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This 'SimCity 4' Region With 107 Million People Took Eight Months of Planning 103

Jason Koebler writes: Peter Richie spent eight months planning and building a megacity in vanilla SimCity 4, and the end result is mind-boggling: 107.7 million people living in one massive, sprawling region (video). "Traffic is a nightmare, both above ground and under," Richie said. "The massive amount of subway lines and subway stations are still congested during all times of the day in all neighborhoods of each and every mega-city in the region. The roadways are clogged at all times, but people still persist in trying to use them."
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This 'SimCity 4' Region With 107 Million People Took Eight Months of Planning

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:04PM (#47786779)

    The rent's too damn high. He built the city, but some of us are forced to live in it.

    • by aix tom ( 902140 )

      The rent's too high, the air's unclean,
      The beaches are dirty and the people are mean,
      And the women are big and the men are dumb,
      And the children are loopy cuz they live in a slum!
      The water is polluted and their mayor's a dork,
      They dress real bad and they think they're New York ......

  • by Majestix ( 41486 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:07PM (#47786795)

    All we need now are Street Judges!

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:08PM (#47786803)

    Just need more corruption and less jobs.

    • I thought SimCity was about building cities, not demolishing them.
      • Or is urban blight now a natural disaster in the game? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05... [nytimes.com]
      • by SrLnclt ( 870345 )
        I thought SimCity was about building cities, then demolishing them.

        • I never used disasters in my cities if I could turn it off. Fires and whatnot are disaster enough. I never had any urge to destroy what I had made. I especially hate the unrealistic disasters. Come on, giant monster? Alien attack?
          • Clearly the giant monster and alien attack are merely stand-ins for the damage done by corrupt politicians and idiot bosses (like those at Electronic Arts), respectively. How I wish the first had a single monstrous eye and clawed arms and an omnimuous black finishing in real life, it would make recognising them much easier. However, representing idiot bosses using UFOs was not required - you usually notice right away they are not of this world.
      • Then why do they include earthquakes, tornadoes, and Godzilla?
  • I haven't played Simcity since the original...but if you can still create and cause disasters....I would LOVE to see that.
  • by steak ( 145650 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:11PM (#47786825) Homepage Journal

    too bad it is over 10 years old at this point.

    • Really? I found sim city 4 to be quite bad compared to sim city 3 it is overly complex in some departments and the UI could be a lot better. But what really grinds my gears in sim city 4 are all the The Sims advisors and people running around, the advisors in Sim City 3 had a lot of character and were quite funny as well.

      • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

        Really? I had a lot of trouble taking the "mood" of SimCity 3 seriously, and the difficulty was ridiculously low. For those main reasons I enjoyed it the least of the series (haven't played 5...)

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          SC4 was the last "real" SimCity before EA started completely raping the franchise. (They only raped SC4 a little.)

          The region mechanic was a completely game-able loophole. It needed quite a bit of work, TBH.

          Go to small city area, fill with landfills and a road. Go to neighboring large city area, build a beautiful, trash-free city. Never re-load the original or even think about it again lest it update its region stats and go bankrupt while poisoning the entire universe. Repeat with anything that is undesirabl

          • SC4 works reasonably well on Windows 7 x64

            Even back in the day it crashed quite a bit, but I do think it's worse on Windows 7.

          • The region mechanic was a completely game-able loophole. It needed quite a bit of work, TBH.

            The region mechanic was always an attempt to limit the size of the simulation. The individual citizes in SC4 are too small, presumably because the machines of the day couldn't handle bigger ones. So a real improvement would be redoing the game as a 64-bit only version and discarding the region system.

            • It's not just a computer hardware limitation; the simulator gets very inefficient at certain things. I running a reasonably modern system with 12GB RAM, and a large amount of custom content (20-40,000 files totalling 8-12GB, common among everyone still playing) on a large city still brings my system to its knees. Switching to underground view for subways, for instance, takes at least 20 seconds.
          • God, SC4 was so much fun. I wonder if I can get it working on my 64-bit Win7 box. Last I checked, it had some problems with that.

            There's no problems at all running it on Win7 x64. And you should see the amazing custom content that's still being developed. Not just the thousands upon thousands of buildings; but an entirely new highway system with 2-10 lanes and completely custom ramps, tile-by-tile canal systems, or the incredibly detailed modular airports- can cover an entire large city tile with just an expansive airport; I released an entire plugin that's just tiles to make lines on the taxiways. Other modular sets let you construc

        • Well I was a lot younger when I used to play sim city 3, but as far as complexity goes, it is way more complex than sim city 2. Yet it was not as frustrating because you don't need to electrify and provide water for every single block by hand like in sim city 2, that was annoying as hell.

