Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a Maxis binge. Ever since making the videos about my Maxis collection and not having a PC able to edit videos (soon to be resolved!) I’ve devoted a good chunk of free time to solving some “Maxis mysteries” I’ve long wondered about. Things like SimHealth and the correlation between SimCity variations.
Another mystery popped up today via the comments section of Part 2 of my Maxis Collection video. It’s a question I had wondered about myself, back when I first read SimCity 2000 Strategies and Secrets by Sybex. The forward of the book consists of a talk by the designers of SC2K – Fred Haslam and Will Wright. Very interesting reading regarding some of the history of SimCity 2000, stuff like the fact that it went through a graphical overhaul after they got hold of A-Train, which then got Will Wright involved so they could use the graphics engine from his project Dollhouse (much later to become The Sims).
Anyways, the question was brought up by Gmanster64. In the forward, Will Wright mentions his next project, SimWorld, which he seemed incredibly excited about. Well, I suppose you could say Wright tends to get excited about a lot of subjects, but this one seemed to be particularly interesting to him, so much so that they seemed to cut off his rant about it to keep the forward shorter. There was no mention of what it really was (just that it was NOT to be confused with SimEarth) and there is very little information to be found about SimWorld online, at least that I can find. Strange indeed, especially considering the jubilant remarks in the book.
So, I decided to Tweet Will Wright and ask him if anything ever came of SimWorld. Not long after, Master Wright responded to my question:
@lazygamereviews Not really, we were thinking of connecting all our Sim games at some point (like we later did with SimCity&Simcopter)
I also found this excerpt from an interview with CNN asking whether or not Wright has considered an all-in-one Sim game:
Will Wright: Actually, yes we have. We did about a one-year study of the possibility that we called “SimWorld.” And the idea was to have kind of an open standard through which our simulators could be plugged into each other. And in fact, the last game I did before “The Sims” was a helicopter game called “SimCopter,” and it was basically an experiment in that direction. “SimCopter” was an action helicopter game that you could play in a city that you had previously built with “SimCity.” The biggest problem really with that idea is the time scales are really different depending on what level you are playing at.
Certainly sounds like it was something to get excited about! An interconnected world of “Sim-” games is quite an ambitious idea, and really makes sense considering what they ended up doing with SimCity 2000/SimCopter/Streets of SimCity (and even The Sims and SimCity 4). I can just imagine somehow connecting SimCity 2000 and SimTower, maybe zooming into micromanagement level on a specific tower in your city, and then seeing its success affect the surrounding neighborhood (though I can certainly see the problem with time scaling here). Or perhaps more integration of game data between game systems, again like what happened with SimCopter and Streets, where you could edit the city and then drive/fly through it. You could really keep taking it further, I’d imagine, eventually having a highly complex model of everything from the macro to the micro level of detail. Kind of sounds a bit like what went on with Spore’s ideas as well.
Ah well, I’m just rambling and dreaming now. It does sound ridiculously ambitious, perhaps too much and I assume that was part of the reason it never happened completely.
Too bad it might’ve been AWESOME.