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back to article SimCity 2000

The summer of 1995, I remember it well. I was but a slip of lad at the time, slightly console obsessed perhaps, but about to embark on a period of PC gaming that would put me at the forefront of cutting-edge videogame technology, nearly bankrupting my parents as I went. It was my birthday and I’d just finished hooking up my …

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Microwave power! Not entirely fiction

The concept of Microwave power was even explained in the game in a crude sense - it's beamed down from collectors in space. One of the disasters, if I recall correctly, was for the microwave beam to miss the receiver and fry people around it. I believe it is based on real research..

I haven't played it for so many years, though.

Anyway, great choice of game. Sim City 2000 was absolutely cracking. I remember buying it, in the box (remember when PC games had great packaging? Large and colourful) and playing it until the small hours on my old AMD AM-386 SX-40 and 1MB Trident ISA graphics card. Good times, good times.

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Ru
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Re: Microwave power! Not entirely fiction

I liked the way that the microwave power disaster was simply called "Oops".

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Unhappy

Re: Microwave power! Not entirely fiction

There was something quite wonderful about walking into my local Game store 1993-1995 and seeing three walls packed with those lovely made black cardboard PC game boxes (they really were lovely boxes) all vying for your attention and wallet. Sim City, Wing Commander, Doom, Ultima, Syndicate blah blah blah.....

Now its one rack of budget PC titles stuffed by the stockroom door in crappy DVD cases.

It's just not the same.

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The cynic in me wonders whether you guys are trying to hint at me to buy something today..?

:)

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Go

Pretty sure some versions of it have been abandoned (at least some versions of it) and are free game. I see it's also still on GoG.com, at a somewhat extortionate price.

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Ru
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Meh

Given the less than impressive state of the last couple of Sim Cities, I'll certainly not be buying the latest unseen. EA are still the masters of sucking the life out of a creative dev team and then reanimating the corpse of the franchise to shamble through another few releases to wring the last few pennies out of it.

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Unhappy

@Ru

Are you counting Sim City 4 in that because that's the last actual Sim City game if you ignore that horrid mess "Sim City Societies". I quite like SC4 especially when you add in Rush Hour to it for all manner of high speed transport.

Anyway, ignoring those games and going on my beta play from the beta weekend not long back this game is missing quite a lot of things like terraforming before you play but it was quite fun. I know EA will be killing it with DLC and micro-transaction crap all over but I almost don't care. I've wanted a new Sim City for a long time. I feel dirty but I'm an addict man! Gotta feed my habit.

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@Flawless

There is no such thing as Abandonware. They are still copyright, and copying it without permission is still illegal.

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Anonymous Coward

Good point, however I nearly missed this post as I'm currently being distracted by all the HUGE adverts for the new SimCity game...

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Meh

Or on the 8th of March perhaps?

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Buy? Why would you buy it? It's abandonware. Just go hit of one of the abandonware sites. Doubtless they all have it.

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Re: @Flawless

@Chad H. - You're partially right. Abandonware is technically illegal, but there's more to the story. The concept of abandonware is that either the entity that owns the copyright no longer exists (in which case the copyright is effectively, if not legally, void because they can neither give permission to copy nor enforce enforce the copyright), no longer sees any point in enforcing the copyright because the game has long since ceased to be profitable (in which case why should you care about the copyright if the company owning it doesn't), or in a few cases the game has been released to public domain (in which case your argument is null).

Sure, it's (usually) illegal, but so is failing to stop your car and wave an orange lantern at every intersection in my home state. It's a law that no one is ever going to enforce. The morality is debatable, but I'm personally of the opinion that if the copyright holders don't care then there's no harm done and therefore no moral violations. Especially considering that some of these great early works of the art of making video games would be lost forever without abandonware sites and collectors.

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Re: @Flawless (@Sisk)

In this case Sim City 2000 remains on sale, via gog.com, for a grand total of $6. So regardless of the illegality of abandonware, ripping this game off has no moral justification either.

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Re: @Flawless (@Sisk)

I believe that's because, unlike true abandonware, the rights to the game are still viably held (in this case by EA, which bought out Maxis and all its associated rights in 1997, a few years after SC2000 came out).

