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Play SimCity Offline? There's a Mod For That

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 43 comments

Go modders go!

While DRM is understandable given that games and other media generate revenue that in turn pays the bills and feeds the kids, sometimes the efforts to curb piracy goes too far. Publishers spitting out titles that require an Internet connection even when customers want to play a single-player campaign -- and then say it's because of built-in social features, not DRM -- is full of crap. Maybe I don't want to be social. Why don't I have that option? If the servers are down, I'm totally screwed.

EA and its excuse for SimCity is a great example. Both EA and Maxis publicly claim that the always-online DRM is necessary for in-game calculations that must be performed by the servers. But an unnamed Maxis employee has come out and called those claims a fabrication. They also said that removing the online requirement would call for a complete overhaul of the game. He says that's a load of crap too.

Seemingly backing this masked Maxis employee, a modder by the name of UKAzzer – which could be the Maxis employee for all we know – has created a workaround that removes the DRM-based Internet requirement. A portion of that mod includes disabling the game's disconnection timer, setting it tp unlimited. Typically EA kicks paying customers out of the game after 20 minutes of offline play.

"So with a little bit of package editing within SimCity thanks to the modding guide posted to Reddit earlier, and a little playing about in the code, it's possible to enable debug mode," UKAzzer states on Reddit. "I linked the activation to the 'Help Center' button in the main menu for ease. Most developer debug features are disabled without having an actual developer's build (they have terraforming tools etc. available in the full developer build!), but a few things do still work - including editing the main highways."

UKAzzer points out that he can edit highways anywhere, even outside the city's boundary. He also modded out the "fluffed population count" so that the game shows a real population account. But progress can only be saved on the Origin servers, so a connection will be required at some point. Access to SimCity's region features also isn't possible – at least, not yet.

"This shows that highway editing will be easily possible, AND that editing outside of the artificially small city boundaries should be very viable too," he said.

Naturally EA wouldn't comment on the mod, but the company will undoubtedly address the issue soon. If anything, this hack proves that SimCity can be played in offline mode – just give modders time to get it fully detached from EA's clutches. Hey, if EA wanted a cloud-based game, it should have remained in the cloud and not dumped onto your personal property (hard drive) for $60.

To see SimCity running in offline mode, check out the video below!

SimCity 5 Offline

 

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  • 32 Hide
    kitsunestarwind , March 14, 2013 6:28 PM
    Pretty low when MAXIS and EA have to try and lie to save face about their crappy always online DRM
  • 27 Hide
    Novulux , March 14, 2013 6:28 PM
    edogawaSo a modder did what a team of developers couldn't....that's sad.EA is getting worse by the year.


    *wouldn't
  • 26 Hide
    edogawa , March 14, 2013 6:16 PM
    So a modder did what a team of developers couldn't....that's sad.

    EA is getting worse by the year.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    edogawa , March 14, 2013 6:16 PM
    So a modder did what a team of developers couldn't....that's sad.

    EA is getting worse by the year.
  • 32 Hide
    kitsunestarwind , March 14, 2013 6:28 PM
    Pretty low when MAXIS and EA have to try and lie to save face about their crappy always online DRM
  • 27 Hide
    Novulux , March 14, 2013 6:28 PM
    edogawaSo a modder did what a team of developers couldn't....that's sad.EA is getting worse by the year.


    *wouldn't
  • 23 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , March 14, 2013 6:35 PM
    edogawaSo a modder did what a team of developers couldn't....that's sad.EA is getting worse by the year.

    you mean So a modder did what a team of developers wouldn't
    I will buy that game, when i can play in offline mode. So EA, you have a potential customer right here, all you need to do is get your sh!t together and allow offline mode.
  • 22 Hide
    abbadon_34 , March 14, 2013 6:40 PM
    next up: local save. Then it's ready to go Gold
  • 23 Hide
    pheroh , March 14, 2013 6:43 PM
    Skcorunless he meant "couldn't" since EA said it was not possible due to the resources required to run the game

    Well, EA is lying. As simple as that and this mod proves it.
  • 11 Hide
    p05esto , March 14, 2013 6:54 PM
    EA sucks and is going to pay dearly for requiring always on internet and the heavy DRM. Most people have heard about this and will not buy an EA game again (I know I never will). It's time to put our money on companies that stay away from DRM. Build good games for reasonable prices ($60 is no where near reasonable) and people will buy. $20 for a game should be TOP. I bought Serious Sam 3 and Minecraft as my last games, fyi.
  • 23 Hide
    grz09 , March 14, 2013 6:56 PM
    Some time later ... (EA counter hack) Offline-mode DLC Released ... $30 !!!
  • 3 Hide
    smeezekitty , March 14, 2013 7:07 PM
    I will consider buying it once we have a local save hack...
  • 16 Hide
    ttcboy , March 14, 2013 7:25 PM
    So, EA and some big co-operations are screwing it's paying customer left and right and wondering why people would pirate the games ?

    It's pathetic to buy a game and have to wait for the 3rd party mod so that u can play the game that u paid with ur hard earned money.
  • 21 Hide
    srhelicity , March 14, 2013 7:31 PM
    smeezekittyI will consider buying it once we have a local save hack...


    Don't buy it if there's a hack. You are giving them money to support their always-on DRM system. I *really* want to play SimCity, but I refuse to spend my own money to support such a terrible system. Speak with your wallet -- it's the only thing that EA cares about!

    (That said, don't pirate either. The game developers see pirates as "lost sales", so it just gives them more motivation to further reinforce such ridiculous DRM schemes like we see in SimCity. Just keep your principles and, as hard as it may be, avoid playing SimCity until these issues are fixed. For me, as much as I hate it, this may mean that I never get to play the new SimCity. At least I'm keeping my $60 away from EA's pockets in the meantime.)
  • 0 Hide
    Deadboy90 , March 14, 2013 7:37 PM
    I CALLED IT!
  • 6 Hide
    Darkk , March 14, 2013 7:54 PM
    I hope the folks at EA are reading this and leave the mod alone. Or at least give us the real offline option so we can play the game without being forced to use internet connection just for solo gaming.

    I do understand DRM and their rights to protect the game but come on these are legit customers we're talking about and they are pi$$ing them off.

    My final pet peeve.. $60 for a game??? What?? Lower it to $30 and the game will sell like hotcakes.
  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , March 14, 2013 9:37 PM
    iam2thecroweyou mean So a modder did what a team of developers wouldn'tI will buy that game, when i can play in offline mode. So EA, you have a potential customer right here, all you need to do is get your sh!t together and allow offline mode.

    Same here. I have been looking forward to this game for a long time now and would really like to play it, and I don't even mind a bit of DRM to keep me honest with my purchases. But I will not purchase a game that requires an always on internet connection.
    Yes, my system is always connected. But I would rather like to still have an option to play the game I purchased 5+ years down the road when it is no longer popular and I get an itch to play a new city.
  • 5 Hide
    nitrium , March 14, 2013 11:02 PM
    All this DRM stuff is total BS. Pretty much all of the Kickstarter funded games specifically have NO DRM - simply because it is/was DEMANDED by the backers. Yes, the BACKERS (who have legally purchased the game via Kickstarter), DON'T want DRM. You'd think this would be crystal clear by now.
  • 5 Hide
    fuzzion , March 14, 2013 11:18 PM
    There is already a working crack on torrent.
  • 0 Hide
    echozero , March 14, 2013 11:43 PM
    It is too bad that EA had to go Diablo 3 route instead Anno 2070. In Anno 2070 you can play the game offline just fine, however if you choose to play offline you will lose the access to the ark which contains useful upgrades.
  • 3 Hide
    thecolorblue , March 15, 2013 2:11 AM
    echozeroIt is too bad that EA had to go Diablo 3 route instead Anno 2070. In Anno 2070 you can play the game offline just fine, however if you choose to play offline you will lose the access to the ark which contains useful upgrades.

    Anno 2070 was a DRM Piece of $$h!t as well. really wanted to buy it but i refuse to contribute sales to a DRM gimped always online microtransaction bull$hit that will cease to be playable whenever the board of directors says "fu** it" and pulls the plug on the server.
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