SimCity Studio "Exploring the Possibility" Of Offline Mode

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SimCity Studio "Exploring the Possibility" Of Offline Mode

SimCity - 06

The latest "State of SimCity" blog post confirms that Maxis has a team looking into the addition an offline mode to the game.

The SimCity launch earlier this year sure wasn't the smoothest operation ever, nor was Maxis' handling of the tide of rage that followed. But now, finally, the studio appears to have shifted gears on the "always connected" business, and is looking seriously into taking it offline.

"Right now we have a team specifically focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode," Maxis Emeryville General Manager Patrick Buechner wrote. "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."

In an interesting twist, given the studio's previous insistence that full-time connectivity is central to the SimCity experience, Buechner acknowledged that being offline has advantages too. "An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience," he added.

There is of course no time frame for the addition of an offline mode, nor even a guarantee that it's going to happen. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

Source: SimCity

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But.. it was proven possible months ago. People did it. So, go team? Finish off the doughnuts and knock off for the weekend.

A little too late, isn't it?

Christ, at this point, even if they fix the game entirely (not just offline mode) I still won't buy it because of the epic amounts of bullshit we've been fed by EA/Maxis so far.

If they add offline play, I'll think about getting the game. If i play Sim City I want to be alone, not forced into multiplayer. I enjoy shooting or racing multiplayers, but not strategy and sim. That's my preference.

If it happens, I may get it, if not, I'll stick with Cities XL 2012.

Andy Chalk:
...the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience.

That's hilarious! Especially considering it's the multiplayer that breaks the multiplayer experience. :D

But clearly, EAxis can't have those nasty modders doing things like preventing unwanted crime, pollution, or services arriving from the multiplayer griefers.

image

They're still trying to pass off an offline mode as "possible"? Their own players proved that within weeks of release.

Does anyone even care at this point? Even if it wasn't a load of bull, everything I've read says SimCity is shallow, pointless, and arguably broken at the core.

As long as they won't increase city size and improve sim AI in addition to removing always online requirement I don't see any reason to buy this game.

Gearhead mk2:
Does anyone even care at this point? Even if it wasn't a load of bull, everything I've read says SimCity is shallow, pointless, and arguably broken at the core.

I think SC fans still care but they won't buy the game until it is superior to SC4 because what's the point of playing inferior and intrusive product.

The behavior of EA-Maxis with Consumers parallels (keyword) an abusive relationship. Back in Psy during college, we studied the stages of abuse in a cycles: Tension > Incident > Reconciliation (Attempted) > Calm. The cycle then repeats with no lasting change in the pattern from the aggressor or belligerent. In no way is this meant to cheapen the experience of persons actually victimized by violent or derisive relationships, I'm just pointing out the habits of EA. EA, like an abuser, takes little to no responsibility for bad behavior and often screens with excuses and scapegoats if not with outright denial. I could go on about their handling of PR and Denial, but I don't feel it's necessary

EXPLORING? This should have been a mandatory option at release that could have prevented the giant fiasco that hurt the Simcity brand.

I called the "always online is a must" bullshit the moment I heard about this game, and was just proven right after a couple of weeks even when some people claimed "IMPOSSIBRU!" Over and over again.

A long time ago I realized that there's no piece of programming at all that can't be outsmarted by someone on the internet. Even less so when it's a shitty piece of DRM by companies like EA. I never cared about this game, and my interest went into negative levels with the "always on" nonsense.

To little to late. Dont know anyone that would touch this even if they made an official patch for a offline mood. Just a complete mess from start to finish.

The optimist in me says it's good that they might introduce offline now, even if- maybe especially if- it's not likely to gain them a large number of new customers this late in the game.

The cynic just says it's too little, too late, and one more example that ought to demonstrate to video game companies that forcing people to play their games online when there aren't any clear, concrete, player-beneficial reasons to do so (or those reasons pale before the detriments) is and will always be a really stupid idea.

