SimCity goes open source

The classic simulation game SimCity has been released under the open source GPL licence, 19 years after its commercial launch.

Don Hopkins, a developer who worked on the game in its 1990s heyday, overhauled the code to make some necessary alterations prior to its release.

The plane crash feature was removed to protect post 9/11 sensitivities, and all traces of the SimCity name, which is still an EA registered trademark, have been replaced with Micropolis, the original working title for the software.

One of those involved in the open source project, Bill Simser, says that parts of the code remain “craptastic’, but the project contains much that will interest programmers.

“The key thing here is to peek inside the mind of the original Maxis programmers when they built it. Remember, this was back in the day when games had to fit inside of 640k so some ‘creative’ programming techniques were employed. It may not be pretty code but its content sure is interesting to see,” says Simser on his blog.

Work on the open source code began as a project to release a version of the game for the One Laptop Per Child Foundation’s XO notebook. The foundation has been provided with a version approved to carry the SimCity name, although all GPL versions will have to use Micropolis.

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