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7:53 pm - 03/14/2013

SimCity modded so it can be played offline indefinitely



The controversy around SimCity looks set to continue: a modder has tweaked the always-online game so it can be played offline indefinitely.

UKAzzer published a video to YouTube (via Reddit) that shows him playing around in the game's debug mode.

From there, he was able to edit the highways that connect cities together outside of the city boundaries. The game's city sizes have been criticised by some for being too small.

"You can edit the highways ANYWHERE - even outside of your city boundary," UKAzzer said, "and even if you quit the game and log back in later, it's all saved safely on the server.

"This shows that highway editing will be easily possible, AND that editing outside of the artificially small city boundaries should be very viable too."

Meanwhile, UKAzzer modded out the "fluffed population count" so the game shows the real population count - a disparity players have complained about since launch.

Most importantly, UKAzzer was able to disable SimCity's disconnection timer, thus setting it to unlimited. Tests have shown SimCity kicks you out after around 20 minutes of offline play.

There are restrictions when doing this, of course. Access to SimCity's region features isn't possible, as you'd expect, and if you want to save your city you have to reconnect to the servers. But the video is our clearest indication yet that some kind of offline mode might be possible for the controversial game.

EA will no doubt be keen to address this as quickly as possible. "EA does not comment on rumour and speculation," is all the publisher would say when contacted by Eurogamer this morning.




By Wesley Yin-Poole Published Thursday, 14 March 2013

The controversy around SimCity looks set to continue: a modder has tweaked the always-online game so it can be played offline indefinitely.

UKAzzer published a video to YouTube (via Reddit) that shows him playing around in the game's debug mode.

From there, he was able to edit the highways that connect cities together outside of the city boundaries. The game's city sizes have been criticised by some for being too small.

"You can edit the highways ANYWHERE - even outside of your city boundary," UKAzzer said, "and even if you quit the game and log back in later, it's all saved safely on the server.

"This shows that highway editing will be easily possible, AND that editing outside of the artificially small city boundaries should be very viable too."

Meanwhile, UKAzzer modded out the "fluffed population count" so the game shows the real population count - a disparity players have complained about since launch.

Most importantly, UKAzzer was able to disable SimCity's disconnection timer, thus setting it to unlimited. Tests have shown SimCity kicks you out after around 20 minutes of offline play.

There are restrictions when doing this, of course. Access to SimCity's region features isn't possible, as you'd expect, and if you want to save your city you have to reconnect to the servers. But the video is our clearest indication yet that some kind of offline mode might be possible for the controversial game.

EA will no doubt be keen to address this as quickly as possible. "EA does not comment on rumour and speculation," is all the publisher would say when contacted by Eurogamer this morning.


EA has come under fire for making SimCity require an internet connection to work. Developer Maxis maintains it was a design decision sparked by a desire to encourage connected play, and have insisted that the servers are required for performance issues.

"We offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers so that the computations are off the local PCs and are moved into the cloud," Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained to Polygon. "It wouldn't be possible to make the game offline without a significant amount of engineering work by our team."

But critics have claimed the always-online requirement is nothing more than DRM aimed at combating piracy and have called on Maxis to enable an offline mode after the game's disastrous launch.

A source close to the project told Rock Paper Shotgun earlier this week that the SimCity servers aren't integral to the game's performance.

"The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing," the source explained. "They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities. As well, they're doing cloud storage of save games, interfacing with Origin, and all of that. But for the game itself? No, they're not doing anything."
Source