With Blizzard's decisions to pull the Diablo III auction house and release a console version that doesn't have the online requirement, I wonder if there's any chance that the industry as a whole might receive the message. I mean, good god, people. I know you have these ideas that there's some kind of holy grail of emergent gameplay that's most likely to come about through multiple people poking at your product from different angles. But it sometimes feels like we bought a ticket to a concert and on arrival were handed a bunch of instruments and sheet music, or went to a comedy club only to have the comedian say, "Hey, why don't you talk amongst yourselves- I'm sure you're way wittier than I am, anyway."

I'm fighting so hard not to just respond to this Maxis article with a long string of incoherent obscenities.

Fuck it, these no talent ass clowns deserve zero fucking pity or respect. Rather than wasting time trying to salvage the game with features they should have had the common sense to add at launch, I say they should be focusing on booting everyone who dreamed up this clusterfuck out the fucking door, or better yet, window if their office is in a tall building.

I just cannot find it in my heart to feel bad for these wankers that have continually lied to their fanbase and made one bad decision after the other, and then tried to lie their way out of those. Fuck you Maxis, you are dead to me. I don't say this lightly but I honestly cannot wait until this company is added to the list of game studios EA Games has murdered and buried in their backyard.

I think this is public relations speak for Oh God oh God nobody is buying the game, nobody is buying anything from the in game store and we're losing money on all these auth servers that need to run twenty four seven because sales are so low. Quick, find a way to reduce costs before EA shutters our studio!

It amazed me how persistent EA (and others) have been trying to enforce Free to Play elements into fundamentally single player games. Whether it's this or Dead Space 3 (or Crysis 3, Medal of Honor: Doorfighter, Star Wars) the aggravation and always online requirements they bring are nothing but an expensive way to sabotage an otherwise reliable franchise.

Certainly it can work to a point in a game that's already established or allows those elements to be ignored (Battlefield, Fifa, Burnout, Mass Effect 3 once patched) but they keep trying to force this issue in areas it clearly won't work.

Oh well, byebye new Maxis, won't be missing you...

The two things fans have been demanding most, offline mode and larger cities, have been available through mods since the day after the game was released. What "exploration" even needs done?

P.S. Thanks

l3o2828:
A little too late, isn't it?

It's a lot too late.

And something tells me that Maxis will manage to bugger up the offline mode like they've managed to do to the rest of the game. Either that or it will be premium DLC and touted as 'an amazing new innovative feature that was always planned from the beginning pleasedonthateus!' It's incredible that it has taken them this long to court the idea of a single player game, almost as if they think it's some kind of urban myth.

Oh god, I started laughing the moment I read the headline. We all said this was going to happen the moment we head about the guy who hacked his into offline mode. I bet at no point will they ever admit they've lied, they'll just keep on going acting like not admitting anything means no one knows.

Wow, first Blizzard dropping the RMAH now this. Yeah... sadly even an offline mode won't help much since really, there is the looming problem of the small map sizes. See the game was more or less designed to be played online. So they'd have to giv you larger map sizes to make it worth while.

I'd like to believe that this is because they realized the error of their ways but I know better. Much like blizzard and D3 it's likely the revenue is not covering the cost of the servers and bandwidth. Want an offline Simcity.. I heard 4 was pretty good

I'm disinterested mostly because I have to install origin.
So annoying. I don't want more passwords and logins for more shit.

what exploration? well a way to monetize of course....

BTW: did the traffic sim gert fixed? because i remember that killed off the game hardcore.

Oh sure, NOW its apparently possible for them to consider doing it offline, but when they released it it's all 'The online components are absolutely vital to you having a fun experience'

Online requirements not being singularly for the purpose of DRM, my ass.

LARGER CITY SIZES PLEASE.

The fact the game breaks the second your population grows suck. I don't even care about the always online shit at this point. Just fix this broken parts of the game.

Even if they enable an official offline mode - will they allow proper modding? Will they enable larger city sizes?

Won't matter. IMO The game is too much of a restricitive mess, too great a departure from the previous games and the tried and true game model.

