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Hacker Skips SimCity Full-Time Network Requirement

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the expected-lies-and-got-some dept.

DRM 303

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Geek.com: "Ever since SimCity launched, there has been a suspicion that the need for the game to always be connected to a server was mainly a form of DRM, not for social game features and multiplayer. Then a Maxis developer came forward to confirm the game doesn't actually need a server to function, suggesting the information coming out of EA wasn't the whole truth. Now EA and Maxis have some explaining to do as a modder has managed to get the game running offline indefinitely." The writer names a few small ways in which the game is actually improved by being offline, too.

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Not a huge surprise... (4, Insightful)

AdeBaumann (126557) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170825)

Not a huge surprise... Though I wonder how they're going to wriggle their way out of that one. I'm guessing they'll just try to ignore it and hope it goes away.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170917)

Not a huge surprise... Though I wonder how they're going to wriggle their way out of that one. I'm guessing they'll just try to ignore it and hope it goes away.

It will just go away. If people were really upset by this type of thing they would have fought it long ago. Anyone who didn't see it coming is blind, stupid, or both. I wouldn't be surprised if they are monitoring what else is going on on your computer (but of course not full on spying, that would be illegal...) and selling as much as they can to marketing companies. Personally, I no longer buy games, I refuse to use steam or any other software, I will not buy a console and I bitterly await the time when I cannot find something to play games like AoE, BG and BGII, and the like. The last game I bought was Witcher 2, specifically because they removed the DRM after installation (or at least marketed it as such), but that game was terrible. The interface was clearly meant for a freaking console, not a computer.

AlphaA

Re:Not a huge surprise... (4, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170985)

It will just go away. If people were really upset by this type of thing they would have fought it long ago.

Bullshit. Ubisoft got smacked upside the head. EA's been smacked upside the head -- HARD -- in the past with limited activations and other shenanigans. If customer outcry is loud enough, EA will take the hint this time, too.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (5, Insightful)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171161)

I keep hearing a lot about "consumer outcry" about EA games. And yet every time a new one comes out, those same consumers seemed to be lined up around the block to buy them.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (5, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171343)

And yet every time a new one comes out, those same consumers seemed to be lined up around the block to buy them.

This launch was so bad Amazon actually stopped selling it. It was so bad that EA's offered a free game to anyone who made the regrettable choice of purchasing SimCity (though they still won't offer refunds to anyone who ordered the game through Origin). It was so bad that Polygon's reviewer downgraded their initial review from a 9.5 to a 4.

So trust me when I say people are going to remember this the next time someone takes a traditionally offline game and tries to add an always-online requirement -- for any reason.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (4, Insightful)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171525)

The reason for all that was because too many people bought it and it crashed their servers! All EA has to do is turn on the hype machine, and people will come flocking regardless of whatever happened in the past.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171661)

Gamers are not idiots. They accept network connectivity for multiplayer games, knowing the downside that goes with that. But I've seen enough posts on other forums to suggest that they are getting right pissed that a single player game should require always-on connectivity, and may in the future make that requirement a factor in the purchase of future single player games.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (4, Insightful)

Lithdren (605362) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171541)

...Polygon's reviewer downgraded their initial review from a 9.5 to a 4.

Wow...if that doesn't tell you something about how the game was reviewed, nothing will.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (4, Informative)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171675)

That's because it was most likely reviewed by a copy given to publishers and other reviewers prior to retail. There was no stress to bear on their cloud when it was just a few reviewers testing the product, so everything went smooth. But when it came time for the floodgates to open, the cons of their cloud-centered setup got exposed. This is one those situations where when it works, it's all fine and dandy, but when it doesn't, it crashes and burns for just about everyone.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172077)

Or... Reviews are bought and paid for wholesale.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (5, Funny)

FlyingCheese (883571) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172137)

So is EA going to be demanding a refund?

Re:Not a huge surprise... (2, Informative)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171703)

Reviewers conducted their initial reviews on private EA servers. That should have been a factor made clear in every review.

