Submitted by mdonahoe on Mar 15, 2013
United States

I hate to disturb you when you’re playing SimCity, but I’d like to offer some straight answers on the topic: Always-Connected and why SimCity is not an offline experience.

Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity. From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world.

We put a ton of effort into making our simulation and graphics engines more detailed than ever and to give players lively and responsive cities. We also made innovative use of servers to move aspects of the simulation into the cloud to support region play and social features. Here’s just a few:

  • We keep the simulation state of the region up to date for all players. Even when playing solo, this keeps the interactions between cities up to date in a shared view of the world.
  • Players who want to reach the peak of each specialization can count on surrounding cities to provide services or resources, even workers. As other players build, your city can draw on their resources.
  • Our Great Works rely on contributions from multiple cities in a region. Connected services keep each player’s contributions updated and the progression on Great Works moving ahead.
  • All of our social world features - world challenges, world events, world leaderboards and world achievements - use our servers to update the status of all cities.
  • Our servers handle gifts between players.
  • We’ve created a dynamic supply and demand model for trading by keeping a Global Market updated with changing demands on key resources.
  • We update each city’s visual representation as well. If you visit another player’s city, you’ll see the most up to date visual status.
  • We even check to make sure that all the cities saved are legit, so that the region play, leaderboards, challenges and achievements rewards and status have integrity.

Cloud-based saves and easy access from any computer are another advantage of our connected features. You can pop from work to home, play the game and have your cities available to you anywhere.

Almost all of our players play with connected cities. But some chose to play alone – running the cities themselves. But whether they play solo or multiplayer, they are drawn to the connected city experience. And Always-Connected provides a platform for future social features that will play out over regions and servers.

The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO.

So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes. But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision. We did not focus on the “single city in isolation” that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that. But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.

So I’ll finish with another HUGE thanks to everyone who stuck with us through this launch. Hundreds of thousands are building and sharing cities online now. And what you’re creating just blows us away. SimCity is a special game, with a very special community of players, and we’re proud to be a part of it.

Author: 
Maxis SVP Lucy Bradshaw
Date: 
Friday, March 15, 2013 - 12:45
Category: 
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Comments

Cool story, but... I think a better question to ask would be, does your vision fit with Simcity?

I like this guy. This guy is great.

Exactly this..

Nailed it.

At which point does the game dictate what the creators do with it? That feels like a very backwards way of thinking. Isn't the game itself an expression of what the developers do with it? It's like doing a drawing of your favorite super hero and then being told that your drawing doesn't fit with the vision of that super hero. Its doesn't allow for any type of growth, period.

At the point which they offer the customers -more- than the benchmark title in the series (Simcity4). For the most part, they have taken away alot more from the game than they have added. In fact, features that worked in previous titles do not even work now... and they are using antiquated code as work arounds... But hey, I digress. If you want to draw a well known comic book character with pink tutu and bunny ears, thats all fine and good, but don't expect loyal fans of that comic to go along with your vision unless you are really offering them something good.

At the point which they offer the customers -more- than the benchmark title in the series (Simcity4). For the most part, they have taken away alot more from the game than they have added. In fact, features that worked in previous titles do not even work now... and they are using antiquated code as work arounds... But hey, I digress. If you want to draw a well known comic book character with pink tutu and bunny ears, thats all fine and good, but don't expect loyal fans of that comic to go along with your vision unless you are really offering them something good.hermes outlet

Good question.

Thank you for the response... it is much appreciated! However you forgot to mention the most important part about always online! You forget to mention how Maxis' new Glass Box engine handles all the difficult/enormous calculations server side. You know, to protect our CPU's from melting under the stress.

Where have you been for the last two weeks? No it absolutely does not do this... at all... under any circumstances. The game is calculated on your own machine. Social features and region interaction is handled server side, but that is so obvious it is barely worth mentioning as an advantage of always being online. Anyway, welcome to the party, you are very late and you have a lot of catching up to do :).

He was being sarcastic...I got it.

I just want bigger city areas. Is that possible? I think you guys should make a farm that works like the trade centers. Put it down and add more farm area plops. There are still farms in todays world. Please.

In that case, you really SHOULD have sold the game as an MMO.

The always-on deal isn't the issue so much as the forums being full of people losing cities on a daily basis because the servers won't sync correctly or disconnect. It's an awful experience, and sad because underneath all this I think there IS a great game. It's just maddeningly frustrating to play in this state.

Thanks for the message.

I'm satisfied with SimCity. I've only had problems getting into the game during the first 3 days after the game was released here in Germany (and I was still able to play a couple of hours during the first days).

