Windows 7 Control Panel is NOT Missing from Windows 10 after all

control_panel1

Where’s the Control Panel?

Got Windows 10 and the Creators update but can’t find the Windows 7 Control Panel? It used to be found by right clicking on the start menu but recently it apparently went missing.  If may be that Microsoft removed it from that location in their desire to move forward with the “fresh”  flat look of Windows 10 but there are still many who will miss the look of Windows 7.

User Account Control

Windows 10 may not be Windows 7 in appearance but Windows 10 still retained the old-style control panel I loved from Windows 7.  Of course Windows 10 is now known for its new option simply called Settings.  However, the graphically appealing Windows 7 control panel had at least one option that I have not been able to find from the Settings menu of Windows 10.  One such example is User Account Control.  With this nifty little feature, one is able to control how much or little Windows will warn about programs before they install on your computer.  (You probably have seen it, it’s a dialogue box that pops up with a warning that you are about to change settings on your computer).  The warning also pops up just before you want to install a new application.  Some users, myself included may find it annoying but it can be controlled (at your own risk) in User Account Control.  User Account Control can be found in the old Control Panel under User Accounts.

(Important note: I will not be responsible for any damage caused to your computer for playing with the User Account Control or User Accounts settings.)

control_panel2

How to Get the retro Windows 7 Control Panel Back

To find the retro Windows Control Panel you have a few options.

A quick search from the task bar (Cortana search), by typing in the words Control Panel will bring it up.  Another way to get it is to click on File Explorer  from the taskbar (looks like a yellow folder on the bottom of the desktop on Windows 10) and type Control Panel in the address bar.

Pin a Control Panel shortcut

For you fans of shortcuts, Control Panel can also be found in the Windows 10 start menu.  Scroll to the bottom of the long list of applications, and the Control Panel is under the category heading Windows System. Simply drag and drop the Control Panel to the Start Menu  (just to the right of the list of applications) or right-click Control Panel and click on pin to Start Menu or pin to Taskbar!

Using the Windows Button on your Keyboard

Win+R type in Control Panel in the dialogue box

Add a Desktop Shortcut to Control Panel

Right-click on the Control Panel from the Start Menu. Select More then Open file location.  Control Panel should be one of the options in the list.  From there you can add a shortcut link to your desktop.  (if you need more help leave me a comment)


 

There is trouble in the world. See what true hope looks like. FullyFreeFilms.com

Hope from a website

Audacity Movie. Have you seen it?

Stand up for kids and share! 180 Movie


 

images are my own

Raising the Bar in Gaming: Top Realistic Style Open-World Police Games in 2017

Cop Police Police Car Club Siren Image Editing

Listing the Top Sandbox Style Police Games

So what are the top, most realistic, most exciting, graphically pleasing, sandbox style police games/sims available in 2017?  Unfortunately, I know of none to speak of……..yet.  Not to fret though, Wingman Games is currently working on fixing that with the development of Police 10-13.  Police 10-13 is a game that has the potential of finally raising the bar in gaming and filling a void in the gaming world with a realistic quality police simulator.

An Exercise in Futility

The gaming world is known for all genres and styles of kids and family games.  Some kids games (and family games) feature adorable animals, digital dolls, bricks, puzzles, building skills, driving, racing and more.  Then there are also realistic simulation style games such as X-plane and FSX or various vehicle simulators which allow a person to drive and race cars, drive a truck, a tractor, a ship and even a train!   He or she can build a model city, manage a town, go to war, shoot zombies, shoot aliens, shoot people, inhabit alien planets, build roller coasters, fight monsters and demonic beings or even kill the police.  Most of these games feature excessive violence, sex and such grotesque profanity not even gamers on YouTube will use it on their channel.  It’s true the modern gamer has many gaming options available.  However, if you are searching or have been searching like me, for a game that respects and features law enforcement as the hero in an open-world style environment, you will be disappointed.

The Search Continues

The most disappointing part about my search for a good police game is not that it doesn’t exist. With the more recent advancements in computer graphics and technology, I have been especially disappointed to find out this type of police game isn’t only possible to make but it could have already been done.  In fact, in the past 15 years of gaming, game developers have already built police and law enforcement models and vehicles right into their games and they did it well.  GTA 4 and 5 for example, have featured great looking graphical representations of police and law enforcement operations–just from the wrong side of the law.  Driving simulations and games such as The Crew, various truck simulators, and many Need For Speed titles have also featured great looking police vehicles, chases, sounds and lights. However, for gamers looking for a that realistic yet fun police simulator, these games are not.

