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SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded?

Another tidbit related to how difficult it would or would not be to remove the online requirement from the new SimCity is posted on NeoGAF (thanks nin via Kotaku), where a post shows a snippet of code allegedly from the urban planning reboot that forces the game to shutdown after being disconnected from the internet 20 minutes (there's an accompanying post saying that the data files for SimCity are stored in the same format as The Sims 3, which means their inner workings are easily accessed through tools and techniques developed to modify the earlier game). Though this is unconfirmed, a 20 minute timeout does fit with Kotaku's report last week that they were able to play the game for a bit over 19 minutes after disconnecting from the Internet.

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31. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 18:03 Dev
 
LOL EA is giving out 2 free games to some accounts:
https://help.ea.com/article/simcity-something-extra
 
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30. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 17:46 Beamer
 
Dev wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 17:31:
THERES STILL TIME! TO GET YOUR FREE GAME!

EA is basically saying: we know we said the 18th, but its been extended, so the news of the awesome list of awesome free games can spread!

Actual quote from the email (apparently they sent me the email since I signed up for beta):
We don't want any of you to miss out your free game, so please note that you must register your copy of SimCity before March 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM PST and you must claim your free game by March 30, 2013 at 11:59PM PST.

Well, if you planned to get DS3, you may as well buy SC and take DS3 as your free game.
Sure, you're rewarding the wrong developer and franchise, but you're getting a free game.

From the sound of it, anyone that likes SimCity can get 5 or so hours of fun out of SimCity (I will just start calling it SC5 to avoid confusion) before you hit the wall.
 
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29. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 17:31 Dev
 
THERES STILL TIME! TO GET YOUR FREE GAME!

EA is basically saying: we know we said the 18th, but its been extended, so the news of the awesome list of awesome free games can spread!

Actual quote from the email (apparently they sent me the email since I signed up for beta):
We don't want any of you to miss out your free game, so please note that you must register your copy of SimCity before March 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM PST and you must claim your free game by March 30, 2013 at 11:59PM PST.
 
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28. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 17:29 Flatline
 
Dev wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 11:34:
yonder wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 11:28:
It's gotten to the point where EA is pretty much the AOL of the gaming world. I was reading PC World's "Worst Tech Products Of All Time" list and AOL was #1.

"How do we loathe AOL? Let us count the ways. Since America Online emerged from the belly of a BBS called Quantum "PC-Link" in 1989, users have suffered through awful software, inaccessible dial-up numbers, rapacious marketing, in-your-face advertising, questionable billing practices, inexcusably poor customer service, and enough spam to last a lifetime. And all the while, AOL remained more expensive than its major competitors."

That list is pretty much completely accurate when applied to EA's gaming. *sigh*
The main difference between the two is that AOL spent millions sending out millions of free CDs floppy disks.

FTFY. At one point probably 80% of my floppy disks were AOL floppy disks. Whenever I would need more disks I'd just call them up and ask for their setup disks. It was kind of awesome actually.
 
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27. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 16:15 Ahumado
 
Anyone that buys this game and complains deserves any aggravation they have paid for and are bad capitalists. I don't need anything like this but those that are addicted need to join a support group. Suckers anon  
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26. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 16:14 Quboid
 
Verno wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 15:13:
FalconerHG wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 15:00:
In some ways, it is not as deep as the older games, in others, it is way deeper. City specializations add a lot to the original gameplay, as do building great works and the ability to work together building up a region. To me, these contribute more to the depth than is being taken away elsewhere.

I'd change the word ability to necessity and I don't agree it really adds a lot to the gameplay, certainly nowhere near enough to justify other design choices such as city size limitations. I could get behind many of their decisions if they had managed to deliver the core game competently but every city we made has experienced a variety of problems and the game does a very poor job of delineating how the player arrives at that point. Your ability to problem solve is constantly hampered by poor AI and city size. Maybe the ability to save/load which would promote more experimentation would alleviate this but they seemed to have ignored that too.

Oh well, to each his own I guess.

I do like region play. It's not realistic for every city to have its own power station and sharing utilities works fairly well, unlike SC4 where I couldn't rely on it. This does add to the game but it does little to address the fundamental failings of the city simulation and to me, that's critical. It doesn't matter how great the region system, it could be brilliantly modelling dozens of cities; that's a moot point if the cities themselves don't work.

I do enjoy SimSeveralSmallTowns but over 10K population (unfudged number), the way the city simulation works starts to look a bit iffy. Over 20K and the façade falls away and your city starts to seize up. I had to use the debug hack - sorry, mod - to add another highway on-ramp as the single one I had was so congested, I couldn't export recycled material and my city was going broke.

