Sim City


SimCity 2000

SimCity 3000

SimCity 4

One of the classic great games of all time. Predecessor to TheSims?.

But like all games in the SimSeries?, completely pointless. Completely addictive. -- MatthewTheobalds (who has been known to leave computer on for weeks on end to up that population...)
I think it has a point. I would like to know how my mayor does at SimCity. Could your mayoral candidates handle one of the natural disaster scenarios?

Besides, even though the source code of the game is not published, the assumptions behind the code are, and I believe the player can tweak them.

In any case, it's a welcome example of a game that makes its players think, and does not depend upon violence. -- EricJablow

Your mayor would hopefully fail miserably. An interview (or a post to ; I forget) a long time ago by the game rule engineer at Maxis indicated that they just made up the rules until they were fun. They have no direct relation to reality. -- SunirShah

That's not a very accurate paraphrasing of the article you probably read (which I wrote, based on a talk by WillWright?). Of course the rules are related to reality. But they're optimized for gameplay. Here's a link and the quote: -- DonHopkins Some muckety-muck architecture magazine was interviewing Will Wright about SimCity, and they asked him a question something like "which ontological urban paridigm most influenced your design of the simulator, the Exo-Hamiltonian Pattern Language Movement, or the Intra-Urban Deconstructionist Sub-Culture Hypothesis?" He replied, "I just kind of optimized for game play."

I know I'd never give my mayor the power to call Godzilla (or Bowser, if you're playing the Nintendo version) to stomp on my city. We can't even trust him with simple things like, um, running the city. -- MattBehrens

I'm sure it's very unrealistic, but that doesn't mean performance at it wouldn't be a useful indicator of mayoral potential. I'm sure it uses some of the same skills as real-world government. I'd expect the correlation to be pretty weak, though. --GarethMcCaughan

Mayors don't decide where to put streets, or even whether to have a new stadium. They get to campaign, lobby, negotiate, pressure, and influence. The city building is planned and done by someone else, though. It takes a totally different set of skills to influence other people to build the city you want than it does to just build it yourself.

KenLivingstone has confessed to being a SimCity fan.

Mayors don't lay out streets, but city planners do, and they're under the auspices of city government. Zoning boards determine zoning, and are subject to oversight by the city's government and citizens. I don't know that a "realistic" simcity would be all that fun, though it would be interesting if all your zoning and bulldozing got vetoed at least once in a while. Right now it doesn't even create any ill will to bulldoze away block after block of housing.

Besides, even though the source code of the game is not published, the assumptions behind the code are

Are they on the web anywhere? One thing I noticed was that building cities with absolutely no roads at all was generally a winning strategy - just use nice non-polluting railways instead. The citizenry complain a bit, but carry on settling anyway --DanBarlow

Check out for the web site for Sim City. The former Flash-dependency of the site has now been removed.

There is(was?) also a SimCity TradingCardGame. That was nice. -- OleAndersen

Good news: SimCity has been OpenSource'd a few months ago

Here's the source code, which has been cleaned up, refactored, translated to C++, and integrated with Python:

And here's the plan for developing it into an constructionist educational platform:

Besides, even though the source code of the game is not published, the assumptions behind the code are

They're not quite published, but SimCity 4 has been modded so that people can find out what they are and change them, usually to make them more realistic. They've done a lot at .

I'm pretty sure nobody can modify the following assumptions:

The first two assumptions are radically violated in European cities, which means you can't simulate any kind of real functioning city in SimCity; the only functioning city cores in North America being IIRC Toronto and San Francisco.

And the third is just really annoying since if you created a city from scratch, you'd want to use land value property taxes instead of market value taxes (the former encourage improvements to land, the latter punish it).

The fourth is just dumb because it means you can't build a subway on the supercheap if you build it before the city.


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