SimCity 4, the best citybuilder of all time, was launched 20 years in the past

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When it was launched on January 14th 2003, SimCity 4 had its issues. Its enormous cities would chug on even respectable PCs, for one, and its site visitors simulation appeared outright damaged.

Twenty years later – due to sooner PCs, the Rush Hour growth, and an enormous modding group – SimCity 4 is the perfect of all SimCity games. If what you care about is simulation, scale, selection, and the great thing about city sprawl, it is also the perfect citybuilder.


Setting apart fantasy and medieval variants, the template laid down by the SimCity collection stays the expectation for many citybuilders. As the mayor of a fledgling city, you zone business, residential and industrial districts, place down facilities and providers to fulfill residents, and try and stability the finances as your city begins to tackle a lifetime of its personal. Then, if you’ve constructed a sprawling metropolis and have grown weary, you set off some pure (or unnatural) disasters and begin over.

SimCity 4 did nothing to vary this components however continued its logical development. It has 3D terrain and crisp, clear sprite-art buildings, that are one of many causes it nonetheless appears nice at the moment. It enables you to construct monumental cities, after which commerce assets with the neighbouring metropolis you constructed beforehand. It has a day/night time cycle, so you’ll be able to see your skyscrapers twinkling in the dead of night. You can plop particular person Sims into your metropolis – The Sims 1 launched in 2000 – after which monitor their lives as they commute out of your polluted suburbs to their terrible job, then transfer out of city or die.

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Perhaps most significantly, SimCity 4 included the BAT, the Building Architect Tool, which enabled modders to create their very own buildings and place them within the game. Custom buildings, maps and mods have significantly prolonged the lifetime of SimCity 4 and on the time of writing there are over 21,000 recordsdata available from community site Simtropolis, together with a number of new uploads previously 24 hours.

Mods are why I’m assured calling SimCity 4 the perfect citybuilder of all time. More particularly, it is due to the Network Addon Mod. NAM set out in 2004 to repair SimCity 4’s site visitors points, and as of its final replace in September 2022 has expanded to incorporate new UI instruments, street varieties, mild rail and much more. Given that each modern-day citybuilder inevitably boils all the way down to tinkering with street networks and mitigating site visitors jams, NAM is important.

To tackle the skyscraper within the room: I really like Cities: Skylines and should you’re new to this style, Paradox’s SimCity milkshake-drinker is the place you need to begin. If you will have been enjoying Cities: Skylines and also you’re bored with it, nevertheless, or should you do not wish to cough up for the subsequent piece of DLC, then you need to graduate to SimCity 4. The SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition (together with the Rush Hour growth, additionally launched 2003) is on Steam and GOG. Given that 2013’s SimCity was a bomb, and Maxis’s unique studio in Emeryville closed in 2015, we could by no means see its like once more.

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