Submitted by davewhite on Jan 12, 2014
United States

Let’s get right to it.

SIMCITY OFFLINE IS COMING!

I’ve wanted to say those words for quite some time, so my apologies that I didn’t take the time to say Happy New Year first.

Yes, Offline is coming as a free download with Update 10 to all SimCity players. When we launch it, all of your previously downloaded content will be available to you anytime, anywhere, without the need for an internet connection. We are in the late phases of wrapping up its development and 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. So, until then… testing, testing and more testing. As one of the final steps, we’re putting Offline into the hands of some of our most hardcore players, the DevTesters. This group of volunteers is going to put Offline through its paces before we release it.

In Update 10, you can still play solo in Regions on your own, or in Multiplayer with people from around the world. What’s new is the Single Player Mode, which allows you to play the game Offline by yourself. And because your saved games in this mode are stored locally, you can save and load to your heart’s content. Our team will be delivering a follow-up blog that will outline the full details in the near future so stay tuned.

So what does this mean for the Online game? All of the benefits of being connected will remain including access to Multiplayer, the Global Market and Leaderboards. And all of your pre-existing saved cities and regions will still be accessible should you log-in to the Online game.

Bringing the game Offline means big things for our wonderful community of Modders. They can now 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. Check out this thread to learn about Oppie85’s Central Train Station, which you can put into your game right now, and if you’re interested in making your own content take a look at the Modding Policy. To get you started, we will be rolling out a series of tutorials from the studio that surfaces how we’ve created some of the content that you’ve seen so far in hopes of inspiring your creativity.

So that’s it from me for the time being. Keep an eye out for more information on Offline shortly. We’ll be releasing more information on how it all works. And as always, get in touch with me on Twitter @EAGamer, I’m always eager to read your feedback.

From me, and everyone at the studio, thank you again for staying with us. We look forward to getting Offline for SimCity into your hands as soon as possible.

Author: 
General Manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio Patrick Buechner
Date: 
Monday, January 13, 2014 - 05:00
Category: 
Friendly id: 
simcity-offline-is-coming
thumbnail: 
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Comments

How's the simulation going to run without the power of "the cloud" behind it?

It never needed the cloud. The servers facilitated session storage and online interaction. The engine itself runs locally.

They always said that it COULD NOT RUN on a PC locally. The glassbox engine needed too many calculations to run all the agents. The community never believed it, only people like you. People that now say it is not needed.

Also the bigger maps, EA sais it is not possible, but the community will not belive it. It is a matter of time before the community can make it happen.

I hear that. I'm running a rig with a 3.4-3.9GHz Intel Core i7-3770, 12GBs GDDR3 SDRAM RAM @1,600MHz, and a Gigabyte OC Edition 4GB DDR5 VRAM Nvidia GTX 770.
If I can run Crysis on maximum graphics and physics, as well as X-Plane 10 Global Edition, I think my PC would just give SimCity the double middle finger and say, "BRING IT ON!!!"

HAHA any pc can run this as long as its alright and u dont need an i7 proccessor an i5 3570k is perfect for everything overclockable and stock speed is fine
(3.4ghz)
4gb of gddr5 memory nah 2gb is perfect
and 12gb of 1600mhz hmm nah 8gb is phine if at 1600mhz
if ur using 4 then maybe 1800 or 2133mhz
my pc i went overkill i have
an
cpu:i5 3570k @ 6.2ghz
motherboard:ASRock Z77 Extreme4
ram:32gb corsair dominator memory at 2133mhz
graphics card : 2 EVGA GTX 780Ti 4gb
4tb wd caviar black
120gb samsung ssd for os
and my system is perfect for the next 2 -4 years but i upgrade as i go

The quote in the article you mention actually says: “With the way that the game works, 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. It wouldn’t be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team.”

So I guess the team has done a 'significant amount of engineering work' to make it happen. I'm glad they did.

It wasn't just a significant amount of engineering work, Maxis had to reticulate the splines. I too am glad they did.

The reviews on Amazon are still saying this SimCity game is a bad game!

"Very Disappointed, January 27, 2014"

"Horrible, horrible game, January 26, 2014"

"Full of bugs... one year later!, January 26, 2014"

"Very disappointed, January 25, 2014"

"Don't waste your money. Amazon should stop selling this lousy product., January 25, 2014"

"1.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed., January 7, 2014
By Charlie Foxtrot (Tigard, OR United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: SimCity Cities of Tomorrow [Online Game Code] (Software Download)

As with the base game, the expansion is just as disappointing. Map size is still painfully small, and it's very difficult and mind numbingly boring to have to manage every little financial aspect of your city just to stay in the green for a few hours. I'm not sure if the megatowers are bugged or what, but the demand doesn't seem to work the way it should and residents complain constantly and move out no matter how well your city is managed. Reminiscent of how the casinos behaved before.

The futurizing is kinda cool, but it's just a sparkly overlay without a whole lot of value. For example, I still rarely use maglevs as the just aren't as useful or as good a value as streetcars.

I just wish they would give us the city building game we want, and not the city management game that shows of the technology they seem so proud of."

Another Amazon reviewer says,
"Cash farming is what EA does best, and Cities of Tomorrow perpetuates the long-standing tradition. Overpriced and without fixes to the core problems of the original, you're not getting much out of this."

I'm not trying to pick on EA by quoting bad reviews about SimCity but it would be great if EA and Maxis did fix the bugs in this game and made it one of the best SimCity simulation games to play because I still want to play this game and now that I heard the great news about offline single player mode coming for this game I will now wait until offline mode is released before I go ahead and buy it.

Too bad isn't it. They do what they think is the best. But the result is opposite.
--Hadi Nugraha

The original algorithms for the agents were traveling salesmen like algorithm which could only be calculated by throwing immense amounts of ram at them as well as general processing power. This is also what caused mass crashes early on in the games launch is the algorithm's literally consume all of (even a supercomputers) power and thus the game would do that fantastic little cascade crash grinding to a slow halt. The new easier to calculate algorithms can be done on about any computer but at the expense of stupid traffic and stupid agents resulting in some of the glitchey messes we have seen recently that they've slowly been programming minor variations into the agents algorithm's to remedy. This game has been one MASSIVE experiment in the world of planar graph theory and computations on them.

you make it sound like the traffic is so smart right now... A donkey is even smarter.... Beymbe they should replace the cars by donkeys.
Seriously,

They go turning around 5 blocks just to get to the one 10 meters from them. They dont allow Police Firetrucks and Ambulances to pass and they go stuck behind eachother when they arrive from the highway because when the first traffic light is green, the second one is red...

Some people would rather just believe the lie.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/22/the-power-of-silence-why-the-...

We had SimCity running just fine, offline, within weeks of launch. We could even crack the tiny plot borders. Just couldn't save. From debug mode, to the offline timer, to getfudgedpopulation, to "its not drm its an mmo," to the BS that only fooled those who wanted to be fooled. SimCity was the most /popcorn worthy video game train wreck since Vanguard.

I actually bought SimCity right after launch because I couldn't believe EA Maxis could screw up Wright's vision up as much as everyone was saying they did. I was wrong. Only this story popping up on reddit got me curious enough to come back and see what Maxis was trying to spin now. Its nice that a Lucy-less Maxis is still plugging away at SimCity.

Pleasantly surprised EA has not shuttered the studio completely. But anyone thinking that finally letting me save my games on my PC is going to magically rebuild all the bridges they've burned? Well, some will believe anything now, won't they.

No, that's just plain wrong. The traveling salesman algorithm is NP-hard with an O(n!) runtime, which means that calculations for even 20 points is impossibly long. If they had tried that, it wouldn't matter how many processor they had because it would simply never get done. As I said when this all first started, offloading complex tasks like that to a server doesn't make sense. A server is designed to deal with multiple requests at once, not to process a single difficult problem. The result of doing it as you suggest would be that each of our computers would be offloading a computationally difficult problem to a server that would then easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requestions. In this situation, a home computer is far more capable than a server because the home computer is dealing with the simulation from a single game, not several hundred. There is no way EA could devote enough servers (cost is just to hihg) to even think about what you are doing. TL;DR You don't know what you are talking about. EA simply lied to us.

