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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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118 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 4.
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58. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:50 Digitalfiend
 
While I don't think it would be trivial for EA/Maxis to provide the server-side portion of the game to customers, it certainly *should* be possible with a bit of work.

I have no idea what they are using for a backing store on the server-side for per-user instance data (I thought it was something like Amazon S3) but if the programmers followed well established coding patterns and practices, it wouldn't be too difficult for them to swap out the backing store, assuming no reliance on platform/infrastructure-specific APIs or features (e.g. Amazon S3/EC2, etc.) Things like achievements and other social metrics might not transfer over as easily but, with a bit of work, there should be no reason that EA couldn't allow customers to setup their own private dedicated servers (minus certain features.) The game client would simply connect to the local server instance instead of using EA's servers.

Hell, it may even be as simple as providing the server files with the disclaimer that they must be hosted on Amazon's platform due to reliance on specific features (or whatever PaaS/IaaS vendor EA has gone with.)

Yes, modifying the server-files to support private hosting by customers would require an investment from EA/Maxis but after the less than stellar launch and the apparent success (sales-wise) of the game, they could at least do this as a show of good faith. They could even wait a year before releasing the modified server files, which would probably generate an additional round of increased sales while still discouraging pirating during the initial release period.

The again, EA has no need to do this because gamers clearly don't have a problem with the always on requirement or complete dependence on the availability of EA's servers. Gamers seem quite happy to take one up the rear. If gamers did care, they wouldn't have opened their wallets. Sometimes gamers are their own worst enemy.
 
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57. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:48 WyldKat
 
Kajetan wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 09:01:
The game was designed for MP

No more "Your computer is too weak, so we had to use a cloud based server to handle all these computations" crap? And then Will Wright with "Building cities was a fad. Managing a small village, to keep it financially afloat, THATS the new shit"

This debacle is so funny, i havent got the time to be angry anymore

Yeah... after running Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider on Ultra settings (except for TressFX till they fix that silly bug)I have to call bullshit on this one.

It's complete and utter crap that it's impossible to make the game offline only. Packet sniffers have found that the only "computations" done on EA servers is resource sharing in the region and the worldwide market calculations. SO essentially, all critical systems are handled on your own PC.
 
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56. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:42 deqer
 
Just go back to SimCity 1, and have fun:
http://incise.org/advanced-sim-city-strategies.html

Just download the classic SNES "rom" simcity, and a SNES emulator such as snes9x or zsnes.
 
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55. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:41 Rattlehead
 
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........('(...(........,~/'...')
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Sit on it and rotate EA
 
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54. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:28 NegaDeath
 
I can see why they wouldn't want to invest in an offline single player, it would probably take a sizable amount of time to move the server functions to the client and then bugtest it.

But you know what? Square botched FFXIV and are rebuilding it, Kerberos released Sword of the Stars 2 well before it was even finished and spent the next year patching it (the success of both measures is course debatable). EA has the resources to fix this, no excuses.
 
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53. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:23 avianflu
 

If many game consumers turn away from the game out of frustration, that is one way to reduce server overload. Heck It might be playable for the few who still want to play it.

 
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52. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:20 Creston
 
entr0py wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 14:09:
Players : "Please make an offline mode, we hate this."

EA : "We can't promise we'll try, but we'll try to try"
2 hours later. . . "Good news, upon further review we've determined we CAN promise NOT to try!"

See? "Think Consumers First." It's in their company values and everything!

Creston
 
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51. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:19 SimplyMonk
 
*Profitable  
Avatar 55902
 
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50. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:09 entr0py
 
Players : "Please make an offline mode, we hate this."

EA : "We can't promise we'll try, but we'll try to try"
2 hours later. . . "Good news, upon further review we've determined we CAN promise NOT to try!"
 
Avatar 55038
 
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49. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:07 Creston
 
ASeven wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 13:28:
EA's handling of SimCity in one handy pic:

http://imgur.com/gallery/ZEFfs4q

Giggle Giggle Giggle

Creston
 
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48. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 14:04 Undocumented Alien
 
It's clear from the way the Internet is evolving (IPv6, more mobile devices, cloud computing, geolocation load balancing, etc.) that things like Nvidia's Grid and online games like this and Diablo 3 will rapidly become the norm. Even the way Gabe Newell talks about an online ecosystem and his Big Picture/SteamBox seem to orient in this direction, with an emphasis on streaming. You can quite clearly see that SimCity is partway to that end, as is Diablo 3, etc.

It would be interesting to see if "NEW IP" would be massively successful with an always on DRM.

As it stands today, these big publishers are taking well known game titles, that were primarily SP, and holding them hostage with always on DRM.

So I wouldn't say, just yet, the online DRM is the future. I'd say it's significantly easier to get success from a well known title, that MILLIONS want to ALREADY play, then it would be to get a brand new IP with always on DRM and get people on board to buy it.

SimCity and Diablo 3 would sell millions if they contained a pile of shit in the box, not really a good reference point for the acceptance for always on DRM.

 
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47. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:36 El Pit
 
Dear customer,

we know that our DRM (camouflage: social network) is the problem. We won't change that. Thanks for your money, though.

Yours truly,
EA
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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46. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:34 ASeven
 
Wallshadows wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 13:29:
This is one of those cases where I hope a crack team can come up with a method to allow offline play.

It would be quite interesting and would be the icing on this train wreck.

From the reviews of the game proper, SimCity appears to be a more streamlined game but with much less content compared to its predecessors. The simulation also pretty much breaks down when the city starts to fill its borders. Another point in common with many reviews is that the game, due to the limit size, gets boring too fast.
 
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45. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:29 Wallshadows
 
This is one of those cases where I hope a crack team can come up with a method to allow offline play.

It would be quite interesting and would be the icing on this train wreck.
 
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44. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:29 Cutter
 
EA backpeddling already, eh? Golly no one saw that coming. And in 2 years from now when they take it offline to sell the new Simcity we'll see the inevitible howls of protests from the same idiots...who will just go out and buy it all over again.

 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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43. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:28 ASeven
 
EA's handling of SimCity in one handy pic:

http://imgur.com/gallery/ZEFfs4q
 
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42. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:27 Cutter
 
Creston wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 10:34:
Btw, peoples, Sleeping Dogs is on sale for $10 on Steam. Only for a few more hours.

Creston

You'd be a fool not to grab it at that price if you haven't already! A fool!!!
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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41. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:26 AngelicPenguin
 
Wait - SimCity is out?  
Avatar 55985
 
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40. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:20 Jivaro
 
Too bad it's digital...that takes away the whole "bury it in the desert" option.  
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39. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:15 ASeven
 
The more you think this can't get any worse, it gets worse. SimCity will become, even more than D3 and UbiDRM, as the ultimate testament to the folly and uselessness of always-online DRM.  
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118 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 4.
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