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Abandonware is such a lazy and ill thought out term.

If the owner of a copyright no loner exists, the software is an orphan work and up for grabs.

If the owner still exists but is not actively enforcing their rights, you are still infringing their copyright by making unauthorised copies. The only reason you're not being sued is because the money they'd get out of it would be less than the lawyer's fee. The exception to this is of course if the owners have given explicit permission for the software to be freely distributed (usually it'll come with a licence stating so).

If a game is still being licenced from the copyright holder and sold commercially it doesn't even fall under the loose term of 'abandonware'.

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Re: Abandonware is such a lazy and ill thought out term.

"Abandonware is such a lazy and ill thought out term."

Not to be an ass, but have you even thought out the term, even with "ill thought"? You don't seem to understand the term, you are fixated on the copyright issue. The term is used by consumers who see something that is abandoned by any means, copyright is not considered. For instance Deadly Towers, Milon's Secret Castle, Techno Cop are all Abandonware, doesn't matter if they are copyrighted because they are still abandoned.

You can ramble on all day about copyright if you like, but we don't care. We only care if it is going to become "Abandonware". BTW, I really hope someone rescues Techno Cop from abandonment, I loved that one!

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Re: Abandonware is such a lazy and ill thought out term.

I do understand the term, and I 'fixate' on copyright because that's what this boils down to. The term 'abandonware' is used to describe both orphan works and works where it isn't worth the effort for the rights holder to pursue anyone infringing those rights. This is why it's lazy and ill thought out, because it conflates a legitimate act (sharing orphan works,) with what is essentially piracy. It may be piracy without fear of recompense through the civil courts but that doesn't change what it is.

'You can ramble on all day about copyright if you like, but we don't care. We only care if it is going to become "Abandonware".'

Arse to other people's rights. Gimme! Gimme!

Says it all, really...

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Megaphone

Police stations

I still have that sound clip burned into my brain.. the one with the siren then a garbled woman saying something like "betas copburger 128 9" or whatever. It doesn't help that it seems to be the go-to clip of police radio used on TV, films etc.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Police stations

The weird thing? I've heard that same clip in programmes that purport to be documentaries. Same voice and inflection, which means either it's such a standard piece of police shorthand that it gets used everywhere and spoken in the same way, or... er...

Hey, anyone got any tinfoil?

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Re: Police stations

Was it not "Bay Area - San Fran 128..." ?

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Playing it on a 386 SX 40?

Blimey, it struggled on my horrible Packard Bell 486SX 50!

Wasn't it one of the first games with SVGA graphics?

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Re: Playing it on a 386 SX 40?

I'm sure I was just more patient with the PC at the time.

I remember playing Doom II on the same system, and on certain levels, slowdown made it so bad I had to make the screen size smaller.

Classic.

Yes, if I could see myself playing it now, I'm sure I would think it was dire in performance.

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Re: Playing it on a 386 SX 40?

You would be right (it supported 640x480x8b--VGA was normally limited to 4b). It was also a Protected Mode game (thus why you needed at least a 386DX or the like to play it), so for its time it was rather cutting edge.

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Re: Playing it on a 386 SX 40?

It used VESA for graphics, and yes it did SVGA, or 800x600 for the kids who don't know what SVGA is.

It also required a better graphics card; I remember it running like ass on my 486, but it ran well on my friend's 386. Of course, once I switched to our first Pentium 133, it ran decently.

I have the original CD somewhere ... it was a strange thing to have on CD, the game was 2Mb, so most of the CD was basically wasted!

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It needed extra stuff on Amiga too

If I remember correct, it needed 2 mb of RAM on Amiga while almost all Amigas had just 1 mb with RAM plugged in.

Base memory of Amiga 500 was 512K.

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Re: It needed extra stuff on Amiga too

Later memory expansions had more than just 512K on board. An Amiga 500+ is supposed to have 1MB (but Commodore didn't always agree..!) so with one of the later expansions that would be (barely) enough. But the 500+ was just a warmed over version of the 1987 original - SC2000 was released in 1994, so expecting a fundamentally 7 year old design to keep up is asking a bit much. Commodore did have the solution though - it was called the Amiga 1200 (or the 3000 or 4000 if you had money to burn)

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Agreed - was waiting for this article after I saw the earlier piece on the original, which inspired me to fire up SC2K in DOSBox as well! What's funnier is that SC3000 wouldn't play on a more modern laptop, didn't seem to get on with XP. Brilliant, humorous and addictive!

