A brief comparrission to Sim City 4

A brief comparrission to Sim City 4

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Turjan

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Those maintenance cycles were good for switching power plant types :shrug:

Regarding Chirper, the low signal to noise ratio is the problem. While some of those chirps are quite charming, they just become repetitive noise after a few hours of play.

SC4's ticker was functional. It wasn't as entertaining as in some prior game though ("YOU CAN'T CUT BACK ON FUNDING! YOU WILL REGRET THIS!")
 
Last edited:

DocDesastro

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At the moment...I find SimCity4 better, because it simply runs smooth on my computer so I can PLAY it. I picked up C:S when it came out and had fun with it, but now, after the last two DLC I cannot play until next hardware update on my behalf with the same rig - total lockdown. That is the price of making everything more shiny - it eats up loads of RAM and CPU while adding no real new features. Remember that looks is not always everything. I could cope 'worse' graphics without my eyes melting out of their sockets. I am of the 'generation 8-bit' so I have seen worse to worst. Features enhancing gameplay are the trump card in a game like C:S and the emphasis should clearly lie there instead of making bigger, shinier maps.
 

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At the moment...I find SimCity4 better, because it simply runs smooth on my computer so I can PLAY it. I picked up C:S when it came out and had fun with it, but now, after the last two DLC I cannot play until next hardware update on my behalf with the same rig - total lockdown. That is the price of making everything more shiny - it eats up loads of RAM and CPU while adding no real new features. Remember that looks is not always everything. I could cope 'worse' graphics without my eyes melting out of their sockets. I am of the 'generation 8-bit' so I have seen worse to worst. Features enhancing gameplay are the trump card in a game like C:S and the emphasis should clearly lie there instead of making bigger, shinier maps.
perhaps you should list your system spec and amount of custom content. the base recommended spec demands of the game haven't really changed except for the increase in RAM usage by the base game
 

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Seriously..my machine is 7 years+ old now and uses a dual core @ 3 GHz, reasonable GPU and 4GB RAM - works fine for most but the newest stuff still - I even could play XCOM2 with it without weeping while accepting big loading times between missions.
Concerning C:S I am talking vanilla game with only the official DLCs. Game was playable, when it came out but now it freezes in memory hell without using any mods - just the plain DLCs available on the market. New mainboard, RAM and CPU is due the coming year, so no worries. But to be honest, this is my current situation - I cannot play C:S because my hardware has become too bad for shiny, modern games so I am stuck with SC4 at the moment - or I cannot upgrade my current RAM anymore because my mainboard will not accept more RAM or I cannot find any legacy stuff that will fit in. I do not care about good graphics - give me water treatment - or better: a working, reasonable and manageable fresh water cycle for the game, because here in Germany, sanitation is communal stuff managed partially at the city hall - so mayor's stuff to cope with.
 

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4GB of RAM is minimum to run the game, the general consensus is that as each DLC has added more to the RAM footprint realistically 6GB of RAM should be minimum. you can try stopping all unneeded processes and stop all other apps from running when trying to play CS
 

Will Steel

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I think, you're exaggerating on this one.

I am not. SC2013 actually has a lot better education system (one of the few things actually good in that game). Higher education even allows you to build structures with separate cirriculum like engineering, medicine, law, science and such, which unlocked some building types and modular building additions (a feature unique to that game), changing how certain buildings functioned.

Meanwhile, what do we have here in Skylines?

a) An education system that doesn't affect the game much except leveling up homes and creating workers for higher level workplaces. Arguably that is its purpose, but it doesn't seem particularly important.

b) An education system that doesn't do anything other than reduce garbage, and maybe if we're being generous it reduces a negligent amount of crime. Education in SC4 and to an extent SC13 was the key in cutting crime (even more so than police). And reduced garbage, cut pollution generated by buildings, increased land values, and slightly improved citizen health.

This has more to do with how lame crime is in this game, but it still means that education had realistic effects in SC4, and thus was very important.

c) The game has simple 3-tier education. Colleges don't exist, nor do libraries, museums and other places that kept up the education value of a city in SC4-SC13 while adding other effects. The similar things that do exist are tourist attractions.

d) Education levels don't affect how certain advanced buildings work. In SC13 if you tried building a nuclear power plant with uneducated simpletons in the city, they would cause a meltdown, which meant you needed to keep some highly educated professionals in your city to staff advanced public buildings.
 

