Someone emailed me about this new SourceForge project called OpenTower, designed to be a SimTower clone. Not surprisingly, these folks have been pretty alarmed how the once-great Maxis fell from a brilliant software developer to EA's pawn cranking out mindless Sims games and games with long development times and barbaric copyright schemes. A similar tactic had been tried to make an open-source SimCity, but it's going nowhere pretty fast.
But about this "OpenTower"...what is it? It's certainly gone more than Simtropolis 1000 in less time...a Wiki, a team, a blog, even some graphical mock-ups. However, that's about when it ends. OpenTower's goal is to make a "better SimTower clone". First of all, what's wrong with existing SimTower? Ask any SimCity fan what's wrong with SimCity, and they'll rattle off several things before even getting to their requests. But SimTower? OK, it's a bit pesky that you can't demolish housekeeping or security. And that the Lobby gets exclusive dibs on the first floor. And the parking is screwy too. And it's dated.
But what's the point, besides updating it to current OS standards? Currently, the only things OpenTower has to show is some cheap-looking graphics, something Yoot Tower and SimTower have bigger priority over. These people HAVE heard of Yoot Tower, I hope. Maybe they don't. Yoot Tower has some rough edges compared to SimTower, but overall, it could've been a superior program.
Another fundamental problem with SimTower (and Yoot Tower to an extent) that they have yet to address is it starts off pretty fun, but then you end up having a massive complex with hundreds of offices and elevators with long lines. It's much cooler, in my opinion to simply go for the other purposes in the tower. No real building has offices, condos, malls, and hotels all in one. The Galleria in Houston, Texas has offices, mall, and hotel in one, but the main focus is the mall. The late World Trade Center on the other hand focused on the offices.
But back to OpenTower. OK, I was wrong. OpenTower does indeed have goals, but they're not particularly noteworthy or ground-breaking. Larger maps and locale mapping is just one of the "bigger is better" goals, higher quality graphics, which is not particularly encouraging given said simple graphics earlier.
And that, my friends, is an empty condominium. OpenTower also wants improved GUI (will likely lose charm in process), plug-ins and interface for easy additions (Yoot Tower, except no extra add-ons ever came out), a larger tech tree (hotels? offices? condos? mega-malls?), drop-down disaster menu (I KNEW IT!), and better elevator AI, which is essentially the true root of the program.
Still no word on whether they will resolve underground parking.