This article originally appeared in GamesMaster magazine.
During a recent SimCity demonstration we saw a Maxis developer juggle three massive cities simultaneously, then brace for a hurricane. Afterwards we spoke with producer Jason Haber to find out how the game could soon be taking over all of our free time. This is what he told us...
MAN IN THE GLASSBOX
Well, this is a brand new SimCity, built from the ground up, so it's not just another version of the game. We've been working on it for several years, and it's been built with our brand new technology called the GlassBox engine, and that allows us to do things you've never, ever seen before with SimCity.
Things such as multiple cities which all share resources and interact with each other, things like the online multiplayer, things like the Data Layer [alternative vision mode], and even the rich, detailed visuals themselves. It really is a complete revolution for the franchise.
THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAILS
I'm so glad you noticed the sound! No-one else does, but you're the first one to ask about it. I personally love it. You can go right up to the cloud layer and hear the birds chirping and the wind going by, and planes and things. And then you zoom down to the buildings and you hear traffic going by and men drilling.
And what's cool is, if you see this intersection here, the closer you zoom in, the louder the sounds are. So if we focus right in on it, the car horns and engines make it seem like you're actually there. Also, everything in the world has a 1:1 ratio. Like, see that box on the conveyor belt? It's not a prop. That's actually filled with goods. Detail is really important.
COPS N' ROBBERS
Will a heavy police presence turn cities into police states? It will definitely have an effect on the city, with cop cars congesting the roads and the crime rate plummeting, but they won't turn it into a dictatorship or anything. Though you can share forces between cities, which is cool.