Jump to content
  • Freddyeddy
    Freddyeddy

    SimCity Modder Tells Us Offline Regional Play Easily Done

    RPS: As we’ve repeatedly pointed out, while not offering an offline version of SimCity is entirely Maxis’s call, our issue this week has been with their claiming it would be near impossible, rather than their simply believing it undesirable. (Obviously we have enormous issues with any game being crippled by such DRM, too.)

    So how simple does Azzer think getting an offline version going might be? “They could make an entire region single player offline with absolute ease. It would be as simple as coding in a switch saying, ‘Is this person playing single player? Take the power values of each city from local memory instead of ask for it from the server instead.’ The only thing missing is saving to local hard drive – but let’s be real, the code for saving your city already exists, I can’t imagine even that would take more than an hour to put into the client (and it probably already exists in the client for development builds), plus a little bit of time for the UI elements for Save/Load.”

    “For an offline mode,” he continues, “instead of asking EA servers how much power is available from a fellow city in the region, it will simply have it in memory, as a small handful of values from another city. No live calculations done on them. Just raw values, all the EA servers send anyway. And as you’ll only be playing/simulating one city at a time in offline mode (cities you don’t play are “frozen in time”) – those values of how much spare power, resources, etc. other cities have won’t even need updating, until you change cities.”

    But how exactly would that work? If those cities are frozen, resources won’t be renewed, nor depleted? “Let’s say you and I play in a region together,” says Azzer, talking about the regular online game. “You build a town that has lots of power and water (water is a consumable just like coal) and spare fire trucks. I build a big casino city with lots of criminals. You go offline and don’t play for a whole week, but I keep playing for an entire week.” Okay, with you. “During that week, my client will keep telling me stories about fire trucks coming to help me from your city, I’ll keep getting water from you, I’ll keep getting power from you – of a ‘set amount’ dictated by how much you had spare when you last logged off.

    This is all processed by my client, not by the server. All the server did was tell me ‘X fire trucks available, Y water available, Z power available, from city with the name ABC,’ as a raw list of values. When you log back on, your water levels will be exactly as they were when you last logged off, because EA’s servers were NOT doing any processing, and my client only affects the city I am simulating.”

    Crikey. So an offline version of the game could act in exactly the same way. You could play multiple cities in your private region, each freezing when not played just as the current game operates. “No processing is done on the cities you aren’t currently playing on – they simply freeze in time and provide a fixed set of values of ‘resources’ that the currently played city simulates. The client does all the processing, which is why any city not being played (online or not) has nothing done to it by EA’s servers if the owner of that city is not playing their city at the time.”

    Source: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/16/simcity-modder-tells-us-offline-regional-play-easily-done/


    Sign in to follow this  
    Sign in to follow this  

    User Feedback


    It'd be a lot nicer if cities in my region were actually communicating with each other though. I'm looking at you, citizens who refuse to commute for shopping then whine that there's no shopping!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    "This is all processed by my client, not by the server. All the server did was tell me ‘X fire trucks available, Y water available, Z power available, from city with the name ABC,’ as a raw list of values. When you log back on, your water levels will be exactly as they were when you last logged off, because EA’s servers were NOT doing any processing, and my client only affects the city I am simulating.”

     

     

     

    Maxis/EA have a lot of explaining to do. The more I read about this game, the more I feel that the Glassbox was not the revolutionary simulation we were promised. I was so skeptical about Maxis claims that always - online was necessary because the server "needed to do calculations for the game". The evidence that the Glassbox is broken and poorly done is well - documented. It appears that it was just marketing hype and nothing more.  

     

     

    Maxis/ and EA have been caught lying to their customers. Their reputation is ruined forever.... 

     

    Impossible to engineer? Really!? SimCity 4's region play was not a stroke of genius. It was a simple concept and that did not need online connection to work. After watching UKAzzar's video I wonder what these people were thinking...

     

    EPIC FAIL.

     

    lrvaE7STBf.gif

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    that's great info, thank you. would Azzer also be able to comment on whether it is possible to increase city size (processing requirements, inflated processing needs due to weak AI, graphics, etc)?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    EA's design is exactly what people thought the Internet would be in 1969. Except now we have Broadband. Oh, wait, that came from Roswell, right?

     

    The only way Gibeau can redeem himself is if he managed to destroy the moon by throwing tardigrades at it...

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I reached the limits of what I can do in one of my cities last night, I need to expand to earn more money in order to provide services that are not effectively covered by additional cities covering it. I'm also getting messages from advisers saying they want an airport... Really? and where am I supposed to put it? Delete anything and I start having revenue problems. I have a city covering another with at least four fire trucks but they never arrive to put out fires! I also have large volumes of spare water but only a portion of that is available to send to another city also the whole system is shaky at best.

     

    I believe that city size is artificially dictated to force some of the social elements of the game, so you have to rely on other players/city's to cover you. Shame it doesn't work...

     

    As most processing is actually done on your pc not servers as claimed, and glassbox not as amazing as first thought I'm guessing our pc's are probably more than capable to handle larger city tiles.

