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EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game

A post on the EA website by Lucy Bradshaw has the latest word from the Maxis label general manager to discuss the fairly disastrous launch for SimCity, their online-only urban planning game. She explains what's going on with the game, and promises those who have suffered through its launch will be rewarded with a free game. "And to get us back in your good graces, were going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio. On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game," she writes. "I know thats a little contrived kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. But we feel bad about what happened. Were hoping you wont stay mad and that well be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent." Here's word on the current status of the game:

The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity. But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that were working fast to address.

So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.

OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. Its working the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent.

So were close to fixed, but not quite there. Im hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us.

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114 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 1.
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114. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 11, 2013, 10:51 Beamer
 
Agreed. Being a grunt on a set is incredibly difficult.

Someone here mentioned that video games aren't an industry that tends to afford much longevity. It's far, far worse for film. Again, go see how many movies the average boom mic tech works. Or any of the other people on the set.

Being treated like crap over 14 hour days on a job with virtually no upward mobility tends to burn a lot of people out. I'm sure some of you are nodding your head thinking that describes games, too, and it does to an extent (look at your QA testers), but the tenure for anyone else tends to be longer than Hollywood, and the jobs are easier to get.
 
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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113. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 11, 2013, 10:40 Verno
 
I have to agree with Krovven which is a rarity, a friend of mine is lowly on set tech and he is one of the most specialized and hardest working folk I know. The post production crews work hard I'm sure but it's all symbiotic.  
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112. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 11, 2013, 05:35 Krovven
 
Dmitri_M wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 17:16:
In my past, I worked on sets to make sure the footage film crews were shooting was useable in post production. The guys on the film sets worked a couple of set hours doing only very specific things. The post guys (artists, animators) worked 18 hour days in multiple disciplines with that footage under high pressure. From personal experience I know there is a world of difference.

I've worked film sets too. For you to say that people 'work a couple of set hours' is fucking ridiculous. Everyone on a film set has a job. Most of those jobs have the individual working 14 to 18 hour days doing those jobs for 6-7 days a week for months at a time. Some jobs are administration, some are hard labour, some are artistic, others are technical. Without all those people doing their jobs, the post production guys have no jobs. Time to get off your high horse.

Film industry existed for 75+ years without programmers, compositors, computer animators, etc. Those jobs don't exist without the film industry. Video games that programmers write code for, don't exist without the designers, artists, animators, sound engineers, etc, etc.

Show some fucking respect for your peers.
 
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111. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 22:50 briktal
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:41:
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:03:
So, where's the developer groups, the programmer unions?

We've been through this before and it's a bad idea.

You already mentioned SAG. The other movie unions are a better example, but SAG still works. Do you know how those work? Short-term contracts. No one in a movie-related union (and the same goes for theater-related unions and, in most cases, music related unions) has a long term contract. Instead they're hired for a project.

When the project ends, they're out of work until they find a new project.

Entertainment is an industry unions just don't fit with extremely well. At least right now there's a tiny bit of job security after a project ships. With unions there'd be zero. We're probably working towards that in general, anyway...

But with unions you don't get 6 months of uncompensated crunch time before you get fired.
 
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110. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 18:19 Creston
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 10:51:
"The text for this review is currently unavailable. Please check back later." I'm not sure if that is supposed to be the review, but either way it's funny.

I wish reviewers would stop stealing it from that British guy who came up with it four days ago.

Creston
 
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109. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 17:16 Dmitri_M
 
nin wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 13:57:
We are not as exchangable as the people who work on movie sets like key grips or boom techs.. We have technical/artistic skills that go beyond the average film set worker.

I would suspect they feel the same about your or other industries. Any time you specialize in a field, you know the ins and outs more than someone outside it. No matter what the field, people outside it always tend to think "oh, is that all they do all day?".




In my past, I worked on sets to make sure the footage film crews were shooting was useable in post production. The guys on the film sets worked a couple of set hours doing only very specific things. The post guys (artists, animators) worked 18 hour days in multiple disciplines with that footage under high pressure. From personal experience I know there is a world of difference.

I don't doubt people on film sets work hard. But we are not working in comparable fields.
 
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108. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 16:11 Saboth
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:41:
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:03:
So, where's the developer groups, the programmer unions?

We've been through this before and it's a bad idea.

