Incredible mod recreates SimCity 2000 cities in Minecraft

Image for article titled Incredible mod recreates SimCity 2000 cities in Minecraft, down to the trees

picture: Jernej Gosar

The year is 1994. You play Sim City 2000 And you think, man, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could kind of get in the game and walk these streets.

The year is 1997. You play SimCopter, which says you can explore the streets of the city you created, but it sucks and looks like shit. You dream of a seemingly unattainable future.

It’s the year 2022 and at last, you can do it. you can take those Sim City 2000 Aside from lugging it around for almost 30 years, turn it into a modern day video game and walk the streets like you were born there and headed to work. The only snags are that it’s very hard to do. And that you actually play MinecraftNot SimCity.

Jernej Gosar, a software developer from Slovenia, is the man to thank for this mod, which reads a Sim City 2000 Save file and recreate as best you can Minecraft. “The main reason I chose this project was because I thought it would be really cool,” he tells me. “Sim City 2000 is one of my favorite games since I was a kid and one day I thought it would be extremely cool to go out and explore the streets.”

After gaining enough programming experience through his education and various IT jobs, he set to work in 2014 to fulfill his childhood dream. After I also got into it very much Minecrafthe saw a few mods where people had worked out ways to import them Sim City 2000 terrain maps in Minecraftbut not the buildings and the city itself.

“So I decided to do it myself,” he says. “If I remember correctly, the core idea was implemented in just a few weeks. I was really lucky someone wrote a detailed specification of SimCity 2000 file formatotherwise this project could not even start.”

“Probably the biggest challenge was sorting through the bytes of both file formats and finally creating something that could actually be opened in Minecraft,” he says. The next major obstacle was simply the time commitment recreate Buildings, as even the simplest could take hours, though with the added bonus that since this was a first-person adventure, Gosar’s work produced an interior (and sometimes even basic furniture) that matched the building’s exterior.

“I still haven’t finished all the buildings, and the most complicated ones (like the arcologies) would be a huge effort,” he says. “Typically, the smallest buildings only take a few hours to complete, including some interior furniture that makes sense for the building type. And the biggest ones can last a few days. The most complex building I’ve done so far was the large corporate tower, which was quite a big effort.

While how the mod actually works is incredibly complex – Gosar says “at the moment it’s not usable at all by people who aren’t software developers” – when you break it down, what it basically does is actually quite easy. It essentially takes a Sim City 2000 map and match each pixel to a Minecraft Block. This helps the mod communicate between both games and also helps keep everything to scale.

That doesn’t mean that the conversion process is always smooth. In addition to the above complexity issues, Gosar says, “In some cases, I’ve encountered 2D building structures that actually couldn’t be replicated in 3D,” with an example being that some buildings were actually there drawn like Penrose stairs instead of functional 3D spaces.

“That’s another problem Minecraft is limited to 256 blocks in height, so if there are a lot of hills in the city, the tallest parts can be cut off,” he adds. “Other than that we want the accuracy to be close to 100%, and the rendering of the Minecraft World with a tool that creates an isometric rendering of it should show something very close to the original Sim City 2000.”

Here is an example. Pictured below is a Sim City 2000 Metropolis of Gosar built:

Image for article titled Incredible mod recreates SimCity 2000 cities in Minecraft, down to the trees

picture: Jernej Gosar

And here is the same city translated into Minecraft and fully walkable. Notice how it even manages to grab the small individual trees and bushes in front of some buildings:

Mine City 2000

While this video highlights some of the basic interiors that the mod generates for some of the game’s buildings:

MineCity 2000 + some building interiors

Gosar says that going forward he wants to “make the project more user-friendly” by lowering the bar for people’s usage and understanding, ideally in the form of an online tool for users to upload one Sim City 2000 save and he gave a Minecraft world in return.

However, having a hectic day job to do, “he doesn’t have the time to work on it much at the moment, but I think the recent attention the project has received is a good motivation to push it forward.” If you are brave and want to try it yourself, You can find the project here.

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