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Customer Discussions > SimCity: Limited Edition forum

What are your thoughts on the beta?


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Showing 51-75 of 93 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2013, 9:35:19 PM PST
T. Lack says:
Yeah I know exactly what you're talking about. Battlefield 3 was terrible for at least 6 months after it came out. Every time you tried to play you were disconnected from the server or Origin would crash. I expect the same kind of experience with SimCity. It might be one of those games to buy after it's been out for 6 months when all the problems are ironed out. The more and more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to cancel my pre-order.

Posted on Feb 4, 2013, 9:54:51 PM PST
Grieger says:
Yeah, plus for me, I usually don't have time to play until after 10pm, more often closer to midnight...which is exactly when BF3 would go into maintenance. I can't count the times I was wrapping up work and happened to check twitter to see they were planning on maintenance starting in an hour. And, you can expect that, I'm sure, for the first month at minimum as they perform server updates to deal with bugs, hacks and general server issues (game developers have traditionally been terrible server software engineers...they've gotten better over time but as evidenced by MMO launches and other online-based game launches, it seems there aren't enough network engineers out there to fill the available and needed slots at game companies).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2013, 10:46:35 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 8, 2013, 3:23:23 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 12:55:27 PM PST
L. W. Pardue says:
Just played through the Beta Tutorial .. I was unable to build a city on my own due to maybe a glitch?.. anyways.. the game is much more polished than the previous and while it does in more depth in some areas than the previous, if makes it more intuitive to get to the meat of things. The water and sewage features seem more simplified and less time consuming to develop.

One thing of note, you apparently have to have the latest and greatest video card to play this game.. My ASUS i7 3.4 ghz w/ 16 GB of Ram, Nvidia GT 620 w/ 2 GB of RAM, and 256 SSD Drive was only good enough for the LOW settings.. Now, while everything was smooth running when playing the game, I was a bit ticked that I was looking at subpar video graphics on my pretty above avg system and those with lesser will be dealt the same surprise..

Posted on Feb 16, 2013, 1:01:46 PM PST
Ikihi says:
i canceled my preorder and just bought cities xl instead

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013, 1:26:14 PM PST
L. W. Pardue says:
I have cities XL.. It's nice graphically but lacks personality.. But if u want huge cities , you will be very pleased.. The multiple city setup is not as good as simcity though.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013, 7:14:30 PM PST
NYC Dad says:
Something sounds off about your setup and the settings at which you can play. I have an i5 3.3ghz, Radeon HD 6970 and 16GB RAM. I was running the beta from a regular HDD and set everything on high/ultra and didn't have a problem at all. The only real difference between our setups is the gfx card and I'm not very familiar with Nvidia but how bad can yours be? Are you sure your drivers are updated?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013, 8:18:51 PM PST
L. W. Pardue says:
The game itself said my video card was newer but too slow to be set on anything higher than low.. It didn't give me an option to change it.. Once I get full game ill be able to adjust and see how it acts.

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 2:40:16 AM PST
Grieger says:
It's possible since the beta's a limited build, it's not optimized for the mid- and low-range cards. I've got a GTX 670 and it used high settings by default. Still, given the simplistic sims and buildings to some extent, I don't get the higher requirements...

And, I played through the beta this time as well and I couldn't help but feel the cities are just too small. The region play is nice but it's ultimately the same as SC4...you load each city and when you're not playing a city, it's just this static non-operational city (you still get traded resources and the like). That's not necessarily bad but because I was trying to see if I could create a separate industrial-only city and a residential and commercial city to work together with the first city and it wasn't great. I kept getting complaints about unemployment in the RC city even though the I city had plenty of businesses looking for workers.

Still on the fence on this one...

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 3:45:48 PM PST
Devin R. says:
For whatever it's worth, I have a 6850 with 8 GBs RAM, Athlon x4 2.8GHz, and an SSD. Ran 1920x1080 on high settings without any trouble.

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 5:00:25 PM PST
I think the cities are way too small. I would get bored too easy.

Posted on Feb 17, 2013, 7:12:54 PM PST
K. Geddings says:
its not perfect but it could be worse. the interface is clean. i like the data overlays the graphics are nice and its easy to get into. i think it will be fun. i like the online connectivity as you can rate yourself compared to other players, share resources and i think even see others cities. some tradeoffs but to me looks like it will be fun. i am preordering.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 4:01:51 PM PST
Eric DiPier says:
I think one thing that has been under-publicized is the fact that the new game is a true simulation, whereas all the previous games have simply used graphical representations of data.

This is why the cities are so small: because each "thing" in the city is actually being simulated. If you have 50 people living in your city, that is 50 people that need jobs. So if your industrial and commercial sectors can only support 40 jobs, you will have 10 unemployed people. You can literally search the map and find all 10, and then when 10 more jobs come to your city, you could watch those 10 people drive to work.

