Friday Filler – EA Confidential – Bob Spills The Beans

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

OK…I know a bunch of you think that I am just going to string this along again, because I can. But, I won’t, even though I could.  But, you have all been very patient with my retelling of this tale. Much more patient than “Bob” was, when it came to flinging his displeasure about my constant haranguing of him, for what you are about to read.

And you will read it…if you do. Read it, that is.  So many of you seem to be “reading challenged.” You want your “facts” in 144 character tweets or less. The real world doesn’t work that way. Unless you are in politics…but, I digress.

Let’s recap.  “Bob” isn’t his real name. But we captured “Bob” at Greta’s (not her real name) apartment in San Francisco, with the help of Ali (my daughter) and Ryan (a very large, attractive former college rugby player). And trust me…beans were spilled!

And no…I’m not still talking about the Falafel that he was delivering with his “side hustle,” Door Dash.  I’m talking like an old 1940s movie “copper” who tells the “con” that the “jig is up…so he might as well spill the beans.”   I have no idea why there was dancing and beans in those movies…but the aphorism stuck.

Just like the beans.

“Why are you always writing about stuff like entropy and physics on a TSTO blog?’  I remember Bob screaming in defense of the first question I asked.

I found it both diversionary, as well as a bit flattering.  It was clear that “Bob” really did read the posts I wrote, but he was also clearly not answering the question I had asked.  It was a simple question. “Why don’t you increase the freakin’ Item Limits???” (Extra exclamation points added for emphasis…and it is entirely possible that I used  word more colorful than “freakin’”).

Now. Many of you would have asked something more nuanced about the game. Like, “When are you going to bring back Stonecutters again? Because Stonecutters was the best!”

But, no. I went right for the jugular.  Longtime players have stopped playing, because we can’t place the stuff we win, without decimating what we have already designed.  And for many of us, it’s ALL about the design. But, “Bob” had flipped the table. I know it’s supposed to be turned the table…but, he actually flipped a coffee table when he slipped on the spilled falafel tray he dropped when he discovered that he was trapped, and was going to have to “pay the piper.”  (Another weird aphorism that I won’t try to explain…)

I smirked, and replied, “Look, Entropy is exactly what the question about Item Limits is all about!”

“Oh, Dear God…” I heard Bob mutter.

“This is going to be good…” Ryan laughed, as Ali smiled, knowing that “Bob was in for it now.”

Yes…Ryan and Ali are real. This is them…

Greta (still not her real name), just looked confused…as if we were speaking a foreign language with a mouthful of grapes.

“Entropy is exactly what this is about,” I continued calmly.  “If something is not in a state of evolution, in a state of change, it ceases to exist. If you just keep the same programming, with minor changes, the game degrades and ceases to be relevant, and eventually stops.  It just devolves into chaos. You haven’t changed the item limits in well over a year. How can we continue to build our towns, if we can’t add new stuff?”

”Do You Think I Haven’t TRIED??” he screamed back at me. “I don’t think you get it. I tried, but that part of the system, is on another server that I couldn’t access from my hideyhole, and besides, if I did try to get to that server, they might have figured out that the game was still alive, and I was still coming in, and that being cut back to half time was the only way the game survived!  YOU JUST DON’T GET IT!”

This time, it was my turn to stare blankly ahead, with a confused smirk on my face (I smirk in almost every situation).  What in the hell was he talking about?

And in that instant, seeing the pain and frustration in “Bob’s” face, I realized that first and foremost, “Bob” was not only a friend of the game, but may likely be more. Much, much, more.

The tumblers started clicking into place.  I realized almost instantly that what he was saying was possible.  I knew that EA built TSTO on a multi-server logic, that allowed most of the game actions to take place on one server, related to the “Origin server,” that kept track of the algorithms for each player, while recording their moves. But, it made sense that the basic game code, may in fact be on another server, along with the triggers that keep each level throttled.  The basic game code, things like Item Limits, More Land, and the Randomizer for donut earning, would all be in basic code. Simple to change…if you had access to the server, which “Bob” clearly didn’t.

After a long pause…I asked Greta if she had any alcohol that could take the edge off of the tension in the room.  This seemed to bring Greta back to life, and she instantly produced a tray full of “Lemon Drops” (a bit fruity for my tastes, but certainly a cordial, casual way to say, “Hey…you’re among friends…just relax.”

And “Bob” did relax. Finally.  And beans were spilled.

And, no…I’m still not talking about the Falafel.

“Bob” started talking…and talking…and talking…and talking some more.  And in between 5 rounds of Lemon Drops, the tale he spun was both astounding, and shocking. Astounding that any of it had transpired, and shocking that any EA employee would be so loyal to a “silly little game,” like TSTO, well after the “corporate weasels” had given up on it.

