I've always liked to play SimCity since I was little. I used to play the version for Super Nintendo for hours then and then. That version was really cool. It had 4 seasons (winter, spring, summer and autumn) and many landscapes, scenarios to choose between. That was a really big hit at the time. It was clearly the most popular videogame.
Then SimCity 2000 came out on the market. It was almost like a revolution. Many new things to use, better graphics, more innovative and the game engine was more advanced. So it was very good news (except from the fact that the seasons were gone).
But the follower that came after SC2000, SimCity3000 was real disaster. Well there were more tools, advisers and a more advanced terrain (witch was crap because you couldn't build anything on it) but not anything special. The graphics was probably the worst part. It was more advanced but everything just looked as shit. It was a blur hell. I would state that this didn't feel like an upgrade more like a retarded downgrade. It was fun in 2 weeks but no more.
And after that flop, a new version was to be released, SimCity 4. This time, the MAXIS programmers learned had learned a lesson, not to release anything that isn't useful. So they did good graphics added fun tools, more effects, more unique buildings and neighboring cities. This was a small step up from SimCity 2000 but a huge step up from SC3000. This was however not intended to be a strategy-based city planning game, but more to be like a fun modeling program (like 3DMax or Maya) and creating wow effects. It was not Hey I've managed to get 1m inhabitants but more like Hey, look what a nice city I built. The game also required a new high-end computer with more than a GB of RAM, a high-end graphic card with at least 128MB an Athlon2500XP or a with Pentium 2,5GHZ to be able to play (but even that was not).
You can clearly see what have happened to one of the best game on the planet. This is not specific to just SimCity but to the whole gaming industry. The graphic wow-effect is everything that matters today. Personally, I love good graphics, but not when I have to buy a better computer to be able to use it, when I can experience a delay and when the whole game is based around that wow-effect-subject.
What will happen with SimCity5? There is rumors that they are already building it but why having expect anything of it. If SC4 was too much for my pretty new PC than I wonder how SC5 will be like. This will probably be the last version if they actually build it. Why? It will be a flop. Nobody will be able to use it. People that already experienced SC4 for will definitely not buy it. It's kinda joke already.
Lets start a new project based on opensource. Lets call it OpenSimcity.
Part two - The project
The idea is based on objective programming, OOP. This should be easy to made, easy to check bugs and adjusting the code. We will create this game from the beginning and do it better. And when I say better, I don't just mean faster performance or some new features. I mean a whole new structure, a whole new ground to stand on. This will be unique.
The graphics should be advanced but on the same time not dominate the game. It should feature a lot of options for peoples that have another kind of taste. Also, the game will probably take a few years to finish and by that time, graphics cards will be more powerful then we had ever seen before. GPU performance grows 40% per year while CPU only grows with 10%. Therefore, all graphics should be done in OpenGL to unleash power from the CPU. Real-time zooming should be possible.
Unlimited area. Instead of the idea that the user can have 3 or 4 sizes to choose between, why not customize it? The user can etc print out X (width) and Y (height) axis and get a map featuring whatever size he/she chose. The user should have the ability to change the size (increase or decrease) under the game.
Ability to choose climate. There should be an option for what year-around climate you want to have. How cold or warm and how dry or wet and so on. Also, an option if you want to have floating (changing) climates with seasons or a static climate.
More default buildings. It should be also be easy to add new buildings or remove the old ones.
The engine should not be easy, middle, hard or advanced but rather an effect of the number between 1-1000 you give.
Interface should however be an option between easy, middle, hard and advanced.
Cost and Assets should be fully customizable.
The game should feature online gaming. Competing with your neighbor cities, friends or strangers. You could etc choose to compete to X number of citizens or having as much population as possible in X time. Or it could be played for no reason, just having fun. You could also have the ability of trading lands with your neighbors.
Ability to import maps from all SimCity versions.
I can make the list longer, but you get the point. Viva la OpenSimcity.