Simcity Burns

Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Angharrad » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:59 pm

I like playing SIms, but no babies. I like the cheats so I don't have to work for my money.

I also like SimCity, especially building cities and then destroying them.
“You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore.”

And then Buffy staked Edward. The End.


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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tyyr » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:16 pm

The size of the "cities" is just ridiculous in SC5. They're absolutely tiny.

We've also reached the point where the initial hatred is waning and the apologists are starting to emerge.

"You just don't want to optimize your city."
Umm, what? This by the way was said to a guy who just wanted to create a small stable town and was complaining that traffic coming in from the region was wrecking his roads. A valid complaint to be sure as ALL regional traffic will enter your city from ONE point which can mean hundreds or thousands of cars originating at one point. The only solutions for it I have seen are ridiclous like isolating the road and running it to the center of the city and then branching out. And further more when has Sim City ever been about optimizing anything? The entire point of the game has always been doing what you wanted to do with it and not about optimizing everything.

"You just need to learn to lay your roads better."
This said to a guy who was complaining about the traffic stalling out in his city. Mind you it was stalled out because one car wanted to turn left from the right hand side of a 4 lane road. He proceeded to make a REAL LIFE 3 hour traffic jam. Honestly "optimized" SC5 roads are ridiculous as you have to minimize intersections lest your sim drivers completely lose their shit and create unending traffic snarls. So you wind up with long serpentine roads to try and minimize intersections. "Simulation" my ass.

"It's realistic to respond with more than one fire engine to a fire."
Maybe, but not when there are fifteen trucks at one fire while the other four rage uncontrolled. Every fire truck in the city doesn't respond to one fire. They respond with enough trucks to keep it under control and be ready to respond to other fires. SC5 just sends every fire truck to the same fire. However even in emergencies they obey the traffic laws and can get all caught in a traffic back up letting your city burn. That's if they can get to the fire as having ten trucks all going to the same place can make it's own traffic jam. Garbage trucks do the same thing to, when you first load your city EVERY truck will go to the same place. They only start to fan out as the first trucks in the conga line have to fill up and go back to the dump.

"Just reload the game and it'll fix itself."
Yeah, lets just quit SC5 and pray you don't lose your entire city to a server hiccup and that you can actually get back in. Never mind that this shouldn't be needed. Pedestrians getting stuck in cross walks and going back and forth in endless loops shutting down roads. Same thing with cars like the 3 hour jam above. The game should be able to detect when the same person has been in a cross walk for the last hour and teleport them away to clear the issue up, same with cars. This isn't realistic, it's a fucking bug.

"Small towns make you specialize more and work with your neighbors."
Fuck my neighbors. What if the guy next to me is a troll, or an idiot, or just has totaly incompatible goals? Then what? I don't have enough land to do it all and grow much so am I stuck with a dead ended city?

And on, and on, and on. Much of this isn't even personal opinion, many of these issues getting whitewashed are flat out game breaking bugs and they happen far too often to have been missed before release. So the next asshole who tells me Maxis cares about this game. No they didn't. This thing is bugged to hell and back and they knew it BEFORE they released it.

And seriously, who decided to model traffic by actually having little cars driving around everywhere? SC4 had cars on the roads but they were abstract visualizations of how busy a road was, not the actual traffic simulation. What has this added to the game except the ability to kill a city because a guy wants to make a left hand turn?
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tyyr » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:51 pm

To further add to the list of shit that doesn't work, as it turns out everything is agent based. What does this mean?

Ok, you've put in a powerplant. This power plant puts out X number of agents. The number doesn't really matter. These agents radiate out from the power plant, at each building they come to they see if its powered or not. If it is then they move on, if it's not then they power it if there's still surplus power, then it moves on. They move randomly at each new building, going N,S,E, or W just for the hell of it. This continues until all the avialable power is used up. The problem? The agents don't always find all your buildings and the process can take a while. There are reports of people with 50MW of spare power and unlit buildings because for whatever reason the agents didn't find them. Water operates the same way and has the same problem, lots of excess, and some buildings without water.

Because of who well this system works, they use it for everything else. In the morning the game creates X number of agents at a house. We'll say they're a nice nuclear family with Mom, Dad, and two kids. Dad goes out looking for a job. Any job. Every day the father's agent goes out looking for the nearest job for him to fill and it fills the closest job that's available. There are no long term jobs, no actual persistant simulation of him, he will randomly fill the first job he finds every time. Want to guess what Daddy sim does when it's time to come home? His agents randomly seeks out the nearest unused population slot in a residential building... and takes it. That's right, Daddy sim just abandoned his family but it's ok because his kids do too. In the morning their agent looks for a bus stop, any stop, and goes to the first one they can find. They get on a bus which is driven with the same system, go to the nearest full stop and pick people up. Doesn't matter the age of the kids. Once it's full it goes to the nearest school with open seats and drops its load... and stays. That means SimSusie and SimBilly might be attending elementary school today but could be at city college tomorrow while their neighbors stand on the street corner all day wondering where the hell that bus. Don't worry though, just like Daddy they will randomly return to the first open house.