What’s the Problem

The biggest problem with these games has been their lack of option and/or unnecessary content.  Any open-world game like as GTA does not give the player the option to remove excessive violence, profanity and unnecessary sex, nor do they allow one to play as the police.  If such a game does allow one to play from the law enforcement side of things, such as NFS Rivals), they are always accompanied by unrealistic side affects built right in.  These highly unrealistic modes or features can include but are not limited to: ramming, shooting, shocking, more ramming, jamming and similar abilities in order to get another vehicle to stop during a chase, (again, think NFS Rivals or NFS: Hot Pursuit).  Albeit these unrealistic features add brief moments of gaming joy, but generally I find their inability to allow role-playing as a police officer in a respectful and realistic manner will always hinder any chance of these types of games from becoming truly great.

Good News For Police Game Seekers

The good news is that for the millions of gaming fans who have been seeking (and patiently waiting) for a graphically feature rich open-world game which represent law enforcement in a positive light, will finally get their wish. Many law enforcement and gaming fans like myself are anticipating a great police experience in the eventual release of Police 10-13.  This game promises to be all the things many gaming police fans are hoping for–without skimping on graphics and overall quality.  (Support Police 10-13) (Roadmap of Police 10-13)

Honorable Mentions

For now, there is another game I have recently discovered (despite being released in 2006) called 911 First Responders/Emergency 4 and although not open-world, it does feature law enforcement and first responders in some realistic situations.  The game may be graphically dated and not a third-person sandbox style game but there is the ability to add MODS which for me breathes fresh life into this top-down strategy based game. Find my review on Steam here.

Also worth mentioning is a game called Enforcer: Police-Crime-Action.  If you can find it for $5 or less this game is worth playing.  (Note: Steam has periodic sales) The game is an open-world style game which allows the player to take on the role of a police officer, sort of.  Enforcer is an indie game which can be modded also helping to lift some of its built-in but nearly game breaking limitations.  The graphics are somewhat dated but for a cheap price it’s worth a look.  Find my review on Steam here.

 


Police 10-13 – (Currently in Developement)

Police 10-13 coming to Steam

Police 10-13 on Facebook

Will We Ever See It (in gaming)?

Perfect Open-World Gaming

 


The world may be in chaos but see what hope really looks like

Believe it or not outside this temporary world, real hope exists

Audacity Movie

What does Hitler and abortion have in common? Watch this


 

image source

Summer 2017: Why I (still) Don’t Use Microsoft Edge Browser

 

browsers

UPDATED      The creator’s update for Microsoft Windows 10 has been released which is a feature update for the operating system.  Still missing though is the ability to sync Microsoft’s Edge browser while keeping a local account.  In January of this year I discussed why I won’t use the Microsoft Edge browser hoping this issue might be addressed.  Yes Microsoft, I refuse to use an online Microsoft account for my entire computer.  I save most of my files to an external hard drive thank you very much.


Default Browser

Like many people, I now use Windows 10 and lately it has been “complaining” about which browser I use–or rather don’t use.  You see, I use the Firefox browser which isn’t the Microsoft Windows 10 default.  The default for Windows 10 is Microsoft Edge (which replaced or is supposed to replace Internet Explorer).    So why have I, like many other people, not jumped to the new Edge browser?  After all Edge is fast, now supports addons, and lets you “draw” on the screen!

Browser Syncing

Aside from seeing by default Microsoft’s blatant left leaning propaganda page masquerading as a “news” page, there is another reason I do not use the Edge browser.  That reason is Syncing.   You may use syncing already with the browser you use.   Syncing allows one to save favorites, history, passwords, etc, to the browser within the cloud.   This sync of settings and favorites allows one to get access (by signing into the browser) to the settings and links from any computer running your favorite browser.  The trouble with Edge is that unlike the Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browsers, Microsoft Edge does not allow one to sync only the browser.  If you want to save your favorites and settings, you must create an account with Microsoft and log the entire Windows 10 computer into the cloud.

windows_8_microsoft_account_dialog

This is where I draw the line.  I want access to my browser settings, not my entire computer!  (if you know of a way to sync only the browser let me know)  So until Microsoft allows me to log-in/sign-in to just the browser, I will not be using Edge to browse the internet.

