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Real Name John   
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Nickname JohnnyRotten
Email Concealed by request - Send Mail
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Homepage http://
Signed On Mar 17, 2008, 21:55
Total Comments 362 (Amateur)
User ID 46743
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
131. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 20:48 JohnnyRotten
 
Wolfox wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 20:32:
JohnnyRotten wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 19:44:
So thumbs up or down on Anno 2070? Looks good, but hard to tell from screen shots. Solid sim?

Let me put it this way - it's the best city builder I've played since Zeus: Master of Olympus. I've played it for more than 50 hours by now, I'm still having tons of fun, and I haven't seen even half of the content. I strongly recommend it.

Sold!
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
129. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 20:02 JohnnyRotten
 
Redmask wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 19:50:
Anyone hear word on a save game emulator? I would like to see legitimate customers have access to offline functionality so they can at least recoup something since EA lied about refunding their money.

I saw a post on RPS that I thought was pretty funny and pertinent to your question. Paraphrasing:

Create a VM with the game, play offline, and snapshot the VM while the game is running. Voila! Quick and easy local saves.

Horrible, but maybe possible. Wall2
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
127. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 19:44 JohnnyRotten
 
So thumbs up or down on Anno 2070? Looks good, but hard to tell from screen shots. Solid sim?  
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
126. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 14, 2013, 19:43 JohnnyRotten
 
HorrorScope wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 19:27:
EA Games: Built on decades of lies.

Flip that around and you got a great name for a band or a game - "Lies of Decades"
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
121. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 18:52 JohnnyRotten
 
Cutter wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 18:39:
JohnnyRotten wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 18:29:
Sorry for the wall of text. Man I hate those kind of comments.

That wasn't a wall of text. A wall of text is one of those rambles without paragraphs and/or bullet points. That was easily readable and coherent.

I'll try to fail harder next time. Especially on the coherent part.
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
118. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 18:29 JohnnyRotten
 
Sorry for the wall of text. Man I hate those kind of comments.  
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
117. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 18:27 JohnnyRotten
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 17:52:

That's not even slightly true. No one buys the old game?

1) The old game is cheaper
2) The old game is fondly remembered by those that haven't played it in years

Do you know what the game got an enormous bump on Steam when Deus Ex: HR was released?

Of course the bump is bigger here, due to the launch, but I keep seeing people talk about how SC4 was the best selling game on GoG. Gee, you think?

GOG doesn't sell Simcity 4 (at least not currently - maybe in the past?). Sorting their catalog by bestselling shows Simcity 2000 about 20 slots down. So your statement here doesn't appear to be true, unless GOG used to sell it. Was that the case?

Deus Ex: I can't find any kind of aggregator of Steam's weekly topseller list. If you have a source to back up your claim, I'd certainly be interested. I'd also be interested in correlating that with general sales trends over time as well as any potential sale that was going on - other factors that could be involved that would determine if your point is more about causation then correlation.

On your other two points:

"1) The old game is cheaper". Yes, so is expired butter. Neither old butter nor an old game whose feature set, graphics, and overall capabilities stands up very well when stacked against something fresh. People who play games as a rule don't toss the new version over to buy the old version based the price point. Unless you have very cruel parents. Man, I wish I had kids. I'd do that to them all the time. Here kiddo - have a brand new copy of Madden 94. Have fun! Keep bitching and you'll be getting Empire Deluxe next instead of Call of Donkeys 9.

"2) The old game is fondly remembered by those that haven't played it in years". Certainly. Of course, those people already own the old game and generally don't need to repurchase it. Those who do would certainly be a small market. Also these people would most likely have indulged themselves somewhere between the announcement and the release of the newest flavor of the game. After all, they don't have to wait to play their old game - it's already released.

I believe that the reality here is that what people generally want, including the "fondly remembered" types, is to play a BETTER version of what they already own, or remember from the fond days of yesteryear. Otherwise no sequel would ever sell.

