Maxis took the stage at the Game Developers Conference and enlightened the crowd on some interesting aspects of the new Glass Box engine that will be powering SimCity 5. As reported by RPS, here’s a summary of that presentation:
- Glass Box is a data-driven simulation that Maxis has built for Maxis-style games, not just SimCity, but other games like Sim Copter and Sim Tower.
- Maxis pins it as their “best bet for the future as a PC driven studio.”
- Glass Box is a simulation of resources (wood, water, pollution, labour hours), units (houses, factories, shops, workplaces), maps (uniform grids laid over the world such as coal, oil, forests and land value).
- If it is being simulated it is visualised, if it is visualised it’s being simulated (insert profundity here).
- SimCity 5 is expected to support “tens of thousands” of units (people and vehicles) each with their own self-contained simulation logic and can all be moving at once.
- No more zig-zagging roads, pipes and power cables. “Fully 3D spline-based paths” replace them, making placements look even on uneven terrain or awkward directions.
- Will have online features such as cloud saves, statistics and multiplayer.
- Multiplayer will use an asynchronous server model. Interactions with friends or foe will be possible without being simultaneously online.
Maxis has also mentioned that, “If the internet goes out for a bit, you can still play.” Why do I get the feeling that some form of always-on DRM is to be expected? What if the internet goes out for longer than “a bit?”
They have also reassured fans that they are still very focussed on supporting a single-player experience.
It’s wonderful to see SimCity 5 as a legitimate game headed for us in 2013. Here’s hoping the DRM doesn’t end up costing it sales.