By the way, do you save your passwords in browser sync?  That is one option I would not be syncing (for obvious safety reasons).

If you appreciate this post feel free to comment.

 


Know your Windows 10 Key

Edge

Firefox

Chrome

FullyFreeFilms

Audacity Movie – Must see

Police 10-13

Original post –Why I don’t use Edge browser


Image source 1 personal screenshot ; source 2

4 Major Characteristics or Requirements of a Financially Wealthy Person

1. Expert in their field

The financially successful and wealthy person is good at what they do. This person knows their business and subject matter 

2. Hard Working

Many hours invested and spent working including travel time

3. Face to Face Time 

A great deal of time is spent with other people.  Human interaction is mandatory including public speaking at events and doing webinars.  Skills also include moderate to heavy phone use. The financially wealthy person probably has little to no fear of using a telephone or computer.

 4. Energy, Enthusiasm, Excitement 

What I call the three E's to Excellence.  These are essential at speaking engagements and for overall business success.  After all, my wife has proven to me that success usually follows anyone who is full of enthusiasm and energy about what they do. Of course, getting others excited about it helps too.

 

 

 

image source

 

 

Why I Don’t Use Microsoft Edge Browser

 

mozilla_firefox_39-0_windows_10

Default Browser

Like many people, I now use Windows 10 and lately it has been “complaining” about which browser I use–or rather don’t use.  You see, I use the Firefox browser which isn’t the Microsoft Windows 10 default.  The default for Windows 10 is Microsoft Edge (which replaced or is supposed to replace Internet Explorer).    So why have I, like many other people, not jumped to the new Edge browser?  After all Edge is fast, now supports addons, and lets you “draw” on the screen!

 

Browser Syncing

Aside from seeing by default Microsoft’s blatant left leaning propaganda page masquerading as a “news” page, there is another reason I do not use the Edge browser.  That reason is Syncing.   You may use syncing already with the browser you use.   Syncing allows one to save favorites, history, passwords, etc, to the browser within the cloud.   This sync of settings and favorites allows one to get access (by signing into the browser) to the settings and links from any computer running your favorite browser.  The trouble with Edge is that unlike the Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browsers, Microsoft Edge does not allow one to sync only the browser.  If you want to save your favorites and settings, you must create an account with Microsoft and log the entire Windows 10 computer into the cloud.

windows_8_microsoft_account_dialog

This is where I draw the line.  I want access to my browser settings, not my entire computer!  (if you know of a way to sync only the browser let me know)  So until Microsoft allows me to log-in/sign-in to just the browser, I will not be using Edge to browse the internet.

By the way, do you save your passwords in browser sync?  That is one option I would not be syncing (for obvious safety reasons).

If you appreciate this post feel free to comment.

 

Related Interest

Know your Windows 10 Key

Edge

Firefox

Chrome

FullyFreeFilms

Audacity Movie – Must see

 

Image source ; source 2

Know Your Windows 10 Key and How to Find It

windows-10-background-970-80

If you own or work with a computer running Windows, chances are you or someone you know has experienced a computer crash or freeze-up.  It is no fun and sometimes you lose data and personal files.   Now if you are one of the millions who have a legal and free copy of Windows 10 because you took advantage of the free upgrade two years ago, what happens if you need to re-install a clean copy of it?  Well, guess what?  You may not be able to unless you have a Windows 10 key.  As you may know with any Microsoft product, the key is essential especially when it comes to re-installing a clean copy of Windows 10.  The key tells Microsoft you have a legitimate and legal copy of the software.  And since you probably downloaded the upgrade copy of Windows 10, the key is hidden within the software.   But with your Windows 10 key you can legally activate it again!   So where’s it at and how do we get it?    Getting it is quite simple.

Get a profile of your computer with Belarc Advisor

belarc_main

First, you will need a profile of your computer.

  1. Go to Belarc Advisor’s website and download it.    Feel free to read the frequently asked questions under the download link to learn more about what Belarc Advisor does.
  2. Next run the Belarc Advisor and it will give you a profile of all the software and hardware on your computer.   This is completely free and safe.   When Belarc Advisor runs, a dialogue window will first ask if you want to check for new Advisor security definitions.  This is not necessary and I usually click on no.

belarc_1

All we are after is the Windows 10 operating system key that will show up in the profile for your computer.  After a minute or so,  a printed profile of your computer will open in a browser window (Belarc Advisor may ask how you want to view the profile).  Scroll down the page (toward the bottom) until you find the heading Software Licenses.

belarc_3
Windows 10 Key on the right in parenthesis! (Note: I blanked out my key for security reasons)

That’s it!  Your operating system should be displayed (probably last in the list).  And in the right column within the parenthesis is your operating system key!    Congratulations you own a legal copy of Windows 10 and now you have the proof!    Keep it safe (I saved the entire profile to a USB stick, external hard drive and wrote the key down!) You are now good to go.