What I think we're seeing here* is that the failure at every level for SimCity has driven those who so badly wanted a better sim game back to the old ones in the same genre. Thus the high volume of sales of much old games in the same genre AFTER the release of the new. Such a large volume that it's driving other new AAA titles down underneath them

* I'll stress "think" as I'm not an expert in market dynamics; furthermore I value the truth to much to make fact claims like "not even slightly true" without evidence. /snark off.
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
108. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 17:37 JohnnyRotten
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 17:31:
Why is that crazy? Who wouldn't expect older versions of a franchise to explode when there's interest for the new?

Heck, RollerCoaster Tycoons 2 and 3 are in the top 20.

If the successor beats the old game in quality, no one buys the old game. So I would think no one expects any sim game like or comparable (RC Tycoon) to be on the charts at this time. That they show up at all is another sign of fail for EA.

Also internets. Because.
 
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News Comments > SimCity Hacked to Play Offline?
106. Re: SimCity Hacked to Play Offline? Mar 14, 2013, 17:25 JohnnyRotten
 
wtf_man wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 15:49:
And it'd be hillarious if somehow Sim City 4 suddenly outsold Sim City 2013. Mybe EA would get the message.

...Nah.

Holy crap - not that far from the truth:

Amazon Digital Download Best Sellers

Simcity - #1
Simcity 4 Deluxe - #2 <----- CRAZY
 
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News Comments > SimCity Status Report
35. Re: SimCity Status Report Mar 14, 2013, 11:03 JohnnyRotten
 
JoeNapalm wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 09:16:
This is the entirety of their "AI" in pseudocode:


FOR ALL SIMS
1. GOTO HOUSE
2. IF HOUSECAPACITY = FULL
THEN HOUSE = HOUSE + 1
3. GOTO 1


Reading around, it seems it may be just that dumb. And not just for house - job, shopping, transportation routes, power, water, etc.

I've read claims about people saying that most if not all of the agents share the same base code when it comes to expressing destination behavior.
 
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News Comments > SimCity Status Report
34. Re: SimCity Status Report Mar 14, 2013, 10:57 JohnnyRotten
 
Panickd wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 21:23:
Since the game is inherently broken and does not do any of the granular simulation they said it did who really cares if they get their shit together server-wise? I was an ardent defender of this game and their decision to do it all online but this game has just turned out to be crap on crap with more crap on the side.

What would you like for dessert sir?
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
86. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 14, 2013, 10:47 JohnnyRotten
 
Dev wrote on Mar 14, 2013, 01:40:
ViRGE wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 22:10:
All I'm really saying is that it's not so lightweight that it's 100K people spread over 23 CPUs. It has to be at least a bit heavier weight than that.
Why?
It wouldn't surprise me if that was the case, if they are doing a minimal amount on the server, just enough to get away with saying they have to have it always online.

The cluster of nodes vs individual servers debate is all supposition at this point - we don't have any hard evidence either way. It does make sense from the design standpoint for the system to be used in a cluster (redundancy, scalability, etc.), but more difficult to do from a financial standpoint.

I wouldn't be surprised to find either.

This comment was edited on Mar 14, 2013, 17:03.
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
83. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 19:40 JohnnyRotten
 
Crustacean Soup wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 17:21:
This speaks to how difficult it would be to pull the regional stuff off of the servers and put it in an offline version. The server environment is entirely different from what an individual with a single computer has. There's a lot intercommunication that would have to be simulated/changed, there's database servers, it's all probably running in a (/ many) different OSs and software environment(s) that consumers wouldn't be running the game on. Getting this stuff all on the client is not the flip of a switch that some people are characterizing it as.

Agree completely - the back end DB could be something godawful expensive like Oracle and you're just not going to throw that to a million client machines. If the cluster scenario is true, then multiple services are all talking to each other across the network, and it may be a bit more of a challenge to separate the unneeded/unwanted aspects of that from a more purpose built single machine client.

This is an argument that they may have programmed themselves into a corner here - and that the solution would need some rework before you could move it to a client machine. This is most likely where they are at, and why the anonymous RPS source said it would be difficult, but not impossible.

