View Full Version : SimCity

Drunken Savior
03-04-2013, 09:50 AM
I'm still pretty upset about the 'always online' aspect of this new SimCity. But god damn....after watching about 4 hours of it, I hope it's as well received when more people get to run it through the works and Maxis polishes out the bugs.

I'll be looking for this game at its first big discount, for sure. I love the SimCity games. The first one I played was the Super Nintendo version, but I've put over 400 hours into SimCity 4. Hard to believe that game is a decade old.

03-04-2013, 12:38 PM
I am most excited about its co-op feature. You and a friend can now run neighboring cities together. In which I thought was really cool. But the always on activation is a turn off.

Drunken Savior
03-04-2013, 02:54 PM
The guy who was streaming his game (TotalBiscuit) was constantly checking in on his wife's city, which was buying his garbage. I'm intrigued about it as well. It's one of the features I'm most interested in hearing about from other gamers.

Drunken Savior
03-05-2013, 02:06 AM
Game is supposed to go live at 9:01pm PST. So far, Origin is failing...I'm afraid to restart the client...but perhaps I should.


Update: We're investigating the problem. I will update you as soon as I have more information. Thank you for your patience.

And this is why you always let people who buy digital good download prior to release. This is the digital version of Black Friday Wallmart stampedes, haha.

[EDIT] Well 1 hour later and the download begins! Could have been worse. Of course, let's see how the servers handle thousands of people signing on once they download the game.

[EDIT] And after 43m I'm in.

[EDIT] Played for 3 glorious hours. So far I'm really impressed. Some parts seem dumbed down though. It's hard to really give a solid, accurate, review of this game without spending dozens of hours playing it and seeing what was tweaked and what wasn't. I was actually somewhat impressed with the launch. The first hour sucked, nothing happened. But then the game activated and it took me about 45m to download the entire game (a lot of the 'simulation' is done via cloud computing, I think). Didn't have a single problem during those 3 hours of gameplay. Can't wait to play more tomorrow.

[EDIT] I woke up hearing about people having qeues to get into servers so I tried to get into the North American West Server. No problems. But let's see how it handles at 6-10pm, when people are home! Any game that requires an always online connection to a server will have this issues. So always take that into consideration when you want a new game. Ok, that's enough soap boxing. Soap boxing is for assholes. No one likes being lectured to, right?

Should I post some of my gameplay? Let me know.

03-06-2013, 01:41 PM
Post some game play as in videos? If yes, than yes please.

Drunken Savior
03-06-2013, 03:25 PM
Yeah, I could do that. I was going to make a mining town today, so I'll try to capture the first 30m or so.

03-06-2013, 04:13 PM
Name a landmark after me! It's my only demand.

Drunken Savior
03-06-2013, 10:52 PM
Well I recorded the first 15 minutes or so of my mining town. I'll go through it tonight and add some narration and why I did the things I did. Expect the video around mid morning Thursday here.

03-07-2013, 04:26 AM


Drunken Savior
03-07-2013, 04:46 AM
Please...tons of people are asking for refunds and getting them (http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/19swik/conversation_with_ea_rep_via_simcity_forums/). One dude goes into a chat, acts like a dick to a customer service rep who has the digression to either approve or deny a rebate and gets told off. Hell, some people are getting refunds AND 15% codes to rebuy the game at a later date. I'm not trying to defend EA (or even this customer service rep), but if you act like a dick all the time, people are going to treat you like a cock. I bet people like the person above have never worked customer service. I'd bend over backwards to help someone who was nice and patient when I'm cleaning up someone else's mess. But if you came to me with an attitude, I'm gonna tow the company line hard and make the bare minimum effort to help you.

Fuck, I hate it when fuckers treat customer service rep poorly. These people probably agree with you and understand your frustration more than some rich group of producers, yet the bare the full brunt of the anger. You have a right to be angry over a very shitty release, just remember that you also have a choice of how to express your anger.

Drunken Savior
03-07-2013, 08:45 PM
Welp, one big retailer is preventing EA from getting any more money from this. Today, Amazon has stopped selling SimCity via digital distribution (http://kotaku.com/5989265/amazon-has-stopped-selling-digital-copies-of-simcity), presumably until the server issues are fixed. Amazon itself also stopped selling physical copies, but you can still purchase one at Amazon through a 3rd party seller.