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ben_superdetka 14th-Mar-2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
buncha_cruncha 14th-Mar-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
I don't even play The Sims but I can't get enough Sims gifs, they're the greatest
superdogbiter actually it's a scary ass video14th-Mar-2013 06:18 pm (UTC)
andthenwevomit 14th-Mar-2013 06:20 pm (UTC)
lol mte! it's part of what got me to start playing
misscrystal 14th-Mar-2013 06:32 pm (UTC)
This isn't from The Sims, tho.
nutmegdealer 14th-Mar-2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
this ain't even the sims. i know the sims.
patoplastico 14th-Mar-2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
Time to visit TPB.
piratesswoop 14th-Mar-2013 06:09 pm (UTC)
already been, nothing's been put up yet
patoplastico 14th-Mar-2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
It's there, just not cracked.
onhold4u 14th-Mar-2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
It's only modded so that you can play offline but you still need to connect to the server to SAVE your game. So... no TPB yet.
sexyvegeta 14th-Mar-2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
I haven't been playing. Wonderful game, but I really need my cheetah speed back. I am a money making machine and waiting around on llama speed makes me a little batty.
sprywonderdog 14th-Mar-2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
Are you stuck in cheetah speed because of the server?
sexyvegeta 14th-Mar-2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
?

they disabled cheetah speed. you can only play at the first and second speeds. they disabled the third temporarily because it was pushing their servers too much.
putyohandsonme 14th-Mar-2013 06:10 pm (UTC)
Lol that gif, I love when my sims walk like that.
violue 14th-Mar-2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
I was kind of waiting for people to start uploading cracked/modded copies to torrent sites... but don't the game mechanics also rely on you having other players to connect/trade with?
forcestrong 14th-Mar-2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
Pretty much. Each city zone you choose from has some resource deficiency that another city in the same region has a surplus of. So they wanted to force cities to cooperate.
bnmc2005 14th-Mar-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
I'm not a gamer. Can someone explain the controversy here in bullet points or something?
piratesswoop 14th-Mar-2013 06:17 pm (UTC)
basically if you want to play the game, you have to be online and if you want to be successful, you have to play with other people.

imagine living in a rural town where your internet access is expensive, or in a place where you only get X number of MB per month. or if you're at the airport looking for a way to pass the time. you're shit out of luck if you don't have internet. and if the ea servers crap out 5 years from now? you'll never be able to play the game again.
forcestrong 15th-Mar-2013 12:00 am (UTC)
Imagine if you bought a DVD, but you couldn't watch that DVD without connecting to the internet to confirm that you are watching an officially licensed copy. Plus, you have to stay connected so that Warner Bros can keep checking as you continued to watch the movie. If you disconnected, or your internet speeds dropped, the movie would stop playing. And they have the ability to lock your copy so you could never watch it again if they had reason to suspect you'd done something with that DVD you've bought that they didn't like.

Then imagine that your copy only let you watch 1/5th of the movie. You had to connect to other people watching the movie at the same time to get your money's worth. And if those people decided to screw around, deliberately sabotaging the movie, you're only option is to bail and start the movie over again from the beginning with another group of 5-7 people.

That's the (mandatory) online play of this game.

Edited at 2013-03-15 12:01 am (UTC)
miss_almost 15th-Mar-2013 04:28 am (UTC)
also, when the game is required to be online always to play...then you dont really "own" the game. you spent $60 or whatever to use the game wile EA lets you.

EA will eventually stop the servers and then the game you "bought" wont be able to run/play, ever again.

its like me selling you a car, but not the keys. in order for you to drive the car, ive got to be in the car with you. and if i ever decide im done with this car business, i take my keys and quit. and youve got this great car you cant ever drive, even though you paid good money for it.
cheeseasauras 14th-Mar-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
to bad the actual game seems to be poorly designed in that gigantic traffic jams occur and every person tries to go to the same house after work.
morgan90 14th-Mar-2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
Excuse you the game design is impeccable

piratesswoop 14th-Mar-2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
wtf is going on here
mercystars 14th-Mar-2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
lmaoooooooo
sprywonderdog 14th-Mar-2013 06:35 pm (UTC)
That ruins the entire game. SimCity has probably been my favorite game since the SNES version. (Thank you, neighbor, for showing me the light and trading me and not minding that I never gave it back.) It's so sad that such an amazingly beautiful and detailed game has such a stupid flaw. It looks like the only way a city can work is if you build a never ending snake style street. This is a game that I would easily not mind spending $60 on, but I can't do it until they fix that. The amount of fires that happen is outrageous, too.
andthenwevomit 14th-Mar-2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
lmao
batty_gal 14th-Mar-2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
lmaoooooooo
superdogbiter 14th-Mar-2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
oh shit
littlepunkryo 14th-Mar-2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
So now we're basically one step away from all the pirates who this always-on stuff is partially supposed to prevent from playing the game being able to play it with no difficulty, but the people who actually bought it and are choosing not to mod it get to deal with this always-on internet crap. SMH.

