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#1 Posted by Azurath (294 posts) -
#2 Edited by ReCkLeSs_X (460 posts) -

This should be interesting...

(& Reddit isn't a terrible place either)

#3 Posted by Humanity (9011 posts) -

It's interesting that they found terraforming tools and other little things that were later taken out or limited in the full retail.

(Reddit is a horrible place)

#4 Posted by spookytapes (263 posts) -

a lot of the subreddits aren't too bad. /r/simcity seems to be the place where they're uncovering a lot of this stuff so I'm appreciative to be able to find all of the crazy simcity stories / posts in one place.

#5 Posted by Azurath (294 posts) -

a lot of the subreddits aren't too bad. /r/simcity seems to be the place where they're uncovering a lot of this stuff so I'm appreciative to be able to find all of the crazy simcity stories / posts in one place.

If they got rid of the Karma system, it would be okay at best.

I still visit it frequently, but that's because I started going there back when memes weren't overused. Needless to say, I have been there a while, and have been trying to ween myself off of it. Anyway, let's not to this into a Reddit thread.

@humanity said:

It's interesting that they found terraforming tools and other little things that were later taken out or limited in the full retail.

(Reddit is a horrible place)

It's insane all the shit wrong with the way EA released the game. I wish luck to the people working on making all features usable offline.

#6 Edited by Arabes (338 posts) -

Hahahahahahaha, this is great :) Now they jsut have to fix the broken AI and path finding and it should be great.

#7 Posted by Dagbiker (6957 posts) -

Have they fond the ability to make Sim City a good game yet?

#8 Edited by EXTomar (4627 posts) -

People have suspected something was strange about EA/Maxis' claim they needed to be online all of the time to offload simulation computation especially during the whacky service problems. The game seems happy enough to run for 15~ minutes before even bothering to contact the servers which is where people kept getting into trouble and losing progress. If game can run server free for that long then with a little hackery....

#9 Edited by 2HeadedNinja (1587 posts) -

The insane part is that they not only managed to actually play the game offline, they also managed to ignore the boundries that restrict where you can build so they could build anywhere on any given area.

#10 Posted by TruthTellah (8716 posts) -

Just a note: SimCity can now be modded to run in a debug mode, with various features missing(plus some that aren't in the normal game). Multiplayer, obviously, has issues and does not work.

Though, it does seem like they're getting closer to a viable single-player mod for the game.

#11 Posted by MikeJFlick (441 posts) -

No one actually believed it, did they? just more silly DRM, making it online only with smaller areas makes it that much easier to market DLC.

#12 Edited by TruthTellah (8716 posts) -

@dagbiker said:

Have they fond the ability to make Sim City a good game yet?

Now that's not fair, dag. A lot of people have quite enjoyed what the game offers. Outside of the server annoyances, it is a good, fun game. It's definitely very different from other SimCity games, and I'd say it would almost be better suited to be called something else. But it's still quite entertaining with a lot of content to play around with.

#13 Edited by EXTomar (4627 posts) -

@truthtellah You know, that was the same thing that was said about Dragon Age 2. I don't think they are doing themselves a favor because it feels like they are selling us one thing but getting another.

What I find interesting is not only did is it a fib needing online to offload simulation computation, they are fudging a bunch of responses anyway. What was the purpose of having this simulation engine if it doesn't scale nor gives realistic feedback?

#14 Posted by Bollard (5394 posts) -

The fact population is inflated is cray. Also I wonder how easy it is to mod that outside boundaries road placement...

#15 Posted by Arabes (338 posts) -

@truthtellah: I'd disagree man, there are serious issues with the game outside of the server problems. Path finding is fucking useless and their simulation is deeply flawed. This causes very serious issues with the game as it progresses. Even once they fix the problems with the servers there a bigger issues that lie at the very core of how the game was built that need to be resolved. There is still a way to go before this games is close to what they promised. You should check out the videos on RPS of the problems with the ai they implemented. It actually made me sad :(

#16 Posted by Dagbiker (6957 posts) -

@dagbiker said:

Have they fond the ability to make Sim City a good game yet?

Now that's not fair, dag. A lot of people have quite enjoyed what the game offers. Outside of the server annoyances, it is a good, fun game. It's definitely very different from other SimCity games, and I'd say it would almost be better suited to be called something else. But it's still quite entertaining with a lot of content to play around with.

Your right, I do like it, but not in the way I liked SIm City, where it required strategy, and planing, but more in the minecraft, podcast way, where you play it while doing something else, and if you lose money, its cool, zoning is free.

And people, it seems, don't mind moving next to a garbage dump and sewage factory, but once they lived there for a year, they become entitled brats, and think that they should get a hospital.