Going forward, I think reviewers -- and game "journalists" in general -- are going to have to be more skeptical when dealing with publishers' PR flacks. Hopefully this will teach them to do that, because apparently Blizzard's "Error 37" fsck-up didn't. Then again, the "Error 37" was a pretty minor glitch compared to this.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (4, Informative)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172153)

The thing about persistent-online game (including MMO) reviews is that you can't really review the most important aspect of the game until after the game ships and people begin playing. Any review of such games is really just a preview, and mostly a graphics, game mechanics one at that.

Reviews need to stop calling such previews "reviews" and call them by what they are. Once the game is launched, they then should go back to do an actual review of the game. That's how things should be done anyway. Getting a preview mislabeled as a "review" out of the door faster than everybody else seems to trump the disservice they are doing to their readership.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171773)

The game is still available for sale on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B007VTVRFA [amzn.com]

I'm not sure why people keep saying they took it down. Maybe they did, but it's there and available now and the ratings on it are still horrible.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (2)

fuzzybunny (112938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171797)

So trust me when I say people are going to remember this the next time someone takes a traditionally offline game and tries to add an always-online requirement -- for any reason.

How many of those people are 14? Or grandparents-oh-look-sonny-I-got-you-a-game? And how many are slobs with your average consumer's short-term memory, though?

I'm not even fazed to know that they're lying.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171495)

But it wont matter anyway, in a few months after this whole fiasco the very people who condemn EA for lying to them will still buy the next shiny AAA game from them anyway. They're happy being ripped off and lied to, and I can see them everywhere. Such spineless people who cant make a stand would only pretend joining the "so called game vendor is bad" bandwagon to get their "gamer" cred. They don't really care about gaming, they only identify themself as one because right now it is cool to be a nerdy gamer.

I enjoy playing games and I don't even bother to pirate *ANY* new titles, that's how much disgusted I am to gaming industry right now. The last game that I bought was released at 2006, been what.. 7 years? and I'm not even going to entertain the idea of buying or pirating any games because I've drawn my line many years ago.

For others, welcome to the future of gaming! It's a multi-billion dollar industry, you better have the money and willing to shed your principles 'cause otherwise you're not going to get your fix.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

sdnoob (917382) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172051)

EA has a large enough business in *console* games that a little hissyfit over DRM in PC titles won't be noticed... especially given that there are new console hardware launches upcoming for which they'll sell a shitload of games for, and which will save their chief executive asshole's job.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171575)

Customer outcry won't do shit. After they have your money, they do not care. People not buying is the only thing that would make them care.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (3, Insightful)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171943)

People not buying means the software companies blame piracy, or tablets, or some other silliness instead of solving the real issue. Many people such as myself have the disposable income and a long history of gaming, but we now hate the companies so much that it's lost its appeal. I will do something else with my money and time instead of dealing with modern gaming frustrations and the companies' shenanigans. <shrugs>

Re:Not a huge surprise... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171631)

It will just go away. If people were really upset by this type of thing they would have fought it long ago.

Bullshit. Ubisoft got smacked upside the head. EA's been smacked upside the head -- HARD -- in the past with limited activations and other shenanigans. If customer outcry is loud enough, EA will take the hint this time, too.

[citation needed]

Preferably in the form of actual drops in sales, plus evidence that these shenanigans are what caused it.

No, seriously. Show me one time where this was the case. Show me a single road bump this sort of thing has ever caused in either Ubisoft's or EA's business plans.

I don't mean for you to show me where a few people whined really really really really really really loudly. I don't mean for you to show me the most flowery, prosaic form of bitching about it by a few dissatisfied customers. I mean show me where this HURT Ubisoft and EA. And by HURT, I don't mean where one game didn't sell well, I mean HURT as in it REALLY damaged their bottom lines and forced them to change their ways significantly to avoid going out of business. Show me just how HARD they got smacked upside the head.

Yeah. You won't find any examples. You CAN'T find any examples. I know you can't. You won't find a single smack upside the head. At worst, you'll find a pillow fight with nice, soft, fluffy pillows to the face, nice and slow, roughly around where Ubisoft and EA executives sleep quite comfortably at night. You know how I know this? Because both companies have been doing this for many years now. They wouldn't be doing this if it were hurting them in the slightest bit. They're still making money hand over fist, the DRM controversy isn't even slowing them down at all, let alone stopping them, we're being proven dead wrong, and there's not a thing we can do about it.

No, whining EVEN LOUDER won't help. Making creative protests won't help. We can come up with the loudest, most creative, most nasal whine ever recorded in the history of the internet, amplify it by a billion blogs and a trillion tweets, and harass every single person on the face of the planet in person, 24/7, and it'll still be drowned out by the cold drumming of reality and the rhythmic ringing of a cash register. We are NOT the majority of gamers anymore, we're not the most lucrative, we don't even play as much as this new generation does, and nobody cares what we think because we can demonstrably be ignored to no ill effect.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (3, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171127)

Not a huge surprise... Though I wonder how they're going to wriggle their way out of that one. I'm guessing they'll just try to ignore it and hope it goes away.

The same way they always wriggle out, Pinky! [vgcats.com]

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171131)

This is EA we're talking about. They'll just use their dark arts to conjure up a demon to swallow the souls of all SimCity critics and a Siren to sing a beautiful song to lull more suckers to keep buying it.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (4, Insightful)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171227)

I don't think they have any plans to wiggle out of it. This "always on" setup is by design:

Frank Gibeau, the president of EA Labels... is very proud of the fact he has never green lit a single project that consisted solely of a single-player experience.

http://www.geek.com/articles/games/ea-wont-green-light-any-single-player-only-games-2012095/

So the engineers were REQUIRED to do something that made it "social" and thus needing to be always online.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171417)

Why am I not surprised some MBA's ego is at the heart of this?

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171421)

but they seemingly managed to fuck up copying diablo 3 enough.

the devs clearly were supposed to copy it. but it's extra effort, so they skipped actually moving the game logic to servers...

Re:Not a huge surprise... (2)

cob666 (656740) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171285)

Cool...

But, where are the instructions to do this mod?

How to save it in offline mode (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171907)

The article noted that you can do everything, and better, offline except "save" and "socialize". I would bet that you can work around the save issue simply by running a virtual machine and saving the session using the virtual machines capability to preserve memory state. Unless this thing is actually monitoring gaps in the wall clock time record for DRM puproses it should be possible to use a memory image.

Re:How to save it in offline mode (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172105)

even if it is monitoring time gaps you can suspend the image and it can retain the same system time.

Re:Not a huge surprise... (1)

sdnoob (917382) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171975)

how they're going to wriggle their way out of that one

oh, that's easy..... all the bugs in the AIs are because of a client-server interaction bug preventing the proper calculations from being run on the "servers".

Somebody's going to get a stern letter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170843)

And it'll pretend to be all just and kind, but it'll just be Maxis/EA dickery from lawyers acting to protect their client's interests.

And the law enforcement system will eat it up.

Proof? (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170851)

I read the article and don't see any source code, just a screen shot. Anyone have additional info?

Re:Proof? (5, Informative)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170883)

There's a YouTube video at the top of the article. Here's a direct link: SimCity Super Debug Mode [youtube.com] .

First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170853)

First post

Time to get this from TPB!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170855)

Just in time for the weekend.. yay!!!

Semantics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170859)

Call him modder and it's OK. Call him cracker and it's ZOMG! ILLEGAL! TAKING ARTISTS MONEY!!

Re:Semantics (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170937)

Well, as politics and marketing have shown, careful word choice has a massive impact on people's reactions.

Re:Semantics (3, Funny)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171369)

Why do you assume he's white? ;)

Re:Semantics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171633)

Because he probably is.

SimCity Rescued? (4, Insightful)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170863)

This is probably the best thing that could have happened to SimCity 5 in order to save the SimCity franchise.

It's a pity how corporate greed can ruin an otherwise excellent product. Management at EA/Maxis was obviously incredibly detached from the product. Comments such as how surprised and unprepared they were for the massive response they got to the new product speaks volumes to the fact that the people in charge had absolutely no clue about the products they make, nor what it takes to make them successful.