If this post was helpful in any way I’d appreciate your comment.

 

Related Interest

Belarc Advisor Download

Windows 10

FullyFreeFilms.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nearly Perfect Open-World Game

open-world

Open-World Games Could Be Fun, If…

I have owned an Xbox 360 for a few years now but haven’t ever played an open-world game on it.  Now if you aren’t familiar, an open-world game allows the player (or players) to explore at will a large mapped out area within the game.  Missions and Challenges are usually spread throughout the map area for the player to discover.   It’s true, open world games look fun to me from a limited time playing GTA 4 with a police mod called LCPDFR but most of my knowledge about open-world games come from others—other people playing them on YouTube.    Now you may be wondering, why haven’t actually played much with these type of games if am so interested.  I mean really, it’s 2016 and many open-world games have already been released.

I don’t play much with this style of game is because well, I am a person with a higher standard.   I am an adult who enjoys third person action games probably in the style of GTA (Grand Theft Auto) 4 and 5 or even Red Dead Redemption but in today’s world it is impossible to find this type of open-world sandbox style game that truly rises to my standard for gaming.

High Standard…Really?

What is my standard you ask?    It’s what would make a game decent to play.  Such a game would be one that doesn’t surround itself with gratuitous sex, unrelenting cursing and profanity all bathed in extreme violence.  However the game I am talking about doesn’t exist despite it being the type of game that should be made.

Now it’s true most hard-core gamers mock people like me who want to remove cussing, sex  and extreme violence from a game.  They say it’s made that way for adults not kids.  Well, I am an adult person who likes games that are fun but doesn’t enjoy hearing cursing and words or lyrics of a song that blaspheme God’s name pumped into my head simply while I drive a car or boat fast, jump into and out of planes (or helicopters) and do other cool stunts.   Is this really to hard to ask?  Apparently for the gaming industry it just might be.

Graphically Rich

Why not a game so graphically rich as GTA 5 without profanity at nearly every turn?  Why can’t a game company make an exciting stunt filled open world game similar to Just Cause or GTA that involves driving cars, planes, boats and trains as the good guy without sex scenes and only blowing people up?

Modding

This brings me to modding.  There are mods for these types of games which do exactly what I have just mentioned such as removing or toning down the excessive violence, profanity, and will sometimes allow the player to play as a police officer (think LSPDFR).  However, these Mods will only work for the computer version of a game and must be added in before you start the game.   This presents a problem if the mod crashes because you will then be back to playing the original game with cursing and all.     So my big question is, if a mod can be made to “fix” a game that meets or exceeds my high standard why can’t game companies make a game that already accomplishes this?

High Standard Sales

Grand Theft Auto 5 is a game from a criminal’s perspective and it did very well, sales-wise.    And yet I believe a game of similar style could sell even more copies if it was raised to meet my incredibly high standard for what a good quality game could look like.  And while I’m at it, where are the graphically rich games that allow a player to take on the role of cop and do things like pulling over speeding vehicles without always ramming them?

So let me ask you?   If you like playing games, would you play a console or computer game that gave you the option to do fun stunts, drive cars, boats, planes, and trains within as graphically stunning open and real world environment as GTA 5 but you could play a good guy?

 

Recommended

Third Person Open World Games Miss the Mark

Audacity

180movie

Athiest Movie

 

 

Image source

Dead on Arrival: Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Freeze

windows-10-background-970-80

 

Update:  Now that it has been nearly one and a half years since the public release of Windows 10 I will say it is my opinion and from experience many bugs (including in the anniversary update)  have been removed from or fixed in the operating system.  At this time since  using Windows 10 for nearly the same amount of time,  I can finally recommend it to you.  ______________________

So the other day I downloaded Microsoft’s newest update for Windows 10 dubbed the Anniversary update (version 1607).  After about 90 minutes for the download and install all seemed going well.  My computer restarted a couple times and then I saw it.  A fresh desktop.

