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SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment

SimCity Update #4 is penned by EA Maxis SVP Lucy Bradshaw, who is "happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us," saying they have "reduced game crashes by 92% from day one." She admits she's not able to offer the "all clear" for the game she'd hoped to, but seems optimistic that they've turned the corner from the game's rocky launch. There's also a new tweet on the SimCity account quickly walking back from this tweet they posted over the weekend which said: "We have no intention of offlining SimCity any time soon but we'll look into that as part of our earning back your trust efforts." It seems there is a disagreement among the operators of their twitter account, because the new update states this isn't actually possible: "The game was designed for MP, we sim the entire region on the server so this is just not possible."

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98. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 12, 2013, 03:24 Dev
 
NewMaxx wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 12:40:
You may be right as far as traditional game publishers go... but then there has been competition that will save us old-school gamers... Crowd Funded:

Example of selecting more games than I bought from AAA publishers in the last 2 years:

Backed:
[...]
ALL of them can be played offline.
NONE of them have DRM
As Torment and Shroud of the Avatar have shown... there are more to come.

So, Fuck EA and their bullshit. I can easily game without them.
And all of those together don't amount to anything EA much cares about in terms of money.

The list looks familiar though, I backed many of those same ones

Anyway, while the kickstarter versions won't have DRM as a reward to backers, the retail release ones WILL most likely have some form of protection. For instance "Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox" released a special loader just for kickstarters that has the very light DRM disabled. His DRM is basically just you have a login (like minecraft).

So any of those you didn't back, just realize you may NOT end up getting DRM free, and if that is that important of a feature to you, you should back them while they are KS.
 
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97. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 12, 2013, 02:49 Kajetan
 
deqer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 18:48:
I heard the hackers have gotten around the DRM, and you can get it on piratebay now. Not sure what that means, but sounds like it's not an emulation hack; sounds like the hackers have all the assets they needed to run the full game, in offline-mode.
If someone has circumvented the need to be online, he hasnt published anything. At the moment, there is no crack, no server emulator.
 
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96. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 23:49 Digitalfiend
 
JohnnyRotten wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 20:53:
Maybe the server is written on a *nix server? That would throw a wrinkle in things.

...and if retargeting for a Windows OS isn't possible, then you can just use a *nix image and one of the free VM players.

EA just doesn't want to lose control. After doing a bit more reading it does seem that the game can continue on with simulating city life for a period of time after losing connection to EA's servers. So is it just the social aspects and economy/interaction between other cities that is being simulated on the server?

While I agree that it wouldn't be a trivial fix, I highly doubt the server-side code is written in anything other than C/C++, C#, or Java. I haven't bought the game yet, so I haven't been able to do any digging first-hand but I'd be surprised if the server-side processes are anything special or esoteric.
 
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95. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 23:49 entr0py
 
JohnnyRotten wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 20:33:
wtf_man wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 09:24:
I'm sure that hackers will come out with a server emulator... probably one that can be run in the background of the same machine as the game client... and one that will be better since you won't be running against EA's artificial size limitations that they intend to sell "unlocking larger zones" to people.

I wouldn't be the least surprised, as a SimCity server emulater probably doesn't have much more do to then to say "Yes sir Mr. Client, you are still online".

Not sure about the regions thing - given all the other BS that has been shoveled out about the game, wonder if that's really being done locally as well.

It would be nice if it turned out that way, for paying customers most of all. However, remember that the entire purpose of all of this online stuff is to prevent unauthorized play.

I wouldn't be surprised if several critical parts of the simulation are never executed the client PC. Obviously not because they want to donate CPU cycles, but because they want to make it genuinely difficult to get a server emulator working properly.
 
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94. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 23:12 Creston
 
ASeven wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 19:31:
RPS really nails this.

"What EA and Maxis have done with SimCity is attempt a year-long PR assault to suggest that the online-only nature of SimCity is designed to offer enhancements for gamers. This is simply not true. Itís utter rubbish. Itís a backward step for a format that seemed to be managing for years to offer single player and multiplayer options for games without the universe cracking in two. The idea that multiplayer-only is an enhancement is such an obvious piece of newspeak, such a ridiculous untruth, that we can only loudly and furiously react against it if weíre to not see it incredulously accepted as fact. I do worry itís maybe already too late."

"To see anyone defending EA and Maxis for the state of SimCity, even were it in perfect working order on launch, depresses me to my core. This self-flagellation-as-skincare notion, where gamers loudly and proudly defend the destruction of their own rights as consumers, is an Orwellian perversity."

This last paragraph reminds me too much of some people here.

RPS are being giant, giant hypocrites here, though. They were sucking the Diablo3 cock just as hard as everyone else, then after it was a terrible failure at launch as well, they wrote an article in which they said something to the effect of "Well, it doesn't matter that we were all weak-willed assholes and swallowed Blizzard's DRM whole. We just need to stand really strong against the NEXT always-on DRM game that comes out! Protect our rights!"

