Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New York in the Making: A Bit of Brooklyn and Queens

It’s time again to take a sneak peak behind the scenes for a bit of Brooklyn and Queens in the making. First up, Queens.

Development is expanding east into Queens and is moving up towards LaGuardia Airpot. The streets are laid out as far north as Astoria. There’s a bit of splotchy development in eastern Queens around Flushing Meadows Park and the Richmond Hill neighborhood.

Here’s an in the making shot of a neighborhood in Queens called Sunnyside. You can see 7 Line elevated tracks above Queens Boulevard also.

Brooklyn has a bit more development going on. The boroughs streets are laid out all the way from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint and as far east as Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Another in the making shot of Park Slope with a bit of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens showing at the top.

Here’s a reference map for those who don’t know New York that well.

More to come next time.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

SimCity Socities Video

SimCity Societies recently did a video with 1up about the upcoming game- and it bombed with the SimCity community.

The video shows developers giving a tour of various overly simplified cities and explaining how those cities work. For instance, if you plop a chocolate factory down in a communist style city where people are unhappy and overworked residents will suddenly become happy because of the presence of the chocolate factory.

Or plopping down a clown college in the middle of an industrial sector will make clowns appear in that area and make the industrial workers "dance". (Possibly to the YMCA) You can also make a haunted city by plopping graveyards down and eventually a "zombie apocalypse" (yes a developer actually said that) will occur. (Not related to the zombie invasion in San Fransisco )

The description of different societies seemed a bit over simplified and even seems to be pushing stereotypical views of different world cities.

The graphics looked rushed and the automata zipped around city streets at what seemed like an unsafe speed. At one point the designer himself seemed to be holding back laughter either at the a glitch in the game or what was being told to 1up by his a fellow developer.

SimCity is not about plopping down gum drop houses on candy cane lane or about police states which round up gangs of mimes and clowns roaming about the streets of industrial sectors.

SimCity is about building cities and urban planning. Terrafroming terrain, building transportation networks, planning out power grids and underground water pipes. Managing a city budget and watching your creation evolve and grow over time. That is SimCity. SimCity: Socities is not SimCity.

Will there be a SimCtiy 5? Maybe, maybe not. Thankfully, the SimCity community is heard by developers at Monte Cristo who are currently developing a more SimCity like game. Cities Unlimited.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summertime in the City

People are out and about on the first (official) day of Summer, especially in Central Park.

The height of the tourist season is heating up and people are enjoying the warm weather. A nice spot many people are enjoying this first day of Summer is the Literary Walk in The Mall.

This a good spot to walk, jog while listening to your favorite tunes on your ipod or just to sit back and people watch.

More sights and sounds next time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

City Life Sequel in Production: Cities Unlimited

More breaking news from Monte Cristo. Monter Cristo gave the leading SimCity fansite, Simtropolis.com, an exclusive interview with developer Phillipe Da Silva.

Though, the game won't be called City Life 2. Instead the "internal code name" is currently "Cities Unlimited" and has been under construction for 14 months.

More clues about the Cities Unlimited game from the developer, "We are drastically stepping up our ambition in term of graphical quality and we want to get closer to what people expect in terms of city management.

We will also use the fact that, as an independent studio, we have a freedom of creation to bring some never experimented before features that we are convinced will get you exited a lot."

"On weather and disasters, we have already made some internal tests and we are looking on how they could integrate in the game. Weather discussions are mainly on the graphics side while disaster discussions are more on the game design aspects where we want to know how this could benefit the game play (preparing your city for them? managing the after effects? Etc...)"

"...we won't leave behind and that we’ll even improve with a lot of small animated events in your city that makes it even more realistic such as someone yelling after a bus because he missed it, pedestrians walking by and suddenly stopping to talk to each other, or even a car almost hitting a pedestrian..."

Sounds to be gearing up to be a great alternative to SimCity Societies. We'll have more on the development of Cities Unlimited as it progresses. Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New York in SimCity Video

I've put together a video recapping the project for new users who don't want to dig through the archives of previous updates. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

City Life 2 in Production?

There is current speculation based on a recent screenshot Monte Cristo is currently developing the next title to the City Life franchise: City Life 2. The screenshot below is from a blog by a Monte Cristo employee who is giving the fans a sneak peak at what's coming up.

And fans are excited about City Life 2. For most people in the SimCity community this is what SimCity Societies should look like and City Life Unlimited gives the fans what they were are hoping for and an alternative to SimCity Socities.

An official website will be launched in October for the game.

Stay tuned for more developments on City Life 2.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

EA Announces SimCity Socities and New Screenshots

EA launched the official website of SimCity Societies last night giving those who had SimCity 4 set as their homepage a little surprise this morning.

New screenshots are showcased there. Though, the quality of the screenshots are debatable as personal perception, age of viewer and the viewers gaming expeirence (with current and previous versions SimCity and similar strategy games) plays a role in qualifying the quality of screenshots the screenshots suggest the game is going toward a younger target audience or the fan base of the Sims.

