Maxis Details SimCity Update Plans, Ignores Video About Offline Play

Stone Librande, the Lead Designer of SimCity over at EA Maxis has written a lengthy blog post over at the game's official site detailing some of the tweaks, adjustments and fixes that Maxis is working on. While Librande mentions the traffic problems shown in a recent video by a player that managed to hack the game and make it work offline, he does not address one of the main reasons the video was so popular: that the game could be made to play offline indefinitely with minimal effort.

Instead he talked about fixing the most pressing issue – problems with traffic and pathing:

"Our main focus right now is updating the pathing system that the Agents use to get to their Sinks. Running a successful city means keeping the traffic flowing and we are actively working to make this system better," Librande said. "One of the main bugs being highlighted at the moment is in the game's traffic system insisting on taking the shortest possible route to each location, causing massive traffic jams even when other roads are available."

He also noted that the game's Sims operate in a way that is a little surprising: Sims go to the nearest job every morning and to the nearest vacant house every evening. In other words Sims could end up working and living in different places every single day.

"Ultimately we didn't feel that the cost of adding in that extra layer of micro detail made the macro game play richer. Game design is filled with tradeoffs and compromises like this and we are constantly evaluating these (and many other) decisions," said Librande.

Finally, Librande says that the features it shut off last week during the game's shaky launch period will slowly turned back on. These features include leaderboards and regional achievements. Cheetah mode was not mentioned by Librande.

You can read the entire post here.


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  1. 0
    Zen says:

    As a father of 3 kids (the oldest and youngest being 12 and 8 year old boys) knowing the truth of a situation and confronting them with who broke or did what…they will stare you in the face and stick to a lie thinking they may get away with it, pointing the finger at anyone and anything they can.  I can understand brothers blaming eachother and learning right from wrong as they grow up…but sadly a company full of adults can't seem to grasp this basic idea and believes we are all idiots.

  2. 0
    DorthLous says:

    What *I* can't believe is that they're sticking with their lies, even against numerous videos, mods, experiments, words of hundreds if not thousands of people… When do we start calling it dementia?

  3. 0
    Conster says:

    I actually read a 2-star review by the Guardian today, which speaks negatively of the traffic and fakeness:

    These online headaches aren't the end of SimCity's problems. The simulation itself is flawed in a number of ways, most notably the traffic. If you have a wide, empty freeway, cars will ignore it in favour of a one-lane dirt road, just because it's a shorter route to their destination – even if it's jammed with traffic. Maxis have promised to fix this in a patch, but it's bewildering how it made it into the game in the first place.

    We loved SimCity for the first few hours, but the compulsion soon gave way to frustration.

    The simulation promises more than it delivers, and you feel perpetually boxed-in by the meagre city sizes. The social features are interesting, but we'd rather have the ability to save our game, play offline, and not have to worry about server downtime. The regional multiplayer really should be an optional aside to a standard single-player mode.

    There's fun to be had here, but it doesn't last. The low-level simulation looks impressive when you see hundreds of cars whizzing around your streets, but it's all an illusion. When they're returning from work, your sims will drive to the nearest empty house; the same AI process that controls sewage as it's sucked down your streets to the nearest outflow pipe.

    Having persistent job and home locations is the entire point of adding this detail – take that out and fake it, and instead of a feature, you have a waste of computing space just to make the game look shinier.

  4. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Here's a thought: don't release a game you're clearly not done developing.

    Here's another thought: don't lie to us.  We will find you out.  Every.  Single.  Time.


    Andrew Eisen

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