Fox_NS_CAN

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SC2013 actually has a lot better education system (one of the few things actually good in that game). Higher education even allows you to build structures with separate cirriculum like engineering, medicine, law, science and such, which unlocked some building types and modular building additions (a feature unique to that game), changing how certain buildings functioned.

Interesting. There have been a number of people ask for a bit more in depth education system.

I personally don't want it to go too crazy in depth management, but I would not mind a little more. I'd like to be able to build a bit more fancy Universities with buildings that actually do something other than add more student capacity. This has come up as a DLC request. I feel like a full blown DLC would be more than I would want, but a mini-DLC with several building types that actually affect things in the game would be nice.
 

Turjan

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a) An education system that doesn't affect the game much except leveling up homes and creating workers for higher level workplaces. Arguably that is its purpose, but it doesn't seem particularly important.
It's not overly interesting as you basically must build a university, or your commercial zones will end up in a constant level-up/abandon cycle. A city without university is a no go.
 

Will Steel

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I really hope the SC features, like better education system, are targeted by DLCs in future. We need such actual features instead of gimmicks like "musical concerts".

And yeah, it shouldn't be overly complex, but still complex and customizable enough like SC13 education system is.

It's not overly interesting as you basically must build a university, or your commercial zones will end up in a constant level-up/abandon cycle. A city without university is a no go.

Indeed. As I said in my original post - Cities Skylines suffers from a bad design issue. Instead of adding something as a "benefit" based feature like Simcity, it uses "fixed requirement" approach like Caesar 3. You cannot build a small town or a village in this game and hope to run it, simply because it always requires you to build all the structures, which is completely unrealistic and arbitrary.

The reason I called it a Caesar 3 approach because this is like in Caesar 3, where houses wouldn't evolve one bit unless you built what they required in the vicinity. And then immediately devolve if they lost it and the people start leaving. But even that isn't as extreme as this game.

So for example:

- If I don't build a university, shops are abandoned simply because they need that one arbitrary university-educated employee.

- If I don't build police station, instead of getting unhappy and dealing with crime, citizens just instantly flee.

- If I don't build garbage dumps within a minute of unlocking them at a few hundred population, instead of dealing with increasing trash and dropping land values, citizens just instantly flee.

- If I don't build a graveyard within a minute of unlocking them, citizens flee once dead bodies aren't picked up. I could understand sewage system, but deathcare feels a bit forcibly implemented in the game, since it doesn't relate to city building/management much.

By the time I have built all the infrastructure necessary to actually prevent my dumb snowflake cims from fleeing for no reason, it is no longer a village or even a town. It is a luxurious city. I have to keep a population in tens of thousands and build a big city to sustain it all through taxes.

In SC4 I could build a very large town without building any public building other than a fire station or two. Sure the RCI would stop growing and people might eventually riot, but you could keep people placated with lots of farmlands. It didn't force me to "build everything or else everyone leaves" like this game arbitrarily does.
 

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The only Simcity i've played was on my Atari 520STE which was quite literally in the last century. I'm liking CSL very much but i still think it could do with a tad more management depth.
 

DocDesastro

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I have to strongly agree with Will Steel in this one. Citizens should not flee because their dead neighbour has not been collected by the coroner or you are prevented from building a certain infrastructure because you lack 2 citizens in your town. The biggest problem arises, when the town mutates into a luxurious utopia. And we all know - where such structures are...look around them to see slums, favelas and other unwanted, crime and poverty-ridden areas. Look at Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, New York.

Managing and planning a city is about balancing stuff. Especially balancing needs and taxes.
Every citizen wants some things and contributes by paying taxes. I want to share some of my views here without the ability to say how such a thing can be achieved. I like simulations and feel more immersed, the more depth they offer, so I am pretty immune to looks or 360°- views which feel like dead weight to me. To the point: I do not want to paint my city like in a Bob Ross episode but to plan and execute and watch my plans unfold and tweak them a bit more. Just free up more RAM and CPU for number-crunching and simulating my city and not to make my water glitter in the sunset (which is nice, but unnecessary). So my views will mirror these personal preferences so do not be offended, if you like another style of play.

