Tag Archives: simcity

Miniature Melbourne (Updated with Disaster Footage)


With my dual focus on film and urban planning I couldn’t resist this great short film by Melbournian Nathan Kaso using tilt-shift effects to give the illusion of Melbourne as a giant train set (or possibly a more functional version of the newest SimCity). While I know applications like Instagram have made tilt-shift overly familiar as a creative device, there’s a big difference between using it well and using it badly. Kaso knows how to use it well, with an excellent choice of subjects, time-lapse to enhace the toy-like effect, and very evocative use of sound and music.

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Let’s Start Building

Maxis have announced that SimCity 5 will be released in 2013, marking their return to the franchise they invented, and making it official that the awful (non-Maxis developed) SimCity Societies should not be thought of as the fifth instalment in the series. The trailer is below, and there’s some good information at the official website. A good article on the underlying game engine is here.

I’ve said my piece on the qualities of SimCity, and its importance to the urban planning profession, here. I genuinely feel its important that one or more good city builder games are out there, although I should add that this view has in the past had me labelled a “drooling, mouth-breathing moron.”

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I Thought it Sounded Familiar

Herman Cain

Herman Cain is long gone as a U.S. Presidential nominee (after giving a farewell speech quoting the Pokemon movie), but his memory lingers. And, crazily, I feel he has vindicated me.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for Planning News which looked at the parallels between SimCity and actual policy-making, and what it might mean if people took the lessons of SimCity and applied them to actual situations. This article memorably caused me to be labelled a “drooling, mouth breathing moron” by a commenter over at The Age when one of their blogs mentioned the story. But was Herman Cain playing some SimCity when he formulated his policies?

I missed it at the time, but amongst in the coverage of this was this great article by Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post. As Terkel points out – getting all the nerdy details impressively correct – Herman Cain’s infamous 999 tax plan echoes SimCity 4‘s tax structure. Cain had a 9% corporate tax, 9% personal income tax, and 9% sales tax; this echoed SimCity 4‘s approach of a 9%commercial tax, 9% residential tax, and 9% industrial tax. I might add that these are just the default rates for SimCity, which I guess makes SimCity’s tax model more complex than Cain’s.

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All Planners Have Thought This

Some real posts should follow shortly, but as a filler here’s an image expressing a thought every planner has had while playing Sim City. (From Cracked’s “If Video Games Were Realistic.”)

I looked more seriously at the game vs reality of Sim City here.

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“Stephen Rowley is Quite Obviously a Drooling, Mouth-breathing Moron”

I was googling myself the other day – I know, I know – and stumbled across this page squirreled away on the Age website, where Jason Hill had blogged about my Planning News article on SimCity (which is reproduced in full here).

What made my day was this comment underneath by “RealityCheck:”

Stephen Rowley is quite obviously a drooling, mouth-breathing moron.

“OMGZ, no MS Flight Simulatorz, who willz flies all de planes!?” … retard.

On a sidenote, this article does explain the absolutely horrendous state of australia’s capital cities.

Love ya work Rowley.

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Job Opportunities in the Virtual City: Planners and SimCity

When it comes to the pop-culture representation of various professions, doctors, lawyers and the police have traditionally been the most heavily represented on television. Yet urban planners can claim a disproportionate prominence in the area of computer games: since 1989, one of the most persistent game genres has been city-builder games, most famously epitomised by the SimCity series. It’s possible that SimCity has done more than any other single source to disseminate information about what urban planners do, especially amongst younger sections of the population. But what do SimCity and other city-builder games say – and teach – about our profession?

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