@SimGuruRyan, Lead Producer for The Sims 3 introduces the newest expansion, The Sims 3 Island Paradise, dropping anchor this June!
When we started work on The Sims 3 Island Paradise , we had one goal – to deliver you the content, features, and gameplay to not just create and play with an island paradise, but to create and play with what you envision an island paradise to be. We all have different ideas of what paradise means, so we strived to create an expansion that includes as many of those concepts as possible. Through features like sailing the open seas on a houseboat of your own design, scuba diving in search of sunken treasure, or relaxing in the lap of luxury at a mega resort (just to name a few!), The Sims 3 Island Paradise gives you the opportunity to both create paradise, and then play with it. As we continue to build Island Paradise, we’re focusing on a few major parts of the game to achieve this.
The first one is definitely the ocean. With the release of The Sims 3 Seasons , we enabled swimming in the ocean for the first time, and with The Sims 3 Island Paradise , we’re really taking what you can do on, and below, the ocean to a whole new level. You might enjoy having your Sims sit back and relax on a sailboat as they venture off into the sunset, or maybe even go for a quick paddle on a rowboat. Alternatively players might be more interested in a speedboat or Jet Ski to quickly head out in search of uncharted islands veiled by a mysterious fog!
Players that love to build things can create fully functional houseboats using the complete suite of Build/Buy Mode tools to design and furnish floating abodes. And did I mention scuba diving?? For the first time ever inThe Sims 3 , you’ll be able to take your Sims under the ocean’s waves in search of sunken treasure! While down there you might even encounter some unexpected – or dangerous – marine life. The tropical ocean in this brand new world is packed with tons of all new ways to interact with your Sims, and our hope is that it gives you the feeling of your own island paradise, even if you’ve never before stepped your own toes into beautiful crystal blue waters.
Resorts are another area of the game that we’re focusing on. Whether you’re looking to build a sprawling mega resort, have your Sims stay in a stilt foundation bungalow out over the ocean, or even directly manage an exclusive beachside retreat, resorts in The Sims 3 Island Paradise provide these experiences and much more. With advanced Build/Buy features such as the ability to build out over the ocean, create pools using the new resort-specific Blueprint Mode, and place dynamic new resort towers to attract potential guests. For those of you with more of a business mindset, resorts allow you to manage and fine tune the characteristics of your resort down to the smallest detail – all while making a little money on the side! Utilize the Resort Star Rating System to see how your guests like your resort and then make crucial business decisions like adding fun amenities, hiring maintenance staff, or setting quality levels. All decisions tie into the popularity and overall success of your resort, so make sure your guests are happy… or don’t! It’s your paradise, and you get to make the decisions. But don’t worry, resorts aren’t all about work. If your Sims are looking to melt away into an extended vacation, resorts are the place to go! Belly up to the in-pool bars, eat until your heart’s content at epic buffets, or even test your skills at the fire walk pit and many other amenities! Resorts are a massive new experience that really offers fun for everyone, regardless of how you play The Sims 3.
Of course, no The Sims 3 expansion pack is complete without all new careers, skills, collectibles, Lifetime Rewards, traits and places to WooHoo, of course! We’ll get into more detail of what those new items look like so be sure to stay tuned for upcoming blogs, Q&As, Twitter Takeovers and more. Also be sure to mark your calendars for our next Live Broadcast on April 16 where we’ll be showing an all-new gameplay demo and taking your questions live!
Until then, Sim-on Simmers, and get ready to spend your summer in paradise!
- Police station can no longer hold more prisoners than the capacity.
- Added missing roof texture for certain commercial building.
- Added completion moment cinematic for Great Works.
- Visiting police cars have avatar of neighbor above them.
- Arcology Population reflects the population of the Arcology, not the city.
- Fixed a clog in the pipes where sewage would sometimes get backed up and act jittery.
- Region Wall will pop up when a new chat message has been received.
- Improvements to cases when connecting a new road to an existing road that goes over uneven terrain.
- Tuned some of the road snapping priorities to address some edge cases where it wasn’t behaving as desired
- Fixed a case where a new road would sometimes cause an existing road to change its shape drastically.
- Made Upgrade Roads mini-tutorial appear at appropriate time.
- Fix to four lane bridge to improve divider line placement.
- Clarified alerts about residents not moving in because of high taxes to state if it is residents, commercial businesses, or Industry that won’t move in because of high taxes.
- Improved text and icons on cities in region view.
- Updated text for “Become a Suburban City” mission to improve clarity.
- Updated requirements text for HazMat garage for clarity.
Source: EA Help
Alexander Harkness, Software Engineer, talks to us about the traffic in SimCity.
