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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Well mandatory on line play? This just dropped from must have to wont get.

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:01 pm 
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Yup. Internet connection required is a good way to save this guy some money.

http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged-in ... 05322.html

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:44 am 
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Exactly.

I even had it preordered already, and canceled in protest along with many others.

The funny part is that all the launch problems and bad reviews they are getting now are directly based on that online requirement not working.

The online element IS cool. We could all start cities in the same region, and work together to share resources and things, and it's a neat idea that I want to use. But not having the ability to go into an offline mode and play kills my interest, since 90% of the time I want to play the game is when I am away from Internet connections!


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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:25 am 
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I'll still buy it, once things settle down.

Besides, I'm always on the internet anyway for web surfing and playing other games so that doesn't make a difference. How many of us at work are logged in all day? At home if it's not Warcraft, it's Steam, it's Netflix, or YouTube, or banking, or email.

We are always on! And it's only going to be more and more. Unless you're like SB that can't get a connection, it's not even an issue.

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:45 am 
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I should say: It's not even an issue, unless their servers are shit. Hahahahha

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:26 am 
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Here is an interesting article about a guy who was able to get Simcity to play (mostly) offline. It appears that the servers actually do very little.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03 ... sily-done/

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:57 pm 
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I hope they feel the pressure and make some changes.

I don't have a problem loading a hack or something to get it working, but I hope that bad sales numbers will force them to take action, so I am still hanging on to my money for now.


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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:17 pm 
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I actually like the idea of being able to play with multiple cities and friends as coop / competing mayors. But to make on-line required it lame. At least then just use Steam.

It makes no sense to make that a requirement. I don't get it. If I really longed for player interaction the last thing I would grab is a Sim City game. Sometimes being able to play with friends in a game like that is cool, but CIV still isn't dead yet so even when I feel like interacting with citys Sim City wouldn't be the first thing I grab either. Its a lose-lose.

But when I feel like sitting by myself glued to the screen micromanaging tons of little things, Sim City is the first thing I grab....

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:16 pm 
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About a week ago, the prices of this game have already been cut. It's now around $40 ($20 less).
Here is a good review on the current state of the game.

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/game ... 2gv83.html

Quote:
I have a love/hate relationship with the new SimCity. In many ways it is a masterpiece of modern gaming technology, and I find it extraordinarily addictive. In other ways, it is a horribly broken piece of garbage and I hate it.

I realise these two attitudes may seem irredeemably contradictory, so allow me to run through some of the pros and cons of this vastly entertaining train wreck of a game.

Pro: The simulation is incredibly detailed

I have created more virtual cities than I can count in the weeks since SimCity was released, and every time I start a new one I still smile at the little construction vehicles and moving vans that swarm into every new residential neighborhood.

The virtual lives going on right there on screen in SimCity are engaging and impressive. Zoom right in and you can follow a single person leaving her house at 7am, getting into the car in her driveway, driving to the bus terminal and parking her car, and then riding the bus to the nearest stop to where she works and walking the last half a block to her workplace.

Very little of what goes on in SimCity is simply numbers being crunched behind the scenes. Traffic jams don't pop magically into existence because the numbers say that a road is too busy; they happen because the number of vehicles driving along a particular stretch of road has exceeded its traffic capacity.

It's all completely organic - each of those vehicles is traveling from one specific place to another - so this allows you to predict where problems will occur. In a low-skilled industrial town, you need a big traffic pipeline between your low income residential areas and your industrial zones, because that is where the bulk of the traffic flow will be. If you have tourist attractions, you had better make sure you have high capacity streets around them, or you'll be choked with tourist vehicles, especially the taxis coming from your local airport.

Con: The simulation is incredibly broken

There is just one small problem with this organic simulation: it is a lie. Even though you can click on a virtual citizen and follow her throughout her day, and even though she has a name, an education level, a wealth level, and an individual happiness level, she is not a true individual.

