Game Modder Turns On Sim City’s Offline Mode

Looks like EA has spared no effort ensuring that Sim City would be remembered as 2013’s landmark of failure.

The game was released last week with always-on internet requirement that made the game unplayable for several days due to server issues. Players quickly got angry at the fact that EA’s servers couldn’t handle most players at launch and the fact that there is really no reason for the always-on internet connection requirement. The game’s score on metacritics and Amazon plumped quickly to the one star zone, forcing Amazon to remove Sim City from its online store.

And EA took its time resolving the issues. The game was not playable for nearly a week. At which time, an anonymous Maxis developer spilled the beans that the mandatory internet connection is meant only as a form of DRM and that the servers do nothing beyond cheat detection and storing save files.

Needless to say, EA maintained a position that the servers handle a large chunk of the game’s logic and provide social features that are integral to the game’s core gameplay.

But then one game modder came along and proved that EA is simply bullshitting.

The modder, UKAzzer, simply switched a flag in the Sim City’s code to enable debug mode which is used by the game’s developers for testing purposes. In debug mode, the game is fully functional and playable offline with the caveat that saving and loading are then only features that require internet connection since the game’s save files are stored on EA’s servers. As a bonus, you get more accurate city population calculations and you are able to edit beyond your city’s boundaries in debug mode. And those edits are saved normally when you connect.

Maxis/EA general manager Lucy Bradshaw acknowledged the mode, but insisted that Sim City was designed as an online game and that the mandatory internet connection is not meant as "a clandestine strategy to control players".

"So, could we have built a subset offline mode? Yes," she admitted. "But we rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision. We did not focus on the 'single city in isolation' that we have delivered in past SimCities. We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that."

"But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality," she added. "The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology."

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


Comedy Central

"But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality," looooooooooooooool


You don't buy the game, you rent it. Cause once the servers are closed, you can do nothing with it. If EA decides to close the servers next year. Game Over.


Indeed, that pretty much sums this game's life cycle. And EA is not known for caring for a game a long time after the hype train has passed.


It's a great game, boohoo little kids who can't play first day or two because of Server issues, it's a new game, with millions connecting, never expect to be able to log on first few days. Metascore is nothing ignore that service. Same with Diablo 3, great game, but that site said otherwise.

good point except you're wrong.

metacritic is one of the most reliable sources for a non-biased review from critics (yes i know some magazines and blogs are paid for their review, but most aren't). simcity didn't sell "millions" of copies. they only just today announced they have sold a million. so not bad for two weeks out, but during release they probably hadn't sold more than a few hundred thousand. pretty weak if you ask me. blizzard has lived up to their mistake with diablo 3, even though they're online only. EA is just bat-**** retarded and they're slowly proving it every day -- just read google news.

Jim Sterling covered this topic on escapi

I disagree with ur dismissal and think that while its become a norm that there are bugs to work out of some games in the launch, theres also nothing wrong with complaining that what u purchased is in essence broken. In any other instance where u bought something and it didnt work would you not complain, a tv for example, or computer, hell a toaster or a toy for a kid... if its broken we demand a replacement or our money back, and while the effort to fix the problem was in the works the fact remains that this is a more common problem in the game industry than any other, to such an extent that we have people like you who are like, what do u expect, like its part of what we are paying for... i assure you its not. and while some are patient, and thats not a bad thing, and some are mild mannered or easygoing about the inconvenience, its not unreasonable for the consumers to have the desire and demand to have a working product upon purchase. ALL that being said Jim Sterling covered this to and likely better than i did.

Its fine.

Its a fine game, no where near a "failure" as the game itself is good, the stability was ****. Looking past the DRM which holy **** a lot of whiny ******* just cannot do, and server down crap, since they've fixed it all up and its running fine now, its really a nice little time sink. It'll be a hell of a lot better when they release larger city plots too, only thing that irks me in this game to be honest.

Yeah, uh huh

They just fired EA's CEO because of all the good decisions they've made. Forgetting their crap servers, the game is still rigid as **** with poor mechanics and not near enough customization and improvement gameplay-wise over their previous games. It's a poor, graphically updated clone of its previous version with a few "shinies" thrown in and a whole bunch of unneeded/unwanted crap on top. All in all - EA's work through and through. God, I hope Civitas succeeds.

Add new comment