Today Maxis released another video of their Glassbox Engine which is the fundamental layer powering the Simcity simulation. Today’s video focuses on the economic loop of the game’s engine. The simulation sends out “agents”, these agents can do various tasks, like for example, they can send out “help wanted agents” that request workers to either drive to work or walk to work. Agents can carry resources and travel to different zones. Some of these agents aren’t shown on the screen while you are playing but they will travel along the roads and paths you created.
In the video, the factories in the industrial zone opens at 6AM. However, these factories currently have no workers. They will send out invisible “help wanted” agents that travel down the road and search for residential zones. They will figuratively “knock on their doors” to inform that zone that there is a job opening. Residential zones will then send out cars that will search for the first available job.
As enough people show up to work, the factory turns on and starts manufacturing products. Air pollution is triggered as a result of the manufacturing. In addition, freight trucks will spawn and send goods from the industrial zones to the commercial zones.
This is just one example of how Residential, Industrial, and Commercial zones interact to one another. The point being that each thing you see in Simcity is something actually happening.
As this screenshot is illustrating, as factories are manufacturing goods, they will write to the air pollution map. This in turn triggers the smoke animation and sound effects at the same time.