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Thumbs & Ammo

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • March 15, 2013 - 12:19 PM

 

Pants on fire, emergency teams unable to get to the location:

 

In an unsurprising but wholly satisfying twist, it turns out that EA and Maxis were lying about SimCity’s always-online server requirements. According to a developer who worked on SimCity and has very detailed knowledge of the game’s architecture, it would be quite easy to create a single-player version of the game that doesn’t require EA’s draconian always-on DRM.

Yes, I know, it’s the same site I decided would be regarded as suspicious because they ran a headline about life MOST CERTAINLY coming from asteroids. But I’ve read this on other sites to which I dasn’t link. Too much cursing. Gleeful cursing, though. People want to see EA burn for this. Burn!

It’s not just the DRM issue - someone posted a video to YouTube showing how you can play off-line, and connect highways outside of your city zone which also appear to be saved between plays, and -

Hold on! Come back! Please! This matters, in an insignificant way that affects a lot of people doing something you don’t care about. Unless the video is faked, then it seems as if certain features are built into the program, and will be unlocked in the future. 

As in “IKEA furniture Expansion Pack for Sims 3.” Everyone expects EA will sell us the features the game should have, but doesn’t. Larger maps. Subways. Different buildings. That will keep the game fresh for a few years and ensure an income stream. A business decision that looked great on paper. Worked with the Sims, after all.

But the reviews hae a common theme, aside from the DRM issue: it’s a sixty-buck program with lackluster game play. Let’s return to the Amazon reviews, which have grown to 2,000+ furious screeds.

Guess what? If you'd love to experience the nonstop thrills and excitement of SimCity, then please remove $60 from your bank and promptly pay someone to kick you repeatedly in the friggin' mouth.

 

The AI is broken such that you cannot get the city much over 200,000 people without the entire city falling apart due to the poor traffic AI that apparently uses Shortest Path First routing which causes total gridlock. The AI's ability to poorly coordinate your emergency services cannot be understated, it's nearly impossible to put out more than one fire at a time for example.

I’m hearing that last one a lot. Cars never take the sensible route, they take the shortest route - even if it’s backed up for blocks. Fire trucks just drive around aimlessly instead of going to the fire. You’d think this would be something they noted in beta testing.

”Say, I’ve noticed that the police never respond to 911 calls by going to the house; they drive across town then go around a traffic circle for 30 minutes. Should we fix that before release?” 

(pause) (mad laughter)

”Nah, didn’t think so. Put it on the list for the first patch.”

This matters because SimCity was a much-beloved game that provided endless hours of tinkering, and all reports indicate that they ruined it, utterly and beyond hope of repair. But hey. Curved streets.

That said, I’ve ordered it. I pre-ordered before the disastrous launch, and I await the Mac version. A full and fair review when I get it. Providing I can play it, of course.

 

WEB Thumbs & Ammo is a blog devoted to replacing guns in movies with thumbs-up gestures. As in:

 

 

 

 

MOVIES I think there are about 25,396 people in the entire United States who appreciate Alan Partridge. Maybe more. There are at least three at the Strib. A teaser for the upcoming movie:

 

 

TECH This will actually exist, soon. Tired of looking foolish holding up an iPad to take a picture? 

Now you can look foolish with this.

 

 

 

 

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