In one screenshot the skyline has a depiction of the Chrysler Building, possibly suggesting landmarks will be included. The Chrysler Building looks in-accurate and stylized which goes along with what president of Tilted Mill, Chris Beatrice, heavily hinted at: SimCity Societies will be about building cities, but it will not be a urban simulation game like SimCity 4. Will Wright, creator of SimCity, stated the game got to difficult for the average player and is going back to its "roots"

Also, the stoplights are based off of New York stoplights and look familiar from another place.

Some people are suggesting initial screenshots of SimCity 4 looked better the latest screenshots of SimCity Societies. You decide.

Others are suggesting that this is not SimCity 5 but rather a spin off on the SimCity title as it is called SimCity Socities.

Stay tuned for more developments.

SimCity Community Attempting to Make They're Own Version of SimCity 5

After the initial screenshots of SimCity Socities was released to the fans the almost every member of the SimCity community was in an uproar. (to say the least)

While many were dismayed and angry a hardcore others put their energy toward a more ambitious project. A hardcore group of fans plan to make their own version of SimCity 5 dubbed Simtropolis 1000(working title)

This is not the first game being developed from the ground up by the fan base, other online communities have done it before. Currently, developers of Simtropolis 1000 are in the initial product development phase: organizing the team, scouting out programmer's and deciding which free game engine should be used.

While this is an exciting project to see being made because it is a game being designed by the fans for the fans it brings up some important questions.

What does Tilted Mill and EA think of this? Are seen as competition to the franchise?
There are also legal issues to deal with if the game actually reaches completion such as copyright and trademark issues of SimCity and certain concepts within SimCity.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what becomes of this. As they old adage goes, "if you want something done right you have to do it yourself."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Manhattan in the Making

Today we'll take a trip around Manhattan and see how the island is progressing. Our first stop Upper Manhattan.

The region begins (or ends depending on how you look at it) in Upper Manhattan just north of the George Washing ton Bridge in Washington Heights.

Neighborhoods shown are Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Harlem in Manhattan. Across the Hudson River are Fort Lee, Edgewater and Cliffside Park in New Jersey.

Local landmarks so far include George Washington Bridge (marked by the temporary Maxis bridge), City College of New York (which is comprised of the default Maxis university buildings), the Hispanic American Society, Highbridge Park and Riverbank State Park.

Next stop, the South Bronx. The South Bronx makes up the majority of the area on the map.

While a small sliver of Upper Manhattan makes up the rest of Manhattan.

Neighborhoods shown are Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, Harlem in Manhattan. Across the Harlem River in the Bronx is Mott Haven, Port Morris, Melrose, Morrisania, High Bridge, Morris Heights, Tremont and East Tremont.

Local landmarks so far include Yankee Stadium (signified by the default Maxis baseball stadium), the Bronx Courthouse, St Mary’s Park, and a portion of Crotona Park, Macombs Dam Bridge and the 3rd Avenue Bridge.

Next up we’ll keep heading south into the Upper East Side.

Neighborhoods as indicated are East Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville and the Upper East Side, Lenox Hill and northern Midtown.

Local landmarks include Central Park ,the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum, Cooper Hewitt Museum, Museum of the City of New York Mt. Sinai Hospital, Triboro Bridge, Queensboro, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, Roosevelt University, Central Park Zoo, the Metropolitan Club, and the Solow Building.

Most of the development of the area is centered around Fifth, Madison and Park Avenue. While there is even development on the streets 118th Street is the only street which has buildings lining the entire length of the street.

Monday, June 04, 2007

SimCity 5 Announced!

Image from 1up.com

Rumors have been flying around the net for the past couple of years that SimCity 5 was in the works. Today official news was posted about the upcoming title of SimCity, SimCity Societies.

Development is being handed off from EA/ Maxis to Tilted Mill. Chris Beatrice, Tilted Mill developer responded today to comments from the SimCity community over at the Tilted Mill forums,

Chris Beatrice, Tilted Mill developer.

"Given the somewhat heated nature of this thread, and the hazards of misinformation, I thought it would be a good idea for me to drop in and say a few things. First let me say, as always, thank you so much for the attention and diligence so many of you show toward TMill and our projects.

When the new SC comes out we'll obviously leave it to you to decide whether you love it, hate it... or fall somewhere in between, or whether you even choose to play it at all. I hope you do try it, and I really hope that you do not pass judgment based on the title or some preliminary speculation on some web site.

However, I do not want to mislead anyone: This SC is not a realistic urban simulation, which I understand, to many, represents the heart of what SC is. No one is blind to that. And if you're just completely turned off, even angered by the mere notion of any game called "SimCity" that is not a detailed, realistic urban simulator, I absolutely understand that viewpoint, and absolutely respect it. Passionate fans like you are the lifeblood of the gaming industry, and that is one reason why TMill provides what I think is a great outlet for this type of discussion and even complaint. But please keep in mind the irony in that - we are just a lowly developer after all :)

I do want to say, though (with no insult intended to die hard SC fans) that we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this venerable series, are extremely proud of what we have put together, and make no apologies about what we have managed to create. And while our past experiences (including contributions from many of you) certainly inform all our ongoing efforts, this SC is its own unique creation.

- Chris"

1up.com has a exclusive sneak preview of SimCity Societies. Go and see it here.

New York in SimCity Societies? We'll have to wait and see. Stay tuned for more developments on SimCity Societies.