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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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38. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 13:14 wtf_man
 
Creston wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 11:31:
People do, however, need to realize that complaining about it on a forum while at the same time buying the DRM in question serves no purpose whatsoever. Hello, everyone who bought Diablo 3! (and SimCity!)

Amen, brother!

NewMaxx wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 12:40:
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.

Really?
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:
------------
Double Fine Adventure
Wasteland 2
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Shroud of the Avatar
Star Citizen

Will Purchase After Release:
----------------------------------------
Project Eternity

Possible Purchases:
----------------------------
Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox
Dreamfall Chapters
Moebius
Resonance
Liesure Suit Larry
Quest for Infamy
Party of Sin
Godus
Strike Suit Zero
Starlight Inception
Carmegeddon: The Reincarnation
Text Murphy Project Fedora
Asylum
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

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.
 
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37. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 12:40 NewMaxx
 
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.

Server farms have become efficient enough that it's profitable to do much of the workload on that side rather than client, regardless of DRM considerations. This is why it's important that Valve is pushing Linux and the open nature of their platform. They dissed Windows 8 specifically because it's yet another closed ecosystem (much like Apple's), but in those two cases the servers are in the hands of the content providers. The same is true of Google's Play, but that is more open. The rise of such ecosystems is inevitable in the modern market model.

The content creators, on the other hand, have control in this example (EA and SimCity). That's a big problem and why everybody points to it being a DRM ploy: how would you be able to tell if it wasn't? Having separation between the server and content producer is the key to some level of transparency; accountability via "wallet" just isn't sufficient anymore. While the argument is made that they do this intentionally, the reality is that it doesn't matter: even if they're being honest, eventually they will drift that way.

When trying to discuss situations such as this, I prefer to take the approach of treating a company not as an individual (as they often are legally) but as a state or government. Letting them have partial control of the valuation of their exports is tantamount to price-fixing, and without transparency it can be difficult to assess. So it's important to see that regardless if SimCity is easy to take offline, was designed to be difficult to do so, etc., the real issue is that we need transparent servers with an agnostic view of the content creator.
 
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36. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 12:38 Sepharo
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 12:25:
Sepharo wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 12:20:
It's not as simple as he's making it look but he's right about it probably being coded in way that should've been "easy" to switch offline. I'm imagining there is a region service interface on the client which is implemented on the server.

They could take that service and instead implement it on the client and I see no reason that most home machines couldn't handle simulating the traffic/commerce in a single region. The cities don't run when you aren't playing them so they essentially just become an assortment of stats that govern their interactions with the currently live city.

I'd say the reason they're doing it on EA's servers (other than DRM/DLC) is not so much for the region simulation (well they'd have to for public/MP regions) but for the "world" components like leaderboards and commodity prices.

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?

I'm not saying it's a switch. I'm saying it's an exposed interface. There's really not much difference. Whether the service is running remotely or locally doesn't really matter. If you're able to tear out all the overhead (auth, communication packaging) it'll actually run better anyway.

"Easy" is always relative anyway. It's not flipping a switch but it (shouldn't) be a huge re-write either. I'm not saying they should code that region stuff into the client but they could certainly run the service (or a new lighter one) on the client and have them communicate somewhat like they did before.
 
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35. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 12:25 Beamer
 
Sepharo wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 12:20:
It's not as simple as he's making it look but he's right about it probably being coded in way that should've been "easy" to switch offline. I'm imagining there is a region service interface on the client which is implemented on the server.

They could take that service and instead implement it on the client and I see no reason that most home machines couldn't handle simulating the traffic/commerce in a single region. The cities don't run when you aren't playing them so they essentially just become an assortment of stats that govern their interactions with the currently live city.

I'd say the reason they're doing it on EA's servers (other than DRM/DLC) is not so much for the region simulation (well they'd have to for public/MP regions) but for the "world" components like leaderboards and commodity prices.

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?
 
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34. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 12:20 Sepharo
 
It's not as simple as he's making it look but he's right about it probably being coded in way that should've been "easy" to switch offline. I'm imagining there is a region service interface on the client which is implemented on the server.

They could take that service and instead implement it on the client and I see no reason that most home machines couldn't handle simulating the traffic/commerce in a single region. The cities don't run when you aren't playing them so they essentially just become an assortment of stats that govern their interactions with the currently live city.

I'd say the reason they're doing it on EA's servers (other than DRM/DLC) is not so much for the region simulation (well they'd have to for public/MP regions) but for the "world" components like leaderboards and commodity prices.
 
