Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 11, 2014 - 12:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SimCity, ea
Maxis and Electronic Arts recognize the hefty portion of SimCity's popularity as a franchise is due to its mod community. The current version could use all of the help it can get after its unfortunate first year. They have finally let the community take over... to some extent. EA is imposing certain rules upon the content creators. Most of them are reasonable. One of them can have unforeseen consequences for the LGBQT community. The first rule should apply to their expansion packs.
Starting at the end, the last three rules (#3 through #5) are mostly reasonable. They protect EA against potential malware and breaches of their EULA and Terms of Service. The fifth rule does begin to dip its toe into potential censorship but it does not really concern me.
No-one can be "Best Friends" in North America.
The second rule, while mostly condemning illegal activity, does include the requirement that content remains within ESRB 10+ and PEGI 7. The problem with any content certification is that it limits the dialog between artists and society. In this case, references to same-sex topics (ex: Harvest Moon) in games may force a minimum T or M rating. A mod which introduces some story element where two Sims of the same gender go on a date or live together (again, like Harvest Moon) might result in interest groups rattling the ESRB's cage until EA draws a firm line on that specific topic.
EA is very good with the LGBQT community but this could get unnecessarily messy.
The first rule is a different story. It says that mods which affect the simulation for multiplayer games or features are not allowed (despite being the only official mode). They do not want a modification to give players an unfair advantage over the rest of the game's community.
You know, like maybe an airship which boosts "your struggling industry or commercial [districts]" and also brings in tourists and commuters without causing traffic on your connecting highway?
Maxis is still, apparently, exploring options for offline SimCity experiences. Even if they allow a server preference to not affect the global economy, mods would be able to be quarantined to those areas. Great, problem solved. Instead, it is somewhat left up to interpretation what is allowed. To make matters worse, the current examples of mods that we have are purely cosmetic.
SimCity is nowhere near as bad as Halo 2 Vista for its mod functionality (those mod tools were so hobbled that its own tutorial was impossible). It could actually be good. These are just areas for EA to consider and, hopefully, reconsider.
Subject: Editorial, Processors | June 10, 2013 - 10:53 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: SimCity, Richland, giveaway, contest, APU, amd, a10-6800k
Odd, turns out I found two brand new AMD A10-6800K Richland APUs sitting on my desk this morning. I called AMD to ask what this was all about and they said that if I didn't need them, I might as well give them away to our readers.
"Oh, and throw in a free copy of the new SimCity while you're at it," they told me.
Who am I to argue?
So let's have a giveaway!
We are handing out two AMD A10-6800K "Richland" APUs for you to build a brand new PC around and including a key for SimCity with each of them. If you haven't read Josh's review of the A10-6800K APU you should definitely do so; it will help educate you on exactly what you are getting - for FREE.
To enter, I need you to leave a comment on this very news post below telling us what you would build with a brand new A10 APU - you don't have to be registered to do so but we'd sure like it if you were. (Make sure you leave your correct email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.) Also, feel free to stop by the PC Perspective YouTube channel and either give our videos a gander or subscribe. I think we put out some great content there and we'd like more of you to see it.
I will pick one winner on June 17th and another on June 24th so you have two separate weeks to potentially win!
A big thanks goes out to AMD for supplying the APUs and copies of SimCity for this giveaway. Good luck!!
Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2013 - 03:34 AM | Scott Michaud
And the trend apparently has been broken: a Sim City announcement which does not seem to detract from public perception in a meaningful way.
The latest reboot of SimCity prides itself upon each event being driven some set of signals which in turn perpetuate. Your coal industry is reliant upon a finite and definite quantity of coal. Your houses need sims to live in them to be populate. That sim needs to have a way to work. That way to work needs to have some acceptable level of traffic. You see where the complexity can occur.
EA decided to focus on the educational aspect with their recently announced SimCityEDU. Teachers will be able to create content within this version of SimCity to be used as a lesson plan for students interested in government-like topics.
I must say that I never expected EA to go directly into the teaching resources market -- but kudos on them for doing that. Games teach people valuable skills. Traditional educational games really tend to be wasted time because at best they are designed to help students with quick mental reflexes and memorization -- all skills easily replaced by a calculator. Designing the resource to be used as an assignment within a structure lesson plan does not fall into that trap however: students are engaged to apply knowledge and learn through experimentation.
This is the way I have traditionally explained educational games in the past: teaching students how to quickly sum up loose change at best prepares them for a career as a cashier. Giving them a scenario and letting them contextualize it into a logic problem which they then solve... now that could be powerful.
Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2013 - 03:12 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SimCity, beta
When we first heard about the new SimCity we collectively swooned: it looked to be the best implementation possible for a SimCity game. Each subsequent information release made us slightly less warm to the upcoming game. While being honest about things that your users hate is better than surprising them at the end: best-case scenario would have been to provide the product we want.
EA has just announced beta access this weekend. The expected bad news: Origin might spend longer setting it up than you will spend playing it.
The beta will run throughout this weekend, but that is not the only time constraint which beta testers will need to endure. So it turns out that all EA needs or wants from us in their beta test is a single hour of playtime. Consequentially, that will be all the time they will give us. That seems somewhat ludicrous to me given the time it will likely take to install and setup the game as well as the typical amount of time required to do anything meaningful with a traditional SimCity game.
Beyond that, the signup page is now closed with still several days to go until the beta opens. Yikes.
It is like EA is trying to drown its publicity to prove that PC-centric titles do not sell or something. Oh well, I will still probably be purchasing the title when it comes out March 5th -- but EA certainly does not respect the value of "Shut up and take my money".
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