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DRM Networking Games

Hacker Skips SimCity Full-Time Network Requirement 303

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from "Ever since SimCity launched, there has been a suspicion that the need for the game to always be connected to a server was mainly a form of DRM, not for social game features and multiplayer. Then a Maxis developer came forward to confirm the game doesn't actually need a server to function, suggesting the information coming out of EA wasn't the whole truth. Now EA and Maxis have some explaining to do as a modder has managed to get the game running offline indefinitely." The writer names a few small ways in which the game is actually improved by being offline, too.
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Hacker Skips SimCity Full-Time Network Requirement

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  • by Leafheart ( 1120885 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:38AM (#43170865)
    According to TFA you still need to go online to save your progress. So, no, he did not skip the requirement. At most it is not full-time, but "so many times itis easier to keep it on full time"
  • Re:Proof? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:39AM (#43170883) Homepage Journal
    There's a YouTube video at the top of the article. Here's a direct link: SimCity Super Debug Mode [].
  • by Wingfat ( 911988 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:38AM (#43171603)
    so easy to do it. so very easy. (if you know how to read that is)
  • by virgnarus ( 1949790 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:44AM (#43171675)

    That's because it was most likely reviewed by a copy given to publishers and other reviewers prior to retail. There was no stress to bear on their cloud when it was just a few reviewers testing the product, so everything went smooth. But when it came time for the floodgates to open, the cons of their cloud-centered setup got exposed. This is one those situations where when it works, it's all fine and dandy, but when it doesn't, it crashes and burns for just about everyone.

  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:47AM (#43171703) Homepage Journal

    Reviewers conducted their initial reviews on private EA servers. That should have been a factor made clear in every review.

    Going forward, I think reviewers -- and game "journalists" in general -- are going to have to be more skeptical when dealing with publishers' PR flacks. Hopefully this will teach them to do that, because apparently Blizzard's "Error 37" fsck-up didn't. Then again, the "Error 37" was a pretty minor glitch compared to this.

  • Re:SimCity Rescued? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:09PM (#43172025)

    Because you honestly want to purchase three copies -- one for you, and one for each of two friends. DRM-free does not mean royality-free licensing.

  • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:18PM (#43172153)

    The thing about persistent-online game (including MMO) reviews is that you can't really review the most important aspect of the game until after the game ships and people begin playing. Any review of such games is really just a preview, and mostly a graphics, game mechanics one at that.

    Reviews need to stop calling such previews "reviews" and call them by what they are. Once the game is launched, they then should go back to do an actual review of the game. That's how things should be done anyway. Getting a preview mislabeled as a "review" out of the door faster than everybody else seems to trump the disservice they are doing to their readership.

  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:43PM (#43173511) Homepage Journal
    Additionally, here's another story produced by WebProNews [], based on the RockPaperShotgun article produced a day earlier. From the story:

    This week, Stephanie Perotti, Ubisoft’s worldwide director for online games, confirmed in an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun that Ubisoft has ditched always-on DRM. In fact, the company hasn’t implemented such tactics in over a year. Ubisoft’s policy is now to require only a one-time activiation when a game is first installed. In addition, the company now allows gamers to activate a game on as many PCs as they want. Perotti stated that Ubisoft changed its policy based on feedback from its customers.

    "Whining" helped. "Creative protests" helped. Not buying Ubisoft's DRM-encumbered games helped.

    Not going to bother posting more citations; I have decent karma already. I'll just leave this here [] and let you find some examples of your own.

  • Re:SimCity Rescued? (Score:5, Informative)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:53PM (#43173693)

    Regarding the kickstarter project, if it's DRM free, then why is one of the donation rewards "three digital copies" -- if there's no DRM, why would three copies be any different than one?

    Ladies and gentlemen... this is a great example of why game companies are afraid of offering DRM free software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:57PM (#43175983)

    What I got out of that was the following:

    Seriously? They didn't fix the traffic model from SC4?

    SimCity 4 has a similar fundamental flaw in its traffic model that you describe. The SHORTEST route always won out, regardless of whether or not it was the FASTEST route, or HIGHEST-CAPACITY route. Every city you make in SC4 will have that same issue.

    Well, they do until you have enough of that nonsense and install the Network Addon Mod ("network", in this case, meaning "traffic network"). Just ignore all the neat-looking highway and other traffic stuff they give you; the mod's MAIN draw is fixing the damn traffic model so that speed and capacity are more heavily weighted than just distance. I've had SC4 cities where I was getting constant traffic problems related to stupid sims, most roads entirely in the red density, and then I installed NAM and found everything right back to green. Now if I have problems on roads, I can trace down logical reasons why (so it turns out an onramp near an industrial center is a commuter hotspot, big deal).

    What I'm saying is that apparently whatever dev team EA forced to wear Maxis's rotting corpse as a disguise STILL can't figure out traffic models worth a damn (SC4 was the first SimCity post-buyout). And that someone will make a mod that fixes it. Still, not a good scenario for EA.

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