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33. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 12:05 Beamer
 
deqer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 11:47:
Beamer,

if (drm == true) {
download_asset_live();
}
else {
download_asset_once();
}


Pretty simple, huh?

Yeah, a shame it doesn't work because it isn't "downloading asset." As turning Cheetah speed off indicates, and as people have anecdotally revealed (someone mentioned a connection blip just as a fire started. When they logged back in it had spread extensively), the game is running on the servers. It isn't some asset being downloaded, it's the actual guts of the game being calculated.

So your simple code does nothing.
 
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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32. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:51 DeadlyAccurate
 
deqer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 11:42:
It is possible, EA. You're so full of shit.

Your programmers would not have done it like that. Your programmers would've made switches for everything, and you can just switch it "ON" or "OFF", otherwise your programmers aren't real programmers.

So, just stop fucking flying to us already, you mofos.

You have to code your game from the ground-up with multiplayer. It's not as simple as checking "multiplayer Y/N," so I'd be very surprised if they wrote the code twice to account for both. What they *could* do if they were inclined to offer the game offline would be to provide a server-emulator that can be run in the background.
 
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31. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:47 deqer
 
Beamer,

if (drm == true) {
download_asset_live();
}
else {
download_asset_once();
}


Pretty simple, huh?
 
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30. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:45 Beamer
 
deqer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 11:42:
IT IS POSSIBLE. YOU'RE SO FULL OF SHIT.

YOUR PROGRAMMERS WOULD NOT HAVE DONE IT LIKE THAT. YOUR PROGRAMMERS WOULD'VE MADE SWITCHES FOR EVERYTHING, AND YOU CAN JUST SWITCH IT ON OR OFF, OTHERWISE YOUR PROGRAMMERS AREN'T REAL PROGRAMMERS.

STOP FUCKING LYING TO US ALREADY, YOU POS.

Why would they have been that redundant?
Coding for something to be done server-side and something to be done client-side is extremely different. Or, more accurately, coding for something to be done by a server is extremely different than coding the same process for a client. Extremely different. In one case it's all a system needs to do. In another case the system is doing tens of thousands of instances at the same time.

If you can avoid doing both you would.



Which doesn't excuse the decision to do it server-side in the first place, but it isn't hard to imagine that they wouldn't add these redundancies.
 
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29. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:43 Verno
 
Well said Creston, the so called vocal minority on forums and comment boards like this one are part of the checks and balances for the industry. There are numerous examples of it working, there is really no reason to keep quiet. Voting with your wallet and talking about it is really the way to go.

That said I'm about SimCity'd out on news, at this point its just free PR for them and there isn't much more to add.

Also deqer, take your meds dude.
 
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Watching: Legends, Intruders, Apocalypse Now
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28. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:42 deqer
 
It is possible, EA. You're so full of shit.

Your programmers would not have done it like that. Your programmers would've made switches for everything, and you can just switch it "ON" or "OFF", otherwise your programmers aren't real programmers.

So, just stop fucking flying to us already, you mofos.
 
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27. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:31 Creston
 
Optional nickname wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 11:03:
DRM - however this is here to stay, it's really fact to realize, that people that will be born in 2020+, will automatically be instantly connected to cyberspace via some form of embedded molecular chip. Stop complaining about DRM people, it's the new way of life , dictated by corporate world order.

Except, of course, that complaining against DRM has worked time and time again. Without complaints and boycotts, Starforce would still be fucking over a huge amount of computers on a daily basis. Without complaining and boycotts, Ubisoft would still be as retarded as EA. Without complaining and boycotts, every game would come with a three-machine activation limit. Without boycotts and complaining, TAGES would still be in use by a large amount of publishers, rather than solely being forced upon legitimate customers by Deep Silver. (Enjoy it when it ships with Saints Row 4, guys...)

DRM is not a given, it's not some unalienable burden that man has to subject himself to like taxes, and it's sure as fuck not time to stop fucking complaining about it.

People do, however, need to realize that complaining about it on a forum while at the same time buying the DRM in question serves no purpose whatsoever. Hello, everyone who bought Diablo 3! (and SimCity!)

Creston
 
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26. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 11:03 Optional nickname
 
I really wanted to buy this new Simcity, you know, because it's Simcity!

There are several factors which prevent me from doing so:

obvious EA disgust since hostile Westwood takeover,

Origin (central nervous system) to run all recent games

DRM - however this is here to stay, it's really fact to realize, that people that will be born in 2020+, will automatically be instantly connected to cyberspace via some form of embedded molecular chip. Stop complaining about DRM people, it's the new way of life , dictated by corporate world order.

