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Lead Engineer for SimCity Simon Fox recently blogged that building an offline mode for the always-online SimCity took his team six months to accomplish.
"[O]ur 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," he wrote. "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 further explained that the game relied on server communication for region status and other information via a Java-based system. In order to distribute this information offline, the team had to rewrite the entire system in C++.
"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," he added.
This offline mode will be included in the next SimCity update, which should be very soon.
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