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SimCity Blog: SimCity Update 6

Posted on 30th July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Good news, Mayors – today we are releasing our 6th SimCity game update featuring RCI improvements, over 80 building height/color variations, and a new free region map Granite Lake. We’ve released a lot of info about this update over the past few weeks. Missed any of it? Read below to recap all the details.
 

 
RCI Improvements
 
The biggest change you’ll see in Update 6 is the increased importance put on Industrial zoning, while also making the RCI demand bars more accurately reflect the needs of your city. Even though Industrial zoning has been given more importance, it’s still possible to have Residential/Commercial-focused cities. Balance Designer Chris Schmidt explains these details in his blog post covering these changes.
 

 
RCI Height/Color Variations
 
If your cities looks start look a little different after Update 6, there’s a good reason – we’ve added 84 new building height/color variations. To see screens of the all the variations, check out the photo gallery we posted on our official Facebook fan page.
 

 
Granite Lake
 
With Update 6, you’ll now have a brand new region to build in. Granite Lake is our second free map and features a beautiful lake surrounded by an expansive mountain range. If you’re curious how this map was built, give Level Designer Kyle Brown’s blog a read. Also be sure to check out this interactive image of Granite Lake that showcases every city in the region as well as their available resources.
 
This is only a small sampling of all the changes available in Update 6. For the full release notes, visit here. And make sure to give us your feedback on our official forums. Let us know what you think, Mayors!

SimCity Update 6 Notes

Posted on 30th July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Maxis have released update 6 for SimCity, you can download it via the game launcher. Patch notes for this update are below.

New: Granite Lake Region – New 10 city lake region: http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/building-granite-lake
While creating Granite Lake, we had a few key goals:
- Provide a region with a new visual style that is highlighted by vistas from each city.
- Two clusters of five cities that are connected by boats traveling across the lake.
- Create a scenic central lake around which the city sites will be placed. Includes shipping lanes to keep that gameplay option for cities on the shoreline.
- A region with unique and challenging terrain to provide a different experience than the previously released Edgewater Bay.
• New: RCI Tuning – Tuning to make Industrial needed more. Commercial buildings will now lose profit if they don’t receive enough freight from industry. The demand bars will respond more accurately to which zones are needed. This change will impact existing cities: http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/making-i…dustry-matter-rci-improvements
• New: RCI height variations for Density 3 Buildings. This will add more variety to the look of your cities:http://on.fb.me/14fcVSZ
• New: Borderless windowed mode setting.
• Fixes for some issues of the “out of money” problem or unexplained abandonment that some players have experienced.
• Clarity around unfilled jobs and workers to make sure players are messaged that there may be an issue where workers cannot get to unfilled jobs.
• Residential and Commercial buildings are now more consistently in the same wealth in an area of a particular land value. Improves visual consistency.
• Help Wanted, no Shoppers, and No Jobs alerts have been added to the Zoning info panel as alerts.
• Data Layer: Greater map accuracy on the land value map. Residential and Commercial wealth colors added. Abandoned buildings show up red.
• Data Layer: Land Value map shows when placing parks.
• Fixed issue where RCI sometimes builds on roads.
• Fix performance slowdown in cities with more than one million tourists.
• UI Clarity: Show which city hall modules are already placed in the region on the palette UI.
• Garbage UI: fixed issue where garbage UI sometimes showed bins that had already been picked up.

TS3 Blog: Let’s go.. INTO THE FUTURE!!

Posted on 30th July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

We bounce around a ton of ideas around here for expansion packs, but I can think of very few that generated the amount of excitement as the idea for time travel. When I say “time travel,” I’m not just talking about new technology and a new way of life in a futuristic setting—though that’s a big part of it—but also about giving you the ability to travel to the future and back again, with your actions in the present having repercussions in the future. We knew it was going to be a challenge to work out the gameplay mechanics to achieve this, but that was one of the things we were most excited about.
 

 
In The Sims 3 Into the Future your Sims accomplish their time hopping by entering the Time Portal. First we knew we had to make the new future setting compelling. We set out to build a whole new world hundreds of years from now, a world that not only looks different but that is populated with all-new technology, objects and interactions that will change how you play with life in surprising new ways.
 