The mistake was when I turned off my computer.  When I turned it back on the next day, I saw a black screen with a windows logo frozen on my screen.   The computer appeared in operable.  Figuring this was a fluke, I shut down the computer again and restarted it and after a slower than usual boot-up time,  the desktop reappeared!

Later I restarted the computer and the same scenario complete with frozen window logo over black screen repeated itself.   This time I did a disk check which reported no errors on my system.   Instead of messing with a  broken half working computer system I decided to revert back to my previous build of windows (build 1511)—a time when my system worked fine.

My question is, why does Microsoft allow an update to be released that isn’t reliable?    I read online about how they released an update “fix” to fix the update freezing issue.  The trouble is, the Anniversary update I downloaded supposedly included that latest “fix”!

Should you get the Anniversary update to Windows 10?

The short answer is no.   In my opinion it’s simply not ready.  Of course you could always try it and than do what I did and revert back to your previous version of Windows if it doesn’t work.   But I wouldn’t recommend that in case something worse happens to your computer.   And despite what Microsoft may say, the Anniversary update needs to be proven reliable before I will try it again.  However, what I did see of the latest update to Windows 10 seemed promising, even as short lived as it may have been on my machine.

 

Related Interest

Anniversary Update concerns

Windows 10 update

Audacity Movie

180movie

 

Image source

 

What’s not to like about SimCity in 2016? A look at SimCity 5 (aka SimCity 2013)

Spark_2016-06-16_03-49-59

What SimCity could have been in 2017

SimCity Complete Edition

Although the mass of dust of displeasure over the forced multiplayer online only use in order to play SimCity 5 has mostly settled,   Electronic Arts finally added single-player mode (offline mode) a year later.    And now that it’s been nearly three years since the initial release of SimCity 5, there has been a significant price drop on the complete edition of SimCity,  so I have decided to jump in to see how the latest SimCity stacks up with Cities Skylines.  Cities Skylines it should be noted has received rave reviews by many and even has been proclaimed by some the city builder SimCity should have been (Read my experience here).

Keep in mind that at the time I reviewed/experienced Cities Skylines, I did not own SimCity 5 so my comments related only to my experience with CS.  Now that I own a copy of SimCity 5 let me cut to the chase and tell you what I do like about SimCity and what I don’t like so much.    Along the way I also hope to note a few similarities and differences as it relates to Cities Skylines.

The Good

First it is important to note that I have been playing the complete edition of SimCity with included expansion pack Cities of Tomorrow along with some others (see the complete list here).   With the complete edition of SimCity in single player or offline mode, I have found the game pleasantly fun to play,  slightly challenging (especially as one gets use to the various specializations available) but the game does not involve too much micro management to still have fun and for me the graphics and sounds have been a treat for the eyes and ears alike.

Spark_2016-06-16_03-46-07

Graphics and Sound

I think graphically speaking,  SimCity looks better as a whole and the models are rendered cleaner than they are in Cities Skylines.   Out of the box the colors are certainly rich,  vibrant and more appealing in SimCity and the buildings and city models are fun to watch and hear.    To me it’s as if the player is watching a quality Disney/Pixar movie animation unfold that you get to be a part of!    The sounds in SimCity are also well done.  They are light and fun as if I was a kid playing in a toy store with bells, whistles and thematic music to top it off.  And for me the game is not filled with over-the-top repetitive or annoying sounds at least that I have discovered yet.     And with the expansion packs, a player is allowed to direct and form the kind of city he/she would like to build, whether it be amusement oriented, a gambling touristic mecca, trading hub, futuristic style, etc it’s up to him or her.   These are all reasons I love what I see so far in SimCity 5.

Spark_2016-06-15_04-15-59

My Lower End Machine Experience

Another thing I like about SimCity is how well it seems to run on my lower end machine with a not-so-great graphics card (gts 250).    Even with lower in-game graphics settings the game still renders a fantastic looking game.   In Cities Skylines with mods, it takes a toll on my lower end computer and gpu.  In CS on my computer the edges of buildings for example cannot be rendered smooth as in SimCity even with a mod to do it.

 

American Made

A final reason I like playing SimCity is….get ready for it…….drum roll please……….well, it’s American based!  I didn’t think this would be such a big deal but after playing Cities Skylines for many days and hours I noticed I was beginning to feel a little culture shock.  Weird?  yeah I think so too.   With SimCity being American made, it shows.    For me, it just looks, feels and plays like a Pixar movie complete with a fantasy style rendering of a classic American city.  And out of the box without the use of mods,  default American style buildings, vehicles and train tracks makes SimCity feel like something I might find in my backyard.    Cities Skylines even with mods, still feels European with an old-style glaze to it (I’m gonna take a wild guess here and say this is probably due to the fact Cities Skylines was made over seas and not in America).

