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Joined: 04/01/2012 02:16:02
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I know you are trying to create a successful game. That is not what I'm talking about, per se. I'm talking about design issues that do not adequately take into account expansion or heavy usage.

Examples?

Menu items. SC4's menu... let's just say it leaves a great deal to be desired. It appears the initial design document did not plan on several Gig of user created mods. One of the reasons I simply can not bring myself to play SC4 again is the nightmare zoo of trying to 'find stuff' in the horribly limited menu system. There are various hacks and attempts to unmangle the SC4 menu, but a better design would have planed for ,"OMG USER MODS" in a way that makes it easier to cope with finding things.

CXL has a new 'User Interface Mod' created by end-users that allows new mods to more easily cope with being 'successful'.

Another example of the 'lack of success planning' is in the area of mod scope. Every single SC4 mod affects everything all the time unless you use the SC4 Startup Manager, which allows you to 'scope' a mod for 'everything', 'region' or 'city level' planning.

An example of 'lack of success planning' would be with CitiesXL maps. You have a fixed globe with points on it, each point is the node of an available map. CXL was not built with the success of 'user created maps' in mind. Initially, if you wanted to enjoy a user created map, you had to plan on swapping out an existing potential map. The UIM mod mentioned above seems to allow for user created maps without destroying existing maps, but for me it seems to be an awkward and buggy hack that I'm not sure I can quite rely on at this time. Building 'success' into the initial software design would have gone a long way.

Because of 'fear, uncertainty, doubt' about the CXL map issue, I ended up going through every single map and making a city to ensure I had every single possible map 'filled' as a way to be sure no map would 'vanish' without notice when I used one of the city unlocker mods. The CXL city map menu does not alpha-sort by city name (or by any other criteria). It does not scroll with the middle mouse button when hovering over the menu, though MMB scroll works to zoom in & out of the planet. The city selection menu does not resize. The CXL design team simply did not consider someone making EVERY SINGLE CITY available for play. They did not plan on 'success'.

I do not intend this thread to be a nit-pick over CXL or SC4 design flaws or bugs. These are simply examples in my mind where the design team did not take into account, "OMG SUCCESS!" in their design plan. Please please consider the impact of SC5 fans going crazy making a bazillion cities, even if you believe such an action is ill-advised. I do not care what you think is advisable or not, I want a bazillion cities, get the heck out of my way! Ok, so you do not plan on a bazillion menu options, you don't think it is necessary. Why not build it possible now for you to change your mind on future expansion packs or DLC's?

"2 Gig of memory should be plenty enough space for what we intend to create." Yeah... uhm... NO! Plan on making the SC5 application "large address aware." I have 9 Gig of memory. I do not care if everyone else has 4G, of which only 2G is 'reasonably available'. Allow SC5 to be 'successful' in unexpected ways. I sure wish SC4, and later CXL had been designed with that principle in mind.

"I'm sure EA is very successful at monetizing games, but the more we don't do what they would do, the happier I am" --Notch

"Free men choose. Unfree men comply." John T. Reed

File this one under, "If the shoe fits..."
http://youtu.be/e-LE0ycgkBQ
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Joined: 03/07/2012 01:35:26
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Those are all good points raised but how can one make a program that works on both 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems if the maximum RAM used is more than 2 GB? I don't know about Origin but it might be able to get SimCity to use up to 3 or 4 GB of RAM. My computer currently has 8 GB of DDR2 RAM and I plan on upgrading (replacing motherboard, RAM, and graphics card) before my next major game purchase (which is most likely SimCity 2013).

Always try your best.



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I figured what client you get (x86 vs x64) is a factor of what client you install. Not my problem, as such. But I would appreciate the Dev team looking at the interface elements, capacities and overall design with a view of the game performing way way their expectations in the same way SC4 has.

At least, I have to wonder if the SC4 dev team were at least a little surprised at what has been accomplished since SC: RH. SC4 menu elements certainly show lack of foresight for things like SimPEG and SimTropolis.
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Joined: 03/20/2012 05:27:30
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Another way to make this game successful would be to allow an offline mode. But since that isn't happening and they are basically shooting themselves in the foot, all of what you said is good.

I hope you guys are ready for SimCity Societies 2: MMO Edition!!

If only a good company like Valve owned the Maxis franchise, I doubt anyone would be complaining then.
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Pretty much. Still & all, within what EA/ Maxis intends, I do hope they invest in "what if people go crazy with this thing?" Would an alpha sort to CXL's city selection menu really be all that much more difficult to code? Did MC really have to disallow city numbers (e.g. "Beach 1" or "Z10N" for a city name)? And could they at least have used standard 'slider' controls where the slider would not shrink to nearly vanish when used with a large list?

Again, that's all specific instances of a greater design philosophy problem: Will EA/ Maxis plan on their SimCity fans "going *" with their game? By that, I mean making it easy and reasonable to build as many cities as the game is functionally designed to allow, using as much memory as is physically available on the machine (and protecting against game crashes/ explicitly forbidding overuse of memory/ disk caching to special virtual memory as it makes sense to do so). Will the game cope with our attempts to make a region full of cities, each city with a bajillion people living in it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarian_principle Anything EA/ Maxis does not explicitly forbid us from doing (and hard-codes to make it not possible) we are going to do, and often. It is my hope Maxis incorporates the Totalitarian Principle in the details of things where, "Yes, there is a hard-coded limit but nobody in their right mind is going to ... OMG they maxed it out ALREADY!"