          I haven't played sim city 4 as much as I have 3 and 2, but I will give it a try. I haven't played 5 either, I don't mind so much about the always online bullshit, but when I saw you needed to make several smaller cities lik

          • Ok, have to give SOME credit to SC5 for this. You don't have to micromanage getting utilities to everyone. The distribution system appears random and thus can be sucky if your building is out of water or power and is off on a long branch with a bunch of buildings in between. It will take forever to get the utility watering or powering them again.
            Upgradable buildings is another plus, though I have hosed myself several times by not leaving space to upgrade around the building itself. Come on people, build UP
      • SC4 was the best graphically and simulation wise to date. The awful part of SC$ was the stupid side missions which must be accomplished to unlock this or that thing, most of which involved trying to control a vehicle on a diagonal roadway with a keyboard. Total setup for the BS which is Simcity5 Online Version.
      • I myself miss Sim City 2000 the most, especially for the wacky newspapers.
    • Virtual Rome wasn't built in a day, you now.
    • incorrect, best was simcity 2000

      • Have to agree.

        But then again I had more fun removing the copy protection from SimCity 1 then playing the game, so *shrug*.

        • SimCity2000 I would also agree was the best. Playing that game on My AST Adventure Advantage! 6066d (MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.11) was so much fun. I put alot of time and effort in building those cities. Putting all those water pipes was a chore! It was a great game and it sure brings back alot of memories. Remember, if you will, we also had Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1 on floppy disks that also came out! Great times and great games!
      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        Specifically the DOS version, not the windows one.
        As I recall, the DOS version allowed you to speed up the game, while windows would not.
        I used this feature to make tons of money and let changes stabilize overnight while I slept.

  • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:13PM (#47786831)

    Did it also crashed 107 million times while simulating this city?

  • So, it's Los Angeles?

  • Tetsuoooo !!!!

    (Couldn't he have credited the music ?)

  • Another cool effort [vice.com], in SimCity 3000.

  • by kolbe ( 320366 )

    Seriously,,, If they had to default back to SC4, it shows that SC5 was not a real enough simulator and totally incapable of fielding such a project.

    • I've heard tell of some people who managed to get 600k or so in SC5, but yes, it is crap. Highly visual and oooh shiny crap, but crap.
      For those unaware, they finally came out with the offline version back in March, but I was so disgusted with the initial online only launch that I didn't even know this until a few weeks ago. I bought it, and am highly, highly disappointed. A HUGE step backward from Simcity4 in almost every area.
      The city sizes are tiny. Basically, you can get a perhaps 10 by 10 city block
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      SimCity 2013 can't scale to anywhere near such numbers because it's a more fine grained simulation. This is like saying a car is crap because it can't fit the number of people a bus can.

      If you were to analyze the city you'd quickly realize that the statistical systems used in SC4 are a rather coarse approximation of reality with many downsides. They're a "top-down" approach to 2013's "bottom-up". Mind you, 2013 also had many approximations in order to reduce performance requirements so that the average pl
      • Sorry dude, but before SC5 was even released to the public, the idea that it had a more complex simulation was utterly destroyed. The SC5 simulation is very very weak.

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @04:50PM (#47787033)
    This article is all about speculations on our megacity future, I was more interested in how he got the city that big.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gargalatas ( 924373 )
      Obviously in a site like this that matters the most :)
    • Maybe, but I don't think that any real discussion could be had about our megacity future based on this type of video game. Notice there is no food growing anywhere, very little greenery (think pollution), every inch of terrain was flattened, there was no water, etc..

      Don't get me wrong, I think SimCity is a cool game. I don't think it's simulation software, and therein lies the big issue.

    • SC4 allows region play; that's the population of a region composed of large city tiles that top out at 1.6m each.
  • Grid city (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @05:37PM (#47787271)

    Building using a grid layout never changes. Back when I first played sim city on the Super Nintendo, the strategy to build megalopolis (population 500k+) was building on a grid. You build using 3x3 clusters of R, C or I but left the center of the 3x3 open. Instead you put special buildings and police/fire buildings in the center of the 3x3. To reduce pollution you built rail instead of roads. Fun game for its time and a friend and I came close to a megalopolis on stock maps without beating the scenarios, alien invasion and getting the water free map. I think we had 480-490k people.

    • Re:Grid city (Score:4, Informative)

      by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Friday August 29, 2014 @06:17PM (#47787473) Homepage Journal
      In SC5, the traffic algorithm is so broken that a grid layout will leave you awash in traffic jams. The most efficient layout in SC5 is a snake pattern with one end being the (single) connection to the region.
    • It always annoyed me how in previous versions you could just build huge blocks of buildings without direct access to a road.

      SimCity 4 was the first iteration that required buildings to have road access to develop or to be of benefit to the area and this brought with it a vast variety of different types of roads and this was probably the best improvement of the series IMO because it meant you really have to think about the layout of your city and balance the cost of building roads versus streets everywhere a

  • This city sounds like an incarnation of Hell.

  • Man! Aliens would invade and most people wouldn't even know!

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"