Kind of hard to take that stance when you willingly bent over for Blizzard. Like I said back then, every publisher in the industry saw that, no matter how hard PC gamers complain, they will happily take whatever a publisher foists on them if the game is cool enough.

So yeah, great way to take a stance now, RPS. Too bad you're about 7 months late.

Creston

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 2013, 23:23.
 
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93. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 21:00 Quboid
 
I get the impression that the region system is server side, going by the lag as much as anything, and I've no doubt creating an offline version wouldn't be simple. It's not just a switch. It's probably not even Windows code.

However, it's nothing that couldn't be done better offline. The amount of processing per region is minute, individually it would barely register on a computer. Of course, if you have thousands running at once on the same computer, then it might slow down.

I believe that a large part of the simulation runs server side, however this is only because they deliberately made it that way. Apparently there's some sort of economy going on ... I haven't noticed any thing.

The only parts which actually need to be run on a central server? Leaderboards ... a pointless feature they switched off to save their servers. Fucktards.

I'm sorry I bought this game. I should have checked properly, I thought the reports of the always-on requirement were FUD, and then I forgot about them.
 
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- Quboid
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92. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 20:53 JohnnyRotten
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 12:25:
There's almost definitely no reason why they couldn't handle it.
But coding something for a server and coding something for a home system tends to be very, very different. It isn't as simple as just flipping a switch.

If you never intended to turn off server-side calculations, why have someone put a few weeks into putting that ability in?

How, specifically, different?

Are you talking about the network traffic layer? Because if that's it, than the solution is simple - the game "server" runs as a service on your local desktop, receiving and sending traffic over the network layer, but simply sending & receiving on localhost.

Are you saying that their is something different in how it is compiled? Modern servers aren't mystical mainframes with a different architecture than a desktop. Both are Von Neumann machines, using very similar CPU and memory architectures (often the same). Modern code is compiled to the processor, not the class (desktop, server). If it runs in one place, it will run in the other.

Are you saying that the code itself couldn't run a single instance, only many? Coding a system that scales to multiples of instances, must, by definition, work in a single instance. How else would the service spool up for the first player?

Maybe the server is written on a *nix server? That would throw a wrinkle in things.

Maybe their are server side only assets? Bundle them up and ship them out. Not terribly difficult.

About the only other thing I see here is that there might be a minimum spec here for either CPU or RAM to run the server "service", but as I've said on other posts that simply cannot be the case here. There is no financial model that would support the near monopoly of a modern server's CPU + RAM for a single $60 purchase.
 
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91. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 20:33 JohnnyRotten
 
wtf_man wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 09:24:
I'm sure that hackers will come out with a server emulator... probably one that can be run in the background of the same machine as the game client... and one that will be better since you won't be running against EA's artificial size limitations that they intend to sell "unlocking larger zones" to people.

I wouldn't be the least surprised, as a SimCity server emulater probably doesn't have much more do to then to say "Yes sir Mr. Client, you are still online".

Not sure about the regions thing - given all the other BS that has been shoveled out about the game, wonder if that's really being done locally as well.
 
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90. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 19:54 nin
 
This last paragraph reminds me too much of some people here.

No kidding.


 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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89. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 19:31 ASeven
 
RPS really nails this.

"What EA and Maxis have done with SimCity is attempt a year-long PR assault to suggest that the online-only nature of SimCity is designed to offer enhancements for gamers. This is simply not true. Itís utter rubbish. Itís a backward step for a format that seemed to be managing for years to offer single player and multiplayer options for games without the universe cracking in two. The idea that multiplayer-only is an enhancement is such an obvious piece of newspeak, such a ridiculous untruth, that we can only loudly and furiously react against it if weíre to not see it incredulously accepted as fact. I do worry itís maybe already too late."

"To see anyone defending EA and Maxis for the state of SimCity, even were it in perfect working order on launch, depresses me to my core. This self-flagellation-as-skincare notion, where gamers loudly and proudly defend the destruction of their own rights as consumers, is an Orwellian perversity."

This last paragraph reminds me too much of some people here.
 
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88. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 19:07 Ozmodan
 
EA and Maxis two complete loser companies. Anybody purchasing from them needs to go see a head shrink.  
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87. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 19:01 PropheT
 
Steele Johnson wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 18:29:
I'm surprised about all the news for this title. A crappy game usually gets a couple posts, and then it's gone for good. Why the extra news content for this failure of a game? Oh that's right, Blue is not a big fan of EA. lol

Same reason Diablo 3 still gets press; it's a big game, from a big name, that's a long-time staple of PC gaming and sells a lot on name alone.

