SimCity servers aren't required, offline mode possible - Report

Anonymous Maxis insider says that SimCity's servers aren't handling the kind of computations the developer is claiming.

An anonymous source who worked on SimCity has said that the game's controversial always-on requirements aren't required for the game to function and that implementing an offline mode "wouldn't take very much engineering."

Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, the source said that Maxis' claim of SimCity requiring its servers to compute important information outside of the game's connected social features was untrue.

"The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," reports the source. "They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they're doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they're not doing anything. I have no idea why they're claiming otherwise."

SimCity requires a constant connection to its servers in order to function.

Previously, Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw said in an interview with Polygon that "we offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud."

Responding to Bradshaw's claim, the anonymous source says that "it's possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I'm clueless."

The source also details that SimCity's servers actually take several minutes to process information back to the user. "This is why they disabled Cheetah mode, by the way, to reduce by half the number of updates coming into the queue," the source adds.

SimCity's online requirement saw the game's launch last week mired by connectivity issues, with many users unable to play at all for the first few days. Maxis has repeatedly maintained that it wouldn't be possible to easily implement an offline mode without hobbling the game.

The anonymous Maxis source, however, reports that a SimCity offline mode wouldn't actually require that much work. "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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349 comments
JahnaeRasta
JahnaeRasta

My question is (as usual to anyone who requires my money to get rich or even fix my house) if you had done it right the first time, you wouldn't have had this problem in the first place--angry customers mainly (i.e.--go read amazon.com's reviewers 2,224 one stars can't be wrong: and that's just for the download version). Give me an option since I pay for my internet and live in a place where being online isn't always available--MIDWEST, or you don't get my $$$.  Besides, I don't trust Facebook much so having an open game on the net--no telling where my information is going. To protect your piracy, you jeopardize my privacy.  That is either tyrannical or a bad business model.

Armoured_Mage
Armoured_Mage

'An anonymous source'

Is gamespot a tabloid newspaper?

geojf3
geojf3

Oh Will Wright...what have they done to your baby.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

and EA doesnt know why people hate them, they take good developers and force them to put out crap..... maxis, bioware, mythic all great devs before EA's touch cheapened all of the IP's.

dersheva
dersheva

As a pacific and ironic rejection of EA and Maxi's last product and policy, I propose a massive buy of SimCity 4 Deluxe from 10 years ago, which can be found through Steam (and not Origin) at 9.99. Although making them win more money, I'm sure they will catch the message that we want another game, we want some sort of SC4 (which is a good product) but with 3D, and moreover, we want Offline & Big cities to build, not an MMO!

copkill
copkill

Honestly though? Even if I'd get an offline version to work, the game isn't even as good as SimCity 3000. It's basically got all the features except for regions (which is just a pointless implementation, specifically designed for an always-online solution for EA), and it's much less buggy and, probably most importantly, you can actually build a city instead of the tiny little villages that NeoSimCity allows for. I mean seriously? How come I don't hear more people complaining about the ridiculously small size of land you get, and no terraforming, etc etc? This game could've been so great.

June-GS
June-GS

I still love Maxis as a whole, but Lucy Bradshaw, tell us fans the truth, did you really not know this, or did you knowingly just lie to us?

jgurtner
jgurtner

After reading all your posts I have come to the conclusion that I feel sorry for the designer of Sim City.  I remember the article from him stating that he wanted to bring Sim City back.  However, the only company interested was EA.  If only another company that gamers like had been interested, would not have these complaints.  He should have come to us gamers for the money  If you agree with me, then LIKE what I posted and set game designers and gamers free!

pituf080
pituf080

The developer was just trying to justify their incredible stupid idea of a DRM. When they said that their server are doing 'most' of the calculations so that user PC's wont have to was a BIG hint that they were just trying to lie their way out of this mess. Besides the social functions of the game there is absolutly NO reason why this game should not be playable offline. Again and again we are getting sold for dumb. People should start thinking about wether they want to waste money on a game they wont be able to play once they decide to take down the servers. I did not buy this game simply cause i am a casual gamer, and play in between trips, when most of the time i am not able to connect to the net or just have a very limited WiFi conection. Dont buy DRM games, dont PRE-ORDER games either!

d_kell411
d_kell411

Totally over it. Game was a let-down, and EA made an enormous mistake with the DRM. So...two weeks after launch, I'm moving on and strengthening my new years resolution: Never buy a DRM based game again...from anyone. Period.

ItsTheSasquatch
ItsTheSasquatch

Anonymous Maxis insider: you should leak some more details. Or perhaps just the game's full source code. Just be sure to leave the country before they find out it was you; you'd probably get less jail time for killing the guys who designed the DRM than you would for helping the customers break it.

