Playing Sim City 4 on Ubuntu on a large display

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Sim City saga, a little less so for the Sims spin-offs, but I enjoyed them anyway. After some years without playing, and after catching some colleagues playing micropolis, I felt it was the right time to see if my city planner skills are still intact. Micropolis is soooo 1990, so I took a look at LinCity, which is kinda good, but still looks to me like a copy of SimCity 2000, and being SimCity 3000 the last I owned I decided to go for SimCity 4, as it really costs nothing on eBay.

A question that bothered me was: “will it run on Ubuntu?”. Well, maybe “bothered” is a little too strong a word to describe the 2 seconds that took me to google “sim city 4 ubuntu” and discover that yes, it can run on Ubuntu (almost) flawlessly. You can also follow the instructions on that site to install the game (basically you create a new drive in wine pointing to the folder you mount the CD on, follow the standard setup procedure and download the patch from EA site).

Still, two issues arose:

  1. it looks like the game has stability issues on multicore architectures
  2. the game does not detect my current display resolution (1920×1080), and does not list it among the available ones

The first is actually a no-brainer, as it is enough to feed wine a -CPUCount:1 option to force it to use one of your cores.

The second is just quite as easy, cause all it takes to set your custom resolution (can be almost any) is to specify a -CustomResolution:enabled -r1920x1080x32 option for the game executable. Having to pass those arguments to SimCity4.exe and not to wine itself, remember to escape them properly.

In the end, what I did is just create a shortcut on my applications menu like this:

wine /home/myUserName/.wine/dosdevices/c\:/Program\ Files/Maxis/SimCity\ 4\ Deluxe/Apps/SimCity\ 4.exe -CPUCount:1 "-CustomResolution:enabled" "-r1920x1080x32C"

Where of course 1920×1080 can be set to whatever resolution you use. Thanks for the advice!

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