Very sad news this week, Maxis as-we-know-it is closed by EA. EA will still support The Sims and Simcity, but the creative team based in Emeryville is being disbanded. It feels like the end of an era. Everybody who plays computer games will have played at least one of the games they made. Even more if you started gaming a while ago. Maxis was known for quirky games like SimAnt, where you play a colony of ants, or SimTower where you needed to pay attention to the place of the elevators. And of course the blockbuster titles that even today make good money, started out as being unique and very different from the other games that were being made. I sincerely hope that this will not be the end of this type of games and some other studio will take up the gauntlet and fill the gaping hole.
The game developers gathered at GDC this week have offered hartwarming support to the now homeless ‘Maxoids’, so I am sure that will will hear of them again in some shape or form. Let’s wish them all the best.
Yesterday NASA’s Kepler team presented new exciting findings. In the race to find an exoplanet similar to Earth this is another step in the right direction. Three new planet candidates slightly bigger than Earth are found to reside in the so-called habitable zone.
Two of these planets belong to one system, dubbed Kepler 62. The system has five planet candidates, three of which orbit close around their star. The two planets, Kepler 62e and 62f, are both small enough to be probably rocky.
The other planet is Kepler 69c, from a system with two candidates. 69b is also rotating near the star of that system.
It is no coincidence that these systems are that way. The method that is used, the slight dimming of the starlight when a planet moves across it, will find the big planet with close orbits the soonest, since they have a relatively big dimming impact on the light emitted by the star.
The other good news is that a new mission called TESS, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, is funded to look in a similar way to stars that are much closer to Earth. Since the Kepler mission has shown that planets are common, looking for planets nearer to us will open additional ways to examine them using existing telescopes.
Hi all, high time for a new post. I have been very busy with work and the new SimCity, but my scedule is getting a bit less tight so I will have more time for this blog again.
In the last weeks the Game Development Conference, GDC, took place in San Francisco, USA. There were two talks about SimCity; of one of which by Stone Librande called “Simulating a City - One Page at a Time”, now has slides online. You can find them at www.stonetronix.com/gdc-2013
The other talk was in the art track, by Ocean Quigley: “Building SimCity: Art in the Servoce of Simulation”.
In a little over a month the new SimCity will be released. Maxis, the developer of the game, is rather active on the social media. Creative Director Ocean Quigley twittered a link to a video he uploaded on YouTube showing 24 hours in a SimCity on “cheetah” speed.
This new SimCity alledgedly is a game where “everything you see, we sim”. My favourite are the solar panels on the roofs of the buildings which lower the energy demand of the city.
As I posted last year, the new SimCity game, which will be launched in March, has a closed beta planned where anyone could subscribe to.
It is finally announced to start Jan 25th, and ends Jan 28th. You can still enter, subscription ends Jan 21th. People who get invited can play the game for 1 hour only. You will be able to start again and play another 1 hour from scratch.
We truly live at an exciting time. A few days ago the NASA Kepler mission announced new results from their exoplanet search. Not only have they found many more candidates, but the candidates get ever more interesting.
The method that is used results in finding big planets close to their star the quickest. Now that the mission is running longer, the smaller planets with more Earth-like orbits are becoming more frequent. It is really just a matter of time before the first Earth twin is found, I think we stand a good chance for it to happen this year.