#17 Posted by TruthTellah (8716 posts) -

@extomar: You want my straight opinion? I think the game isn't "done", per se. Not fully cooked. In other words, this was such a drastic overhaul of the basic design of the series that development was dragging on for too long and they couldn't get it to exactly work as they desired. They settled for what they could do, while still speaking in the rhetoric of what it was planned to be. Which happens. But in this case, it seems somewhat apparent. I feel like they shot for a very different kind of experience, and in polishing the game, they just tried to make it more like SimCity. When really, it was still something quite different at the heart, and they didn't have the time to really make it what they had hoped for. That kind of exacting simulation where you could follow one Sim for a whole day. Which, honestly, would probably take cloud computing to handle. So, cloud-computing was just part of their idea of what the game would be and what would be necessary, and as they drew back on what was actually feasible on the project, this mostly vestigial idea remained.

The multiplayer architecture helped them maintain the illusion for themselves, but it was still ultimately an illusion. Something originally intended but never fully realized. When I look at it, I see an interesting game, and I've gotten a lot of entertainment out of it. Maybe 30 hours or so. But the overwhelming feeling when you think about it is simply, "Man, what they could do with this game if they had a broader scope. If they had achieved what they seemed to have wanted to do." And that kind of gets me excited about the prospects for a sequel where they actually get it resolved. But there still seems like more they can work on with this version. And hopefully they will see what they can do to add an offline mode of some sort, even if some server-side features have to be shed. There's a clear call for it, and the game has a lot of potential with more freedom allowed in it.

And I genuinely believe that modding may make it amazing. We'll see. It has a lot of cool things to it, but it does leave you feeling like it's still unresolved. Which is a shame. There's a lot of potential here.

#18 Edited by Fattony12000 (7252 posts) -

Oh fuck, this is incredible.

This is the actual guide taken from reddit, I can't believe how simple it is to get around all those restrictions.

Okay so I have done a bit of snooping around and have found a number of tools which make this a very simple task. I assume Maxis had actually accounted for the fact people wanted to mod the game and made it seemingly easy to do from the get go. I assume they are waiting a bit until after launch to officially release tools.

This is a very basic guide to get people who have experience in modding started. I will show you how to create a very very simple population mod to show the real values - I do not currently know if this will adjust the AI at all (I doubt it). I am unsure of the current capabilities of this but have succesfully loaded some custom javascript into the game UI etc and would like others to help explore the possibilities.

What you need to begin with:

What we do with SimCityPak

We will use SimCityPak as our general .package file viewer, the reason being is because it has built in model viewer and various other functions that I personally find easier to use than s3pi (unless I am missing something obvious).

Open up SCP and navigate to the install folder of Sim City from the open file dialog. Go into the SimCityData folder - this is where most of the assets are located. Most of the files are named appropiately but the one we will be looking at is "SimCity_Game.package". Open that up. On the left hand side it lists all the files in the package. Have a look around and try to find interesting files. The most interesting ones are usually large in file size and are type JSON or Javascript.

This is general information by the way and not entirely related to the basic visual mod we are going to do - its just to show you how to navigate the files for yourself. You are safe to close SimCityPak.

On to the actual mod

Load up S3PE and open "SimCity_Game.package". CLOSE ALL INSTANCES OF SIM CITY. The file we want is JSON in the TAG column and is large in file size. So click the headings at the top to sort by Filesize. As this is a generic tutorial I cant specifically say what its reference is as I have to assume it changes from patch to patch. The file we are looking for is a huge compressed javascript file which likely starts with:

'use strict'; var COMPILED = !0,

Here is a screenshot of the uncompressed code (Sorry only copy I have):

Now export that by rightclicking the line in the table and clicking Export. Load it into your text editor and if it has syntax highlighting either turn it off or change it to javascript.

To make the code at all readable I recommend you plop it into http://jsbeautifier.org/ (making sure you turn off the fancy text box or prepare for mass lag).

And replace the code on there with your code.

Now you have 100% editable UI/Whatever else is in there code. For this quick tutorial we are going to find the line that starts with

simcity.GetFudgedPopulation() = function

I assume you know how to edit javascript so it should be self explanitory but two lines after put

return a;

Save the file, hop back on over to s2pe and right click the line in the table with the unmodified code and click "Replace", find your new file that you edited and replace with it. Now click File > Save - wait until it finishes - and make sure you close s3pe before loading up sim city to test it out.

If you did it correctly your cities and I guess other peoples cities should now be showing the actual population

Wrapping up

As I said this is a generic "off the press" sort of tutorial not designed to do anything other than show people how it can be done on a very basic scale and see what other people can come up with with more time.

Edit another file that looks promising: SimCity_App.package Filter by JSON then order by size, should be top one.

Bullet points with recent modding discoveries:

  • Players have reverse engineered modding. