A hacker has proven that SimCity doesn’t need EA’s servers to run. Earlier, a Maxis developer also stated that EA is full of shit about the game needing to offload calculations to the servers. So basically, EA is a filthy filthy liar and they should feel bad.
Lucy Bradshaw Lies To Us
Lucy Bradshaw said on Polygon.com ( March 9th ):
“Online connectivity as a creative game design decision was infused into the game’s DNA since its inception and so we’re fully committed to delivering against that experience first. A significant portion of the GlassBox Engine’s calculations are performed on our servers and off of the player’s PCs. It would take a significant amount of engineering work from our team to rewrite the game so that all of those functions are calculated locally without a significant performance hit to the player.”
Anonymous Maxis Developer Says Bullshit
A Maxis developer, obviously wishing to remain anonymous, told RockPaperShotgun.com ( March 12th ) that what Lucy Bradshaw stated was complete bullshit:
“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.”
“It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff.”
A Hacker Exposes The Lies, Flips EA the bird
Geek.com is reporting ( March 14th ) that a hacker going by the alias “UKAzzer” has mod’d the game to enable a developer debug mode allowing the game to be played offline without any serious impact.
In order to achieve this offline state, modder UKAzzer had to edit the game code to enable debug mode. This exists so the developer can play around with additional features and test the game. Most of those features are disabled unless you have a developer build of the game, but apparently enabling it on a consumer version removes the need for a server connection while retaining everything you need to play.
In fact, it actually improves the game in some ways. City populations are actually tracked correctly and you can edit outside of your city boundaries. Those additional edits are also saved when you reconnect.
This revelation will put EA and Maxis in a difficult position. They’ve been adamant all along that the game won’t work without a server connection and offloads a “significant amount of the calculations.” That’s clearly not true, so why has it been used as a reason to explain why an always-connected game was necessary?