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About

SimCity 4 is a city-building simulation computer game developed by Maxis, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. It was released on January 14, 2003. It is the fourth major installment in the SimCity series. SimCity 4 has a single expansion packagecalled Rush Hour which adds features to the game. SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition contained the original game and Rush Hour combined as a single product.

The game let players to create a region of land by terraforming, and then to design and build a settlement which shouldgrow into a city. Players shouldspacedifferent location of land as commercial, industrial, or residential development, as well as build and maintain public services, transport and utilities. For the success of a city, players must manage its finances, environment, and quality of life for its residents. SimCity 4 introduces night and day cycles and other special result for the first time in the SimCity series. External tools such as the Building Architect Tool (BAT) letcustom third-party buildings and materialto be added to the gameplay.

SimCity 4 was praised for being the second game in the SimCity series to primarily utilizea 3D engine to render its graphics, the first being SimCity 64 for the discontinued Nintendo 64DD. It get widespread acclaim, won several awards, and was one of the top ten selling PC games of 2003. However, it was criticized for its difficulty and its demands on computer performance.

Gameplay

Regional gameplay

A collection of neighboring cities, as seen in the game's regional view

As with previous SimCity titles, SimCity 4 territory players in the role of a mayor, tasked with populating and developing tracts of lands into cities, while fulfilling the needs of fellow Sims that live in the cities. Cities are now located in regions that are divided into , each of which shouldbe developed. The player has the option of starting the townin a segment of any of three locationsizes. In real measurements, the smallest has a length of one kilometer on a side, and the biggesthas a length of four kilometers on a side. The size of a region and its layout of segments shouldbe modify in a bitmap file deliveredfor each region.

Neighbor cities play a huge role than in the previous versions of the game. For example, neighbor deals shouldbe established, where a townshouldexchange resources such as water, electricity and garbage disposal with other cities for money. Players may develop several inter-dependent cities at the same time, eventually populating the entire region.

Game modes

Upon selecting a specific segment in a region, the gameplay is divided into three "modes": god mode, mayor mode, and MySim mode. Mayor and MySim modes become accessibleafter establishing a city. God mode is accessiblebefore establishing a townand afterwards, albeit with fewer functions. By obliterating the city, which restart the map, all functions in God mode are reactivated.

God mode

God mode let players to design or terraform a chosentract of land where the townwill be built. God mode also let players to trigger disasters, including tornadoes and earthquakes among several others. Players shouldchoosean locationwhere a disaster will occur and even control the direction of certain disasters. Most terraforming tools are disabled after the townis named and founded. The player still has some terraforming tools angry accessiblein mayor mode, although they become very limited and expensive, and they shouldstill trigger disasters at will.

In addition to these abilities, god mode also gives the player tools to reconcile the borders of the cities, so as to fix any discrepancies madeduring the terraforming process, and a day/night cycle adjustment, so that one shouldmake it always day, always night, or alternate between day or night in accordance with the in-universe game clock. Both the ability to reconcile the townedges and the ability to changethe day/night cycle are accessibleeven once the townhas been established.

Mayor mode

A densely populated city, including third-party modifications

In mayor mode, townbuilding is conducted. Several advisors may give advice to the player on how to best manage a city. Players shouldbuild transportation networks, which include street, road, avenues, highways, railways, subway lines, and bus stations, draw out building space, construct civic buildings, and adjust townfunding and tax rates. Players shouldalso terraform and plant trees in this mode, but in a much smaller scale than in god mode and costing money.

Space are designedbuilding plots that are empty at first but then populated by buildings depending on the kindand density of the zone. Location of land shouldbe space as residential, commercial or industrial location in various densities where the townwill launchto grow. Agriculture is a separate industrial zone-type, unlike previous versions of SimCity, enabling farms to grow regardless of high land value, so long as demand exists for agriculture and agricultural space have been provided. Space are now automatically aligned towards street and most buildings must be adjacent to a streetin order to function properly; road are automatically madewhen zoning on hugetracts of land.