The good news? At least there is one team out there that gets it! [kickstarter.com]

Re:SimCity Rescued? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171239)

I have no clue how their beta testing works, but I'm confident suggestions aren't a part of the process. Many of the EA games I've played have clunky UI elements that would've been exposed in seconds of observed interaction.

Re:SimCity Rescued? (1, Interesting)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171843)

Regarding the kickstarter project, if it's DRM free, then why is one of the donation rewards "three digital copies" -- if there's no DRM, why would three copies be any different than one?

Re:SimCity Rescued? (4, Informative)

LordNimon (85072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172025)

Because you honestly want to purchase three copies -- one for you, and one for each of two friends. DRM-free does not mean royality-free licensing.

Re:SimCity Rescued? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172041)

These things we like to call morals. You see, when games release DRM free, as a community, we try not to be douchenozzles. So you could try actually paying for multiple copies if you want your friends to play it, unless you would rather send the message that DRM is necessary.

Re:SimCity Rescued? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172101)

Just because it's DRM-free doesn't mean you're allowed to give it to all your friends for free without paying. It just means there are no technological measures standing in the way of you ripping them off.

Re:SimCity Rescued? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171863)

I saw the graphics and the new elements and thought 'hmm that looks cool might pick it up when they come out with the super version' (and there is always a super version). Then found out about 'share with friends' and 'always on network' and 'server saves'. It went from hmm might get it to skip. I have too many games to fiddle with that sort of thing. I buy a game and sometimes do not play it for a year or two. What happens when they shut down the servers? Yeah.

Still can't save the game (3, Informative)

Leafheart (1120885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170865)

According to TFA you still need to go online to save your progress. So, no, he did not skip the requirement. At most it is not full-time, but "so many times itis easier to keep it on full time"

Re:Still can't save the game (1, Redundant)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170923)

Further down it says you can save the game by reconnecting at the end of your offline session and it will save all the progress from when you were offline.

Re:Still can't save the game (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170947)

I suspect someone will throw together a mini-server at some point that will facilitate local saving, it will just take more time then this work around.

Re:Still can't save the game (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171861)

I'm waiting for the open source server. Sniff some packets. Reverse engineer. Now you can run your own server.

Either edit the code to point to a new server or just edit your hosts.

Re:Still can't save the game (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171953)

As of right now, EA has stopped all SimCity server work to push out a patch preventing this is my guess.

Re:Still can't save the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170967)

Which is exactly what the parent said! lol

Re:Still can't save the game (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171217)

Yes, he did skip the "full-time" network requirement, exactly as stated. Apparently both you and the idiots voting you as informative don't read what is actually written, and instead read and vote based on what they WANT to read.

Re:Still can't save the game (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171223)

The code to dump whatever exists on the client to the remote server must be within the program, and the code to load whatever exists on the remote server must also be there. The only way it couldn't be *eventually* hacked to work would be if the remote server does something to significantly transform the saved state files while they reside on the server. That seems unlikely, given that they'd be optimizsing the process to minimize server load and distribute as much of the computation to the client as possible (contrary to their claim, this would be many times more efficient and cost-effective for them). It woudl surprise me if it was much more than a dumb file dump with timestamps and some kind of (useless, unnecessary) encryption in a (futile) attempt at DRM.

The only surprise. (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170875)

The only surprise is that it took this long. Seeing how much press the SimCity mess got, this hack will probably get some press as well.

Re:The only surprise. (5, Funny)

Wamoc (1263324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171253)

They were probably finally able to login to the game last night.

Re:The only surprise. (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171555)

The only surprise is that it took this long

There is another surprise: that anyone ever believed that a *significant amount of the calculations.* would run on the server. Seriously, it doesn't pass the sniff test that they would offload calculations from the clients onto their own servers.

Terrorist (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170879)

This Maxis developer is clearly a a cyber-terrorist.

Send in the drones.

Lying to customer base is always a good idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43170881)

Now all he needs to do is figure out the packets sent and retrieved to the saved-game servers, their IP address and port numbers (not difficult).. then people can set up a program to act as the saved game server.

Probably.