This seems like a pretty major deal...but I think it's hard for most gamers to truly appreciate it, because what happens on the screen seems similar to previous games. And I guess that under-appreciation may be what's driving all the negativity about the city size and the "dumbing down" and all that. I hope Maxis does a better job of publicizing the simulation power of the Glassbox engine because I think it's pretty remarkable.

(I also disagree with the people that have theorized that there will be a "patch" allowing bigger city sizes. I don't think it's possible for the game to simulate bigger cities because there would be too many "things" to simulate all at once; it would require too much processing power. That seems like the obvious reason why they limited city size the way they did).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2013, 6:20:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2013, 6:22:32 PM PST
The issue I have is the 3D makes roads etc look super big compare to cities size. I watch all 8 video's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6DvleqnyDU it looks kind of babyish also in my eyes as well, I must say cities status look good. Also the house etc don't seem to match the population from what I see.

I do think it is too small. The fact you get nagged by city hall all threw out of the game doesn't impress me. I don't see why you need a CD/DVD looks like it is all online to me.

I think it is smaller then a small city in Simcity 4. I love playing Simcity 4 and doubt I will get Simcity 5.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 6:36:54 PM PST
NYC Dad says:
I played the beta several times on saturday. While the small city size really bothered me (I was able to use about 70% of the space in the one hour I had!), I really enjoyed the game otherwise. I like the small challenges your residents give you ("I'm gonna create tons of garbage, think you can handle it?") and the graphics are not bad at all.

All that being said, Origin is a major PITA. This is the first time I use it and it looks like a bad Steam knockoff. With Origin and the tiny city size, I'm thinking about canceling my pre-order.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 8:18:31 PM PST
Grieger says:
I do agree that some of the features are great. I like the citizen missions...sort of like on-the-spot achievements that drive you to build out infrastructure more. It would be nicer though if they gave you rewards as a result (or do they, I didn't notice).

The maps are definitely too small for me. Sure, you can build out a region but to me it's annoying that I have to go through a loading screen, however fast it is on my computer, to switch between "regions" of my city if I want to create a metropolis. Even the designer said they got up to a max of 800k-1m population by making an entirely residential city. It ruins the challenge.

And regarding the simulation, that's really not an excuse. I understand the agent system and how it works but I also understand that they have to limit their system so it works on the minimum requirements' setup. It doesn't sound like they've built it to scale up with processing power which would have been the smarter way to go. If we're still playing this game in five years, we'll likely have several times the computing power available to play the game. Why should we be limited then because they built the game to support basic PCs today?

Plus, everything just feels like they're taking what they've learned from the Sims series (release a new engine every few years, an expansion pack or DLC every few months and charge top dollar). They've already got DLC for this game lined up for launch and they've got it priced where you're paying for $20 for the digital deluxe edition to get three DLC packs with some extra buildings and the like, I can imagine there will be a nice big marketplace filled with stuff to buy. It's not necessarily a bad thing but I can't help but feel like it's engineered to bilk everyone out of money for nothing.

If a million people buy a $20 DLC pack with 100 new buildings and other objects, you're talking about $20 million in revenue (remember they're selling this through Origin so there's no retailer cut). Can you honestly tell me the handful of artists working for maybe a few weeks to build those models and maybe a couple programmers to script any special behaviors cost more than a couple hundred thousand? 90% profit margins seem a bit much. And before someone flames this post and downvotes me, I understand I'm generalizing. My point is if they're going to rob us blind, I'd rather they spent some of those piles of gold on making features that make we loyal fans happier. It's not like we're asking for the moon or for anything really new. We just want the features that drew us to the game in the first place.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 8:30:57 PM PST
NYC Dad says:
The missions that are optional do offer rewards. For example, some missions are to build a clinic, a police station, etc. These are not really optional, as you kinda have to build them. However, the missions like "we wanna do a fireworks show and there's gonna be some fires, can you handle them?" are optional and offer up to 50k simoleons in reward.

I do agree about the small map size which I really don't see why it's a limitation. My computer can handle HUGE maps in Civilization 5 and 40-man raids in WoW, both of which are very gfx card and CPU intensive. It should be able to handle bigger maps in SimCity, whether or not it needs to keep track of every sim. AT LEAST GIVE US THE OPTION. I'll lower my settings. I'll click "OK" on a disclaimer that says that this may slow things down if I choose to go bigger. But give me the goddamn option to build a city that doesn't look like a demo of the game.