Mommy sim? Well she wanted to go the park, and there's one close by so she'll walk. Fair enough... except the park is now full. Mommy Sim really wants to go to a park but the next closest one is on the other side of town so she talks off walking. Yeah, walking. You see she spawned as a walker and she will not change mode of transportation at all even when hitting a new destination. She'll stay a walker even if she will time out on the trip to her new destination. This goes for everyone and it's why mass transit fails so much. Unless you slam down bus stops and train stations EVERYWHERE to ensure that they are always picked first for every trip so the sims will keep using them as their initial destination bombs. Needless to say, Mommy sim goes to a random house herself at the end of the night.

This is not a simulation. SC4 managed to keep track of residents per house. They had where they worked, where they shopped, and where they went to school. In 2003 they had a better system of doing this so don't tell me it would be too hard, SC4 did it ten years ago.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Teaos » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:37 pm

Wow that agent system is just weird, what possible reason is their for that? It adds nothing and I cant imagin it was easy to do.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tyyr » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:00 pm

Actually it's incredibly easy. Each agent just either randomly wanders the city (utilities, public transport, etc) or just goes directly towards the nearest X with X being park, job, house, whatever. You don't have to track even the slimmest of variables. Each building just generates an appropriate number of agents at a certain time and send them on their way. It eliminates a huge amount of variables to track as Sims have no permanent jobs, homes, relationships, anything. They don't make weighted decision, prioritize, or delegate. They don't recalculate how they travel when destinations change, they don't think about optimizing pathes. Just go directly to the nearest whatever then bounce to the next one till they either succeed or give up. They are literally just mindless agents wandering the city.

Also, your population number? Bullshit. Your population is only about 10% of the displayed number. Rather than "simulate" anything the game just starts adding multipliers to agents. So now instead of sending out 100 agents this building only sends out ten and counts each of them ten times. Real population maxes out somewhere around 10 to 20,000 sims. Everything after that is just a multiplier.


So to review the highlights:

DRM is constant so you can't play offline.
The Servers controling the DRM are buggy at best, malicious at worst.
Glassbox is bullshit and just trying to justify always on DRM, there are no significant calcs done server side.
The cities are microscopic, 1/10th the size of a SC4 map.
The game is bugged to hell and back.
There is no actual simulation of anything.

The only thing this game has going for it is its pretty.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Teaos » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:35 pm

People care less and less about pretty these days, case in point - the Wii. Better to be innovative and fun than pretty.

They need to get these buzz words like social play and piracy out of their system.

I would love to know what the executives are thinking of this mess now.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tyyr » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:05 pm

"HAHA! Too late, got your money bitches!" -EA Execs

They made it through the 1 week mark in damage control mode. Combined with their free game (which is timed so that if you wait it out you'll exceed the EU's 14 day return window) the odds are good that they won't see many more returns but they also won't see many more purchases. The vast majority of game purchases are in the first week of release. So now that just how awful this game is is coming out its past the point they really care about anyways. Most of the hardcore Maxis fans have already bought it as have the casuals. People like me were never going to buy the game since by the time I'd reach a purchase decision news of how shit the game engine is would be out. So they did what EA always does, maximize the short term gain even if it destroys the studio.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tyyr » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:49 pm

SC5 is the abortion that just keeps on giving.

Industrial zones are completely optional. You can create a functional, thriving metropolis without any industrial zones, ever. This is not a region play thing, even if you're in a region all by yourself you don't have to build industry, at any point. People have 200k plus populations without ever zoning even a single tile of industry.

Parks are actually commercial zones. Yes, that's right, rather than create a desire to experience the great out doors in order to keep things simple the developers just made parks commercial zones, and sims will go to them trying to fill their "jobs" the downside? All parks create three jobs no matter the size or wealth so some low wealth tiny park creates three jobs the same way your concert amphitheater does. Which leads too...

The suburban city. A city that is entirely residential zones and parks. There are several examples up on Reddit where people have totally forgone anything but residential zones and parks and things work just fine. The upside, they have no real traffic issues but emergency services are still shit.

The "optimized" city is starting to emerge. It's a single snaking large avenue that runs serpentine across the map. This lowers traffic as there are no intersections which is where the sim tends to lose it's shit. Public transit works because again, no intersections. The downside is that basic services are still broke as everyone runs to one fire, or one crime or one bit of trash ignoring all others but then you're city was likely to die to an unresponded to fire or garbage truck apocalypse eventually anyways so just roll with it.

