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Sim City 4 earlier than expected!!!


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Scott_E

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Posted January 09 2003 - 08:52 AM

According to this thread. It appears Sim City 4 might make an earlier than expected appearence.

http://www.hardforum....hreadid=551316

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   RudyN

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Posted January 09 2003 - 09:53 AM

Well, if that is the case, I may have to head over to EB tomorrow and trade some games in. Thanks for the info.
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#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff Peake

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Posted January 09 2003 - 11:00 AM

Cool, hopefully my pre-order with EBGames will arrive tomorow.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Joel Mack

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Posted January 10 2003 - 05:37 AM

Must've been an error. EBgames.com is back to 1/14/03 as a ship date...

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   paul e.

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Posted January 10 2003 - 06:20 AM

ft.worth texas, 40 copies in stock on the shelf ready to be plucked. (i can't say where but it's a game store.)

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Joel Mack

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Posted January 10 2003 - 06:43 AM

After further review, I'm finding that it's hit-and-miss as to whether it's on shelves. Some store have it out, others are waiting for street date, despite it obviously being broken...

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff Peake

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Posted January 10 2003 - 07:44 AM

Fedex delivered my copy from EBGames.com this morning at 10am. I have been glued to the screen ever since.

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeremy Brown

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Posted January 10 2003 - 07:59 AM

Yeah, EBGames shipped mine yesterday (Thursday) priority overnight, but for some reason it isn't going to arrive until Monday. I'm none too happy. At least there's football on all weekend.

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Jason Quillen

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Posted January 10 2003 - 08:50 AM

Got mine today from ebgames Initial review later on... JQ

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   Joshua Moran

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Posted January 10 2003 - 10:05 AM

got mine too. can't wait until work is over.

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Brandon_H

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Posted January 10 2003 - 11:27 AM

Got mine too. Economic modeling seems much more robust this time around.

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   Jason Quillen

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Posted January 11 2003 - 09:52 AM

Well, yesterday I apparently slept through the FedEX guy knocking on the door at 10 AM, so I called customer service and asked them to please come again since it was Friday, and they said they would. I waited till about 3, called again, and they put me on with the regional manager who said if I wanted the package I would have to come down and pick it up. So I did - I got back around 4:30 and, somehow, stayed glued to nothing but my computer monitor until sometime around 9 or so. So, here's my review (this is a bit long)...

SimCity 4

If you've ever played "The Sims", the first thing you'll notice about SimCity 4 is how much it has been influenced by "The Sims." The interface of SimCity 4 is based on and around The Sims. Gone is the "main menu" and all in game menus are nearly identical to The Sims. Now, I for one didn't like The Sims - too much micro management for me, but I've been a SimCity fan since for as long as the game has been around.

With that quick note behind us we can move on to the game itself. Like I said, upon startup of the game your taken directly to a "Region" map (like a neighborhood map in The Sims). When you first install the game this region map contains two tutorials - a general city "mayor" tutorial and a landscaping "God Mode" tutorial. Each lasts about 10 min and gives you a VERY broad overview of SimCity 4 (the mayor one especially). After you've done the tutorials you're ready to start your own city. So I loaded up a fresh region map and began.

--Terraforming / God Mode--
The first thing you have to do to your region is give it some life by using God Mode. The tutorial teaches you most of what you need to know about this, but I suggest building your entire region first before jumping into the Mayor mode. For my first region I did a mainland and an Island so I terraformed those to the way I wanted and then went to the city. God Mode lets you do anything from populating the world with trees and animals to creating a robot attack, along with some very specific landscaping tools (including Erosion - very cool). Play with the land to get it the way you want it, then click the mayor button, name your city (and yourself) and start building.

--Mayor (SimCity)--
Here's what SimCity is all about - building a successful city. That being said, SimCity 4 is drastically different from its predecessors - I've played every SimCity game and I expected to jump right in and start a fairly successful city - I was wrong. My first city went ok, and my second failed. Why?

-What's Changed?--
Because SimCity 4 is now less about individual cities and more about Regional Cities. Each City you will build is based in a square on your regional map (so your regional map is divided into lost of different squares)- squares range in size from huge to small (this grid of squares cannot be changed as far as I know). To be successful, each city needs to cooperate with its neighbors - this is done by linking transportation, water, power, etc.

For example, lets say I pick a small square and build a city that is mostly high-density residential buildings - a place for the wealthier citizens of my region. Well, if I build that, one of that cities regions had better be a big industry city with roads to connect the two as well as a power and water connection so the wealthy city can buy power from the industrial city, eliminating the need for dirty power plants and expensive / ugly water towers and pumps in the wealthy city. This city cooperation dynamic really changes SimCity - most importantly, for the first time ever, you can have specialized cities (which will eventually all support the region).

