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State of the Site 2015

Started by noahclem, December 01, 2015, 02:16:22 PM

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As SimCity 4 Devotion's 9th birthday celebrations draw to a close we wanted to take the opportunity to share our views on the current state of the site, the challenges and opportunities we face, and our hopes and ideas for the future. On the face of it, these are difficult times for SC4--the appearance of Cities:Skylines and SC2013; the growing role of for-profit sites like Reddit, Steam, and Origin; and of course the sudden disappearance of SimPeg, which caught everyone off guard. Fortunately the PLEX content is re-hosted on the STEX and many SimPeg members are still active, but it remains a sad affair. While SimPeg was the smallest of the 3 major English forums it was home to prolific content creators like Pegasus and Paeng, and hosted amazing City Journals as well. As such it had a unique role in the community, and the site's special character will be missed by many. It's not all doom and gloom though: many talented players, batters, and modders remain active at SC4D and elsewhere, the NAM Team remains healthy and busy with a fresh release, and we've had an exciting birthday month on the site.

Despite the game's age we continue to get new gifted content creators and players and have been lucky to have a number of old friends come back. Mattb325's recent return has already resulted in great new stuff and rumor has it the SFBT Advent Calendar will be returning this year--in parallel with an SC4D Advent Calendar conceived by Art128. mgb204 has joined the NAM's active creators while eggman121 has taken his contributions there to a whole new level, including a surprise early release of a big set of new draggable options for the RealRailWays. The RTMT has been working diligently on v4.0 and SC4D has been lucky enough to host Reddonquixote's development threads. Old masters like c.p. remain active while newer batters like romualdillo are making new things for different styles that have never been possible before. Our Mayor's Diary section is filled with interesting and inspiring work and we've even had recent appearances from all-time greats like Badsim and Framly. It would be impossible to name all of the contributors who keep this place exciting without turning this post into one long list but there are many deserving people I've not mentioned.

The last year has seen a lot happening with the site's staff as well. CasperVg continues his innovative work with the LEX, increasing support for the Dependency Tracker and adding new features to its slick and modernized design. Tarkus' work with the site's software includes social logins that play an important role in keeping the site accessible to new members, including those from the for-profit Reddit SimCity, and reducing reliance on the dreaded CAPTCHAs. Vortext and Art128 have served admirably in their first year as Global Moderators and we're happy to have Girafe now joining them in that capacity. A process of reorganizing the forums and the local moderators remains ongoing but we've received a lot of help from APSMS, FrankU, and many others on things like OSITMs, CMLs, and organizing events like our 9th birthday and this month's calendar.

Cities:Skylines has made a big splash in the city-building community and the flow of players between it and SC4 has become a 2-way street. While our section remains small we've seen some very impressive works there, including Mas71's recent content. The new game is not our primary focus but we do welcome players and builders of Cities:Skylines and our MD section is now open to all city games. We hope that our members that try the new game will feel welcome to share their work here.

The fan base for SimCity 4 may not be as large as it used to be but there's never been a better time to play. The fantastic selection of top-quality bats, the amazing possibilities of the NAM, and the beautiful things that can be done with flora and terrain these days could only be dreamt of 5-10 years ago, and they are improving all the time. The amount of knowledge and assistance and the available tools mean there's never been a better time to try one's hand at custom content and the LEX's certified/uncertified system makes it easy to share and be later recognized for consistent upload quality. Something more subjective, how supportive and friendly our community is, should bring us all pride.

We are very excited about the future of our community and our staff intends to remain Devoted to you for the long term. One of our priorities is to keep the content accessible and available to new users and we're already planning for some of that as part of our 10th birthday celebrations next November. We'll be working over the next year to continue updating the site and increasing integration between the forums, LEX, and Wiki. It will be exciting to see all the great stuff that another year will bring and we look forward to enjoying it with all of you.


Quote from: noahclem on December 01, 2015, 02:16:22 PM
....The RTMT has been working diligently on v4.0 ...

We are hoping to be at a point quite shortly that we will be able to provide a public beta   ()stsfd()

Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for SC4D and   &apls  for all the work the SC4 staff have done this past year its appreciated.

I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?" DEATH thought about it. "CATS," he said eventually, "CATS ARE NICE.


It is incredible how alive a 12 years old game can be!

And to keep the optimism alive:
There is one other game that I incidentally play: Quake. The original one. It is from 1996, so almost two decades, meaning it is from the Middle Ages of Computergaming.
And it is still alive. People are making new levels and even new executables.

Unregarded Quake 2, 3 and whatever amount of sequels, improved copies and totally different FPS games: there is still a community interested in building their own gaming experience. And that might be one of the most important features of Quake and also SC4: after all these years we as community have the feeling that the game became ours, even though the copyrights are not ours.
It is like our grandparent's house: it is maybe old, it can be cold and damp inside, the light may be not too perfect, but we feel at home and it belongs to our personal history. It's heritage!

Greetings and have fun!


I'm always amazed that such an old game can still unlock secrets and be so open to new additions.

While 3D rendering has been the gold standard for city building games, as a batter, it's not as much fun to have to limit the number of polys and reduce everything to texture maps, which is why SC4 is so enjoyable. 

