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SimCity Source Code Is Now Open 360

Tolkien writes "Source code for SimCity has been released under the GPLv3. For legal reasons the open source version was renamed Micropolis, which was apparently the original working title. The OLPC will also be getting a SimCity branded version that has been QA'ed by Electronic Arts. Some very cool changes have been made by Don Hopkins, who updated and ported what is now Micropolis. (Here is an earlier Slashdot discussion kicked off by a submission Don made.) Among other things, it has been revamped from the original C to using C++ with Python. Here is the page linking all the various source code versions. Happy hacking!"
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SimCity Source Code Is Now Open

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:08PM (#22017618)
    ... a big scream was heard, as if a thousand hours had suddenly been lost.
  • Craptastic Code? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DingerX ( 847589 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:08PM (#22017622) Journal

    There's still a lot of craptastic code in there, but the heart of the software (the simulator) hasn't changed.

    I dunno, from the QA side in 88/89, the results were darn clean. The simulation would crash from time to time, but the interface, never. To all those who point to multi-threaded apps and say it's too hard for coders to do, I'd suggest that really good programmers are hard to come by.

    So maybe somebody can point to what's being complained about here. Back in the day, we didn't have the luxury of infinite space for code and variables. But from a quality-of-product point-of-view, very little could match (and can match) SimCity
  • Version? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:09PM (#22017624)
    I can't see anywhere stating the obvious, what version is it? Simcity classic, 2000? 3000? 4000?

    I'm assuming the classic, which is a shame as I felt 2000 was one of the few times a sequel actually made the game better. Unfortunately 3000 and 4000 continued to suggest otherwise however.

    Even if it's just classic however I'm sure I remember even that had some differences between platforms.

    Perhaps I'm just blind but it'd be interesting to know which version this is!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ShadowMarth ( 870657 )
      Apologies for the unnecessary correction, but it's Sim City 4, not 4000. Just nitpicking, I'm afraid. Honestly, though, I thought 3000 was the best. Sim City 4 is just entirely unforgiving.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by toddestan ( 632714 )
        I thought that SimCity 2000 was the best myself. I tried SimCity 3000, and while it was cool and had some awesome ideas, all the micro-managing eventually got annoying (a common flaw it seems with strategy/simulations game sequels as computers get more powerful, the Master Of Orion series also suffered from this). I want to design and lay out my city, not having to constantly run around replacing the dozens of bloody water pumps as they wear out. A close second might be SimCity for the Super Nintendo, wh
    • Re:Version? (Score:5, Informative)

      by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:22PM (#22017772) Homepage Journal
      had you looked at the links, you would see this screenshot. []

      Looks a lot like Classic.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by X0563511 ( 793323 )
        And, because is slow-as-hell, here is a direct link [].

        (there is a larger version on the website but I'm trying NOT to set fire to his provider's systems)
    • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:54PM (#22018064) Homepage Journal

      It actually states the history of where it's come from in one of the linked articles [] (emphasis added):

      • The original version of SimCity was developed by Maxis on the C64, and ported to various platforms, including the Macintosh. Maxis licensed the Macintosh SimCity source code to DUX software, to port to Unix.
      • DUX Software contracted me (Don Hopkins) to port SimCity to Unix, and I developed "SimCity HyperLook Edition", while working at the Turing Institute on HyperLook with Arthur van Hoff. The user interface was written in PostScript, which ran on the NeWS window system on Sun workstations, and it supported multiple zoomable views, pie menus, annotating and printing maps, and many user interface improvements.
      • After Sun canceled NeWS, DUX Software contracted me to rewrite the HyperLook user interface in TCL/Tk for X11, and I developed a multi-player networked user interface using the X11 protocol. The TCL/Tk version of SimCity has been ported to various Unix and non-Unix platforms, including SunOS, Solaris, Irix, HP/UX, OSF/1, Quarterdeck Desqview/X, NDC X Terminals, Warp, and Linux. The contract to sell SimCity for Unix expired after ten years, so the TCL/Tk version was no longer commercially available.
      • OLPC SimCity is based on the TCL/Tk version of SimCity. SimCity is a trademark of Electronic Arts. Don Hopkins adapted SimCity to the OLPC, thanks to the support of John Gilmore. OLPC SimCity will be shipped with the OLPC, and it has been run through EA's quality assurance process and reviewed for integrity. EA reserves the right to review and approve any version of the game distributed under the name SimCity.

