It looks like SimCity is finally getting an offline mode.
In an update on the game’s official blog titled “State of SimCity”, Maxis Emeryville GM Patrick Buechner said that his studio was exploring the possibility of an offline mode.
“I can’t make any promises on when we will have more information, but we know this is something that many of our players have been asking for,” wrote Buechner.
“While the server connectivity issues are behind us, we would like to give our players the ability to play even if they choose not to connect.
“An offline mode would have the additional benefit of providing room to the modding community to experiment without interfering or breaking the multiplayer experience.”
However, after months of investigation it has been determined that it is not possible to increase city size, Buechner added.
“We recognize that many players have expressed the desire to build up one big city rather than manage the interrelationship of multiple smaller cities,” he wrote.
“We’ve put months of investigation into making larger city sizes, reworking the terrain maps, changing the routing algorithms of our agent-based system and altering the way that GlassBox processes the data in a larger space.
“After months of testing, I confirm that we will not be providing bigger city sizes. The system performance challenges we encountered would mean that the vast majority of our players wouldn’t be able to load, much less play with bigger cities.
“We’ve tried a number of different approaches to bring performance into an acceptable range, but we just couldn’t achieve it within the confines of the engine.
The studio would now focus its efforts into evolving the core game, said Buechner.
“Some of the experiments we conducted to improve performance on bigger cities will be rolled into future updates to improve overall game performance.”
Buechner acknowledged that the game’s release was a total nightmare, but also that seven major updates since its launch had knocked it into decent shape.
“Our launch wasn’t what anyone on the team hoped for. We think about this every single day, but we’re proud of how far we’ve come over the past few months,” he wrote.
“My commitment on DLC for SimCity is that we do not force players to purchase game elements that are essentially helping to tune the simulation or fix specific issues.
“And for that optional content, we always want players to feel like it’s valuable.”
Finally, SimCity will be opened up to modders, said Buechner.
“We have begun a discussion with our players with the ultimate goal of giving you space to mod while assuring all our players that the multiplayer gameplay experience is safe and has integrity.
“It’s difficult to determine what makes a ‘good’ or safe mod and what mods cross the line.
“Clarifying guidelines for user-generated content will help players understand where that line is,” he wrote.
“We want to have an open discussion with our community about what you want out of SimCity and hear your thoughts about UGC guidelines.”
SimCity's first expansion pack, Cities of Tomorrow, arrives on November 14 for Windows PC and Mac.