Right now, I'm really enjoying this great new game. I know that many players dislike this always online thing, but we all knew that SimCity wouldn't have an offline mode. I don't get why so many people complain about these online features. If I wouldn't like that part (I actually love it, because I am finally able to play SimCity online with a good friend of mine), I wouldn't have bought the game.

Keep up the work. You created a lovely new game, and I'm looking forward to new client updates that make the gameplay more stable and remmove bugs.

No matter what you tell the community there will always be players that will never be satisfied with any answers/responses you give. With that being said I am really enjoying this game, to a point. These bugs will need to be fixed ASAP in order for everyone to get the full enjoyment out of this game. Maxis has always put out a good product an I fully expect and believe that everyone there is hard at work getting the game to where it needs to be.

Agreed!

Thank you Lucy, I just want to let you know there there are many of us out here that respect and appreciate your hard work and dedication. You are forging new paths and i'm glad you are not letting the conservative old guard keep you from achieving it.

I'll be honest. At first I didn't like the idea of the always on stuff. But been playing a region with my friend and it has grown on us quite a bit. It is nice to be able to use any computer in the house and play the same city with my friends. Though I do wish the in game chat worked better. Have to play in window mode to use Skype. Smart move Maxis, ignore all the kiddos who live in the generation of 'Entitlements'. They believe you OWE them and society OWES them something for simply existing. You do not, and no one else does! Make the game how you want to make it. If a person doesn't like them, it is their own ignorant fault for buying it! You guys did not hide the fact it was always-on connected game once. So to all the generation of entitlement cry babies, it's your own fault for spending $60 on a product you knew you would not like. Go to you mother who actually cares about your crying and ask her for some more cash. To everyone else, enjoy the game!

Please stop using buzz words...

If game saves were in the "cloud" then I should be able to play my cities on Oceania 2 on any other server, but I can't, so they aren't in the cloud, they are on some storage somewhere for Oceania 2.

I do like the game, I lot. But there are a simple thing: Online should be a plus, not mandatory...

What you don't understand is that we NEVER asked for these so called "online advantages" and social innovations to begin with. If you want to employ that "vision", fine. But don't be ARROGANT and force it on all of us. Make it and OPTION. Most of the times I can pastime playing SimCity is when I don't have an internet connection. So what is the advantage in having cloud saves when I cannot access them MOST of the time? Instead of pursuing a SELFISH "vision" you should be hearing what the players, PAYING CUSTORMERS, really want and have been asking for... just to be IGNORED by you.

Did you ask them to make the previous Sim City games the way that they did? Did they listen to you then? They made the game they wanted based off their own vision last time too. The only difference is that last time you liked their vision more. I am not thrilled by the newest Sim CIty either, but it's up to them to decide what they want to make. I think their vision was great, the problem is the end result. Working together to create great regions is a cool idea, but 15 strangers don't work so well together. Hell, even 15 friends probably won't work that well together. It was a good idea, it just didn't play out as well as they had hoped for. They clearly advertised that it will only be online for a very long time, so why buy the game if you are so against the idea? If you aren't logical enough to avoid something you hate, then of course they are going to ignore your opinion.

I really want to enjoy this vision, but with the current server problems my cities just don't sync. I can see the changes that occur in other people's cities in the region, but as far as they're concerned mine are stuck in time. Solo play is hampered for me because I can only play one city in a region - any others don't sync. I can build up a population for 110K, switch cities and see it stuck at 3K. I can claim a great work and 36 hours later be told it's still calculating.

I know that this is probably being worked on as we speak. but until I can play the game in the way you've described, I can't really comment on your vision for the game. I really, really want to enjoy SimCity. I'm sorry to say that right now it's hard to drum up any reason to load it up.

I really want to enjoy this vision, but with the current server problems my cities just don't sync. I can see the changes that occur in other people's cities in the region, but as far as they're concerned mine are stuck in time. Solo play is hampered for me because I can only play one city in a region - any others don't sync. I can build up a population for 110K, switch cities and see it stuck at 3K. I can claim a great work and 36 hours later be told it's still calculating.

I know that this is probably being worked on as we speak. but until I can play the game in the way you've described, I can't really comment on your vision for the game. I really, really want to enjoy SimCity. I'm sorry to say that right now it's hard to drum up any reason to load it up.

It isn't cloud based though. Because then I wouldn't need to select a server, my city/region would just be there.

Quote But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality Quote

Honestly when you make an excuse that thousands of people are enjoying the game online well they have no other CHOICE so you cant really speak for the thousands of people because in the end there is no choice you either play connected or don't play at all.