      So it looks as if it's some kind of mutated version of SimCity Classic which dates back to the C64 version.

    • Now I won't need that stupid red code sheet to avoid frequent Godzilla attacks. Hooray!!
  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by angryfirelord ( 1082111 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:09PM (#22017628)
    My very own Linux city!
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:47PM (#22018004)
      Luckily we already have much more advanced [] clones on Linux than the old original whose code has been opened.

      Though their move is still good, and interesting just to dig into the code.

      • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Ailure ( 853833 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:20PM (#22019518) Homepage
        Lincity is a clone of Simcity?

        Hell, it's more similar to SimIsle than Simcity actually. Lincity was too much of a "everything is a consumable resource" game, which was rather silly...

        I would say that Simcity 4 is the most advanced simulator I played so far, that is also playable as a game.

        Though in terms of open source simulation games, nothing beats openTTD. :) Simcity, might be a good competitor though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You have been able to make a Linux City for quite a while with Lincity, and in 3D with <a href="">Lincity NG</a> which is surprisingly addictive.
    • by RonnyJ ( 651856 )
      Make sure you turn disasters off.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:11PM (#22017652)
    why it is that commercial zones placed more than a certain distance to the left of the city center never developed. I wonder if it was some kind of subtle political commentary on how leftist policy hurts business or something.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The godless atheist Linux crowd can now eliminate the 1 line of code that creates a tornado every time you bulldoze a church.
    • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @06:19PM (#22018936) Homepage

      left of the city center

      Probably because they borrowed some of the code from SimAnt, which had less ant growth towards the upper left due to a processing order issue in the updating algorithm. It's one of those problems where step N+1 is computed incrementally from the current state, rather than from a frozen copy of step N.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2008 @08:00AM (#22023972)
        Seriously, reading shit like this kinda freaks me out. This is a phenomenon only found on /.. Not only does some dude go around remembering that an ancient game had problems with stuff happening left of the city center (which makes me slightly worried regarding his mental health), but someone else comes up with an answer to it (which makes me really worried about his mental health). And this isn't just some kind of "I wanna post, just to post", bullshit, kind of answer, he actually seems to know what the hell his talking about. I think I should change my thesis to discuss this, and name it "Slashdot, we're all freaks, and we have the GPL'd code to prove it".
        • It's a type of bug more common back when memory was limited. Classically, it was a spreadsheet bug. The dumb way to evaluate a spreadsheet is to start at the upper left, evaluating the formula (if any) for each cell. If any formula refers to a value that's to the right or below the cell being evaluated, the spreadsheet values will be wrong. Each time you hit the recalculate key, the values propagate through one more wrong-direction dependency. Once you've hit "recalc" enough times, the values stabilize

  • anyone going to make a gpl port of micropolis to win32?
  • Boo-hoo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:21PM (#22017766)

    The plane crash disaster has been removed as a result of 9/11
    This is ridiculous.
    • Re:Boo-hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds[ ] ['hom' in gap]> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:26PM (#22017836) Homepage

      The plane crash disaster has been removed as a result of 9/11
      This is ridiculous.
      I hope fires have also been removed as a result of California fires, tornadoes as a result of the Indian ocean tsunami and the big monster invasion as a result of Cmdr Taco. Other wise it wouldn't be very respectful for the victims you know.
      • Re:Boo-hoo (Score:4, Informative)

        by Brobock ( 226116 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @05:15PM (#22018272) Homepage

