SimCity gets modded offline mode

2 min read


Maxis’ SimCity is riding a wave of controversy and criticism at the moment, mostly because of its perpetual online requirement. Many see it as little more than obfuscated DRM, while EA maintains that its complex simulations require being connected to the cloud – and that an offline mode would require a lot of engineering. That appears to not quite be the case.

Youtube user UKAzzer published a video (Reddit, via Eurogamer) that shows him fiddling with the game after modding its package files, enabling him to do a number of interesting things – such as editing highways beyond the game’s tiny city boundaries.

"You can edit the highways ANYWHERE – even outside of your city boundary," UKAzzer said, "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."

He’s also, more importantly, managed to get the game working offline indefinitely, by setting the game’s built-in disconnection timer to unlimited. Usually, that disconnect timer allows players to keep playing for 20 minutes after losing a connection to EA’s servers, but then boots them out. That no longer happens.

EA hasn’t exactly been lying to you though; without a server connection, none of the game’s regional features work offline, and neither does saving or synching – which is to be expected. Still, the game, in isolation, works just fine offline – and that talk of the game being so complicated that they’d have to re-engineer the thing for offline play is a load of hogwash.

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Creative director & Art director on the new SimCity, Ocean Quigley has said that modding package files likely won’t get you banned – and Maxis has previously said that the game was made with modding in mind.

Still, I think if EA wants to do something positive in the face of all the negativity, an offline mode patch for those who would like to do so would be more than welcome.

Last Updated: March 14, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • TriangularRoom

    Considering all the modding that happens with The Sims, this is hardly surprising!

  • BeatzByChrisBrown

    IMO the best way to battle always on DRM while still wanting to play an awesome game is to wait a couple of months after launch. If the majority abstains from purchasing the game for a couple of months it will definitely hurt the publisher and send a message.

    • Admiral Chief Erwin

      Agreed, good point

  • Deon Steyn

    The offline mode is needed for those without internet and shitty internet. Do they really believe everybody is online in 2013.

  • lol

  • Wyzak

    If they add an offline patch I might actually considering getting the game.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      I’d buy it in a heartbeat. It’s kind of sad really. 🙁

      • Wyzak

        Yeah it is really sad that it has come to this. I am not sure how they can sleep at night knowing how they screw over their paying customers – their lifeblood, by something that is only suppose to affect pirates.

    • I am the same. But I wanted to play so bad that I reinstalled SimCity 4, and I’m actually having a pretty good time with it.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I appreciate what they were trying to do with the social aspect of it, to create an authentic sense of how a city is dependent not only on its citizens (or even the powers-that-be), but also the greater world beyond. I get that. It’s one of the reasons I love the Civilization games, because of the importance of trade routes, and the juggling act of finding markets for your commodities or even to find goods for your people.

    But, the problem with the current SimCity is that the social aspect, isn’t really about the above, but rather a tacky way to merge the current trend of social media with what used to be a single-player sandbox. As much as I like social media (those that follow me on twitter know I tweet about any and everything), but what gets me is that there isn’t an off-button with SimCity’s online part. That’s why, I’m kind of glad for the modders, because sometimes (as I’ve discovered with Tropico 4 this week) you just want to sit quietly in the study, build a city and watch it all burn to the ground.

    I don’t want to be dependent on another gamer, nor do I want to feel responsible for their city, just in case, I feel the urge to turn my once sprawling metropoTOWN (hehehe SimTown) into Hillbrow (inner-city, Johannesburg).

  • Hillbilly Gamer

    Personally I won’t consider the threat of EA Banned Hammer that wouldn’t think twice of over using make it just to dangers.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    lol. Busted

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