And if you check review sites all over the place forums not just these but other fansite forums you will come to the concluding a vast amount of people 100s of thousands want offline mode in the end this is the pc market and one thing the pc market likes is choice GIVE US THE CHOICE to play offline or online in the end its the users that are playing this game and having choices cant be a bad thing.

All we want is CHOICE... and bigger maps.... Isn't it wise for a business to give customers what they expect and keep them happy? Your "vision" is only good for you, not for your customers, in the end, it will not be good for you either..

So thousands of people are enjoying the always on connection but I think a larger number want an offline option. The option should be there in order to give players a choice. SimCity is about your choices and your removing one. If I'm away from an internet connection or my connection goes down I can't play so you again take that choice away from me.

What about a solo region SimCity as an option but keep the online SimCity. This gives you a wider range of customers and still "Fits" your vision of how you think the game should be played

Hmm. Thanks for the explanations. Sounds more than great :D
But can you not make a 3-5 city regions, for ppl that. For whatever resons might "losse" the net for a time.
The gane need a Small offline verstions. Plz.

Frankly I don't believe the "Always On" was NOT an order from those above you. It makes no sense if you were SimCity fans to force everyone to be online all the time- even if you could figure out how to keep your servers up.

Even if you require users to create a region offline rather than a single city- that is fine- and there is no good reason you couldn't allow users to create a region in offline mode and just use set values for things on the "global" market- no player really cares about that stuff. The ability to play SimCity on long plane flights or other places high speed internet just ins't available far outweighs your "vision." Frankly programmers are far too logical to ever think this "Always On" farce was a good idea.

We all know in a few years be it 5 or 6 or 10- at some point there is going to be no one maintaining a SImCity server at all anymore. I can still play SimCity 2000... One of my friends broke out his original SimCity copy and got that working last week. You've made what once was immortal, mortal.

Bottom line is the only way my 1 star review on Amazon ever gets changed is if off-line mode gets enabled. Otherwise I and everyone else will follow every release you make with 1 star reviews, no matter how nice the game looks.

Cities really need to be bigger. This arbitrary square surrounded by empty, fertile land is just insanely frustrating. At least making it available to those that want it. Please, I am already getting bored. The only thing I can do once my city grows to a certain extent is start again. This is fun and all but I want to grow my existing city. I have ownership of that city and I want it to continue. As it stands all I can do is slowly watch it fester as my boredom forces me to push it to breaking point. I would love nothing more than to see a message that says "You have reached 100,000 citizens. The regional committee have decided to grant you more space to grow" then my city just expands. 200,000 bigger... 300,000 bigger.... until I get a message that says " A survey of your hardware suggests your computer may not be able to handle a population larger than 400,000. If you wish to continue you may experience unstable playing conditions" and you know what? I would still hit continue, and see how big it can get. Next time I play I would simply turn down the maximum city growth setting to what I know my computer is limited to.

It'd be easier to accept all those reasons for being online only if they weren't still deliberately disabled nearly 2 weeks after launch or still in there and broken or extremely slow. Perhaps you should have waited until the game was operating at 100% before trying to feed this same old garbage to the people playing your game who actually know what state its in.

I am enjoying this game. Keep up the great work. Although I have yet to find a region to join, I am doing okay with the three cities in the region I play alone. Most regions I see are private or full.

Wow, just about every reason that this is a "connected experience" either doesn't work, or was turned off because it caused to much server load! LOL

I could care less about the "always online aspect" of the game. Just keep patching and fixing bugs, adding building sets, develop mod-able servers, add some more business specialties, have fun with your project, and do all the other wonderful things that online games/projects do between fans and devs... I've been playing the Sim City games since before 3000, and this has been a wonderful experience.

I mean, cities actually work together in this game. In 4, the city RIGHT NEXT DOOR could be a ultra-high tech center and yet the city currently being played would still have an education of zero, piss-poor development, and no exchange of workers/traffic/pollution or anything else that cities share. Yeah, the maps are small and there's not a ton of specialties, but as far as I'm concerned it's nothing to get upset over as some do.

i have the perfect solution for all the people bitching and whining about not wanting to play online. see what changes can be made and release a NEW version of Simcity... SimCity Offline. the game was announced with intentions of having online play, and well, always online is still online. SimCity 4 still works and there is even a modding community that has kept it alive. the biggest problem that i have with the new SC is that i cannot play it in it's full glory. i have to tone down the graphics, but that is what i get with a older computer with on board video.

in other words:

Quicherbichen!