Edited at 2013-03-14 06:23 pm (UTC)
onhold4u 14th-Mar-2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
They can't though, the only people who can do this are those who actually bought the game.
littlepunkryo 14th-Mar-2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
Which is why I said "one step away". If my sister can play WoW without paying for it, I bet it's only a matter of time until someone figures out how to do it for this game, too.
beemo 14th-Mar-2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
people who pay for always online DRM games and complain about it = fools are soon parted with their money

hackers get around everything lbr
lady_leia_solo 14th-Mar-2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
Lmao that gif. EA has been pissing me off, especially with that shit Origin. I've bought two TS3 EPs from it and I've had trouble installing both of them like wtf? And their support really fucking sucks.
asha_greyjoy 14th-Mar-2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
i had that problem. i was on hold with ea for 2 hours before they could help me fix it
shortliljackers 14th-Mar-2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
i bought monte vista about 3 weeks ago and FINALLY got it to download properly earlier this week. it was so annoying.
lady_leia_solo 14th-Mar-2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
I don't have any problem downloading directly from the Sims store, but with the whole Origin thing, it's happened twice like wat? And I can sign in to it.
forcestrong 15th-Mar-2013 12:09 am (UTC)
Ever since that Origin EULA "you must let us install spyware" scandal, I've been ducking EA games.

I bought Sim3 through Steam, thinking they wouldn't really dare to stick Origin on it. They fucking did. I get prompted every time I restart Windows to install Origin. Fuck EA.
sandstorm 14th-Mar-2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
I've always wanted to play a SIMS game...probably not this one...
dumpyfledgling 14th-Mar-2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
My sims never walk like that. :(
metyouwho 14th-Mar-2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
Make them WooHoo somewhere besides their home lot. They strut for two hours. For some reason I think you might need Late Night, but I proba just made that up.
classic_mold137 14th-Mar-2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
No, I'm pretty sure you're right and the "Stride of Pride" moodlet is only in Late Night
myharu 14th-Mar-2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
if you have Generations and make your imaginary friends real they will still have the option to "strut here" also half sim half IF sometimes have this option too
pink_martini2 14th-Mar-2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
Wait, so is it an online game + offline mode. Or all of it is offline now?
beemo 14th-Mar-2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
offline game that requires you to check in every 20 minutes or to save your game

but the debug mode is totally offline except for saving (so far). so if the developers can play offline... EA lied about needing to use their servers to play. which, duh
sprywonderdog 14th-Mar-2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
It's online, but a game developer said it is possible for it to be played offline. There is no available offline mode for people to select, though. Honestly, I wouldn't mind it being only online if they'd fix all the issues plaguing the game.
erised_mirror 14th-Mar-2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
After the previous post I don't want to play SC5, but does anyone recommend SC4? Or is it just as bad?
nutmegdealer 14th-Mar-2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
sc4 is great!
beemo 14th-Mar-2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
SC4 is way better. offline, bigger cities, subways. lots of mods available too
erised_mirror 14th-Mar-2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
great!!! :D I know what I'm DL next then
nutmegdealer 14th-Mar-2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
this is suck a damn clusterfuck, and you know ea won't be learning shit from it. sims 4 will most likely be drm.
snappple 14th-Mar-2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
NOOOOOO!!! I wont fucking play it if its online!!! fuck you EA!
rctshack 14th-Mar-2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
after all this... i don't think EA would ruin their only other huge sims franchise. But EA is dumb as fuck... so maybe they will.
boundarybreaks 14th-Mar-2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
if it is, i'll be pissed. i was annoyed enough when it tried to get me to share that my sim got a promotion on facebook.
crystalzelda 15th-Mar-2013 01:13 am (UTC)
They tried it with Showtime and online connectivity, but I'm pretty sure ain't nobody had time for that so hopefully not.
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