This is me trying to make a realistic city. People have shown that by exploiting the simulation's shallowness, you can make far more money. For example, just build nothing but residential and the basic utilities and you'll have a much more profitable city than one with education, fire coverage, commerce and industry. I don't want to do that, I want a believable city, but if the simulation was as good as they made out these exploits should fail miserably. If it's a deep simulation of reality, then reality should be the best way to play.

This is not a deep simulation, this is a series of hacks strung together to look good.
 
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- Quboid
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25. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 15:13 Verno
 
FalconerHG wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 15:00:
In some ways, it is not as deep as the older games, in others, it is way deeper. City specializations add a lot to the original gameplay, as do building great works and the ability to work together building up a region. To me, these contribute more to the depth than is being taken away elsewhere.

I'd change the word ability to necessity and I don't agree it really adds a lot to the gameplay, certainly nowhere near enough to justify other design choices such as city size limitations. I could get behind many of their decisions if they had managed to deliver the core game competently but every city we made has experienced a variety of problems and the game does a very poor job of delineating how the player arrives at that point. Your ability to problem solve is constantly hampered by poor AI and city size. Maybe the ability to save/load which would promote more experimentation would alleviate this but they seemed to have ignored that too.

Oh well, to each his own I guess.
 
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Watching: Enemy, Network, Wer
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24. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 15:00 FalconerHG
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 13:10:
I agree with your comments here, FalconerHG, but I can't agree with your review summary that it's a "Wonderfully deep simulation". It's woefully shallow and more-so than always-online (which was my fault for being dumb enough forget about) the shallow simulation is what lets it down. It is fun despite it apparently trying hard to disappoint at every opportunity.

In some ways, it is not as deep as the older games, in others, it is way deeper. City specializations add a lot to the original gameplay, as do building great works and the ability to work together building up a region. To me, these contribute more to the depth than is being taken away elsewhere.
 
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23. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 14:00 KTR
 
Lol, my finding of the hard-coded 20 min timer has got around (I am notoroiousKTR on gaf).

This comment was edited on Mar 18, 2013, 14:07.
 
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22. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 13:24 Quboid
 
Verno wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 13:17:
Quboid wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 13:10:
Verno, it's mainstream because it sells millions of copies? You seem to contradict yourself. I'd say it's very much mainstream; my mother has heard of it and I'd guess she'd struggle to name six games. That's brand recognition that Call of Duty doesn't even have.

I was disputing what he said about how people here don't get it because we're core gamers and SimCity isn't aimed at them. It's managed to sell well AND be a deep, engrossing simulation title for a long time already, the neutered experience and smaller scope weren't necessary. The idea that EA had to choose what kind of game to make and it could only appeal to one crowd or the other is flawed was my point.

OK, I see what you mean. I wouldn't say SimCity has ever been especially deep but probably slightly deeper than Anno, until now, but I'm not sure that's Falconer's point.
 
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21. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 13:17 Verno
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 13:10:
Verno, it's mainstream because it sells millions of copies? You seem to contradict yourself. I'd say it's very much mainstream; my mother has heard of it and I'd guess she'd struggle to name six games. That's brand recognition that Call of Duty doesn't even have.

I was disputing what he said about how people here don't get it because we're core gamers and SimCity isn't aimed at them. It's managed to sell well AND be a deep, engrossing simulation title for a long time already, the neutered experience and smaller scope weren't necessary. The idea that EA had to choose what kind of game to make and it could only appeal to one crowd or the other is flawed was my point.
 
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20. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 13:10 Quboid
 
I agree with your comments here, FalconerHG, but I can't agree with your review summary that it's a "Wonderfully deep simulation". It's woefully shallow and more-so than always-online (which was my fault for being dumb enough forget about) the shallow simulation is what lets it down. It is fun despite it apparently trying hard to disappoint at every opportunity.

Verno, it's mainstream because it sells millions of copies? You seem to contradict yourself. I'd say it's very much mainstream; my mother has heard of it and I'd guess she'd struggle to name six games. That's brand recognition that Call of Duty doesn't even have.

Tanto Edge, that's getting obnoxious IMHO. EA aren't going to see it, if they did they wouldn't change anything and if you end your post with 'bye', you shouldn't pop back in to future threads to say the same thing.

ASeven Hey at least people who bought SimCity are finally getting SimCity!
 
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19. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 13:05 ASeven
 
The supreme irony of getting SimCity4 Deluxe Edition for free due to the debacle isn't lost on me.  
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18. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:57 RollinThundr
 
Angrius Maximis wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 12:30:
The list of free games for Simcity owners has been announced

Here is the list of games that you will be able to choose from once you are able to redeem. It’s a great list of games across the whole EA portfolio, so pick one and add it to your Origin library on us!

Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
Bejeweled 3
Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)
Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)
Medal of Honor Warfighter (Standard Edition)
Need For Speed Most Wanted (Standard Edition)
Plants vs. Zombies
SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition

Can't wait to hear the complaining about the freebies not being GOTY editions. At any rate, glad I didn't buy this.
 
