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

Tuesday, 12 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?

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16 Comments

  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

    @4
    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.

    Yerrrrr

    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    @6
    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

    @11
    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.

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    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]