But the nice people at EA said the game needed the server to run because it was so complex? Why would they lie to us?
A server glitch that rendered the latest version of SimCity virtually unplayable mere hours after its launch could have easily been avoided, players say – because contrary to its publisher's claims, the game doesn't actually require network access at all. SimCity fans have been fuming over the outage, leading Amazon to pull …
Even encrypted packets have headers.
It would obviously make it harder to fake a response, but all you've really got to do is set up a route on your PC to a local host for the IP address and have a little app that responds with *exactly* the same packet as that sent back by the EA host (this would require a specific capture for each user of course so that would need to be built in to the app so it also needs at least one successful connection to EA to capture the response).
Nobody is buying SimCity... all they are buying is a license to USE the software. As such, the software publisher can put out whatever turd they like because you, the customer, are not buying the software, merely a license to use it, severely limiting the applicability of various consumer protection measures such as "merchantable quality", "fitness for purpose", "warranty" etc etc.
It beggars belief that the industry still get's away with this. It was perhaps understandable when the industry was in it's infancy, much like the fact that they regulations around car manufacture and advertising (not t mention countless other products) used to be far more relaxed but got tighter and tighter as the need for allowances that the fledgling industries involved needed in order to be able to deliver anything at all became less and less as the industries matured and the consumers became more experienced with the products.
The same sort of change is LONG overdue in the software business. It would not be tolerated - by consumers or the regulatory bodies - in any other consumer product market.
Well, in this case the "regulatory bodies" make this kind of BS possible in the first place.
Do not trust in "regulatory bodies". They are made by people who are influenced by smooth-talking lobbyists. The end result is cartelization, corporatism and waste and only sometimes some useful piece of legislation.
We've been down this road many times:
"Nobody is buying SimCity... all they are buying is a license to USE the software. As such, the software publisher can put out whatever turd they like because you, the customer, are not buying the software, merely a license to use it, severely limiting the applicability of various consumer protection measures such as "merchantable quality", "fitness for purpose", "warranty" etc etc."
If that's what they think they're doing then they are putting themselves under contract law and at that point they're actually more vulnerable to issues of "merchantable quality", "fitness for purpose", "warranty" because those things are all part of the license contract and subject to limitations on fairness of contracts.
That's exactly what I was thinking, surely there has the be a limit on the bullshit EA PR can spin before trading standards should step in. Not sure if misrepresentation of a product in this way is against the law but it should be.
Not sure they will care but this happening so soon after the catastrophe that was the game launch paints them in an even worse light which I didn't think was possible.
They'll hide behind that "you need to be online for other players to be able to import good from your city".
So, you DO need to be online. To play alone. So that other players can pretend they can interact with your city... But you're trying to play single player. But they're interacting with your city.... < go back to the beginning >
EA has been full of shit for some years now. Honestly, I'd personally LOVE to see them hit rock-bottom. Unfortunately, all the wrong they're doing is just because some people give them their money. Who needs a new FIFA every year? or a new Need for speed? What does it have, new models? Or players changed teams? That would be an update, or an add-on, or whatever, but NEVER a new game.
EA has never been about the players, but always about the money.
I'll keep playing my Cities XL OFFLINE , thank you very much.
In fairness, Need for Speed has finally improved recently. They realised what a load of crap the old ones were and handed the series over to Criterion. The latest Most Wanted? From what I've played of it, it's basically Burnout Paradise 2.
For the first time ever, I actually really want a Need for Speed game.
Seriously? Need for speed improved? I asume you havent tried the new Most Wanted. In which you just drive in an annoying way to beat someone else with a car you didnt earn but just found. It was the worst NFS ever, they really should stop making those games.
But back on topic. What did anyone expect? Did you really expect the great city building game they claimed it would be? It is EA, the game company that doesnt do much more than cash out franchises. They ruined pretty much any franchise they own.
The worst part is that EA gets away with it because they are so easily manipulable by PR and cant remember something that happened half a year ago. with the next <fill in a franchise name that isnt ruined, yet> the same will happen. "omg this is going to be the best game ever.", and then at launch "Wheehhhh EA you screwed us over wheehhhh I want my money back." And then EA will laugh at you from their offices replying; "NOPE"
Ah well, I have to admit, EA is making me rich by this, wanted to buy the Mass Effect franchise, NFS Shift, Battlefield but with these jokes I prefer to keep my money in my pockets. It saved me at least €400,- by now.
I really like the look of SimCity and really want to play it. But I don't want my solo gaming sessions to have to coincide with when my internet access is humming along nicely and be at the whim and behest of some server infrastructure that may or may not be maintained in years to come.