Buildings are classified into several wealth levels, spacekind, and building size stages, which are affected by the region's population and the towns condition. The game simulates urban decay and gentrification with buildings deteriorating and refurbished accordingly. Buildings originally constructed for occupation by higher wealth tenants shouldnow assistancelower wealth tenants in the happeningsurrounding factors forces the current tenants to vacate the building; this let certain buildings to remain in utilizedespite lacking its initial occupants. Buildings and lots shouldbe constructed on slopes.

Civic buildings shouldbe constructed that need constant funding to work properly, such as schools, hospitals, parks, police stations, jails, and fire stations. These buildings come in two or more sizes compared to the single, universal kind that were utilize in previous games. Settlements also need public utilities such as electricity with more or less polluting and more or less expensive kind of power stations, water pumps, water purification plants, and waste management services. Facilities that had previously deliveredcitywide coverage, such as educational facilities and medical facilities, have been modified to provide more limited coverage, as it has been with police stations and fire stations in previous SimCity titles.

Funding shouldbe adjusted for individual buildings rather than having to modifythe funding to all buildings, allowing users to specify how much cashcanbe spent to supply a service in accordance to the local population. Maintenance expenses for public utility facilities will increase as they age. The maximum output of facilities also decreases as they receiveolder, with the rate dependent on the facility's percentage of its capacity being utilize and level of funding.

MySim mode

MySim mode enables players to create utilize-defined Sims, who will live and work in the townthe player has created. When moving a Sim into a city, the player shouldselectfrom a selection of hero or import others from The Sims. Sims shouldbe killed by certain disasters or catastrophic happening, leave the townif conditions are unfavorable, or die of old age. After they die, their "child" sometimes takes over for them by taking their name, house, and job.

Building designs

Buildings in SimCity 4 are based on four distinct architectural styles, which shouldbe chosensimultaneously or only on one era to be built. The earliest era is based on early office turret from Chicago, Illinois, in the 1890s, an Art Deco-based set from FreshYork City based on the 1940s, a modernist/international style based on buildings from Houston, Texas, in the 1990s and modern European architecture based mostly around Germany. There are a number of buildings based on those found in San Francisco, including the Shell Building (appearing as "Wren Insurance"), 450 Sutter Street (appearing as "Vu Financial"), and the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Building also known as 140 FreshMontgomery Street (as "The Galvin Corp"). The May Organizationstore (now LACMA West) in Los Angeles appears as "Dennis Department Store." The game also contain popularlandmarks from various cities, such as the Empire State Building from FreshYork City.

Development

Graphics

Unlike its predecessors, which utilize an engine based on 2D isometric graphics and sprites, SimCity 4 primarily utilize a 3D engine to render its graphics. The landscape and moving props such as car are modeled as fully polygonal and rotatable 3D objects. Tinybuildings and props are drawn as flat photo, which are pasted onto billboards; polygons with their surface normal facing into the camera. Huge buildings are modeled using a hybrid approach; a easypolygonal model defines the shape of the building, then textures are added to create detail such as doors, windows and rooftop clutter.

Although a 3D engine is utilize, the camera in SimCity 4 is restricted to a fixed trimetric orthographic projection for performance reasons. Additionally, a simulated townshouldnow be seen at nighttime as well as during daytime. The time of the day does not affect the gameplay.

Audio

The game contain over three hours of background melodyin MP3 format, ranging from three to eight minutes in length. The melodyis divided between that utilize in region mode and god mode, and that utilize in the townview in mayor mode and MySim mode. In addition, the game has a facility for players to utilizetheir own melodyin the game, also divided between the two views. The music, largely composed by Jerry Martin, was also released separately as a soundtrack.

Add-ons and modifications

Maxis releases

Following SimCity 4's release, several add-ons and development kits were angry accessibleon its official site.

