SimCity exploring offline mode, but not making bigger cities

Maxis has made a team to explore the possibility of an offline mode, but won't be making bigger cities, according to Maxis Emeryville studio manager Patrick Buechner.

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SimCity suffered the kind of rocky launch as any online game nowadays, but complaints went beyond server instability. Maxis has now decided to explore the possibility of an offline mode, but has put the kibosh on the idea of bigger cities.

In a post on the SimCity blog, Maxis Emeryville studio manager Patrick Buechner said they've created a team focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode. "I can't make any promises on when we will have more information, but we know this is something that many of our players have been asking for. While the server connectivity issues are behind us, we would like to give our players the ability to play even if they choose not to connect," he said.

"An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience." Maxis has already started to talk about user-generated content, and plan what might be realistic without harming multiplayer.

Another common request, though, simply isn't happening. "After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes," he said. "The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn't be able to load, much less play with bigger cities. We've tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn’t achieve it within the confines of the engine. We've chosen to cease work on bigger city sizes and put that effort into continuing to evolve the core game and explore an offline mode. Some of the experiments we conducted to improve performance on bigger cities will be rolled into future updates to improve overall game performance."

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  • reply
    October 4, 2013 8:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, SimCity exploring offline mode, but not making bigger cities.

    Maxis has made a team to explore the possibility of an offline mode, but won't be making bigger cities, according to Maxis Emeryville studio manager Patrick Buechner.

    • reply
      October 4, 2013 8:31 AM

      Intentionally obtuse.

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      October 4, 2013 8:34 AM

      love how the #1 requested feature for larger cities keeps getting ignored... if it's a technical limitation just tell us! :(

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        October 4, 2013 8:46 AM

        He sort of said it is. It sounds like the game would run like crap with larger sizes, which is unfortunate since that's what's hurting the game the most.

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          October 4, 2013 8:48 AM

          Did they ever release a patch that fixed traffic? Because larger cities are pretty pointless with traffic being as broken as it was.

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            October 4, 2013 8:55 AM

            Sorta, they are up to version 7 now of the game

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          October 4, 2013 9:18 AM

          I always thought the city limitation was tied to the online requirement. Guess not.

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          October 4, 2013 10:30 AM

          Still would be nice of them to make it a debug setting for offline or something so those who want to try can but without it being a "stable" part of the game.

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            October 4, 2013 10:42 PM

            That would be about the dumbest thing they could do. Even worse than what they're doing now.

            Release unsupported and broken functionality then wait while people rake you over the coals because the stated unsupported and broken stuff doesn't work.

            Sounds like a winning plan to me!

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          October 4, 2013 10:57 AM

          It runs like crap at the current size. But then again you have a system where everything is fed in to the city by a single road and the traffic system is so badly implemented that you have constant blockages. There isn't a single redeemable thing about the new SimCity other than it is pretty looking.

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          October 4, 2013 11:31 PM

          Same reason they don't give you the actual population, the "simulation" is overtaxed.

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        October 4, 2013 9:15 AM

        So "The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn't be able to load, much less play with bigger cities." doesn't even hint to you that they can't do it because of technical limitations?

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          October 4, 2013 9:24 AM

          sorry I must of glazed over that when I read it.. lol

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        October 4, 2013 9:16 AM

        It's soooo gonna be paid DLC

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        October 4, 2013 9:16 AM

        Not to mention the addition of "We've tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn’t achieve it within the confines of the engine." right after.

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        October 4, 2013 10:52 AM

        I still don't think bigger cities would solve the problem. There is an issue that you can't put everything that a city needs into the space provided, but making the city larger just means you have the same problem over a wider area, because the problems of things like dump space, utility coverage, traffic, etc. are proportional to how many people you have over how wide an area.

        What they really need to do is to make cities smarter instead of larger. They need to give players the tools to better utilize the space they already have, and make sharing resources with neighboring cities actually work so that you don't keep having trash service stop in a connected city because the city with the dump had a traffic problem or whatever is keeping the simulation from working properly.

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        October 4, 2013 8:22 PM

        Well, Offline play has been just as big a feature request as larger cities, so this can be considered 1 of 2 key complaints being addressed. Maybe in time there will be larger cities as well. There are surely more people not playing the game due to no offline mode than there are people not playing due to not large enough cities.

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          October 4, 2013 11:38 PM

          People hacked offline mode a month after it was released, it's probably not a huge addition. I wonder how many people are even working on this game anymore? I can't imagine the DLC is actually selling.

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      October 4, 2013 8:54 AM

      Of line would be great.

      Although this could be a bad sign. They may be making an offline version because they are shutting down servers or scaling things back massively. Could be end of the road for this one

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        October 4, 2013 9:17 AM

        No problem. Ill take off line, so that I can play without the dog collar attached.

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        October 4, 2013 11:37 PM

        Or it's the only low hanging fruit they can try to appease the fans (or get a few new purchases). People hacked offline mode like a month after it was released, so it's probably pretty easier for them to do, versus actually fixing their shitty game.

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      October 4, 2013 8:57 AM

      This whole game has been an abortion from start to finish. They need to throw the whole damn thing out and make a real sim city game.

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        October 4, 2013 8:23 PM

        Hear, hear.

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        October 4, 2013 11:36 PM

        Seriously huge disaster. Who were they designing this game for? Why did they think they could get an audience that wasn't interested in Simcity 1-4?

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      October 4, 2013 9:10 AM

      If ever there was a studio head boiler-plate comment that deserved a Rory Breaker "YA DON'T SAY!" reaction, it's this one. This game has been en fuego for over six months; hell, we saw a video of an "offline mode" hack when EA Maxis was circling their wagons around the "this is an online-only game" message.

      This is a case of marketing messaging politics getting in the way of damage control, and is most of why SimCity has been a running joke since March. They had a chance to stop this game from being a running joke of how not to build an online game, and instead, they add fuel to the fire.

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      October 4, 2013 10:07 AM

      The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn't be able to load, much less play with bigger cities.

      Make multiple plot sizes -- tiny (current), SimCity 4, Valcan_s.

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        October 4, 2013 10:55 AM

        People would always pick the largest one and then complain that the game doesn't run well for them.

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          October 4, 2013 8:58 PM

          Perhaps they shouldn't have designed a game that doesn't work then.

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      October 4, 2013 10:32 AM

      Wouldn't it solve the problem if you could make the City plots right next to one another, so you basically have 1 continuous city? Why can't they do that?

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      October 4, 2013 8:17 PM

      I won't touch SC5 until there's offline play, and I probably wouldn't touch it for long without larger cities. I've had a copy from EA busy being entirely useless since launch.

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      October 4, 2013 11:34 PM

      This game is officially dead in the water. I hope we get a Sim City 6 that isn't total shit.

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