I have had an absolute blast playing SimCity 5. It’s the first game since the Walking Dead that I’ve thought about during the day, wondering what my next course of action will be or what natural disaster will happen next (meteors really seem to love my town!). Luckily I’ve had absolutely zero server issues and have been able to enjoy the game without a hiccup.
As a staunch fan of single-player mode, hearing that I would be trading and interacting with other towns initially gave me pause. If you’re like me and don’t feel like dealing with anyone for a region or two, this is easily remedied by playing in a private region. Of course, it’s a little more difficult to do so. It becomes a careful balancing act, and you need to successfully manage multiple cities at once in order to keep them bustling and profitable. Ignore one, and the others will see their progress hampered or even stagnate.
I love that electricity and water have been simplified. I always felt it was a little too micromanaged for my tastes, and having those two resources anchored to the roads removes unnecessary complexity. Your focus is now on running a successful city and keeping your citizens happy, rather than placing the power lines and water pipes just so for maximum efficiency.
I’ve heard some grumbles about the new focus on Sims in your city, but I enjoy it. It gives the town more personality and if I’m waiting for my cash to increase to a certain point I like following them around. It also gives me a better feel as to how commuting in the city is faring. I had an inkling my town’s roadways were going to be congested long before the game warned me to place some bus stops. Following a few Sims around let me reach that conclusion and take action before the roads become too congested.
I do have a few minor gripes with the game. Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention during this part, but I had to ask around about how to mine ore and drill oil. It turns out those are tied to choosing a Specialization. I had thought that choosing one meant that I was stuck with only that and would lose it if I chose another. While I do like that SimCity teaches you the basics and lets you figure the rest out as you play–you can choose to learn all there is or you can choose to keep a passing knowledge of how to play and still be successful–specialization could and should have been explained a little better.
The game itself runs fine and I’ve had no problems there, but the tutorials seem to be a different story. The initial tutorial glitched on startup, with no HUD appearing and just a view of the city. Pretty, but not what I was expecting. It took restarting and two more tries for the tutorial to finally work. The in-game tutorials in my own cities also have given me a few problems. Whether it’s clicks not registering or the in-game tutorial HUD hanging, it not only takes me out of the game (literally and figuratively) but it also discourages learning more.
The Road Upgrade icon could be designed better as well. It’s an arrow with a flourish at its end and looks a bit like a Refresh or fancy Undo arrow. I didn’t click it for three nights, thinking it would undo my previous road placement. I was becoming frustrated with not knowing how to upgrade my roads–I had tried dragging High Density roads over Low Density ones to no avail–when I finally happened to hover over the Road Upgrade icon and I saw what it actually did, I felt both relieved and frustrated. It should be designed in a way that I can tell what it is at a glance, not a mouse hover.
Those frustrations are minimal when looking at the big picture and don’t have a large impact (if any) on the enjoyment I’m getting while playing this game. SimCity helped me love games again–a slightly odd icon and a glitch here or there isn’t going to mar my entire experience.
Haven’t played a SimCity yet? You should check this out. Whatever your opinions on the constant internet connectivity are, the game is solidly made and an absolute joy to play. I’m loving every minute of it.
The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here: Bethesda has released the Creation Kit for Skyrim.
Apparently it uses a new scripting language called Papyrus. They claim that if you’ve had experience with modding Bethesda games in the past, it shouldn’t be too tough to understand how this one works. Bethesda, of course, provides a bevy of tutorials for understanding quest creation, level creation, and scripting. Those can be found here.
I highly recommend getting into the Skyrim modding scene. The community has been nothing short of helpful, giving, and passionate in the past. They’re an extremely friendly group, and I expect awesome sites such as UESP to have dozens of great tutorials within the next week.
The Creation Kit can be found in Steam. Click on View up in the top left, then click on Tools. The Creation Kit will be in the list.
I already am starting out on learning Papyrus, and once that’s mastered I hope to have a relatively fleshed out quest and corresponding dungeon done by Friday afternoon. Keep an eye out if you’re a Skyrim player!
Cheerio, and happy modding!
[Retro Monday] is a series that takes a look at games of the past. Expect articles chock full of interesting information; how the game ties into the political, economical, and cultural situation of its time; and most importantly, pretty pictures.
After a lovely one week vacation, [Retro Monday] is back. Two weeks ago we covered Lunar Lander. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Corridor 7: Alien Invasion, a game I watched my dad play since I was in preschool. Probably not the best idea due to the amount of alien gore in the game, and definitely a contributor to my extremely dramatic and irrational fear of the dark.
Without further ado, I present to you Corridor 7.
I was an avid Oblivion player and modder. I didn’t submit anything to sites–something I regret doing now–but I was only in high school and still unsure about my skills. I played or modded Oblivion every day, for at least an hour. I balanced that with advanced placement classes, being captain of a club volleyball team, being a starter on a softball team, hanging out with my friends, and being an active volunteer in the community.