Derek Thomas Pearce was feeling a little homesick while he was away living in Huntsville last year and he’s also a fan of the video game SimCity.
SimCity is a city-building/urban planning simulation computer game developed by Maxis and has become one of the most popular games on the web leading to numerous fan sites and others building their own version for their own town.
Pearce was inspired by a fellow gamer who took the task of building his own virtual New York City.
“I thought, we could do that for the Sault” Pearce told SaultOnline.com who has moved back to the Sault for work since last Summer.
Needless to say, Pearce and ten others involved in “Project SSM” have their work cut out for them. Painstakingly recreating every detail imaginable from buses and police cars to 3D modelling of homes and businesses, not to mention all the roads , bridges and sidewalks. “We’re basically re-creating the city 16 meters by 16 meters at a time as a scale for the map.
Once it’s finished however, it becomes not only a fun game but also an educational one.
“We have some discussions with members of council, Susan Myers sees this as a tourism purposes” Pearce said.”to be able to see the Sault in 3D. “we are going to upload everything we make for it and have it online for free”
Imagine what impact not having the St. Mary’s River, or the trans-Canada highway, this virtual Sault will be able to show you just how the city would be without things we all take for granted. It can be an ideal tool for city planning says Pearce.
Project SSM is comprised of, Derek Pearce (Team Leader, City Builder, 3d modeller) Danielle Rousseau (Editor)
Adam Pearse (Photographer) Cassandra Van Boerdonk (Photography) Jay Delaney Poet (Photoshop/Texture Creation)
Steven/Airman15 (Automata Creation) Nilo (Automata Creation) & Kieth Markus (Modding) and with no financial support or community support they estimate the project will take five years, however the group welcomes donations from the community and businesses. For their donation their business or home will be identifiable on the 3D map. “We could be done in two years if we had the financial help and resources through a sponsorship program”
It’s the detail that Pearce is going after to give people a real-time look at the Sault, otherwise buildings shown are “defaults” from the game.
“We’re not looking at making money from it our main goal is to provide entertainment for people” Pearce said.
Pearce says he taught himself how to 3D model and at one point Pearce himself was interested in civil engineering and city planning, “this game actually lets you be a city planner, everything you put in your city or leave out the game will tell you how your city is doing as far as safety, transportation, the economy”
“It teaches you everything, when you’re managing a city you have to manage the budget, you can’t go in the red or your city will fold”
Finding out if you would make a good Mayor is built into the game.
Pearce hopes more volunteers will get interested and help them get the game online, “the more people we have with 3D modelling experience the better” The group is currently in the process of mapping all the streets.
Pearce said what attracted him to the SimCity game to begin with was it allowed him to step from reality into a virtual world that he controlled. “You basically play God in this world”
Those interested can follow the progress on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/projectsaultstemarieofficial/
or on twitter https://twitter.com/ProjectSSM?lang=en