SimCity traffic problems being fixed, says Maxis.

SimCity lead designer Stone Librande acknowledges traffic issues and details how the team at Maxis is working to fix them.

SimCity lead designer Stone Librande has posted a blog detailing how the game's simulation mechanics work, and has pledged to fix the game's traffic pathing.

This week numerous YouTube videos have surfaced from users who have found ways to highlight bugs and errors in SimCity's simulation. Librande has clarified how the game's GlassBox engine processes information. "At the surface level, GlassBox is designed around the premise that 'Agents' are created to carry data to various 'Sinks' around the city. In SimCity, you can think of the 'Agents' as Sims and vehicles. The 'Sinks' are the buildings that receive money, happiness and other resources from these Agents."

"Our main focus right now is updating the pathing system that the Agents use to get to their Sinks. Running a successful city means keeping the traffic flowing and we are actively working to make this system better," Librande added. "One of the main bugs being highlighted at the moment is in the game's traffic system insisting on taking the shortest possible route to each location, causing massive traffic jams even when other roads are available."

"We understand that when cars always take the shortest route between point A and point B there will be unavoidable (and illogical) traffic jams, so we are returning these values to make the traffic flow more realistically," said Librande.

"To dig a little deeper," Librande added, "our roads will have a weighting system based on 25%, 50% and 75% capacity. As a road hits those marks it will become less and less appealing for other cars, increasing the likelihood of them taking an alternate path if one exists."

The traffic situation will be patched shortly, says Librande, and the fixes are being tested internally at Maxis right now alongside other pathing issues, such as with multiple emergency services responding to issues one by one as opposed to simultaneously.

"We are working on additional fixes with the pathing of our Agents and these changes will streamline the way that the simulation unfolds in your city. For instance, emergency vehicles will not get blocked in their garages and will move into empty lanes to get around traffic jams. We're also working on preventing service vehicles from clumping up (for instance, only one fire truck will respond to a fire instead of two) and improving the way that Public Transportation operates in the city. We are currently testing a patch internally and hope to have it out to you soon."

Librande also detailed how some of the game's simulation mechanics actually work. He confirmed that SimCity's sims do not lead realistic lives, but instead move to the nearest available job in the morning and leave for the closest vacant house in the evening. It means a sim might go to a different job every day, and return home to a different family every evening.

"Ultimately we didn't feel that the cost of adding in that extra layer of micro detail made the macro game play richer. Game design is filled with tradeoffs and compromises like this and we are constantly evaluating these (and many other) decisions," said Librande.

Librande confirmed that Maxis is slowly reenabling the features it switched off last week to help ease the game's overloaded servers. Regional achievements are now live on select servers, and leaderboards are up and running on the game's test server. SimCity's cheetah speed is still unavailable, and was not mentioned by Librande.

Yesterday a SimCity modder showed it was possible to circumvent the game's 20-minute disconnection timer, essentially making it possible to play the game, which by default insists on an always-online connection, indefinitely online.

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126 comments
JJMikhail
JJMikhail

Yeah and by not fixing it all they have done is destroy the very cities *ahem* villages, that we have taken hours to build with the Fire Crews not putting out fires, Police not locking up criminals and Trash not getting cleared up.

What did EA think of, let their customers build cities and then with their game design let them turn a bunch of mini Detroit's?

PunctualPothead
PunctualPothead

Seems strange that the idiots at EA forced us to log onto their servers whether we wanted an "online" experience or not.  And then they have to shut down portions of the game because their servers that they require us to use are over loaded. 

Hey EA!  How about you stop being douchey to your customers and start treating us like we're your customers? 

jaialin
jaialin

Glad to hear that the CEO of Electronic Arts is stepping down because of the Sim City frakup. A free game doesn't even begin to rectify the structural weakness in EA's current busines model. "Hey y'all, play some other game while we're fixing this one." Thanks.

I'm so glad I waited to buy SimCity. Can someone just tell me when it's fixed?


jamenta8
jamenta8

That just makes no sense - that they couldn't code the Sims living in the same house and working at same place.  I think for many players - that's exactly the kind of new simulation they were looking forward to. It sounds like the same "cutting corners" rationale along with similar fabrication they used to argue the always online feature was necessary.

spenta
spenta

but instead move to the nearest available job in the morning and leave for the closest vacant house in the evening. It means a sim might go to a different job every day, and return home to a different family every evening."

Truly pathetic, even SimCity4 has better control over basic simulation.  If you check where a house is commuting to one day it will be the same job the next day and the day after that, it's never randomly changed.

One more reason to demand a refund.

spenta
spenta

Frankly the traffic in SimCity has always been totally unrealistic.  The sims always take the path of shortest distance even if a longer route would take less time because of less traffic or better driving conditions.  The AI for the drivers in the game has always been terrible.

