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TS3 Blog: Stay Cool With Issue 3 of The Sims Official Magazine

Posted on 8th August 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

The dog days of summer are finally here and there’s no better way to beat the heat than with the latest issue of The Sims Official Magazine. This time out, the team at TSOM lives the tropical life with The Sims 3 Island Paradise, explores the unknown in Dragon Valley, and keeps cool with The Sims FreePlay’s Climate Control update.



Best of all, this issue features a great article called “Savoring the Sims”. While the rest of the issue is for both new and old fans alike, “Savoring the Sims” is dedicated to those players that think they’ve seen and done everything The Sims 3 has to offer. Little do they know there are plenty of things to keep them busy for hours and hours and hours… or at least until The Sims 4 comes out!


Want to check out Issue 3 of The Sims Official Magazine for yourself? Just click here and download a copy to your favorite smartphone or tablet! 

SimCity Blog: SimCity Traffic Tuning

Posted on 6th August 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Hi everyone, Software Engineer Alexander Harkness here. It’s been sometime since I last posted about the SimCity traffic system, so I wanted to give you all an update on how the system currently works and also to talk a little about the upcoming changes scheduled for Update 7 later this month. For those who want a little refresher on how the traffic system is working currently, look back over my previous blog.
Update 7
In Update 7, we are including a change which will improve the behaviour of all the vehicles. Basically the change allows vehicles to claim a spot in a unit far in advance of arriving at a destination. It doesn’t sound like much, but this means that the routing map can be updated so it doesn’t include those units where all the spots have been claimed. So, for other vehicles that do not yet have a destination, we can send them to an alternative unit instead of their current behaviour where they all flock to the same destination and then change their minds.
What this means for you is that you should see less clumping together of police vehicles, buses and other service vehicles such as garbage trucks. You may still see all the police vehicles flocking to a crime but once one of them claims the arrest, then the remaining police cars will return to patrolling. The garbage trucks will be one area where you should see big improvements as they will claim every open spot along an entire side of one path where their current carrying capacity allows. So you may still see two garbage trucks picking up on the same street, but one should be on the right side and the other on the left.

Above you can see how the behaviour is altered. In the before picture, both the red and green car take the same path to the closest job, however the red cars get to the job first and so the green car is forced to u-turn and travel back along the street it has already travelled to get to the other job.
In the after picture, because the red car has already claimed the job, the green car can simply travel straight to the only other available job and can dismiss the job that has been taken already.
Update 3 Routing Improvements
Routing was one of the major changes we made in Update 3. It allowed us to produce much improved routing data for the vehicles compared to the previous model. As you may recall from the previous routing system, it did not allow us to really take into account correctly the congestion on the roads without some influence in how the roads were created. The system also didn’t let us take into account roads which had medians and where the vehicles would have to stop or enter a unit from a particular side of the road.

If we look at the scenario used in the previous blog, then I can show how these changes affect the vehicles. Again, the Sims are driving to work from the residential to the industrial, and as in the previous blog, they will still travel through segments 5, 6, 2 and 1 in order to get to their destination.

In this updated picture you can see the new routing values in black with the route the vehicle will travel highlighted in green, but they are no longer related to the points that mark the ends of the segment and instead are values associated with the segment itself and have a value for each side of the path.

Now if we imagine that segment six is very congested, we can easily make it more costly to travel from segment five to segment two by making segment six more expensive. The result means you no longer have to use those horrible techniques to influence the values.
Hope you all enjoy these fixes when they appear in Update 7 later this month.

SimCity Blog: Build the Best: Transit City

Posted on 2nd August 2013 by DJBoddington | Comment

Which Community Mayor is on track to become the Transit City champion? We let you decide during our Build the Best Transit 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 Transit City goes to… Mayor Skyfoxs.

Congrats, Skyfoxs – you sped straight to the top!
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 Mountain City. To submit your cities, either e-mail them to with the subject line “Build the Best: Mountain City” or tweet your pictures to @SimCity with the hashtag #SimCityBTB.
Pique our interest with your mountain cities, Mayors!

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:
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:…dustry-matter-rci-improvements
• New: RCI height variations for Density 3 Buildings. This will add more variety to the look of your cities:
• 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!

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