Every successful city starts with amazing architects. Yep, even digital cities. That’s why the team at Maxis has chosen the best and brightest developers to create the new SimCity coming to PCs in February 2013. Who are these people? Glad you asked, actually! In our new on-going interview series, we’ll be profiling the creative forces behind your favorite city-builder. First up is our Online Engineering Lead Derrick Schneider.
In the new SimCity, you no longer need to build your ideal city in isolation. Yes, that’s right – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Working together with other cities is the one of the keys to success. And it’s Derrick’s job to make sure cities properly interact with each other. Because players populated in a specific region don’t all need to be online playing at the same time (that’s asynchronous communication for all our tech-savvy Mayors out there!), Derrick and his team ensure that successful teamwork happens quickly and efficiently. That means if you want to help your neighbor by sending vital resources, they’ll receive them without a hitch (and vice-versa). So be sure to thank Derrick for all the help he’s doing to, well, help out your cities.
Now that you know a little about what Derrick does, let’s learn a little more about him.
How long have you worked on the Maxis team?
Derrick Schneider: I've been at Maxis since April of 2008, about five months before we launched Spore. And I've been on SimCity since moving off Spore.
What excites you the most about working on the new SimCity?
DS: I've been enamored of the game since I first understood what the GlassBox Engine is. It just produces this incredibly cool, life-like game. Whenever I see the game demoed, I'm always in awe again. That, plus the people on the team are some of the smartest I've worked with.
Why, thank you! You’re a bright guy yourself. So, tell us: What was the first SimCity game you played?
DS: My first was SimCity 2000.
It’s time to destroy your city: How do you do it?
DS: Ha! I've always tended to get cities up and running and leave them be – the benevolent dictator model. But our fans will love the disasters we have in store for them in the new edition of SimCity. They’ll have to stay tuned when we reveal more about them later on this year.
Word around the office is you’re bit of a foodie, eh? So be honest: How many times have you entered the Name a Building Contest?
DS: We were allowed to enter? Aw, man! In other words, I won't say how many times I did it.
OK, say you were allowed to enter – what would you name the diner?
DS: The Patty Wagon.
Good choice! How do you feel about reticulating splines?
DS: That's my IM chat status. Well, it was once we announced the game. But I hear that with curvy roads, we can now reticulate splines ourselves.
Anything you want to tell the community?
DS: First of all, I think the Maxis community is a truly incredible group of folks. The creativity and imagination I've seen with SimCity 4 mods, Spore creatures, and so on never ceases to amaze me. Second, I think I can safely echo what everyone here feels: We're all really thrilled to be working on this game and bringing it back to its fans. I mean, it's a pretty incredible game, but the community's only seen glimpses. I can't wait to see the reaction at launch day.
Thanks for your time, Derrick!
DS: Sure thing!