Posts Tagged ‘SimCity’

Wot I Think: SimCity

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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SimCity Vs The People: Why Apologies Aren’t Enough

Here’s an unpopular opinion: I think EA’s done a decent job with SimCity’s launch.

Aha! It’s also a misleading opinion, because I’m definitely not referring to the part where servers gasped and puked and died under the immense strain of North America’s unquenchable entertainment lust, recently leading to halting of sales on Amazon, among other things. It’s what happened afterward that sort of impressed me. EA responded fairly quickly (especially by its usual standards), communicated clearly what was happening, apologized profusely, went through the five stages of grief, and offered refunds to some people (not all, perplexingly) who felt like the early meteor bombardment of issues wasn’t worth waiting out. As far as disaster control goes, I’m more than willing to concede that EA’s mostly Doing It Right. But that does not – even in the slightest – change the fact that there shouldn’t have ever been a disaster in the first place.

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EA ‘Confident’ Origin Issues Won’t Plague Euro SimCity

I like it when publishers provide screenshots that metaphorically illustrate their current situations damn near flawlessly.

In the words of RPS’ totally unneeded, never sighted on a semi-regular basis error screen, SimCity’s having a bit of a wobbly. Some people, however, haven’t even been lucky enough to get into its now-infamous queues – let alone experience the majesty of realizing they might eventually get to play the videogame they purchased. So then, is this a preview of the hoops Europe gets to squeeze its oh-so-sensual landmasses through on Thursday? EA’s claiming it’s mobilized its force of spline reticulating drones to make sure everything’s shipshape, but obviously, there’s still plenty of reason for skepticism.

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Fear Not: Maxis Planning To Expand SimCity’s Cities

Ocean Quigley / Your name is so very much fun / Refrigerator.

Well, OK, maybe fear a little. The news that SimCity‘s massive metropolises have gone down a couple belt sizes didn’t exactly sit well with longtime fans, but Maxis does have plans to do something about it. Eventually. At this point, it’s all in the cold, soon-to-be-cybernetic hands of technology, because ultimately, SimCity’s casting its net wide. You and I might have the hardware to handle a sprawling, nicely detailed building forest, but others aren’t so fortunate.

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Hands On: SimCity

Almost too tranquil.

As SimCity nears release (March 8th in the UK), we sent natural born mayor Cara Ellison to sit down with the game for a day. She recreated inner-Scotland.

I dreamed of marching into EA HQ in a black pencil dress and high heels and Malcolm Tuckering all my consonants: “ALL RIGHT EA. RUIN MY CHILDHOOD. COME ON. RUIN IT.”

As it is, I stumbled into EA covered in doughnut crumbs wearing a bedraggled jumper dress and giant wooly socks and then squeaked “Hi I’m Cara hi can I see Simcity please.”

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Hmm: EA’s Holding Back A Lot For SimCity Deluxe

Ah, deluxe editions. I do not, by any means, think they’re inherently bad, but they can certainly enter murky territory with a quickness. Maybe even two quicknesses. Three might be pushing it, though. Sometimes, that means we end up getting lost in a snowblind forest of different versions, ala Assassin’s Creed III, but others are a bit more cut-and-dry. Or at least, it seems that way on paper. And yet, even so, there’s always reason to approach these things with caution. Case in point: SimCity’s digital deluxe edition. It’s got a small country’s worth of bonuses themed after a few particularly large countries, but is it worth all the extra simoleons? Perhaps answers lie after the break.

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EA Won’t Ban For SimCity Bugs, EULA Changes Inbound

Left hand, meet right hand. Yesterday, EA armed SimCity with a ticking time bomb of a perma-ban EULA, but today, it decided to vehemently disagree with, er, itself. In short, the not-so-fine print would’ve seen players agreeing to report any and all bugs they encountered in SimCity’s closed beta or risk being locked out of all EA products. Yes, all. That’s what it said. But oh, what a difference a day – and probably a few additional pairs of eyes – makes.

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Bizarre: EA Threatens Bans For Unreported SimCity Bugs

SimCity‘s upcoming three-day-long closed beta may have all the trappings of a glorified demo, but EA’s pumping at least one aspect of it with unnecessarily aggressive test-osterone. In short, if you stumble across a swarm of bugs (Sim Ants hopefully excluded) and fail to report it, you could be facing a ban. From all of your EA games. Yes, that’s what it says in the SimCity beta’s EULA. Nearly verbatim. I just changed the word “product” to “game,” because “product” sounds, well, about as out-of-touch as this incredibly iron-fisted move on EA’s part.

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SimCity Headed To Demo Beta Town Next Week

Recently, I think we’ve seen a fairly wide shift back to treating beta tests like, well, tests. Admittedly, things still get a little dicey when games like MechWarrior Online or, most notoriously, The War Z charge for early admittance, sometimes barely disguising toothy bear traps of vague terminology. In short, “foundation release.” But I digress. Apparently, SimCity didn’t get the memo, because its closed beta will be three days long. Is it a glorified demo? Probably. But oh well. You still (maybe) get to strap into your snazzy mayoral suspenders for a weekend, and Maxis will come away with some form of valuable data, at least. Details on registration and content after the break.

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Don’t Blink: The Shortest SimCity Trailer

Simmish.
There isn’t a lot to this SimCity trailer, which EA are bafflingly calling in an “Introduction”, as if we hadn’t already been talking about the game for a year already. Or did I just imagine all that? I could check, but I like to live life on the edge. For example: I’m writing this article directly into the CMS. This is internet without a safety net. All I have are my wits, the inbuilt spellchecker in Firefox (Chrome and WordPress do not get along), and a desire to crank things up a notch. Who’s with me? Let’s gooooo…
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