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Good news and bad news for gamers looking forward to the 2013 release of SimCity.
The good news comes in teeny tiny little bits - each individual Sim within the game actually has its own life, as rudimentary as that may be. Gone are the days where little black blobs represented cars, instead, the residents of your city have things to do each day: Wake up, pay rent, go to work.
Initially, that's about it, but as you add more bits and pieces to the game, their lives become more complex and interesting - if a Sim has money after work, they might go somewhere interesting to spend it, making everybody happier. Each virtual person has its own tiny bearing on the entirety of the city - and the entirety of the city has its own bearing on each Sim.
Because it's SimCity, we have to be able to simulate thousands of Sims. It's not SimHamlet -- it's SimCity. So we built this simulation engine to support many, many thousands, tens of thousands of Sims and vehicles in flight simultaneously. So each one of those Sims is a real Sim.
...but while most Sims are generic, there are a few characters thrown in to keep things interesting. Keep an eye out for the arsonist - he'll travel around your city in his black van, setting buildings on fire. Your job: Make sure you have enough police to apprehend him!
Not all characters have a negative impact on the city, but Quigley remained tightlipped on who else would be included.
Now though, time for the bad news (which actually has some slightly better news included to soften the blow).
SimCity will require an always-on internet connection to play. More than simply being a DRM solution, it's suggested that the game will involve an "internet-dependent" experience, pulling content from the internet as you play. This isn't terribly surprising, given the game's strong ties to social networking and online media, but it's still frustrating for gamers who were looking forward to building massive worlds offline.
Good-ish news: While you will need an Origin account to play, you won't need to buy the game through EA's digital distribution system - with the company suggesting the game will be available through other platforms. All eyes then, are on Steam, but the list of stores is yet to be finalised.