Hello, I’m Alexander Harkness, and I’m a Software Engineer working in the transportation team of SimCity. I’ve primarily been working on implementing the behaviors for the vehicles, rail, boats, and helicopters during my amazing time here at Maxis. I wanted to take some time out of my usual duties to explain to you all how the traffic system works and how you can make the most of it.
Every vehicle in the game has a basic set of performance characteristics such as top speed, acceleration, and deceleration. The values assigned to each vehicle vary on the type of vehicle (scooter, car, and truck), the wealth value of the vehicle, or where the weight has changed after a delivery is made.
Vehicles will always try and get into the correct lane for the next turn they are required to make. So when turning right, they will attempt to get into the right lane. And when turning left, they will attempt to be in the left lane. Vehicles travelling straight through an intersection can be in any lane. Vehicles will also overtake vehicles in front using the lane to the left if the vehicle in front is travelling slower and there is space for them to do so. Emergency vehicles can undertake and overtake using any available lane. When the vehicle is expecting to enter a building on the current section of road, the vehicle will always try and be in the right most lanes, they will only move out of that lane if there is an obstruction such as a stationary fire truck.
We tend to be quite strict in cases such as U-turning where we found very early on that letting vehicles U-turn wherever they thought was best caused so many traffic problems that we had to restrict them to U-turns at intersections only. Other limitations imposed are vehicles not being allowed to cross the median to enter buildings on avenues and emergency/service vehicles stopping outside of building only. This means vehicles must travel much farther when their destination is on the opposite side of the road, since they will need to U-turn at the next available intersection. Of course, from this you can see that it is not always wise to immediately upgrade all your roads to avenues in an attempt to solve congestion.
Driving to emergency
All emergency vehicles have the ability to change the traffic lights in their path to green. This is so by the time they reach those lights, they should have changed, and any traffic at the set of lights should have started to flow. During periods of heavy traffic, it could be that there is some gridlock where traffic is not moving, even after the emergency vehicle has changed the light to green. In this case, it will remove the lock on the green light, as this can potentially be the cause of the gridlock.
Stopping outside buildings
All emergency vehicles will stop outside their destination while they are attending to the situation at hand. This causes a temporary blockage on the lane immediately outside the building and can last a variable amount of time depending on the emergency. On two lane roads, this causes an issue with traffic being permanently blocked until the emergency is over, however, on four or six lane roads, the vehicles should flow around unless they are interested in entering the building that the emergency is at.
In a recent update, we added some new functionality that prioritizes emergency vehicles over all other vehicles. The first change was to ensure that these vehicles could exit their garages and get onto the road as quickly as possible and deal with the emergency. This means that they will immediately reserve a spot on the lane outside the garage and drive straight onto it. Previously they would have to wait for a spot to open up which may never have happened during times of congestion. The second change was allowing them to use any lane on the road regardless of whether they were required to turn left/right at the next intersection, which as previously mentioned, would normally force the vehicle to attempt to get into that lane.
All way stops
At these types of intersections, vehicles obey the rules of first to arrive is the first to move. This rule is broken for two different scenarios. The first is where we can improve traffic flow by allowing multiple vehicles that will not cross paths to move at the same time. And the second is where the vehicle is unable to move because the road is blocked. In the latter case, the next vehicle to arrive is promoted to the top of the queue and the blocked vehicle is moved to the back.
Traffic lights can be used to improve the flow of traffic at intersections dramatically over all way stops. During testing, it was seen that there was a 4-5x improvement in the amount of traffic travelling through the intersection. Traffic lights also have knowledge of traffic whether it is vehicles or pedestrians that are waiting at the lights. In the case where there is zero traffic waiting or approaching, the intersection light will switch to allow traffic from the opposite set of lights to proceed. The traffic light will then stay green in that direction until traffic from the crossing direction approaches/arrives at the intersection. When there is traffic from both crossing directions, the lights work on a timer countdown. This countdown is differs in length depending on the combination of the joining roads at the intersection, but the length the light stays green is longer the wider and higher density the road is.
Side street stops
This setup can be incredibly useful to create corridors through the city where traffic can flow freely without interruption from stop signs or traffic lights (vehicles will only stop to let pedestrians cross). These can be created by using any four lane road or greater in combination with a two lane street or dirt road as the side roads.
To achieve better flow through the city it is much better to use T-Junctions than four way intersections. This is simply because there will be fewer vehicles trying to cross the path of oncoming traffic for which they have to wait until it passed. You may have noticed that often queues will form where traffic is waiting to turn left across the path of traffic. Intersections that are too close together are another thing to avoid. This is because the flow of traffic during the green phase of one of the intersections towards the next intersection will be very small due to the area available for the vehicles to wait and most of the green phase will have been wasted as no cars are moving.