     

    Finally I just stopped playing last night and started playing tropico 4, I'm probably going back on SC4 tonight instead lol.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Wow, isn't this exactly how regionplay in SC4 worked? So it took them 10 years to come up with how they could port ofline regionplay of sC4 to this new game as an ill concieved online gameplay feature noone was waiting for in the first place...... The more I read about this so called sim city, the more I get the feeling EA is not the only party to blame in this debacle

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Its the fact they aren't even doing the calculations. Basically, if i am reading it right, when simcity does a save it send what your city can spare to the servers. The server just sends that information out to everyone else. Short answer is this is region mode with play-by-e-mail.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Wow, isn't this exactly how regionplay in SC4 worked? So it took them 10 years to come up with how they could port ofline regionplay of sC4 to this new game as an ill concieved online gameplay feature noone was waiting for in the first place...... The more I read about this so called sim city, the more I get the feeling EA is not the only party to blame in this debacle

     

    I'm not an EA supporter by any means, but I think 90%+ of the blame should fall on Maxis.  For years they've talked about how this was the game they wanted to make and clearly, regardless what their audience wanted, this is what they were going to do come Hell or high water.  

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    In fact, EA might be well advised to publicly accept the help of the modding community to fix this game. With all due respect - after what we've seen - I am not sure whether the guys at Maxis/EA are capable of fixing this game. But I am sure that the modders out there would be able to fix SimCity within weeks right at its core: offline region play, large and adjacenity tiles, an INTELLIGENT simulation with meaningful AI, old-school zoning (low, medium, high density in control of player) with visible building lots, and terraforming. EA - please stop spending money on propaganda, invest in capable people and listen to your loyal and talented fans!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I guess my real question is why?  Why be so shady about it?  It doesn't make sense.  I don't see the upside for Maxis or EA.  Someone needs to be fired.  Maxis then needs to apologize profusely, and back it up with 1. Refunds to those that ask for it, 2. That free game they're giving everyone, regardless on whether you got the refund, 3. Fix the games bugs, poor design, artificial limits, and unnecessary online tie.  IF they implemented these items, and continued to do right by their customers in future titles, they may have a chance to win my confidence back, but as it is, they've lost me as a customer.  Talk cannot fix this.  Simply fixing SimCity to work will not fix this.  Serious, transparent, and long term action is the only way to fix this.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Wow, isn't this exactly how regionplay in SC4 worked? So it took them 10 years to come up with how they could port ofline regionplay of sC4 to this new game as an ill concieved online gameplay feature noone was waiting for in the first place...... The more I read about this so called sim city, the more I get the feeling EA is not the only party to blame in this debacle

     

    I'm not an EA supporter by any means, but I think 90%+ of the blame should fall on Maxis.  For years they've talked about how this was the game they wanted to make and clearly, regardless what their audience wanted, this is what they were going to do come Hell or high water.  

     

    Maxis is responsible too. But, I think Maxis is being asked to do PR damage control so that the blame is on them and not EA. The online idea is clearly from EA Boss Frank Gibeau: 

     

    “We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers,” said Gibeau. “I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single player experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365."

     

    (1) http://www.vg247.com/2012/09/04/frank-gibeau-i-have-not-green-lit-one-game-to-be-developed-as-a-single-player-experience/

    (2) http://www.cgconfusa.com/documents/CloudGamingProspectsfor2012.pdf

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The modder that did it has also told us how to play offline, all it requires is deleting 2 lines of code. That's it.

     

    He's now working on UI and a redirect to save to hard drive, and how to simulate the little work the servers do.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    code security is a positive word for a negative aspect of coding: untransparrant programming. The fact that it takes only two lines of code says noting about the code quailty of the coding (perhaps maybe that those 2 lines are easilly found and eddited, which I would call a good feature, especcially when it comems to modding. It does say a lot however of the way 'online' is infused into the 'DNA' of this game (which was so stated by miss Bradshaw). It is not infused into the DNA at all! It is just something they stuck onto the code. 

    Seriously? Does it only take a mere TWO lines of code to allow off-line play? I call that bad code security...

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Why them dirty rats, the game is pointless at this point. I tried to play because made the mistake of buying the day it came out. I went by past reputation. Its been along time since I have even played pc games because ive been just to busy in life. I was unware how bad this has developed. I can not even recomend anyone to buy the game even if they fix the bugs. I sorry but it has to able to be played offline and offline saves... Well goodluck EA and maxis on swindling drone consumers, because you lost this loyal customers business...... RIP simcity or better known as SIMVILLE or TOWN. Modd community please fix this broken game.....

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an Account  

    Sign up to join our friendly community. It's easy!  

    Register a New Account

    Sign In  

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now


×

Help Keep Simtropolis Online, Open & Free!

stexcollection-header.png

Would you be able to help us catch up after a bit of a shortfall?

We had a small shortfall last month. Your donation today would help us catch up for this month.

Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

We need to continue to raise enough money each month to pay for expenses which includes hardware, bandwidth, software licenses, support licenses and other necessary 3rd party costs.

By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

More About STEX Collections