It was the kind of tale that could only happen in a company so large, with so many moving parts, that a couple of small parts could get lost in the shuffle…allowing someone like “Bob” to pull of some programming magic, that almost nobody would believe.

Oh…My…it looks like my word count has now crested over the 1,000 word peak again.  I know that many of you just can’t believe that I could prattle on, and on, without getting to the point.   But, maybe that IS the point.  If we keep doing the things that we want to do, while doing the things we HAVE to do, all can remain in place and alive in this crazy world. (You know what I am talking about you Mask scofflaws!).

And that’s exactly what “Bob” told us he was doing. He does the stuff he wants to do (keeping the game alive), while doing the things he HAS to do (keeping the game alive, without anyone knowing he is keeping the game alive).

But, now, I am at almost 1100 words…waaaaaay over today’s attention span.  And…I have important things to do. More trains…some creative drawing…and a whole lotta dancing.  I’m introducing Jake to the “happy feet” created when you tell “Alexa” to play “Little Feat’s Fat Man in the Bathroom” at max volume, when they leave him alone with me while they work.  So much better than more screen time.

Next time…I’ll spill the rest of the beans that Bob spilled.  PROMISE!

And now…a little more of what’s really important.

When they leave the grandson behind for hours during “Boopah Daycare” time…they have to agree that “Boopah” may teach him a few new tricks… like “swappin’ flies” while dancing to “Fat Man in the Bathtub.”  Jakey can shake his groove thang…


62 responses to “Friday Filler – EA Confidential – Bob Spills The Beans

  1. If Matt G. is still drawing for it, have to think someone knows.

  2. I will wait for your next post, Patric, but I find it hard to believe that “Bob” is the only EA employee who is still significantly loyal TSTO, especially since “Bob”, alone, couldn’t possibly be responsible for all of the, albeit sparse, updates that we’ve had recently for TSTO. In fact, there may be things going on behind the scenes at EA regarding TSTO that even “Bob” doesn’t know about. For example: Although the Disney takeover of 20th Century Fox last year should have had no direct influence on TSTO, EA may be secretly using it, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as excuses to run TSTO more slowly.

    As for any corporate idiots (I don’t want to insult weasels) who have given up on TSTO, they should be dragged out into the street and shot. But, since that statement would be promoting unlawful violence during a time of major civil unrest in the USA, those EA corporate idiots should punished in a non-violent, but equally appropriate, way for giving up on TSTO. If the reason these idiots are giving up has to do with insufficient profit from the game, then maybe EA should hire a Ferengi as their new financial advisor. Also, EA might bring in more profit from both old & new players if they were to lower the prices of their Donut Packs, at least in the form of 25%-50% off sales during events, especially for the 2400 Donut Pack (I thought that EA did something like that during the Donut Day Celebration, but we didn’t have a Donut Day Celebration in TSTO this year, so I’m not !00% sure). I mean I’m still willing to buy Donuts, but I’m not made of money, so I’m all for any kind of Donut buying incentives that help me to save a significant amount of money, especially during times when I have to be very, VERY, sparing on my Donut purchases involving real money. Also, EA could possibly get more profit from TSTO if they were to have us players watch video advertisements into to earn free Donuts (preferably in the form of the premium Scratch-R’s that were previously exclusive to some past TSTO events), because the advertisers would be paying EA for the right to use a part of TSTO as advertising space. That’s what I would do if I was an EA corporate head in charge of TSTO.

    And regarding the item limits, I have yet to reach those limits, but I’m not concerned about them at this time, because I just store in my inventory anything that is not helping me to earn game cash and Donuts. I’m more concerned about when will I be able to unlock all of the remaining characters, buildings, & decorations from previous events that I was unable to unlock at the time, which, lately, have not been being re-released properly in any way that would allow me to acquire all of that TSTO content. For example: I counted that there are 59 total characters/character skins that are still not in my TSTO version of Springfield. When am I going to be able to unlock these characters and skins, not to mention all of the numerous buildings and decorations that I also still do not own in TSTO?! That’s what I want to know from “Bob”, and, in turn, from EA.

    • All in good time…good questions…but, you will be as shocked as I am at how this thing is still working. It is crazy stuff…for sure. But, you also have to understand, that those who have played the game from the beginning, have a far different feeling about Item Limits, and locked out characters. Many of us have run out of space, item placement, and things to buy. My yearbook looks like a garbage heap of stuff I didn’t, and still don’t want.

  3. Irene García Muelas

    I was born in a past century, so I don’t mind to read more than 144 characters, specially if they are well written and entertaining. In fact, lately I’m ejoying this blog much more than the game itself.