You already mentioned SAG. The other movie unions are a better example, but SAG still works. Do you know how those work? Short-term contracts. No one in a movie-related union (and the same goes for theater-related unions and, in most cases, music related unions) has a long term contract. Instead they're hired for a project.

When the project ends, they're out of work until they find a new project.

Entertainment is an industry unions just don't fit with extremely well. At least right now there's a tiny bit of job security after a project ships. With unions there'd be zero. We're probably working towards that in general, anyway...

Have you seen the game industry recently? It's not like it's a bastion of steady, long-term employment.
 
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107. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 15:50 Quboid
 
Dmitri_M wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 13:22:
I really despise people lumping artists and game programmers under the general banner of "entertainment industry employee". We are not as exchangable as the people who work on movie sets like key grips or boom techs.. We have technical/artistic skills that go beyond the average film set worker.

I don't think he meant to imply that they are the same at all; just that they work in the same industry. Drummers and guitarists can both be called musicians, no one takes that to mean they're interchangeable.
 
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- Quboid
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106. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 15:08 Redmask
 
Dmitri_M wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 13:22:
I really despise people lumping artists and game programmers under the general banner of "entertainment industry employee". We are not as exchangable as the people who work on movie sets like key grips or boom techs.. We have technical/artistic skills that go beyond the average film set worker.

It's ok, it was pretty apparent that he had no idea what he was talking about so I wouldn't be offended.
 
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105. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 13:57 nin
 
We are not as exchangable as the people who work on movie sets like key grips or boom techs.. We have technical/artistic skills that go beyond the average film set worker.

I would suspect they feel the same about your or other industries. Any time you specialize in a field, you know the ins and outs more than someone outside it. No matter what the field, people outside it always tend to think "oh, is that all they do all day?".



 
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104. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 13:22 Dmitri_M
 
I really despise people lumping artists and game programmers under the general banner of "entertainment industry employee". We are not as exchangable as the people who work on movie sets like key grips or boom techs.. We have technical/artistic skills that go beyond the average film set worker.  
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103. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 12:57 Beamer
 
HorrorScope wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 12:38:
Beamer wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:41:
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:03:
So, where's the developer groups, the programmer unions?

We've been through this before and it's a bad idea.

You already mentioned SAG. The other movie unions are a better example, but SAG still works. Do you know how those work? Short-term contracts. No one in a movie-related union (and the same goes for theater-related unions and, in most cases, music related unions) has a long term contract. Instead they're hired for a project.

When the project ends, they're out of work until they find a new project.

Entertainment is an industry unions just don't fit with extremely well. At least right now there's a tiny bit of job security after a project ships. With unions there'd be zero. We're probably working towards that in general, anyway...

If there were no unions are you saying the studio would keep the workers on without a project? To me it is like house building, construction workers are job to job union or not. They hope to find a builder that can keep them busy, like I assume those that make movies hope the studios have several movies in the pipeline where they jump to the next, if you are good.

As for game programmers unionizing, well they certainly are being taken advantage on vs any other typical programmer/artist. They'll try making outsourcing games if they did, that would most likely fail. They deserve it imo, I wouldn't work in that environment if I had any choice in the matter.

But they do have a choice in the matter.

Entertainment jobs tend to be crappy, and pay poorly, because they're desirable. Outside of the top X% any game developer could have gotten better pay and benefits had he used his computer skills to go into corporate America.

Unions usually reflect this. As you mentioned, the key grip or boom tech on a movie hopes there's another film waiting. But he's mostly an interchangeable piece, and that next movie could be a few months off. In reality virtually anyone that knows how to operate a boom mic can do that job. Same for most movie jobs. Outside of the key creative pieces everyone else is just executing the vision of another person, and by and large there are dozens of other people that can do it every bit as well.

 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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102. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 10, 2013, 12:38 HorrorScope
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:41:
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:03:
So, where's the developer groups, the programmer unions?

We've been through this before and it's a bad idea.

You already mentioned SAG. The other movie unions are a better example, but SAG still works. Do you know how those work? Short-term contracts. No one in a movie-related union (and the same goes for theater-related unions and, in most cases, music related unions) has a long term contract. Instead they're hired for a project.

When the project ends, they're out of work until they find a new project.

Entertainment is an industry unions just don't fit with extremely well. At least right now there's a tiny bit of job security after a project ships. With unions there'd be zero. We're probably working towards that in general, anyway...

