Ian Miles Cheong updates us on the struggles of Electronic Arts to get the new SimCity right. But it sounds like EA is committed to the original SimCity idea that the user can place stations and pieces of track, but the program will decide the paths that the buses and trains follow. And it doesn't decide very well. Key quote from EA's designer Guillaume Pierre:
1. If there are 300 Sims waiting for the streetcar on the other side of the loop for example, they may have to wait a long time for the vehicles to make their way. To remedy this problem, we’re looking into make crowded stops “high priority pick-up” destinations that transit vehicles will go to first.
2. Another problem is that, well, all the vehicles that are in the same area and want to go to the same destination type will all follow the same path, resulting in clumping and general traffic problems. We’re looking into various ways to improve the situation so traffic will spread out better.
If this all sounds oddly like demand-responsive service, well, that's more or less the model of fixed route service — even subways — that EA is using.
I criticized Sim City (original and version 4) long ago, but my understanding that EA's priority continues to be "immersiveness" for the gamer, not any relationship to reality. (Yes, I'm aware this argument is like the argument about whether movies about science and history should be accurate or at least flag their biases — and given their influence I personally wish they did.) I look forward to what the new Cities in Motion 2, expected soon, comes up with.