I think SimCity is yes a fun game, but you know it is sad that you can't return it, nor can you always log into a server. because they were poorly set up in my opinion and yes I do know you are working on that. Yes,yes I know these days people like to play multiplayer and play with other people or friends and that it did not fit your version.You know sometimes you my not be able to, or you just want to play by yourself. I don't have this game, my friend does. The thing is though I wanted to get the game. Right now the things I have seen and heard with the game. Like not always saving, and the servers not always running correctly. Now I really don't want to buy the game until it's fix or worked out or if you put singleplayer in. Another thing is yes it my not be designed for the game but... you should always go on the side of your coustemer because thats what makes them want to buy your product. Thank you for your time, and have a nice day :D

I have a question about the single-player. If you only hear from about a 1,000 people like you say that are always connecting and having fun then.. Why are 1,000 or more people complaining and that there always not able to connect or that their worlds are not saving. Another thing is why would you reject single-player (just because it did not fit your version, means it does not fit ours) If there is people a bunch of people like me who won't buy the game because of no single player and bad servers? Thanks again for your time and have a nice day :D

Maxis when is the true date it comes on mac not any of that nonsense about spring either. i want the month at least.

You say that you "REJECTED" single-payer because it did not fit "YOUR" vision.... but does it fit us, the costumers? Think about it.

Hi;

Having intensively played the SimCity series and especially SC4, the part I miss the most is the mods and it is probably the biggest downfall of this latest opus. The Maxis/EA teams develop great games and the modders always bring the game to a much higher personalisation and playing excitement. The excellent NAM mod and all its friends (BSC, NDEX, Cerulean, SimGoober, …) helped the 4th generation to stay alive for over 10 years (and still) because they brought unlimited possibilities for building and personalising your cities with details including buildings (BAT, railway stations,…), transportation (tram in road, Real Highway Mod, Network Widening Mod,…), decoration (canals, parks, …), … I won’t be able to enumerate them all since there are too many. The game becomes then in between city gaming and modelling. As far as I remember, I rode somewhere that mods will become available at some stage. Question is: when? Meanwhile, I prefer continue to play with SC4.

PROs
- Design
- The glassbox machine.
- Interaction between cities
- Specialisations
- Online
- Build even on curve roads.

CONs
- Frustrating due to ridiculously small maps and no mods.

Thanks
Have a nice day

Dead horse comment: the city size limitation HAS to get bigger. By the time you install all the buildings you want with all their expansions (universities, processor plants, police precinct, etc), there practically isn't any room to add all the zones you need to support those items! I'm being a little bit sarcastic of course; but it simply MUST become an option in the future for this game.

The online-only thing is annoying; if my internet is down (luckily it almost never is) then I cant play? Not my favorite thing, but i'm ok with this.

I'm not asking for them to change their "vision", but please at least let us folks with better computers have to OPTION to use our machines to the fullest.

This game is really fun though!! having tons of fun playing it. The city specialization is a really cool function. Imagine, with bigger city plots, you could actually set your coal power plant and coal mine away from the angry residents! As it stands, it all needs to be packed in together to make the most of the limited space.

why cant i send resoures to my other cities? when are you going to get cheata back on? when are you guys going to fix this game? I want answers. if i spent $60 on the game, i should get all of the games features. im never going to buy another maxis game, ever again!!!!!!

I have a question. Is it really that difficult to listen to your costumers to put in single payer(offline mode)? Because if you put in single payer I grantee you'll make more profit. ;D Just a heads up. (p.s. and please listen to the costumers give them what they want you'll be happier in the end.) Thank you for your time, and have a good day.

Okay, AsimcityFAN I know how you feel they 1.) Should have not put the game on the market with out going through it to make sure ALL the bugs are out.fixed. 2.) They should have at least installed single payer so you can play by yourself and learn the game or do what ever you would like. 3.) They should pay attention to the costumers needs so one they can make a profit, two we can be happy and so can they. 4.) when they said that they will make it in there vision all in all they should most likely do it more in the costumers way so they can make millions. In the end thought the game has nice graphics and features but the downer is not single player and that the servers are not that strong, so EA,Maxis if you want buyers listen to them cause I don't want you to fail you have good ideas and a good carrier ahead of you and I hope your aware of that. Now that's the rap and thank you for you time, and have a good day.

When I said they can make millions I forgot to say so we can be happy having a fun time playing.

since the latest update simcity keeps crashing and not responsive

I am absolutely fine with the vision and the aim. But you have to learn to walk before you can run. The system just simply does not work in Sim City. Sometimes it is better to aim for the vision by implementing achievable short term and mid term objectives and targets before going for something which is not ready.

Focus all your planning and design on a game that only works in multiplayer then after a few years shut down servers, its what youve done to all your other games....Ive been waiting for a new Simcity for years and i will say i will not be buying this crap ial stick with Simcity 4 thank you.

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