SimCity 5 Catch-All - Offline mode coming in next update

If they'd even given it a subtitle people would probably be a load more forgiving of it, or separate it from the 'main entries' because it's trying something different. Maybe the regions is that something different, maybe it's not. When you call it just "SimCity", people are going to make direct comparisons to earlier entries.

Aaron D. wrote:

It's funny but I'm again reminded of the RDR vs GTA argument in relation to Sim City 5.

I'm a huge Rockstar fan and will buy virtually any sandbox game they develop sight-unseen. That said, as much as I love the GTA series, the cityscape always felt like a fake Hollywood back-lot set. The player can only enter 1% of the hundreds of houses, buildings, and skyscrapers sprawled throughout the environment. It's beautiful to look at, but there's an odd Twilight Zone feeling about it.

Juxtapose that with the recent Red Dead Redemption the late-19th century Western Territories were sparsely populated, with only dustbowl towns dotting vast expanses of wilderness. As such, the player in RDR can enter virtually every building in the game (sans one late-game area). They're so few and far between that the artists and game engine can easily handle the task of full freedom exploration for the player. It makes the world feel authentic and immersive. Far more than GTA's urban centers.

The issues I keep hearing about Sim City 5 are now reminding me of the Sim City vs Tropico argument. Sim City is going for density at the cost of expanse. It's great to have granular systems in place, tracking every last Sim Citizen populating your town. But it seems as though that's taxing the baseline system specs Maxis/EA are shooting for. I can certainly see an argument to be made for breadth vs micro-systems. An ideal world would have both, but it seems resources and particularly in this case, end-user system specs, prevent this from happening.

Now look at something like Tropico 4. It has the identical depth of Sim City (perhaps lacking in some areas and exceeding in others), down to the single citizen behavior/stat-mapping. But it masks these complex computations in a game world far smaller than Sim City. Tropico 4 is just a small island nation with a generally low population. The island is big enough to have a busy center, surrounded by "suburbs" and industrial/commercial locations, but it never taxes the game engine too much. However, the trump card is the naturally low population and the way that it's all spread out in a completely authentic fashion. The island is big enough to support a growing population and economy, but the natural land size (compared to real-world) is 100% authentic, so nothing ever feels fake or constrained.

I'm really curious to see how SC5 turns out and if the devs can indeed expand the land size. I just wonder if that's a ways off as standard targeted consumer PCs catch up to the number-crunching necessary to support large Sim City maps at the level of detail they're shooting for now.

Well said. Right on the money, for me. Context can be everything in a game like this.

Yeah, the context point is very well made.

SimCity 5's border limit seems small only because of the setting and context of the franchise.

Scratched wrote:

If they'd even given it a subtitle people would probably be a load more forgiving of it, or separate it from the 'main entries' because it's trying something different. Maybe the regions is that something different, maybe it's not. When you call it just "SimCity", people are going to make direct comparisons to earlier entries.

Of course, that brings its own tradeoffs marketing-wise. Fairly or not, "[Franchise Name]: [Subtitle]" makes people think "weird, low-budget spinoff in between 'real' entries." That simple title change might cost them a bunch of sales.

Even SimCity: Societies suffered from comparisons to the traditional SC games. Like, for example, when I was playing it and hated it.

Maybe it's been so long since I've played a SimCity game, but I enjoyed the BETA 1 hour gameplay. Last one I played was SC4 and that has been quite a while since I have. I know it's not like SC4, but can we say that every SimCity is exactly the same with updated graphics? I'm looking forward to playing the FULL version of this game. I've heard on their forums that the small maps are just that. There will be larger maps. But as everyone else here seems to have, I too have a concern about the servers on launch day and that would be my only hesitation to buying it when the game drops.

I didn't like the beta, it all felt boring. I don't have a good explanation why, it just wasn't fun.

I guess it reminded me too much of a Facebook game. That might not be a fair evaluation but it's what I felt.

I just wonder if that's a ways off as standard targeted consumer PCs catch up to the number-crunching necessary to support large Sim City maps at the level of detail they're shooting for now.

From what I understand, the reason the maps are so small is because the simulation isn't running locally. It's running on their servers, and server-grade CPUs are exceedingly expensive.

Gremlin wrote:

but there's a lot of baggage that comes along with the name SimCity.

Yeah, customers are weird... they expect a game called SimCity to let them simulate a city, not a small town. Imagine that.

