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.