Diablo 3 and RMAH pay to be uber. I'm so fucking pissed off at Blizzard, that they actually roasted the gamer soul in me, weakening my desire to want to play ANYTHING ever again. Companies, should take notice, this effect on a person such as myself, that loved videogames since my 1st communion few decades ago, guess what! I will pass on my lack of passion to my next of kin, you wouldn't want that now would you? I think you should all sue Blizzard, or stop being pompous as they are. It will shake things up, but who cares about me, right? you have billions of other spineless gamers to sell to.

But you know, the icing on the cake which prevented me?

seeing the first youtube vids crop up, and you know what the consensus is? "Well after you've done this (the game was out, like a fucking day!?!) , you just have no other choice, but to restart, and build a new city"

"... restart and build a new city" ..."... restart and build a new city"


monstrous fail, lol.

 
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25. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:53 Beamer
 
dheer wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 10:46:
At this point, I can only hope this fiasco gets more entertaining as the game self immolates with Baghdad Bob telling us how much more stable the servers are now. There's no way I'll ever buy this thing.

I feel bad for some of the people who worked on the game only to have the higher ups bungle the whole damn thing with poor design decisions.

I don't even find this entertaining anymore. Don't care about paying attention to what EA says and nitpicking it. Nothing makes it worse because it hit rock bottom like 5 days ago.

Wake me when the game functions and is fun. Until then, this story is boring.
 
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24. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:46 dheer
 
At this point, I can only hope this fiasco gets more entertaining as the game self immolates with Baghdad Bob telling us how much more stable the servers are now. There's no way I'll ever buy this thing.

I feel bad for some of the people who worked on the game only to have the higher ups bungle the whole damn thing with poor design decisions.
 
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I wonder if he reads them, or if it's just for show.
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23. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:34 Creston
 
Btw, peoples, Sleeping Dogs is on sale for $10 on Steam. Only for a few more hours.

Creston
 
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22. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:26 Creston
 
EA on Sunday: We want to win back your trust efforts (whatever the hell that means.)

EA on Monday, when the boss has come back into the office: We don't give a shit about your trust efforts.


I guess the best time to talk to EA is on the weekends?

Also, Chris Kluwe is really pissed. Hehe.

Sadly, EA seems to have failed to do some very simple math. Let’s look at an example. We’ll 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. We’ll say half those people listen to me and haven’t 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

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 2013, 10:39.
 
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21. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:16 InBlack
 
EA backing down from promises? Say it aint so.....*yawn*  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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20. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:13 Creston
 
Kajetan wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 09:37:
Verno wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 09:10:
I don't see people getting a lot of mileage out of this, we were bored after a few hours and loaded up Company of Heroes to do some LAN. Cities XL seems more ambitious which is kinda sad.
Remember The Sims? The first one? Where, after a few hours of feverish playing you just stopped, because you realized that you had done everything this game had to offer? And when the addons were released, you thought "Oh, boy (or girl)! Finally some new furnitures and things to do around the house!".

Well, my sister thought that. Nearly three years. Bought an addon, played a week, got bored because she had seen everything, stopped playing, bought the next addon, repeat. And when The Sims 2 was released, she just shrugged and said: "Meh, the same only with nicer graphics, i'll pass. Lets play some WoW!"

They are trying the Sims approach. Offer the player little, so that DLC and addons seem to be much more attractive.

The Sims and SimCity are really pretty different games, though. There is really no such thing as "failure" in the Sims. You can entertain yourself endlessly by building a house and then watch your Sims go about their daily business without input from you of any kind.

In SimCity, your city simply goes up in flames once it reaches 150K population or thereabouts, apparently based on completely arbitrary reasons.

Casual players love the Sims. I'm not sure that SimCity has anywhere near that same appeal. EA WANTS it to, of course, and I'm sure they'll try to cram at least a dozen DLC packs out there, but I doubt the loyal fanbase is big enough to make it worth it for them.

Creston
 
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19. Re: SimCity: Now With 92% Less Crashing; Maxis Walks Back from Offline Comment Mar 11, 2013, 10:10 Dev
 
Kajetan wrote on Mar 11, 2013, 09:37:
They are trying the Sims approach. Offer the player little, so that DLC and addons seem to be much more attractive.

And complete OT: Where can i change the board settings, so that new comments are marked with red dot? The last Firefox update deleted all settings and cookies.
As I recall, the funny thing was, they didn't plan for all those expansions when they did the original sims. So the base game had a fair amount of extra stuff included. Thats what struck me when I tried sims 2, that it actually had LESS choices than sims 1. It was designed from the ground up for expansions.

As for the board settings, I think you just have to stay logged in.
 
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