So unless EA release a patch that provides offline solo play, I shall not be buying this game. If a version with an offline capability becomes available by (cough) some other means then I might take advantage of that. Whether I then choose to pay EA for their product which is not "fit for purpose" in which they supply it is a decision I shall wrestle with if/when the situation arises.
But if they released an official "offline capable" version, I would be all over this.
Yet another example of a so called "anti-piracy" measure that does not actually prevent piracy but actively ENCOURAGES it !
Actually I was going to buy it till I read about all the issues
Hell the past few months I've spent a nice chunk of change on games that have that online 1 player DRM bull shit, but only time I will pay for it is when it is at vastly reduced prices say like on steam. But still my progress saved to my computer, and not had to reply on EA which my friends lost over 8 hours of game play so far cause their servers said it saved, and went back next day and BOOM no saves...
With the game in the state its in now don't bother. The plots are tiny - some say the size of a medium in SC4 but to me it's smaller than the smallest n SC4. No subways, no els, your city can't have an international airport???, no terraforming, you are stuck with one highway entering the city in one location (ridiculous), one type of bridge, if you demo a road your entire neighborhood goes up in smoke, the list goes on. I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish with this. I was expecting a ramped up version of SC4 with BIGGER plots, more detail, bike lanes, mixed use buildings, light rail etc. HUGE disappointment.
Also, this whole thing about every person and vehicle being simulated - WHO CARES?? It's annoying! You're trying to click on a tiny bus stop and you just keep getting these little idiots 'Came from home'. It's meaningless extra garbage. Don't suffer as I've suffered!! DON'T BUY IT!
I forgave EA over Spore's DRM and was rewarded with a bad game with worse DRM than Spore.
I agree with everything said by HulkySmashy, but there's more issues. The game has extremely atrocious pathfinding issues (a step back from SimCity 4 Rush Hour, which, you know, had this same issue from the original SimCity 4 fixed). That, and that the game is extremely unbalanced. Important buildings cost an unreasonable hunk of money, there is no grid, only guides (which are by no means accurate at all). Also, various logic issues exist- for example, I create one city, and I have the education system running efficiently and all students accounted for. The moment I plop down a college, the system goes haywire and I have students who refuse to go to school even when it's across the road and there's bus stops everywhere. I get complains about low skilled workers in the industrial zones and am advised to build more schools even though my school capacity accommodates more than double the amount of school-eligible sims (and again, the entire residential precinct is covered by school bus stops), And the moment I plop down a recycling center. The garbage trucks seem to go into a protest and refuses to pick up all the garbage.
I admit, there are some good in cloud gaming (for example, I play the game on a laptop in the day and on my gaming desktop at night), and surely the server is needed to route information between players on "public" regions, but it stops there. I honestly believe that they should offer an offline mode that will only allow "private" regions to be selected.
Also, they should offer a snapshot function, if only for private regions. After all, I spend a few days building up my city. Now I want to try out something that may ruin my economy. I should be given the option to save it so I can call it up later. But appatently, EA thinks otherwise!
People need to fight with their dollars against this "tethered" model of software. What if I want to play it on the 10 hour flight to the states, or at my grandmothers house, or during a move before I have "the internet" connected? Requiring the internet is fine, just give my a free box that will provide this "internet" for free everywhere I go if I must be connected to it at all times to make use of the software you sold me, otherwise, no thank you.
I mean sure, hypothetically you could have more processing power "in the cloud", but then the problem becomes bandwidth. What's the use calculating a problem in a second on a server when the data transfer takes a minute?
Besides Sim City probably doesn't need to much CPU power. Sure it's complex with many things to consider, but in the end it's probably no more than many vector operations. Considering that todays computers can easily work with video in real time and even do things like motion estimation with it, a game like Sim City seems perfectly able to run on a normal PC.
Contrast this fiasco with the how minecraft was developed and released.
No big zero day explosion when the servers couldn't cope because minecraft didn't have a sudden release. It was incrementally developed and tested alongside the player community. It even made money during the development cycle by selling testing accounts as people were buying them just to play the features so far.
Surely this is the model for the future for sandbox games like sim city. People are happy to play a stripped down simulator and come back again and again as new features are implemented and released. People will even tolerate bugs if it's known as being beta. This is basically like giving you free but seriously good testing, given the testers are your players, even better they are paying. This model doesn't work for non-replayable games such as linear or heavily story-driven. But it should work for all sandbox games which are designed to be replayed again and again.
The old model of developing a game in secret behind closed doors for years (missing out on a whole bunch of player community feedback and nurturing, and having no idea how popular it will be on release) and then suddenly releasing it to the mercy of the stress on untested servers seems shockingly unnecessary in comparison with the alternative.
...software pirates aren't bad or evil per definition.
Although I also admit that we're dealing with a sort of chicken and egg problem. Without pirating software companies would most likely (though not necessarily) spend less on copyright protection, which would then lead up to less annoyances.
The reason I have my doubts there is because some companies exist solely because of software pirating (think about the companies which invent copyright protection schemes) and although some try to balance between userfriendlyness and security, there are also plenty who focus on security over anything else.
But even so; in a lot of cases you're better off with a pirated version. Personally I think its best to obtain both versions, but that's another topic.
In a lot of DVD movies you can't watch the film until you went through a lot of advertisement or several "copying is illegal" warnings. Didn't I PAY to watch the MOVIE?! The download movie plays instantaneously. Some games require you unlock it through means of a security code. Unfortunately many companies considered it smart to print this code onto the CD package itself. You know; the one which gets stacked with other games, and before you know your code got rubbed off. Nice...
Or what to think about the classic issue of the booklet (which doesn't easily fit) getting lost while you still have the package and CD's? Just too bad that the code you needed was in that booklet; not a smart insert leaf or something.... (though modern games do just that btw).
This is no different.. Now you need to be online to be able to play? Well; the pirates can play no matter what, making it all the more appealing (even for regular customers) to use that version. Because ask yourself this; what happens when the company running the "unlock server" decides that its now time to pull the plug?
"they will probably do that in 10 years or so."
Are you sure about that? Changes are much higher that they'll do that when the amount of players reached a certain threshold. And if you happen to be one of those "die hards" who can actually still enjoy a game even if it is 3 - 4 years old (to name but a "random" period) you're simply out of luck; "Go buy the sequel cheapskate!".
Such a wonderful world...
Ignoring the whole server thing, which is obviously just a bit dumb, a lot of the new innovation just seems like a lot of hype. Having played it a bit the agent's based glassbox engine just seems not fit for purpose.
You have transport units which are moving randomly, rather than based on demand, a traffic system which is prone to deadlock, fire engines which seem unable to find fire, electricity which takes 4 days to cross the city after a brownout, and broken region level play like trading. So it's not even like the "sim" part of the game is right. And _then_ you get stuck with tiny maps, so it's not really "city" either. I guess NotVeryWellSimulatedTown doesn't quite roll of the tongue.
When it works the game is quite enjoyable, but I just can see myself wanting to go back to it after a few weeks (unlike SimCity 4 which I played for years and still enjoy and odd potter on with some of the community mods).
Apparently, the simulation is even dumber than the versions that came before it. A Sim will leave his house in the morning, pick the nearest job that needs a worker, drive down the shortest PATH (without factoring traffic density or road types... so he'll pick the same dirt track everyone else is using rather than the empty superhighway that would have taken 1m extra) to go to work there. When he finishes in the evening, he'll pick the nearest empty house, and move into that one for the night! So realistic... if you lived in a communist commune! The real world just doesn't work like that, which means any attempts to plan your city as you would a real world one utterly fails. Fire engines will all swarm to put out the nearest fire, leaving everything else merrily burning. Wait... don't real life fire brigades have dispatchers, that handle this sort of thing? Garbage trucks will all follow each other, as they've all calculated exactly the same route. It's utter chaos, weepingly naive, and such a waste from developers that have had a decade, and a 50 times Moores-law increase in computing power to utilise since the last SimCity to do things properly.
EA has obviously decided not to do their usual thing where each new game is really the old game with better graphics and an extra feature or two.
This game is now basing the simulation on the EA senior management’s thought processes (or maybe one of their programmers) with the game being informally labelled SimCity 5 - Zombie Apocalypse where you have been cryogenically frozen and awoken 500 years in the future and are the only person with half a brain and need to run the city.
Oh - this game has Zombies already... and a trash eating monster. In fact this game has lots of 'features'.
Unfortunately it lacks any resemblance to reality therefore is not a simulation.
It doesn't allow you to model a city... only a town.
The much touted 'individual Sims' are simply temporary message packets that are generated from one node with a primary task to which it finds the shortest route (even my mother can route better... and she's dead!) and when they arrive they're consumed (that is a nutshell is the much touted 'Glassbox' model); same goes for power, water, fire-engines, s#!t, etc.
