Modders find way to play SimCity offline

SimCity's 20-minute offline limit circumvented by UK modder.

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A SimCity modder has found a way to partially circumvent the game's always-online requirement and allow for indefinite offline play.

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Modder UKAzzer posted a YouTube video (via Reddit) with SimCity's disconnection prompts disabled, showing the game not booting him out after about 20 minutes of offline play.

The feat is achieved by using SimCity's debug mode, with UKAzzer also able to edit highways outside of the game's oft-criticised small boundaries.

"You can edit the highways ANYWHERE - even outside of your city boundary… and even if you quit the game and log back in later, it's all saved safely on the server," wrote UKAzzer.

"This shows that highway editing will be easily possible, AND that editing outside of the artificially small city boundaries should be very viable too."

Inside the SimCity files is also a way to edit the inflated "fluffed population count" statistic to show the true number of people inside the city, another feature that has been regularly criticised by the SimCity community. "My large cities have a population of about 15k now, not 100k," wrote UKAzzer.

There are restrictions in place when using the mod, such as having no access to SimCity's regional features. Players also have to log back into EA's servers if they want to save, or launch the game.

Files in the game also suggest that the full developer build of SimCity features terraforming tools, a long-standing feature of the series removed from the 2013 version.

EA and Maxis' decision to have SimCity require an always-on Internet connection has proved highly controversial since the game's hobbled release last week, with Maxis insisting that the online requirement is to enable social play.

Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw said in an interview with Polygon that the game's always-on requirement is also there because SimCity offloads "a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud."

Meanwhile, an anonymous Maxis employee has claimed to Rock Paper Shotgun that "it wouldn't take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff."

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