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SimCity Q+A from Gamescom

Today, live from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, producer Jason Haber presented a SimCity Q&A session with fans worldwide. The session began with a video walk-through, narrated by Jason, where we saw the new SimCity game in action. They showed of the limited edition preorder-only content, with Evil Dr. Vu and MaxisMan’s headquarters. Evil Dr. Vu appears to be able to brainwash Sims in your city, and MaxisMan we assume will be a bit more heroic. They also showed the digital deluxe edition which contains extra city sets, including a French, German, and British style city set. Each one comes with its own vehicles and landmarks – for example, the British city set comes with Big Ben’s clock tower, and includes red London buses.

Next, Jason jumped into the Q&A portion. Here are all the questions that were asked, and the answers he gave.

Could you please comment a little bit on the sound design process?

What you’re seeing in your city will drive what sounds you’ll hear. So Glassbox [SimCity’s game engine] will actually help produce those sounds. Closer into the city you’ll hear the cars and the intersections. On our music we’ve been working with Christopher Tilton, who’s worked on things like the TV show Fringe, and we’ve gotten very good feedback on the music… I love the music, I hear it all the time and I still love it.

At this point on the video, they play a video of an industrial city, and you can hear how the sounds suit the style of the city, and match what is happening in the game.

I saw in the trailer, that it would be possible to interact with other cities worldwide – will it be also possible to trade resources so that I can send water to another player who needs it?

Yeah, within a region – you’ll have multiple cities within a region – you can trade resources. So you can trade things like water, and people, and energy. There’s also resources that you can trade on a global market. That’s one of the features we announced at Gamescom with SimCity World.

SimCity World really puts you, as a player, at the heart of the game, and this is where that bigger connection with the rest of the world comes in. It connects you with your friends and you can see who’s online or what they’re doing. So with the global market, there are some resources you can trade globally, and you could decide to structure your city around trading those resources. So you might decide that your city will specialise in producing oil, and that you’ll trade oil on the global market. But the prices of the global market can go up and down depending on what’s going on in the SimCity world, so you might find that you suddenly hold loads of valuable resources, or you might find that your city is going broke because the price of your main export drops!

There’s also going to be leaderboards. We know some people like to get pretty competitive with their friends, so this is the first SimCity game to have leaderboards. So you can compare how you’re doing on the leaderboards against your friends, or against the rest of the world. And they’re not just for things like how many Simoleons you have, there’s also leaderboards for like, the most polluted city, or the highest crime rate.

Another new feature is going to be challenges. So we can look at what the community’s doing, or take inspiration from what’s going on in the real world, and create dynamic challenges, that we can update frequently. So we can really respond to how people are playing the game and create these challenges that people can play. They can either be collaborative challenges, so for example, we’ve noticed there’s a lot of unemployment, so we challenged the entire world of SimCity to create 10 million new jobs. So everybody has to collaborate together to do that. We also have competitive challenges, where people as a region will compete with other regions. So one example of that is ‘who can increase their population by a million Sims the quickest?’.

What kinds of public transport will be in game? Subway? Monorail?

We’ve got light rail, which will be a key form of transport when your city gets much larger. There’s also a bus system, a bigger train system, and maybe some other things we’ll be unveiling in the future!

Will it be on Mac?

Yes! It’ll be available on Mac!

Will there be great power generation projects like hydroelectric dams and nuclear power stations that generate electricity for your region?
Yes, uh… just trying to think what power plants are in right now… I don’t think I can answer that one, sorry!

When playing with others in a region, will we be able to have more than one city?

Yeah, you could even control an entire region by yourself if you want. So you can play with your friends, you can play with strangers – you can open a region up to anyone who wants to move in – or you can just keep your region closed and run it by yourself.

One of my friends said he heard there wouldn't be any disasters, is that true?

No need to worry, there are disasters in this SimCity! In fact, in the hands-on demo at Gamescom, we may be showing one of those disasters…

In the previews of SimCity, I notice a lot of green grass in your cities. Will there be an option to have “concrete jungles”, where there is nothing but buildings and concrete/pavement within the central part of your city?

If you build your cities really dense, you should be able to sort of squeeze most of the grass out of there.

Can you explain about the Global Market? Can mayors create their own resources? Are there certain resources that have to be bought from the global market?

The resources on the global market are all resources that you can find in some cities. So it’ll all depend on where you build your cities. Something like coal or oil, you’ll only find in certain cities, and those resources can be traded on the global market. You don’t have to buy or sell on the global market, but you can if you want to. For example, if you wanted to use a coal power plant in a city without coal, you could buy some coal on the global market, or from your neighbours.

Is there new ways to update our buildings?

Yeah, in this SimCity you can open up your buildings in the building editors, inspired by the Spore editors. Each module that you add to your building will have an effect on what the building can do, but the modules will cost you.

How will multiplayer work? Will it be cooperative or competitive?

Great question, actually. Multiplayer has several factors to it. So first you can share things like Sims, workers that can go out and work in other cities, power and water. You can help out in other cities. Or you can send things like pollution or crime into other cities.

You can also work together on “Great Works”, which are big regional projects which require multiple cities to work together. Having different specialisations in each city will really help you to work together on the Great Works.

Then there’s also of course the SimCity World features, so that’s the leaderboards, the global market, the challenges, and so on.

Is there still zoning like in SimCity 4? All the trailers show single buildings being planted. Do you still zone residential/commercial/industrial areas?

Yeah there’s definitely still zoning in SimCity, so you can zone a whole area as being residential just like in previous SimCity games.

Watch the full video Q&A here

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