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Sim City: The Latest Architecture and News

Block'hood: The Neighborhood Building Game That Will Test Your Urban and Architectural Prowess

It is said that the best design solutions are often found when a project comes with a very strict set of parameters. So it makes sense that architectural games, with their coded restrictions and rigid rulesets, tend to draw out a particular kind of creative problem solving. Recently, games like SimCity and Cities: Skylines have inspired designers to experiment with constructing virtual cities without the fear of causing real-life consequences. In turn, these creations have inspired new perspectives on real-world designs.

The newest entrant to the world of architectural gaming is Block’hood, a neighborhood-building simulator that challenges the user to create a functioning community out of 1x1x1 blocks of various program. The interface features bold, stirring graphics from an axonometric view and effects that cycle between day and night. Block’hood taps into the simple desire to play with blocks, and then ups the ante by making the blocks’ existence vulnerable to the environmental conditions you create.

Courtesy of Block'hoodCourtesy of Block'hoodCourtesy of Block'hoodCourtesy of Block'hood+ 12

10 Things The “Cities: Skylines” Video Game Taught Us About Modern Urbanism

Ask a random person in the street about their favorite hobbies, and it’s unlikely that they’ll say “urban planning and traffic management” - yet when video games began to take off in the late 1980s city-building was one of the first breakout hits, in the form of MaxisSimCity series. The huge success of the “Sim” series in general drove conversations about the value of simulation, as part of the general 1990s optimism about virtual worlds being the future. Sim games became the subject of academic critiques of their philosophy of the world, while city builders became a lot more than a game: in 2002, SimCity 3000 was used as a semi-serious test for mayoral candidates in Warsaw.

After a slump caused by a difficult transition to 3D graphics, city builders are back in vogue. Following what is widely considered as a disappointing SimCity reboot in 2013, Finland’s Colossal Order recently released Cities: Skylines to critical and financial success. But simulations require assumptions; they are, after all, written by people who have their own conscious and unconscious views on how and why cities work. The limitations around designing a video game - the fact that each asset must be modeled and textured, and that each transport option requires a huge amount of work to simulate - mean that Cities: Skylines is as stripped down and streamlined an articulation of urban philosophy as Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse or the New Urbanists' models, and just as interesting. We investigate 10 things this game tells us about 21st century urbanism, after the break.

New SimCity: Not Just For Kids

Courtesy of Co.Exist
Courtesy of Co.Exist

Remember spending hours of your fleeting youth in front of the computer screen, building lively and complex towns with vibrant neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, industry, power plants.. only to have them all destroyed by an unforeseen asteroid or UFO?