The game gets even more interesting once you start traveling back and forth between the future and the present. What your Sims do in the present will affect the future—will that future be a grim one or a bright one? Will your Sims have to adapt to a polluted and unstable environment, or will they walk around with aspring in their step through a love-infused wonderland where anyone is liable to break into spontaneous dance at any time? Nothing is ever completely black or white, though: meteorites that rain down in the dystopic future can leave behind gems that are a great source of income, and Sims that have to resort to eating bugs will find they can make a nutritious and tasty dish! Meanwhile, even the happy-go-luckiest of Sims in the future utopia might overdose on all the love and sunshine and end up retching rainbows!
 

 
Whichever future your Sims end up with, they can meet their descendants there, then do something in the present that threatens those descendants’ very existence. If you reduce your present-day household to a single Sim with the loner trait, for example, you might go on your next trip to the future only to find them descendant-less!
 
By now you’re probably wondering exactly what kind of technology your Sims will encounter on their journey to a future paradise or dystopia. I don’t want to give away everything,but here’s a sampling: hoverboard, jetpack, laser beat machine (a crazy new electronic instrument that’s part laser harp, part foot drums!), dreampod, food synthesizer, and air tube elevator! Suffice it to say, the tech will reinvent the way your Sims eat, sleep, travel, socialize, work, and have fun.
 

 
The addition of all this new tech left us free to take full advantage of what the futuristic setting has to offer in terms of opportunities for rich storytelling and exploration. This includes the new Create A Bot feature. From the beginning we knew we wanted to make Plumbots a central part of life in the future, and allow players to go deep in creating and experimenting with them.
 
While the interface will feel familiar and comfortable to anybody who has used Create A Sim, Create A Bot includes some powerful new game play elements that will let you tell all sorts of new stories with a variety of biped and hover bots. You can hone your new bot-building skill in order to create different trait chips and program your bots’ behavior. Your bots can become friends and companions for your Sims and integrate into their lives in interesting ways as you give them not only parts to, say, help out around the home, but emotional traits as well!
 

 
We definitely drew inspiration from the brilliant and imaginative ideas that we saw in our forums and can’t wait for you to get your hands on this upcoming expansion pack. So get ready to send your Sims through the Time Portal and experience life like never before with innovative new features ranging from future technology that will improve your Sims’ way of life to the ability to shape and alter the future through your Sims’ present-day actions. We’re very excited about what the future has in store for you and The Sims 3. Come back soon as we unveil more about this exciting new expansion pack!

SimCity Blog: Building Granite Lake

Posted on 23rd July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Hello fellow mayors, Cartographer and SimCity Level Designer Kyle Brown here back again to talk about map making. Granite Lake is the next free region map we’re releasing with Update 6, and it is a stark departure from our previous regions. Granite Lake is designed to prominently feature both mountains and a beautiful lake.
 
The look and feel of this region is highly inspired by the state of Colorado. And also my own personal experience – about a year ago, I landed in Denver, Colorado and was unexpectedly stranded while waiting for a connecting flight. While there, I took this picture from my hotel room:
 

 
This picture probably doesn’t do justice to what I saw. But in my delirious state with only two-ish hours of sleep, it was one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen. Famous musician and Colorado-lover John Denver wrote all of those songs about this state for a reason I guess.
 
When designing Granite Lake, I looked at the Mountains in Denver for inspiration. They are stacked with a range of lower mountains in front of another range of higher mountains. This was something that I incorporated into the Granite Lake region. The city plots located in the upper cluster are on a lower range and the mountains behind them are higher. The city plots on the other lower end of the lake are a little bit flatter, for those who don’t want any obstructions.
 
When we finished the game, we had done most of the major terrain forms; coastal, river, gorge, island, archipelago, plains, valley, and combined them in various ways. Two major terrain forms are missing from this list: mountains and lakes. Generally, when creating maps, we have removed mountains or lowered their height. Regions start out with more mountains and we pare them back. In Granite Lake, I increased the height and the amount of mountains for this region. In the other regions, we were not using the upper end of the mountain height. Granite Lake is now the tallest region we have.
 
Mountains play a large role in the region not only in how the region looks, but also in how it plays. There are mountains that creep into almost every city plot. The reason I did this was so mayors who like to use wind power can setup swaths of windmills along the hill sides. In the regions currently available, wind power was largely only used when starting cities and then scrapped when users could afford a better power plant. With Granite Lake, because there are higher mountains, wind power becomes more effective as the peaks create more wind in the maps. This makes wind power a better long term solution for those who choose that route to power their cities.
 
The other major concept of this region is the lake itself. The lake connects the clusters together. The lower cluster and the higher cluster are connected by two cities on each side. Between the mountains and the lakes, I think this region will be a nice change of pace from what is currently available.
 

 
The last thing about this map is the textures are different. As is the case with Edgewater Bay, Granite Lake got a new set of textures for the landscape.
 

 
While the terrain forms are identical, the feel of each are completely different. One is a summer lake with good weather and the other is a high altitude lake somewhere that struggles to stay warm.
 

 

 
This Region is meant to be challenging. The city plots have multilevel terrain, but building here has its own rewards. Cities created here will have to navigate the terrain and this will cause them to become unique. These unique cities will be framed by a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. I was striving for something scenic, maybe not as picturesque as the Denver mountains at 5:30am, but close. Looking forward to hearing what you think of this region!

TS3 Blog: Lights! Camera! Action!

Posted on 23rd July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Hi Simmers! SimGuruSarah here to tell you a little bit about our newest Stuff Pack: The Sims 3 Movie Stuff! This pack features dozens of objects and clothing inspired by three classic movie genres – Western, Horror and Heroes & Villains.
 
The Western content was inspired by the classic “Spaghetti Western” movies of the 1960’s. We wanted to do something fun that was not necessarily historical. We settled on a saloon theme and created objects to tell a story in that setting. We have a new bar with a matching barstool, a dresser vanity, a rocking chair, a saloon door, and several new wall pieces (one of which has an Easter egg…Bella! Tell me if you find her when Movie Stuff comes out ;-)) Oh, and we have an All-In-One-Bathroom Outhouse!
 

 
I absolutely love the new Western attire which features hair, shoes, and clothing for both genders, as well as a new mustache for the men. For female adults, we have a top and bottom set for a sheriff (with pants or a skirt option) and three full body dresses, including a classic saloon girl which shows off a lot of leg! For men we have a classic cowboy look with chaps and leather vest and a ten-gallon hat.
 
The second movie genre we chose for The Sims 3 Movie Stuff is “spooky horror.” This was both fun and challenging because we wanted to create clothing and objects that felt distinctly different from what you would find in The Sims 3 Supernatural. We settled on a mix of classic horror and quirky Gothic style. We have a tragic bride in her worn wedding dress and veil, and a leather outfit with straps and buckles (with matching shoes) for the ladies.
 

 
The spooky objects are very unique and add an interesting spin to your Sim’s home. There is a coffee table with a spider web etched in the glass, a fireplace with glowing eyes, and two new horror themed doors. One of my favorite pieces is “The Doctor’s Spare Parts.” I’ll let you imagine what that might be…
 
All of the artists working on The Sims 3 Movie Stuff are comic book junkies, so the hero & villain content was definitely our favorite genre to brainstorm and develop concept art for! We thought about all of our favorite heroes (and villains!) and then we put a Sims spin on it. We came up with unique creations such as Freezer Bunny Man, Super Justice Llama, and the villainous General Skunk! There is even a sidekick outfit for the kids!
 

 
There are some really unique objects you can use to build out your hero or villain’s lair. We have a new table that is a crime map of the city that has flashing lights to indicate where crime is occurring. There is an awesome new wardrobe with superhero logos on the front, and a dresser vanity that has lots of lights, knobs, and other high tech looking gadgets. One of my favorite new objects is the Laser Door! Lasers turn on and off as your Sim walks through the door, and you can change the colors of the lasers. Oh, and did I mention the phone booth that doubles as a shower?
 
What kind of stories will you create with all these objects? We’ll wait and see when The Sims 3 Movie Stuff Pack comes out! Look for it on September 10 in North America, and September 12 and 13 in Europe and APAC. We have a special behind-the-scenes set available only to those fans who buy The Sims 3 Movie Stuff through Origin.
 
Stay tuned for more fun stuff we’ll share from this pack!
 

SimCity Blog: Build the Best: Trade City

Posted on 19th July 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Got the goods to build a successful trade city? That’s what we asked our Community of Mayors. Luckily, we received some export-heavy entries for our Build the Best Trade City contest. The top cities were selected and showcased on our official SimCity Facebook fan pagefor everyone to vote on their favorites.
 
And the award for the best Trade City goes to… Mayor lightworx78.
 

 
Congrats, lightworx78 – you’re a real trade tycoon.
 
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 Transit City. To submit your cities, either e-mail them to SimCityCommunity@ea.com with the subject line “Build the Best: Transit City” or tweet your pictures to @SimCity with the hashtag #SimCityBTB.
 
Show us your transit-heavy cities, Mayors!

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