Actually, you are playing a mayor/city designer with almost god-like powers. So...what is the main purpose of a mayor or city council? Running the city of course, but what is that?
As told before, it is about the needs of the citizens. Why do people settle down and build houses? Answer is somewhat simple: Security and food which translates to nowadays 'have a job there and to be able to meet my needs to stay happy'
And we could try to do something that has been done in the Tropico games: The citizens there had education levels, but also needed certain stuff and if not met, they revolted or left the island.
Your task is to provide an area, where the CIMs can find a job and live happily and this does not mandatory mean be rich and live in luxury.
I will try to sum up the needs:
- job quality reaching from nil meaning no job and thus no income to max which means having a well-paid job
- sanitation access meaning plumbings from fresh water taps to sewerage and waste water treatment
- electricity and web access with the last reflecting needs of modern times. I have seen houses staying empty, because no one wanted to move in because of lacking internet access there.
- shopping reaching from basic foodstuff for sustenance over commodities to luxury goods. I think you agree that you would be annoyed, if you had to live somewhere you won't get basic food and basic stuff like toilet paper, soap for every-day's life. You would not care about driving to the next town for shopping clothes or electronics but be offended, if it were 100km away from you and rather look for a job elsewhere. Luxuries is nice to have, but frankly, no one buys them regularly and they need a large population to be supported.
- Police and Firefighters. You fear crime. You fear your house burning. I'd rather not live in a law-free area where mugs and thugs rule and the police is far away.
- Medical services. Sometimes you need a doctor and luckily and rather seldom, you need a hospital with emergency units. The farther you live from a hospital, the higher the chance is that you are dead before the ambulance arrives. There are people seriously considering this, when moving somewhere like elderly people.
- Education as it is the key to a good job. Not every city has a university and frankly, this is nothing, a city besides a metropolis can cope with. Mostly they are private or federal funded. Education is very important and should be treated with proper respect.
- Recreation. Work is not everything. A walk in the park, a swim in the public pool or visiting a museum or sports stadium can help to blow off some steam as well as using services like visiting restaurants or bars.
- Culture. The mind needs to be nourished as well. While there are some who just enjoy TV trash, there are some, who might enjoy an opera, art or reading a good book. Culture could attract certain kinds of tourists
- Spiritual needs. Not everyone is an atheist but still we all might have the need to flee from the every-day's life once awhile. Be it the silence of a church, wandering in nature or partaking in a religious community - it helps keeping our minds clean.
- Traffic and infrastructure. I do not want to live somewhere without streets leading elsewhere. I have target destinations and I want to reach them quickly, stress-less and safe.
- Pollution and Nature. I do not want to drown in trash and also not have the sky have a funny brown color and the local river being pink or glowing in the dark.

So...basically spoken: Having a simulation game about cities is about simulating the CIMs living there. You have tools like zoning and placing props. Sometimes you can choose what
will emerge from a zone, sometimes you need to find the correct combination of surroundings. But it is not a paint-job.

Going in detail would take pages of posts, so just some basic ideas.
 

sys_64738

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I am not. SC2013 actually has a lot better education system (one of the few things actually good in that game). Higher education even allows you to build structures with separate cirriculum like engineering, medicine, law, science and such, which unlocked some building types and modular building additions (a feature unique to that game), changing how certain buildings functioned.

Thank you for the explaination, now I've got your point.

The fact that SC13's education system doesn't make any differences in the age of your Sims waters it down a bit, but your points are still valid.

And you're right: I'd also like a little more flesh on the bones of C:S's education system, for example a rate of school dropouts that'll never achieve higher education. (There was a mod once, but it had been abandonded.) Libraries and the education boost ordonance could counter measure this.

And yes: Education has no effect on crime in this game. Just check all the well and highly educated "visitors" in your prison. ;)

Best regards,
sys
 

sys_64738

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I have to strongly agree with Will Steel in this one. Citizens should not flee because their dead neighbour has not been collected by the coroner or you are prevented from building a certain infrastructure because you lack 2 citizens in your town. The biggest problem arises, when the town mutates into a luxurious utopia. And we all know - where such structures are...look around them to see slums, favelas and other unwanted, crime and poverty-ridden areas. Look at Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, New York.

