EA Says It Took Over Six Months To Make SimCity Work Offline

Illustration for article titled EA Says It Took Over Six Months To Make SimCity Work Offline

In the wake of yesterday's news that SimCity will be getting an offline version, EA has come out with a blog post explaining just how they made it happen—and how much effort that took.


"The original creative vision for SimCity was to make a game where every action had an effect on other cities in your region," writes lead engineer Simon Fox. "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."

In other words, it took a lot of work. Something like six and a half months worth of work, Fox says.

"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."

With connectivity baked into the game's basic features, Fox says, they had to rejigger a lot of code, reworking city functionality so the game would no longer need to ping EA's servers to keep people and cities moving. They say they've been working on an offline version of the controversial sim game since August, and they're hoping to release it in Update 10 soon.



I already know that hate I'm gonna catch here but fuck it.

I'm an EA developer. I didn't work on this game. But I know plenty of people who did.

I get it's fun for all of Kotaku's commenters to say "Nah fuck EA they coulda done this from day one but they're money grubbing fucktards" or something along those lines. Well isn't that just so fun, except it's wrong. EA doesn't develop the game, Maxis does and did. This misconception of what EA does is really fun and kind of annoying. EA is just the funder of Maxis. EA doesn't exercise creative control over anything Maxis does and you wanna know why? Because when Maxis was acquired by EA Will Wright maintained complete creative control over Maxis in exchange for EA funding his development of The Sims and getting Maxis as a subsidiary. So what does that mean? If it wasn't for EA none of the sim city's after the very first would've existed. None of the Sims games would have ever existed. Maxis was right on the verge of bankruptcy and EA kept them alive but Wright maintained complete creative control.

Fast forward to today and throw in the "EA made them sell out" mantra that everyone likes to use, then promptly take it and put it in a place where the sun don't shine if you actually believe that. Get it through your head this game was never intended to be a sequel to Sim City 4. Sim City of this year was meant to be an evolution of Sim City like X-Com Enemy Unknown was an evolution of the original xcom. XCom may borrow things from the originial but it is it's own game with new ideas and gameplay mechanics. Just as Sim City is still a city builder but it has evolved. For the longest time Sim City was trapped in its own little bubble. It was just about you and your own little city. So Maxis decides let's stretch this out and make it something bigger. Let's make everyone affect everyone. Lets do something daring. But what does everyone decide to see instead, "WTF YOU HAVE TO BE ONLINE FOR THIS!?" Gamers always cry about how there's not enough innovation. How it's the same game time after time. Wanna know why that is? Look in the mirror. The moment we deviate from the norm and try something unconventional you massacre us. So we stick to what we know will sell.

EDIT: Oh and I just saw some screenshots of videos of the SKIDROW no patch release. Actually try playing that POS and let me know how far you get and how the experience is. When nothing works that's basically what the original game would have been like with an offline mode.