SimCity DRM, what lessons to be learned?

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Old 03 March 2013   #31
Lucy Bradshaw, the head of Maxis, turned to Twitter to answer some questions about the situation.

Quote: "This is on Maxis," said Lucy Bradshaw, the studio's boss, in response to a customer's allegation that publisher Electronic Arts required SimCity to always connect to the game's servers, even for the fundamentally singleplayer modes of the city-building simulation. "EA does not force design upon us," she said. "We own it, we are working 24/7 to fix it, and we are making progress."

Additionally, Bradshaw said Maxis more than doubled its server capacity on Friday and added more today. But again, it's "just not possible" to let the game revert to an offline, singleplayer mode because, as has been said before, SimCity depends heavily on cloud computing, taking place on a computer other than the gamer's, to run the simulation.

Source: Kotaku

Personally, I was planning on picking up the game earlier this week but I decided not to because I am a bit busy at the moment. The always on aspect doesn't bother me so much because I would be using a computer that is always connected to the internet. Because they are offering a free game to those who activate before the 18th, I may pick it up this week to play once I do have time in a couple weeks.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #32
Gamasutra:Cloud: We Are Not Ready

QUOTE:
'As a side effect of games like Diablo and Sim City trying to control the flow of data they have crippled their games. Most reviews are summed up with, "It plays great! ... When it works," following up with a laundry list of issues from stuttering gameplay to long pauses from connection issues. I have no doubt that PC gaming as we know it and even console gaming will eventually disappear and games as a service will be in full effect. We as gamers will slowly give up our freedoms in the way we want to play games as publishers push toward total control. It will happen because mass consumers will allow it.

We will all settle for pixelated adaptively sampled video streams and intermittent unresponsive controls as we stumble our way to better broadband over the next 20+ years. We will all be sitting in queues and browsing the web, waiting to play the experience that we actually sat down on our couch or in front of our PC to play. We will do it, and we will tell ourselves that it's okay because of insignificant perks like our saved game files will reside on a server that does not belong to us and can be taken from us. We will agree to the EULA that forfeits our rights to raise concern and seek reparation when those servers are finally gone and that game no longer exists. We will settle, we will submit, we will obey. It's only a matter of time."
http://gamasutra.com/blogs/Benjamin...e_Not_Ready.php
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Old 03 March 2013   #33
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Old 03 March 2013   #34
I think for something this much of an issue it should have been a thing that wouldn't have had problems on the first day. When it's something that people really didn't want, you want to convince them that it's not a problem, they've done the opposite.

It would have been way more worth it to pay the cost of setting up a ton more servers for the release rather than to allow such a poor launch. Of course that means they spend a bunch of money on servers they'll have to remove later, but considering the losses they're getting from this problem it would have been much more worth it for the game to work on launch.
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Old 03 March 2013   #35
So what exactly is done on the mainframe? Why this game cannot be run on a unconnected PC?
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Old 03 March 2013   #36
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz: So what exactly is done on the mainframe? Why this game cannot be run on a unconnected PC?


A fair bit of the actual simulation. Nothing that couldn't, theoretically, be done on an even moderately high end PC, but substantially more than computers on the lower end of the games system requirements could handle.
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Old 03 March 2013   #37
Originally Posted by triwa: Then they pulled a move on BioWare and rushed Mass Effect 3 out the door.
Mass Effect was already ruined since the 2nd one.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #38
Mass Effect 3 had as much development as 2, and the game was fine up until the end. It wasn't like Dragon Age 2 which was completely rushed and issues in almost every area.
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Old 03 March 2013   #39
Originally Posted by darthviper107: Mass Effect 3 had as much development as 2, and the game was fine up until the end. It wasn't like Dragon Age 2 which was completely rushed and issues in almost every area.

ME3 and ME2 were both forced out by EA. If you compare the two to the first ME its pretty easy to tell the sequels aren't really complete games.
They also ripped out a really great chunk from what was already in the main story and sold it as Day 1 DLC.
(I do still love ME2 and 3, but they just really didn't seem complete and whole.)
 
Old 03 March 2013   #40
As much as I hated the Diablo III launch day (or week) I must say that I love that Starcraft 2 uses bnet only for all my character stats and has some constraints that limits the amount of hacking is done. It makes the game more legit and secure for me. Knowing that you can get a ban from your 60$ copy makes people hack less and play nicer. I also can play offline but I receive no in game XP and achievements so at a cost.
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Old 03 March 2013   #41
Quote: it's "just not possible" to let the game revert to an offline, singleplayer mode because, as has been said before, SimCity depends heavily on cloud computing, taking place on a computer other than the gamer's, to run the simulation.


Absolute utter drivel of the highest order. It hurts my head even trying to comprehend how stupid he must think his customers are. Is he actually trying to say that a quad core 4GHz machine is incapable of running the city simulation, but that a single server splitting its power over hundreds of cities is fine? The server computing power is such a huge limitation that the plots of land have been decimated in size so they dont get too complicated. The server computing power is so limited that they had to double the number of machines just to stay afloat.

If I could just play the game without dicking around syncing to their servers on the net, then I would be a customer right now. Ive bought every previous sim city game and expansion but this is just one step too far.

A beautiful game ruined.
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Old 03 March 2013   #42
Originally Posted by imashination: Absolute utter drivel of the highest order. It hurts my head even trying to comprehend how stupid he must think his customers are. Is he actually trying to say that a quad core 4GHz machine is incapable of running the city simulation, but that a single server splitting its power over hundreds of cities is fine? The server computing power is such a huge limitation that the plots of land have been decimated in size so they dont get too complicated. The server computing power is so limited that they had to double the number of machines just to stay afloat.

If I could just play the game without dicking around syncing to their servers on the net, then I would be a customer right now. Ive bought every previous sim city game and expansion but this is just one step too far.

A beautiful game ruined.


I would guess, from a resources point of view, a high end computer could do it (but, as I said earlier, not a computer on the lower end of the system requirements), however, usage of server-side computing is integrated into the code to the point that it can'be be easily removed.
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Old 03 March 2013   #43
Originally Posted by Meloncov: I would guess, from a resources point of view, a high end computer could do it (but, as I said earlier, not a computer on the lower end of the system requirements), however, usage of server-side computing is integrated into the code to the point that it can'be be easily removed.


From what I have seen I call BS on the high end requirements. I suspect this is simply a way of pushing aggressive DRM onto good paying people.

If that game cant run on modest systems then the developers were either...... a) Forced by EA to implement a cloud system even though they didn't need to or b) The game was developed with sloppy code.

There was no way that SimCity had to have cloud based assistance. Someone wanted this in whether it was needed or not.

The only silver lining I can see is that smaller game studios can take advantage of even more disenfranchised gamers. On Steam, I nearly always buy independent games now. I can get 4 or 5 fantastic games for the price of one full price one. If I do buy a major release title, it is when it is reduced to a less than a tenner.
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Old 03 March 2013   #44
Originally Posted by Meloncov: I would guess, from a resources point of view, a high end computer could do it (but, as I said earlier, not a computer on the lower end of the system requirements), however, usage of server-side computing is integrated into the code to the point that it can'be be easily removed.


Sim City 4 was released over 10 years ago. The game juggled and managed all the same citizens, stores, industrial areas, traffic, trains, buses, happiness, pollution, water, electricity, garbage, crime etc that the new version does.

And it did it in cities 5 x as large
On single core 500MHz cpus
Within 128 megs of RAM
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Old 03 March 2013   #45
Yea I don't buy that CPU limit either. And I'll bet their next response would be "your machine can't handle 1,000 players at the same time like our server does" which is... true.. but BS.
 
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