However, this wasn't a case of the issue justifying in and of itself of having to program it twice for a server and client implementation being the only option (as was previously claimed in another post). They had the choice to let the game run locally, but decided not to. This was a case of them painting themselves into a corner for no other reason than control (IMHO).
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
81. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 17:54 JohnnyRotten
 
ViRGE wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 16:52:
You're being too literal. A "server" in this case would be a server cluster composed of an unknown number of nodes. There's at least one beefy machine doing all of the database work, they may have a proxy layer, nodes doing the regional simulation, etc. We have no way of knowing precisely how many individual drive a server cluster, but I'd expect there to be a lot of them handling the regional sim.

Good point - they are using Amazon's EC2 service here. There may well be a cluster of EC2 nodes with a single exposure point (EU West #4 for example). However, outside of some speculation, I can't find any evidence either way.

It's certainly possible that the PR types are saying "server" because they don't know any better.

The cluster proposition just makes it more expensive to implement with the additional items that control and centralize data for the servers (Amazon load balancing services, centralized database nodes, etc). Which leaves you with even less money for the server nodes themselves.

So at the end of the day, it doesn't change the basic problem - there isn't a lot of CPU/RAM to go around per player at any given point. The server nodes in a cluster model here would have to be cost effective at some fraction (after the re-seller cut, EA cut, the Maxis cut, etc) of a single $60 per player purchase.

I still don't see a scenario that validates the servers are doing "uber things" that can't be done locally. (A fraction of) $60 isn't a price point that makes players monopolizing consider CPU and/or RAM assets that doable - leveraging Amazon's EC2 service is not cheap at this scale.

I don't think there is a ton of assets running for this game, not unless EA wants to take a loss on it.
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
77. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 16:45 JohnnyRotten
 
Kajetan wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 15:57:
Sim Shitty

Nice! Brings back memories of City Wok from South Park.
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
68. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 13:45 JohnnyRotten
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 13:27:
I wonder if the Spore effect has come in to play here - the DRM is so bad, it's distracted from the actual game's failings. If SimSeveralSmallTowns had launched in the condition it is now, I'd have been pleasantly surprised but there'd probably be far more discussion about the actual simulation's failings.

Good lord, you're probably right - the dust hasn't even settled on the DRM required BS, and people are just now finding out that when they can play the game, it looks like the simulation part is busted.

If you're into schadenfreude, this is the gift that keeps on giving.

Poor beloved Simcity franchise, shot in the head, kicked to pieces, set on fire, and than launched into the sun by EA for a quick buck. /hyperbole off.
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
65. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 13:16 JohnnyRotten
 
Requires large amounts of server resources? Nope. From a Simcity web site blog post, posted by the Assistant Producer Kyle Dunham:

...we’ve begun upgrading several of our servers to both increase their capacity and mitigate connection issues. This process has been going well and we successfully upgraded 10 servers yesterday: NA West 2, EU West 1-4, EU East 2-3, and Oceanic 1-2. Today we’re working on upgrading our remaining servers, so bear with us as we take them offline one-by-one to perform these upgrades. While this is going on, we also released the new server South America today, bringing our total server count up to 24, including our Test server.

24 servers (NOW), including a test, so 23 production. It's hard to tell what they started with, but digging through the 5 updates, I get:

Update 1 - Added 4 new servers (EU West 3/4, EU East 3, Oceanic 2)
Update 2 - No mention of new servers
Update 3 - 1 new server (Antarctica)
Update 4 - No mention of new servers
Update 5 - 1 new server (South America)

So it sounds like they started with no more than 17 production servers, and added 6 over the last few weeks.

So 23 servers are running everything (registration, authentication, cross player interactions, region stuff, etc) but the item that interests me the most is the region work. Which, even given the most beneficial "looking through a glass darkly" interpretation of EA's claims, must be done server side. It requires to many horses or something.

Taking away the overseas servers that I know about (EU East 1-3, EU West 1-4, Oceanic 1-2, Antarctica 1, and South America 1), that leaves 12 US servers.

I'm having a hard time running a solid number to ground, but update 3 mentions "Tens of thousands of new players are logging in every day", and update 4 says "...8 million hours of gameplay time". Both updates may include all players (US, Europe, etc).

But these numbers seem to indicate hundreds of thousands of players, and potentially tens of thousands playing at once.

The region processing cannot be very CPU and/or RAM intensive at all. How could it be? 23 servers CPU's and RAM for tens of thousands (at least) of players at once. The amount of CPU/RAM slice per player must be very thin indeed for this to work at all.