Unless in Sandbox mode you're unable to turn off random zombie/monster/meteor disasters...
Where's my old SimCity 4 or 2000?
Yeah, but, you know, that kind of stuff is really complicated to model. There's no way you could do all that on a single PC, what you'd need is some kind of connected model where a server could do all the heavy lifting. That'd solve all the problems, I mean the cloud's the future, right? Especially now everyone's got a permanent, immutable, never suffers from outages internet connection*
*Have I turned up the sarcasm too much again?
Being a developer myself, it's disappointing to see how their opportunity for coming up with engaging and realistic simulatory algorithms has been squandered, in what I can only assume was a crunch-based GET IT WORKING SO WE CAN SHIP edict. So rather than implementing an algorithm that would show some emergent intelligence like:
a) assess the 'danger' level of the fire based on building density (low/medium/high) and size of fire and determine the number of engines required to deal with it
b) pick the nearest unoccupied engine(s) and send them to put out the fire
c) if no nearby engines on the map, pick nearest fire station(s) and scramble them, perhaps round-robin from different stations so each station can continue to provide coverage in their sectors and none is left empty of engines
d) if no unoccupied engines available anywhere, consider breaking apart teams of two or more engines that are currently putting out a fire elsewhere, based on minimal danger/number of engine ratio and distance
They just phoned it in with this brilliantly realistic:
a) SEND EVERY ENGINE TO THE FIRE
b) when it's out send every engine to the next fire
Repeated, of course, throughout every other aspect of the game. Such a waste.
sadly, this is indeed a great example of the sort of problems that could be great for offloading to the cloud during gameplay. Lots of hard graph theory that could benefit from a grunt-ton of computation, but the data transmission requirements aren't a lot, and the latency requirements aren't hard either (hey, maybe your dispatcher takes some time to update optimal fire routes). But what would EA care?
"... this is indeed a great example of the sort of problems that could be great for offloading to the cloud during gameplay."
No, it's really not, not unless the cloud you're speaking of is running on a microwave. That is how bad the A.I. is, better math can be done on a microwave...no joke.
Amaazon restored the Sim City download about two days back now.
Where it stands as No.2 in combined video and PC game hardware and software sales. It's not often you see a PC game top this list.
The Sim City download is No 2 in PC game sales.
The Sim City DLC European city double-pack No, 12 in PC simulation game sales.
EA has 19 games in the top 50 at the time of this posting. [9:45 PM EDT Wed 14 ]
As a big city-builder fan, I purchased the game (tried to refund it, but it shipped before I changed my mind and I'm just going to live with it). I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but it seems a few of the early issues are getting sorted. Having said that, it's a massive fuckup from EA - I reckon a lot of other devs will be looking at this experience and thinking twice about an online-only model, and chances are it's one of the last EA games I'll buy (pretty sure the last one I bought was Sims 2, or something for $5 off steam).
I'd love nothing more than to see EA go down, but it's a shame they swallowed so many teams and well-loved franchises beforehand - becoming "EA-ified" is now one of my greatest fears for any franchise I enjoy. It's like watching a game contract alzheimers, and suddenly think everyone is a 5 year old who can be tricked and lied to.
When I first read about this on another site (the debug mode bypass) my first reaction was... "Oh, shit here comes EA's lawyers trying to track down this guy for 'hacking' their game, etc". I laugh at the absurdity of my own idea yet I could just see a knee jerk reaction at EA causing a PR nightmare to meltdown even further.
Even if you did buy the snake oil about processing things on the cloud how could that ever be construed as a good idea? It *might* make some sense on lower powered portable devices but it still suffers from an unpredictable factor - the users connection. Even without considering outages you still have latency issues. Forcing saves on the cloud is idiotic too. Anytime I see cloud based features I turn them off. I can manage my own storage thank you and if I really care to backup my data offsite I'll pick my own solution.
For the people calling for more liability on the part of software publishers I'm a little worried that might be a double edged sword.. Wouldn't that have implications for the open source world too? Not that a plaintiff would have grounds on the cost of the software, but in maybe in the case that it didn't work as advertised on the website and caused some financial hardship on the user?
reminds me of the sims free play for the tablet's requires an internet connection to play. Unless you log in facebook all data is saved on the tablet. It only checks the internet connection at start to see if there is an update cause I've lost connection (was on a extremely weak hotspot), and was able to play like normal till I accidentally hit the bottom button to pull up a menu, that forces it to check the servers again for an update...
I remember when I had to reset my tablet and lost all my play thinking it saved on their servers seeing that is how they made it look...
