Feeds

SimCity 4

Well, burgher me backwards

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Any municipal of yours...

Flipping between the two main modes of play, ‘God’ and ‘Mayor’, quickly became second nature. God mode was only really useful on undeveloped regions, but by crafting mountains, valleys and lakes, before seeding them with your choice of trees and wild beasts, you could shape the land in your own image. A move designed to encourage affinity with the region before a brick had even been laid.

Once happy with your masterpiece it was over to Mayor mode to begin the usual SimCity building processes. The ubiquitous residential, commercial and industrial zones were all there as you might expect, but each had altogether more user-friendly tendencies. The street layout of zones was planned out for you automatically for example, while individual house plots were marked more clearly than before, even containing a helpful arrow to indicate which direction they faced.

SimCity 4

It ain't like dusting crops, boy

It was a small change, but an important one, as the city took shape organically and saved the player from dragging the cursor about the city in the unceasing chore of road building. Not that roads were made redundant – highways and avenues still needed to be designed and their placement considered carefully – but you were spared building every single street, across every single region.

Taxation was given a similar overhaul, as every conceivable financial tweak was possible in the struggle to balance the budget. Education, fire response, police coverage and health services could all be adjusted to suit the needs of your (hopefully) growing populace, with coverage rings pointing out exactly where such facilities would reach.

SimCity 4

Road to nowhere

Maxis even linked SimCity 4 in with the hugely popular The Sims – ‘My Sim’ mode, as it was known, letting you transplant your own sims (or random ones if you run out) into your city’s homes and properties. From then on you could stalk them at your leisure, watching them work, rest, play and even die – their heirs assuming the deeds to the house in an ever growing family tree of descendants.

Truth be told, it was little more than a gimmick which, like the ability to drive around your city – an add-on provided by the Rush Hour expansion – won’t be high on your priorities list. Especially true when you consider how rich and entertaining the actual city building component was.

SimCity 4

And still no escape from flying saucers

Ultimately it was that quality of entertainment that ensures SimCity 4 remains great to this day. And, now that processing power has moved on by degrees, the engine chugging that dogged its initial release is a thing of the past.

Series fans will have their personal favourites of course - for me it’s still the retro perfection that is SimCity 2000 - but, while the new SimCity sorts out its own issues, the fourth in the series still has the qualities to keep budding mayors happy. ®

Release 2003
Developers Maxis / Joseph Knight and Michael McCormick
Publisher EA
Platforms Mac, Windows

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.