        The plane crash disaster has been removed as a result of 9/11

        This is ridiculous.
        I hope fires have also been removed as a result of California fires, tornadoes as a result of the Indian ocean tsunami and the big monster invasion as a result of Cmdr Taco. Other wise it wouldn't be very respectful for the victims you know.
        Let us not forget:
        Nuclear meltdown because of Chernobyl.
        Earthquakes because of California, Kobe Japan, and Pakistan.
        Alien Invasion because of Orson Welles war of the worlds radio broadcast.
        • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

          Alien Invasion because of Orson Welles war of the worlds radio broadcast.
          Damn I had completely forgotten the alien invasion... It's been ages since I last played a SimCity.
          I'm glad I should soon be able to remedy to that :)
    • Re:Boo-hoo (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2008 @06:22PM (#22018960)
      It had to be done because a bug was found that meant the players could then take any action, and it would have no affect on public mood, aslong as it was justified by the plan crash somehow!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Bluesman ( 104513 )
      It's GPL, we can add it back.

      And we can add in kidnappings and beheadings. Everyone wins!

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:23PM (#22017790)
    It builds, but you get to the loading screen and then you can't actually start a game. It Freezes.
    • Let me claify. The game actually starts, but you can't type anything in the dialogue boxes, you can't click any of the buttons.
  • by Skim123 ( 3322 ) <mitchell AT 4guysfromrolla DOT com> on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:23PM (#22017800) Homepage
    Does anyone know if there are Win32 binaries available?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No. This code is heavily dependent on Xlib. You could try compiling it with Cygwin and running it with one of the X servers for Windows, but word on the street is that this is unsuitable. Your best bet is to just install Linux, and run it on that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 )
      Ditto to this. The original version of SimCity Classic for Windows technically runs, but besides not working under 64bit versions of Windows (no 16bit compatibility layer) it runs far too quickly on modern machines. It would be great to have it playable on Windows again.
  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:25PM (#22017828)
    Now, if they will only open-source that dark brown piece of paper with the glyphs printed in black on it...
    • funny thing about the source code being open source...

      somebody can go to the copyright check function and change it to something like this:

      boolean is_valid_copy() {
          return TRUE;

      (or just comment out the copyright check in the first place)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        True, but did they open-source the expansion packs??

        (historical note- there was an early binary edit 'exploit' for SimCity that worked for bypassing the 'Brown Paper' copy protection, but as soon as you bought and installed an Expansion pack it quit working)
  • So where is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eddy ( 18759 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:39PM (#22017950) Homepage Journal
    Contrary to the title, this doesn't seem to be the actual SimCity source code. I'm interested in source code like this, but I want the 'original', not something that has been mashed up and modified by a middleman. This is as useful for historical insight a klingon version of the new testament.
  • good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunoacf ( 1186539 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:56PM (#22018084)
    That's amazing. It would be very nice if the code of other titles were released also. Many old (but good) softwares were forgoten because their sources were not available to maintain it's life.
  • No build on MacOS X (Score:5, Informative)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:56PM (#22018086) Homepage Journal
    Because someone is likely to ask it, this does not yet build on MacOS X, even if you are willing to accept X11 as the interface. If anyone has any success it would be worth knowing.
    • by stargo ( 523562 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @09:52PM (#22020626)
      Success :-)
      My patch agains micropolis can be found at: []
      This patch also seems to fix graphic problems on Linux with a 24 bit X server.
  • or am i the only that can't get to the donhopkins server?
  • Lincity Absorption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @05:07PM (#22018194)
    So lets have the Lincity project absorb this project. Lincity NG is graphically on par with Simcity 2000, but its playability is lower and it misses features. Simcity 2000 was just a graphically enhanced Sincity Classic with a few playability enhancements and more structures. I see no reason why the LinCity project can't just assimilate this project, call it Super Lincity, and use the nessessary areas from Metropolis to fill its deficencies.
  • ...this, of course, probably back before they called anything "skins".

    But I remember a friend who found various themes for his Simcity -- there was an "old west" style theme, and a futuristic one and one or two others. The game itself wasn't any different, but instead of, say, gas stations, you'd have horse pastures or something.

    I should probably JFGI (again), but I have tried in the past to find anything about them and have been unable.
  • I guess a new disaster needs to be added: Slashdotting

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik