Submitted by cyberfyter on May 01, 2012

Hi, SimCity fans. We’ve loved reading all your comments about the videos and blogs we’ve released over the past few weeks. It’s great to see how excited you are about the game we’re creating. We’re just as excited about making it.

I’ve been working as the Lead Designer on SimCity for about two years and it has been a wonderful experience for me to watch the game grow from the early concepts and paper designs into a detailed, interactive simulation. While working on SimCity, I have discovered that it can be hard (or impossible) to predict how someone will play with their city. Maybe they will nurture and protect it, or maybe they will set it on fire just to watch the chaos unfold!

When we were designing the fire system, we wanted to make sure it was satisfying for both types of players. If you want to protect your city, then you have many options. Of course, your primary line of defense is a fire station. Like most of the civic buildings in the city, your fire station is composed of multiple parts: garages, fire trucks, dispatch towers, hazmat vehicles, helicopters and more. The bigger the station, the more it will cost you, so you need to be careful not to outspend the income you receive from taxes. However, having an awesome fire station doesn’t guarantee a fire-free city. If your roads are congested with traffic, then none of your trucks will arrive in time, even if the fire is only one block away.

You can also prevent major fires by carefully controlling how you zone. Avoid zoning large industrial areas. Industrial buildings tend to burn hot for a long time and create hazardous air pollution (especially the ones filled with fuel or chemicals). Small buildings contain less flammable materials than large buildings, so you can avoid big fires by keeping your city’s density low. Another zoning trick is to keep plenty of space between your buildings to keep an out-of-control fire from spreading too far.

If you are the type of player who would rather engineer your city for a catastrophic fire, then you’ll need to use the opposite strategy. Bulldoze the fire stations, zone heavily for high density industrial, and keep your buildings packed together in a tight cluster. I also recommend cutting back on your police force to encourage arsonists!

Fires go through several phases: smoking, blazing, spreading and burning out. Each of these phases triggers different simulation effects. Sims will race unharmed out of a smoking building, but if the building is blazing then the Sim will run out of it with their tiny heads on fire. If an ambulance isn’t on the scene, then the Sims will crumble into ash. (It may sound tragic, but for some reason, it consistently makes players laugh out loud.) During the spreading phase, the heat from the fire will cause nearby buildings to smoke, which will start the loop again. If the fire fighters don’t arrive in time then the fire will eventually consume all of the building’s flammable materials and the building will crumble into blackened rubble.

Every building type in the game has different fire characteristics. Wooden buildings burn quickly, brick buildings are almost fire-resistant and buildings with hazardous substances may explode, creating a giant fireball!

I hope you have enjoyed watching these early simulation videos. We’ve only scratched the surface of all the cool stuff we have to share. Stay tuned for more insider information in the coming weeks!

United States
Stone Librande
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - 09:15
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Thanks for the information. Wow, didn't realize y'all have been working on the game for two years. Reading this latest post makes the wait to play even more unbearable. I couldn't be more excited!

Looks real nice cant wait to snatch it from the pirate bay. Seems like a good deal me screwing EA over for once. 'stead the other way round "EA screwing the paying consumer" Maybe not with Simcity but certainly with the majority of their title's

Atleast donate to Maxis, they've been working hard on this game. Nevermind EA.

The only thing that pirating it is going to do is ensure that EA includes MORE stuff like intrusive DRM in their future titles to harm legitimate consumers.

If you don't support their practices, don't play the game period. Being a jackass about it is just going to make things worse on the rest of us.

Explain how they screw over the paying customer? you pay for a game, you get it. If you don't enjoy the game it's not EA's fault.

Interesting about the different building types (i.e. brick, wood, stone, etc.) will have different resistance rates. While I know details won't be released to random questions, it would be interesting to see if there are disaster related ordinances involving requirements on buildings and their materials to how they are constructed or reinforced. Oh, and I really hope that I can still connect my own cities in a similar fashion to the region map on SimCity 4 as that was a very nice mechanic.

Big thanks again Dan for taking the time to put this video and post together. Can't tell you how great it is to see an insider peek into what you guys are working on. I realize some fans may not appreciate the simulation side of things, but I think it is fascinating. From a fellow game dev's perspective, I think it's great you guys are taking this approach to the franchise. Whereas previous CPU's couldn't keep up with something this complex (so corners were cut), today's tech can make something like this more possible. It'll be interesting to see if this added level of realism makes the sim more fun (I believe it will) than its predecessors. Can't wait - keep us in the loop!

So firefighters will automatically respond to the fires? Interesting....

Finally... why should the mayor have to double as dispatcher?

Some die-hard fans are crying over the simulation changes that adds realism to the game. What a bunch of drama queens, seriously.

I'm not referring to JordanLunda, 'cause he's obviously not complaining.

Because then we don't get to call out the whole cities' 20 fire brigaid including the military and police to respond to a 1x1 house fire!

I think this would be a great way to "sway" public opinion in your game. Say a neighborhood didn't develop the way you would have liked and you want to start over again. People would not be happy if you just smashed their whole neighborhood... but rebuilding after a "freak accident" caused by a fire might not resort to people being so outraged. In fact, they'd see you as a hero. Just make sure that what you build to replace the neighborhood really is better than before...

That fire sim is way too aggressive and unfair. Unoccupied buildings are LESS of a fire risk, not more. Maybe if crime is real high in that area I could see it. Or homeless rate was high in the city, if there is a homeless stat in game, then unoccupied buildings could catch fire. And I know that was a simple demo, but if that same no tree neighborhood catches one house on fire, they dont all go up, thats BS. Now if that street had heavy trees inbetween houses, I could see it. But fires dont spread like that in real neighborhoods unless they are backed up to wooden areas. Will there be forrest fires? And will neighborhoods in wooded areas be more suseptible to fire?

Not actual graphics. The tree are not implemented yet. On a simulation level they are... i think, or is it. I dunno, but that's a good enough explanation for me. It kinda represents the way row homes act in a fire. Who knows what the time lapse was there.

I tend to agree. Just because a building is unoccupied, doesn't mean it should burst into flames. I would hope that contributing factors impact on a houses vulnerablilty to fire, such as crime rate, surrounded by bushland and squatters.

I'm not too sure if other factors could contribute within Glassbox, like drunk people getting home at 2am to accidentally set the kitchen on fire whilst cooking hot chips. :)

I don't think they said (or even implied) that just because a building was empty, it WOULD catch fire; only that it was more likely.

However, it seems to be true that unoccupied buildings are less likely to catch fire. See this report from the National Fire Protection Association: For 2003-06, Table 1 shows that 6% of fires occurred in vacant buildings, while Table 4 shows that 12.775% (averaging the 4 years in question) of buildings were vacant. Seems like vacant buildings are less than half as likely to have fires.

On the other hand, I would think that a fire in a vacant building would be likely to grow bigger before being caught, since no one is there to notice it. If a fire surfaced in the simulation is only meant to represent a fire that's grown to a reasonable size, excluding those put out quickly by residents with in-home extinguishers, for example, then it might make sense.

Either way, I'm not too worried about such details being perfect simulations of reality, and only bothered to look it up out of bored-at-work curiosity. Their overall system for this looks awesome.

Well, arsonists were mentioned. If a house is unoccupied it should be more susceptible to an arson. Why commit a crime and run a higher risk of getting caught when you can do it with a lower possibility of incarceration when an empty house that nobody is watching is just sitting right there. Also in real life...fires can spread miles if the wind is a factor. Do not say that heat and fire ember's cannot spread a fire unless a tree is the bridge. I'd like to see if wind is indeed a factor in the game. It could really have an affect on many things. Say if you have a small community, you have free wind to turn your wind mills/turbines. On the contrary if your city is large and has a multitude of buildings to cause wind resistance, the turbines will be less efficient and barely work at all. Just saying, that could be something really neat..Maxis..js.. And maybe throw in some non player induced natural disasters that could be a consequence of living near a coast..hurricanes..etc. Would be neat.

Arsonist usually do it for a reaosn, grudge against someone, revenge, etc.

If a house is unoccupied, it actually has LESS chance of catching fire, because no body is there to start one accidentally (cooking, etc)

почему не учитывается наличие пожарных гидрантов?

Really excited by the news of SimCity 5

Would be good if we could have different types of emergency so we have Fire and Rescue Services.

Fires could be structural (residential, commerical and industrial fires) and wildfires (grassland, agricultural, forestry etc. fires). For structural fires may be the rate of spread could be more realistic than the model presented. It would seem that the example given could be used for a wildfire rate of spread? May be losing naturally sustainable resources (timber, food, biofuel) to wildfires could be an interesting regulation factors for cities as well as health issues for the sims?

Love the idea of Hazmat incidents such as chemical leaks and chemical fires). With so many vehicles there could be Road Traffic Collisions as well as flooding incidents?

All in all this could create some exicting Fire and Rescue skills that have to be unlocked or (dare I say it) researched as well as traded?

Integrating and matrixing this to Police (arson), Local Authority (public awareness, employment and Ambulance (paramedics) services sounds cool and interesting.

I don't think it's necessary to have the mayor -- the player -- manually call out the fire brigade. But it would be nice to see how lowering the FUNDING for the fire department might effect morale and response times (I can see a consequences of this, as a low-morale fire dept is unwilling to save a child in a burning building, which leads to a controversy in the papers, which leads to a recall election).

Gotta think a little outside the box. I'd like to see more cause-and-effect rippling through the city.

I'd also like to see the game be a MUCH harder, without an easy setting, and certain items and achievements almost impossible to get. A real challenge.

Cities aflame... with Rock'n'Roll.

Maybe density made a difference in Chicago in 1871 or London in 1666, but when was the last time you heard of an out of control fire ripping through modern day New York or Tokyo? Density is a good thing, please don't encourage the myth of "suburbs = good, urban city = bad."

I do hope that this game will have great detail. Also, one thing that was difficult for building a city was congestion. Like with interstates, they should be customizable from 2 lane to 3 to 4 to 5. And may maybe have 2 story interstates? Another idea is maybe have harder driving missions? with today's cars?

Among the mods for Sim City4 are mods that let players set simulation constants. These can be used to make the game more realistic, or less. For example, I like to set school radii to infinite while making the schools more expensive. Also, busses are usually slower than cars.

Creating that mod was either an epic programming feat or it was assisted by people at EA. Is there any talk about letting players set simulation constants without resorting to third-party tools?

The fire stations and fire trucks look too cartoony. Fix it!

Many thanks for the video and article. Keep up the amazing work Developers.

I'm curious as to how the Sim City World game play will go. I'm not cynical. I'm hopefull. I'll give it a shot soon as it comes out and stake my place in the world. I'm just wondering if it'll be like musical chairs. Will I get a good spot or something even if I buy the game like two months after it comes out? Will there be diffrent biomes? Or will it be like the great plains and just be an expanse of trees and grass? I wouldn't mind having a desert college town or an alpine casino city. Actually as long as theres city building involved (i.e. transit zoning challenges and all those goodies form simcity 4) I'll be fine. Was not a big fan of Sim City Societies. But I was not afraid to play it. I think they hit it right on the nose with this one.

SimCannot 2013:

- You cannot play in offline mode
- You cannot create their own road connections between cities (automatic road connections).
- You cannot put a road connection wherever you want.
- You cannot save your maps on the hard drive.
- You cannot have complete control over the zoning by population density (almost automatic zoning).
- You cannot control the regional transport.
- You cannot modify the empty space next to their cities.
- You cannot have farms.

The truth about new SimCity (2013)
SimCity (2013): The Deception Continues ...

are crying over the simulation changes that adds realism to the game. What a bunch of drama queens, seriously.

I'm not referring to Jord anniversary hummer limousine



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