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17. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:30 Tanto Edge
 
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thx
bai
 
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16. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:30 Angrius Maximis
 
The list of free games for Simcity owners has been announced

Here is the list of games that you will be able to choose from once you are able to redeem. It’s a great list of games across the whole EA portfolio, so pick one and add it to your Origin library on us!

Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
Bejeweled 3
Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)
Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)
Medal of Honor Warfighter (Standard Edition)
Need For Speed Most Wanted (Standard Edition)
Plants vs. Zombies
SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition
 
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15. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:29 Verno
 
FalconerHG wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 12:21:
In short, I think you are underestimating how many people play the game and love the experience.

No I'm not, my comment was based on my opinion and I clearly said nothing at all about how other people are or are not enjoying the game. Besides, I rarely underestimate the casual crowds desire for streamlined products.

If you want to handwave the problems away under the guise of "sure the limitations suck but I enjoy trying to get around them" then hey, its your money man, whatever floats your boat. Personally I find it to be a neutered experience and product without any real longevity, I would be surprised if you were still playing in a few weeks as I don't see much depth to the game.

Edit: Oh and since when is SimCity "mainstream"? It's always been a very deep city simulator. For something that only appeals to "core" gamers, it's managed to sell millions of copies with no problem. The unnecessary streamlining here is just EA trying to reach an even larger audience and I'd argue it was unnecessary in both respects.

This comment was edited on Mar 18, 2013, 12:57.
 
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14. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:22 FalconerHG
 
Dev wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 12:18:
This is the first simcity thread you've commented in since its release. I'm curious, have you had any of the numerous problems as seen in bluesnews stories for the past couple weeks? Were you able to play in the first few days after release without problems? Have you come across any of the silly AI glitches in the game? Have you tried playing with strangers in the region or only friends?

I have no doubt that some people enjoy the game, I'm just curious as to the details of your personal experience with it, and if its been problem free, or if you just persevered despite the problems.

Yes, I have. This is my review for Hooked Gamers to clarify:
http://www.hookedgamers.com/pc/simcity_5/review/article-1036.html
 
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13. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:22 Dev
 
FalconerHG wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 12:21:
I've spent quite some time with the game over the last week and a half
Thanks for the details!

While I was typing up my post asking for them, you were already typing them out
 
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12. Re: SimCity 20 Minute Online Timeout Hard-Coded? Mar 18, 2013, 12:21 FalconerHG
 
Verno wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 11:57:
FalconerHG wrote on Mar 18, 2013, 11:54:
Actually, don't you think it is possible that people still enjoy this game? (I am, and I have two friends who play it every day as well).

Since you asked, I think it's possible people could potentially enjoy it for a short period of time until they start bumping into the games limitations. But it really has nothing to do with what I was saying, if the time check is annoying then people can essentially patch it out with Cheat Engine or another memory editor.

If you meant the crappy game comment, I've played it with a friend for awhile and I think it's a crappy game It's not awful but it's certainly far from good, the best thing I can say about it is that the early game stuff works well when the servers cooperate but the restrictive city size and shitty AI ruin most other aspects for me.

I've spent quite some time with the game over the last week and a half and I can honestly say that most of the server issues are over. Since the first weekend after launch, I've been booted out of the game 4 times and have had trouble logging in twice, neither lasted for more than a few minutes. Not a perfect score, but there are many online games that do a lot worse, even months after their release.

I agree with the city size, maps are tiny. While there is a fun challenge to be found in there as well, I think map size should have been a choice rather than forced upon the player.

It has everything to do with the shitty AI though. I can see them downsizing the map so that the game can handle an complex AI in an earlier build, then not solving the AI issues and deciding on using a simplistic AI but never restoring the map size.

Both - are - problems and while I think they will fix 'm, I have to agree that at this point in time, the game is severely hampered.

But that does not necessarily mean it is not fun.

Making a good/cool city DESPITE the AI and size is an (unmeant) challenge on its own. My two friends and I love playing with the three of us, talking over Skype to share ideas and findings. But I've also enjoyed playing long stretches alone.

Consider that Blue's readers are not your average gamer. We are actually able to see the AI/pathing issues, we realize some of the stupid design decisions, we can pinpoint the flaws. But most of all, we read up on the game online and read all the criticisms, the hacks, the complaints as the story evolves.

Most SimCity players aren't as sophisticated when it comes to gaming. SC has always been somewhere between a casual and core game and the casuals will not realize any of this, thinking it it part of the game.

Even the core gamers who are not reading all the news will probably not notice the problems beyond the server issues. Their thoughts will be along the line of "Oh, my roads are clogged up, how does the game intend for me to solve that?".

In short, I think you are underestimating how many people play the game and love the experience.
 
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