Hutchsurfer
Hutchsurfer

I sense a new PR problem developing for EA. Will they crumple under pressure or start the spin cycle? This game needs an offline mode like Diablo 3.

kimhector79
kimhector79

how do you fix a building when it is damaged? i sit here and i watch the clock on the building count down and i dont know what to do?

MJ-X
MJ-X

WHAT? Who woulda thunk!!!!!

/sarcasm

Game is cracked and modded anyway on the net suck on that EA SH!TS. You had this coming for you especially after screwing your loyal customers who are paying for it now, while pirates are laughing and enjoying it ATM hassle free.


Glad i stopped buying EA games ages ago.

deathstream
deathstream

Just as PC gaming seems set to take a bite out of the console market, publishers start with ludicrous DRM.  SecuRom made me a console player after years of being a PC gamer.  Always online PC games are doing the same.  I have the rig to run games on my PC, but my rural internet is not the best.  I'll be buying a 720 because I refuse to support these greedy companies punishing legitimate players for the sins of people who will have a workaround to pirate the game soon anyway.

GamespotBB
GamespotBB

nifty region stuff" You guys aren't even telling the truth. The truth is nothing related to the server is working. A simple CHAT isn't even working. A chat for god sake, that's not some sick computation is it ? Nothing region wide works, sometime stuff takes minutes to update, or requires to reload each cities. The Leaderboards, Global Market (supposedly core feature... that wouldn't make you sell Coal etc for 4423$ / ton every time). Cheetah speed nerfed ? So basically they are TAKING AWAY our own computation power. They are lying to our faces on several features also, like saying that "each sim" is being tracked, while 90% of the population is phantom< The million of bugs of the game. Including some major bugs on trading. Perma traffic jam. Lost cities. ETC. It's not just about the server being on or off anymore... Zhy don't they have the balls to say the truth and only the truth about everything... ? They are only loosing credibility.

topgun182
topgun182

You mean it's not hobbled now?

rogerpenna
rogerpenna

Another question:

pro-DRM extreme anti-piracy people always say that without piracy, games would be cheaper.


were Diablo3 and SimCity so much cheaper than other games, considering they can´t be pirated?

freedomspopular
freedomspopular

@jgurtner Yeah, I'm thinking most of this mess is being caused by EA. A lot of the guys at Maxis worked on SC4, and from their comments they seem to actually give a crap about their fans and the gaming community, so why would they suddenly decide to screw us?

Weatherby_
Weatherby_

@jgurtner  

I do agree, but liking your comment isn't going to set anyone free. I'll do it anyway.

S4E
S4E

@pituf080 Sadly, like I've said before, this is probably the way things are going to get more and more in the future. I don't mean proper MMORPGs and such, because that's their whole idea, to be online all the time, with these I have no problem with whatsoever.

However, the trend of online-aways that is creeping into essentially single-player games is worrying. It is just another (failed) attempt to get rid of piracy. Which never works. How many times have we heard of disgruntled people, who have bought the game, saying that something is conflicting etc. when the pirated games (which obviously have all these "safety" measures removed) enjoy the full games without any problems whatsoever.

I just cannot for the life of me understand why all these companies, still after all these years, insist on putting any kind of anti-piracy measures into their games. Piracy will always be, but it might even die off, if paying customers were treated better, with better products etc. And like I said, putting the prices down as well, because any from of DRM costs money to implement, and the cost falls yet again to paying customers.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@venomnight Now there's a company absolutely NOBODY would cry about if Anonymous tore down their servers for a couple of months...

Seymour47
Seymour47

@stev69 Explain to me why you essentially just linked the same article as what is above to prove a point.  

Seymour47
Seymour47

@deathstream It's going to be worse with the next-gen consoles.  They will be limiting you even more.  Want to buy a used game?  Nope, not going to be possible.  Each game will only run on one system.  

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@GamespotBB And don't get me started on the path-finding, perma-looping buses/moving vans crowding up the bloody place.

matty_6666
matty_6666

@cubd1 if 110,334 is just under 44 percent theres no way the final pledge would be enough to make a game that could stand up to Sim City, not defending Sim City, but it costs millions to make a game. 

stev69
stev69

@cubd1 The only thing ive seen visually on this project is a brief video showing not very much, seems like a risky investment at this stage with minimal details, perhaps if they produced a proper potrfolio outlining development agenda and marketing strategy they might garner more interest, or perhaps even interest a main stream investor

rogerpenna
rogerpenna

@Gravity_Slave which are EXTREMELLY pirated too, but people dont talk much about it, because you can´t see the number of pirated copies looking at PirateBay or other torrent sites. Unlike PC games, which most people download directly from torrent sites to their computers, with consoles, most people buy cheap DVDs/BluRays with the games at black markets around the world. 

