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There will be geekery

July 13, 2013 6 comments

Or should that be nerdery?

At any rate, I’m posting this to keep myself honest. A week or so ago I asked my FB and G+ homies if there would be any interest in me posting stuff about a Fate campaign I’m planning to run. There was interest (and my ego sighed with relief).

So there shall be posts. I just need to figure out how to approach this without giving away the mega-ultra-seekrit background plotty things in case my players (all two of them) should drop by here and see things players should not wot of, to paraphrase Mr. Pratchett.

I’m looking forward to it, in a ungh-now-I-have-to-post-again and a gah-what-have-I-forgotten (to make up) kind of way.

Categories: Gaming Tags: ,

SimCity – mea culpa

March 9, 2013 6 comments

While lots of people are probably going to say this isn’t enough, it’s still nice that they’re trying to do something.

The full post is worth a read – it’s pretty short, but I don’t want to reproduce it verbatim. TL;DR below.

So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta.

OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent.

So we’re close to fixed, but not quite there. I’m hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us.

And, by way of apology, “we’re going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio”. Again, lots of folks will say that’s like piling poo on top of crap, but I like that they’re trying to do something, even if it’s not something that costs them all that much in terms of bottom line. ANY effort to make things right is better than no effort at all. Mistakes (or major screwups) happen – what matters to me at the end of the day is acknowledgement and some attempt to fix things down the line.

SimCity: oh sh*t patch

March 6, 2013 2 comments

So, presumably EA woke up this morning and saw the shitstorm. (Actually it’s very likely most of them worked through the night. I actually love game people, I just hate the way launches are always poo.)

They’re rolling out a server update. Since I’m not sure everyone can access that page, here’s the text:

We are working hard to resolve a problem that is at the heart of the issues which some players have reported. Namely:

Trading not working consistently

  • Unable to load/claim city errors
  • Getting stuck in a loop in the tutorial

To that end, we are currently rolling out a server update which we believe will improve performance considerably. This will involve restarts over the next 4-5 hours across all of our current severs. Minor player impact may occur, such as trading not working consistently and the region wall not working occasionally. We appreciate your continued patience and support while this fix is being deployed.

Please continue to check back here for updates

It seems the tutorial-loop issue may be fixed already, or that could just be because I finally thought to run the game as admin. Then again, it still wouldn’t let me play. It probably knows I should be working.

Sim City mildly blues

March 5, 2013 6 comments

I haven’t played enough to have much of an opinion yet. However.

EDIT for full disclosure – after trying to get into a game for half an hour, and then trying to create my own game for another half hour, I’m rapidly sliding out of the “Oh, silly EA” opinion chair and into “You guys just had to force us to play online and you just had to fail to have the server infrastructure (or whatever it is) to cope.”

During the ENTIRE development process, did nobody stop to say “You know, this game will be utterly unplayable if the servers aren’t working, and yet we’re not calling this an MMO?” – or, for that matter “Is it really wise for force the internet connection thing on people for a single-player game? We haven’t done it to the Sims yet, maybe we should hold off on doing it to Sim City…”

I now bring you back to the original, less bitter post.

1. When I buy what has been a single-player game (with recent multiplayer elements) since the late 80s — and I too had SimCity 1.0 on my Mac SE — I expect to be able to enjoy a single player experience. Meaning I should still be able to play if the servers are down.

2. If you’re as big as EA, PLAN FOR LAUNCH. This really isn’t rocket science anymore and saying “Oh, we didn’t expect the internet!” really isn’t an excuse.

3. The cities are too fecking small. I don’t care if I can play 16 cities at once in the same region. What if I want to play one giant, single-player, orgiastic megalopolis? Too bad, so sad, go back to playing the game in the single way Maxis feels you should be able to. Shame shame shame.

4. Did Microsoft give Maxis design lessons? Because it sure feels that way.

5. EDIT – And what’s with the crappy zoom out distance? That’s just nasty.

I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure this version has some interesting new things to offer, and there are some cool new features (like non-grid roads, because not every city in the world is designed the way American cities were), but I’m still a bit peeved.

If I wanted launch day bullshit, I’d have bought an MMO.

SimCity bah

Game Trailery Goodness – Cyberpunk 2077

January 11, 2013 4 comments

I’m not usually much of one for trailers but ohhh, this is different. This is Cyberpunk – specifically, a teaser for Cyberpunk 2077. More info here. I so wish this could be an MMO, but there are lots of reasons why it’s better not. Even so.

DO. WANT.

It’s dark, it’s disturbing – but not in-your-face disturbing, which is even better – and in a short space of time asks one of the central questions of the Cyberpunk genre: Humanity is perfectible (by machines), but at what price?

And the soundtrack is awesome, which I’m not prone to saying about soundtracks in general.

I’m going off to do an Animal impression.

animal-muppet1

Categories: Cyberpunk 2077 Tags: , , ,

A little light reading

November 3, 2012 9 comments

From Rampant Coyote’s “Why the AAA Games Industry is Screwed” – an always-interesting blog with a link to a fascinating article.RC’s post itself is short and to the point, but if you don’t have this blog on your radar, you probably should.

The article linked is long but well worth the read if you have even an armchair interest in the industry, as I do.

Death March: The long, tortured journey of Homefront

“There is an expectation,” explained one producer, “that if you spend eight months developing a demo for E3 that does really well in the press, then that’s eight months well spent. Because you just sold another 500,000 copies of the game. It comes down to this very, very bizarre math. … No other industry would actually let you work like this. … So a lot of people are abused in the gaming world. Especially for marketing and things like E3. And I think that’s a business problem.”

I won’t comment – partly because it’s way too early in the morning, I’m under-caffeinated and I only just read it, and partly because it’s one in a long stream of “OMG how can an industry with so much potential get like this?”.

Well okay, maybe one little tiny comment. As a player and not a developer, I don’t necessarily care who makes my games (actually I’d rather it were smaller studios, since I have a cynical dislike of any megabusiness, even in gaming), but if the giants are screwed, will the indie studios be good enough to pick up the slack? There’s some amazing stuff coming out of indie studios and I’m not implying they’re not capable, but there’s a certain level of… glitz and glamour, I guess, associated with the humungous productions which – as it does with Hollywood blockbusters (whether they’re good or not) – does contribute to the buzz, anticipation and pleasure that flies around AAA game releases.

For me, gaming these days is almost as much about the anticipation for a game as it is about the game itself (which might be worth pondering further). While I decry the hype-wave fairly regularly, I also don’t shut it off completely because sometimes it’s fun to jump on.

Hype doesn’t make the game, of course, as we well know – I won’t even name names. But still… I’d miss the glitz if it were to vanish. On the other hand, I’d gladly ditch the glitz if developers and studios were able to feel a little more stable and not work psyche-breaking crunch hours. I’m not the first one to float the ridiculous idea that a little job security and a little less insanity in the workplace might make for a better industry in the long run.

Maybe part of the problem is that game studios seem to be run like Hollywood studios?

Categories: Gaming Tags: , ,

King of the road

July 24, 2012 4 comments

I haven’t had much time to play anything in the last week and a half.

For some reason, a particular game demanded to come back out of the closet and that’s what I’ve been putzing around with when I have the odd half-hour before bed. There are times when I’m too tired to chop up zombies.

Bet you can’t guess which game it is.

Gah. Now I’ve given myself REM’s eponymous cover version as an ear worm. I guess there’s worse ear-worms to have.

Categories: Gaming, Sims 3 Tags: , ,
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