Maxis: SimCity launch trouble 'almost behind us'

SimCity has almost scrambled back to its feet following the disastrous launch that left players languishing in queues, thanks to a string of updates and new servers. Maxis claimed over the weekend that the "core problem" of being being unable to play is "almost behind us", and that it has "reduced game crashes by 92% from day one." It also dropped teasing, but slightly contradictory, hints that it may consider adding offline support.

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SimCity has almost scrambled back to its feet following the disastrous launch that left players languishing in queues, thanks to a string of updates and new servers. Maxis claimed over the weekend that the "core problem" of being being unable to play is "almost behind us", and that it has "reduced game crashes by 92% from day one." It also dropped teasing, but slightly contradictory, hints that it may consider adding offline support.

"I had hoped to issue an 'All-Clear' tonight, but there are still some elements coming together," Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw wrote yesterday. "Tonight and tomorrow we'll be monitoring each server and gameplay metrics to ensure that the service remains strong and game is playing great. We need a few more days of data before we can assure you that the problem is completely solved and the game is running at 100 percent."

Answering a flood of questions on Twitter, Bradshaw and Maxis hinted at a vague glimmer of hope for an offline mode.

"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," read one tweet on Saturday.

That was made confusing 21 minutes later by another tweet stating, "The game was designed for MP, we sim the entire region on the server so [offline] is just not possible."

It appears that multiple people had their fingers in the Twitter pie, though, so the message may have got a bit confused. And just because it's not currently possible, that doesn't mean it couldn't be with work.

For now, wait and hope. And play SimCity now that people can, because it's quite good. People affected by the launch woes will receive a free game too.

From The Chatty
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    March 11, 2013 8:15 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Maxis: SimCity launch trouble 'almost behind us'.

    SimCity has almost scrambled back to its feet following the disastrous launch that left players languishing in queues, thanks to a string of updates and new servers. Maxis claimed over the weekend that the "core problem" of being being unable to play is "almost behind us", and that it has "reduced game crashes by 92% from day one." It also dropped teasing, but slightly contradictory, hints that it may consider adding offline support.

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      March 11, 2013 8:17 AM

      I wish offline play was added but I doubt it. Really good game though, I just wish there wasn't so much bullshit at launch.

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        March 11, 2013 8:17 AM

        They tweated that the entire simulation is done server side so yeah not going to happen.

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          March 11, 2013 8:32 AM

          wow seriously no wonder they limited the city size... also I bet that is why performance starts to suffer when my population gets kinda high.

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            March 11, 2013 8:33 AM

            I don't believe Chod's information is accurate. Regional trades and synching are done server side, but all of the AI and simulation is done locally.

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              March 11, 2013 8:40 AM

              ahh yah seems just the Region simulation is done server-side. Yah I read the tweet wrong: https://twitter.com/simcity/status/310497022157406209

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                March 11, 2013 8:41 AM

                Doh I read that tweat wrong as well, sorry about that.

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                  March 11, 2013 9:46 AM

                  "We Sim the entire region" actually means "we have a series of bit-flags on the region for your City Hall expansions, and an array per city of what you are exporting and importing."

                  The length of this post is longer than the data needed to "sim" a 3 city region.

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            March 11, 2013 8:38 AM

            I have zero performance issues, and I have everything on high.

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              March 11, 2013 8:40 AM

              Regional simulation is server side, along with (I think) a simple server-wide "global economy". City simulation is done locally, but it isn't multithreaded so the entire simulation loop only runs on a single core.

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            March 11, 2013 2:42 PM

            No, they are limited in space to make a city impossible to be self-sufficient once you reach a certain population. You simply do no have enough space to cover all necessities and reach the top peaks of population without relying on the passive bonuses from neighboring cities.

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          March 11, 2013 8:33 AM

          The region simulation is done server side, there is no way, and it's also easily provable by unplugging your net, that the entire game is server side. It's also written in Java, according to people poking around their servers, which is why I'm assuming offline mode is non-trivial.

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            March 11, 2013 8:35 AM

            Yeah, even if written in the same language, porting the region code from the servers to the client would take real effort. If it's in different languages, it's doubly hard.

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          March 11, 2013 8:41 AM

          That's a straight up lie.

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          March 11, 2013 8:48 AM

          That's pretty much bullshit on their part. If you are simulating even just 10,000 concurrent players you would need a massive amount of computing power to handle it. Assuming each instance was dedicating just a single core to each users simulation you would need about 625 (16 core) servers to handle it.

