: More sells than buys
In this example, we are going to say that in the past hour, people bought 95 loads of Coal from the Global Market on this server. However on this server people have sold 115 loads of Coal to the Global Market.
So demand is (95 – 115)/210 = -0.09 rounded. So current price is 6,000((1 – 0.5)-0.09 + 1) = 5,714 Simoleons rounded.
So we know that Demand comes from people buying and selling. We know that Current Price comes from Demand interacting with Min Multiplier, Max Multiplier, and Base Price. So let’s talk about where the Base Price, Min Multiplier, and Max Multiplier come from.
The Base Price for each good is based on how much it costs to produce that good from scratch. We added up how much it costs to run the mining/drilling operations, smelters/refineries, and the trucks that you must add and then multiply that number by a profit margin that we would like the good to have. We’re not done there though – after we figure out the Min and Max multipliers we have to revisit the base price in order to make sure that the Base Price is in line with the fluctuating profitability.
Min and Max Multipliers
When coming up with the Min and Max Multipliers we have to do a tricky balancing act. We have to take into consideration the difference between profit and profit percentage. The profit from any sale is the amount of money that you make from the sale minus the amount that it costs you to acquire whatever you sold. The profit percentage for any sale is the profit from the sale as a percentage of the cost to acquire the goods sold.
The higher the good is on the crafting chain, the higher the profit will be from selling it. That means that you will always make more money from selling fuel than you will from selling crude oil. However, that statement is a bit misleading. Notice that I wrote profit and not profit percent?
Here is where the difference between making goods from scratch (mining then refining and so on) and buying supplies (buying oil and making fuel with it) really comes into play. The further up the crafting chain you go, the lower your profit percent will be when you are buying supplies. In other words, you will always be making more money with the higher end goods, but you will be making less Simoleons per Simoleon invested if you buy your materials instead of making them.
In conclusion, here are a few tips for the Global Market:
Cities that specialize in one Global Market good either by extracting it from the ground and then selling it or by buying supplies crafting them and then selling a good are very susceptible to fluctuations in the global market. However, these cities have the potential to make a lot of money by volume of sales, selling high end goods, or both.
Cities that build goods from scratch by extraction, refining, and so on all the way up the chain have a double advantage. For one, the more they keep the supply chain inside their city, the higher their final profit percentage will be. Also, if the Global Market price on their goods fluctuates, they have the advantage of being able to sell any good that they are producing and stopping production of the goods that do not offer good profits at that time.
How have you used the Global Market? Share your successes (or failures) with us on our forums.
Take your Sims to new heights with the SimCity Airships Set. Want more tourists/commuters in your city, but also want to cut down on transit traffic? Airships are your solution – this new form of transportation will lift up Sims and transport them between neighboring cities in your region, alleviating your roadways so you can focus on making more money.
In addition to Airships, the set also comes with two new balloon parks that will launch ten new eye-pleasing balloons across your city as well as makes your Sims happy.
To purchase the Airships Set, just visit Origin and then restart your game in order for it to appear.
If you have additional questions, check out our FAQ below.
Q: What is included in the Airships Set?
A: The Airships Set comes with two Airships, a Commuter Airship that transports workers, and a Tourist Airship that brings in tourists. The set also comes with two balloon parks (with ten unique balloons), and an Event Blimp that covers big outings at your SimCity stadium.
Q: How do I get the Airships Set?
There are three ways to obtain the Airships Set:
• SimCity Launcher: Players can click the advertisement and it will take them to the SimCity Origin DLC page.
• SimCity In-Game Billboard: Players can click the billboard on the Menu screen and it will take them to the SimCity Origin DLC page using the in-game online browser.
• Origin Online Store Page: Players will search for SimCity and then select the Airships Set from the drop down menu.
Once redeemed, you will need to restart the game in order for the Airships Set to appear.
Q: Is there additional gameplay added?
A: Airships will bring tourists/commuters to your city. The base Tourist Airship delivers tourists with more capacity than the base Municipal Bus, Passenger Train Station or Municipal Airport, but less than the Cruise Ship Dock. The module for the Commuter Airship has the same capacity as the Tourist Airship.
Placing a Commuter Airship Mooring in two neighboring cities creates an airship network between them. If you have the Airships set then every city in your region will eventually get a visit from the Event Blimp. Neighbors will notice your balloons passing through their city occasionally and any other Mayors with Airships set will be able to set up a commuting network with you.
Q: Once I download it, where do I find it?
A: You can find the Airships Set in the Planes submenu under the Mass Transit menu.
Q: Is the Airships Set available worldwide?
Q: How much does it cost?
A: The Airships Set costs $8.99
Hello fellow mayors! My name is Kyle Brown and I am a Level Designer responsible for building the recently released map Edgewater Bay, as well as half of the regions that shipped with the game. I’ll be sharing with you a detailed look at how we build regions in the new SimCity.
Edgewater Bay is a special map because it’s our first free region that was released with Update 4.0 last month. When I started it, I was given a simple directive to help influence the design. In this case, the directive was “bayside.” Before I start building anything, I make a couple of really quick mock-ups and show these to the other members of the region team. Often the mock-up overhead map barely resembles the final product.
This mockup was scrapped due to the fact that it had too much real world resemblance to the Bay Area, and we wanted to create something a little more dynamic.
This one more closely resemblance to the final Edgewater Bay map. We went with this one because the Great Work would feature prominently in the center so it would be visible from all the cities. From all the community feedback we’ve received, this was a wise decision. We’ve also noticed you like how all seven cities are connected in Edgewater Bay. This type of feedback helps us determine what to create in future regions.
