Last week the Maxis team held a Sim City Reddit AMA and one of the hot topics which may be concerning Sim City fans is the online only requirement. In a new blog update from Maxis, Lucy Bradshaw who leads the Maxis label, has explained why they have gone online only in the latest installment of the city builder.
Creating a connected experience has always been a goal for SimCity, and this design decision has driven our development process for the game. This is easily the most ambitious game in the franchise and we’ve taken great care to make sure that every line of code embodies the spirit of the series. To do this, we knew we had to make sure we put our heart and souls into the simulation and the team created the most powerful simulation engine in its history, the GlassBox Engine.
GlassBox is the engine that drives the entire game — the buildings, the economics, trading, and also the overall simulation that can track data for up to 100,000 individual Sims inside each city. There is a massive amount of computing that goes into all of this, and GlassBox works by attributing portions of the computing to EA servers (the cloud) and some on the player’s local computer.
GlassBox does more than just segregate computing tasks, it also allows us to make it so that you can create specialized cities that are visually unique and personalized, and that can be economically integrated into a larger region. You’re always connected to the neighbors in your region so while you play, data from your city interacts with our servers, and we run the simulation at a regional scale.
For example, trades between cities, simulation effects that cause change across the region like pollution or crime, as well as depletion of resources, are all processed on the servers and then data is sent back to your city on your PC. Every city in the region is updated every three minutes, which keeps the overall region in sync and makes your decisions in your city relevant to any changes that have taken place in the region.
There’s no doubt the fact that you have to be connected is going to put players off, but if you look at what happened with Diablo 3 then you’ll know that while people complained, the game shipped a massive amount of units. Sim City will more than likely do exactly the same.
The prospect of others affecting your game or being able to play with friends side by side is really exciting in game such as Sim City and it’s unlikely to be a deal breaker in today’s age of connectivity.
Source: Sim city Blog
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