That simulated person does not have a home or a job, you see. In the morning, she will leave home and head toward the nearest business that has a job vacant. If the job is filled before she arrives, she will change course and head toward the next closest job. In this way, she can go around in circles, heading for jobs that are always taken before she can claim them.

After work, she will head to the nearest vacant house, regardless of where she "lived" the night before. Once again, if she gets stuck in traffic and the neighborhood she was planning to "go home" to fills up, she will pull a quick U-turn and head to the next nearest residential area with a vacant home in it.

This same problem affects every kind of travel in the game. I once zoomed right in and watched my expo center after a big rock concert finished. A horde of tiny people left the venue and entered the carpark, and headed toward the nearest car together. They all moved down the row of cars, each vehicle driving away in turn. When that row was done, the entire mob then headed toward the top of the next row of cars. This kept going until the carpark was empty, and then 2,000 virtual people walked, like a swarm of ants, to the nearest bus stop. Let me just stress that point: not a single person walked to the bus stop until the carpark was empty.

As you might imagine, this turns all of the simulated movements of people into complete nonsense. How can you plan your traffic when many of your commuters will perpetually criss-cross the city, never quite arriving at work and then never quite making it home.

Even worse, everything uses the same terrible pathfinding, including the power grid and the sewage disposal system. It's a very strange thing to open the sewage information layer and watch a brown blob that represents a unit of untreated sewage do laps of your city because it can't find its way to the treatment plant.

Pro: You have endless options for city design

My favorite project was a co-operative multiplayer region that I put together with my housemate Scott. We worked together to make specialized industrial centers with heaps of jobs, shopping and tourism meccas, an even a town that delivered education for the entire region, from primary school right up to university.

The industrial town was the most fun. It had a huge oil deposit right in the middle, so I borrowed a heap of cash from the bank and set up a complex array of oil pumps. Over many in-game months, I built a trade port where oil could be loaded onto huge tankers, and even invested a huge amount of money in building a refinery and exporting fuel and plastics to the world.

The strangest city I made had no industrial zoning at all, just homes, shopping, and tourism, as well as a huge entertainment centre. I found that I could make a fortune by staging a rock concert every night, which would bring in thousands of tourists. They in turn would stay in hotels, visit my tourist attractions, and buy things from local shops. It was so profitable that the entire city started to run on a cyclical 24-hour rock concert based economy.

Con: Most city design options are unviable, and nothing is viable long-term

The main limitation that every city eventually runs into is that the maps are just too damned small. If your bustling mini-metropolis gets busy enough to require its own airport, you have better have planned for it and saved space, or else you will have to prepared to bulldoze dozens of homes or businesses.

Developer Maxis has said that the pokey little maps were necessary to ensure that the game would run smoothly, but the fact is that they are just too small. Every city I ever built I eventually had to abandon because there was no more space. You can build the biggest sewage treatment plant the game will allow, but a large city will still need more. Problem is, by that stage in the game there is nowhere to put a second plant down. The same thing happens with drinking water, power generation, garbage disposal, and so on.

It's particularly galling when you are desperate for more room, and you can see lots of empty land on the other side of the dotted line that marks the boundary of your city.

Worse than this, though, many cities are just impossible to even get started. In my complex region with many cities, I tried to make a grubby little service city. It would generate power, run a huge garbage dump and recycling center, operate a couple of big sewage treatment plants, and so on. It would then sell all of these services to its neighboring cities and make a profit.

The only problem with this brilliant plan was that it didn't work. The city (I named it Dumpster) was selling its entire capacity of electricity, sewage treatment, garbage collection, and drinking water, and it was hemorrhaging money. My other, more profitable cities had to keep sending it large cash donations to keep it in the black. (Oh, and thanks to network errors, several of those cash gifts simply vanished.)

Herein lies one of the game's most fundamental problems: there is really only one sure way to make regular money, and that is to have a huge number of residents. You may want to have a bustling university town that has only a small number of houses for locals to live in while the students come in from other cities, but you will go broke if you try it.