This regional dynamic is, by far, the largest change to the SimCity franchise. That’s not to say its the only one - you can apparently load your characters from "The Sims" into SimCity 4 and watch them run around - I haven’t done this as I'm not a fan of The Sims.

On a graphical level, SimCity 4 has a more realistic feel then its predecessors. No more “future sets” of buildings. But don’t get me wrong – that fantastic element of SimCity is still present (you can build landmarks like the Sphinx in your city or initiate a robot attack). I can’t talk about high rises and the like, my city hasn’t hit those heights yet.

The micromanagement has also changed for SimCity 4. The changes begin with the streamlining of micromanagement and move a little from there. City management is now largely restricted to 5 or 6 buttons on the right of the tool bar. From there you can see your city’s ratings (these are broad categories like environment, health, education – arrows indicate if these ratings are going up or down), your advisors (who are not as vocal as in the past), your budget (which opens up to a larger window for adjustments), and two different types of graphs. The biggest change is in budgeting - no more forced yearly budget reports (I didn’t like that). Now from the budgeting window you can adjust the funding for everything in the city – for example, if I have 4 schools and, from the budget window, I set $20 towards funding education, each school will get $5. You can also adjust the School Bus funding – the lower the funding the lower the radius each school serves (this can also be changed by clicking on each school). Once you get this micromanagement set you can minimize the budget window and just watch the tool bar which gives you’re the overall picture – Current funds, budget income, budget expenses, and next months projected funds.

SimCity 4 also does not contain the scenarios of past SimCity games (as far as I've seen, anyway). This doesn't really bother me - the scenarios were fun, but not the meat of the game).

--[i]What’s The Same?[i]—

SimCity 4 is still a SimCity game - Mostly everything else is along the lines of previous SimCity games. Low / Medium / High-density zones for Residential, Commercial, and Industrial development remain intact (though low density industry is now strictly agriculture and these zones now automatically create streets – smaller versions of roads for access). Schools, Police, Fire, Medical, are also the same. There’s a lot to choose from as far as parks / city beautification goes (make sure you see the arrow on that menu). You still receive gifts / bonuses (there are lots), and landmarks are still in the game (lots of these, too).

Scorecard
Graphics – 9.0 Everything I’ve seen is great looking. (You can zoom in and out a lot, too). Can create some slow down though (and I’m using a Radeon 9700 Pro)

Sound – 8.0 The music is a bit dull, but it changes frequently. On par with what you’d expect.

Presentation – 7.5 My biggest problem is the lack of a main menu

Changes – 8.8 The changes are mostly for the better. They effectively switch up the SimCity formula to keep everything interesting

Replayability – Are you kidding? Endless.

Overall – 9.5 (not an average) Another great chapter in the SimCity book. Enough changes to keep things interesting and different, but enough of the same stuff that makes SimCity so much fun. This, combined with the great graphics and the general entertainment of this game make it a must purchase.

JQ

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Kelley_B

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Posted January 11 2003 - 05:47 PM

Jason can you talk about performance of the game on your computer and what settings you ran it at?

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Ryan Peter

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Posted January 11 2003 - 07:44 PM

Sim City has never been 3D accelerated, does this one finally have it? IE using real 3D graphics instead of hi res bitmapped graphics.
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#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Kenneth

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Posted January 11 2003 - 11:06 PM

The options menu has settings for software or hardware acceleration so I think this version is 3D accelerated. Kenneth

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   Jim__B

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Posted January 12 2003 - 02:29 AM

What kind of computer do you have? I would really like to get this game but the recommended specs say PIII500. I met the rest of the minimum specs. I have a P2 450 with 384 MB RAM 16MB TNT. Does anyone now if I could run have perfomance issues?

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff Peake

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Posted January 12 2003 - 06:13 AM

My System: Athlon XP 1900+ 512MB PC 3000 RAM GeForce 4 4400 (latest drivers) 120GB Western Digital HD (8MB buffer) Win XP Pro SP1 It runs fine at 1600x1200 with all options maxed out...for a while. When my city got to about 20,000 people I had to reduce the setting as it was very choppy. Now I run it at 1280x1024, and I have traffic/people turned off. It runs pretty smooth. I really liked having the traffic moving along the streets, but it really made it choppy. Overall I would say performance is below average. It really chugs along when you get a big city. Also, the game seems to freeze up and crash alot. Hopefully they will patch it soon. Jeff

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Jason Quillen

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Posted January 12 2003 - 08:49 AM

Kelley, My comp is a Pentium 4 with 111 Gigs and a Radeon 9700 pro - when I installed SC4 the game automatically set itself to high detail in every setting with one exception. It put the game at 16-bit color display, which I thought was odd. I switched the setting to 32-bit and rebooted and played SC4 again. I noticed ZERO color change, but I got a lot of slow down once my city's got big. So last night I switched back to 16-bit color and played and I dont get any slow down now. JQ




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