    Future doesn’t look promising, but I hope at least we can know about the last beans spilled.

  4. Garyth Hayward

    I’m legitimately gutted that this feels like we’re gonna be told the end is nigh.
    In the meantime if there is no way to increase item limits for server related reasons I accept that, from a designing aspect so we can at least get our Springfield’s to where we want them to be before the end could they not design longer versions of items we currently use.
    For example the large hedge, takes up
    two squares and costs one item.
    Make an extra large hedge that takes up eight squares and uses one item we’re instantly three items reduced.
    Same with all fences, walls, monorail pieces etc and we can reduce our over all item limit right down.

  5. Interesting, I never knew there was an item limit that prevented you from placing new items. I received a warning about it years ago, but I haven’t been prevented from placing anything.

  6. I am starting to feel like we are getting to the point in the story where you are going to tell us make the most of it and prepare for the end of an era. Bob, not his real name, seems like the only person (programmer) keeping our beloved game alive for the moment. I hope I am reading way more into what you are laying out here and we will get to end and there will be puppies and kittens, fingers crossed 🤞🤞. By the way, I must add, you are a great story teller, which is why I still read after all these years!!

    • Well…thanks! I prefer to lay out the facts, and then let you come to your own conclusions. They should be obvious…but, they will be your own.

      • You are welcome! Can not say I am not worried but I am playing frantically and taking screen shots and just enjoying why I love this game so much! Four more days to go!!

  7. Prattling at its best!

  8. 🚧
    😬💩sounds pretty💣’Frinked up!!!💩😬
    …outstanding stuff, & most eagerly awaiting more disclosure of what seemingly appears to be some most magnificent Coporate Mayhem in all its truly twisted Capitalist glory💩😈👌
    …all absolutely perfectly appropriate timing for Comedy Central kickoff of the latest season of 🏆’Corporate’🏆

  9. To me, it seems that item limits are a fixed constant, tied to the minimum gaming platform that TSTO supports (and not tied to the device that the game is actually being played on). (Too many items on a lesser device will cause the game to crash, which is *bad*.) So, the only way EA will increase item limits is when they raise the minimum bar for devices allowed to play the game. But raising that bar will eliminate people who can only play TSTO on these lesser devices. A tough decision! (Right now, it looks like 1GB RAM devices might be the minimum supported size at the moment; but move the bar to only support those 8GB RAM iPhone 12’s, and you can have an ‘unlimited’ number of items 🙂 !)

    • You are correct sir…however, it’s more complicated than that. And for the record, EA doesn’t give a rip about “lesser devices.” As I will reveal in another chapter.

      • Why do you torment us with these little hints of what’s to come.

        But seriously have you ever thought about becoming a writer?

  10. Hopped on here and remembered….yay! Fri! Story time!

    😵😵😵😵😵😵😵😵 😜

  12. Thanks Patric!
    I have been enjoying your riveting tale so far. Can’t wait for the next installment! I can read past the character limit and not lose interest. 🤣 Have a great weekend and stay safe everyone! Also, EA Bob if you are reading…thanks for the efforts!


    had to verify my age again. etc. can again not access my springfield

  14. Was anybody able to get far enough into this to find out if there was a point? I gave up around hour two.

  15. We learned –

    Time with the Grandson is more entertaining (more important and personal) than time with a Mobile Game App 👍🏻

    EA Bob (or whatever his name) is still underpaid, and trying to survive where you need to be overpaid.

    EA has set up TSTO to fail Long Time Tappers over time (especially when you reach maximum level) and have no room for any new content.

    Either nobody cares about TSTO at EA, or the Staff who did are no longer employed (or a combination of both).

    I’d be happy for a conclusion sharing where we can email “those in charge” , because they need to know why Tappers are quitting (which also involves Tappers who quit spending ‘real money’ on the Mobile Game App) and what they can do to change that.

    Stay Safe wherever you are (obviously Nevada needs to learn it’s lesson on ‘how to wear a mask, social distance, use hand sanitizer’) 👌🏻

    • MangoFusion01

      Maybe a brainstorm of what we would want and what we think would “save the game ” is in order. Perhaps as a post on it’s own. We could get EA Bob (not his real name) to moderate, even if it is in absentia.

      • I think you are going to be surprised at my final conclusion… But, I have a way to go in explaining the “how we got here.” “Bob” will have a part in that, for sure.

    • Ironically, I flew from what is touted as the safest airport in the US (Eugene) to what was one of the worst (Newark). But, the flight was half full…and the Newark airport was empty. I mean empty. Nothing open…our flight got in at 7:30P and there was one TSA agent near the gate…nothing after that. It was weird…but encouraging.