Posted on Feb 18, 2013, 8:40:23 PM PST
Grieger says:
I know, I totally agree. Scaling isn't exactly rocket science. They already scale graphics performance based on the settings you select. I can't believe they can't just have some slider that lets you decide the max number of agents when starting a game.

Posted on Feb 27, 2013, 9:04:45 PM PST
I've read a lot of complaints about the small city size, many of the posters not understanding why decent computers today can't have a huge city with the graphics Maxis is working with. Well, it isn't about the graphics per se. If it were old style sprite graphics, the city probably could be bigger than SC4. No, the problem is the level of depth to the GlassBox engine. It's not just keeping track of city wide numbers. It's having to keep track of each individual sim, their car, their house, their job, their favorite stores, etc .... Every time you add some new "agents" to the mix, it adds that many more calculations that need to be done per second.

I saw a video of some of the Maxis guys talking about SC4. One of the designers had a non-graphical version that he inputted into Excel. I highly doubt an Excel spreadsheet could run GlassBox calculations. It would have to have millions upon millions of cells to run a large city.

The level of statistical information is just so much more than SC4. I don't like some of the decisions they made in reference to how they are handling this extra level of burden on our CPUs but I do think it's a step in the right direction. As long as this game sells, improvements will hopefully go in the right direction.

I'd like to see a stop gap method of handling the space inbetween cities, for example, but if I had to choose between a larger city that barely ran on my computer or what they are offering, I'd choose what they are offering. Yes, they could have chosen to "upgrade" SC4, but at some point they would have had to get away from the old sprite technology. I'm hopeful for the franchise.

And for those that love SC4, mods are constantly making it better ... but they can only go so far. It will never be a true 3D world.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013, 9:08:01 PM PST
That could work, though I have a feeling they won't offer such a work around.

But I see how it could work. Instead of having a medium size town of 50,000 population, you have a larger "graphical" town but that still only registers 50,000. A large residence might register 1,000 residents in the higher setting but only 500 in the lower setting.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013, 9:10:45 PM PST
If improvements are made to the game over the next several years, many of today's complaints may be taken care of. In five years we could see larger cities with the same level of detail as today because the computers then will be able to handle it.

I agree with the masses, though. Some scaling would have been nice. They say that it would have been harder to upgrade a scaled system rather than do what they did (start at the highest level of detail today's computers can handle and expand slowly), but I'm not sure I buy it. Of course, I'm not a game designer.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013, 9:14:38 PM PST
I think the following is worth repeating from an earlier poster. I completely agree.

"I think one thing that has been under-publicized is the fact that the new game is a true simulation, whereas all the previous games have simply used graphical representations of data.

This is why the cities are so small: because each "thing" in the city is actually being simulated. If you have 50 people living in your city, that is 50 people that need jobs. So if your industrial and commercial sectors can only support 40 jobs, you will have 10 unemployed people. You can literally search the map and find all 10, and then when 10 more jobs come to your city, you could watch those 10 people drive to work.

This seems like a pretty major deal...but I think it's hard for most gamers to truly appreciate it, because what happens on the screen seems similar to previous games. And I guess that under-appreciation may be what's driving all the negativity about the city size and the "dumbing down" and all that. I hope Maxis does a better job of publicizing the simulation power of the Glassbox engine because I think it's pretty remarkable.

(I also disagree with the people that have theorized that there will be a "patch" allowing bigger city sizes. I don't think it's possible for the game to simulate bigger cities because there would be too many "things" to simulate all at once; it would require too much processing power. That seems like the obvious reason why they limited city size the way they did)."

Posted on Feb 27, 2013, 9:18:22 PM PST
NYC Dad says:
And still, with all these details that they need to keep track of, I, as a customer, don't really care. Figure it out. If modern PCs can't handle it, maybe we don't need to keep track of every sim's car color or nostril hair length.
I appreciate what they're trying to do here, I really do, but if keeping track of so many things means such a HUGE compromise, maybe it's not worth it.

And I will repeat my argument from earlier: My computer (and Blizzard's servers) can handle the real time display of hundreds of WoW toons, each dressed differently, has different effects applied to its gear, casting a different spell, moving or flying in a different direction and of course, controlled by a different computer somewhere in the world. And this was possible back in 2004, so I honestly don't understand what's SO demanding in keeping track of sims, compared to WoW or many other games that do the same thing. It's just a couple more database tables, that's all.

Posted on Feb 27, 2013, 10:52:24 PM PST
Grieger says:
@M.H that's not the best example but I agree. Those toons are manned by other players (except for the NPCs which don't do much). Even so, it's not like this is a Sims game. From what I've seen of the demos of the engines, it's not even really a sim in the sense that they aren't creating AI sims that actually "think". They're creating agents that check criteria and effectively fill bars. You've basically got agents running at different states (Am I new to this city? Do I need a job? Is my garbage meter full?) based on where they are in some sort of progression. Is my crime bar filling up? If so, are police agents reducing it?

