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Post by Dan @ 11:13am 15/01/14 | 12 Comments
Following the recent news that the the much maligned mandatory Internet connection requirement would be removed from SimCity in the next major patch update, EA Maxis Lead Engineer has posted to the game's offical blog to explain that the process of unshackling everything from the original multiplayer-only vision wasn't as simple as some might thing -- in fact is has supposedly taken them over six months.
The original creative vision for SimCity was to make a game where every action had an effect on other cities in your region. As such, we engineered the game to meet this vision, setting up the player’s PC (client) to communicate all of its information to the servers. That means that our entire architecture was written to support this, from the way that the simulation works to the way that you communicate across a region of cities. So yes, while someone was able to remove the “time check” shortly after launch, they were unable to perform key actions like communicating with other cities that they had created locally, or with the rest of their region(s), or even saving the current state of their cities.

My team did, however, see a path forward towards Offline, one that would maintain the integrity of the simulation. Lucy once said that Offline wouldn’t be possible “without a significant amount of engineering work”, and she’s right. By the time we’re finished we will have spent over 6 ½ months working to write and rewrite core parts of the game to get this to work. Even things that seem trivial, like the way that cities are saved and loaded, had to be completely reworked in order to make this feature function correctly.
The blog goes into some more specifics before reiterating that the process is now in alpha and the final stages of testing and due to be released as part of Update 10. Still no release date target yet, however.





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Latest Comments
Tollaz0r!
Posted 11:21am 15/1/14

they were unable to perform key actions like communicating with other cities that they had created locally


It's OK Bro, it didn't work online too.

So they spent 6 1/2 months spent trying to save their brand from the puss they associated it with when most very quickly pointed out from the moment they heard it, no offline was a bad idea...
ph33x
Posted 11:40am 15/1/14
Then you have EA and Battlefield.
And Microsoft and Windows 8.

It's not wrong that shit software comes out, it's bound to happen. What's wrong is when they ignore what people actually want.

"We want a start menu" - "We've changed it so you don't need one" - "We want a start menu" - "We'll allow stuff that isn't a start menu in 8.1" - "We want a fucking start menu?!"

Let the Metrosexuals have their Metro, but fucking hell, we want a start menu! - Still no start menu, MS know shit ain't selling, and still no talk of start menus in Windows 9. Oh and yeah, Windows 9 already. Is it there to fix fuckups in Windows 8 or are we going to start seeing regurgitated shit come out of MS for 5 versions of Windows before they make a new kernel? Will they keep going with making x.1 versions of DirectX and force people to upgrade over it?

This is why Linux is on the rise. This is why we have Steam boxes. This is why Valve is making SteamOS. This is why manufacturers are starting to use APIs other than DirectX. You can't lock people into things with IT, because one day you'll piss off a company worth billions/trillions and within a year or two the carpet is completely pulled from underneath.

----

This guys sad tale isn't that sad. I've played far more complex games that require no back end infrastructure in the US to run. They're full of shit.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 11:51am 15/1/14
Oh, don't expect he is full of shit. If they made such poor design decisions at the start like no offline play, then they are bound to make further poor decisions that end up having to spend 6 months or so fixing it to the way customers wanted in the first place. I suppose, at least they are doing it.
Jboy
Posted 11:58am 15/1/14
"My team did, however, see a path forward towards Offline"

His team should have seen this path BEFORE the game's release. I hope they learned their lesson that a game like SimCity should offer both offline and online modes by default.

I guess it was too much to ask for a simple offline mode ala classic SimCity 2000 style.
carson
Posted 01:28pm 15/1/14
Maxis is dead. Honestly, they're such a shell of their former selves. I don't expect to see another Sim City (or Sim game) that doesn't try to get you to purchase infinite expansion packs and then other crap within the game.

This is just more PR bullshit for them to save face though. I hope more people call them out on it.

This is why Linux is on the rise. This is why we have Steam boxes. This is why Valve is making SteamOS. This is why manufacturers are starting to use APIs other than DirectX. You can't lock people into things with IT, because one day you'll piss off a company worth billions/trillions and within a year or two the carpet is completely pulled from underneath.

I'm looking forward to when more games support Linux out of the box.
Rdizz
Posted 01:47pm 15/1/14
Then you have EA and Battlefield. And Microsoft and Windows 8. It's not wrong that shit software comes out, it's bound to happen. What's wrong is when they ignore what people actually want. "We want a start menu" - "We've changed it so you don't need one" - "We want a start menu" - "We'll allow stuff that isn't a start menu in 8.1" - "We want a fucking start menu?!" Let the Metrosexuals have their Metro,...


I generally don't read your ramblings but this one I totally agree with.
Khel
Posted 01:54pm 15/1/14
Meh, start menu is pretty inconsequential really though, I mean who actually goes through all the menus in a start menu anymore to find things, I just hit the windows key and type a few letters of what I want and then click on it. In Windows 8, I hit the windows key and type a few letters of what I want and click on it, same deal.
glynd
Posted 03:08pm 15/1/14
Meh, start menu is pretty inconsequential really though, I mean who actually goes through all the menus in a start menu anymore to find things, I just hit the windows key and type a few letters of what I want and then click on it. In Windows 8, I hit the windows key and type a few letters of what I want and click on it, same deal.


same. haven't used the start menu since xp/vista. I guess people just sook about change. Like windows 7 had the xp people (and all before that), windows 8 will have the windows 7 people. as an overall OS, I far prefer Windows 8 over previous versions of windows.


on topic though, shouldn't have been like that in the first place and hopefully big lesson learnt by most.
paveway
Posted 03:17pm 15/1/14
I wonder is trog still uses XP
ph33x
Posted 03:21pm 15/1/14
Meh, start menu is pretty inconsequential really though, I mean who actually goes through all the menus in a start menu anymore to find things, I just hit the windows key and type a few letters of what I want and then click on it. In Windows 8, I hit the windows key and type a few letters of what I want and click on it, same deal.

Yep, but I have to move my mouse around more to do the same thing. Yeah, sure, one mouse movement, but I launch a fuck ton of things this way, and frankly I don't like it. Why couldn't they leave it in and give the option? I don't see why it needed to be stabbed in the face. This is the breaking factor for me. If Windows 8 had a start menu, myself and a ton of others I know would use it. As a core OS it's quite reliable, boots fast, and has latest DX, but yeah.

Not to mention the first time I fixed a computer running W8 and I had to fucking Google how to restart it and I've been working with them for a long time. I thought I was just being dumb but the threads I found were damning. Why change it? What's wrong with Alt+F4? What is the functional reason to change it to something harder, or change it at all? I see that you can now search for it ('restart') but early on that wasn't the case. It was a laptop and iirc laptop Windows 8 is/was a tad different to desktop in regards to how it wants to shut down.

My bet is the same reason they change everything in Office. Because companies have to pay for more refresher courses for their certifications. MS probably makes more money from training than they do software now lol.

/rant
beau
Posted 04:43pm 15/1/14
i thought Win8 and 8.1 was pretty intuitive. Took me about 30 mins to understand the interface, but those 30 mins were pretty frustrating.

Edit, soz didn't mean to continue this derailment.
ph33x
Posted 06:31pm 15/1/14
I was thinking the same, soz for derail. I guess it's semi on topic re: companies giving us things we didn't ask for and it causes frustration, only to backflip in the future. The software market is at a real low at the moment, so much crap coming out yet so much money put into it. :(

I wonder if they financially broke even with SimCity (or MS with W8 for that matter).
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