If there were no unions are you saying the studio would keep the workers on without a project? To me it is like house building, construction workers are job to job union or not. They hope to find a builder that can keep them busy, like I assume those that make movies hope the studios have several movies in the pipeline where they jump to the next, if you are good.

As for game programmers unionizing, well they certainly are being taken advantage on vs any other typical programmer/artist. They'll try making outsourcing games if they did, that would most likely fail. They deserve it imo, I wouldn't work in that environment if I had any choice in the matter.
 
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101. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 12:28 ColoradoHoudini
 
We all knew it was a lot less game from the get go, that it had a stupid online only caveat.. and knowledgeable gamers still bought this. What a crying shame and talk about doing yourself and the gaming community a terrible disservice.
 
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100. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 12:07 Taskeen
 
Redmask wrote on Mar 9, 2013, 21:36:
Well done EA. No bugs here.

My friend took this one that happened after his firetrucks couldn't get past the cities buggy ass traffic AI.

Fortunately buildings don't collapse in on themselves if they catch fire...
 
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99. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 11:41 Beamer
 
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 11:03:
So, where's the developer groups, the programmer unions?

We've been through this before and it's a bad idea.

You already mentioned SAG. The other movie unions are a better example, but SAG still works. Do you know how those work? Short-term contracts. No one in a movie-related union (and the same goes for theater-related unions and, in most cases, music related unions) has a long term contract. Instead they're hired for a project.

When the project ends, they're out of work until they find a new project.

Entertainment is an industry unions just don't fit with extremely well. At least right now there's a tiny bit of job security after a project ships. With unions there'd be zero. We're probably working towards that in general, anyway...
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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98. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 11:39 deqer
 
ASeven wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 10:56:
Mr. Tact wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 10:51:
"The text for this review is currently unavailable. Please check back later."

Scroll down a bit for the proper review.

What a terrible site. Who would scroll down to look for the ... ahhh, nevermind. Not worth my time to vent about it.
 
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97. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 11:03 NewMaxx
 
deqer wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 01:38:
Haven't you been reading? It's all about the publishers now. Game dev now a days have publishers in the mix, and business models for making money.

It's the same in any content creation business. Movies? Production studios. Which have the MPAA while the actors have SAG. Music? Labels, and they have the RIAA. Print industry is basically run by the publishers, and you had Google step in as a sort of pseudo-RIAA. These are capitalistic trappings for industries that used to be either government-sponsored (largely monarchs and their cabinets, rarely parliaments) or paid by private individuals (like classical music, arts of the Renaissance, etc.).

Yet part of that Enlightenment-inspired capitalism also pushed for individuals to produce, like the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and revolutionaries in France and over Europe. That's more consistent with how the game industry began, as the games were made by individuals who usually put their own money up. However, this profit over time meant attention to the industry and encouraged investment, and that leads back to the East India Company style roots.

So then you have progressives pushing for unions so the workers get equal rights, and trade unions to protect specific industries and sub-industries. If you're following me so far you'll see my mini history lesson is intended to illustrate that a relatively new artistic industry like video game design must go through these growing pains. So, where's the developer groups, the programmer unions?

Simple - they're the content distribution centers. Apple, Google, and Valve will take the lead in this. Crowdfunding will take over for the publishers and enable the developers to form their own indie unions/agreements. EA will be unable to produce like all other developers (we see them dying on a daily basis, and the console industry is clearly collapsing) and will just become Origin, much like dinosaurs are today's birds.

That accounts for both the mobile and PC markets; even consoles get more play out of their "arcades" and a few exclusives than they do anything else. The AAA's will remain, don't get me wrong, but they'll be like blockbuster movies with advertising tie-ins and back-patting, but at the end of the day very few will be taken seriously beyond the year of their creation.
 
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96. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 10:56 ASeven
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Mar 10, 2013, 10:51:
"The text for this review is currently unavailable. Please check back later." I'm not sure if that is supposed to be the review, but either way it's funny.

Scroll down a bit for the proper review.
 
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95. Re: EA Adds SimCity Servers; Promises Free Game Mar 10, 2013, 10:51 Mr. Tact
 
"The text for this review is currently unavailable. Please check back later." I'm not sure if that is supposed to be the review, but either way it's funny.  
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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