Oh, and there are two sizes for cities depending on how you like to measure. Based off the size of cars the maps are a whopping 0.5km square for a total of 0.25 square kilometers of play area. Going off the buildings the size appears to be more like 1mi square. Either way, they're fucking microscopic next to SC4 maps. Then again given the agent system you have to play on a tiny map for it to even "work" at all. If you tried to play this on a SC4 sized map the game would shit the bed right out of the starting gate so anyone hoping for larger maps, don't. You won't like what happens.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tsukiyumi » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:10 pm

What the hell happened here? Sim City is one of my favorite franchises of all time, and it seems like they just got a bunch of random grad school programmers to make something called Sim City. They should've called it Sim Sim City, because it's just a game pretending to be a Sim game. Seriously, it's a simulation of a simulation game.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Tyyr » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:18 pm

I no longer have any respect for Maxis.

It's obvious at this point that the 1 hour "Beta"s were just to prevent anyone from being able to spend enough time working with the game to realize just how fucked it was. It certainly wasn't for stress testing as we know Glassbox sends no more data back to the servers than any other online game, possibly less. Not to mention the server bullshit that happened in spite of "stress testing."

They knew this game was shit, and they've known it was shit/was going to be shit for a long time. In spite of that they got up and lied to our faces. They lied about Glassbox, they lied about simulating the lives of sims, and they lied about this being SimCity. Hell, they lied about the game being ready to go.

I know the arguement can be made that they are employees and aren't allowed to deviate from the company line when it comes to talking to the consumers but this goes beyond marketing spin. This game is crap by any standard. We've reached the point where this game is objectively bad. There's no more need to claim its an opinon. It's a fact that this game is shit. They knew it, they still lied to us. This is going beyond marketing bullshit into outright fraud.

What happened is that EA doesn't give a shit. They saw an opportunity to make a quick buck and they took it. They managed to keep pulling everyone along so that they could get through the first week, make most of their money and then whatever. Hell, when was the last time Maxis put out a statement about this? They were talking big during the first week about getting things fixed now Glassbox is a proven lie. The simulation is proven to be non-existant, and traffic management (the heart of SimCity) is utterly broken. They aren't saying anything. I'd like to think it's just good old fashioned shame. Probably just EA telling them to stop appeasing the sheep.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Teaos » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:03 pm

You think they will patch in fixes or just cut and run?
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Teaos » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:00 pm

Link

I hate to disturb you when you’re playing SimCity, but I’d like to offer some straight answers on the topic: Always-Connected and why SimCity is not an offline experience.

Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world.

We put a ton of effort into making our simulation and graphics engines more detailed than ever and to give players lively and responsive cities. We also made innovative use of servers to move aspects of the simulation into the cloud to support region play and social features. Here’s just a few:

We keep the simulation state of the region up to date for all players. Even when playing solo, this keeps the interactions between cities up to date in a shared view of the world.
Players who want to reach the peak of each specialization can count on surrounding cities to provide services or resources, even workers. As other players build, your city can draw on their resources.
Our Great Works rely on contributions from multiple cities in a region. Connected services keep each player’s contributions updated and the progression on Great Works moving ahead.
All of our social world features - world challenges, world events, world leaderboards and world achievements - use our servers to update the status of all cities.
Our servers handle gifts between players.
We’ve created a dynamic supply and demand model for trading by keeping a Global Market updated with changing demands on key resources.
We update each city’s visual representation as well. If you visit another player’s city, you’ll see the most up to date visual status.
We even check to make sure that all the cities saved are legit, so that the region play, leaderboards, challenges and achievements rewards and status have integrity.
Cloud-based saves and easy access from any computer are another advantage of our connected features. You can pop from work to home, play the game and have your cities available to you anywhere.

Almost all of our players play with connected cities. But some chose to play alone – running the cities themselves. But whether they play solo or multiplayer, they are drawn to the connected city experience. And Always-Connected provides a platform for future social features that will play out over regions and servers.

The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO.

So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision. We did not focus on the “single city in isolation” that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that. But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.

So I’ll finish with another HUGE thanks to everyone who stuck with us through this launch. Hundreds of thousands are building and sharing cities online now. And what you’re creating just blows us away. SimCity is a special game, with a very special community of players, and we’re proud to be a part of it.


Read the comments, it awesome. Also the very first comment ragggin on the BS has 300 thumbs up and 3 thumbs down :laughroll:
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby stitch626 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:25 pm

Man, nice read.

Its really sad, SIM City 4 had more advanced everything except effects.
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Re: Simcity Burns

Postby Nutso » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:36 am

I hate to disturb you when you’re playing SimCity,
The condescension and arrogance of that phrase had me thinking this was an obvious Onion article. Boy is my face red. :oops:
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