To me, that's not complex enough to require the limits they're talking about, especially since there are ample opportunities to take advantage of the multiple cores you and everyone else these days have running in their CPUs. Graphics are taken care of via the GPU (in most cases) so that's not an issue when it comes to the number of agents...especially with how simple they've modeled everything.

@Masquerade Crew, I think most of us have devoured just about everything that's come out of Maxis. :) So, we're well aware of what the devs have been saying. I just think they could have done better. I agree a future upgrade to the engine might be harder if it scales, but that would be only if they didn't think that far ahead. Unless they're coding the whole in thing in C, OOP allows for "upgrades" as long as you've allowed for them going into it. Game developers, though, are notorious for hacking something out, though, to fit an early proof of concept or some early specs only to have to upgrade a number of things later because they didn't account for what could be. For instance, there is no reason to assume you could use a short variable (16b) when you could use a long (64b) and only increase your final binary by a bit (okay, not a "bit" but with today's game sizes, I seriously doubt an extra MB or two is going to matter).

No, I think they got the engine working on a baseline configuration that meets their expected minimum (or the target minimum) requirements based on a specific amount of agents (probably stored in a constant) and they never considered the possibility of allowing the engine to scale. Often times, in programming, accounting for that sort of expandability requires more time and they probably decided they didn't have the time.

For what it's worth, as a small city simulator, I'm sure it'll be great. But, given SimCity's legacy, they're basically handing you a slider and telling you it's a half-pound of hamburger...and selling it at the full sized price. As M.H. and others have noted, I really don't care whether it's a "real" sim or not. I want it to act like a simulation of a city...not a simulation of agents that you (the developer) felt was cool and "right". A true sim would actually sim the individual people and give them a decent AI to figure out the lay of the land and what they wanted to do. But despite today's computing power, that's virtually impossible. This agent system just has buildings broadcast over a wire that is a road what a building needs or it produces and hopes that someone is listening and will respond in kind. While you can call it a sim, it's no better than what they were doing with the previous SimCity games. It's faking the actual sim to make it feel like you're managing a city teeming with simulated people.

That combined with the other issues (always-online DRM, mediocre graphics, etc.) just speaks to how much the game has be manipulated to follow guidelines other than how to make a game that people who like SimCity will enjoy. I'm sure they'll get a lot of newbies who don't know any better and I suspect that's who their target audience is.

There's this whole conundrum about sequels that rings true here as well. As a dev, if you don't deliver any major changes in the sequel, people will complain it's a point release rather than a full sequel. However, if you do make any changes, hardcore or established fans will complain that you screwed them over to make this new version for someone other than them. So, in deciding to do a sequel, they've put themselves in this corner they can't really get out of without harming someone. In this case, they decided to ignore the established fanbase and cater to a new generation of gamers who have shorter attention spans, like fancy lights over deep simulation, and are getting used to the F2P/microtrans model where if you want to keep playing a game, you have to keep paying for it in some way.

Don't get me wrong. I have an MBA and appreciate the idea of a business making money. I just think, and I'm in the minority here when it comes to business types, you can operate a business that can be profitable without having to screw your customer over. Unfortunately, screwing the customer is an easier and shorter-term solution that pays dividends when you're a public company and you have shareholders that demand unrealistic quarterly growth out of a well-established company in a rapidly maturing industry. There's a reason the indie game subindustry spawned out of the main one. The availability of tools and broader acceptance of the game industry as a whole outstanding (and to me those were just obstacles that are finally out of the way), there's a growing sense that the larger game publishers are following the music and film industry: throwing big budgets at something no one can predict will be successful. It's why they prefer to milk franchises like CoD or Assassin's Creed rather than create new ones. It feels like a safe bet (it isn't but it can be a successful strategy for some time as CoD has proven). Eventually, though, it has to come to a head...a point where the larger game companies have to squeeze every cent out of their customer base or face bankruptcy. I'm not saying EA is there yet but with the recent announcement regarding microtransactions in every game they plan on releasing in the future, it seems they're well on their way there. I'd rather they announced that they were going to focus on making fun games and let the microtransactions and other parts of the business model follow the fun. Instead, they seem to be looking to determine how to maximize their profits then figure out how to slap a game on that...

::Quietly steps down from soapbox::

Posted on Feb 28, 2013, 12:32:39 AM PST
I seen a video where Will Wright is talking about the game and the cities look bigger. Also a video shows an city made up of 3 islands with bridges.
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Initial post:  Jan 26, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 6, 2013

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SimCity: Limited Edition by Electronic Arts (Windows 7 / Vista / XP)
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