Ahhhh.... no? Yeah. How about no. I'm sorry, but you have zero idea about what you are talking about. No such calculations were made by the servers.

Wasn't "impossible" to do it?

Too late, Maxis... too late.

Maxis never said that. EA did. Also, if it is "too late" for you then why do you even care?

Maxis GM Lucy Bradshaw said it. You can look it up.

I for one am glad they're finally implementing offline - I'll start playing again. But we shouldn't sugarcoat who said what about this game.

This is 100% true. I remember this. Lucy DID say this several times. She even said in a Q&A that it was, quote: "Impossible".
So um yea.

Well said. I agree on all points and I too will start playing this game again if it gets back to its roots.

Are they paying you for these comments? If not, reevaluate your life.

Great argument right there. Makes me wonder if your parents ever managed to produce living human offspring or if the best of you ended in a bedpan when your mother supposedly gave birth to you.

AHAHAHAHA too funny :D :D

I'm pretty sure that Maxis IS EA.... purchased outright in 1997. Over a decade an a half ago. You need to keep up on current events :)

Yay! Too bad no one cares and this joke called SimCity should stop.

Tell that to the millions of current players.

I was one of the people who were upset about the obvious fiction that offline support wasn't possible due to the design of the game. I'm glad you listened, re-thought things, and have been working on it.

In addition, it seems like you listened to a lot of other things that were said, such as the necessity of proper modding support. Thank you for continuing to improve the game and implement the features that the community wants.

Very well said. I can forgive if the company is willing to listen. In fact, I will buy this game when the single player mode is out and, if it is as improved as everyone says, then Maxis and EA will have gone a long way to making for a loyal fan. Everyone is entitled to make a mistake. Listening to customers and giving them what they want is the right way to say "we're sorry."

Well, EA is a business... and the customer is always right. They are looking at massive losses from nearly killing SimCity... the loss of trust is incalculable, certainly, but they aren't stupid, and realize that this bad move had easily killed hundreds of millions in future revenue... if not billions (one never knows how long a franchise will last).

Even a bloated, out of touch game monster like EA eventually realizes when they make a severe mistake. One of the hazards of being a mega developer is slow response.

But they depend on us.

This is why business is so much better than government. Try getting the Department of Motor Vehicles to change... anything. Try getting a refund from the County for poor service. Try getting Obamacare to start covering the medication you rely on, when it doesn't...

EA is terrible compared to other game developers when it comes to responding to markets and customers... but they are still far, far better than "the man".

Lol, I liked multiplayer. Now servers will be empty because everyone will be playing singleplayer :'(

I liked multiplayer too. Actually I wish I could do multiplayer things like this since SimCity 3000.
I think most SimCity players feel the same about multiplayer. And they won't leave the servers empty.

But it is a good news that we can play the game over again when 20 years passed with no servers running.

Not that anyone will still play any game from today in 20 years. Or even in 10 years. And only few will still play anything that was released in 2013 in 5 years. Heck, machines in 20 years won't be able to run this game anymore. It will be too primitive by then.

Welcome to gaming, the fast food of entertainment.

Ummm, yeah nobody plays games from 2003 anymore (cough, simcity 4, cough), nobody plays 10 year old games anymore. rigggghhhhtttt?

I still play Total annihilation on my i3 system.. N00bs don't know how awesome old games are.

I still play space quest 4

Master of Orion 1/2 anyone??