 

The Not-So-Good

There are at least a few things I have discovered about SimCity that I do not like.   For starters, SimCity comes with small map sizes available to build on.  This can be frustrating when one just wishes to build a larger sprawling city rather than a small city that can only go up.    The map size department is where Cities Skylines got it right.   These types of large expandable maps are what SimCity needs to make it even better than it already is.   However, I will note that SimCity allows for the creation of multiple cities that connect to each other within a region.   This is a neat feature of the game because you can simply move around a region to create different cities each with its own style and specialization or you can simply create various (although small land wise) cities to try out new features.   Cities Skylines on the other hand allows the creation of one mega city in a region which can get overwhelming with the micro-management necessary to keep the city healthy.   This one reason as it sits right now, that if you want the best of both worlds you have to play both games.

Spark_2016-06-17_20-27-52
Map size in SimCity

Although SimCity now has a Single-player/offline mode which definitely should have been part of the game from the start,  I do wonder why EA decided keep us linked so closely to an Origin account.  In fact in order to play the game you must log in to an Origin account (where the game was purchased) and keep the same Origin ID as your mayor name for every city you build.   This seems silly especially if you wanted to build multiple cities in a region under a different mayor name as was the case in past SimCity games.

One other thing that SimCity lacks is great modification abilities by users (such as is the case with CS) for mods in-game such as regions, expanded maps or more roads and buildings.  I also wish the game speed was a bit slower or at least a mod was available to slow it down as is in Cities Skylines.  The mod complaints I have are only minor because if SimCity was built with larger maps or with the included option to create larger maps in the first place the game would be nearly perfect without mods.

(UPDATE:   I implied that mods were not much a part of SimCity 5 but after getting more involved with SimCity have since discovered I am wrong about that.   There ARE actually quite a few decent game changing mods that make SimCity 5 even better than the vanilla game.   Some notable mods I have found are Larger Map Sizes aka Project Orion (although a bit glitchy it still works), RCI plop mod (project Avalon) which allows all buildings available and ploppable, project Akar (more roads and new user interface), and many other game enhancements.  If you are interested about modding SimCity 5, a great modding location is Simtropolis or SkyeStorme’s site.)

So how does SimCity 5 compare to Cities Skylines?   I think it probably depends mostly on you, the game player.  Since each person is different, we like and dislike different (or similar) things about a game.  But as it stands right now, I think it’s great to be able to play and enjoy both games.  Therefore the simple fact remains, both SimCity (2013) and Cities Skylines are very different games (aside from being city builders) and are far from being the same!


What SimCity 5 could have been in 2017

SimCity (2013)

Cities Skylines

Simtropolis

SkyeStorme Mod Site

Project Akar (SimCity UI enhancement mod)

Audacity Movie

180movie


images are my own in-game screenshots

What’s so great about Cities Skylines?

Screenshot 50
Cities Skylines

UPDATE 6-19-16:  I have since gotten a copy of SimCity (2013).  Read about my SimCity (2013) (aka SimCity 5) experience here.

 

What is Cities Skylines?

Cities Skylines is a city builder game similar in-game play to the popular SimCity building series.  After having time to play Cities Skylines I wanted to share some aspects of the game that I have found disappointing and discuss some issues I have yet to find discussed elsewhere online.   Of course there are great things to like about the game and I do.

A note about outside reviews and opinions of the game

Even though Cities Skylines is over a year old now it seems like a great game to play based on YouTube videos and online reviews.  And all the reviews and opinions I have found online about Cities Skylines paint the game in a purely positive light while many criticize SimCity 2013 (aka SimCity 5) mostly for its once needed persistent online connection.      It is important to note up front I have do not have much experience playing the latest SimCity 5 (aside from a free 2 hour trial) but have purchased Cities Skylines and have played it many hours.  (Read my updated SimCity 5 experience here)  My comments will be made mostly about the gameplay of Cities Skylines based on personal experience and opinion.

