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Author Topic: Sham City  (Read 6397 times)
fog
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« on: March 07, 2013, 02:39:37 PM »

More EA brilliance after the Dead Space confusion.

They launched the new Sim City over the last couple of days and as well as IAP's it also has always on DRM so you need a permanent internet connection to play.  Well you could play it if EA servers weren't all down for maintenance meaning the came can't verify that it's a genuine copy.   Tongue

http://kotaku.com/5988985/yep-simcity-still-isnt-working

So a brand new game and nobody in the world could play it. (3 days and counting Grin )  And what happens to your game when in the future EA decides to turn off the games servers to "encourage" you to buy the latest version?  I wonder why anyone plays pirated versions that always work and, ironically, don't treat you like a criminal.  Tongue
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 02:43:40 PM by fog » Logged

T_M_C
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 02:47:39 AM »

Yep.

The pro's and cons of DRM.

I think the concensus of most players is that DRM just punishes legit users.

I suppose really, that players that buy and play games that need any form of Internet access, need to start thinking in terms of the game as being temporary.
Until such a time when the Internet access isn't available and the servers shut down or fail.

But the games industry is so fickle anyway with games having quite a short shelf life / playtime that i don't think this is too much of an issue.
Games players always like to move on to the next best game.
And it's such a saturated market now that there are plenty of alternatives for players.

I remember Peter Molyneux had similar issues with the Curiosity servers when the game was launched too.

TMC

« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 02:49:44 AM by T_M_C » Logged
fog
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 04:52:16 PM »

I suppose really, that players that buy and play games that need any form of Internet access, need to start thinking in terms of the game as being temporary.
Until such a time when the Internet access isn't available and the servers shut down or fail.
I agree.  Although there was a shit storm when it was rumoured that new consoles would block use games so I can't wait to see what happens when perfectly legit games stop working too.


But the games industry is so fickle anyway with games having quite a short shelf life / playtime that i don't think this is too much of an issue.
Games players always like to move on to the next best game.
For most games I'd agree with you completely (regardless of whether it's "right" to disable old games) but I'd say Sim City is in a small group of games along with the likes of the Sims, Starcraft etc where many players will happily play the same game for several years so this would be an issue for them.  Of course the fact they are happy playing the same game is exactly the reason these games will be "switched off" prematurely.
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TheKhakinator
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 07:16:57 AM »

Yeah I hate the idea of buying Sim City, having a huge metropolis... and having EA switch it off like a light. That's a universe destroyed.
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fog
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2013, 04:32:51 PM »

Yeah I hate the idea of buying Sim City, having a huge metropolis... and having EA switch it off like a light. That's a universe destroyed.
That might be the least of your worries apparently.  Now that some of the servers are back on line and people can actually play it it's a bug riddled mess and the "sim" part is faked and seemingly a step backwards from previous games.  Even basic path finding seems horribly broken.



Funny how so many sites gave it great scores.


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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 11:40:04 PM »

Theres a good thread about it on the Blitz site too.

Quite shocking really for a AAA title.

I've even seen several TV ads for it.


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Funny how so many sites gave it great scores.

Yep.

I've been dubious about review scores for many years now.

From when i started reading PC mags and websites really.

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fog
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 02:25:29 PM »

Theres a good thread about it on the Blitz site too.

Quite shocking really for a AAA title.
While I'm sure people are digging for things more than they would if the launch hadn't been so botched, some of the stuff they are finding is awful.

The population numbers are faked, people claiming this is so they can meet the big numbers in the feature list.

You can build underwater.  Tongue

The sims don't have a fixed house or job, they just go to the nearest one which is why there are ridiculous traffic jams as they all try and occupy the same house after work.  Tongue

There's no need to build a single Industrial or Commercial building, the population still rocket anyway.

Laying a single road snaking around your city is rather than laying motorways and fancy junctions is the only way to avoid traffic jams

etc etc.

Some things can be overlooked, but this stuff completely breaks the simulation....that's the one bit that should work properly otherwise what's the point in the game.  Nothing yo do has the desired effect.

« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 02:28:00 PM by fog » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 07:25:35 AM »

It's obvious to me the release is a corperate money making decision.

I'm sure the dev's and quality control know the game isn't ready for release.

Looks like it's a

"lets get the game out there, even though we know it isn't ready and we've spent millions on advertising, and we'll just patch it at some future date."

You would think it would be in their interests to wait and release a game that works.

Word of mouth and complaints about how bad the game is have gone viral across the net.
Surely thats going to hit sales beyond the initial release.

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TheKhakinator
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 08:30:42 AM »

It's funny because I've been playing it, mostly focusing on mining/oil/electronics goals and... it's really, really fun.

I think now that I'm struggling with some weird problems (place tons of the same building just to increase imports to a viable level to run your production buildings) it's getting less so and the flaws are more obvious. And I have the same issue I did with 4 in that things like having sims commute to work in another city so yours stays clean never really works.

Spent 5 hours straight playing it today. Didn't even move. But in a way it does feel less... like a genuine "This is MY city" game. In SC3 I worked and worked and was gifted a stadium! Sure it sat there and seemingly had no noticable effect but I did have to work for it!
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fog
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 12:30:32 PM »

It's funny because I've been playing it, mostly focusing on mining/oil/electronics goals and... it's really, really fun.
Ignoring the problems, I'm sure it is fun.  All the Sim City games have been.  It's the state it was released in and the way EA have handled it that leaves a sour taste.


Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw said:
Quote
"We offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud,""
Apparently no such cloud computing necessary for the game takes place.

And:
Quote
"It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team."
And a day later someone modded it to work perfectly offline.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-03-14-simcity-modded-so-it-can-be-played-offline-indefinitely

All to try and justify the always online DRM.
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TheKhakinator
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 12:55:38 AM »

Yeah it's really weird; smells really foul from both Maxis and EA. Hoping there's an expansion or something that really ramps it up a notch, EA's good at that at least (SC4 expansion, C&C Generals: Zero Hour aka THE BEST EXPANSION EVER MADE). That said I'm sure I'll pay through the nose for it...
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fog
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 01:20:32 PM »

I've dug out y old copy of Sim City 4.  I was surprised at how well it runs on my tiny eeePC.  It's perfect.  BunnyMonkey!



And the EA and Maxis PR disaster rumbles on.

Remember the earlier quotes from Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw about why Sim City can't be played offline..."We offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers" & offline play would require "significant amount of engineering work by our team."

Well today someone has discovered that "significant amount of engineering work" means removing one line of code.

Code:
kNetDownForceQuitAfterMinutes : 20
They didn't even make an attempt to hide the what the variable does.  Grin  Remove it and you have unlimited offline play.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=525129
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las6
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 02:56:10 PM »

apparently all the super complicated "region" simulation amounts to data snapshot (how much power, water, etc...) of a city sent over from the servers to in simple JSON. Given that this data is static (for others) while you're logged out, there's no reason why you couldn't have multiple cities in your offline game working just like the networked game...

oh well, it's not like we here don't know the real reasons why they're doing this. What's really scary are the people who are defending Maxis and arguing that the simulation done on the servers is so heavy you couldn't run it on a normal pc...
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fog
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2013, 05:16:17 PM »

apparently all the super complicated "region" simulation amounts to data snapshot (how much power, water, etc...) of a city sent over from the servers to in simple JSON. Given that this data is static (for others) while you're logged out, there's no reason why you couldn't have multiple cities in your offline game working just like the networked game...
Yeah the region simulation looks just as broken or fudged as other areas.

I read that someone was playing a local networked game with two regions and when a fire broke out in one the other region sent fire engines to help.  Because the data isn't live, they took 3 days to arrive.   BunnyMonkey!


oh well, it's not like we here don't know the real reasons why they're doing this. What's really scary are the people who are defending Maxis and arguing that the simulation done on the servers is so heavy you couldn't run it on a normal pc...
Agreed.  Although I often wonder whether a large number of gamers are even aware of this or whether this sort of detail really matters to them?  I get the impression this Sim City is aimed more at the casual (gah) gamer and The Sims audience.  With the simplified sim, stupidly small regions and social features this could easily be a Facebook game.
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TheKhakinator
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2013, 11:00:13 PM »

apparently all the super complicated "region" simulation amounts to data snapshot (how much power, water, etc...) of a city sent over from the servers to in simple JSON. Given that this data is static (for others) while you're logged out, there's no reason why you couldn't have multiple cities in your offline game working just like the networked game...
Yeah the region simulation looks just as broken or fudged as other areas.

I read that someone was playing a local networked game with two regions and when a fire broke out in one the other region sent fire engines to help.  Because the data isn't live, they took 3 days to arrive.   BunnyMonkey!
Similar problem with sending money, etc. between cities.

Current problem that is really annoying me: 4 Trade Depot chock full of crude oil, with 4 oil drilling operations with full storage, and not a single export is happening despite all my button clicking. So I can't make profit or upgrade my buildings. Ugh.
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