And if the thin slice theory - (TM) is correct, than once again, I circle back to how come this couldn't have been done on the client? The client whose available resources in CPU and RAM are almost certainly going to exceed the very small amount available per player on the server?

Again, I come to the conclusion that the server component is completely about control, and not in the least about offloading processing power.


Like everything I post, everything above is my opinion, and not a statement of fact.
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
64. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 12:41 JohnnyRotten
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 11:04:
Here's how I see the situation (assuming I speak for everyone!):

- We don't want cities simulated on EA's servers.
- AFAIK, EA never said they were.
- Cities aren't simulated on EA's servers.

- We don't want regions simulated on EA's servers.
- EA have said that they are simulated on their servers.
- Regions are simulated on EA's servers.

- EA have said that a connection is required.
- Region play is an essential part (IMHO) of SimSeveralSmallTowns
- Ergo, a connection is required.

I think EA have been honest in this regard. The thing that we should be angry about is that the regions are server side, not that the cities are client side. Where I think EA have been dishonest is by implying that the regions _need_ to be done server side. Sure, they do when the game is designed that way but they could have designed a better game by making it all client side. That's the problem. That's what we should be pissed about.

One might point out that if it had been made clear by EA, they would have released some information akin to yours *making* it clear. If that had happened, we wouldn't be having this discussion. The waters here have been very heavily muddied by EA, and the attempts to disseminate information to clarify the issue seem to be slow in coming. Certainly they are aware of what has been said in the games media, and they've had more than enough time to respond accordingly. So, I disagree with your honesty conclusion.

Even giving you that EA has acting in good faith, I think 95% of the people don't know about the alleged difference in city vs region processing (it certainly hasn't been made clear to them by EA, only by outsiders), and I don't think that most of them care about the semantics of it.

The reality is that the always on part has broken the game for them, and I'm reasonably sure that most everyone trying to play the game cares about that single fact, not subdividing it up into parcels, and trying to play semantic games with what was said about those parcels.

But again, giving you the EA and good faith argument, regardless of what part is offloaded to the server, it still has to be reasonably trivial to process. As I keep pointing out, there is no financial model that would support the near monopoly of a modern server's CPU + RAM for a one time $60 purchase.

If that assumption is correct, there isn't a single legitimate consumer reason to do so, and there is no reason that it could not be retro-fitted to a client architecture. Yes, the latter would take time and effort, but it's not impossible*, nor financially crippling. I honestly can't see any scenario where it would cost more to rebox this to the client than to host the servers over the long haul.

* As per the RPS article, "Clearly an offline game that included a single-player simulation of the region system derived from multiplayer would be more challenging to develop, but our source assured us that it was far from impossible." This comes from an unnamed source, and isn't a direct quote, so you'll have to take the statement with a grain of salt.

* Edited "food faith" to "good faith". "Food faith" is pretty fun though...
 
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News Comments > More on Offline SimCity
61. Re: More on Offline SimCity Mar 13, 2013, 12:19 JohnnyRotten
 
OpticNerve wrote on Mar 13, 2013, 00:58:
Gonna post this here but apparently the game itself is pretty broken in terms of some gameplay mechanics:

I was going to post that yesterday, but didn't have a second source, so I held off. However, other people are reporting the same thing and their are videos now demonstrating this issue.

The simulation part of this game is looking more and more compromised, and that is (IMHO) "SIM"City's selling point. I wonder how much of this is due to compromises made during development due to budget, time, or the silly always on requirement (playing the concern troll of course).


 
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News Comments > SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment
118. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 12, 2013, 19:53 JohnnyRotten
 
Interesting comment in the RPS article, from someone who claims to be a Maxis dev:

So how difficult would it be for EA to create a single-player game that simply did away with the multiplayer-derived aspects and just let us build? It seems that lies somewhere between “easy peasy” and Bradshaw’s claims of “significant engineering”. According to our source:

“It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”


So if this source is good, than it really is all about the region stuff. Although the Kotaku article says he was sending and receiving region commodities while offline. Go figure....
 
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362 Comments. 19 pages. Viewing page 3.
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