First, I will start by saying I have quite enjoyed Cities Skylines and believe it to be well worth what it costs (around $30) for the base or vanilla version of the game.   However,  it is also important to note I am using a graphics card below the game’s recommended specs so my comments will be strictly content related in nature rather than performance based.   (Additional note:  despite using a gpu and older computer below the recommended game specs I have gotten surprisingly decent game playing experiences along with a few crashes due to modding.)

Now as I have already mentioned, the game is worth buying for its price but user-created content and mods make it even better.    My problems with Cities Skylines come from the fact it is a European based game and it shows.   Being an American and living in the United States there are game oddities in the vanilla version of the game that have been somewhat hard to overcome without a mod.  In fact, the Cities Skylines I play today includes quite a bit of user-created content such as Mods and Assets that vastly improve the game where it is lacking mechanically or visually or both.

American User Created Content and Mods

However, if one is looking for the game to be American in style without mods it can be lacking.   Even when searching for user-created content to Americanize the game, I have found styles and content to be overwhelming foreign or European based.   Don’t get me wrong I have found some American style created content such as American Roads or American sirens for emergency vehicles and even American style buildings, trains, planes, and other vehicles–but just a few.  Although the European based styles are ok as options I would love to see more American variety besides New York City.     What about rural Humboldt California, USA?

Screenshot 4

European Styles

As already mentioned,  the vanilla game in my opinion is not very visually American (besides the default option of having vehicles driving on the right-side of streets) but the default building styles are no different.  The included European looking buildings appear old and outdated lacking color and I didn’t much American style included without adding some user-created content found on Steam.

Screenshot 66
In game European Style Buildings

Trains

I don’t believe overhead electric cables are the norm for many American rail systems across this great country unless we’re talking about a tram, cable or light rail system.   The rail system in the heartland is open track (without overhead electrical lines) with diesel-powered locomotives rolling on them such as BNSF, Southern Pacific or Amtrak.

Before you jump on me for mentioning the games lack of American style train tracks without an overhead electrical line,  I use a Mod that removes the overhead cable on train tracks  and it works great.   However, I have yet to find an American style passenger station asset without the overhead electrical cables!

Screenshot 115
Passenger Train Station with overhead cables
Screenshot 85
American Style Rail and Train

Trucks

The include trucks, buses and other included vehicles overall also have a distinct European look many of us in the United States will find foreign looking.   However, this foreign “look” can be somewhat remedied (like the overhead cabled train tracks) by adding some user-created American style vehicle assets which have been a welcome addition to my game experience.     But keep an eye open for me as I am still looking for an American semi-truck trailer without 3 wheels on the back axle!

Simulation Speed

If you are seeking realism in a city builder Cities Skylines has some.   I say some because it’s a game.   Now I don’t expect the game to be real to life in every possible way imaginable because after all it’s a simulation and it’s suppose to be fun.    Yet, I do think some mechanics tweaks could be achieved to make it a little more fun.  For me, one in particular is the simulation speed when the game is running at its lowest setting.

To clarify, by speed I am not referring to performance or frame-rate but the simulation game-play speed.   The vanilla game includes three simulation speed modes, slow, medium and fast.  This is the rate at which the cars and people move on the street and buildings are erected within the simulation.   Having a high-speed is a great option when you want buildings to grow fast or simulation time increased to build the city’s income.   However, in my opinion the slowest speed is still too fast.  Cars and people buzz around as if they have been put on fast forward and are little bees buzzing about on speed juice.   At times, it can be almost hard to watch when I just want things to slow down to a more realistic pace.    Yes, once again there is a mod for this.  Introducing a slow game mod to the vanilla game does wonders for more realism.   My question is, why didn’t the game creators include a slower mode with the base (vanilla) game?

Screenshot 98
Small Town

Final Assessment of Cities Skylines

Even with my minor frustrations for Cities Skylines vanilla not being more American looking by default, or an overly speedy simulation even on slow,   I do think Cities Skylines is an excellent city building game worth purchasing–even if you live in the United States.    The game is fun to play and challenging especially with mods and other user-created content.    In fact, I think finding great user-created buildings, models and mods is all part of the fun.       So if you are still on the fence about whether to purchase Cities Skylines and you have a computer with at least 8 gigs of ram and 1 gig  included on the graphics card (GPU) (recommended 16 gigs ram and 2 gigs graphics) then I think Cities Skylines is a great buy.      See full specs on this game here

Read about my updated SimCity (2013) (aka SimCity 5) experience here.

 

Related Interest

Cities Skylines

Hope

Audacity