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".