Must admit it's a lot easier when you can race through a few hundred years to build up some profit.

@Piro - boxes and proper manuals! Didn't the SC2K one dedicate half the book to essays on urban development? I remember buying SIMFarm as a 'classic' game too, and it having similar farming tips.

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SIMCITY 3000

I found that by setting compatibility mode to Windows 95 or 98, the game ran. This must also be done for the launcher.exe on the CD (virtual) or u don't get music (which is part of the fun)

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Holmes

In only 7 days time EA Games "its in the game"(tm) will announce their full take over of The Register.

Looking forward to the sports style commentary, and insightful opinions of the players, no hold on, we get that already...

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Easter Egg

No, not the software type.

A few years ago I received a SIM City 2000 Easter Egg, a cheap chocolate egg with a little CD containing the game. Best Easter egg ever!

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Try a 386 SX-25

Only took me 6 months to figure out how to make a boot disk and get it running. Not all that bad for an 11 year old though.

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I haven't personally confirmed this, but I have heard the new Sim City has much smaller maps than Sim City 2000. Likely because they are trying to simulate a whole city at the individual-car level.

What was nice about sim city 2000 was the map was so big you could build 4 separate towns in different parts of the map and link them later. Building a town felt like harvesting a crop. You'd lay down some initial town and then hope/wait for the money to come in so you could afford to expand it. And it was always fun to have some big construction project to save up for, eg an expensive tunnel to build or expensive bridge across a river to construct in order to link two separated settlements, or to get the cash to replace that polluting coal plant with a nuclear one.

Now these games seem to be more focused on flashy graphics and having a "the sims" level of detail where you can follow individual citizens around. I guess most people like that kind of stuff.

I would have preferred if the series instead went down the "bigger maps" route, and made the later game more challenging with a more complex economy where things like recessions could naturally emerge. Having a map large enough to build a dozen huge metropolises miles from each other, linked by super highways with various smaller settlements along the way, would have been really cool.

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Having a map large enough to build a dozen huge metropolises miles from each other, linked by super highways with various smaller settlements along the way, would have been really cool

Like SimCity 4?

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SC2k did simulate journeys to an extent. IIRC from the official guide

Every so often the simulator checks to see if it can make a valid trip to one of the other zones. It starts by first looking for a transport square, and allows a maximum of 3 steps to a transport square - Either a Road, Train depot (not a rail square), Subway station or bus station.

It then had a certain allowance of tiles to make it to its desitination, Road IIRC took 3 per tile; bus, train, subway and highways were less than this. Sims would also randomly decide to use public transport if they encountered it.

If it passed, the zone was allowed to continue developing, if it failed after a certain number of fails it gets abandoned.

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Not like SimCity 4. I wanted a continuous single map I could scroll across. Sim City 4 tries to fake that by having a kind of campaign view where you can see all your maps in a grid and so if you want to make a huge metropolis theoretically you can create each part in a separate map. SimCity 4 did have information flowing between neighbouring regions, like crime and pollution levels, but the arbitrary map edge barrier was still there. Closing the map and loading it's neighbor just broke immersion too much for me. I never felt it was the same map/city, but lots of separate ones. Biggest problem for me was I knew neighbouring cities were frozen in time and weren't being simulated.

I realize a massive simulation would be a CPU drain, but that's why I was bemoaning all the focus on simulating finer detail in the new sim cities. If they stuck to coarser simulation level like sim city 2000 I wonder how much larger the supported maps could be.

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"SC2k did simulate journeys to an extent. IIRC from the official guide"

Simulating transport connectivity is necessary for a city simulator. But it is more than sufficient to simulate traffic connectivity at a coarse level like Sim City 2000 did. My complaint is the new Sim City simulating at the per-car level.

