At the Maxis Townhall, Simtropolis asked the devs on the new SimCity several questions. Now they share their experiences whilst they visited Maxis and more thoughts on the new SimCity.

SimCity is back in the hands of Maxis. And last week, we were invited to visit their studio in Emeryville with an opportunity to interact with the team and to to get a detailed inside view of the development of the new game.

I have a few thoughts and impressions to share with you guys, but I want to make it very clear that while we enjoyed lots of candid, insightful conversation, we simply did not have enough time to fit in an extended play session with the actual game. So it made writing this difficult because I wanted to be honest with what I saw, informative for you guys, but fair to Maxis, knowing that I didn’t really get a full experience with the game.

What I did get was a brief exposure to a limited tutorial, and while I tried to take in as much as I could given the constraints, I just couldn’t get enough out of it without time to play freely. Again, this was just the unfortunate result of scheduling not conspiracy (I think). Anyway, even though our time there was condensed, it was packed with plenty of information, lots of demos were shown and plenty of discussion. I’ll share what I thought was interesting, but I’m not going into specific gameplay stuff that has already been shown or talked about.

Before moving on, one caveat: given that what we saw was all based on early software, some behaviour we discussed was undemonstrated, and what in-game art we saw is not final, I may totally change my mind on any of these things as new information arises.

The very limited tutorial I went through amounted to little more than click here, drag down this road, put down a zone and that’s about it. It’s a serviceable tutorial for a new player, but I didn’t get much out of it. I got a chance to draw a couple of roads; yes, it feels pretty good and intuitive. Painting down zones feels just as you might expect. I like how buildings sort of swing around as you drag them across the terrain before placing them. Yes, all pretty superficial. Sorry to disappoint, but if I get another chance to actually sink my teeth into the actual game, I’ll tell you something more meaningful.

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