As long as there are people out there who still enjoy this game, it's great to have a site like this to host so much information and content :)


I would say activity on this site is picking up in the second half of this year and it doesn't feel dead to me. Also just want to thank all those who have contributed to the LEX, there is content there which can be found nowhere else. Lastly some of the MDs are truly out of this world, the likes of Vortext, and especially Fasan's MD, still squeezing out fresh magic with mod workarounds to bring even more realism to the game. The best of the best SC4 pictures are nearly all from SC4D which shows the quality of this site.

With each year SC4 looks better and better.


Agree with Vizoria. Recently it seems like this site is well active!
So many cool things going on...the new NAM, amazing MDs, the advent calendar...I am amazed by how "such an old" game can still appeal to so many people!


Well, I don't have much to add. Good to see, that the community is still going, even gaining an increase in activity.

But that's the matter of time. We're simply getting older and older, have to much affaires on our heads to play games, like, for example, in 2007 when most of us (at least at SimCityPolska) were in school age.

In meanwhile the new games appeared, so there were less and less new blood to keep the stream on the same level. Now, it seems that the core of the community are these long-term players, who were playing then and who still tries to manage from time to time to run the game and share their work. And that's the power of SimCity4, the incredible amount of content created by all of us, that keep this game interesting, both that made in previous years, as well as groups who's still creating (my words of respect to all of NAM creators - every time I see an update there, I'm amazed - where they are taking the power and time from?).

But I don't know, when it ends. There are people within us who are 30, 40 and even more years old, but, that's a small percent. The community may live for another ten years. Opening for new games as Cities Skylines or newer version of SC it's a good idea, even though it's not a "mainstream now", but may become a "mainstream" in the future, cause number of SC4 players just may (but not must) shrink. That's what we see at SimCityPolska. We tried to open for new games, but maybe just few players of new games arrived (choosing other forums, that I barely know, where there is practicly no threads about sc4). There's a risk that we will need to shut down the site in next few years, just manage firstly where to move all plugins uploaded.

Hope that won't occur here, as SC4D is large and international site!  :)
Thank you for visiting Kolbrów, and for being for last ten years!


Quote from: kbieniu7 on December 07, 2015, 04:07:12 AM
...There's a risk that we will need to shut down the site in next few years, just manage firstly where to move all plugins uploaded...

When SimPeg went down agreements were made for Simtropolis to host the files, there are some files still missing tho at some point I need to update my list here


recording what site if any its now on, I was actually going to list your site in the Catalog once I'd finished doing Simtropolis   :)
I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?" DEATH thought about it. "CATS," he said eventually, "CATS ARE NICE.


IMO, Cities: Skylines isn't the SC4 true sucessor, it doesn't appeals for a realistic city simulation, they rather appeals for a casual audience. It's nothing more than a pretty city decorator with no difficulty level at all.

I'm glad that the community is going forth with plenty of awesome additions. I just started a region and I'd do a CJ by telling a story of a biker who needed to follow a train if I had skills like some members, but I suddenly get afraid after seeing lots of awesome realistic CJs people manage to do.

Anyway, thanks everyone who contribute(d) for making an awesome game (I'm not looking at you, EA...), mainly the NAM Team. I hope SC4, aswell as its community don't die too soon and I hope EA release the glorious SC4 source files to some members of this community so SC4 can live for then next 30 years  :bnn: :bnn: :bnn:


Hi, just wanted to drop a note and say how happy I am to hear the site is going strong! I'm not a big participant (I wish I had mad skills to create content!!), but I really love the SC4 community and hope it continues a long time. Thanks for everything! I realize it must be an incredible amount of work to manage a site like this.


Like any other fandom, people move on, the Windows thing rendering people's disc drivers obsolete entirely don't help, if the lack of visitors is the challenging issue, the only thing I can think of is this place providing hub to other city games, but even if there is less traffic now than when this place first started or not, for the most part I see various others still more focused on SC4 ever.


The thing is, if you look at ST, including other city builders there has not really thwarted the slow down in activity. From what I understand, the Steam forums, Paradox forums and Reddit are far more frequented for CS discussions. One of the problems with the Steam model is that Steam ends up with a monopoly on every aspect of games. I'm not sure this is healthy for the wider gaming community personally.

SC4D I think works as a specialist site, I've nothing against other games, but I think here a good niche has been carved out. Whilst the community is suffering a little from a slow-down in activity, the quality of the releases is so high these days. Until CS or another game can show such high-quality, I think a number of us will stick with SC4. Sure it has a painful learning process to get the most out of it, but if you are dedicated then nothing comes close results-wise. I really have to single out Vortext and his Aerden region as an example of what can be done when you remove every pixel from Maxis and make the game your own.

If anything as the initial excitement over CS calms down, I'm seeing activity is returning slowly to SC4. I'm sure long-term CS will take away a lot of the more casual players. I think many people see it as easier to play/mod, although what's easy about a mess of tickboxes I don't know. Then there is the lure of full 3D and an array of camera angles we're never seeing in SC4.

But these challenges aside, I really think there is life in SC4 yet. Just look to the advent calendar, we are being showered in content right now.