The launch of SimCity is quickly ascending the ranks amongst games with horrible launches, including Diablo III, Star Wars: Galaxies, Ultima Online, and even World of Warcraft. It's not like hyped online games have to have rocky launches either, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 had pretty solid launches.

I guess I should consider myself lucky that I've gotten to play it as much as I have so far?

Drunken Savior
03-08-2013, 12:36 AM

I recorded this yesterday morning.

03-08-2013, 04:31 AM
best review: http://www.jonathancresswell.co.uk/2013/03/review-simcity/

03-08-2013, 12:13 PM
Bearing in mind that EA went with the decision to make this new SimCity a mandatory online game, they are getting exactly what they deserve. So too will be the case should more games in the future, including on the next-gen consoles, force similar requirements upon consumers. Ultimately people speak loudest with their wallets. Treat your consumers with contempt and they will turn against you.


Drunken Savior
03-08-2013, 04:59 PM
Just an update on the situation from what I've seen around the interwebs and anecdotally:

SimCity launches in the UK without major connectivity woes (http://www.gamespot.com/news/simcity-launches-in-the-uk-without-major-connectivity-woes-6405043).
Probably has something to do with the region having 6 servers, compared to North America's 2, at launch. You can play on any of the servers, but your cities won't travel across servers...so anyone looking to work on a city past one session is essentially tied to a single server.

EA turns off SimCity's fastest gameplay mode as it struggles with servers (http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/7/4075120/simcity-servers-update-maxis-disabling-features).
'Cheetah' Mode has been disabled, probably to reduce the load request for simulating a city. You can still select it ingame, but it no longer runs any faster than the game's middle speed, 'rabbit.'

I was able to play from 10pm-4am last night on North American West 1 without any problems, minus a 15 minute time frame where I was disconnected from the servers but could still play. Made a 100K population mining town (continuing from the one in my video above). I was forced to play on 'rabbit' mode. I'll check in on my region today and see if anyone else joined 'Pandora.'

Drunken Savior
03-09-2013, 05:19 AM
Well now I'm sure my PC is made from unicorn parts, because I was able to log on, then log off, then log back onto the SimCity servers, US West 1, at 5:00pm tonight, without a problem. I feel for those who bought the game and can't play it...but I've put in over 20 hours into building cities already.

Having said that....

‘That Was Dumb’: EA Says They’ll Give A Free PC Game To Anyone Who Bought SimCity
by Jason Schreier
MAR 8, 2013 10:50 PM

Anyone who bought SimCity will get a free video game, publisher EA said tonight.

Apologizing for the crippling server issues that have rendered the new simulation game near-unplayable for the past week, Maxis boss Lucy Bradshaw wrote in a blog post that anyone with a copy of SimCity activated before March 18 will get a free PC game from EA's catalog.
Here's the full blog post:

Here's a quick update on the problems we were experiencing with SimCity – and a little something extra for people who bought 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 we're 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. It's 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 we're close to fixed, but not quite there. I'm hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us.

Something Special for Your Trouble

The good news is that SimCity is a solid hit in all major markets. The consensus among critics and players is that this is fundamentally a great game. But this SimCity is made to be played online, and if you can't get a stable connection, you're NOT having a good experience. So we're not going to rest until we've fixed the remaining server issues.

And to get us back in your good graces, we're 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.

I know that's a little contrived – kind of like buying a present for a friend after you did something crummy. But we feel bad about what happened. We're hoping you won't stay mad and that we'll be friends again when SimCity is running at 100 percent.

SimCity is a GREAT game and the people who made it are incredibly proud. Hang in there – we'll be providing more updates throughout the weekend.

While we're not yet sure which games will be given away, you can view EA's PC catalog here. (http://www.ea.com/pc#10)

I'm expected to be underwhelmed by the free game, the only game I'd want from EA is Battlefield 3 since I don't have it. Regardless, I hope the server issues are mostly resolved by tomorrow night when the vast majority of people who bought it will really have the time to play it.

Drunken Savior
03-12-2013, 09:27 PM
Well here's more evidence to suggest that the always online nature of the new SimCity isn't 100% necessary, it's part DRM and part cloud processing (for online multiplayer).

