After Hours

Electronic Arts to donate SimCity to the OLPC project

Electronic Arts plans to donate the original version of the popular SimCity computer game to the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project for inclusion on the XO laptop.

Electronic Arts plans to donate the original version of the popular SimCity computer game to the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project for inclusion on the XO laptop.

The idea is that the game will be distributed to schoolchildren in developing countries not only to entertain but also to educate.

According to Ars Technica, the idea of including SimCity on the XO laptop was originally conceived by Electronic Frontier Foundation cofounder and OLPC advisor John Gilmore. It is currently being ported by Don Hopkins, the man responsible for the Unix port of the game.

Excerpt from Ars Technica:

Hopkins has already managed to port the game and make it run on the XO laptop and is now working on making it integrate well with the OLPC's Python-based Sugar environment. Hopkins says that the final version of SimCity for the XO will be fully scriptable in Python and he hopes to make much of the underlying components reusable in order to provide generic building blocks for building XO games.

It can't be a bad thing, I suppose, especially if users are able to study the underlying components to advance their understanding of programming.

Perhaps TechRepublic members could chip in about how a game on city building will benefit schoolchildren from a rural area. What other games would you recommend be bundled with the XO laptop?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

30 comments
joycehays
joycehays

Why a game on city building will benefit schoolchildren from a rural area: 1) More knowledge is better, it stretches the imagination. Kids see cities depicted all the time on TV and movies, so the concept is not a new one. 2) No doubt, in the future, the majority of humans will live in cities, with gardens on roofs of buildings, and solar & thermal energy supplying all the electricity to entire cities. As beautiful as the countryside is, the real dynamic living will be in cities, for most people. New York City already has some totally "green" buildings and one of our Gristedes markets has 100% electricity, coming from a water turbine under the East River. And, our mayor Bloomberg, has ordered that 1Mil trees be planted in NYC. It's thrilling to watch NYC morph into a truly environmentally friendly city of the future. joycehays@gmail.com - 11/12/07

chris
chris

Hi sounds Idyllic your vision of New York's future. Are they going stick livestock on the roof tops in New York as well ?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Okay well one store does anyway, and it's pretty much just a tourist thing. Coombs market, on Vancouver Island, has goats on the roof, lawn and all. Quite the attraction in the summer. The market itself has grown immensely, now a great place for anything fresh and home made. Ahhh, how I miss he island! Going over this weekend and mid next week on business though, always look forward to the trip over, love Vancouver Island. http://www.oldcountrymarket.com/goats.html

JCitizen
JCitizen

Of the sod house my grandmother grew up in; except there were more likely to be prong horn antelope on the roof. They act and look kind of like goats when their curiosity over takes them. Appreciate the link!!

JCitizen
JCitizen

to city concepts, just like I did when I lived in the sticks, it does make you wonder if city people know where their food comes from; or even WHAT a cow is! :^O ROTFLMAO

JCitizen
JCitizen

starved rather than eat his master. Gives me a healthy respect for the lupines of the world. More respect than I have for for a small number of humans; one of whom is this Botnet scumbag that was mentioned in another TR news item.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Sharks are perfectly evolved for killing and eating anything the find in the water. Cats are equaly specialized at hunting on land. Gotta love them even though they'll eat your corps when you die. I believe dogs, being pack animals, will maintain some emotional attachment and leave the body to rott if I remember correctly.

JCitizen
JCitizen

where she might have to kill something. I used to study in police science about death investigations where some of the "pets" people have, don't have any compunctions about eating their masters if they expire alone in a shut up home. Oddly enough farmers do get attached to their animals once and a while; and it takes great sole searching when the pasture dries out and ol'Betsy has to be sold to slaughter. It beats watching her starve to death.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You can't tip a supermarket.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

In the Lower Mainland, you've either seen a cow milked, watched a birthing and seen a pen cleaned (or preformed all of the above) or you are not from around these parts. Vancouver's annual agricultural fair, the Pacif National Exhibition, has all of these displays annually as well as many others. Without prejuduce, I find that Asians (Oriental asians) are the most uninterested. They want to look from outside the barn, but plug noses and giggle as they quickly skitter through an aisle or two on their way to the Casino or rides on the Midway. Livestock and farming (grass in general) simply isn't in the cards for them. Coming from concrete jungles, it is new, unpleasant and unwelcome it seems. There is a slaughter exhibit which shows the winning pigs, from the 4H clubs. I remember a woman complaining to me one summer, that we shouldn't allow such an exhibit near all these children raising their "farm Pets" lol. A 4H kid about 10 years old, started telling her how that was HIS pig, how he had bought it for X dollars, fed it for X dollars and now it was sold for X+ dollars, netting a profit of X dollars. Her face was so shocked to find out that this kid saw it as a livestock business, not his 'farm pet'. That one cracks me up! "Farm pet", no joke that's what she called them. The kid tried to take her over to his cows to offer more information on his investments,as that's what 4H is all about of course, she grimaced and left. I guess not all of us understand livestock and its importance.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

It comes from the SUPERMARKET!!!! :)