The mock-ups shown here are very fast and very disposable. The mock-ups will prevent us from wasting time building maps that don’t fit the vision we’re striving to achieve. For Edgewater Bay, the bay was the defining directive, so it was going to feature prominently in the mock-up. Once the team picks a mock-up that they like, the fun of building the region begins.
First, I generate the terrain of the region by painting a height map in Photoshop that looks like this.
Using a height map generation program, I run the image above through a serious of filters that create erosion to make the terrain look more real.
At this point, I edit the map by hand in Photoshop to change the size of features and make the terrain flatter in places where I intend to place the cities plots.
The final product is fairly different from the original concept, but there is still a resemblance. This simple 512×512 black and white image is what creates the geometry for the entire level. In the end, it looks like this.
Now is the time that I place markers that become the city plots that you Mayors get to play in. From here, I make more edits to the Photoshop file to make the areas in the city plots more fun and playable. This is the most important part. The stuff outside of the city box is all just a pretty frame at the edge of the canvas. The shape of the terrain in the city plot will influence the shape of the city created. Influence, but not dictate.
I am a Level Designer by trade who traditionally worked on very linear games in the past. Building a region and the city plots in a region is designing for nonlinear gameplay. Many of the bread-and-butter tactics of level design don’t work for nonlinear gameplay. For example, we have to give players carrots instead of objectives. In a game like SimCity, players are 100% free to ignore some or all of the carrots offered. If we tilt a box in favor of mining by putting ore in it, a player is still free to not plop mines and instead build a gambling city. The region team mantra was that we were building canvases that people would paint their cities on.
If you’ve built in Edgewater Bay, you may have seen this giant rock in the city Mason Hill. Why is it there? Well, quite simply because I put it there to create a challenge. When I go through and make the boxes playable, part of doing that is flattening out boxes to make them easier to play and the other part is adding obstacles to make them more difficult. If every box was the same flat space the game would be boring. Why would you need a level designer to make perfectly flat spaces? I am here to add fun and challenge to the game. Challenge and fun sometimes have an antithetical relationship. However, the payoff is when the challenge is overcome and not always during the process of overcoming it. One of the things that I smile the most about is when I see all of the screenshots of the interesting cities in the more difficult city plots. The obstacle that we presented to those players with was a carrot that forced them to think creatively about how they were going to build their city.
Here’s an example a community member overcoming the obstacle by making a city work around the rock. Nice job! Think you can do better? Head over to our forums to share your best layout for Mason Hill.
I hope this blog gives a little insight on how we build regions.
Wow! Can you believe The Sims 3 Island Paradise launch day is finally here!? What an adventure this project has been! In fact, it’s been exactly one year since the very first meeting we had to figure out the theme for the 10th expansion pack for The Sims 3 . And, despite it being the 10th in a long line of great The Sims 3titles, I’ve never been more excited for the launch of any game I’ve ever worked on! The Sims 3 Island Paradise is a huge expansion pack that adds major features for everyone – regardless of how you play The Sims . From houseboats and resorts, to uncharted islands and scuba diving, I can’t think of any other TS3 expansion that added so many new major systems and ways to play. But you guys already know all about what’s in the pack! So instead of using this blog to recap all of the great things in The Sims 3 Island Paradise, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks so that you can dive into your very own paradise as soon as you get your hands on it.
• The easiest way to get into resort management is to “buy” Hobart’s Hideaway. This once, beautiful resort has fallen into disrepair and needs a lot of work, but it’s a great way to kick start your resort empire without too much financial commitment! Due to the state of the resort, it’s going for the low, low price of §0.00! It will get you into resort management much quicker than building one from scratch.
• There’s a multitude of different ways to discover uncharted islands. Some can be discovered by simply exploring the area around them via boat, and others will take a little bit more investigation. Try talking to some of the local Isla Paradiso residents, as they have inside knowledge of the surrounding islands and may send you on a quest for discovery!
• Scuba diving opens up a whole new underwater realm for your Sims to explore. But it can be dangerous! Make sure to acquire the Scuba diving skill by snorkeling first before you try heading out into the deep waters.
• Keeping guests at your resort happy is a tricky thing to do! Amenities and fun objects found in the Resort Objects Tab in Build & Buy Modes are key to making sure your resort guests have a great time. Happy guests can mean a successful resort!
• When it comes to houseboat living, the ocean is your backyard! Move between ports whenever you’d like, or leave the landlubber life behind completely and make home sweet home in the middle of the ocean.
• Scuba diving Sims may encounter a mysterious mermaid from time to time beneath the waves. Becoming friends with one is key to revealing the secret behind transforming your Sim into one of them!
• When it comes to building houseboats, there are many hull sizes and shapes to start with. If you’re building a smaller houseboat, ladders and the All-in-One Bathroom are crucial for maintaining a functional household in a cramped space.
• AQUA SLED!!!!! Different boats travel at different speeds. So if you’re looking to get somewhere quick, save up and purchase an Aqua Sled or Speedboat for your Sims. Both will get you where you need to go (which can be a very long way in Isla Paradiso).
And there you have it – some hot tips to get you up and Simming on the sunny shores of Isla Paradiso. As always, and even more so with this expansion pack, I can’t wait to hear about all the fun you’ll have with The Sims 3 Island Paradise - I’m always amazed to see the content and stories that we didn’t even think were possible being told and created by you. Until next time Simmers, Shaka Brah!