knew this was something of a hack


Senior Member
But that was all a fiction. In truth, SimCity’s simulation engine has never had a place for simulated citizens. Instead, under the hood, the game has always modeled the city the same way the Soviets did—from the top down. For instance, if you decreased funding for your city’s hospitals, SimCity would simply apply a macroeconomic function to approximate how increased levels of sickness would affect the overall economy. The game’s designers knew this was something of a hack.


Dear Veterans,

Above is an article on a newly released version of a famous simulation game franchise called Simcity, and in this particular excerpt, the reporter is talking about the game's simulation mechanism. And I would appreciated it if you could tell me what the "hack" means in the last sentence. Does it mean something like "hassle"?

By the way, I copied and pasted the URL address of the article for your reference and don't know why I can't click through it.

  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "a hack" is an unsophisticated or simplistic solution to a problem and, although the solution works, it [the solution] is not entirely satisfactory.


    American English
    I've read it a couple times. I think they are using it like the meaning of "hacking" into a computer, etc. Almost like they were "hacking" into their own game to manipulate it, if that makes sense.

    EDIT: Just saw Paul---I'm not familiar with that usage of "hack" (which means nothing, if I am not familiar with it!).


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As an information systems professional, I'm familiar with the usage that PaulQ describes. I find it the most likely - indeed, the only plausible - interpretation here.


    Senior Member
    I agree. A hack allows you to get want you want through some workaround. The hack, in this case, existed in the old version of the game. Because the behaviour of individual units (people, businesses, etc) was not being modeled, a "fix" was introduced to (awkwardly) generate the effects of a city planner's decisions — "a simulated simulation." This produced misleading results. The dynamic consequences of policy changes are now represented in the new version.


    Senior Member
    Thank you all!!

    Given the context of the article, with the immediately following sentence being ",but they had no choice"
    I too think PaulQ's take is the correct one. Thank you again!!!!!!