Offline mode for SimCity took 6 months of re-engineering says EA
Many PC gamers will remember EA crying out that building an offline mode for SimCity would be impossible however yesterday's announcement of a new offline mode coming with Update 10 proved that very wrong.
Lead engineer at Maxis Emeryville, Simon Fox has given a bit of insight into exactly why they made that claim last year after the game's disastrous launch in a new post on the SimCity blog about building the upcoming offline mode. He also revealed that it has taken them over six months to re-engineer the game so that an offline mode would work.
Fox began, "The original creative vision for SimCity was to make a game where every action had an effect on other cities in your region. 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,” he continued. “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."
"My team did, however, see a path forward towards Offline, one that would maintain the integrity of the simulation,” Fox added. “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 six and a half 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."
Maxis is currently putting the finishing touches to Update 10 which includes the new offline mode and begins to open up the game to modding. They'll begin testing the mod very shortly with the aim of releasing the update as soon as is humanly possible.