To understand how the routing system works, I’ll talk a bit about how roads are created, how routing propagates values through it, and how you can influence these values.
Roads are constructed from many paths and paths are constructed from one or more segments. A path is the road between two intersections. Each path is made from segments and the number of these can vary depending on the curvature of the path or the terrain the path is crossing. So flat areas paths will tend to be only one single segment.
Where there is any capacity on a segment, we assign a value to that segment based on the capacity. In this example, the work place has ten open jobs so we assign a base value of ten at each point on the ends of segment four. This value then propagates out through the network adding on the length of the segment that the vehicle will have to traverse. So in this case we say that segment two and three are fifty meters in length, and segment one is two hundred meters long.
In addition to this, we also add on congestion values that are calculated continuously. These values are only applied to the network when they reach certain thresholds that we have set at 25%, 50%, and 75% of road capacity. We do this to avoid the overhead in continually updating the complete network of paths. You have to know that we have many hundreds of these networks to update to cover the many different destinations vehicles have. As an example, say that segment 2 becomes 50% congested. We would then take the length of that segment and multiply it by a set amount, say 10 times. This would mean that the values would then become 10, 10, 510, 560 and 760.
Influencing the values
Let us look at the scenario below which has been seen in a video posted on YouTube. I marked each of the segments and the values at each end of the segment as before. With this layout, the vehicles will all initially exit their houses and use segments 5, 6, 2, and 1 to get to their jobs. As segment 6 becomes congested due to the traffic, the additional congestion weight will be applied to influence the value so that vehicles will route around using segments 4 and 3. However, in this case, because there is only one segment on the path where segment 6 is, and the value at the end is shared between segment 2, 3, and 6, the value will not actually change from its current value of 60 since the distance from segment 3 to segment 2 is still only an additional 50 meters and during the propagation the lowest value is always applied.
You can however influence the network by forcing a path to split into multiple segments. The cheapest way to do this is by drawing a dirt road midway along the path and then bulldozing this path. This then changes how the values are applied and would make the vehicles take the alternative longer but less congested route.
Obviously, this is not an ideal solution for you as a player since you can’t see how the paths are split up, so we are of course working hard at improving the routing.
Traffic should generally be at an absolute minimum around an hour before the shift changes start at 6am and 6pm. When I start to see the congestion building up and lasting closer to this point I start to plan ahead and think about my mass transit options. Remember, when picking stops, the green overlays show you how far Sims are willing to walk to the bus stop, which can be a handy guide to helping space them out. This is important when strategically placing bus stops. Since busses don’t follow set routes, it’s a good idea to place them closely spaced in lines on the same side of the road to encourage the busses to go to the next stop in the line. This way, they won’t have to make a U-turn to reach the next stop. In addition to busses, you can also upgrade your avenues to allow for street cars. Street cars are always my preference as it can’t get stuck in traffic jams like the buses can, however don’t go crazy with lots of avenues as this can cause extra traffic itself as I mentioned before. Plan out a route that will cover your highest density population areas and places of work then place rail stops that will allow those Sims to get out of their car and walk to the nearest stop instead.
Thanks for listening everyone. I really hope these tips help you out in designing your perfect city and getting that traffic flowing. Just remember, avenues won’t solve all your traffic woes. And look out for those telltale signs your road network can no longer cope with current volume of vehicles.
Maxis have released patch 1.7 for SimCity and this update improves performance for low spec systems and emergency and delivery vehicles get priority over regular traffic, full patch notes below:
- Traffic Improvements: Tuned traffic congestion and fixed some intersection traffic issues.
- Traffic improvements: Emergency Vehicles will drive in empty lanes to get around traffic at intersections.
- Traffic improvements: Emergency and Delivery vehicles get priority over regular traffic when leaving garage.
- All units and buildings can now be demolished using the bulldoze tool.
- Performance improvements for low spec systems.
- New Server: Asia 2 will be released Tuesday afternoon (PDT)!
Posted on by DJBoddington | Comment
EA has announced the list of PC games SimCity players will be able to claim due to the messy launch SimCity encounter. Players have to have a registered copy of SimCity to be eligible and players have until 25th March 23:59 PDT (26th March 6:59 GMT) to register their copy. Offer also expires on 25th March 23:59 PDT (26th March 6:59 GMT) and have until 30th March 23:59 PDT (31st March 7:59 BST) to download their free game. The list of games up for offer is:
- Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
- Bejeweled 3
- Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)
- Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)
- Medal of Honor Warfighter (Standard Edition)
- Need For Speed Most Wanted (Standard Edition)
- Plants vs. Zombies
- SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition