Posts Tagged ‘always-on’

So I Thought I’d Play Battlefield 4’s Single Player. About That.

Our coverage of Battlefield 4 got rather interrupted by the arrival of a baby. It happens. So in trying to catch up, I wanted to play through the single player campaign, see how it compared to COD: Ghosts’. Yeah. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it. But then EA happened.

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The Power Of Silence: Why The SimCity Story Went Away

Why has the SimCity story gone away? It’s a good question. And the answer for it reveals much about how both the games industry, and the games journalism industry, work.

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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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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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Why Might Ubisoft Have Changed Their Minds On DRM?

The staring eye of change.

So, Ubisoft, eh? It’s been quite the 24 hours for the publisher. Having spent a few years seeming to actively seek the loathing of PC gamers – despite releasing a stream of good games – there appears to be a concerted effort to turn their reputation around. And this is something we certainly welcome. With an official pledge to abandon their deeply silly DRM, and a promise to try to release PC versions as close as possible to the console versions, they’re meeting gamers’ demands like we’ve got their families held hostage. (We don’t, do we?)

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Interview: Ubisoft On DRM, Piracy And PC Games

Faints.

For a couple of years we have been petitioning Ubisoft for an interview with those involved in their DRM decisions. We’re very pleased to report that this has finally happened, as we spoke to Stephanie Perotti, Ubi’s worldwide director for online games, accompanied by corporate communications manager, Michael Burk. Perotti is involved in all online technologies at Ubisoft, and works with many different studios and teams, with DRM part of her remit. We asked about the evidence for the various figures that have been quoted in the past, whether they have any proof for the efficacy of their extreme DRM, and whether Ubisoft has any regrets with how the matter has been handled in the last few years. And we also learn the rather enormous news that Ubi have abandoned always-on DRM, and will now only use one-time activation for all their PC games.

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Ubisoft Scrapping Always-On DRM For PC Games

Blink.

In an interview on RPS today, Ubisoft tells us that they will no longer use their controversial “always-on” DRM. In fact, they quietly scrapped it months ago, but haven’t made that official until now. In what is a really remarkable turnaround, the publisher pledges that from now on they will only require a single online activation after installing, with no activation limits, nor limits on how many PCs it may be activated.

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Blizzard Acknowledges Diablo III Always-On Acts As DRM

Blizzard have finally admitted that their useless always-on DRM in Diablo III is partly to prevent piracy. Despite having previously insisted that it was purely to improve gamer experience (oops), in a post spotted by Eurogamer, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has pointed out that it does “help us battle” such issues. But then goes on to say that it’s still the best solution, that it’s essential, and while there are “some downsides”, it was “the best long-term decision for the game.”

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Epic Considering Always Online For Fortnite [Updated]

Update: Epic’s issued a statement clarifying its meaning, noting that – while nothing’s off the table – it hasn’t entered serious talks about how it’ll implement online play at this point. Here’s the official word, in full: “We’re not talking about our plans at this time, mainly because that plan doesn’t exist yet. Fortnite is an iterative, living project and many things are still being decided prior to its release in 2013.”  

Original article: Let’s start with some good news, shall we? First off, Fortnite’s looking quite nice and – based on an interview I just wrapped with producer Tanya Jessen (which you’ll see all of tomorrow) – the Unreal-Engine-4-powered survivor is, by and large, taking full advantage of every tool at PC gaming’s disposal. In other words, expect a constant flow of new content, some form of mod support, and impressively open-ended, procedurally generated worlds. It’s not all uncharacteristically colorful cartoon roses, however. At this stage, Jessen told me, a constant Internet connection requirement ala Diablo is still a possibility. She assured, however, that it’d be used first and foremost to improve the game – not as a last line of defense against piracy’s nighttime pillages.

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How Diablo III’s Solo Experience Reveals A Hollow Game

The game starts satirising itself.
My companions have stopped following me. The map has suddenly blanked out. The dungeon doors aren’t opening. And despite my just having cleared out a two-storey dungeon for the second time, there hasn’t been a checkpoint in over a half an hour. If I quit out to fix it, the entire area map will be reset yet again (a previous quit to see if there was any way to raise the difficulty had already done this to me once, and is how I discovered the dungeon wasn’t checkpointing), so in total an hour’s play time lost, and, well, here’s the thing: Diablo III just isn’t brilliant enough to warrant this.

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Blizzard Address Diablo III Issues With “Emergency” Fix

Many players waited more than a decade, only to be met with this. Yep.

Update: After many hours of patching and subsequent server outages, Blizzard’s claiming everything’s good to go. If, however, you kick open a rotten stump only to discover an outpouring of bugs instead of loot, you can take your complaints here.

Original article: Hey everyone, I just played Diablo III without a single hiccup! Ow, argh, oof, ugh, whyyyy. Oh, I get it: you’re all beating me because my experience is atypical, and instead of feeling happy for me and perhaps throwing some form of party, you’re booting my ribs from my body (henceforth known as “Error 37-ing”) out of rage at what you’ve encountered. Oh you guys. Fortunately, Blizzard claims a round of “emergency maintenance” should have things functioning far, far better than new.

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Hack Slashes: Three Hours With Diablo III

Ballet has never been so dangerous.

Diablo III is out. (In the UK and Asia, at least, with the US version unlocking in about four hours.) Words that still don’t make sense when you look at them. So after the struggles of server issues all experienced at the start, I finally settled in to spend three very late hours with the game. A game which is, at least so far, action RPG perfection, worryingly troubled by the requirement of its always-on DRM. This is the tale of my first three hours, joyful and infuriating.

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SimCity Always-On Clarified: Needs Internet For Launch

At the coalface of bad ideas.

EA have issued a clarification to Gamespy that while you will have to have an internet connection to launch SimCity, it will not boot you off if your connection goes down. Which is to say, it’s not as egregious as others’ “always-on” DRM, but we maintain is still an unnecessary and game-crippling mistake, which we really hope they will reverse before release. That the game won’t stop working if your connection goes down sounds great, but it makes no useful difference to those who wish to play the ostensibly single-player game without an internet connection, whatever the cause. As we’ve said before, the online features sound like they’ll superbly enhance your single-player experience, but enforcing them is cruel and stupid, and renders the game broken for enormous numbers of players. We desperately hope to see EA backing down from this position before release. Just as we expect to see Blizzard come to their senses and not release a self-sabotaged version of Diablo 3. The reality is, unofficial versions of the games will appear very soon after release, offering useful features that the publishers’ versions of the games will not. That’s simply crazy. We’ve contacted EA to ask if we can talk to them about this all.

SimCity To Be Crippled By Always-On

Scenes in my head as I read the news.

Some good news and some bad news about the forthcoming SimCity reboot. Good news: you won’t have to buy it through Origin, meaning there can be pricing competition. Bad news: you will have to play it through Origin, with a permanent online connection all the time. That’s some fairly bloody enormous bad news. But there is time to convince EA that while there are many merits to having your game online, there are also some vastly more dreadful downsides, and failing to recognise that would be a terrible shame.

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