          I don't have the game, but if you load an instance and then unplug your network cable does the game drop out immediately or does it run just fine for several minutes before timing out? Pretty sure most of the simulation is done client side despite what EA says.

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            March 11, 2013 8:50 AM

            Just saw that its only simulating server side for the region stuff, Nevermind then

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          March 11, 2013 9:56 AM

          No, they tweeted that region interactions are done server side. None of the intra-city stuff (only inter-city stuff) is done server side.

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      March 11, 2013 8:21 AM

      No mention of when Cheetah speed returns?

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        March 11, 2013 9:24 AM

        That caused server problems at launch, so it's behind us.

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        March 11, 2013 10:07 AM

        HEY! Hey. IT'S. BEHIND. US.

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          March 11, 2013 1:16 PM

          If it's behind us, then I'm done with this game. The only tolerable speed is the fastest speed.

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          March 11, 2013 8:50 PM

          hahahaha this and "fuck those losers" will be glorious game memes. as well as "people just dont' want to leave the servers it's so good!!! that's the REAL problem behind the server issues!!!!!!!"

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        March 11, 2013 11:14 AM

        I was using it last night. No idea when it came on.

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          March 11, 2013 11:33 AM

          false. You can click it, but its the same speed as llama.

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            March 11, 2013 11:52 AM

            aha! I had wondered.

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            March 11, 2013 11:57 AM

            The animations and even sound change for some things still (compare the wind farms at 3 different speeds) but the clock / time lapse and simulation is still locked to the second speed (llama) using cheetah.

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              March 11, 2013 12:05 PM

              oshii. the people that thought it was working in our game all had wind farms!

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      March 11, 2013 10:22 AM

      Am I the only one who thinks we're being "catered" to via tweets by some talking head? Shouldn't she already know the capabilities of her companies game, online / offline et al?

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        March 11, 2013 3:29 PM

        Witness the difference between "the truth" and "the truth as EA allows it to be told".

        I assure you, they *could* offline it, they just won't.

        I wish EA could understand simple math... if A = People who bought it regardless of shitty DRM and B = people who won't buy with shitty DRM, clearly A + B is greater than A alone. Of course, publishers worry more about C, people who would never have bought it at all, and that is the problem with DRM.

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          March 11, 2013 4:02 PM

          True that.

          I bought the game for 1499 rupees from abrasion's (?) sim city post yesterday, despite the horribad DRM/always online jib. It's fun when it works and making it offline would be nice, albeit a little tough since you are limited in scope if you aren't trading resources with other people. Still need to try out the MP aspect of the game. I wonder how that would work out if they patched offline in the game.

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          March 11, 2013 7:22 PM

          Your "simple math" is incredibly short sighted.

          There are a ton of people who will buy it despite it being online only. If that number of people greatly outweighs the cost of providing an offline option, or the amount they project they'd lose by not having DRM or whatever, then they made the right choice.

          I assure you if EA thought they would make more money by doing something, they'd do it.

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            March 11, 2013 9:56 PM

            His idea may be short sighted, but you're not exactly making the right comparison either.

            There are two groups whose populations will not change, with or without DRM: people who will (mostly fans of the series) or will not (not fans of this kind of game/can't afford/whatever) buy the game no matter what.

            DRM implementation will affect the purchasing decision of two groups of people: ones who will buy because of DRM (who enjoy the online features/PR advertisement), and ones who will buy because of no DRM (out of "principle"/drawn by "good" PR).

            It's messy trying to include pirates, because then you'll get into the argument of the number of people who never intend to buy in the first place. Either way, the decision to implement DRM depends on the latter collection of groups, not the former.

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      March 11, 2013 10:23 AM

      Is it me or did they get a ton of PR mileage out of screwing up? People are sadly drawn to anything that's getting all this news.

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        March 11, 2013 10:27 AM

        They got Time, the BBC and CNN to cover their massive failure of a launch. That's not as good as one might think as it impacts the shareholders. We won't know until their upcoming fiscal report, but seeing as they have not made any sales announcements, and are instead offering credit, I would say yes they got coverage, but none of it is good.

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        March 11, 2013 10:28 AM

        Bad PR is better than no PR ...

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          March 11, 2013 10:34 AM

          Well considering it's EA, I don't think "no PR" was ever an option. So in that case, bad PR is bad.

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            March 11, 2013 12:40 PM

            Things were bad enough they asked their advertising affiliates to stop advertising the game.