Sure, some of the new features were neat - the expandable buildings were a neat feature, allowing you to add more police cars to a police station, or ambulances to a hospital.

but the tiny city sizes, the forced city-linking with neighbors (I for one prefered cities that could manage to do stuff on their own)

I used to like the sim city series - I have played simcity since the very first simcity game. I loved simcity 2000, found Simcity 4 delightfully challenging. But everyone's least favorite no longer numbered Simcity game? Won't be playing that. And I find that quite sad.

Too little, far too late

DTWolfwood:
LARGER CITY SIZES PLEASE.

Well, I am afraid that I have to disappoint you:

State of Simcity blog:

Bigger Cities

City sizes have been a constant point of conversation among our players since we released the game. The game's original design focused on the density of an intimate urban environment. It was about intercity connectivity and the challenge of managing a region of cities instead of one metropolis in isolation. However, we recognize that many players have expressed the desire to build up one big city rather than manage the interrelationship of multiple smaller cities.

We've put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space.

After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. 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.

TL;DR version: "Our fundamentally broken agent system makes larger cities impossible!"

Teoes:
But.. it was proven possible months ago. People did it. So, go team? Finish off the doughnuts and knock off for the weekend.

Less than a week after the game launched actually. If they are only seeing it as "possible" then I have no faith in these guys.

Blachman201:

DTWolfwood:
LARGER CITY SIZES PLEASE.

Well, I am afraid that I have to disappoint you:

State of Simcity blog:

Bigger Cities

City sizes have been a constant point of conversation among our players since we released the game. The game's original design focused on the density of an intimate urban environment. It was about intercity connectivity and the challenge of managing a region of cities instead of one metropolis in isolation. However, we recognize that many players have expressed the desire to build up one big city rather than manage the interrelationship of multiple smaller cities.

We've put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space.

After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. 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.

TL;DR version: "Our fundamentally broken agent system makes larger cities impossible!"

So the game was built for the first 8 hours of game play then it will fundamentally break itself...

Maxis will forever be on my "do not buy" list from this day forward. I shall not trust these shyters ever again

Thank you good sir :D

well they did learn something from this huge mess up it directly caused them to remove the permamently online mode from the upcomming sims 4 because of it

I'm exploring the possibility of never ever buying another game, that benefits EA in any way, while they they persist with their assortment of bullshit.

It's cute, they think we care about them.

ShadowGandalf01:
If they add offline play, I'll think about getting the game. If i play Sim City I want to be alone, not forced into multiplayer. I enjoy shooting or racing multiplayers, but not strategy and sim. That's my preference.

If it happens, I may get it, if not, I'll stick with Cities XL 2012.

I think the game has a private feature. Not too sure though seeing as I don't have the game, but I think I saw it when watching a video on it.

Saying that though, if they see a significant enough sales spike after they add offline mode, then that'll be another reason to never make an always online game that shouldn't need it.

At this stage the damage is done. Maybe they should just write this one off and concentrate on not trying to screw their userbase when they lauch their next title.

"Should we just flick that one setting that would allow people to play offline? How about removing the arbitrary city edges? People have been kind of waiting for a long time for us to get our heads out of our asses."

"Nah let em wait, we'll punch out at 5 today and have EA continue paying our checks for a while longer. We're basically guaranteed extra sales once the word spread we "fixed" SC5."

Seriously people, fuck your servers, give me huge cities.

You know, if Diablo 3 lost its always online bullshit, at the very least with the coming expansion to gain relevance and the decent game under the hood, it could be seen as "A little too late" but still viable enough for the developer to try to pull it off in hopes of an expansion boom.

Simcity though? Yeah, that was a disaster from the start and the core game underneath was broken in several aspects as well. At this point ,it is not "a little too late" so much as "you lost any chance to convince me to buy it before, nothing you do to it now will change that". I do hope I am not the only one who thinks that too. I hope this train wreck continues to fail. Hell, I hope EA tries to advertise the hell out of it now that it is "fixed" and it still fails just so they can lose a little more money. I think it is needed to continue to be the go-to example of what not to do in gaming, with EA bonded to the disaster forever more.

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