Doesn't sound like anything has changed to me.

kb8618
kb8618

one of my cities apparently has 85,000 visitors and rising that never leave, even after i bulldozed just about everything and shut off every building and let the game run for several in-game days. it was causing major beck up, all the way outside of the city

LuisJoel
LuisJoel

yeah i hate this damn traffic. its ridiculous. buildings keep burning down because fire fighters cant get to them. i hate running out of water when im clearly next to an ocean or river. EA, fix this sh!t 

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

And the downward spiral continues.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

And by the way, was this game ever even tested? It's such an obvious problem, why ship the game, and then be like...oh yeah...


They knew it was a problem, but didn't fix it. There's so much obvious stuff wrong in the game. Like...why is my water a non-renewable resource? come on. My city is right next to a damn ocean/river and my ground is drying up? please.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

after reading the truth about this game, i don't really feel inclined to play it anymore. my sims in my city just go to the nearest available job everyday? then to the nearest available house? how is this in ANY WAY realistic? WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE? no wonder my factories and houses all of sudden go out of business. fucking bullshit waste of a game and my damn money. what a fucking joke. how long did it REALLY take to make this game? i don't think i've ever been so repulsed by a developer or a publisher. i love BF3 but seriously, after this, i don't want to touch anything with EA's brand name on it.

jameson425
jameson425

Correct me If i'm wrong when I say this is an unfinished game and it needed way more work before being put on the streets... Why not just a wait another month or two for a way better game? EA I can't wait for someone to buy you bitches out!!!

trencher10B
trencher10B

There's no Network Addon Mod to save this SimCity, that's for sure.

ASnogarD
ASnogarD

Correct me if I am wrong here...


I thought that the whole idea of the new Simcity was the sims in the city, to be able to get right down there and check out the little guys busy in your cities... but now its officially revealed to be nothing ?

"Ultimately we didn't feel that the cost of adding in that extra layer of micro detail made the macro game play richer. Game design is filled with tradeoffs and compromises like this and we are constantly evaluating these (and many other) decisions," said Librande. 

 Why then did the marketing hype up the ability to track and watch your sims at work and play if it isnt such a big deal ? Why bother at all and just have the usual canned animations, hell its not even that all the sims are shown on the city anyways, only a percentage is shown the rest are merely a number on the population count.

...every day EA and Maxis are digging themselves deeper into new holes, lies heaped on top of more lies which get revealed as lies, then more lies are used to explain the lies. I cant wait for the fun when EA and Maxis announce The Sims 4 (probably just call it The Sims) will be online all the time and will be multiplayer... you and friends can have houses in the same neighbourhood and trade sugar and coffee with each other...

... I will have ample popcorn for that show.

petebot
petebot

This glass box engine have really been oversold. You can't claimed to be simulating thousand, upons of agents and then skip over things like, decent routing and ensuring the agents went back to the same job and house. I get the impression that the developers were more bothered about making the game look pretty than carrying on and developing the ethos and principles that made the original games so great.

Booo.

shoaibasghar_s
shoaibasghar_s

@eiji1 

it looks like they are just throwing rocks in opposite direction to distract their buyers from demanding their money worth. 

i mean i didn't have CS major and i know what you are talking about, surely their programers did too, they are just trying to move some criticizing traffic to other road.

eiji1
eiji1

This is just further proof that the entire thing is borked. Badly engineered and designed.

You're simulating traffic, right? Then you model that on a weighted graph. Each building is a node on the graph, and each segment of road is a line. You assign a weight to the line based on how much traffic is currently stuck on it, and then, because you can choose to have all of your data be positive values, you can run Dijkstra's Algorithm to find the shortest (and most lightweight) path.

This is basic Algorithms. This isn't Rocket Science - it's Computer Science.

Maxis, I am disappoint.

IrrationalBeast
IrrationalBeast

I made a city with over 150k residents and had no traffic issues but there are issues, especially the services... 

magicalclick
magicalclick

Hmmm..... road has traffic weights of 25%, 50%? So, what is the point to have more detailed traffic display? They are a lot more accurate, so, why not use those already? It is very easy to use that existing value and multiply the distance per street block and route the car.

magicalclick
magicalclick

Changing job and house all the time? That is such a dangerous thing to do. I hope they are only saying this as surface because they are wasting a lot of CPU for a lot of potential pitfalls. The shortest path BS has been plagued previous SimCity. They rather go on red street instead of empty freeway because of this. I am amazed they repeat the same mistake again. I cannot believe the person who designed traffic still does this. Routing is an old problem has been solve again and yet again with tons of free academic papers to copy and paste, assume the person is capable of reading those papers.

garalao
garalao

It infuriates me that they say these things as if the issue never appeared in testing. I played the game a few hours and ran into these traffic problems that made no sense.

makryu
makryu

I hope the circumvention of the disconnection timer enables piracy groups to release a crack. This game so deserves so be pirated...

IceBlood79
IceBlood79

Aw. Another Dune 2! Well.. that's um great..