      My SonInLaw has work in the city (NYC) doing lighting retrofits on tons of large buildings…almost of of them are empty. VERY weird. So, while some states clearly don’t get it…NY and NJ do.

  16. Whilst I can only guess Bob’s beans are basically tapped out shut down all contracted programmers moved to other projects and freelancers let go. I don’t buy it having worked in multi billion finance both private and public sector I can’t see how ea would not know that the game was still running. Of course this is based on the predication of at least one person buying donuts supper premium characters etc.

    As long as some money is coming in it will get a tsto related cost centre and be picked up in monthly reporting so the only way you could keep it underwraps is if its literally costing nothing ftom additional server load and no income generation

  17. So in three installments we have learned;

    -some people have real names, some people don’t
    -you have been to San Fran and New Jersey
    -your grandson has many talents and is still discovering more
    -your son in law is attractive and used to play rugby, and that you remind us of this frequently
    -Bob has a part time gig delivering food, including falafel and it was dropped and made a mess
    -someone in the story is a vegan
    -people drank alcohol to lessen lips (which sink ships, since we are seeing a lot of cliches here)
    -bob, not his real name, but is a real person
    -item limits are not about to be increased
    -tsto is barely alive
    -lather rinse repeat
    -people should just do the sensible thing and where a freakin mask
    -more to come

    What I have learned on my own;

    -falafel is made of chickpeas
    -chickpeas are in fact garbanzo beans, hence the reference to the cliche of spilling of beans, and the literal spilling of falafel and hence spilling of beans

    What I am wondering;
    -do you need to be bailed out after holding someone against their will,
    – what about your accomplices?
    -is this story like a broken pencil? Which is to say, is it pointless?
    -will this story come to a conclusion? Will it be satisfactory?
    -you mention 144 character gratification, I think the tweet limit got increased (unlike the item limit in recent years) – I wonder if that is on a separate server
    – seems like you are going for a novel instead of a tweet
    -scratch that last item, I see a trilogy unfolding before my eyes
    – I also realize that I am on of the “instant gratification” types of people.
    -i’m amazed i have been able to keep my own attention this long
    -hey, EA Bob, hi!

    Ok, i think i am done and I am wondering if this too is like a broken pencil.

    Have a safe weekend all, and thank you Patric.

    More next Friday.

  18. No way, your milking it, lol spill the beans now, the whole freaking can. 🌰🥜🔩😜🤪😛

  19. Anyone want to open a book on when this story wil actually finish… 🙂

  20. Oh the suspense Patric!! A story told in the fashion before the days of Netflix and Crave! Back when you had to wait a whole week to watch the next episode of your favourite show!! I can’t wait to find out more of what Bob spills!! ( hopefully not a lemon drop!) Thanks for the laugh Patric I shall report in next week for the conclusion!! I sincerely hope all are staying healthy and peaceful! Happy Day Friends and Happy Tappin

    • We are doing very well…bunkered in for the most part…but with the greatest built in entertainment a “Boopah” could ask for!

  21. Great story so far. I’m thinking we may never see item limits increased. Will this story end with long time players giving up? Hopefully next week’s installment will give us hope. Oh…just about my entire town are scofflaw then. Northern Maine is the place to be. Not a single protest. Mask/no mask…no one even argues about it. A few wear them, most don’t. I took my mom…74..with Parkinson’s to a DOCTORS APPOINTMENT yesterday..the HOSPITAL did not require her to wear a We did have to use hand sanitizing though..???

    • Holyfreakinshirt! You are living in 2019!

      • We are one of the few states where numbers are going down. It is impossible for my towns’ numbers to go down, we haven’t had a single case. 2019?…..more like 1950s around here. I never remove my keys from my is rarely locked. And the best…Drive-In Movie theater. 4 bedroom apartments for 600$ a month, housing costs so low you’d be shocked what a mere 50 grand can buy here. Virtually no crime or violence…plenty of open air…boating, fishing, camping, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, Aroostook National Park, Mt. Katahdin, and the best(?) legalized marijuana in the U.S. MAINE…”The Way Life Should Be”. Come visit!!!….just not too far North.

        • Wow….you need to stop advertising this…you may regret the ingress of new folks from other states!

          • I doubt it….once you get into maine…you still have about an 8 hour drive to get where I am, the last 4 hours of that is without the highway…Watch out for the moose. You won’t find a more beautiful place in Fall.

        • Edmunston?

        • Love Maine in the summer! I’ve been up on the knife edge of Katahdin, woke up in base camp with a mama moose and her baby sticking their gigantic heads into our leanto checking us out one morning. Spent many many summers in Castine. You can keep Maine in the wintertime though! 😉

  22. Ha ha I knew it, you only spilled a few of the beans !!!
    Love the little guy dancing, who glued his feet to the floor 😂

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