As you all know SimCity have suffered massive server issues since launch.
While players have been begging for an offline mode, EA representatives have been abundantly clear that this simply isn’t possible. Maxis’ studio head, Lucy Bradshaw, has told both Polygon and Kotaku that they “offload a significant amount of the calculations to our servers”, and that it would take “a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game” for single player.
A SimCity developer has got in touch with RPS to tell them that at least the first of these statements is not true. He claimed that the server is not handling calculations for non-social aspects of running the game, and that engineering a single-player mode would require minimal effort.
Their source, who they have verified worked directly on the project but obviously wishes to remain anonymous, has first-hand knowledge of how the game works. He has made it absolutely clear that this repeated claim of server-side calculations is at odds with the reality of the project he worked on. He explains:
“The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. 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. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise. It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless.”
This is not all however.
Kotaku has run some tests that shows that the current version of SimCity can be played offline for 19 minutes before being booted out.
This proved that very little work is necessary for the game to run offline, and this is also confirmed by the Maxis insider. When asked how difficult would it be for EA to create a single-player game that simply did away with the multiplayer-derived aspects and just let us build, he answered:
“It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”
So yeah, not only have EA and Maxis forced upon us consumers the arguably worst DRM solution in history, but they also lied when explaining why they did it.