Well it's about time. Maxis have finally begun communications with prospective modders, opening discussions for the possibility of SimCity mods and user-generated content.
In a post on the EA Forums, a Maxis rep explained that it's important consumers are assured that the mods available will maintain the game's "integrity":
We would like to have a discussion with our fans regarding UGC and the creation of “mods” in SimCity under our new forum section called “User Generated Content”. Our goal is to ensure that we provide a place for all of our players to have fun while assuring them that the gameplay experience is safe and has integrity. It’s difficult to determine what makes a “good” or safe mod and what mods cross the line. Clarifying guidelines for UGC will help players understand where that line is and protect both our UGC and non-UGC community. Ultimately we want everyone to have fun with the game, no matter how you play it.
The post goes on to introduce an initial rule set designed to ensure the game and its multiplayer aspects are not affected adversely by certain mods. The draft reads as follows:
User Generated Content Guidelines – first draft:
- Acceptable UGC and mods do not jeopardize the integrity of the gameplay or harm the experience of others.
- UGC that effects the simulation for multiplay games and features are not allowed.
- Examples of acceptable UGC include swapping art assets, like buildings and vehicles.
- Maxis reserves the right to take disciplinary action against players who break the rules.
However, Maxis has come under some criticism from the modding community for appearing against the notion of fully opening up the simulation.
"It's good to hear that Maxis is taking an official stance on modding, although I'm slightly disappointed that there seems to be no intention to open up parts of the simulation to modifications," said one user. "I'd even say that I fear that without this, SimCity modding will be dead in the water - one of the cornerstones of user-generated content for SimCity 4 has always been the creation of completely new buildings and networks. Would that game have lasted without the effort of the NAM team and the endless streams of new buildings with new gameplay functions?
"While I understand that there's a huge drive to keep the integrity of the multiplayer aspect of the game intact, one has to aslo aknowledge that there is a large segment of the fanbase that exclusively plays in single-player regions who don't have any interest in leaderboards global markets and other multiplayer aspects - why not allow these players to play the game their own way - I'd argue for adding a pseudo-sandbox game mode that can only be played exclusively single-player where people can modify the gameplay values to their desire."