EA has finally released a patch that allows gamers to play SimCity offline. If you own the game, the next time you log into Origin and launch SimCity, the patch will download automatically and give you access to a new version of the game that doesn’t require an internet connection.
Don’t think the patch solves all of SimCity’s problems, however. The producer for the game’s new single-player mode, Meghan McDowell, wrote on a blog post that “the core fundamentals of the game needed to remain intact”, and as such multi-city play, regional interdependence, and city specialisations are still very much a part of the game whether you’re online or off.
McDowell also said that the two modes are absolutely identical in terms of gameplay, so what you saw in the connected version of the game is exactly what you’ll see in the offline version (provided it’s not modded).
What is different is that now you have the option to play the game by yourself, with no connection to the wider SimCity world. That means all of your save games are stored on your PC, all of the communication between the game and EA’s servers that were used in calculating the simulation aspects of the game has been reworked so that those comms aren’t necessary anymore and all calculations can now be done by your PC.
The offline patch has opened up the game to the modding community, who can go nuts changing anything they want about the game, from its graphics to the simulation to the type and number of buildings available without compromising the online game.
That seems to have been EA’s goal with this update: to let those gamers who like the online features of the core game keep playing exactly as they have been, while giving gamers who don’t like it the option to play their way.
I’ll be giving offline SimCity another go in the coming days to see just how effective these changes have been, and whether they have done anything to alleviate any of my own frustrations with the game.
If you’d like to read about the 6 and a half month journey developer Maxis undertook to make the offline patch a reality, read this post by the lead engineer of the patch.