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I would have preferred if the series instead went down the "bigger maps" route

Indeed. I have a Sim City 2000 game that I've been working on 10-15 minutes at a time for about a month now. It's beginning to look like I'm going to run out of land before I hit the all important 120k population mark where arcologies become available. I must have done something very wrong early on (which, given that it's been 15 years since I last played it, isn't surprising).

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Pint

Nicer Everything

The new Sim City has larger and better everything.

It's going to raise the bar again.

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Happy

@sisk

The way I was able to pull off a 120k population was pretty easy:

- Before starting, create the city with the terrain editor and flatten *all* terrain. Mountains and stuff will rob you from valuable building spaces. But you must have at least a river or something as a water source.

- Zone *everything* as dense. Dense residential, dense commercial, dense industrial.

These two tips should get you a 120k population city. :)

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Happy

Re: @sisk

My understanding is that the new SimCity is a "bottom-up" rather than "top-down" simulation - rather than, for example, traffic being a function of road usage based on location of residential areas & how many people a road can support (once traffic exceeds 100% you get "heavy traffic", and lots of cars suddenly appear on the road), the new SimCity instead simulates *each individual car* - they're all there because they belong to a house, and are going to a job. Traffic is therefore completely dynamic - there's no preset "low", "medium" and "heavy" traffic, it is what it is. And it affects everything - heavy traffic stops fire trucks dead, cops cant move through the cities, etc. Power is simulated in a similar way (but I believe they've gotten rid of water pipes, and they're now incorporated into the road).

The new cities are apparently all roughly the same size as the "medium" blocks in SimCity 4 - so you won't be able to build a massive, thriving metropolis in a single map, but it puts more focus on getting a smaller city running well - the limitation forces the player to plan, and possibly rebuild, multiple times to get the perfect city. The limitation is due to the "bottom-up" design requiring a lot of power to run, since everything is being simulated, and trying to make the game accessible to everyone who may not be running high end rigs. I don't think they've ruled out bigger maps in the future once hardware catches up though.

Ultimately I'm looking forward to it, it seems EA has realised Societies was a piece of shit and they're giving Will Wright a bit more freedom to make a more faithful reboot of the franchise - the only thing I despise is the "online required" aspect of the game - it means playing with other players on a single region is a seamless experience, but really, EA, why almost cripple one of the few truly great games you've made in recent years by making it "completely" online?! (you can play a "private" region by yourself, but *still* require an internet connection since so much of the game is server side).

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@Esskay

Will Wright has nothing to do with Simcity 2013. EA wheeled him out to give a thumbs up to the game after the shit storm over the always online requirement, but that's his only connection.

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Go

SC2K came with half decent scenarios too - the fiendisly difficult Flint was a right pig to achieve without resorting to cheating. ISTR was achievable by issuing some bonds, putting schools and colleges everywhere and raising taxes on low tech industries.

WATER who managed to get enough.... putting pumps around lakeshores and suchlike never seemed to get any more!

Power was always hydro / fusion. Putting schools and colleges everywhere ensured hitech. High taxes and high spends always worked quite well in hitech... maybe the authors were closet socialists?

Plymouth Arcos rock... make sure you put a police station by them.

You could also get rid of roads altogether and have nothing but trains ISTR.

Still have this old gem and play it to this day.

LC

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Glad to see I'm not the only one to use this tactic of hills with impossible water supplies :)

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Joke

wow

Wow you sound like the mayors of most cities here in the states. Realism at its finest.

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This post has been deleted by its author

The days when games fitted on a couple of floppy disks! Managed to build up a city with Arcologies. Anyone remember if Simcity 4 allows you to import cities from SimCity 2000?

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DosBox not neccessarily

I have the Urban Renewal Kit of SC2000, which is a Windows build, and works perfectly under XP / 7.

Though the original I had was on DOS on a 486. Ran quite well in fact.

I remember trying to lay nice dual carriageways, with tunnels under a single row of raised land as an underpass junction. I ended up with so much road that the roads advisor became very angry, advising me that I couldn't cut spending.

I can still remember the music, and the noises of zoo animals / airplanes etc.

Never quite got into Sim City 3 or 4 in the same way since.

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