As I recently reported, SimCity will finally be getting an offline mode. According to a Lead Engineer, this took about 6 months work to rework significant parts of the game’s architecture.
When writing on the official SimCity blog, Simon Fox wrote that the oft-requested offline mode and local save file usage took a great deal of work and effort.
“Our entire architecture was written to support networked play, from the way that the simulation works to the way that you communicate across a region of cities. So yes, while someone was able to remove the ‘time check’ shortly after launch, they were unable to perform key actions like communicating with other cities that they had created locally, or with the rest of their region(s), or even saving the current state of their cities.”
He then went on to give details on the changes that were made in order to get the offline mode functioning properly. One example is that the original game required communicating with online servers for region status and other important information via a Java based system. For the online mode to work, this meant that the entire system had to be recoded in C++.
Obviously this meant that more work was put onto the machine running it, so obviously testing then had to be done that machines already capable of running the game would still be able to with this extra load of calculations.
Fox then finished off by adding,
“Even things that seem trivial, like the way that cities are saved and loaded, had to be completely reworked in order to make this feature function correctly.”
The offline mode is still in the final stages of testing and should be included in the upcoming Update 10, which will also update the game to allow modding.