Freshlandmarks, including Rockefeller Center, the Brandenburg Gate, and Stonehenge were angry accessibleonline. Later, landmarks were primarily utilize to demonstrate the capability of Gmax and the Building Architect Tool (BAT) around the time of the BAT's release.

The Terrain Generator tool permittedusers to create maps based on any of the 48 contiguous United States. The maps are based on data collected by the United States Geological Survey.

The Building Architect Tool (BAT) is a suite of tools developed for producing custom buildings. The suite consists of three app: The Building Architect game packagefor Gmax, which enabled users to render Gmax models into SimCity 4 sprites or props to be imported into the LE; an updated version of the LE; and the standalone Plug-in Manager, which enables users to changesimulation properties for freshlots. Several modified versions have been released that have, in effect, served as bug fixes for various issuesthat had not been discovered before the initial release. First released in February 2004, it enabled the modding community to produce custom buildings and props for SC4. SimCity 4's Building Architect Tool is similar in function to SimCity 3000's Building Architect Tool and SimCity 2000's Urban Renewal Kit; however, previous software of this typewere madefrom scratch by Maxis and utilize completely different interfaces. The SC4 BAT neededa third-party application (Gmax) to function and was never bundled with SC4's or the Rush Hour expansion pack, as SimCity 3000 Unlimited had with its own BAT.

The Lot Editor (LE) is a tool which let users to edit or design lots for SimCity 4 using accessibleprops. Because it was released several months before the BAT as a stand-alone version, users at the time were only capable of producing lots that consisted of built-in props from SC4. The BAT deliveredusers with an updated version of the LE, which rendered the original LE utility obsolete. However, the old version is still angry accessiblein the official site.

Third-party content

In addition to official tools, third-party software were released for further accessibility in editing SimCity 4 material, potentially allowing users to modifythe nature of the game itself. Following the release of the Lot Editor and the "BAT" (Building Architect Tool), the majority of add-ons in circulation consist of utilize-madecontent; most are buildings and lots, including real-life landmarks, chain shop, extra houses, etc., while others containcosmetic modify for terrain, flora, custom car and modifications in the game's behavior. Some even fundamentally modifythe mechanics of the game (for instance, by introducing multi-function transportation networks and stations, or by modifying the distance Sims are willing to walk in order to reach transit or their jobs). In some cases, both the skills of lot building and modding are combined, producing lots that are capable of affecting a townin a variety of method. Some third-party materialis only accessibleto those with expansion package or another mod.

Reception

Sales

In the United Kingdom, SimCity 4 sold over 100,000 units during the first half of 2003. This angry it the United Kingdom's third-best-selling computer game for the period, or eighth across all platforms. At the time, Kristan Reed of GamesIndustry.biz wrote that its performance proved "you shouldstill have gigantichits on PC". By the end of the year, British sales of the game had reached 105,000 units, which angry it 79th-largestseller across all platforms that year. The game later get a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure ProgramPublishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom. Its Deluxe edition earned a "Silver" award from ELSPA, for at least 100,000 sales.

Reviews and awards

Shortly after its release, the PC version of SimCity 4 garnered mainly positive reviews, gaining 84/100 from Metacritic, and an 85.09% overall score from GameRankings.

The game got a 9.2/10 rating at IGN, calling it a "major evolutionary step in the series". The review commented that the addition of the region view mode adds more depth to SimCity 4 and that the gameplay has a "more accurate representation of townplanning and maintenance" than of previous titles in the SimCity series.

The game scored an 8.1/10 rating at GameSpot, stating that the game had a "sleek, beautifulinterface" and "amazingaudio"; it added however that SimCity 4 was "rather rushed" and that the MySim mode "seems like an afterthought." The review concluded that it was a "complex and detailed strategy game," "though not as polished as it could have been." The postlater named it the best computer game of January 2003.

GameSpy gave the game a score of 75/100, commenting that SimCity 4 is "graphically stunning"; the review also criticized the game for having problem "that will likely slaythe game for casual players" including performance and difficulty.