Con: Your virtual citizens are stupid

There is something terribly wrong with an urban simulator when you can click on one house in a street and be told that the residents are happy because "there are great places to shop!" and then see that their next door neighbor is miserable because "where's the shopping in this town?"

The wrongness is raised to an absurd degree when you notice that both homes are across the road from a shopping strip. It's even better when residents in one area are complaining about a lack of shopping, and the commercial district right next door is complaining that they don't have any customers.

This kind of stupidity abounds in the behavior of your virtual citizens, especially when it comes to the things that make them happy or sad. I once built a bustling industrial center and built a huge trading port for them to export their goods. They had the opportunity to ship out their products via rail, sea, road, or even plane.

Periodically I would check the happiness map and find that one factory would be complaining because "there's nowhere to ship our freight to!" I would then check that factory's neighbors, and they would both have super-high happiness, reporting that "freight shipments are making huge profits!"

Con: Everything else

Here is where my planned pro/con pattern breaks down, because I simply can't think of any more pros but I still have a dozen cons to go. SimCity feels like an astonishingly good prototype that someone accidentally put in a box and sold to the public. This is not a finished game.

I want so much to love it, and I do love many aspects of it, but there are just too many issues that spoil the experience. For example, every city ends up with an unsolvable traffic problem, and the traffic destroys the entire city.

Because the pathfinding is so bad, and because you can only ever have one connection to the freeway, any decent-sized city will have constant traffic jams. Emergency vehicles are too stupid to get around the traffic, so they just sit there while patients die and houses burn down. I have watched entire residential neighborhoods burn down over many hours while eight fire trucks sit immobile in traffic, just a few blocks away.

This never-ending gridlock will prevent your factories from delivering freight, students from getting to your schools, police cars from pursuing criminals, tanker trucks from delivering oil to your trade port, garbage trucks from emptying your residents' bins, and so on, endlessly.

There is the kernel of an absolutely wonderful game here, but to make it genuinely good, there are many things that need fixing. To finish up, here is my wishlist.

Ten things that would stop SimCity from being terrible

1) Smarter pathfinding: When vehicles will sit in a traffic jam along the shortest route between work and home when a very slightly longer route is free of cars, your pathfinding is simply broken. The bulk of the game's problems come from this.

2) Bigger cities: Almost every problem that occurs late in the game is the result of the tiny, tiny maps. You can't add a new power station or airport to the outskirts of your city, because there are no outskirts. it also means that everything - homes, shops, factories, and nuclear power plants - are pushed up together, because there is no room to space them out.

3) Car-free options: If you want to set up a central commercial district that is car-free, ringed with parking but with pedestrian-only access inside, then you're out of luck. Everything in SimCity is road-based, and cars simply cannot be eliminated from the game, regardless of how extensive your public transport is.

4) Subways: Speaking of public transport, all of it is above-ground. Subways have existed in the SimCity series for almost two decades, but not in the new version. Even the above-ground trains are broken; you can tap into the regional rail network and put in some stations for passengers and freight, but you can't buy your own trains so you have to rely on the random ones that turn up.

5) More freeway links: The first thing you do with any new city is put in a road that links to the regional freeway. This is your city's only link to the regional road network, and it quickly becomes a hotspot for traffic jams. You could alleviate this by putting in multiple freeway access points, except you're not allowed to. It's a genuinely baffling design decision.

6) Smarter simulation: If people living across the road from shops are complaining about the lack of shopping, your simulation is broken. If you can crank up the tax rate seconds before taxes are collected and then drop it again before people get a chance to become unhappy, then your simulation is broken. Maxis, please write a better simulation.

7) Simulate real individuals: This might be a big call, and will probably have to wait until SimCity 2015 (assuming there ever is one), but I want my virtual people to have set homes and set jobs. As long as they are wandering aimlessly, looking for the nearest job or house, the traffic flow simulation will always be broken.

8 Smarter warnings: Only getting a warning that you need to generate or buy more electricity when you are already out of power and suffering brown-outs is just not good enough. I want to be warned when power is running low, not when it's already run out. They need to be more sensitive, and better yet be customizable.

