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Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis, posted on EA's website saying that the problems with the SimCity servers are almost resolved. However, she added that she couldn't give the all-clear signal quite yet. "I'm happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us."
I had hoped to issue an "All-Clear" tonight, but there are still some elements coming together. Tonight and tomorrow we'll be monitoring each server and gameplay metrics to ensure that the service remains strong and game is playing great. We need a few more days of data before we can assure you that the problem is completely solved and the game is running at 100 percent.
The blog post details that players have already been able to log nearly 8 million hours of gameplay time. This has been the result of optimizing server architecture and response times on new and existing servers. Game crashes have reportedly been decreased by 92 percent since the launch last Tuesday.
We'll be sure to bring you news when EA announces that all problems are resolved. In the meantime, you can check out all of our coverage of SimCity by clicking here.
Steam posted an announcement that Tomb Raider has been updated. While the update should be automatically applied when the game is next started, you may have to restart the Steam client. This update brings with it fixes for some of the problems that were discovered shortly before launch and immediately after.
This means that users with NVIDIA cards should have fewer issues relating to the game. NVIDIA was forced to make a statement last week after many users experienced less-than-optimal gameplay. The update includes the following fixes:
- Addressed some stability and startup issues on machines that have both Intel and NVIDIA graphics hardware.
- Fix for players being unable to progress related to the boat in the beach area.
- Some fixes for crashes on startup and when selecting Options.
- Some small improvements to TressFX hair rendering.
- Fixes for various graphics glitches, including certain effects not being visible in fullscreen mode.
- Fixed a problem that caused some users to not be able to use exclusive fullscreen.
- Added support for separate mouse/gamepad inversion for aiming, as well as support for x-axis inversion.
- Fixes related to the benchmark scene and benchmark mode.
- Various other small fixes.
In interesting move, a "beta" version has been released on steam that carries the build number 716.5.
AMD might have won the contract for the hardware inside of Sony's PlayStation 4, but NVIDIA's PhysX and APEX technologies will be supported on the PS4. NVIDIA have announced their support for the PS4, introducing new PhysX and APEX SDKs for developers.
These technologies allow developers to provide dynamic physics to environments, particles, and objects, delivering more life-like destruction, character models, and effects that react in real-time to player interaction and in-game action.
The current unofficial Steam Box is launching this holiday season for a starting price of $1000. Xi3's Piston will begin pre-orders of the PC on March 18, with pre-order customers receiving a nice $100 discount off the system.
Xi3's Piston is the first PC designed specifically to run games through Steam's Big Picture Mode, with Valve helping finance the system. This is completely different to the Steam Box, which is coming later this year according to Valve hero Gabe Newell. Xi3 CEO, Jason Sullivan, said in a press release:
Clearly, the computer/video gaming market is huge, both in the personal computer and traditional console markets. That being said, we believe there is a crying need for a machine that captures the best of both worlds, with the upgradeability of computer gaming rigs and the design and form factor of consoles. We believe our Piston Consoles do exactly that-deliver the beauty and small size of consoles with the upgradeability of computers.
Even with SimCity being the most failed launch of recent times, developer Maxis won't be taking the game offline, but they'll be look into it as a way of "earning back [buyers'] trust efforts". This is all from a tweet from the game's official Twitter account. Earlier today, General Manager of Maxis, Lucy Bradshaw began answering questions through Twitter. She was asked about an offline mode patch in the future, if the servers were to go offline, even for years at a time, Bradshaw responded:
Bradshaw talked about the offline mode, adding "It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team."
I really hope we see a change in games now, offering a playable game without Internet access. I think in this day and age, while I'm always connected to the Internet, I like the ability to play a game like SimCity offline. Especially when travelling, etc. Maxis have put a city-sized foot in their mouth with the launch of SimCity.
EA are in a world of hurt right now, so bad that they're now offering a free game to anyone who has purchased SimCity. They're doing this as an apology, with Maxis' boss, Lucy Bradshaw took to a blog post saying that anyone with a copy of the currently out of action sim game that was activated before March 18, will receive a free game from EA's catalog.
The full blog post is below:
Here's a quick update on the problems we were experiencing with SimCity - and a little something extra for people who bought the game.
The server issues which began at launch have improved significantly as we added more capacity. But some people are still experiencing response and stability problems that we're working fast to address.
A famous quote in the tech world is "nobody will ever need more than 640kB of RAM." Obviously we've blasted through that amount of RAM with cell phones and even embedded devices having much more than that. Yet, for some reason, the PlayStation 3 came with just 512MB of RAM, forcing level designers to cut corners.
Dishonored's lead level designer Christophe Carrier:
As a level designer we are struggling against memory every day. We cut things, we remove things, we strip things, we split the levels, we remove NPCs from levels because there's not enough memory.
When the PlayStation 4 was announced last month, Carrier was excited to hear that the console would be shipping with a whopping 8GB of RAM. "So knowing that memory is something that is going to be improved in the next generation of consoles: to us, it's a joy. It's something that we were waiting for."
Other developers are excited by the prospects of the console using strictly PC hardware and architecture. It will allow them to more easily produce games for both the PC and PlayStation 4. Consumers are excited because this may lead to one day being able to upgrade your console, much like you would with a PC.
Crystal Dynamics' reboot of Tomb Raider has just been released, and being an AMD Gaming Evolved title, Radeon owners haven't been having an issue running it at all. GeForce users on the other hand? Well, you should read on.
GeForce users have been having huge problems with the game, so much so that NVIDIA's Andrew Burnes, the editor of the official GeForce.com website, wrote a three-paragraph statement regarding the performance issues of Tomb Raider on NVIDIA hardware:
We are aware of performance and stability issues with GeForce GPUs running Tomb Raider with maximum settings. Unfortunately, NVIDIA didn't receive final game code until this past weekend which substantially decreased stability, image quality and performance over a build we were previously provided. We are working closely with Crystal Dynamics to address and resolve all game issues as quickly as possible.
Please be advised that these issues cannot be completely resolved by an NVIDIA driver. The developer will need to make code changes on their end to fix the issues on GeForce GPUs as well. As a result, we recommend you do not test Tomb Raider until all of the above issues have been resolved.
In the meantime, we would like to apologize to GeForce users that are not able to have a great experience playing Tomb Raider, as they have come to expect with all of their favorite PC games.
Telltale Games' game adaption of the immensely successful The Walking Dead series has come to a close with Season 1, but now we're hearing about Season 2 of The Walking Dead game, which will be coming out in Fall of this year.
Fans won't need to be too worried, as we're still pumping through episodes of The Walking Dead's third season on TV which should keep fans at bay for now. Studio co-founder, Dan Connors, has said:
We're aiming for fall of this year. That's a pretty long time, but it's not all doom and gloom. Walking Dead writer Gary Whitta revealed recently that "there may very well be more Walking Dead from Telltale before season two. We may have a little something extra for you between season one and two. 'll probably have something to announce fairly soon about what we're going to do. It'll be different.
As part of the ongoing launch troubles that SimCity has undergone, EA has announced that they will be shutting down some of the non-critical features of the game to help with server load and connectivity. Most of these features, ironically, are the ones that would require an always-on internet connection.
We are continuing to do everything we can to address the server issues. In the meantime, so that we can give you as good an experience as possible, we are in the process of deploying a hotfix to all servers. This includes various improvements and also disables a few non-critical gameplay features (leaderboards, achievements and region filters). Disabling these features will in no way affect your core gameplay experience.
EA is also adding servers to help with the load. They have said that customers can request a refund, though this didn't work out too well for at least one person who tried. We'll keep looking for SimCity news, hopefully of the variety that EA has fixed all of the problems. If you haven't picked up the game yet, you would be advised to hold off until the all-clear is given by EA.