I just don't get it. The game has a workable offline mode (minus being able to save), and rather than making a few tweaks to it to allow the game to gracefully degrade to offline play, they stage this PR nightmare instead? Can they really be that stupid? Oh wait, EA. Hm.
It's quite possible that the debug mode skips some aspect of the simulation, or has a simplified model of the game world, that would become obvious in long play. It's isn't necessarily proof of anything.
"I just don't get it. The game has a workable offline mode (minus being able to save),"
Sort of. You appear to be able to build a single city, but not trade with other cities in the region. But then that part seems to be horribly broken. The design appears to encourage specialised cities (small maps help), so figure on a residential city commuting to an industrial one. Nice idea except the residential city ends up with high unemployment and industrial lots of vacancies followed by abandoned businesses. Because you can't save and rollback, if a city goes bust you may have to abandon the region and start again. Especially when shipping cash to try and bail out a city is a tad random.. Or your money wagon gets stuck in traffic thanks to the terrible pathing.
Unless I want to play an MMO game for the social aspects, I want to be able to play something that specifically does NOT need me to be connected to the internet. This week we had the discussion here about how long it takes to get BT to repair phone & internet lines, and how long it takes to get internet access if you move house even if the lines and number are all there (2 weeks, really?) - and at the same time games companies are making on-line mandatory even for single player games.
... and yet balk at spending £1 on a downloaded game for their phones. Support indie gamedevs and kill two birds with one stone - more personal service (as in the developer does actually give a shit what their players think), and send a message to the AAA rip-off merchants.
I hope experiences like this will discourage people from buying games without checking them first.
I stopped pre-ordering and buying games on release day a while back after a number of bad experiences. I now wait at least a month before buying a game so I can check the reviews rolling in and watch gameplay on youtube. If people would actually review the game before purchasing the industry would have to up it's game.
After being voted the Worst Company in America, EA learned nothing and continues to do things the way they always done them. EA rightly deserved the Worst Company in America award for releasing an incomplete game full of DRM that will require many add-ons to be half-way as functional as Simcity 4. I was looking forward to Simcity 5, now I am going to boycott it. And it could have been avoided if EA treated like a customer and released the game with phoning-home DRM and without requiring many expansion packs.
You better believe I am voting EA for Consumerist's 2013 Worst Company in America award and I hope you do too. Maybe winning it two years in a row will teach them; but I seriously doubt it.
Let the down voting commence.....
I actually like the game and find it an accurate simulation of City Hall, not the actual city but the city government. Nothing happens in the expected timeframe and occasionally for no reason at all everything runs smoothly whereas at other times beating your head against a brick wall is more productive.....
When I first received the game I couldn't connect to the servers but waited a few days and now I can plus there is the promise of a free download game, so not so bad.
Disclaimer: I do not work for any of the companies involved.
Go ahead, downvote me for liking it......
(CEO, QueenBee, Queen of Omega......)
I found out that if your internet is not connected (or you have a firewall) Tropico 4 does not need any connection, login or other DRM (except what is "normal" now). It's just they prefer you to register.
Which is at least orders of magnitude better customer service, delivered product and respect than I've seen from EA in 10 years.
There was a time when pirated materials were lower grade and often unusable. I'm thinking pirated VHS tapes (yeah, way back when). Users therefore had the incentive to pay for the same media to get a better quality experience. Why spoil the enjoyment and experience by using a pirated copy with dodgy sound, dodgy video when the original is so much better?
when did we go from that to pirate copies being *better* than originals. what's the incentive to go the legal route when it actively works to hamper your enjoyment?
the industry seriously needs to rethink this. we live in a world where people simply want access to their media. they're happy to pay for it, as long as it just bloody works.
I loved the original simcity games. I'd love to play a new version. I'd pay for a new version. but I won't pay for this offering. It flatly does not work due to bad design. Not to mention that pay-for DLC on a premium price game is just wrong. If it were free to play with pay for add-ons that's an acceptable model. This however is not.
I look forward to a proper working (probably free to play) version coming to a torrent near me soon, if it doesn't, I don't care. I've lived without simcity for 10 years I'm sure I'll survive. Not going to fund EA for shoddy crap.
From a BBC online news item dated 18th March;
"But Ms Bradshaw [Lucy Bradshaw - head of Maxis] said the always-on requirement was "fundamental" to what the company wanted to do with SimCity and it was "designed" with multiplayer in mind."
What about what the customer wants???
Obviously hasn't heard the phrase "The customer is always right".
Who do they think they are, Microsoft??
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