Re:Lying to customer base is always a good idea! (2)

Cito (1725214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171105)

that is exactly how the skidrow crack for Ubisoft's Anno 2070 city builder works also.
they were saving to the "cloud" (hate that buzzword)

skidrow crack uses a mini server emulator so that when you go to save it checks localhost and drops the save file in a /user/%appdata%/skidrow/ folder

THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (4, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170897)

I just don't care to spend that much effort fixing something that should have had the option out-of-the-box. EA is a big company, if they want sales, sell a finished game. Getting upset and spending my TIME trying to hack it or pirate isn't worth the $60 anymore... The have created a situation where even FREE is losing me money.

The solution is that the servers needed to JUST WORK. As a grown up, waiting twenty minutes even twice has wasted more of my money/time than the price of the game... They're jerks, fix it.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (1)

eriklou (1027240) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170949)

The solution is to hire smarter people who actually realize that the Beta Testing only will see 5-10% of the actual traffic and build for it. They are straight up retarded for thinking that the beta was going to be the max traffic the servers would see...

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (2)

k_187 (61692) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171059)

True, but what's max traffic going to be 2 weeks after launch? A month? They can't build for the max usage scenario, because that's just not going to last. Don't get me wrong, they still screwed up, but this problem occurs on just about every MMO's launch too.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (4, Insightful)

Cid Highwind (9258) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171287)

They can't build for the max usage scenario, because that's just not going to last.

They don't need to. This is one place where "the cloud" is an improvement over physical in-house servers. Build one complete server image, then in the days after launch you can stand up as many EC2 hosts as it takes to satisfy demand, and later as numbers of simultaneous players drops you can start taking them back down.

It's not impossible to launch without day-long server queues, EA is just either incompetent or too cheap to pay for the sort of infrastructure their always-on DRM requires.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171995)

Fun fact: they were already using the cloud for this project.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171301)

True, but what's max traffic going to be 2 weeks after launch? A month? They can't build for the max usage scenario, because that's just not going to last. Don't get me wrong, they still screwed up, but this problem occurs on just about every MMO's launch too.

It is going to be pretty low, because few people are buying the game now and many that have returned it.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171429)

True, but what's max traffic going to be 2 weeks after launch? A month? They can't build for the max usage scenario, because that's just not going to last. Don't get me wrong, they still screwed up, but this problem occurs on just about every MMO's launch too.

Isn't this the whole reason we have "the cloud" and such? You build for projected utilization in your data center, and have stuff like Amazon EC2 on standby to take overflow being that if you need to, you can spin them up basically instantly. Then when utilization falls you take your EC2 sessions offline and save the money that would've gone into overprovisioning. If it turns out that your projections were wrong, then you purchase additional hardware in your data center and then migrate the traffic.

This is supposed to be the ideal utilization for The Cloud. Handle peak loads without overprovisioning by being able to quickly bring up more to handle the load, then take them offline as traffic settles. Or for times when you need a burst of computing but only for short durations, so maintaining a whole set of datacenter racks for something used 1 month out of 12 doesn't make sense (same thing, really).

You can also predict launch day traffic - given how many people preordered the game (publishers can get this information from retailers quite easily), and pre-emptively spin off more cloud instances.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171451)

They can't build for the max usage scenario, because that's just not going to last

Surely a short term capacilty expansion can be done with Amazon Web Services (or equvalent service).

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171535)

If only there was some way to rent server resources to handle such spikes.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (3, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171103)

The solution is to hire smarter executives that won't spend money creating absurd barriers to annoy their honest clients.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (3, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171241)

The CEO is the one insisting they do this bullshit. It's not going to change until the stockholders oust him, and maybe not even then if they ensconce another neanderthal.

Though I shouldn't say things like that. Neanderthals are shown to care far more for others than he does.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171129)

No need to even do that, with flexible cloud computing now ubiquitous.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171323)

That's not a solution, because "just works" is never permanent. As soon as they decide that running the authentication servers is not cost-effective, they'll shut them down.

The solution, in every single case (yes, I include Steam) is not to require online authentication at all. That's the only solution. No exceptions.