Sorry to burst your bubble there, El_Bearsidente, but you are not right at all. Your 5-yr statement is way off base since new consoles are on a 7-10 yr release schedule and usually consoles are backwards compatible (not the PS4/XBoxOne however, WiiU is though) to maintain ability to play those 5/10/15 year old games. PC games that are "too old" to run on modern PCs just need a quick VM setup and you are off. The Diablo's, Baulder's Gates, SimCity's, Civ's, Final Fantasy's, Star Craft's, Half-Life's, Doom's, C&C's, Warcraft's, Ultima's, etc. maintain replayability to this day. If you aren't familiar with many of these games, that is a shame. They are all worthy members (albeit maybe not all their releases). And if you haven't found a game you still play after 10 years, than you either not old enough yet or you are not a gamer in a position to make any of those statements (I think you are the former). The problem today seems to be the publishers with constant, over-bearing pressure to hit lofty release schedules and poor, unfocused QA where quantity of games supersedes overall quality of programming (not meant to be a dig on the programmers at all). And because of that, all those under 25 year olds have no real idea of what a solid, well made game is. We didn't need to have our games patched and constantly updated, they (usually) worked. It isn't your fault that you feel that way about games and gaming, it is the current state of the industry that is controlling that opinion for you.

These newb's, (newbie's back in my day, or if you prefer N00Bs, or noobs, whatever your thrill) seem to think that gaming and everything associated with that culture is something new. No actually, back in my day, I was a nerd for playing those 'dorky' video games. My generation trail-blazed the way, took the lumps, got picked on, went through the lawsuits, enjoyed the story of the game, saw 'eye-candy' as a distraction from truly excellent content, used our imaginations in those awesome text-based games...

This SimCity has definitely had its' troubles and continues to have some bugs, but this is a positive change. Next, the implementation of a master/slave system to have direct-connect multiplayer with save capabilities ;-)

I have several old PC's to run games on as well. The hardware lasts a long long time if you look after it. Still got a Windows 98 laptop that I can plug a keyboard and mouse into (and monitor if I want) and play legacy DOS games through the proper old DOS shell it had as well as all 3.1. 95,98,98SE and millennium stuff. Retired another PC about 3 years ago that is now an XP box.
Still play Ultima 7, the original X-Com and TftD, Masters of Magic and a few other games regularly - some close to 20 years old.

Good point Permalink - well made. :)

The NintendoDS plays some of the first GameBoy games and that's pretty old.

Can't agree with that at all.
Rarely play any AAA games from the last 10 years. Ultima 7 was last nights game (22 years old) Still play lots of games from the 90's. Pretty easy with old PC's around the house or now DOSBOX which does it all pretty much pixel and gameplay perfect. Looking at GOG.com seeing how many people are still downloading and playing 15-20 year old games.. well I can't really agree with anything you've written here.

Maybe you don't want to play old games - but thousands do want to - and do play them - easily and cheaply. No technical hassle and mostly under $5 a game from places like GOG.
Not sure about consoles - most console games I see on shelves are "pew pew" FPS games - they all blur into "the same game over and over again" to me.
I know they aren't but I really couldn't give a damn about them one way or the other. Let the kiddies play "kappow bang bang" with their pixel guns I say, as long as their are better games elsewhere.
As an example. Sim City 2000 is one of THE top selling games on GOG $5.99 for a game that installs without hassle, pays flawlessly and is so more in depth than this garbage for 1/7th of the cost. Shocking what EA has done to Will Wrights vision. It has 1200 user reviews (more than this version has on Metacritic to scale that) and sells thousands of copies per month almost 20 years after release.

then that means multiplayer should never have been the focus of a game like this.

Of course they will hope nobody remembers them telling us that Offline just simply isn't possible.

I wonder how badly the backlash affected them that they felt the need to do this.

I heard them say it wasn't possible in it's current state and that it would require massive re-engineering of the game. I never heard them say it was impossible but then again I really didn't care enough about offline mode to listen to those interviews.

Gamers are not easy to please!!!! But I'm in heaven right now and specially in thoughts for more modding! Thank you very much Maxis!

I'm guessing larger maps means you would have to change the system requirements -- if that is teh case, release an expansion.... OR, modders, please make larger maps!

Modders have already managed to increase city limit size, the game simply isn't built for it and is designed around the hyper-compressed cities.

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