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SimCity Finally Getting Offline Mode and Modding

By - Source: Maxis Blog | B 26 comments

Update 10 will add a single player mode for playing offline. Mods are a go too.

Looks as though the impossible is now quite possible, as Patrick Buechner, General Manager of the Maxis Emeryville, studio reports that SimCity will soon be playable offline nearly one year after the game made its debut. Why the sudden change in heart? Modding may have had something to do with it.

"In Update 10, you can still play solo in Regions on your own, or in Multiplayer with people from around the world," he writes. "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."

One of the big beefs consumers had with SimCity when it launched on March 5, 2013 was that players needed an Internet connection to play. Yet the online servers were having technical issues such as network outages, difficulty in making a connection and problems saving progress. Maxis said that the game was designed to be played online, and that it would be "impossible" to play offline. Ten months later, the Single Player Mode shows up.

"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," he writes. "And all of your pre-existing saved cities and regions will still be accessible should you log-in to the Online game."

Maybe it was the new modding community that pushed Maxis over the offline edge, as he says that an offline mode should be great news for those itching to write mods.

"They can now make modifications to the game and its components without compromising the integrity of the Online game," he writes. "Modding is a big part of our studio's legacy and we're excited to see what you guys create. 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."

For those interested in modding SimCity, there's a list of rules located here that was posted on January 9, 2014.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Platinum Era , January 14, 2014 8:36 PM
    Rather have a larger city area...
  • 11 Hide
    memadmax , January 14, 2014 8:35 PM
    Change of heart?Maybe it was because the game sucks....
  • 10 Hide
    cloakster , January 14, 2014 8:55 PM
    Too little too late
Other Comments
    Display all 26 comments.
  • 11 Hide
    memadmax , January 14, 2014 8:35 PM
    Change of heart?Maybe it was because the game sucks....
  • 14 Hide
    Platinum Era , January 14, 2014 8:36 PM
    Rather have a larger city area...
  • 10 Hide
    cloakster , January 14, 2014 8:55 PM
    Too little too late
  • 1 Hide
    bochica , January 14, 2014 9:21 PM
    something that should have been done from the beginning. what players also needed was better stability of gameplay and connectivity. since it has taken a year to answer any of the three needs, it is probably way too late.
  • 5 Hide
    Eisbrecher34 , January 14, 2014 9:35 PM
    I understand that multiplayer and online games are the wave of the future, but for sim / strategy games there is still an undeniable need for a single player / offline option. I guess EA and Maxis forgot this when they developed the game. For FPS and MMOs yes you can get away with what they did, but again it all comes back down to who is going to play the game. Its a shame because I love the older Sim City games, but this one really was a blemish to the series. Hopefully they learn their lesson for the next one...
  • 3 Hide
    bochica , January 14, 2014 9:41 PM
    The "idea" they had for the game was actually pretty cool, having a global economy generated by other players. What they lacked though was the proper execution of it. I think if there was more interactivity, bigger plots, and, overall, a more stable game, it would have been very successful.
  • 8 Hide
    agnickolov , January 14, 2014 10:30 PM
    Now if only Blizzard were to follow suit with Diablo 3...
  • 3 Hide
    Darkerson , January 15, 2014 1:32 AM
    Quote:
    Now if only Blizzard were to follow suit with Diablo 3...
    At least the AH is going away, but yeah, LAN and offline single player would be nice, too!
  • -2 Hide
    iamadev , January 15, 2014 4:15 AM
    What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that this was likely their intention all along. As bad as the launch for this and D3 were they were hugely successful games, partially due to the following the brands have but also in a big way due to the fact that early on the only way to play it was to buy it.This drop in piracy and those that "needed" to play it had to buy it instead of simply heading over to the nearest torrent site made them both hugely successful despite protestations from a lot in the gamer community.Now they get to release an offline/single player mode and get a few more sales from the few hold outs that were genuinely going to buy if/when a offline mode was implemented. The upside to all this is when they want to turn the servers off (they made most of the money off this game already) they can do without too much backlash.Its win win win for all involved, buyers get their offline mode, pirates get their free copy without convoluted cracks/emu servers and EA get to turn off the online servers when they want (i.e. when it is no longer cost effective to run them).
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , January 15, 2014 5:07 AM
    I imagine that the offline mode is required by modding and by the offline saves. I can't remember how many times I lost a city because I forgot what server it was stored on or something else screwy happened. As for city size I like the fact that the sizes are small, it requires you to think more. I've hated how modern games give you essentially unlimited resources and gamers complain about games that have restrictions.
  • 2 Hide
    icepick314 , January 15, 2014 5:50 AM
    thanks for reminding me to delete this game off my HDD...I tried to like new SimCity (it was free from AMD promotion) but it was very limiting compared to SimCity 4...traffic problems were somewhat fixed but the resource sharing was PITA and each "block city" was too small to do anything I wanted to build...even with new offline and mod support, I doubt I'll ever play it again when much better SimCity 4 is available...
  • 1 Hide
    rantoc , January 15, 2014 7:00 AM
    So they "rape" their fans and then pretend to be the rescuer a while later and think the gullible victims wil fall for it! Sounds like the worst company of the year is well deserved!... Fool me once...
  • 2 Hide
    fimbulvinter , January 15, 2014 8:08 AM
    Wasn't this a mode that EA\Maxis claimed over and over wasn't possible because of all the social media integration blah blah, and then some player proved was possible 2 weeks after release and EA\Maxis again claimed it wasn't possible. Eat shit EA.
  • 0 Hide
    happyballz , January 15, 2014 9:03 AM
    Even being older and with all its faults CitiesXL was a much better game... almost 4 years before this rehash of SimCity. Always on DRM(on non-cracked version) and game based solely on online interaction not to mention many other limitations was a big fail. They should have done what CitiesXL did... you could play it either online or offline with the same resource sharing strategies.

