SimCity DRM, what lessons to be learned?

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  03 March 2013
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Last edited by ragdoll : 09 September 2013 at 05:19 PM.
 
  03 March 2013
Yeah, it looks like EA really shot themselves in the foot over this one, it seems that they still haven't yet sorted out the problems. I'm glad I didn't buy it but it is sad for them, I like many others would have bought the game were it not for this nonsense. Ultimately, they must now have lost more revenue having to pay for servers, maintenance, extra staffing, boycotting customers and now giving a game away for free, than they would have lost to pirating. This surely is a 'New Coke' moment for EA.
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  03 March 2013
Looks like Bradshaw said this when answering another question on twitter: "We have no intention of offlining SimCity any time soon but we'll look into that as part of our earning back your trust efforts." Source



Aside from that, why doesn't everyone put up this much of a fight with games like World of Warcraft? With them, it is all "Shut up and take my money" but Maxis moves SimCity towards an MMO platform and everyone gets pissed off citing DRM. Did they need to put people together in regions? No. They did so because they made the creative decision to and it doesn't come with the $15 a month fee that MMOs traditionally come with initially.
 
  03 March 2013
Because the majority of players see simcity as a single player offline sandbox.
 
  03 March 2013
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by imashination: Sim City 4 was released over 10 years ago. The game juggled and managed all


SC4 didnt run a simulation - it just pulled numbers from it's ass depending on the size of areas and changed vague visual cue's accordingly.

What I think happened was they came up with the idea of doing the new sim city properly, simulating everything - which is a nice idea. Did some tests, decided it's going to work and 'yeah, we'll be able to optimize this later'
Then I think they put a massive amount of work into it, got a few years into development, and slowly realised that actually, it doesn't scale well, and cant be optimized.
So limiting city size, changing the calculation to be server side, making all water & power follow the same paths as people & cars (there is seriously only 1 level of simulation in the new one - everything uses the same set of paths) screams to me a last ditch effort to get the product shippable, rather than hold their hands up and go 'yeah, the engine doesn't work properly at scale, we have to cancel it/do a re-write' a year or whatever from release.
 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Andrewty07: Because the majority of players see simcity as a single player offline sandbox.


Exactly.
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Andrewty07: Because the majority of players see simcity as a single player offline sandbox.
That is something I understand and I agree with but they made the choice just like how the choice was made to make The Old Republic an MMO instead of single player like KOTOR.
 
  03 March 2013
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.

You simply bought into the BS. Absolutely no offense meant with this, you are probably just more trusting than some of us

They -could- almost have made a semi-quasi-plausible case for the networked cities and the data sorting and fetching requiring a centralized database for those functionalities, except they realized those are functionalities nobody gives a flying tit about and such claim would simply would have aggravated further everybody, so they tried to sell people on the idea that you need massive computational power they wouldn't own on their box, and as Mash said, it's drivelly, smokey, fried air BS.

There is not a snowball in a raging hellfire chance that a six years old PC, or even eight years old, would even break a sweat at handling what they are offsetting server side.
On the other hand, it's tricky to deal with hundreds of thousands of those on a relatively small farm, and that showed, and they paid for it.

They F'ed this one up, royally, and I'm (only mildly) pissed I don't get a new SimCity game that doesn't suck several miles of horse penis purely because they're a bunch of misguided, greedy twats.
At least Firaxis and 2K still, routinely, show respect and understanding of the userbase with Civilization.
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by cubiclegangster: SC4 didnt run a simulation - it just pulled numbers from it's ass depending on the size of areas and changed vague visual cue's accordingly.


The power and water is really irrelevant. In SC4, the power lines were just a couple of straight lines for the first 20 minutes of play, as soon as youd laid down the road and zones, the power lines no longer did anything, so losing them was fine, same with the water pipes. Everybody just made a 12x12 grid of pipes to cover the entire map, so thats another pointless thing thats not going to be missed.

Im not sure what youre getting at saying SC4 didnt simulate anything, it just pulled numbers... what makes you say that? The traffic simulation worked perfectly fine, you could screw things royally if you got a one way system wrong, or had too many minor roads merging onto majors in the wrong place. Sure the train stations never really seemed to do anything unless you purposefully cut off all other transport options, but everything has its quirks.

The only thing that wasnt actually simulated was the specific vehicles and people walking around. SC4 just showed general flows of vehicles and people to represent the commutes and congestion, whilst from what I can see in SC5, every person and vehicle is genuinely an actual simulation of an exact commute to work.
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by imashination:
Im not sure what youre getting at saying SC4 didnt simulate anything, it just pulled numbers... what makes you say that? The traffic simulation worked perfectly fine, you could screw things royally if you got a one way system wrong, or had too many minor roads merging onto majors in the wrong place. Sure the train stations never really seemed to do anything unless you purposefully cut off all other transport options, but everything has its quirks.



During development, Sim City 4 was literally run as an excel spreadsheet. The final game obviously added graphics, but the underlying math stayed the same. I wouldn't quite go so far as to say it didn't simulate anything, but its simulations were extremely abstracted and simplified.
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  03 March 2013
Yea, this release looks like a real bummer. I didn't really play SimCity4 much, but I really liked making 3D buildings that could be converted to 2D images and put into the game. Having all the user generated content was a huge part of the last one, and its sad to see that missing in the new one.

-AJ
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  03 March 2013
At it's core, simulation is number spread sheeting. You think computers do anything fancier than numbers? Think again.
 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Panupat: At it's core, simulation is number spread sheeting. You think computers do anything fancier than numbers? Think again.

If simulation was managed the way a spreadsheet is, straight tabling and explicit links, your simulations wouldn't make it past the first frame, ever.
At its core complex simulation is as far from a spreadsheet model as you can possibly get in the realm of numerical abstraction in fact.

And saying computers do nothing fancier than numbers (I imagine based on the notion that the core component remains a binary transistor) flies in the face of the last twelve years of complex instruction sets and decentralization.

Lets not bring computer science oversimplification into this
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Panupat: At it's core, simulation is number spread sheeting. You think computers do anything fancier than numbers? Think again.


Of course they can only deal with numbers, but the latest Sim City is dealing with far too many numbers, interacting in far too many ways, to be practical in Excel. I mean, theoretically, Excel is Turing complete and you could program literally anything in it, but that doesn't mean doing so would make any sense.
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