Maxis Insider Tells RPS: SimCity Servers Not Necessary
By John Walker on March 12th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

In all the fuss and mess of the disastrous SimCity launch, one refrain has been repeated again and again. While legions may be begging for an offline mode, EA representatives have been abundantly clear that this simply isn’t possible. Maxis’ studio head, Lucy Bradshaw, has told both Polygon and Kotaku that they “offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers”, and that it would take “a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game” for single player.

A SimCity developer has got in touch with RPS to tell us that at least the first of these statements is not true. He claimed that the server is not handling calculations for non-social aspects of running the game, and that engineering a single-player mode would require minimal effort.

Our source, who we have verified worked directly on the project but obviously wishes to remain anonymous, has first-hand knowledge of how the game works. He has made it absolutely clear to us that this repeated claim of server-side calculations is at odds with the reality of the project he worked on. Our source explains:

“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they’re doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.”

People were already perplexed by EA’s explanation of the impossibility of offline play. Kotaku ran a series of tests today, seeing how the game could run without an internet connection, finding it was happy for around 20 minutes before it realised it wasn’t syncing to the servers. Something which would surely be impossible were the servers co-running the game itself. Markus “Notch” Persson just tweeted to his million followers that he managed to play offline too, despite EA’s claims. And now with the information from our source, it would seem the claims just don’t hold water.

So what are the servers doing? Well, alongside the obvious, of being involved in allowing players to share the same maps for their cities, and processing imports and exports between them, they’re really there to check that players aren’t cheating or hacking. However, these checks aren’t in real-time – in fact, they might take a few minutes, so couldn’t be directly involved in your game.

“Because of the way Glassbox was designed, simulation data had to go through a different pathway. The game would regularly pass updates to the server, and then the server would stick those messages in a huge queue along with the messages from everyone else playing. The server pulls messages off the queue, farms them out to other servers to be processed and then those servers send you a package of updates back. The amount of time it could take for you to get a server update responding to something you’ve just done in the game could be as long as a few minutes. This is why they disabled Cheetah mode, by the way, to reduce by half the number of updates coming into the queue.”

Clearly an offline game that included a single-player simulation of the region system derived from multiplayer would be more challenging to develop, but our source assured us that it was far from impossible.

So how difficult would it be for EA to create a single-player game that simply did away with the multiplayer-derived aspects and just let us build? It seems that lies somewhere between “easy peasy” and Bradshaw’s claims of “significant engineering”. According to our source:

“It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”

EA’s claims about the necessity of online play – claims that more people are seeing for themselves not to be true, just by running the game with the internet cable yanked out – seem inexplicable.

We’d obviously be very interested to hear a proper explanation.

I imagine the planning of this new SimCity went something along these lines:

Maxis: For our new SimCity game, what if we made an online multiplayer mode where friends can build cities in one big region and work together to benefit the region with great works!
EA: Great idea! Here's the funding to make SimCity always online!
Maxis: But we only wanted the multiplayer mode to be online.
EA: Poppycock, you wanted to take all this development money to make the game online, right?
Maxis: Err...right.

I will say this though, in the past 48 hours I, along with 3 strangers, all worked together to make an international airport. It was really, REALLY, fun to work together for a common goal and I can imagine doing it with friend to be a lot more fun.

If one good thing comes from this whole debacle, it's that it is yet another example of DRM infringing on the legitimate customer base. Ubisoft used to do this kind of crap (http://www.joystiq.com/2011/07/30/ubisoft-says-always-on-drm-is-a-success-fans-are-confused/), but has since dropped their always online DRM (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/09/05/ubisoft-scrapping-always-on-drm-for-pc-games/) and has focused instead on bettering their relationship with PC gamers. (http://www.joystiq.com/2013/02/22/ubisoft-wants-better-relationship-with-pc-players/) It seems that EA might go through those same growing pains, since it can't seem to learn from history.

I've been following Ubisoft's history on PC and have actually bought a fair ammount of their PC games (AC2, AC: Brotherhood, AC: Revelations, Far Cry, AC3) and can say that their online service, uPlay, isn't that bad now.

03-19-2013, 09:38 AM


03-21-2013, 04:53 PM
Meh still not as bad as Diablo 3.

03-22-2013, 10:18 AM
What's the story with that?