At the very least, readers are getting what they want. Look at all the comments, we clearly love to complain about this stuff
 
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86. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:48 deqer
 
Saboth wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 18:32:
You know, it's a shame about all the DRM and whatnot. I'd love to give these guys my money, as the game looks decent enough. Ah well.
I heard the hackers have gotten around the DRM, and you can get it on piratebay now. Not sure what that means, but sounds like it's not an emulation hack; sounds like the hackers have all the assets they needed to run the full game, in offline-mode.
 
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85. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:38 Julio
 
Steele Johnson wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 18:29:
I'm surprised about all the news for this title. A crappy game usually gets a couple posts, and then it's gone for good. Why the extra news content for this failure of a game? Oh that's right, Blue is not a big fan of EA. lol

Well this story made major news headlines everywhere, not just here. And it seems like there are some regulars who actually bought this pos of a game.
 
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84. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:37 Creston
 
Steele Johnson wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 18:29:
I'm surprised about all the news for this title. A crappy game usually gets a couple posts, and then it's gone for good. Why the extra news content for this failure of a game? Oh that's right, Blue is not a big fan of EA. lol

It's one of the year's major launches, it's the second "Always-online" mega-title to fail horribly, and there's little other news going on at the moment.

Ergo, Latin, it gets a lot of attention.

Creston
 
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83. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:33 Creston
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 18:05:
That's looking at it the wrong way anyway. EA should be looking at increasing customers, not decreasing pirates - they don't actually matter.

Sadly, this is something that EA will NEVER figure out. They would apparently rather lose tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of customers because of their stupid DRM AND their stupid decision to drastically under-invest in infrastructure, than to try to actually gain any customers.

And like Kluwe said, he probably cost EA several thousand customers. I have no doubt people are malleable enough to see him rant about how fucking terrible the game is on Twitter, and decide to forego their purchase.

So it's basically just another EA clusterfuck all around. Which is pretty much the norm for them nowadays.

Creston
 
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82. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:32 Saboth
 
You know, it's a shame about all the DRM and whatnot. I'd love to give these guys my money, as the game looks decent enough. Ah well.  
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81. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:29 Steele Johnson
 
I'm surprised about all the news for this title. A crappy game usually gets a couple posts, and then it's gone for good. Why the extra news content for this failure of a game? Oh that's right, Blue is not a big fan of EA. lol  
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80. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:27 Creston
 
wtf_man wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 14:59:
Uhm, would this be a good alternative?

Cities XL Platinum

And it looks like they got rid of the Secure Rom and 5 Machine Activation from the 2011 version.

A LOT of people keep saying that the game turns into an absolute slideshow once the cities get a certain size. Apparently it runs on a single core, so I can kind of see that happening.

It's definitely pretty, and I've been tempted to get it myself a few times, but if there's one thing I fucking hate it's a slideshow game.

Creston
 
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79. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 18:05 Quboid
 
Creston wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 10:26:
Sadly, EA seems to have failed to do some very simple math. Letís look at an example. Weíll assume that for an amazingly successful game like SimCity, about 20,000 people will end up pirating it (those who have the technical knowhow and Internet savvy to find a working crack). I have 160,000 Twitter followers, of whom around 50,000 follow me for gaming. I just told those 50,000 people NOT to buy SimCity because EA cannot handle its s***, and the game is unplayable. Weíll say half those people listen to me and havenít bought the game already. Soooo, carrying the pi, we see that EA is already out 5,000 more sales than if they had just created a normal, single player offline capable game with multiplayer components.

I doubt just 20K people would have pirated it, but on the flipside, most of those pirating it wouldn't have bought it anyway (and likely haven't done so right now.)

But if he gets half his followers to not buy something who otherwise probably would have bought it (had he given it a glowing endorsement), that's a big chunk of cash right there.

So, good job on skimping on server hardware, EA. I'm sure that's made you a ton of money.

Creston

20K is ridiculously low. Plus, he's implying that each one is a lost sale. If he means 20,000 lost sales then that's more realistic, although I'd still guess it would be a lot higher.

That's looking at it the wrong way anyway. EA should be looking at increasing customers, not decreasing pirates - they don't actually matter. They should do that by making great games which get a great response, SimSeveralSmallTowns is a good game and with balance tweaks could be a great game but thanks to their own stupidity, has deservedly got a terrible response.

I've no doubt it's selling well to casual gamers and idiots *ahem* including me *ahem* but these groups will both be less likely to get DLC or SimSeveralSmallTowns 2. It's fair to criticise publishers for thinking short-term, but killing off a good franchise isn't good in the short term and isn't good for your CV. How do you think "SimCity senior producer and network coordinator" is going to look on some schmuck's rťsumť.

Pirates don't matter in and of themselves. Lost sales due to piracy do, but to state the obvious: how many people who would have pirates instead of buying are buying it now?
 
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