Hi DocDesastro,

thank you for all of your insight - I really like these ideas.

The Cims are indeed a bit shallow and should have more likes/dislikes. I think, this would make the game a lot more interesting and it would strengthen the district mechanics even more. Okay, maybe it should not be at such a fine level like in Tropico, but a little bit here and there would be nice (for example cyclists vs. car drivers, eco lovers vs. business).

But keep in mind that this will surely boost up the RAM requirements even more, as these datas have to be stored for every single Cim. (Naja, irgendwann wird es sicher dann doch Zeit für einen neuen Compi. ;))

Best regards,
sys
 

Fox_NS_CAN

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so I am pretty immune to looks or 360°- views which feel like dead weight to me.

CS isn't all about looking good... the awful pink signs and washed out default LUT are proof of that. ;)

But more seriously:

I do not want to paint my city like in a Bob Ross episode but to plan and execute and watch my plans unfold and tweak them a bit more. Just free up more RAM and CPU for number-crunching and simulating my city and not to make my water glitter in the sunset (which is nice, but unnecessary). So my views will mirror these personal preferences so do not be offended, if you like another style of play.

While I do lean more to city painting, and less to the micromanaging, I do agree with your points. I probably/possibly mostly differ in how deep we'd want it to go.

I don't want it too finicky, and don't want everything to fall apart when I am busy laying out a new area. It's annoying enough to have a power outage or water/sewer issues offscreen when you are looking at something else for an extended period and there's no warning. (Chirps don't count, signal-noise ratio is terrible.) If I don't get everything just right, I don't want it to go to crap.

Even as a "mostly painter" style of player, I would like to see a little more depth and realism... just not too much.

Education is a good example. I haven't played other games to compare to, but would love to see things like libraries and other cultural things like you mentioned have an impact on education.

I know you mentioned that not all real cities have universities, but they pretty much do in CS, and I am okay with that. I imagine university buildings that focus on something and then impact something related in the city. Example: A "geology" building might boost oil and ore industries (both the regular vanilla and the Industries DLC variety). To keep it simple without too much overhead, I presume that an income boost for those buildings would be the way to go, or maybe reduce the rate of depletion of resources. A "medical" building (I currently sometimes use the Med Lab from "High-Tech Buildings" on my university property to simulate this) could boost something with hospitals/clinics or just give a health bonus or something to that effect. Some sort of Arts building could maybe boost tourism at some (or all) of the Unique Buildings (UBs). (Modern Art Museum, Opera House, etc.) Some sort of "science" building that would boost ChirpX, and other UBs like the Science Center, Climate Research Station, and all the "High-Tech Building" DLC UBs. Dorm buildings?

Just my perspective.
 

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I gave some more thoughts about the whole topic. CIMs should have real needs but to differentiate them, we might need to have a wealth system. The wealthier a CIM is, the more taxes he/she generates, but also needs other things. To facilitate and to use a standard I will use the system used in the UK:

CIMs could be divided into social classes:

E - non-working which covers unemployed persons and pensioners as well as lowest grade workers
D - working class which covers manual workers or 'blue collars'
C2 - skilled working class which covers specialized blue collar workers or such with high experience on the job
C1 - lower middle class which covers the white collar workers in low positions like your typical office drone in administration
B - middle class which cover experienced white collars in manager jobs or administration
A - upper middle class which covers high managers and officials

To determine, into which class a CIM belongs, we need to look at the education level and the job level
The education level could be determined by using the RNG to determine a rigid 'IQ' of the CIM. Imagine a roll of two d4 resulting into numbers between 2 and 8 so 7 levels available with level 2 depicting intellectually handicapped persons which is seldom and 8 depicting geniuses. 4 and 5 are the average joe. The dices rolled must be chosen wisely to not produce too many vegetables or braniacs. Now, this is the potential, they can unlock with education. Each school type will add a portion towards the education count of the CIM up to its maximum determined by IQ level. This means, that a low-IQ person will not benefit from higher lerning and will most likely become a blue collar worker in a job with few decisions and responsabilities while a genius without university access simply wastes its potential. This means, placing and managing education buildings will form your jobforce. Enough said to present the idea while not losing oneself in details.