9) Make disasters optional: I am playing a city-building simulation, not a Godzilla simulation. A particularly badly-timed earthquake or giant monster attack can completely ruin your city, and having a random event force you to start a whole new game is simply not fun. Please let me switch them off.

10) Fix those servers: If you're going to fight piracy by forcing everyone to always be online, make sure your network hardware is up to the task. Weeks after launch I am still occasionally losing progress when my city fails to synch with the servers, and city load times are ridiculously long.

Over to you, readers. What are your loves and hates about the new SimCity?

- James "DexX" Dominguez




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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:19 pm 
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Hey, even though it was "impossible" they're going to allow you to play offline.

http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/artic ... +is+Coming

I've been tuning into the SimCity message boards now and again (always hoping for good news (that and Diablo 3)) and I have to say, there is still tons of hate - even after 9 updates so far.

Some people really like the game, so I'm not sure if the hatred is because there's a general bitterness because the city sizes are so small and the completely horrendous release; a bunch of little bugs; people not understanding how the game works (bad placement, expectations) so they think it's broken; or maybe the simulation really is crap. Without playing it, it's really hard to tell. Probably a combination. Lartarin needs to jump in and give a State of SimCity update.

I think at least some of the bugs have to do with the online mode and synching issues. Maybe the offline mode will clear some things up.

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:38 pm 
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I got that email too. It's about damn time, if they roll out bigger maps too, then 90% of all complaints would go away.

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:31 pm 
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The game says I've played for 24 hours total and the majority of that was the first couple weeks of launch. I've been watching the updates, but I really haven't had much interest to go back to it. When it worked, it was fun. Unfortunately most of the time it didn't work. They did give me a free game... Battlefield something or other. I haven't played that either.

As for the #1 complaint of city sizes, they did comment on it a month or 2 ago.

Quote:
City sizes have been a constant point of conversation among our players since we released the game. The game’s original design focused on the density of an intimate urban environment. It was about intercity connectivity and the challenge of managing a region of cities instead of one metropolis in isolation. However, we recognize that many players have expressed the desire to build up one big city rather than manage the interrelationship of multiple smaller cities.

We’ve put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space.

After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn’t be able to load, much less play with bigger cities. We’ve tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn’t achieve it within the confines of the engine. We’ve chosen to cease work on bigger city sizes and put that effort into continuing to evolve the core game and explore an offline mode. Some of the experiments we conducted to improve performance on bigger cities will be rolled into future updates to improve overall game performance.


They did release an expansion already, but I have no idea what that adds. At this point I would just tell you to play SimCity 4 instead.


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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:12 pm 
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Lartarin wrote:
T

They did release an expansion already, but I have no idea what that adds. At this point I would just tell you to play SimCity 4 instead.


--Matt


Which I finally bought on Steam for $4 during the holiday sale. So I've got that going for me!

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 10:15 am 
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Has anyone played it offline? Has that corrected any problems? I read that another patch is going to drop soon.

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:31 pm 
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Well, with EA shutting down the Maxis studio, we can assume that this game is now officially dead. You may want to check out the new "Cities Skylines". I've seen a lot of good reviews. Apparently it is a lot of what SimCity should have been.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/255710/



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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:56 pm 
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Funny you mention that... I just added Cities Skyline to my Steam wishlist yesterday to wait for the next sale price...

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Did not even know this. Oh well. Every once in a while I check out the SimCity site just to see if anything new is going on and nothing ever is except people bitching about the game. I really was hoping they'd get it fixed up because I wanted to give it a go, it looks so beautiful. Instead they tried to let the community fix it with add-ons; some of which they helped develop. But that only works for games that have a solid core to begin with. You can't really fix a game by letting the community MOD stuff.

Skylines looks good with many positive reviews... but I'll still wait for a patch or two.

"A handful of flaws, but this fun and addictive city-builder still climbs high."

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 Post subject: Re: SimCity
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:19 pm 
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So a couple of patches into skyline with some content in the pipe. Has anyone played it yet? Might pull the trigger on it.

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