The long-awaited new version of SimCity has finally released, and the launch has been filled with plenty of problems for players. The always-online DRM is causing major server issues, leaving many players facing long waits or unable to play the game at all. With that in mind, a group of gamers have taken to Kickstarter to introduce a project called Civitas – a DRM-free city planning game.

When Civitas first hit Kickstarter, not much information was provided. Plenty of promises were made, and screenshots were added, but no video of gameplay was actually shown. In spite of that, the creators still netted around US$40,000 in funding – a clear indication that gamers are frustrated by SimCity, and willing to take the risk to get a game like it, without all the problems.

Since then, the creators have released a video showing some of how the game works, which you can see on the project's updates page, and proving that a beta of the game does actually exist. While it's early, it does appear that the systems in the game are well done, and the visuals look good for a game in such an early stage of its development cycle.

Like most city planners, SimCity included, players of the proposed game will be zoning a city, building structures, and managing all aspects of the city. One feature that has gamers excited is terraforming – something that hasn't been included in the new SimCity. Gamers will be able to terraform the land, which makes it much more customizable. Everything from lakes to mountains can be added by the player.

Another interesting aspect proposed by the developers is the concept of permits. With this, players will have much more control over the types of buildings that spring from a created zone. If for example, a player creates a residential zone, he or she can issue a permit that only certain kinds of buildings can be built there. So even if a city is small, a player could make it so only nice houses are built.Civitas also promises to be highly moddable, with tools that will allow gamers to create all kinds of things.

The game will be compatible with Mac, Linux and Windows and offer single and multi-player modes. To pick up a first release copy of the game, the minimum backing is $15. For $25, buyers receive a digital copy and access to the beta once it becomes available. Currently, the project has received over $50,000 of its $250,000 goal. Backers will also get their name listed in the game credits.

Source: Kickstarter