1UP.com rated the game at B+ and praised the region view feature as well as the detail of the graphics which create a "deeper sense of simulation." The review however criticizes SimCity 4 for suffering crashes and performance problem.

SimCity 4 get further reviews after the release of the Macintosh version. The game get a rating of 7.25/10 from InsideMacGames. The review commented that the regional gameplay was a "freshand welcome addition" and that it had detailed and realistic graphics; it was also said however that the game was not "revolutionary," had "horrendous bugs," and that the guideand manual lacked information.

Urban planner Jeff Speck said that SimCity 4's traffic model is "more advanced than what most traffic engineers utilizein real life".

Awards

SimCity 4 was selectedas one of IGN's "Editors' Choice" games for January 2003. It was also given the Parents' Choice Award by the Parents' Choice Foundation.

Additional materialand releases

SimCity 4: Rush Hour

On September 22, 2003, Maxis released an expansion pack for SimCity 4 dubbed Rush Hour. The expansion packageenhances the range of transportation facilities accessibleto the player, such as being able to build four-lane avenues and elevated rail networks, as well as allowing them to trace traffic flow, while also allowing them to construct huge civic facilities; some such facilities have greater capacities, but all have increased maintenance costs. Additional features with the expansion also contain the ability to control car, take on missions that shouldunblockreward buildings much faster, affect their rating with the townand sometimes acquire a moneybonus, and introduced the ability to modifybetween four architectural styles - three of these focus on architectural styles of American cities of differing eras, while the fourth introduces a freshrange of contemporary European-inspired architecture.

On the same day that the expansion pack Rush Hour was released, a bundle packagecombining both the main game and the expansion packagewas released, entitled SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition. On August 25, 2004, Aspyr Media released SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition for Mac OS X.

A year later, the expansion was released for Mac OS X on September 4, 2004.

Digital distribution release

On July 20, 2010, Electronic Arts released the Deluxe Edition (SimCity 4 and its Rush Hour expansion) for digital download on Steam, a digital distribution service by Valve. The game is also accessibleon GOG.com, Direct2Drive and Impulse as well as EA's own Origin service. On April 10, 2014, Aspyr released an updated version of their port of the Deluxe Edition on the Mac ApplicationStore. The updated version contain bug fixes and performance enhancements, native resolution support, and assistancefor the recentversions of Mac OS X.

Future updates

SimCity typeof worked itself into a corner, [because] we were still appealing to this core SimCity group. It had gotten a little complicated for people who had never played SimCity. We wishto take it back to its roots where somebody who had never heard of SimCity shouldpick it up and enjoy playing it without thinking it was really, really hard.

Will Wright

Will Wright stated in an interview on May 16, 2003, that there would probably be more expansion package after Rush Hour, but none were ever released. In another interview on May 22, 2004, Wright stated that Maxis was attempting to work out a "freshdirection" for SimCity after freshversions had become "steadily more complex".

Two SimCity games for PC have followed SimCity 4. The first was SimCity Societies, which was developed by Tilted Mill Entertainment and released on November 13, 2007. The second was SimCity, which was announced in March 2012 and was released in March 2013.

In famousculture

During the Republican presidential primaries of 2012, candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 taxation proposal was widely attributed to a similar tax structure presented in SimCity 4; the CNBC cable networks relayed the story of the linkage of the SimCity "ideal parameters" as a possible origin of the taxation proposal (the story itself may have originated in the techpress), but Cain denied any link to the game.


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Details

SimCity 4Developer(s)MaxisPublisher(s)EA Games (Windows)
Aspyr Media (Mac OS X)Producer(s)Kevin Hogan
Sean DeckerDesigner(s)Joseph Knight
Michael McCormickProgrammer(s)Paul PedrianaArtist(s)Ocean Quigley
David PatchWriter(s)Dorothy Bradshaw
Tom BentleyComposer(s)Jerry MartinSeriesSimCityPlatform(s)Microsoft Windows
Mac OS XRelease
Genre(s)City-buildingMode(s)Single-player
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