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SimCity “situation is good, but not good enough”, says Maxis

Sunday, 10th March 2013 22:29 GMT By Brenna Hillier

SimCity developer EA Maxis claims to have improved server response time by a factor of 40, and warned of rolling downtimes as it applies fixes to each server.

In an update on the EA blog, Maxis boss Lucy Bradshaw said the team has achieved plenty so far but will continue to improve performance.

“Maxis continues to make huge progress in addressing the lag and server-capacity issues we experienced at launch. We’ve improved our server response time by 40x, we’ve doubled the number of players in the game at the same time and reduced server down times,” she said.

“The situation is good, but not good enough. And since my boss is one of the negatively affected we’re still driving hard to get everyone online, playing together, and no hitches.”

Maxis has begun launching new servers to help ease the load, including a new Antarctica one; servers aren’t region-locked so feel free to get on board if your local servers are full – especially as the new ones come pre-patched.

“The new servers we rolled out have a new faster set up. We are now dedicated to updating our original servers so that those of you who have been playing these past few days can get the benefits on servers where your cities are played,” Bradshaw explained.

“To do this, we will have to take the original servers down one by one to upgrade them. The improvements will be worth the downtime, and thanks for hanging with us as we do this. We’ll also be adding more tonight as well. We’ll be sending out detailed info shortly through our community forums and launcher.”

Bradshaw said the game is now welcoming “tens of thousands” of new players every day, and thanked players for continuing to support the game – and keep their tempers – during a more than rocky launch.

EA will award a free game to those affected by the downtimes during SimCity’s launch window. Those of us who are online are having a pretty good time – although Sam’s struggling a bit.

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18 Comments

  1. Talkar

    I think Maxis is handling this the second best way they can. Obviously the best way would to just make the game playable offline, but atleast they are doing something to fix the problems.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    @1

    Well the thing is with the server it does majority of workload for the game with simulations instead of that being done by the user. I guess the only way to improve the game without making the requirements of the game even more demanding then they are now. So the servers are a necessary component to the game.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Talkar

    @2
    I know they are doing that. I also know that my computer is more than capable of handling the calculations required for the very simple simulations that occur in SimCity. But as i write that, it occurs to me that not all people have a computer powerful enough for that, so i would propose that they make the server component optional. Use it if you want. Problem solved right there.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Fin

    @3

    Nah, if they are doing calculations and simulation in the cloud, presumably your computer can’t handle them.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Talkar

    @4
    Why not? This isn’t some major 90.000.000 entries database we’re talking about, this is 20mb of data that is being sent over the course of an hour or so. Not much.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    If you’ve actually played the game, the idea that you need a supercomputer to run it is every bit as ridiculous as needing one to run Simcity 4. It’s really not that complex.

    There are a lot of vehicles going to a lot of places, but it’s not groundbreaking stuff, and those vehicles aren’t particularly smart.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. hitnrun

    @4:

    They’re doing (select parts of) calculations and simulation in the cloud to stop people from unlocking their purchase with an unauthorized 50kb patch.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Phoenixblight

    @6

    You haven’t played the game. Simcity 5 has far more crap going on in the background than Simcity 4 would ever dream of.

    The cloud-based stuff is handling all the calculations not the art assets that will be done by the user. Its the water,taxes,all the pollution, the interactions between all the cities, RCI growth and to top it off the random disasters that happen. That is quite a load for the requirements that are listed which are pretty lax for this type of game and that is why because the calculations are being off-loaded to the server.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. DSB

    @8 Control your EA hardon for a second.

    I have played the game, and it doesn’t actually do anything that hasn’t already been done in games like Simcity 4 or the Anno series, it just centers around making it all look cooler.

    Which is great, but it’s hardly impressive when firetrucks aren’t smart enough to go around eachother to you know, put out fires and what not.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Talkar

    @8
    You do realize that all those things have been done in other games right? And arguably more succesfully. Also, could we drop the whole “cloud” thing? They are just servers, same as they were 10-20 years ago. The difference is just now we’ve found a way to distribute a workload more evenly across the servers. But they are still just that, servers.
    Anyways, back to the matter at hand. I am confident that not only can my computer handle the calculations done in SimCity for me, but it would be able to handle the same calculations for a number of users. Obviously nowhere near what the servers at EA can, but my point is: My computer can really really easily handle this, so let me. And if your computer can’t handle it, that is fine, just use the servers for the workload then. Don’t force it on us!

    EDIT:
    Perfect examples of games DSB!

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight

    @8

    What you are complaining about is the flocking AI and that is all to the programmer(s) needless to say there is stuff going on that need to be checked constantly just for that.

    This game has a lot of stuff that is going on in the background that the average joe wouldn’t think of or notice in the game. I have played Simcity 4 recently and this game has a lot more shit going on in the fore/background whether you believe it or not is another thing. The Anno comment made me laugh.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DSB

    @11 The whole game revolves around upgrading neighbourhoods by providing them with services. That actually predates Anno back to the Caesar series.

    Granted, the level of simulation is higher all round, but again it’s hardly rocket science. Sewage and water being “pumped” instead of simply saturating an area just doesn’t blow my mind.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Talkar

    @11
    Yet you lack examples…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Phoenixblight

    @13

    I don’t need to because there are no games that look as good as Simcity 5 with the gameplay and as I said the requirements for this game is pretty lax.

    They aren’t going to create an offline mode, the server-centric protects their product and eventually they will fix it. We knew it was going to be always-on connection 6+ months ago and yet we bought it. I have never said it was a good idea, just giving my opinion. I am pretty sure my rig can handle it as well but EA/Maxis went this route and now just have ride it out until its fixed. Any time I see an always on connection I will wait a month to pick it up, that’s for sure.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Talkar

    @14
    Yes you do need to provide examples of how the SimCity simulation is such a big deal that we need a server to handle them instead of our own computer. While you apparently also think you have a vastly more powerful computer than the rest of us since we need the server, but your computer can handle it. Sorry, but i’m starting to question how much consideration has gone into your arguments…

    #15 2 years ago
  16. xxJPRACERxx

    The end result may look the same to other games, but how it’s calculated can be a lot more complex.

    Some games can use 2 or 3 variables, this one can use a lot more. But for the users it’s impossible to tell. To obtain the number 4 I could do 2 + 2, but I could also do a much more complex calculation that will still equal 4. It’s impossible to tell.

    Personally I think the servers are only handling small amount of data and calculation, like the data between cities. I’m sure it would be really easy for our PC to do these calculations.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. NightCrawler1970

    wow, they added 40 extra servers?? damn EA, i bet ya sweat ya ass off for that one eeh?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Phoenixblight

    “While you apparently also think you have a vastly more powerful computer than the rest of us”

    Example of when I said this, please because I didn’t so putting words in my mouth? I said the game has pretty lax requirements for how the game looks and what it is doing especially only needing a dual core for recommended. I never said that your device couldn’t handle it or anyone’s for that matter. Try,try again.

    #18 2 years ago

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