IceBlood79
IceBlood79

Oh, another Dune 2. That's.. um.. great.

IceBlood79
IceBlood79

Oh, another Dune 2. That's.. um.. nice.

xsubtownerx
xsubtownerx

But they did such a great job beta testing this game with 2x 24 hours beta and 1x 5 hours beta. Why so many problems??? 

Pyerun
Pyerun

Those solutions to fix the traffic problems, someone with first year college could do better.  I guess they were having fun partying during development.

Yet, the majority of people will still defend the game and EA.  You sheep will buy Dragon Age 3, then complain about it for 6 months.

ivan_osorio
ivan_osorio

"Basically, our costumers turned out to be NOT retarded, leading to the many, many, design flaws in our game to come to light. We apologize for the inconvenience, but it is great to see that you are not yet so smart as to simply return the defective product and tell us to go f*ck ourselves."

Prmax
Prmax

still having connection problems.. with Simcity  cannot start or join game, still able to see old savegame however not able to load.. EA still no responding to support request..

Blue-N-Yellow
Blue-N-Yellow

People literally are paying $60-$70 just to beta test this game. Unreal that you can develop a city simulator and not have the foresight to realize that a simple Point A to Point B system for traffic is going to run into problems.

This game was rushed.

nurnberg
nurnberg

A developper should not need to have tons of gamer complaints before fixing stuff like this.

IrrationalBeast
IrrationalBeast

I'm glad to hear they are working on the traffic pathing and the way services respond. 

And I'm still having fun playing it after 40+ hours so that must mean I'm a paid shill.

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

@Martin Gaston:

Typo in closing paragraph:

"...making it possible to play the game...indefinitely online." - I believe the last word should be "offline".

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

SimCity has had soo much negative publicity,  I actually want to play the game now!

petez34
petez34

@jameson425 with assets in access of $4 billion, that ain't happening soon. What makes you think it would be better? true however, EA should done a better job at anticipating online traffic.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

@ASnogarD after this catastrophe you really think they would do that? i don't doubt it will be online, but i doubt it will be all the time. or that you won't be able to play by yourself. just think of the random noobs stealing things from your house and such...


i like the MP idea of the sims 4 but it would need to be thought out very very well. 


as for the sims 3, i just started playing it again after getting annoyed with simcity. i'm having a blast playing it, and interacting with all the virtual sims. i think that's what makes it so appealing, and making a game strictly MP would ruin the entire feel of the sims. i would enjoy a better social network type thing for it, like battlelog or something. and being able to play co-op or what not with a set number of people. but to make it where random people come in and can just take your stuff would be bad.

00J
00J

@magicalclick The best way to keep the cpu from calculating too much is to just make the cars avoid roads that are too heavy. That way some cars might take a longer route to work but at least they will get there... They didn't have any weights until they thought of a way to fix the traffic problem.

stev69
stev69

@makryu Ill bet it was probably only a matter of opening a preferences.ini file and changing something from =true to =false, given the credibility EA has earned over this fiasco. Because always online is sooooo essential right Lucy Bradshaw?

petez34
petez34

@Gears_0f_L0ve well if you really want to play it, wait for the price to drop because you're only RENTING the game.

ivan_osorio
ivan_osorio

@Gears_0f_L0ve I know what you mean! Hearing everyday about how this is such a train wreck has peaked my interest. I sort of want to play it just to see if people are over-reacting or if it really is that bad.

But, in all honest, do what I did: Pick up that long lost copy of SimCity 4 and have some fun.

TurboGuru
TurboGuru

@Gears_0f_L0ve more like it has had soo much negative publicity that more and more people will actually scrutinize upcoming games from EA. Its actually a blessing to demonstrate the harm DRM can cause.

green_scorpion
green_scorpion

@Gears_0f_L0ve Your intelligence levels have reached a critical low.  Please make the necessary adjustments and reevaluate.

phuturegrits1
phuturegrits1

petez to be honest they can be easily bought out and will be the only franchise really keeping ea alive is madden and thats because of that nfl license they lose that and EA will drop severely the other games they put out keep them afloat but MADDEN is there main support crutch

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@AlexFili @Gears_0f_L0ve Its not "so-bad-its-good".  I would say the core gameplay is pretty appealing if you like traditional simcity.  Then add incredibly obvious and vexing technical problems that just keep you from enjoying it.  That's not a fun kind of bad.

phuturegrits1
phuturegrits1

exactly and that will bring EA down from this god trip there on. bad thing is ive been a fan of maxis since the original sim city so im going to get this one but i wish they would find a better producer cause EA has there head so far up there you know what they lost sight of the consumer and its been that way for a while now..

petez34
petez34

@phuturegrits1 i agree. people that decide not to buy simcity won't do much to bring down the org., however boycotting the major games (or any and all of them) will be a real kick in the pants! And since it's a public company, sales are the keys to victory(so to speak. lol)