Maxis,and consequently EA, have both gotten a lot of heat for their decision to make SimCity an online only game. Gamers assumed it was purely for DRM (anti-piracy) purposes but Maxis has adamantly insisted that it’s for gameplay purposes, noting that it’s needed for simulation calculations on the server. Gaming blog RPS reported that an anonymous Maxis developer who worked on the 2013 SimCity told them that the game does not require the server to play for any gameplay features.
Redditor AzzerUK figured it out by modifying the program package for SimCity. In doing so he was able to change various in game parameters by putting SimCity in debug mode. This special mode allowed him to change the server time out time to infinite thusly allowing you to play without a server. He also fixed the population issues that many users complained about, which makes the city population accurate. These hacks don’t come without any issues of course; SimCity does require a server to save your game on the cloud.
Here is a video showing tweaked gameplay for highways in SimCity…
In response to these posts, Maxis has released a SimCity patch which apparently disables these hacks (unconfirmed). Furthermore, AzzerUK also posted his findings on EA’s forums and the topic no longer exists. He mirrored his findings here so you can still learn how to do it. It proves that the game can be played perfectly fine offline, and for some, even many, it’s an improved user experience. Things like this remind me why I love the PC gaming community so much.
We’ve also attached the instructions here: SimCity_Offline_Hack.txt (Please don’t hot link the file, link to this article)
** UPDATE 03/17/2013:
NeoGaf users reveals a simple way to turn off SimCity’s online play by simply disabling a single line of code. It’s line 22 and looks like so…
kNetDownForceQuitAfterMinutes : 20,
Simply comment it out by starting the line with “/*” and ending it with “*/“. (That should work assuming it’s based on C)