Maxis developer talks SimCity Sandbox mode
SimCity lead gameplay scripter Guillaume Pierre took to the blog today to talk about an often requested feature: sandbox mode. For those of you who have already played the demo, you already know how complicated SimCity can be; for those who haven't, or may be new to the franchise, you can read about it in my preview. To sum it up though, SimCity can be rather overwhelming at first. So for those looking for an easier, less stressful mode, SimCity will offer a sandbox mode, which Pierre describes as a "gentler version" of the game.
Upon starting each city, you'll be gifted with a good chunk of Simoleons (in-game cash), and has the possibility to add more with a simple press of a key. Also, all of the buildings in the game are unlocked from the beginning, presenting a perfect opportunity to explore the content of the game and study the best layout for your city, while testing out strategies.
Although sandbox offers the same simulation functions as in normal mode, you can disable certain "pushback" systems, like natural disasters. This will give you the freedom to theory-craft and enjoy the basic building nature of SimCity without worrying about balancing a budget or being hit with a tornado. In short, it's a stress free environment for the simulation.
However, because you are given such powers, you are also sacrificing some of the competitive aspects of SimCity. Achievements, challenges, and leaderboards are some of the features that will be disabled in sandbox mode. Also, your trades to the global market won't count towards setting the prices of goods.
What will still be enabled is region play and chat with friends, screenshot and video capture, and a "remarkable learning opportunity" for beginning players.