The buildings offer jobs which can be coded into the prop. Imagine a drive-through restaurant. We might need 1 manager which will be regarded as a white collar worker, we might need 3 to 4 shift leaders counting as skilled workers and about 8 to 10 persons from grade D and E representing occasional students jobbing as 'Lord of the Fries' and hired kitchenhands.
Each of the jobs will create family wealth which can contribute to the family's household of which 1 or 2 persons will count - the 'parents' or 'grown-ups'. The overall wealth level will determine, what kind of housing, shopping, transport and activities will be preferred by the family.

Imagine a class E person meaning low wealth overall. This person will live in small housings and maybe in affordable condos. They are glad, when they can shop something to eat like in a 24/7 store and will most likely do not own a car, so reaching something by foot or bike is paramount but they will be happy about public transport. Even more, if subsidized. Medical services are expected but often are not affordable which has an impact on the longevity of the CIM. Luxuries are not affordable, so these CIMs will ignore delis, restaurants, fashion stores and similar things. For recreation a public park or soccer field might be enough.

The mentioned buildings will service persons of certain classes more than others. A health spa will most likely service persons from class A to C1, maybe C2 with A and B going there regularily. A D or E-class will not visit those as it cannot afford it. The public park is nice and services all but has most effect on lower classes as the richer ones want something more sophisticated than a walk in the park like visiting the opera instead.

This leads to a situation, where you must keep an eye on your workforce and the wealth certain city sectors have and plan infrastructure accordingly, An amusement quarter is a good magnet for all, while the expensive restaurants will not fit into a worker's town(ship) - no customers there and so - as in reality - it is unlikely to find one there.

Add in certain interests like culture, sports, shopping and you will have CIMs going to different places although living on the same spot and having comparable wealth.
Yes, in that case, the city builder mutates into a CIM generator/simulator with the player designing the surroundings and conditions for the CIMs. It is not that you build something to have CIMs but you build something, because you have them.

So, synopsis: Emphasis should lie on the CIM and not on the props. CIMs will determine, which props are needed.
 

Will Steel

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I don't use social media, so even Chriper being sort of related to that sort of thing kind of rubbed me the wrong way from the start (that's just me being me).

The main reason I didn't like Chirper though was that most of the "chirps" seemed to be irrelevant nonsense. The odd important thing seemed to get lost in a flood of crap.

I would like better warnings about FIRE, lack of water or electricity, or the sewer backing up. Preferably an audio cue as well as a visual warning.

I would also like to add that people who "tweet" about some issue in the game are not even accurately close to it.

A lady who complained about no one picking up the dead neighbour, didn't have a single dead body within the next three districts. There was a man complaining about not receiving water, but instead it turned out to be some random factory worker who lived on the opposite side of the city, not affected by damaged pipes at all.

And most annoyingly, I've seen people complain about a fire breaking out but they were neither close to the area, nor lived or worked there.

In SC4, the bulletin messages contained a hyperlink, and clicking on it usually directed you to the exact place of the issue. You just had to click, and it would immediately pan the camera to:

- fire
- crime
- traffic congestion
- building issue (for example an over-packed metro station)
- riots
- homes not receiving service coverage

...and all other sorts of things. It was simplistic but it accurately panned the camera to wherever the message subject was. Without breaking your immersion.

Skylines lacks this feature.

Chirper is really cute and I love it, but it needs some drastic improvements. It needs to tone down filler messages (seriously, they get annoying fast) and there needs to be a feature where only people who actually are living/working/visiting the area will tweet about it, not some random passerby on the highway.
 

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I agree the cims is slightly shallow compared to Sims in SC4. Some other systems in SC4 are better than C:SL, as already posted above.

Also, the traffic congestion in C:SL have few consequences than SC4. In SC4 the commute time have an actual impact. Although C:SL use a completely different (and better in many ways) system, I think traffic congestion should at least have some negative side on buildings.

