Rumor: “It wouldn’t take very much engineering” to build an offline mode for SimCity

Tuesday, 12th March 2013 21:44 GMT By Phil Owen

We’ve been told by Maxis that despite what everyone seems to want, it would not in any way be easy to take SimCity offline. They’ve said that many of the computations the game makes are done server-side, and so “it wouldn’t be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team.” But that stance may not reflect reality, according to a RockPaperShotgun source.

This source asserts that no computations involved in simulating your particular city, in fact, take place in the servers. The servers do have to interpret data you send out into the world, the source says, but your own PC does all the legwork required to run your city. So what does that matter? Well, here’s the source’s conclusion:

“It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”

What do you guys think? Is Maxis just trying to build a wall around its DRM practices or is this guy full of it?



  1. Demigod

    Its probably true as I read some forum posts saying you can play for hours when the server desyncs, if it doesn’t kick you off straight away. However since they made the regions so small and the economy so tied to other regions single region play would be rather crippling multi region single player would be better but still not ideal. Personally I’ll stick to simcity 2000. Doesn’t look as good but I seemingly get more options.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. The_Red

    Of course they are just trying to falsely defend the DRM. If they had left too many features and simulation elements for the servers, the response times and many other elements would have suffered greatly.

    EA or Maxis knew this would happen with an always online DRM (Horrible experience for users during launch) and chose to go with it. When you knowingly decide to FUCK your consumers because of some DRM, you should just fuck off.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. The_Red

    Also, the source article has this:

    “Kotaku ran a series of tests today, seeing how the game could run without an internet connection, finding it was happy for around 20 minutes before it realised it wasn’t syncing to the servers. Something which would surely be impossible were the servers co-running the game itself.”

    How can a game so “dependent” on server calculations, run for 20 mins without sync? Yes ladies and gentlemen, EA is lied again. Nothing new.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    Let’s see if RELOADED, SKIDROW, FLT or anybody else can ‘outsmart’ Maxis.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. The_Red

    Notch did :)
    “Markus “Notch” Persson just tweeted to his million followers that he managed to play offline too, despite EA’s claims.”

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Fin

    Anonymous source claims deeply unliked company is lying.


    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    How about running the offline game for 19-20 minutes:
    “Already Kotaku and Markus “Notch” Persson have realised that the game can be played for several minutes after being disconnected from the internet.”

    Also, the anonymous source was verified by RPS so… they must be liars. Only EA is innocent here!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. TheWulf

    The conceit here is that this is obviously true. I’d suspect that even the most ludditely of computer users would have their suspicions. I mean, Minecraft is essentially a server that other people can connect to. All you have to do to make an ‘offline mode’ is bundle in the server software with the rest of it and have the player run the server. It’s that simple. All they’ve done is detached some functions from single-player off so that those particular functions can only be performed in game.

    This is why the game would likely run fine until it came to a point where it had something that the server had to calculate for it. This is obvious. The conceit here is that because it’s so very obvious, it’s also a non-story. It just seems like RPS is frequently a source for scandal and spectacle. They’re kind of like the Daily Mail of videogames news sites. So they run obvious news articles just to stir the pot – which results in a lot of comments (hey, the site is popular!) and ad views.

    If there was actually a story there, fine. But I feel that Mr. Walker has spent all that time writing an essay about something everyone knows. You might as well write an essay about the dangers of bird poop instead, that might be slightly less obvious. I know VG24/7 is sometimes accused of this, but to be honest, I don’t think they’re nearly as intellectually dishonest about it as RPS is.

    So yes, the conceit is that it’s a non-story. RPS aren’t liars, but they are using loaded essays to stir the pot for their own benefit.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. ojinnvoltz

    Diablo 3 can’t be offline cuz it has stuff running server side… and yet I was at a buddy’s house where he pirated it and was playing offline. This era of gaming blows. I don’t remember gaming companies being like this when I was younger. You bought your box, went home and popped in the disc and played it. None of that online verification and day 1 patch shenanigans.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. blackdreamhunk

    Gaming industry has gone down hill soon console gamers will be paying $70 or 100 for their games. Lets not forget all the bankuprt game devs console gaming has brought.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DSB

    @2 You’re right, but look on the bright side, this just further serves to invalidate the idea.

    Simcity could’ve been a perfectly acceptable singleplayer game, but instead it became an embarrassing show of incompetence. No business is immune to failure on that scale.

    You may have a great harvest the first time, you may have an acceptable one the second time, but eventually the soil is so toxic you won’t be able to grow anything even if it did work properly. Just ask Ubisoft.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. NightCrawler1970

    ok, how about patching the game that the player can setup a server? and under him(friends like 8) joined him, and the SIMCITY CLOUD SERVER SYNC every 10 minutes information from the HOST(player that runs his private server)And the host storage TEMP his 8 Friends information, less work for the CLOUD SERVER to pickup information from each of one of us….

    that 10 minutes is just an example…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Joe_Gamer

    Of course it could be patched to work offline easily, there is NOTHING being calculated that’s complex enough to actually require server hardware it’s just asshole businesses being assholes(not getting my money for this shit BTW).

    #13 2 years ago
  14. FedUpWthSimcity

    Well it makes sense if you think about it. The game does offer a Single-Player mode even in this DRM connection so if you can play the city completely isolated in the single-player mode, not connecting to other players’ live cities in the region, WHY can’t you do that offline in your own PC? When you are building the city, the glassbox engine is running the simulation with agents that’s completed generated from and to your own city, WHY do you need to connect online for that? It does NOT make sense. The only time when you do need to connect to the servers is when you want to connect the city to other people’s live cities and do region then yes you would need to be online. But the active building of the city, you can ABSOLUTELY do that offline. It would saved so much more unnecessary server resources (Maxis has total of TWENTY-FOUR servers running right now to support the game) and eliminated so many server connection and synchronization issues and crashes.

    It’s so disappointing that EA is not allowing Maxis to implement an offline mode to the game. No matter how much Maxis is insisting that this DRM crap is NOT forced upon them by EA; it’s their own design blah blah but this is NOT something that we supporters of the game know that’s just not true Everybody who’s ever played Simcity since the beginning of time knows that the game is meant to be played offline on a PC and the only reason why it’s being forced to be played DRM is due to piracy issue, well it’s obvious who stands to lose the most with piracy, the Publishers and we all know who the publisher is.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. The_Red

    Sadly even if you soil the ground for future games, I fear it will be the franchise that gets blamed, not the IP. We were lucky that Ubi didn’t outright cancel all PC versions of its games. EA’s higher ups will probably blame everything on the game and not their own meddlings (Like Real Racing 3 or Dead Space 3).

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Vice

    Always online is just a sad excuse for “we don’t want you to pirate our game, also we think you’re idiots and going to believe our official claim that it has nothing to do with it”. Didn’t buy Diablo, didn’t buy (nor was gonna to anyway) this one. If it’s not hard, Skidrow or whoever else will crack it.

    #16 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.