Lucy Bradshaw gives some “straight answers” about SimCity: “In many ways, we built an MMO”


Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis, has posted a lengthy blog offering some answers about “Always-Connected and why SimCity is not an offline experience”. Bradshaw states that SimCity was designed from the ground up with multiplayer in mind, even going as far as to say that they “built an MMO”.

Recent events haven’t reflected well upon SimCity, especially after a disastrous launch. Servers imploded, the community modded an offline mode and, in doing so, found out some interesting facts about just what the servers actually do: not much, it would seem.

Lucy Bradshaw posted a response to the recent findings on the EA Blog, defending their “vision” of SimCity.

“Always-Connected is a big change from SimCities of the past. It didn’t come down as an order from corporate and it isn’t a clandestine strategy to control players. It’s fundamental to the vision we had for this SimCity.”

“From the ground up, we designed this game with multiplayer in mind – using new technology to realize a vision of players connected in regions to create a SimCity that captured the dynamism of the world we live in; a global, ever-changing, social world.”

Bradshaw then went on to list the features that the Always-Connected servers bring to SimCity:

  • “We keep the simulation state of the region up to date for all players. Even when playing solo, this keeps the interactions between cities up to date in a shared view of the world.
  • Players who want to reach the peak of each specialization can count on surrounding cities to provide services or resources, even workers. As other players build, your city can draw on their resources.
  • Our Great Works rely on contributions from multiple cities in a region. Connected services keep each player’s contributions updated and the progression on Great Works moving ahead.
  • All of our social world features – world challenges, world events, world leaderboards and world achievements – use our servers to update the status of all cities.
  • Our servers handle gifts between players.
  • We’ve created a dynamic supply and demand model for trading by keeping a Global Market updated with changing demands on key resources.
  • We update each city’s visual representation as well. If you visit another player’s city, you’ll see the most up to date visual status.
  • We even check to make sure that all the cities saved are legit, so that the region play, leaderboards, challenges and achievements rewards and status have integrity.”

Even if you would rather play in an offline mode, Bradshaw and her team “rejected” the idea because “it didn’t fit in with our vision”. Maxis views SimCity as more than just a multiplayer game.

“The game we launched is only the beginning for us – it’s not final and it never will be. In many ways, we built an MMO.”

Well the launch certainly seemed very MMO like, but I’m not convinced.