Forum post about why traffic/services/AI are broken

#1 Edited by ildon (363 posts) -

http://answers.ea.com/t5/Miscellaneous-Issues/Traffic-quot-AI-quot-This-is-why-services-and-traffic-are-broken/m-p/737060#U737060

Basically, all people are "agents" that just find the absolute closest thing to fulfill their need. When they go to work, they go to the closest open job. When they go home, they go to the closest unoccupied house. It's literally a worst case scenario for traffic, and makes a lot of stuff broken and highly unintuitive/unrealistic.

Edit: Just to be clear, I didn't make the original post.

#2 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

So what your saying is that late game mechanics are nearly broken and it might take several patches for any type of help. And all that is after they fix the current issues.

#3 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@ildon said:

http://answers.ea.com/t5/Miscellaneous-Issues/Traffic-quot-AI-quot-This-is-why-services-and-traffic-are-broken/m-p/737060#U737060

Basically, all people are "agents" that just find the absolute closest thing to fulfill their need. When they go to work, they go to the closest open job. When they go home, they go to the closest unoccupied house. It's literally a worst case scenario for traffic, and makes a lot of stuff broken and highly unintuitive/unrealistic.

Edit: Just to be clear, I didn't make the original post.

Someone said the game does not really simulate your entire population but like 25% of it an the rest are shadow residents or something. So its really just applying that 25% to everyone..

#4 Posted by Jams (2960 posts) -

I'm pretty sure that's how it worked in SimCity 4. What happened to all that complex simulation being done server side?

#5 Posted by Nephrahim (1125 posts) -

I'd been hearing rumors about this for a while, but this seems pretty damning.

How stupid.

#6 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3179 posts) -

@jams said:

I'm pretty sure that's how it worked in SimCity 4. What happened to all that complex simulation being done server side?

Guess that's not the complicated part?

My understanding of systems like this is weak, but the whole server-side calculation problem is a bit circular: some of the difficulty comes from the number of simulations shooting and receiving data simultaneously. Then you have the actual complexity of the calculations.

#7 Posted by mcain99 (23 posts) -

I read pretty much all of that post on EA forums and if it is correct it is pretty damning for EA/Maxis. The simulation for the different systems seems half-assed at best.

#8 Posted by kwyee (234 posts) -

Dumb agents aren't that big of a problem when you have unlimited transportation capacity (e.g. for water and power and sewage) but become a much bigger problem when your "pipes" can have congestion. Sure the water agents may take a bit longer to fill all the requests, but it'll get there eventually.

For traffic though, taking 5x longer to reach a destination means occupying capacity for 5x longer than you need.

#9 Posted by Arabes (338 posts) -

@geraltitude: They don't really have any server side calculations, that seems like a load of nonsense just like the whole "Your sims will live a full life" BS they came out with in the run up. Any of the articles on RPS and PC gamer seem to say that there is almost no comm. between the local machine and the server. Someone (I think it was Notch ??) claimed you could pull the cable and play the game for a few minutes before you got booted without any slowdown.

#10 Posted by djou (872 posts) -

I don't think this "agent" model is the worst thing if it worked properly but it doesn't, combined with the crazy server lags when a player is sending resources between cities makes this huge problem. The game is broken.

I've been running a combination tourist/industry city and traffic and pollution have been crippling. I had to redo the entire map twice now. Garbage trucks imported from other cities follow no sensible route for pick ups. They form a convoy that doesn't systematically pick up garbage instead it just causes a traffic jam. I noticed that they don't start pick ups until 10a and run until 8p, which metropolitan sanitation system has this schedule? At one point I had a convoy of twenty trucks driving through my midtown at noon to pick garbage. This in-turn has slowed the pick ups and traffic, and increased pollution and germs. I have 48 trucks running everyday in a city with 300K+ population and 20,000 trash cans, yesterday for some reason they only visit 6000 cans even though there were plenty of pick up to be made.

#11 Edited by mason (258 posts) -

The videos lower down on this RPS article were pretty eye-opening to me. The first two videos especially.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/13/simcitys-sims-dont-seem-that-smart-after-all/#more-145571

So many of the game's frustrations seem to stem from bad pathfinding. It's like you're required to design around the quirks of the system just to avoid insane traffic. It made me lose interest in logging in and giving it another shot.

Sims seem to want to check the closest building one-by-one until they find something available. Remaining sims even continue to check the same buildings that have just been filled. Also they focus on direct routes and mostly ignore alternate routes, even if the alternate is a faster, higher capacity road. Imagine if real people acted this way?

#12 Edited by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

@mcain99 said:

I read pretty much all of that post on EA forums and if it is correct it is pretty damning for EA/Maxis. The simulation for the different systems seems half-assed at best.

As long as the game is fun who the hell cares what sims are doing in their cities? Go play The Sims if you want every sim to be unique, this game is about the city.

#13 Posted by WarlockEngineerMoreDakka (432 posts) -

@ildon said:

http://answers.ea.com/t5/Miscellaneous-Issues/Traffic-quot-AI-quot-This-is-why-services-and-traffic-are-broken/m-p/737060#U737060

Basically, all people are "agents" that just find the absolute closest thing to fulfill their need. When they go to work, they go to the closest open job. When they go home, they go to the closest unoccupied house. It's literally a worst case scenario for traffic, and makes a lot of stuff broken and highly unintuitive/unrealistic.

Edit: Just to be clear, I didn't make the original post.

Someone said the game does not really simulate your entire population but like 25% of it an the rest are shadow residents or something. So its really just applying that 25% to everyone..

Pretty much.

Its been stated that for example: in a city with a population of 1 million, only about 100,000 agents are simulated.

#14 Posted by Jams (2960 posts) -

@jdh5153 said:

@mcain99 said:

I read pretty much all of that post on EA forums and if it is correct it is pretty damning for EA/Maxis. The simulation for the different systems seems half-assed at best.

As long as the game is fun who the hell cares what sims are doing in their cities? Go play The Sims if you want every sim to be unique, this game is about the city.

That's not what the problem is. It's that the method to how the Sims work is inherently broken. They essentially treat Sims like they would the flow of water. The water gets backed up and exits through the first empty passageway it can.

Sims need to know how to change direction when it calls for it and other such examples.

#15 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3179 posts) -

@arabes I'm not sure. Maybe... that could be right. I'm going to wait on saying anything until I know more. I feel a lot of people have been blowing smoke and speaking out of turn, when they don't really know or understand the situation. I had been hearing from some people that all the server-side calc was a lie, but the guys on the most recent bomb cast have zero suspicion that that's true. So... yeah, I dunno. Could be it's just that data send and receive that's clogging up the servers, and nothing else, but I'd like to hope there's a better reason.

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