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Maxis: "Always-Connected Isn't A Clandestine Strategy To Control Players"

Matt Gardner
EA Games, Lucy Bradshaw, Maxis, PC games, SimCity, Simulation games

Maxis: "Always-Connected Isn't A Clandestine Strategy To Control Players"

Maxis' Lucy Bradshaw would rather people stopped labelling the always-online requirement for SimCity as being essentially some form of draconian DRM.

In a new blog post, the Maxis GM discussed the nature of Always-Connected gameplay, reiterating that this game was designed around it from the very beginning:

"Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past.  It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players.  It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity.  From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world."

Bradshaw goes on to list a number of features that make the most of the always-online requirement, failing to note that most didn't work at launch, and that a number still don't work nearly a fortnight on. But that's ok, because SimCity is basically an MMO:

"The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be.  In many ways, we built an MMO," Bradshaw wrote.

"So, could we have built a subset offline mode?  Yes.  But we rejected that idea because it didn’t fit with our vision.  We did not focus on the 'single city in isolation' that we have delivered in past SimCities.  We recognize that there are fans – people who love the original SimCity – who want that.  But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality.   The SimCity we delivered captures the magic of its heritage but catches up with ever-improving technology."

Of course, Bradshaw fails to mention that there'd be a super easy way to have your cake and eat it too: create a region with expanded city limits.

Just saying.

Add a comment8 comments
Late  Mar. 18, 2013 at 11:26

But we’re also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality.

I'll see your thousand overjoyed people, and raise you a million **** off ones.

socialjeebus  Mar. 18, 2013 at 12:13

I lol'd at the thousands comment too. I'd imagine thousands is in the low single digit (possibly even decimal) range in terms of the percentage of people who actually forked out for the game.

To be honest unless they're holding back a reveal of an offline mode (what's the betting that it'd be paid for dlc?) they'd be best off just shutting up about it and getting on with restoring the functionality they had to take away and fixing the apparently numerous bugs.

As the old saying goes "methinks they doth protest too much."

imdurc  Mar. 18, 2013 at 12:23

Keep on diggin ;)

Quietus  Mar. 18, 2013 at 12:23

The way I see it is that if enough people were happy with it, then it would never have become an issue. The fact that it's been almost entirely what everybody has spoken about, then it's a big enough issue to be changed before release.

Entirely self-inflicted.

Korma  Mar. 18, 2013 at 12:42

simcity.GetFudgedPopulation = function (a) {
a = "undefined" !== typeof a ? a : simcity.gGlobalUIHandler.mLastPopulation;
if (1 >= a)
return a;
if (thousands < a)
return Math.floor(8.25 * a);
a = Math.pow(a - 10, 100) + 500;
return Math.floor(a)

Late  Mar. 18, 2013 at 14:21


Korma  Mar. 18, 2013 at 14:55

Sim City lies about the city population to try and make the cities seem less small.


But I modified it in my post to suggest Lucy was probably using that code to find her thousands of people delighted it was an always online mess ;)

Last edited by Korma, Mar. 18, 2013 at 14:56
Late  Mar. 18, 2013 at 15:12

Gotcha (and I like what you did now that I understand it!)

That's rather alarming if it genuinely came from the game code. Effectively, each house you build holds more people than the last one did. It's gonna get a bit crowded in the most outlying suburbs!


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