One would think Maxis already knew this, but as of SC4... they didn't quite achieve it.

Oh, and the quote, "SimCity:MMO sounds pretty repulsive at the moment." That is exactly why I've been using that tag for SC5, and exactly why Maxis has some explaining to do at E3. Maxis must explain why a forced multi-player game at the region level has more benefits they can clearly demonstrate than the perceived liabilities already being discussed in other threads. They have their work cut out for them. I'm not accepting, "Trust me, we are not stupid". But... yeah, that's being pounded in other threads, so I'll do what I can on other topics in hopes of a better game as far as what we have to work with.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/05/2012 15:51:40


"I'm sure EA is very successful at monetizing games, but the more we don't do what they would do, the happier I am" --Notch

"Free men choose. Unfree men comply." John T. Reed

File this one under, "If the shoe fits..."
http://youtu.be/e-LE0ycgkBQ
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Joined: 03/20/2012 05:27:30
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[quote=Romaq]
Oh, and the quote, "SimCity:MMO sounds pretty repulsive at the moment." That is [b]exactly[/b] why I've been using that tag for SC5, and [b]exactly[/b] why Maxis has some explaining to do at E3. Maxis must explain why a forced multi-player game at the region level has more benefits they can clearly demonstrate than the perceived liabilities already being discussed in other threads. They have their work cut out for them. I'm not accepting, "Trust me, we are not stupid". But... yeah, that's being pounded in other threads, so I'll do what I can on other topics in hopes of a better game as far as what we have to work with.[/quote]

Well the name SimCity: MMO [b]really[/b] clings onto the game, and it sounds so true since they don't even want to allow offline mode. I hope you don't mind me using that term.

I really hope they allow offline mode, they could do a lot with it. They could only allow mods on offline mode to prevent cheaters from cheat their way to the top, and have the prices of items update before the game starts (or if you have no internet connection, it could just use the latest updated prices it knows). There is just so much opportunity with offline mode, that vary from mod availability, fairness of global ranking, to letting the game live for more than 3 years. Your regions could even be saved on your computer and not kept on an EA cloud. What, do they own that too?

I am also wondering what they will announce at E3. They claim they aren't stupid, while they won't allow an offline mode, and their fans are slapping them in the face, on their forums, saying "Hey! We don't want multiplayer mode! I won't buy it!" Maybe Maxis/EA will smarten up and just allow offline mode, they could be losing some big bucks.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/05/2012 17:10:29


I hope you guys are ready for SimCity Societies 2: MMO Edition!!

If only a good company like Valve owned the Maxis franchise, I doubt anyone would be complaining then.
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Joined: 04/01/2012 02:16:02
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Yup. Well, whole 'nother discussion, but it's a very 'energetic' discussion. Options that extend replay value, trying different things, letting hardware set the limits rather than software... lots of ways to tackle the problem of "write the game to be a spectacular success."
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Joined: 03/07/2012 01:35:26
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I think that they might have a 200,000 sim limit per 4 square kilometer area and that hard-coded limit might be like "access denied: you cannot build that" or having negative demand no matter what once you near the limit.

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Well, Glassbox 'agents' are certainly going to cause some interesting dynamics force some limitations. Hopefully Maxis will be looking at the project as a whole and avoid things like, "Who 640k should be plenty, who needs more memory than that?"

SC4 would be so much better if the menu system was flexible enough to handle all the available mods people could use with it.

"I'm sure EA is very successful at monetizing games, but the more we don't do what they would do, the happier I am" --Notch

"Free men choose. Unfree men comply." John T. Reed

File this one under, "If the shoe fits..."
http://youtu.be/e-LE0ycgkBQ
[Email] [WWW]




Joined: 04/23/2012 16:10:08
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Location: UK
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[quote=Romaq]Well, Glassbox 'agents' are certainly going to cause some interesting dynamics force some limitations. Hopefully Maxis will be looking at the project as a whole and avoid things like, "Who 640k should be plenty, who needs more memory than that?".[/quote]

True, the use of agents so much could actually be quite crazy when you think about having hundreds of thousands of people in a city. I wonder if that size could even be achieved? Then there's a lot of other things going off as well. It'd be nice to see the limit of such a system though.

SC4 MP in a few easy steps -

1. Get Dropbox, or filesharing equivalent.
2. Add "-UserDir:"<Dropbox Folder location>" To the target like in the shortcut properties.
3. Play the game, all new region files will be linked to that folder.



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I would hope (and somewhat expect) 'agents' to be weighted aggregates. So rather than have every single person making a decision, under certain conditions an agent will 'carry more weight' and act on behalf of 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 'individuals' while still being a single 'agent' process. My real life apartment has roughly a dozen people that work at Wal-Mart just across the street. The aggregate behavior would be 'one agent weighted by 12'. I would expect to see shortcuts of one sort or another to use the game mechanics and have the same net effect while lowering the impact on processing.

But... we shall see. Whatever they do choose to do, I really want them to build into the design an allowance for us players to take things in unexpected creative directions.
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Joined: 04/23/2012 16:10:08
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Yeah, that seems the only really logical conclusion where they could allow a more for less strategy in the game.



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Joined: 03/07/2012 01:35:26
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I agree that carpooling and vanpooling should be considered 1 agent but every single car on the road is a different agent so you cannot have 1 agent being equal to 20 commuters, unless they are riding mass transit.

Always try your best.
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