Thank Grog It’s Firday!
I admit readily that I have not been remotely “normal” over the past couple of weeks. We are in “Full Jake Immersion” mode, and there is nothing as wonderfully distracting than hanging out with your two-year-old-never-sits-still, grandson. Deb joined me after a week of dealing with her Dad’s hospice, and is the first to admit there is no better way to deal with the end of a life, than immersing oneself in the beginning stages of another.
And I also admit that my storytelling is easily taken off of the rails when writing during patches between laying rails, and running trains, and taking walks, and playing ball, and swimming (feet in a kiddie pool or backyard water slide), or endless snacks….well…you get it.
It occurred to me that most of the obfuscation in my tale, was simply me trying to tell you what “Bob” said, through my own filter. And the the most efficient, and honest way to tell the rest of the story, is simply to use his own words (to the best of my recollection, through a haze of Lemon Drops consumed over hours of conversation).
So, that is what I am going to do. Just let “Bob” take it from here...with a tad bit of my questions inserted to keep things on track…which reminds me…I need to find the other switch track so we can build that side spur on Jake’s layout…
There were three primary questions I had for “Bob,” regarding TSTO. And in the first five minutes, in an exasperated burst of pleading anger, he pretty much blew my mind, and rendered me mostly speechless (which as many of you know, is a very rare thing indeed).
Let’s recap what he revealed in that first bit of “You Don’t Understand ANYTHING!”
1. Things like “adding more land, Item Limits, and storage” are done on a different server than the “game logic server” that houses the information that reacts and stores a player’s moves, winnings, scores, etc.
2. Bob had been cut back to halftime, but it may have been of his own choosing.
3. EA killed TSTO (or tried to) and Bob and perhaps a couple of other key people are keeping it alive.
I knew most of number one. But, didn’t realize that there were entirely different management teams for both logic servers.
As far as the second part, I was not surprised by the fact that EA had cut their staffs way back on the the TSTO side of things, or that Bob was working only part time on the game. What did surprise me, was that my insult that he was working part time as a food delivery driver was true, and that it freaked out “Bob” that I knew, was funny, weird, and shocking at the same time.
As far as number three? That’s the one that shut me up…and made me just sit there with the gap-mouth smirk on my face (we’ve covered my propensity to smirk before…so this should be of no surprise to anyone).
So…rather than prattle on again about what I am going to do (let “Bob” tell the story), I am just going to do it. It moves things along much faster, and you have all been very patient.
In Bob’s Own Words
“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!” (I admit that this bit was in my previous post, but it’s a great place to start).
”SLOW DOWN!” I yelled at “Bob” while tossing a Lemon Drop in his face. I realize I didn’t have to toss the lemon drop, and it was a waste of a perfectly wonderfully prepared drink (which brought a gasp from Greta (not her real name) who stood up and took my glass to refill it, as “Bob sputtered). But, with Tori’s tales being told, screaming almost always warrants a tossed beverage. Hence the tossed Lemon Drop.
“What the…you didn’t have to do that…I’m just trying to tell you that I have been risking everything to keep the game alive, and you have been nothing but a dick when it comes to writing about it, and complaining, and whining about Item Limits…WHICH I CAN’T CONTROL!!” he wailed, while wiping the remnants of the Lemon Drop from his face with this “Door Dash” tee shirt.
“Let him talk Dad!” Ali blurted from her corner of the room. “He really seems upset!”
”Yeah…he seems upset,” Ryan agreed, as he pulled Bob up into a chair, and cleaned a bit of the falafel off of his shoe.
“Bob” just stared at me…actually more through me…and started talking in a slow, monotone voice, that felt like it was being dripped from his frontal lobe, from a place that had been safely locked up for weeks and months.
“They killed the game last year. It was during that long break when you met Matt Groening, (See Post Here) and he made it clear that he didn’t really know what was going on with the game,” he murmured.
I could only make a face (for fear of my daughter’s wrath), and shake my head in disbelief.
“They didn’t fully kill it…they just stopped doing anything with it. They took all of the TSTO team and moved them back to the Sims team. We use a lot of the same building logic, and it’s not reliant on outside writers, and they had two HUGE SIMS releases to do…Sims StrangerVille and Island Living…and the money was drying up from TSTO. So they just stopped doing anything for it. They planned on winding it down…but, Disney was offering up bunch of potential dough with the franchise, but EA got cut out, so they didn’t give a rip. So they just stopped doing anything…”
”I suspected as much…but, when you say it that way, it makes more sense. I always forget that the Sims City franchise is from EA…and that…” I started, before Bob cut me off.
”No Shirt Sherlock…it was around way before TSTO…duh. Anyway, I admit that I was kinda shocked to find out the “The Creator” didn’t actually know spit about the game that was based on his own show. But, your post about meeting him did give me the idea to reach out to a couple of the writers. It was weird seeing all of those posts about the game just stopping…and then hearing that panel discussion at Comic-Con. Nerds. Man…I hate nerds…they are so needy! But, I did like working on the game…the writing was always something different. Not just a bunch of shooting, or kicking, or throwing, or random building, or punching…or other dumb gamer stuff…”
”Yeah…I did think that was weird…and told a lot about corporate craziness, and how much money drives everything in the…” I started. There was a collective gran in the room, which caused me to stop.
”Not now, Dad,” Ali chided. “Let him talk…we know how you feel about corporate greed. Sheesh.”
”Yeah…look…if you want to know the whole story, you have to shut up. Got it?” Bob said with a smirk (apparently, game programmers can smirk too). “So, because of your bit about Comic-Con…I knew which writers were friends of the game, and who was pretty much clueless. If you think about it, you know who I contacted…but, he was really specific about remaining anonymous, so I’m not going to say his name. But, he was really upset about the way EA was just ignoring the game, and asked if there was anything I could do about it. AS IF!! But, then…just about then…they did a re-org of the whole team. And because I was one of the newer guys, I got my hours cut when the two Sims releases didn’t do what they wanted. Freakin’ accountants run the world…”
”DAD!!” Both Ali and Ryan yelled. Luckily for me, Greta handed me a replacement Lemon Drop, and I could sit back and listen, without the need to interject about my disdain for corporate accounting.
“Look…it’s been nuts since then. I was cut back to half time…and had to move back in with my parents…who made me pay rent…which is why I had to get this other job, while I figured out how I was going to keep the game going, without EA knowing about it…and how I was going to keep going in, and looking like I was working on one thing, while slipping new updates into the server…while getting stuff from the guy with the art, and the guy with the words…and…God…I’m just so tired. It’s been over a year…a year…I’m so tired…and then you…and your whining…”
Greta (still not her real name) came out just in time, before Bob slumped into his chair weeping, with another tray of Lemon Drops, as well as another tray of assorted crackers, hummus, and a special tray of super-nachos, and a new glass for me (which was clearly NOT meant for throwing). Man…Greta knew how to entertain.
This was getting nuts…and I needed to hear the rest…but, we are now over 1500 words…WELL PAST the maximum reading limit of most gamers…even TSTO gamers.
So…regretfully, I must end this again.
But, I will assuage your anger a bit, with more pics and vids of what keeps me smiling through all of this insanity…. enjoy your “Jake Moment.”
This is the power of a happy two year old…Deb, Dad and his other grandpa!
2 week of lockdown was rewarded with a day at the shore! Lots of social distancing…but, loads of fun!