Re:THEY LOSE: Just don't care any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171869)

20 mins to start one game? When I had my spectrum I had to wait that long EVERY time I wanted to play any game!! lol

Edited the game code? (-1)

scottnix (951749) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170911)

Doing DirectX in JavaScript must be fun. This must mean the Chrome port of SimCity is just around the corner.

Re:Edited the game code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171159)

Javascript is quite capable of controlling DirectX, but Chrome doesn't expose any DirectX interface as far as I am aware so you wouldn't be able to simply write code and run it in a browser. But I'm not sure why you'd bring such a thing up - the article doesn't mention doing DirectX in Javascript anyware.

Let us ask Data (5, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170915)

Here is what Lt. Cmdr Data [youtube.com] thinks about this.

I was a big fan of the game since the original and thought it odd it was one of the few mega-popular EA franchises that did not get updated frequently. I was anticipating the release, but I have learned not to pre-order any video game, nor buy it until it has been out a number of months for it either to be "fixed", for customer reviews to roll in, and beta test NDA's to expire. The bigger the game company the worse the lies become.

Professional game reviewers and magazines can simply not be trusted. Shorly after release metacritic scores showed the "professional" critics giving 90's and 100's, while no customer aside from a stockholm syndrome candidate gives a good review at all. Now that it is popular to bash the title, magazines being rolling in with the poor reviews.

Re:Let us ask Data (3)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171269)

I thought this was going to be a comment by Brent Spinner. It was not.

I am so disappointed.

Re:Let us ask Data (1)

MrSavage (2127458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171457)

It's Brent Spiner, you insensitive clod!

Re:Let us ask Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171659)

Fred? Is that you? Moley moley moley...

Re:Let us ask Data (3, Insightful)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171275)

Shorly after release metacritic scores showed the "professional" critics giving 90's and 100's,

Hard to believe, considering most of those critics work for magazines and publications heavily supported by EA advertising.

Re:Let us ask Data (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171557)

Its not only that. In order to do a review of a game, you need to be able to play it, or at least an advance beta of it. Review sites that do not give a company good reviews, stop receiving advance copies so they can review them.
Any game review that is online or in print media is likely bullshit if the reviewer is talking about a brand new game. The pressure to write as good a review as you possibly can is pretty intense.

Re:Let us ask Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171385)

Anyone else read this in Data's voice, while imagining his slightly disconcerting head-bob and rigid posture?

Re:Let us ask Data (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171657)

Professional game reviewers reviewed the game before its release, because guess what? Gamers expect reviews to be out by the game's release date! If the review isn't out within the first few days of release (which would be impossible with a game like SimCity), the site's either criticized for not putting out a review, or the review is ignored because it's too late already.

You can't blame everything on the reviewers. If you played before all the servers started going boom, you'd have had a fine and dandy time. The hiccups only started appearing when the servers got overloaded, and it all went down from there.

As for the bugs with the simulation itself, those are largely found by people trying to break the game, and took more than a few days to show up, so once again you can't reasonably expect a straight review to necessarily find those.

Re:Let us ask Data (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171827)

Agreed, 2013's SimCity is a tedious experience with no payoff. In about a month people will realize that a huge fuss was made over a game that's not really worth anyone's time.

Class-Action Suit (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170999)

It's false advertisement, no matter how you put it.

Re:Class-Action Suit (1)

Dunega (901960) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171857)

You're interested in making a bunch of lawyers rich for your $2 off the next EA game coupon?

Re:Class-Action Suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171971)

If it pisses off EA, yes.

Well (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171019)

That took longer than I thought it would.

DRM did what it was supposed to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171047)

One week of exclusive sales!

I hope it was worth cashing in on the several years' worth of reputation-building that EA just flushed down the drain. No one will ever trust them again.

It turned out not to be all that difficult. Someone leaked the source to the UI, which happened to be written entirely in Javascript (that opened up a whole new can of worms re: was this actually supposed to be a standalone game rather than browser based) -- the phone-home check was in the UI of all places. So not even the game cared that it was online.