Malor wrote:
I just wonder if that's a ways off as standard targeted consumer PCs catch up to the number-crunching necessary to support large Sim City maps at the level of detail they're shooting for now.

From what I understand, the reason the maps are so small is because the simulation isn't running locally. It's running on their servers, and server-grade CPUs are exceedingly expensive.

I wouldn't imagine that to be true. I think when they said that some of the calculations are done on their servers, they were referring to the Inter-City Region interactions. I would be shocked if they actually ran the city simulations on the servers. I was under the impression that the city sizes are so small because they want the lower end PCs to be able to handle the simulation decently. They don't offer the option to do a large city size, because they don't want their minimum requirement PCs to only be able to handle certain city sizes.

SimCity Blog[/url]]Running the regional simulation on our servers is something we also use to support features that will make this SimCity even more fun.

Reading the whole article, it definitely sounds like the servers run the simulation of events between cities in the region, while the individual city simulations are handled locally on your own PC.

mrwynd wrote:

I didn't like the beta, it all felt boring. I don't have a good explanation why, it just wasn't fun.

I guess it reminded me too much of a Facebook game. That might not be a fair evaluation but it's what I felt.

What in it reminded you of a facebook game? That implies there is some sort of wait based build cycle like the *ville games. But also show me a Facebook game that looks like this!

Tkyl wrote:
Malor wrote:

From what I understand, the reason the maps are so small is because the simulation isn't running locally.

I wouldn't imagine that to be true. I think when they said that some of the calculations are done on their servers, they were referring to the Inter-City Region interactions.

If memory serves correctly, the original quote came from the reddit QA, where one of the PR/dev people answered the torrent of complaints about always on by saying that the simulation runs on their servers. They have since back-paddled on that claim, and refined it, as documented in the link posted above.

Yeah, I posted about that before. It would be absolutely insane to run each city on cloud processors at EA expense, but it makes perfect sense for the inter-city interactions, for security reasons as well as availability and the like. You probably don't want your sim hanging waiting for an adjacent player's pc to respond, when in fact they've just logged off before finishing your next cycle of calculations...

It does not however bode well for a long lifetime. There are options; eventually, they could release the code so groups could set up their own servers and interact that way. But that's an unlikely thing given their track record, and it would open the system up to hacking, which they would view as giving them a black eye.

So what do you think? Day one DLC debate again? Sign of endless DLC add-ons to come? Stripped down Normal version so they can charge more? Is it really full of $20 of more fun? Umm... justificable $80 purchase?

Mantid wrote:

Sign of endless DLC add-ons to come? Stripped down Normal version so they can charge more? Is it really full of $20 of more fun? Umm... justificable $80 purchase?

Yes, yes, no and no.

Robear wrote:

There are options; eventually, they could release the code so groups could set up their own servers and interact that way.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/4AT9fTO.gif)

No, they'll take down the servers, rendering your old game and your mountain of DLC (like, they're going to sell subways separately: I have no more data than anyone else, but I KNOW that's what they're going to do) both useless, to "encourage" you to buy SimCity 6.

This is a lousy deal, and if you sign up for it, the next deal will be even lousier.

Oh, on the DLC thing, don't forget what they did with The Sims 3:

IMAGE(http://www.malor.com/gamerswithjobs/sims3_dlc.png)

You can pretty much expect subways to cost $20, and then freeways will cost $20, and then, oh! they figured out how to make bigger cities, for a paltry $30....

I pre-ordered this a few days ago. I've since gone back and cancelled my pre-order. I'm giving SimCity 5 a pass, and installing SimCity 4 right now.

The Sims games have always been that way, it's not just Sims 3. And to me, that's a little different because most of those expansion packs (not the stuff packs) add loads of more gameplay time to the game, in my opinion. Do I like it that way? No, of course not. I wish we had all of those packs from the get go, but as I mentioned, that's always been that way. I hope SimCity doesn't do it to that extreme and the core game doesn't suffer without the add-ons that I'm sure are coming.

DaScorpion wrote:

The Sims games have always been that way, it's not just Sims 3. And to me, that's a little different because most of those expansion packs (not the stuff packs) add loads of more gameplay time to the game, in my opinion. Do I like it that way? No, of course not. I wish we had all of those packs from the get go, but as I mentioned, that's always been that way. I hope SimCity doesn't do it to that extreme and the core game doesn't suffer without the add-ons that I'm sure are coming.

They tried to do the stuff/expansion pack thing with Spore, except that game didn't have the sales to warrant support for more than 1-2 years. SimCity 4 had a second expansion in the works before support dried up in a similar manner (presumably due to lack of sales). I don't have an issue with them issuing expansion packs, although I'd be incredibly worried about a microtransaction store like they did with Sims 2 and Sims 3.

MrShoop wrote:
mrwynd wrote:

I didn't like the beta, it all felt boring. I don't have a good explanation why, it just wasn't fun.

I guess it reminded me too much of a Facebook game. That might not be a fair evaluation but it's what I felt.

What in it reminded you of a facebook game? That implies there is some sort of wait based build cycle like the *ville games. But also show me a Facebook game that looks like this!

Maybe Facebook game was incorrect. It felt like I was jumping through the hoops the game wanted me to, not necessary wait based gameplay. It could just be the limited time I was able to play but it never felt like I was in control of my city. I was going through steps to make the city exactly how the game wanted it.

Ugh. I'm so bipolar on this. I really enjoyed what I played of the game (I put about 5 hours in) and love seeing Maxis making changes based on feedback, but I despise the decisions that (I hope) are coming from the mother ship (e.g. DLC, Always on connection).

I'm not really bothered by the city size after playing the beta and with the features that were locked I think there will be PLENTY to do. I'm looking forward to the "passive mulltiplayer" aspect, especially when playing a Goodjer region and the "challenges" should add an interesting goal component.

The idea of $20 DLC makes me fret.

But for now, my pre order stands...

mrwynd wrote:

It could just be the limited time I was able to play but it never felt like I was in control of my city. I was going through steps to make the city exactly how the game wanted it.

I think it's what you said. The limited scope of buildings included in the beta definitely railroaded you.

The limited scope of buildings included in the beta definitely railroaded you.

They may not include that many more in the final release.... if they give you too much up front, they can't sell it to you later.

Is there no way to sign up for the Beta anymore?

TempestBlayze wrote:

Is there no way to sign up for the Beta anymore?

Beta is over. It was just for the weekend.

Malor wrote:

They may not include that many more in the final release.... if they give you too much up front, they can't sell it to you later.

Not that I disagree with that statement, but there were road types and buildings in menus that were unavailable for the beta, which resulted in a very limit scope of possible activity. When you factor those buildings, ploppables and specializations together, the release version should have more to do.

Thinking about it more, I'm interested to see what actually ends up in the Simcity Store. The manual mentions both free and paid content. I highly doubt content like subways will be free, but it would be cool if community content (buildings, etc) were available there in something like the steam workshop.

Does anyone know how clock speed will work in regions? If I was playing at cheetah speed and my neighbor was playing at turtle speed, could we just go about our business doing that? I'm assuming with the "Great Work" it will just go off a server timer but I really do wonder how the cities will be able to interact when they're running at different speeds.

I'm assuming with the "Great Work" it will just go off a server timer but I really do wonder how the cities will be able to interact when they're running at different speeds.

Play speed doesn't matter; it's what one city can offer and take every three minutes that is exchanged. So if your neighbor has no garbage to export, and you've built a garbage dump in the hopes of making money, you simply won't get garbage from him until he has excess to get rid of.

That may matter to *you*, but the sim won't care.

shoptroll wrote:
DaScorpion wrote:

The Sims games have always been that way, it's not just Sims 3. And to me, that's a little different because most of those expansion packs (not the stuff packs) add loads of more gameplay time to the game, in my opinion. Do I like it that way? No, of course not. I wish we had all of those packs from the get go, but as I mentioned, that's always been that way. I hope SimCity doesn't do it to that extreme and the core game doesn't suffer without the add-ons that I'm sure are coming.

They tried to do the stuff/expansion pack thing with Spore, except that game didn't have the sales to warrant support for more than 1-2 years. SimCity 4 had a second expansion in the works before support dried up in a similar manner (presumably due to lack of sales). I don't have an issue with them issuing expansion packs, although I'd be incredibly worried about a microtransaction store like they did with Sims 2 and Sims 3.

Totally agree on the microtransaction store. I have all the EPs of The Sims 3, but not all the stuff packs and I haven't bought a single thing off their store. That's greedy to me. You're trying to sell stuff packs and then also trying to sell stuff on your store, and it's not even cheap. I don't mind buying EPs as long as they make it worth it with quality and quantity additions down the road.