SimCity 2013 is coming tomorrow

Posted to Maps  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

I’m not into video games, and my experience has been near zero since high school, but I’m excited about SimCity 2013 coming out tomorrow. I think my excitement comes from one part nostalgia and one part GlassBox — the game engine that drives the simulations of the city you build and its citizens:

All the glowing reviews probably have something to do with interest, too. But that memory of installing SimCity 2000 from two floppy disks in my 486 totally brings back happy thoughts.

Apparently, the game makers were inspired by Google Maps and information graphics to display the data generated during gameplay. I hope Maxis releases some of that data. It could be fun to compare SimCity demographics to the real world. Then again, who’s going to have time to look at the data, when we’ll be too busy building arcologies?


  • Christophe March 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Ars Technica people have some remarks on the gameplay though:
    But you’re right it looks fantastic

  • Longtime FlowingData fan, but also a lead engineer on SimCity’s online features. I can tell you that many a link from FlowingData went around in the early days of the project as we looked at different styles of data visualization: what worked about them, and what didn’t. The game itself is sort of the ultimate data visualization of what the GlassBox engine is doing.

    • @Derrick – That’s awesome (and maybe why I’m so excited about it). If you want to pass along a copy, I am totally okay with that.

  • I went to a Teradata conference a few years back and one of the reps there from EA games was talking about how they use geospatial data in The Sims. Goes to show that data nerds are needed everywhere. :)

  • Tieteense March 7, 2013 at 5:45 am

    “But that memory of installing SimCity 2000 from two floppy disks in my 486 totally brings back happy thoughts.”

    Been there, done that too. And the new game is awesome, now that servers are patched (or at least until Europe release).

  • The reviews on Amazon are pretty appalling though. Apparently EA really botched the game with their DRM.


The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.