Posts Tagged ‘Maxis’

Darkspore Off Steam After Plague Of Server Issues

By Nathan Grayson on July 2nd, 2013.

How much blood would a server serve if a server didn't suffer from intermittent months-spanning connection issues and apparent indifference from its creator?

I still wonder what sort of mad sparkle in EA’s eye led to the birth of Darkspore, but its ensuing post-launch existence has somehow managed to be even stranger. While the game itself was largely (and sadly) unremarkable, its early DRM server issues have since evolved into an eyeball-and-tendril-flailing monstrosity, rendering the whole thing entirely unplayable for some since May. Recently (possibly as a result), Darkspore was de-listed from Steam, though it’s still available on Origin. EA’s now claiming to have put the offending bugs to bed, but Steam continues to only carry spores of distinctly lighter shades.

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A Load Of Hot Air: SimCity’s Airships DLC

By Adam Smith on July 1st, 2013.

Oh, SimCity. Its launch was far from smooth and yet the powers that be now believe it would be wise to unmoor a series of airships, allowing them to drift into the skies above the game’s colourful sort-of-simulated neighbourhoods. The blimps and balloons cost $8.99, which seems expensive, but at least they don’t have giant adverts printed on the side. I must admit, I was concerned that SimCity might receive a series of pricey add-ons that actually improved the game, making its meager municipal offering rather more sinister, an intentionally hobbled creation awaiting a costly cure-all. In a way, this gust of hot air is preferable. Video below!

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Maybe SimCity’s Balance-Breaking Ad DLC Isn’t All Bad

By Nathan Grayson on April 3rd, 2013.

I did not, however, say it isn't mostly bad.

Good news! SimCity‘s gotten a potentially substantial piece of DLC, and it’s totally free. Bad news! It’s a gigantic ad for car company Nissan. Worse news! Its in-game functionality seems to make your city planning decisions even less consequential than before, which is quite a feat. Worst news! SimCity isn’t a very good game at all, even with its online issues mostly cleared up. Contrary opinion! This is one seemingly asinine move I think we should only partially leap down EA’s throat for. So maybe, like, just put in one leg. And do it kind of gently. Avoid the teeth, if you can.

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Wot I Think: SimCity

By Adam Smith on March 21st, 2013.

None of these days, all of this will be yours

We’ve had quite a lot to say about SimCity but I haven’t told you wot I think yet. I posted my initial impressions two weeks ago, feeling like I’d only just scratched the surface. I’ve been scratching away since then, off and on, and now I’m ready to tell you what lies beneath.

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A Sorry Tale: EA Offering SimCity 4 To SimCity 5 Buyers!

By John Walker on March 18th, 2013.

EA wants to say “sooorweeeee”. For pretending the game had to be online for server computations, and then ignoring us when we pointed out this wasn’t the case? No, not because of that! But for launching SimCity in the most extraordinarily inept fashion, with barely functioning servers, massive queues, frequent crashes, and the rest of the mess everyone in the whole world except EA and that one reviews editor predicted would happen. To make this up to everyone who’s activated a copy of the game, and rather madly to people who buy one any time up to the 25th March, there is a free game available. And they’re proper good ones, too. One of them is a rather fine city building game, called SimCity 4.

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SimCity Modder Tells Us Offline Regional Play Easily Done

By John Walker on March 16th, 2013.

A key moment in the week’s SimCity shenanigans was unquestionably the appearance of a video from a modder, Azzer, announcing he’d found a way to remove the game’s offline timer. The final nail in the ridiculous-claims coffin, this mod demonstrated that everything but the asynchronous multiplayer was running on your home machine. We got in touch with the man behind the mod, one Azzer, and he had a lot more to say. In his opinion, the information coming from the servers is so rudimentary that despite Maxis’s claims, there shouldn’t be any problem at all in simulating the regional play offline.

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SimCity Boss’s “Straight Answers” Seem Pretty Wiggly

By John Walker on March 16th, 2013.

GET IT?

What Maxis are doing is frankly peculiar. Earlier this week we posted a story revealing that claims that SimCity required online servers to run non-regional computations were not the case. That night we were promised a statement from the studio, but heard nothing. Repeated emails to EA have resulted in no response since, and the whole situation has become more muddy with each day. It’s since been revealed that population numbers are nonsense, even down to leaked Javascript code featuring “simcity.GetFudgedPopulation” as a function. We’ve learned that city size limits are arbitrary, pathfinding is rudimentary at best, and Eurogamer’s absolutely superb review lists many more bugs, broken features, disappearing pretend-money and never-arriving resources.

So it’s all the more odd to see Maxis head Lucy Bradshaw acting as if none of this is happening, and instead just carefully rewording her mantra of how SimCity is only supposed to be played online, but this time leaving out the bit about server-side computations for local play.

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Schrödinger’s SimCity: EA On Hacks vs Mods, Fixing Traffic

By Cara Ellison on March 15th, 2013.

Global meltdown
In this, our ELEVENTH DAY of the equivalent of PC gaming’s Leveson Inquiry, Senior Director of worldwide communications at EA Maxis Erik Reynolds has written a series of ‘transparent tweets’. These tweets indicate that a post on the Simcity forum about a hack for offline mode violated their Terms of Service, and the discussion would have to be moved elsewhere.
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Modder Runs SimCity Offline, Maxis Remains Silent

By John Walker on March 14th, 2013.

Two days ago, RPS published an article in which a Maxis insider revealed to us that SimCity does not, in fact, require the servers to run its non-regional game. Maxis reps had repeatedly insisted to the press that the game had to be online as it ran local computations on their own servers – a feature our source told us doesn’t exist at all. Extraordinarily, we’ve still yet to receive a statement from Maxis on the matter. Nor indeed have any of the rest of the games media who contacted EA for comments at the time of our story.

And now, if any further proof were needed, a modder has hacked the game to run entirely offline, and even play outside of the game’s ridiculously small borders.

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SimCity’s Sims Don’t Seem That Smart After All

By John Walker on March 13th, 2013.

Alongside the peculiarities of the server matters with SimCity, many are reporting that the game itself doesn’t perform as had previously been claimed. This is especially the case when it comes to the AI and pathfinding.

Disappointingly, the Glassbox Engine doesn’t appear to offer quite the independent nature of individual Sims as many had believed, and it really seems to be struggling with seemingly simple pathfinding and congestion issues.

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Maxis Insider Tells RPS: SimCity Servers Not Necessary

By John Walker on March 12th, 2013.

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.

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SimCity Is Inherently Broken, Let’s Not Let This Go

By John Walker on March 11th, 2013.

EA reports that SimCity is slowly getting into a state where it’s playable. Many of the launch issues are getting sorted, and soon it may well be in such a place that it becomes functional. So we should forgive and forget, right? Wrong.

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Initial Impressions: SimCity

By Adam Smith on March 8th, 2013.

I hadn’t played SimCity until the UK version unlocked at midnight and I’ve barely slept since then. Intravenous coffee, fresh from the bean, and a sumo wrestler’s weight of dry roasted peanuts have seen me through the night and now I shall convert the experiences of the last twelve hours into words. This is not ‘Wot I Think’, it’s just a step toward a closer study of the slickness of the systems as well as their shortcomings, and it’s also a minor chronicle of the European launch.

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