SimCity 4

Being a curious...  'nerd' like myself.  I love watching things grow and develop.  I also like prodding at those things and influencing them over time.  Thus the study of urban expansion has interested me for a very long time.  In grade school and high school, most of my 'art' in Art Class consisted of intricate maps which I hand drew.  Into high school my passion was directed more at studying how towns began, and sprang up.  For example, I would look at a town in an atlas, and wonder...  Okay, so why did this town settle here?

That same curiousity has remained a part of me.  I understand that the field of studying urban growth is likely one which requires a lot of book learning, and studying and years invested in university.  But I like to think I do understand it quite well for a layman.  While there really are not many applicable jobs I could be doing in that field, it still does interest me purely from a hobbiest prespective.

That being said, if I ever get the urge to experiment with these ideas, I will generally load up SmCity 4 and go to town, litterally.  SC4 is a very detailed, in depth game which comes with all the features you need to tinker with almost every aspect of city growth barring local rescources.

The problem I have with SC4 is that it is far too small in scale to really play with these ideas.  You are generally limited to a plot of land, on which to build, anywhere between 1 mile squared, and 4 miles squared (or was it kilometers, I forget?).  None the less,  it is not really a big area.  Considering even small urban centers like Buffalo consist of an area about 10 miles squared.

For years I hoped that Spore would be the answer to my problem.  Sim Everything as it was first termed.  A Global SimCity / The Sims style game which also incorperated a space phase.  Sadly however, EA Games ruined that by dumbing the game down to its most basic systems, and making the game playable by 5 year olds.  Also, the game was shipped without many features.  presumably EA Games would add these features in later on, in expensive expansion packs.  So much for the good old games Maxis used to make, eh?

So I have been hoping for either a remake of SC4 where you could have VERY large cities, or a new game, which is somewhat styled like SC4, where you could basically build a country from scratch...  i.e.   build and control several towns on one screen, and create and manage the modes of transportation between them.

Ideally, you could highlight plots of land, and set them as townships.  When your not hovering directly over the town, the computer automates them (unless you select a option which alerts you to events in that town).  You could also automate the computer to build and grow towns on its own, based on demand.  Thereby having a lot of fun toying with transportation systems and if you wanted to, diving deep into how each town works.

Honestly, while there have been new 'Sim City' type releases since SC4, nothing good has really been released which can exceed SC4's level of potential entertainment, for the curious mind like my own.  The closest attempt at such, was Sid Meier's Railroads!.  In my opinion this basic and dumbed down transportation game, ruined the transportation and urban planning game genre.

I would love to be involved in the making of the next great SimCity game.  The older SimCity games were some of the most popular games ever released.  There was a reason for this.   And while EA and Maxis are trying to capitalize on their The Sims franchise, they have lost sight of one of the more intrigueing games out there (the study of human behaviour en-masse, and how it comes together to create a town), in place of creating virtual doll houses like Spore and The Sims.

I urge someone to undertake this great project, even if it may ruffle some feathers at Maxis.