Requires large amounts of server resources? Nope. From a [url=http://www.simcity.com/en_US/blog/article/simcity-update-5]Simcity web site blog post[/url], posted by the Assistant Producer Kyle Dunham:
i[...weíve begun upgrading several of our servers to both increase their capacity and mitigate connection issues. This process has been going well and we successfully upgraded 10 servers yesterday: NA West 2, EU West 1-4, EU East 2-3, and Oceanic 1-2. Today weíre working on upgrading our remaining servers, so bear with us as we take them offline one-by-one to perform these upgrades. While this is going on, we also released the new server South America today, bringing our total server count up to 24, including our Test server.]i
24 servers (NOW), including a test, so 23 production. It's hard to tell what they started with, but digging through the 5 updates, I get:
Update 1 - Added 4 new servers (EU West 3/4, EU East 3, Oceanic 2)
Update 2 - No mention of new servers
Update 3 - 1 new server (Antarctica)
Update 4 - No mention of new servers
Update 5 - 1 new server (South America)
So it sounds like they started with no more than 17 production servers, and added 6 over the last few weeks.
So 23 servers are running everything (registration, authentication, cross player interactions, region stuff, etc) but the item that interests me the most is the region work. Which, even given the most beneficial "looking through a glass darkly" interpretation of EA's claims, must be done server side. It requires to many horses or something.
Taking away the overseas servers that I know about (EU East 1-3, EU West 1-4, Oceanic 1-2, Antarctica 1, and South America 1), that leaves 12 US servers.
I'm having a hard time running a solid number to ground, but update 3 mentions "Tens of thousands of new players are logging in every day", and update 4 says "...8 million hours of gameplay time". Both updates may include all players (US, Europe, etc).
But these numbers seem to indicate hundreds of thousands of players, and potentially tens of thousands playing at once.
The region processing cannot be very CPU and/or RAM intensive at all. How could it be? 23 servers CPU's and RAM for tens of thousands (at least) of players at once. The amount of CPU/RAM slice per player must be very thin indeed for this to work at all.
And if the thin slice theory - (TM) is correct, than once again, I circle back to how come this couldn't have been done on the client? The client whose available resources in CPU and RAM are almost certainly going to exceed the very small amount available per player on the server?
Again, I come to the conclusion that the server component is completely about control, and not in the least about offloading processing power.
Like everything I post, everything above is my opinion, and not a statement of fact.
Of all the people ordered to appear, Team Prenda decided not to bother -- instead telling the judge they were available by phone, though the judge chose not to call. The only person (outside of Gibbs and Morgan Pietz) who did make it was Alan Cooper.
I wonder if the Judge is filling out bench warrants right now.
I mentioned this on another thread, but repeating myself - if the game requires more horsepower then the average desktop could deliver, how is it financially viable to stand up (and maintain) servers behind the players to crunch those same numbers? It's not like servers have "super CPU" and "super RAM" components. If it beats up the desktop, it's gonna beat up the server.
Sure, servers can hold more RAM and more processors than the average desktop, but those components are expensive (for both systems). A lot more expensive then a one time per customer $60 purchase would ever cover, even if every penny went to the server infrastructure.
Unless you did it on the cheap, and simply didn't put enough server resources in place to handle the player load. Maybe build a queuing system to force players to wait for their slice of server CPU/RAM. Nah, that would be an evil thing to do to your customers.
I think the point at which Iím smelling a rotten fish here is that the computational resources youíre talking about doesn't change just because itís being run on a server. The computers in the rack aren't somehow superior in processing power to the oneís in the desktop*. If the game beats up your local computerís CPU, itíll do the same to computer in the rack.
If it takes this much, PER PLAYER, to run the game, than there is no server architecture that would support this and be financial viable for a one time $60 per player purchase. And for me, thatís where the smell comes from.
* To forestall the obvious; yes, if you are running a 386 without the math co-processor on the desktop, itís probably not going to do very well compared to a modern CPU in the server. The argument assumes that weíre talking about generally similar desktop and server CPUís. There isn't a magic server CPU that does things automatically faster than their desktop brethren. If there was, every gamer on the planet would be using them.
You didn't buy the game, you are renting it from them, and doing so under terms that are completely advantageous to them. They are under no obligation to keep their end of the game running at all. There is no contract between you and EA to allow you access to their servers (locked out), on the timely availability of game services, to store your save games, or to even keep servers available to you at all.
Even worse, chances are you are now locked into the EA "upgrade" cycle. EA tends to milk properties with an online component by regularly releasing incremental (imho) changes as a new product. For example, for the vast majority of their sports games, there is a new "version" every year (updated roster, generally minor tweaks to game play) at the full retail price.
The consequences to you, the renter of their games, is that once the new version is out, the previous version's online services are shut down by EA, forcing you into a full box price repurchase (rerent?) if you want to keep playing online.
The sports games generally have an offline component that does continue to function. With SimCity, you are now doubly screwed (twice the screwing, half the fun!) as there is no offline component AND your saves are on their servers. Once they decide to shut down SimCity, or go to the next version, the game and anything YOU created in the game your purchased is gone.
The lesson here? If you want your game purchase to be under your control, and available to you long term, don't rent your game from EA or any other company that controls how and when you play your game.
I didn't purchase the game, so this information below is completely second hand.
Refunds: EA said they would allow refunds, however, I've seen several posts saying that you had to contact EA support by phone to get one, and that getting a hold of a human being right now was next to impossible.
People purchasing second copy: Totalbiscuit put that out there as a rumor, so I'm not sure if I would be comfortable citing that as a source of fact as even he didn't know for sure.
Server saves: My understanding is that they have regional server farms - US and Europe at the least. Where the save game thing comes into play is if you are a US player trying to play in Europe, etc. If you continue to play in your region, your save should be there.
Modern revolutions are fought with indirect weapons such as mines, booby traps, etc. See Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Any time that the insurgents tried a stand up battle, they were wiped out. See Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Your 30-06 is of extremely limited value in an insurgent war. 80-100 million of them get you nothing against C-130 gunships, drone platforms, Apaches, Tomahawk Missiles, artillery, etc.
The US isn't Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq when it comes to layout. We have a highly centralized, easily controlled population (supplies of food, water, and power come from very distinct and easily controllable areas). The unlimited surveillance abilities of the US Military make it impossible to directly assemble and move large numbers of people without being wiped out.
For the "how many US military are going to knowingly invade a state or states in rebellion and kill fellow citizens" question, the US Military vs the population isn't my juvenile fantasy, so I'm not defending it or the possibilities of it occurring. I'm only pointing out how silly the gun owners vs the US Military meme is.
Really? 80-100 million gun owners vs the government and you think the latter would win? *pfft* Good luck with that one.
I'll ask the same question again:
How many of the 80-100 million gun owners do you know of that have weapons can reach up 30,000 feet? Because the Fed has lots of weapons platforms that can reach down that far. You're delusional if you think any weapon that can be bought legally is a strategic or even tactical threat to the US Military.
The US Military is designed to fight enemies with aircraft, warships, and armor exercised strategically through superior intelligence, mobility, and supply. Your hypothetical revolution doesn't get off the ground without force parity in all of these aspects.
The day of the musket as great equalizer is long over. No gun vs gun pitched battle with a (the) modern military is going to work. It's not the number of weapons, it is the effectiveness of these weapons.
The reality is that the 80-100 million gun owners would have little chance even against the assembled police forces of this country.