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Post by Eorl @ 12:09pm 15/03/13 | 18 Comments
With the launch of SimCity past us and the many issues revolving around server congestion and crashes at an almost minimum level now, the sights have turned to the title's gameplay. Many players have since discovered that the AI used in the game isn't the brightest, with the largest problem being the simulation of traffic and how easy it is for your city to burn down due to this problem.

In a new update on the official blog, SimCity lead designer Stone Librande has confirmed that the team at Maxis are well aware of the congestion issues, and that they are "working on additional fixes with the pathing of our Agents and these changes will streamline the way that the simulation unfolds in your city." Librande also explains just how the new GlassBox engines works in respect to the AI, and that an internal patch is in the works to hopefully fix these quite crippling problems. You can also check out the video below of an internal change to the traffic which should give a bit of relief to those with traffic problems.
We understand that when cars always take the shortest route between point A and point B there will be unavoidable (and illogical) traffic jams, so we are retuning these values to make the traffic flow more realistically. Guillaume Pierre (our lead scripter) talked a bit about the improvements that we are making to the traffic system in the game here. To dig a little deeper our roads will have a weighting system based on 25%, 50% and 75% capacity. As a road hits those marks it will become less and less appealing for other cars, increasing the likelihood of them taking an alternate path if one exists.
The blog post also goes into a fair amount of detail into how exactly the Sims - the actual residents of a city - work and just how persistent they actually are. From playing the game it is clear that only certain features are actually tracked between Sims, something that Librande touches on by explaining that "happiness, money, sickness, education level, etc. are [...] persistent", but also revealing that they "don’t own a particular house or have permanent employment." It's also noted that certain other fluff features are not present, such as gender, names or race "in attempt to increase performance so that we could have more Sims in the city."

Librande has also revealed that the online features that were turned off last week to help battle server issues are now being slowly turned on, and asks players to try out the test server available for continued assessment.

The SimCity news doesn't stop there though, as several modders have discovered through reverse engineering that is indeed possible to have a fully offline city, albeit without the social interactions that the online experience gives. According to a user named AzzerUK on Reddit, the modder has discovered that "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." Once this debug mode has been enabled, it can allow players to "mod out" the disconnect timer that would usually appear after roughly 20 minutes of being offline to the servers, causing an indefinite offline play. Discovery of several debug tools allowing the modification of highways outside of the city area through to terraforming tools and even cheat codes was also made through the modding files.

Modders have also discovered various other tools including the ability to remove the fake population that occurs once a city gains more than 500 residents. Other discoveries include mentions of "big maps" which could be possible DLC, ability to play outside the city region and behaviour for offline save handling which looks to have been hastily cut.

Currently Maxis or EA have yet to offer an official response to this modding discovery, however several Maxi employees have offered Twitter posts congratulating the modders, however also confirm that is unknown at this time whether modders will be banned or not. Stay tuned for more.

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Latest Comments
Posted 12:15pm 15/3/13
Poor Maxis, everything points to the game just simply not being ready yet. The game was releasable by a publishers standard, however we all know that can be pretty low.

It would be a mega hard sell to a publisher to miss release date for such a big game because you want to 'tweak the pathing AI'. As if EA cares about that.

Debug mode shows features that sort of work, but quite possibly were cut due to not having enough time to refine it to the point of consistent playability.

I do hope some of those options will be eventually opened up and patch in without DLC.
Posted 12:17pm 15/3/13
The game is good, I can see the vision the designers had in mind. There are just some logic issues that need sorting that will really impact the game.

Traffic Pathing.
R-C-I cycle needs refining.

Things like that.
Posted 12:40pm 15/3/13
I haven't bought this game but have been watching plenty of videos. Is the tiny city size a big problem? I remember playing previous city builders and having fun designing massive city layout plans etc.
Posted 01:08pm 15/3/13
AzzerUK however found out that saving and loading cities was not functional due to being in offline mode

from reddit:

•SimCity has behavior for offline save handling. When offline, your city is saved and is uploaded to Origin the next time you go online. Offline mode seemed to be cut hastily.
Posted 01:15pm 15/3/13
I rkn it could easily handle much larger city size, they are just forcing you to specialize your cities.
Posted 01:21pm 15/3/13
they j
The game is good, I can see the vision the designers had in mind. There are just some logic issues that need sorting that will really impact the game.

Traffic Pathing.
R-C-I cycle needs refining.

Things like that.

Exactly they just need to fix the bugs and maybe add 1 one roads etc.. which probably come later in $20 DLC or something
Posted 01:23pm 15/3/13
Ah cheers Rav, must have missed that bit. Hopefully with the notion that you can "go offline" it will only be so long before a mod is made to actually implement it in-game.
Posted 01:34pm 15/3/13
some people are reporting that they released a patch preventing you from accessing the files that allow you to go into debug/offline mode.
Posted 01:53pm 15/3/13
they are bring out a new patch to fix road problems especially for Police, Ambulances and FIre Trucks
Posted 02:36pm 15/3/13
Who releases a final build with all the debug code still in there anyway? #ifdef that s*** out
Posted 03:07pm 15/3/13
One reason why they patched out the Debug mode stuff quickly was because you could apparently screw with other peoples cities...
Posted 04:16pm 15/3/13
I'm just finishing up a week of intense activity @ the Maxis office and am very impressed by the group of people there and how hard everyone is working to turn the stability issues around.

Heading back home tomorrow and hopefully no more 15+ hour days fighting gremlins.

Although I did manage to find the time to eat a plate of Duck Balls and C***'s Combs while I was here ...

Posted 04:32pm 15/3/13
WTF man I always shave the comb off my c***
Posted 04:54pm 15/3/13
Who releases a final build with all the debug code still in there anyway? #ifdef that s*** out

I saw somewhere that at least the UI is written in javascript ... !
Posted 05:07pm 15/3/13
This is a lesson to all publishers out there: "Gamers are smarter than you, don't mess with us!"
Posted 05:32pm 15/3/13
game so fail. offline crack will be available soon.
Posted 03:42pm 16/3/13
it looks like EA are starting to change their story about the always online functionality from 'ZOMG YOU HAVE TO HAS IT CUZ OUR SURVERS DO CALS' to 'It Didn’t Fit With Our Vision'


“[W]e rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision. We did not focus on the “single city in isolation” that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that. But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality. The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology.”
Posted 04:51pm 16/3/13
At the end of the day they could of done both... at the very least offline sandbox.. but they didn't.

Poor choice or intentional DRM f***headness.. who knows.
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