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Modders make SimCity cities bigger

Work-in-progress shows potential.

Modders are working to make the cities in SimCity bigger.

The Orion mod adds a 3km2 boundary extension to the normal city size of 2km2 - enabling players to plop buildings down outside the standard city limits.

However, the mod is in beta, and there are a number of issues when running it, particularly for work done outside the normal boundary. For example, the modders warn that as your city grows you may experience lag. The issues are outlined on the mod page on Simtropolis.

In October 2013 Maxis announced that SimCity would get an offline mode after a disastrous launch that saw the game unplayable for many. But in the same breath it ruled out the addition of larger cities.

The game has come under fire for its city sizes, which players consider to be too small and as a result restrictive. Last year Maxis said adding larger cities would negatively impact the performance of the game.

"City sizes have been a constant point of conversation among our players since we released the game," general manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio Patrick Buechner said at the time.

"The game's original design focused on the density of an intimate urban environment. It was about intercity connectivity and the challenge of managing a region of cities instead of one metropolis in isolation.

"However, we recognise that many players have expressed the desire to build up one big city rather than manage the interrelationship of multiple smaller cities.

"We've put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space.

"After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn't be able to load, much less play with bigger cities. We've tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn't achieve it within the confines of the engine.

"We've chosen to cease work on bigger city sizes and put that effort into continuing to evolve the core game and explore an offline mode. Some of the experiments we conducted to improve performance on bigger cities will be rolled into future updates to improve overall game performance."

A video showing the Orion mod in action is below. Its creators continue to work on the project.

Cover image for YouTube videoSimCity Mod Spotlight ► Draw Outside City Borders!