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              March 11, 2013 1:04 PM

              They didn't just ask advertising affiliates to stop promoting the game, they actively disabled those affiliate promotions.

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          March 11, 2013 1:06 PM

          What would you all rather be: SimCity or Sly Cooper?

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            March 11, 2013 1:09 PM

            Haha, poor Sly Cooper. I have no idea why Sony just decided to shit out their last few franchise releases. They did the same thing with All-Stars.

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              March 11, 2013 1:15 PM

              At least they're doing something with God of War...except that the TV ad doesn't show any gameplay.

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        March 11, 2013 2:47 PM

        There was an interesting thing I noticed with the major news reporting of this.

        While most industry hacks understand that Maxis is EA, the mainstream ones don't. A lot of the stuff was written about how Maxis' game was having problems and EA was providing more servers to help lessen the load. It even read like EA were rescuing them in some articles.

        I guess that's one benefit to whoring out development studio names like Bioware, the shit sticks to them rather than the entity that has a stock symbol.

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      March 11, 2013 10:43 AM

      For what its worth, I really enjoy the online play a lot more than I thought I would. Happy they are not giving up on it.

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      March 11, 2013 11:08 AM

      It's funny that EA is getting PR calls from everyone. This morning on my commute to work in the local rock radio station they talked about Simcity 5 how one of the guys couldn't play it over the weekend. Also discussed what EA is doing and how its better now. I thought it was rather funny because they never talk about video games let alone games like sim city. This fiasco has gotten so much attention even outside of gaming.

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        March 11, 2013 12:13 PM

        probably just means its selling like hotcakes

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      March 11, 2013 11:58 AM

      isn't the "core problem" behind the unplayable-ness a "core design feature" that they can't remove? AKA persistent online connection? lol. get rid of that and 95% of the problems would disappear.

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      March 11, 2013 12:44 PM

      sigh. Remember in the good old days you bought a game, played it single player, and then if you wanted to, you "went online" to play other people? And there were few problems with that once most everyone got broadband?

      Yeah, those were the good old days.

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        March 11, 2013 12:58 PM

        Id you don't buy games that require a constant connection, the publishers will quit adding it.

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        March 11, 2013 1:14 PM

        Man, I thought this was a boring gegtik post.

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        March 11, 2013 1:47 PM

        Remember when we used to travel everywhere in horse and buggy and never died in crashes. Man those were the good ol days.

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          March 11, 2013 8:31 PM

          And no car insurance requirements either. If your horse blew up, then tough luck.

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      March 11, 2013 2:39 PM

      The game was designed around multiplayer.


      Here's the thing. It should not have been. Everyone said that this was a bad idea from its first announcement.

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      March 11, 2013 7:21 PM

      Actually, I couldn't be happier. Steam lowered their Tropico4 series by 74% with some simcity failure to launch sale or something. Anyway, by the time I'm finished with this. SimCity will be cheaper and working properly.

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        March 11, 2013 8:35 PM

        OT:

        How is Tropico 4? Is it worth the $9.99?

        How similar or different is it compared to Sim City. (I've never played a Tropico game before.)

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          March 11, 2013 9:25 PM

          Tropico is like what SimCity would be if you were an evil dictator of a third-world country.

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            March 11, 2013 9:28 PM

            It's more like Banana Republic Tycoon than a city simulator.

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          March 11, 2013 9:30 PM

          Not at all similar to Sim City. Very worth $10 though - it's a great game.

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          March 11, 2013 9:38 PM

          Tropico is essentially Sim City (the new one) but more based on scenario objectives.

          You are almost reliant on an external factor (the international factions) for support which you earn by completing quests or building certain improvements. There is confined set of domestic factions (academics, nationalists, environmentalists, capitalists, communists, etc). These people represent the demand of certain things and the overall happiness of the city.

          In many ways, it's easier than Sim City to manage but at the same time there is a lot for you to do. The game however is more balanced for quick scenario solving rather than long persistent living cities. You can keep playing but really there aren't many reasons to keep going after you complete the objectives.

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      March 17, 2013 11:37 AM

      "The game was designed for MP, we sim the entire region on the server so [offline] is just not possible."

      Most retarded thing ever. I have better multiplayer games. I used to go to SimCity when I wanted to just eat biscuits, drink tea and chill the fuck out and not be hasseled by other people.

      Pleased I didn't pre-order and I certainly won't buy it as long as the ONLINE ONLY requirement stays.

      Anno 1408/2070 is just as good anyway.

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