    But it's EA ... they totally kill anything worthwhile.... Westwood, Bioware and now obviously Maxis, even though their previous game -Sim Societies was garbage too so EA's presence was felt there already.
  • 1 Hide
    glasssplinter , January 15, 2014 9:21 AM
    Used to think this game was fun back in the old days but then it got too complicated and lost everything. Didn't have a job and store 1 block from residential, people move out. Build a job and store within a block then they move out because too much noise etc. Raise the taxes because they want 40 police and fire stations plus 20 hospitals and 30 schools all on a tiny map and they move out. Tiny city yet I need to build a freeway that takes up half the map because they can't get to where they need to fast enough etc etc. SC4 was the last time I played and can't get back to the franchise.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 15, 2014 10:12 AM
    In some ways I'm glad that EA keeps coming out with garbage, it makes it easier to continue my boycott. Yet another series that I love that they've ruined. Too little, too late EA.
  • 2 Hide
    xzblueXz , January 15, 2014 11:13 AM
    Quote:
    What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that this was likely their intention all along. As bad as the launch for this and D3 were they were hugely successful games, partially due to the following the brands have but also in a big way due to the fact that early on the only way to play it was to buy it.This drop in piracy and those that "needed" to play it had to buy it instead of simply heading over to the nearest torrent site made them both hugely successful despite protestations from a lot in the gamer community.Now they get to release an offline/single player mode and get a few more sales from the few hold outs that were genuinely going to buy if/when a offline mode was implemented. The upside to all this is when they want to turn the servers off (they made most of the money off this game already) they can do without too much backlash.Its win win win for all involved, buyers get their offline mode, pirates get their free copy without convoluted cracks/emu servers and EA get to turn off the online servers when they want (i.e. when it is no longer cost effective to run them).
    Might be some truth to it, though I like to believe there is lots of people like myself out there... People that wait for the launch to see if/how the game works at launch, particularly with "always on" requirements, to know whether to buy the game full price or to wait for a 2$ offer sometime in the future.EA's "incident" with "spore" should be enough of a lesson to ditch such a game, and that people would rather pirate than to buy crap. I don't believe that this is a "win/win," I believe that this is a "loss/loss".When someone release a product where they say that the reason the product doesn't work is because they had to make it like that to prevent piracy, that's when I loose all faith in the product. They have Origin for that (or Steam), SimCity and the server version (both the game and the server) is easily found on piratebay and other sites. Someone will always pirate, and someone will always make the game work independent of "always on" and SECUROM/alike. Doesn't mean they will sell a extra copy if no one pirated, mabye a few, but weighing losses in their brand(s) and wins in extra sales will probably show that they are out of business before all the pirates are gone anyway.The requirement of online servers and all the bugs at launch is why I haven't touched the game yet, though now being a year old, I don't even see the value of getting the game for 10-20$ on a sale...
  • 1 Hide
    dalethepcman , January 15, 2014 1:27 PM
    I guess if a company wants to destroy a franchise, this is how to do it. Gamer's can always find an alternative and bad press like what SimCity and D3 had push people to find alternatives. Making games like Path of Exile and Anno become blockbusters overnight.If you really want to feed the competition, keep it up.
  • 1 Hide
    xzblueXz , January 15, 2014 1:43 PM
    Quote:
    I guess if a company wants to destroy a franchise, this is how to do it. Gamer's can always find an alternative and bad press like what SimCity and D3 had push people to find alternatives. Making games like Path of Exile and Anno become blockbusters overnight.If you really want to feed the competition, keep it up.
    Excactly! If you want a game to fail, release it unfinished, with always-on req and just wait for critiques. If one person says it's a bad game, that's worth 5-10 customers, if a community says it's a bad game, go figure! EA have survived spore as well as MW. Without an internet connection, MW would represent a very, very limited internet experience, atleast from what I experienced with MW2...When I was persuaded to buy MW2, it sounded like the best of all games, though I soon realized that the game was one of the most limited I'd played on steam for a very long while. Yes, I played MW2 online, but it never delivered on it's promise. And it definately failed on it's single-player module. No more MW2, and no more EA.
  • 0 Hide
    xzblueXz , January 15, 2014 2:00 PM
    Quote:
    The "idea" they had for the game was actually pretty cool, having a global economy generated by other players. What they lacked though was the proper execution of it. I think if there was more interactivity, bigger plots, and, overall, a more stable game, it would have been very successful.
    A more stable game would get far more customers, the rest I don't know. My reasoning atleast would be that they pushed away a customer (me, if it'd been a good game at launch) because the game was so flawed for those that have bought it, which would probably mean that they (and therefore the people that bought it later) would have to firstly wait for fixes for their problems, then wait a year or two for the promised extra content if any. Extra content is here now it seems (offline mode and such), but the expected playability/standard gameplay is nowhere to be seen. Sure someone might be playing it right now without issues at all, but what EA should know is the basic anyone studying economy would tell them; brand is one factor, the way the product is reviewed at launch is another. I'd wish a EA representative would read this thread and "fix" future titles reading OUR reasoning of what's wrong and what they would need to do to sell their product, but I'm pretty sure they never read the article about the SimCity launch about a year ago, otherwise this article would never exist...
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