It was only a matter of time; in a development that’s not surprising in any way, Electronic Arts and Maxis’ SimCity has been modded for offline play, adding another chapter to the drama surrounding the perpetually-online city-building simulator.
Reddit user UKAzzer posted about his work early Thursday, explaining that the mod can be activated by accessing and playing around with the game’s debug mode. In their own words, UKAzzer laid out the creation and features of the mod:
So with a little bit of package editing within SimCity thanks to the modding guide posted to Reddit earlier, and a little playing about in the code, it’s possible to enable debug mode. I linked the activation to the “Help Center” button in the main menu for ease. Most developer debug features are disabled without having an actual developer’s build (they have terraforming tools etc. available in the full developer build!), but a few things do still work – including editing the main highways.
Not only that – but you can edit the highways ANYWHERE – even outside of your city boundary… 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, potentially (since you can place roads and rails that snap anywhere on-screen).
Edit: And yes I also modded out the disconnect timer (can now play “offline” indefinitely – but no saves/syncs or region related stuff, not yet anyway… but the simulation can carry on with no connection indefinitely). And I modded out the “fluffed population count”, just shows the real population count now. Both very minor/easy tweaks.
UKAzzer also showed off a video of their handiwork, which can be viewed below.[youtube id=Bmce9oIxJag width=”620″ height=”360″]
For now, this may be the only way to play SimCity offline, as comments by Maxis and EA in light of their myriad server problems seem to suggest they have no intention of finding an offline solution; during a Twitter Q&A on Saturday, Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw said SimCity was “designed for [multiplayer]” and that an offline mode is “just not possible.”
EA’s been in hot water since SimCity launched March 5, with server issues and numerous other technical problems preventing players from accessing the game, which requires a constant online connection in order to play. Players reported issues logging on, saving their progress and constant crashing and Maxis admitted they failed to anticipate the sheer number of players trying to log on to play. The issue got so bad – and was so ravaged by the gaming press – that Amazon stopped selling the game digitally for a time and EA briefly suspended its marketing campaign for the game (the fact that EA refused to refund livid players who purchased the game through its Origin service didn’t do them any favors).
EA and Maxis reported working non-stop since launch in order to add more servers and fix the problems; Maxis’ Barrie Tingle wrote a few days ago that the developer had “beefed up” its original 11 servers to allow for higher capacity, allowing more players to log on and (hopefully) addressing connection issues. The developer also added more servers to the game, as well as a testing server for Maxis to try out new features and changes bef0re they go live. Hopefully this means the game’s Web woes have been solved, though it will most certainly be tested when traffic increases – like, say, during the fast-approaching weekend.
But hey – If it does go haywire again, at least players will have the ability to play offline.
Are you still playing SimCity, or have you been turned off by the constant technical issues? Have you avoided picking up the game in light of the problems? Will you give the offline mod a try? Let us know in the comments below.