Re:DRM did what it was supposed to (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171357)

I hope it was worth cashing in on the several years' worth of reputation-building that EA just flushed down the drain. No one will ever trust them again.

Wait, what? Didn't it just cement their reputation, as an exploitative company that couldn't care less about its customers? Or did they have some other reputation I'm not aware of?

Re:DRM did what it was supposed to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172005)

DRM did what it's supposed to do: reduce revenue.

It's EA, does this really surprise you? (1)

realsilly (186931) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171075)

Over the years I've read article after article about EA Games that are too invasive, too expensive, too restrictive. Does this really surprise any of you?

Personally, when I see EA attached to any game, I tend to want to run the other way. Sure they may make some good games every once in a while, but they are too much trouble.

For those that enjoy EA Games and don't mind their restrictions, I say to you. "Game on".

Re:It's EA, does this really surprise you? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171261)

Yep, I stopped buying EA, no Dragon Age, no Mass Effect, no Sims, no Sim-City. They have some skilled dev teams, but way way way way way too much hatred for me for me to buy their products.

Was it worth it EA? (2)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171315)

This horrible DRM has created a huge amount of negative press, and prevented piracy for around a week. Now that a hack exists, not only is piracy not prevented, but the pirates get a clearly superior version of your product. As a result, many kids will be driven to try the pirated version, and thus educated on how easy torrenting and patching a game can be. You may even have inspired some burgeoning young hackers to learn how to crack your future games!

Re:Was it worth it EA? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171481)

This horrible DRM has created a huge amount of negative press, and prevented piracy for around a week. Now that a hack exists, not only is piracy not prevented, but the pirates get a clearly superior version of your product. As a result, many kids will be driven to try the pirated version, and thus educated on how easy torrenting and patching a game can be. You may even have inspired some burgeoning young hackers to learn how to crack your future games!

I don't think you've been paying attention.

EA's core audience (that they think is) doesn't simply read reviews.
or newspapers. or anything.

in short, if you haven't been following their bigger franchises for the last two years EA DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK. they just keep hordes of devs on their ranks so they can manage to get something out - nobody in charge cares what they get out as long as it looks polished.

Paying EA customers are suckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171351)

If you pay for EA products youre a sucker, plain and simple.

Infact most paying customers are suckers anymore. If I go out and pay 60 bucks for a new game I have to register it, have constant online connection, sign up for something, enter a login, enter a cd key, put up with server downtime for my single player game, bug, glitches and so on. But if a pirate steals a game and cracks it he can play as much as he wants with no hassle at all while paying customers have to jump through a dozen hoops.

If you want real change from EA then STOP BUYING THEIR GAMES! Bitching about it online wont do a thing. If you don't like what a company does then don't buy their games, do not buy their dlc, don't visit their website, don't complain endlessly (all that does is attract more attention to them). If you must buy their game then buy it used. And encourage everyone you can to do the same.

EA, besthesda, Capcom, activision, Nintendo, gearbox, etc are all companies I do not give my money to at all because for one reason or another they pissed me off one too many times.

But stop giving EA money, that is the only thing they will pay attention to.

Online, offline - is it even fun? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171413)

Regardless of the online vs offline debate - which is interesting to Slashdot readers for a variety of reasons (DRM, cloud, corporations lying to the users (do they ever not?), etc.), is it even a fun game?

After seeing videos and reports like these:
http://kotaku.com/5990362/with-simple-ai-like-this-why-does-simcity-need-cloud-computing [kotaku.com]

I'm inclined to think that the answer may well be 'no'. At which point it really doesn't matter much whether you play it online or offline, does it?

I play Diablo 3 off line.. and will with SimCity (3, Informative)

Wingfat (911988) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171603)

so easy to do it. so very easy. (if you know how to read that is)

Doesn't matter (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172123)

There have been reports that some have played as long as 7 hours off line without a problem. But the main bitch was on line in general. So, sure you can play off line and save by getting on line again. BUT in order to start the game you have to go on line. Therein lies the problem. If you're traveling you can't START the game to play off line.

Now we need the NAM plugin to have real highways w (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172143)

Now we need the NAM plugin to have real highways with overpass and interchanges.

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