Holy Cit! Check Out The New Sim City’s Glassbox Engine
A couple of weeks back, during GDC Maxis was on hand claiming that the upcoming new installment of Sim City would use the most complex engine in series history, with the capability to monitor and employ thousands of micro-simulations for a richer, subtler experience that, among other things, can create realistic smog conditions (including reduced worker productivity due to sick days). Maxis has now released the first in a series of videos giving us a much closer look into the engine, dubbed Glassbox.
The intent here is to demonstrate just how complex a simulation Glassbox can handle. Here, we’ll see how each simulation unit contains variable aspects and operates under specific rules (which appear to be somewhat unique). These rules will trigger certain effects; “what you see is always a 1:1 representation” of what is being simulated. What’s cool is that individual simulation units can be combined with other units for combined effects, for instance adding garages to a Firehouse. The level of depth is also impressive, particularly the way elements are added to a given map; the composition of a map will actually affect things like pollution.
Don’t start typing ‘fund’ just yet. This video doesn’t feature anything close to final game graphics. But it’s an excellent look at the skeleton of Sim City 5, and frankly, I’m drooling. Enjoy.