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    Maxis announces SimCity offline mode


    Cyclone Boom

    SimCity will finally get an offline mode. Maxis has announced, just two months short of the game's first birthday.

    The news comes after repeated problems with the launch of the most recent release of the city-building game, which required players to be online.

    Requiring connection to the internet was seen as an attempt to curb piracy, but some users struggled to log in. The new offline version will be available to all players as a free download once testing is completed.

    SimCity had been a stand-alone game up until March 2013, when a new online-only version was released.

    The launch was beset by problems, with many gamers reportedly waiting 30 minutes or more before they could start to construct a city.

    Others said the game was sluggish once they were playing, that it was slow to respond to changes, and it often crashed.

    'Polished as possible'

    Electronics Arts (EA), which owns SimCity creator Maxis, apologised for the problems and said a lot more people had logged on than it had expected.

    It called the launch "dumb" and offered a free game to those who had been affected.

    At the time of the reported problems, Lucy Bradshaw, head of Maxis, said an offline, single-player mode did not fit with its "vision" for the urban-planning game and that many people preferred the online multi-player version.

    But in a blog post this weekend, Patrick Buechner, general manager of Maxis, said: "Let's get right to it. SimCity offline is coming! I've wanted to say those words for quite some time."

    "When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection."

    He also said that an offline version would allow users to make modifications to the game and its components without compromising the integrity of the online game.

    "Modding is a big part of our studio's legacy and we're excited to see what you guys create," he said.

    Graham Smith, writing on the gaming website Rock Paper Shotgun, said the announcement was good news.

    "The offline mode is a real boon to the community. If you've got no internet connection or just a shaky one, this is the difference between being able to play the game and not," he said.

    Mr Buechner said that Maxis was in the late stages of wrapping up development of the offline version and in a nod to the previous launch added that "while we want to get it into your hands as soon as possible, our priority is to make sure that it's as polished as possible before we release it".

    The offline game will come as a free download with update 10 and will be available to all SimCity players.

    Source: BBC News

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    Haljackey

    Posted

    Should have been like this from the start... Would have fixed all the server issues too.

     

    Also, I thought we were told that this game is way too much for our PCs to handle and the game could only run via a always-online connection?

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    Cyclone Boom

    Posted

    Well it's finally here.

     

    There was always speculation that an offline mode was possible. Though to be honest, I'm quite surprised it will now actually be implemented.

     

    Let's look at the positives. Maybe it should have come sooner, but it can only be good news from this point forward. Hopefully an offline mode will open the door for more advanced gameplay modding, giving the game a much needed boost.

     

    The community managed to save SimCity 4, so maybe we'll see some major enhancements from this point forward. Only time will tell.

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    Mithrik

    Posted

    Actually, offline mode has always been possible, if you could get into debug mode then it was possible to turn the game into offline mode, but your progress couldn't be saved because everything was in the cloud. All the simulation runs locally, only the multiplayer stuff like leaderboards and trading are handled in the servers, as well as the saving system.

     

    I think that right now, offline mode may be exactly to way to the keep the game alive for the future, but I fear that this feature could have been a saver right at launch, and now that the game is seen as another of EA's multiplayer game disasters, due to the always-online requirement, it could be a little too late to bring back the game into the fight.

     

    I already decided not to buy the new SimCity, as well as many people who got disappointed at the problems of the game. Too bad, it had the potential to be one of the great games of 2013.

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    Empowered One

    Posted

    If our computers can run the simulation etc offline, why not jump to bigger citytiles while we are at it? Or have I been out of the loop for too long?

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    teamyoyo

    Posted

    This probably isn't as altruistic as it sounds. By having the majority of players offline means they cut most of those expensive servers down to what they originally had or less. The accountants have realised that they've made 95% of the money they'll ever make from the game so any incentive to stay online (curb piracy) is gone.

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    Bipin

    Posted

    This will surely open the door for further development that may some day result in a product of equal or greater value than its predecessor; SC4. It's Pandora's Box, but with a positive spin.

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    Sandis_van_Great

    Posted

    Let me guess. Server population went down dramastically so having servers now is just a waste of money? They realized how dumb this whole idea was so they just dump it now and hope that community will more or less fix on whats fixable and hope that they will earn a bit more from that?

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    Mr. Nestlé

    Posted

    Also, I thought we were told that this game is way too much for our PCs to handle and the game could only run via a always-online connection?

     

    If I recall correctly, that part only applies to bigger cities, not the standard game. I hope that the community will be able to test it's veracity, though.

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    Mithrik

    Posted

    If our computers can run the simulation etc offline, why not jump to bigger citytiles while we are at it? Or have I been out of the loop for too long?

     

    They tested it. Apparently, it's not possible for the game to be playable without a gaming rig to handle the sheer amount of agents in a city of, say, 4x4km.

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    SAGGG

    Posted

    Define "gaming rig", please. I'm no expert, but I think someone could rig the game to have a bigger citytile without affecting the game, or at least create a region (if EA doesn't) that has the tiles put together and create the illusion of a big city. If EA can cave (and that's EXACTLY what this is) on this, they can do the city size thing as well...

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    niac123

    Posted

    I do not doubt the genius of modders out there. I think it's almost guaranteed that we will be able to control the size of a city sometime soon.

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    Huston

    Posted

    This probably isn't as altruistic as it sounds. By having the majority of players offline means they cut most of those expensive servers down to what they originally had or less. The accountants have realised that they've made 95% of the money they'll ever make from the game so any incentive to stay online (curb piracy) is gone.
    Exactly what I thought. With so many people disappointed in the game, this kind of response to server expenses (and likely a crash in sales) would've provoked this. Not at all surprised, but with the quality of the series, I'm still not looking into buying. Seems very difficult to see a time where SC2013 will ever be as great as it's predecessor. Especially with SC4's expansive uses.

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    magicrobbie

    Posted

    Let's look at the positives: the first good decision by EA/Maxis in a long time. We finally got offline mode! Yay! Modders of this world: unite to keep this franchise alive! Improve this game and show EA how great it could have been from the start! Thank you in advance!

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    Cheddar

    Posted

    This is definitely going in the right direction. Offline mode is something that should've been in the game at launch date. Of course, I myself who has played the game and called it quits with it after a month or so, I will not pick up the game again, even with the offline mode.

     

    Hopefully, all the newcomers to the franchise(which is probably the majority of the player base of SC2013) and any other SimCity veterans can finally enjoy this game....finally..

     

    Now, should we have our hopes raised for bigger maps? Probably not. Maxis has already set in stone that SC2013 would pretty much be unplayable on the average computer if bigger maps were introduced. Sure, the modders could find a way around, like grouping the city tiles together, but would that give us the satisfaction of a bigger map? No. 

     

    Hopefully, this will fix all the problems that this game has....That is, if EA/Maxis decided to make a deal with us.  

     

    Fine, we'll give you an offline mode, BUT, in return we won't give you <insert most wanted feature>. 

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    Cottoncandy Cyanide

    Posted

    Well this is a late addition.

    People have been craving for an offline mode since the beginning. I wonder why they implemented it as late as this?

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    mrbisonm

    Posted

    Didn't they (EA) say that this was impossible? And never going to happen?  ...but this is the first time that something "good" for SC 2013 was created......dohhh, and I threw out my copy of the game. :(

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    A Nonny Moose

    Posted

    Well, at last.  When they come out with an off-line only version that doesn't require the blood of my first born on the contract I might be persuaded to purchase a newer machine and give it a whirl.

     

    However, I will be watching to see if off-line users and especially the modding community are able to make any significant progress towards something more reasonable first.  About five years, I'd say.

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    moaku

    Posted

    Also, I thought we were told that this game is way too much for our PCs to handle and the game could only run via a always-online connection?

     

    The game was never designed to outsource any calculation to server side. Would have been a non-sense and cost tons of ressources on servers.

    That lie has been demonstrated almost at game launch, google it and you'll find it. Btw, it's not the only lie EA/Maxis gave us about this "game".

     

    Well, I tend to agree with some other comments here, offline mode is a good thing, but it comes too late to save the game imho, and is pointless as long as the maps stay so tiny, and there's no plan to make them bigger (mainly because glassbox is too heavy and isn't adapted to a massive-scale of population like a real simcity would require. promising to manage each individual sim instead of macro-managing them was the biggest conceptual mistakes they did for Simcity... btw, this promise is broken too. pop numbers are fudged except with low-population towns (I can't call them cities due to the size). So, basically, the biggest obstacle to have bigger maps, is glassbox itself.

    The glassbox concept is great, but it's not suited for a simcity game. The way it works implies forcing you to connect your town to highway, and to nothing else, because you basically have only one entrance point, and we end up with tons of workaround like that. Glassbox would have been perfect for a game like a remake of SimTower, with lower number of sims to manage, and less problems like "1 entrance point" to work around with.

    It seemed obvious to anyone who already made some game developpement since the very beginning when they announced the game and the way glassbox worked than they were aiming too big to make a proper simcity without having silly limitations like we now have. Many stated it during the game developpement, and as usual, they just ignored those remarks. "Told ya !" :P

     

    Well, short version: Good thing to have offline mode, but too late imho, and I won't come back to the game now since I see no interest in it compared to sc4. sc13 is dead for me... and has been since launch. Maybe if a such glassboxish approach was taken in something like 10 years in the future, when we have better hardware and more ram to address, our comps would have been powerfull enough to sustain glassbox with decent map sizes, however, we're far from that point, and the game is doomed by it's limitation. The best we can hope is that they don't sustain it for too long, and start working on a new, more smartly thinked, macro-managed real simcity (and not casual like this one).

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    SS3K

    Posted

    I want to believe!

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    NCGAIO

    Posted

    Let me guess. Server population went down dramastically so having servers now is just a waste of money? They realized how dumb this whole idea was so they just dump it now and hope that community will more or less fix on whats fixable and hope that they will earn a bit more from that?

     

    How would say an archer ...
     
    "Shot hit the fly"
     
    But I do not think there will be a huge community for hit the game ... times have changed

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