And I am suprised that no one mentioned the building design in SC4 is better and more realistic than in C:SL.
I understand CO probably did not have the resources for it before game release. But buildings in C:SL is really kind of dull compared to what's in SC4, especially when comparing large city without any building mods. Everyone is using a lot of building mods anyway, so no problem.
 

DocDesastro

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Mods ARE a problem - especially, if hey are mandatory to enjoy the game. They eat up more RAM and CPU. For those with weak machines even vanilla is unplayable currently without any mods involved. Also, I am against a 'the mods will cure a game's quirks' - policy. This is the developer's job. Modders can show, what is possible with an engine and add interesting stuff, but no game should be enjoyable when only using certain mods. It is a bit like visiting a restaurant, where the cooks serve bland dishes only and the customers bring plates, forks or even spices and share them AND are happy to pay full price on top of that. Nice and funny situation, but devs are paid for the stuff they do. It is not the customer's job to do theirs. I have seen this in many games on the current market. They get interesting after someone modded QoL content or added stuff that seemed amiss because of lack of development time/resources. I can hope for gamers becoming company managers more and more. This way, people in charge know about their product and do not see abstract numbers only hammered into them at university. Computer games are not like simple toys or an occasion to ride a hype and milk the customer for money. They need time, QA and resources. Many games seem to be released too quickly and good looks hide the product's flaws until the customer cannot refund. Shovelware is on the rise currently in the cell phone market. This will deter people from becoming gamers.
 

Timmysoboy

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Gotta hop in with the "C:S is an entirely great game without mods" bit real quick here. Don't mean to derail the thread.

On an on track note, I've advocated for a university system similar to what Fox brought up earlier. I'd love it if each milestone in the university brought a new growable too. A big part of the excitement for me is watching a new tower come in.

I've daydreamed a system with school sliders in C:S similar to CS4, but take it a step further. Have the cim track what the slider was at relative to 100% while they were at that school, then have that effect whether the cim attains higher education.

Also, a labor skill level could be implemented to track how good a person is at a job. Sort of bypassing education (there are a ton of skilled jobs out there that require time at the job more than formal education).

Those ideas might have to wait for a version 2, though.
 

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Personally, I play Cities Skylines without mods. The only ones I have is one who don't add anything "meta" of their own (nor any "cheats") and keep the original gameplay and feel intact - RealTime mod, or that one mod which allows you to place a road crossing in the middle of a road, one which increases or makes oil and ore infinite (they deplete too fast), precision engineering and tree brush because those are essential basics, and a bunch of colour correction LUTs.

The sole asset mod I actually have is one tiny parking lot, which was one of the first mods on the workshop back when the game came out. And the suburban power line mod and a retexture of the waterfront line (both which I keep deactivated unless I need it). That's it. It's almost vanilla game.

Simcity 4 was entirely different. I kept and still keep two copies of my SC4 Documents/mod folder.

One folder consists of an absolutely gigantic amount of mods that I downloaded over a decade. Most of them are just assets which turn the game into a Tokyo/Japan theme by replacing building models with Japanese themed buildings, as well as cars. But the same collection also has a huge number of mods that change a lot of things. Lots of public service buildings and parks for variety. A huge number of transport mods from trams, monorails, Shinkansen bullet trains, different types of buses, extreme version of NAM mod with almost 30 different types of roads. Terrain and water textures, complete replacement of flora and trees. And various changes to gameplay. It's a giant bloat of mods that I used to create a Tokyo-like region so large that my PC crashed. :p

The other folder is just a few simple, non-game-changing mods needed for quality of life. A terrain lifter/sinker for more accurate terraforming, a bunch of bug-fixes, and basic version of NAM that fixes base-game roads and adds vanilla-themed items. Nothing more than that - vanilla game with basic vanilla additions.

Thing is, even Simcity 4 is a slightly basic game without mods. Yet it had a very solid foundation which allowed those mods to exist and add in all the features.

I love SC4 even without mods, same as the fact that I love Cities Skylines without mods. The former because it already has so many features that it works almost perfectly, the latter simply because it is clean, stable and enjoyable even without mods. :)

Not a single city-building game has managed to depict modern docks as accurately as SC3000 or even SC2000 anyway.
 
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