JamesRL
JamesRL

I was at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto last week, to see my relatives show their cattle. I walked by a demonstration of milking that was put on by the milk marketing board. It was a mock up of a barn with 4 cows, and a small milk shed with cooling unit etc. I got lots of entertainment watching the wide eyed city folk, including my kids, as the cow was milked of about 20 litres in just a few minutes. I started mumbling about how in my day we didn't have vacuum lines, we had milk pails and we had to carry each one...I got the "oh dad" look from my fashion diva daughter. James

joycehays
joycehays

Why a game on city building will benefit schoolchildren from a rural area: 1) more knowledge is better, it stretches the imagination. They see cities depicted all the time on TV and movies. 2) no doubt, in the future, the majority of humans will live in cities, with gardens on roofs of buildings, and solar & thermal energy supplying all the electricity to entire cities. As beautiful as the countryside is, the real dynamic living will be in cities, for most people. joycehays@gmail.com - 11/12/07

joycehays
joycehays

Why a game on city building will benefit schoolchildren from a rural area: 1) more knowledge is better, it stretches the imagination. They see cities depicted all the time on TV and moview. 2) no doubt, in the future, the majority of humans will live in cities, with gardens on roofs of buildings, and solar & thermal energy supplying all the electricity to entire cities. As beautiful as the countryside is, the real dynamic living will be in cities. joycehays@gmail.com - 11/12/07

don
don

Thanks for writing the article about OLPC SimCity! There's more information on my web site: http://www.DonHopkins.com I just uploaded a new demo to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpKhh10K-j0

JCitizen
JCitizen

It is great that kids will not have to do the same thing with mud huts and sticks the way I used to do it out behind the pump shack on our farm. Those coffee can sewer drains really sucked!

sergionoronha
sergionoronha

Fantastic. It's still my favourite game and I don't understand why things stopped at Simcity 4.

kmcnutt
kmcnutt

They are coming out with a new Simcity Societies, though I haven't read too much about it. I agree that a Civilization-type game would be good, given the potential for historical lessons.

paulmah
paulmah

Perhaps TR members could chip in about how a game on city building will benefit schoolchildren from a rural area. What other games would you recommend be bundled with the XO laptop?

ToR24
ToR24

The basic premise of SimCity is to pave over every acre of land to create a metropolis for the purpose of optimzing tax revenue and expenditures. The simulation does not account for the land requirements of agricultural and mining needs of a society for food production, renewable agricultural products, as well as fuel and mineral exploitation. Even the taxation model does not adequately accomodate a city's need to provide the broad spectrum of entitlements needed to run a large city. We should be concerned that children could be learning that a society's needs can be adressed by zoning and the placement of services like a police station. SimCity may be too broadly focused on systems that barely function adequately in the real world. How does SimCity address the world's ecological disasters taking place today? Before giving away a failed template for society, EA needs to completely rewrite the game to simulate deforestation, loss of habitats, desertification, pollution and the potential effect for good or bad that we humans can have on the global environment. Maybe the new game will be profitable as well.

nondrakhali
nondrakhali

Is there such a game? This type of collaborative activity would be most interesting played globally...

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

If they ever want to move to Canada, hockey skills are useful, and then moving to the USA, having a military mindset may help. [i](POKE POKE OUCH!!! Sorry.[/i] Really though, I think games such as restaurant and business management SIMs would be a benefit in learning to manage stock, money, growth etc. Graphics programs or suites such as Macromedia's Studio a good for a career in graphic/webdesign. Not really a game though. I guess I find most SIM style games to be a great learning tool for specific areas of interest. Theay help teach the manufacturubg, distribution, retailing and franchising aspects fo business, to a certain extent anyway.

diegoleao
diegoleao

A game where the objective is to create contraptions using the objects that are given to you, to achieve the goal of the level. Me and my friends used to play it A LOT when I was young, and we didn't even saw it as a educational game :) It was hard to choose what to play between Quake and TIM, wich is a great indicative of its fun factor - at least when I was a kid XD

lesko
lesko

Jeopardy, Who Wants To Be A Millionare, You Dont Know Jack, ETC.

reedkeyser
reedkeyser

To have an outlet for creativity, multi-tasking, and managing resources is undeniably a good thing to have. This works especially well for kids that are in that stage of development. To challenge them on more than sinple mental tasks; this "game" challenges them in more ways than one. As for other games to be utilized as tools for learning, I strongly believe that PC games can be utilized for areas of specific learning. For example, Microsoft Flight Simulator (any version) can be utilized by Science teacher's to help comprehend the specifics of flight, which includes physics.

tundraroamer
tundraroamer

Shouldn't they start out with something more familiar, even local, before moving up into a programmers version of "City Life"? I would think fun games that encourage math and reading would be more appropriate.

roselio
roselio

Teach them how to take over the world!

APitBoss
APitBoss

I definitely feel that Civilization would be an appropriate game to include. Perhaps it will have the capability of teaching these youths about many of the amazing facets of the world (history, politics, culture, survival, growth, and prosperity) in a manner that is educational as well as entertaining.

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