For each seed/leecher of a PC game at Piratebay, you have about 2 pirated copies.


For each seeder/leecher of a Console game at Piratebay, you have about 100 pirated copies, being sold somewhere in the world for $5.

Seymour47
Seymour47

@Gravity_Slave Are you STILL here?  Didn't you say you had somewhere to be?  Also, this crap is coming with the next generation of consoles.  And you won't have the modding options that PC games have.  So, you will ALWAYS be stuck with this stuff instead of waiting for someone to find a smart way around a problem. 

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

@rogerpenna  Games like WoW and Diablo can and have been pirated. Never heard of private servers? ;)

Same goes for Simcity. Just wait and see.

asendedtrunks
asendedtrunks

@rogerpenna It's hilariously quite the opposite, where I live SimCity was (and still is) priced much higher than any other PC game I have seen on release. The Origin prices were insane and I am completely clueless as to why anyone would have paid those prices (about 70% higher price than what I can usually get games on release for).

stev69
stev69

@rogerpenna Heh thats the big joke isn't it, the amount of money they spent on DRM and a server setup has probably cost them more than any amount of piracy ever could have, and who foots the bill? That's right the legitimate consumer.

June-GS
June-GS

@freedomspopular Yeah, that's always possible, of course. But if she's truly innocent, she would have come up with better--and more sincere--answers for us, no matter what EA says, right? Or it's also possible, that she's in too deep, that all she can do now is dig even deeper.

CaoSong
CaoSong

@S4E @pituf080 As a pirate I can say you're absolutely correct. Many many times I've heard complaints from paying customers about games that I've never experienced because the pirated version of those games have the problems taken out and are cleaner copies... companies over charge for games and then put in problems electively to try and cut down on pirating, yet it never works.

Who knows, maybe if companies stopped coughing up money to develop new anti-piracy programs they could afford to drop $20 or so off the price of games, and then there would be less pirates around in the first place. I know many people only started pirating cause they couldn't afford to pay $60+ for games whenever they came out.

ItsTheSasquatch
ItsTheSasquatch

@S4E @pituf080 I'd go so far as to say piracy is a secondary reason for this always-on DRM, the first being control. They want to be able to flip a switch and kill the product whenever they see fit, whether it be for one user they've decided they don't like, or for everyone because they've decided it's time to milk the cows again with a new game.

Class warfare 101: don't let the peasants own property, only rent it.

stev69
stev69

@Seymour47 @stev69 Because they are from different sources the above is merely opinion based on comments made by a whistle blower who thinks it can be so, whilst the article i linked is proof that someone is actually doing it. Savvy?

matty_6666
matty_6666

@Seymour47 @deathstream Sony have denied that PS4 won't play used games, its just a bad market strategy, you will still get companies like EA using product codes to block out parts of there gasmes though.

stev69
stev69

@deathstream Yeah DRM will likely be very tight on next gen consoles, regardless if you still buy titles from the companies you consider to be greedy and are punishing pc gamers (and they are) then it doesn't matter which platform you buy it for you are still supporting them.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

@stev69yeah we all know that's the marketng that makes a game great... typical blind consummer reflexion, good job!

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@Seymour47 

I did have somewhere to be. yes. You wouldn't know about responsibility would you?  But like anything that needs to be done, it does end.  So I came back.  Relax.  Start by getting outside and socializing.

rogerpenna
rogerpenna

@brainiac1988 No, Diablo III has not been pirated. You can download it at Piratebay, but you can not play it. There is no crack available. Even installation does not work (just see the comments section). As for WOW, whatever. Its one of the most successful games ever. Do you really want to claim piracy hurted it?

stev69
stev69

@Seymour47 @stev69 No worries, im just glad EA is now being eye gouged along with the bloody nose they already have.

Seymour47
Seymour47

@stev69 @Seymour47 My mistake.  Me being a dumbass thinking I was still in the gamespot article discussing the modding from this morning.  

S4E
S4E

@stev69 @deathstream Also, I read somewhere that 720 might actually require 24/7 connection to be able to be used properly? I'm not sure if this is true or not, but that's what I read somewhere.

Thing is, anti-piracy just never works. In fact, I think it does the exact opposite. People who buy games get fed up with constant problems with this and that, whether its' software related or indeed hardware with server problems etc.and have stated many times that they will start using/getting pirated games just because they work better than the real ones.

stev69
stev69

@ZoTrAcK @stev69 Way to only pick part of the point I was making, selective arguments are always easier that way aren't they.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

@rogerpenna  did I say that?   all I meant was you can play it for free on a private server. Ive played wow a LOT and I bought it.  

EDIT:  stopped after Catyaclysm