SimCity’s launch has been something of a disaster, with the servers unable to cope with the sheer numbers of players wanting to – well, play. Things got worse before they got better, for sure. The issue was that the game needed to be constantly connected online, despite running as a single player game. This meant EA’s servers had to bear the grunt of the pressure.
Or did they? Today a Maxis (the developers) insider has claimed that the online connection isn’t strictly needed. “The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing,” the insider said, to RPS.
“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.”
Previously Maxis studio head Lucy Bradshaw told a couple of sites that the game “offloads a significant amount of the calculations to [their] servers” and that it would take “a significant amount of engineering work from [the] team to rewrite the game” for single player. Is that really the case, then, as this insider claims?
“It’s possible that Bradshaw misunderstood or was misinformed, but otherwise I’m clueless,” they added. Indeed, Kotaku ran tests that showed the game will happily chug along for 20 minutes or so before it even realises it’s not connected to the servers. So, sure, whilst the servers are handling all the multi-user connections (and presumably trying to stop cheaters) it is possible to play offline.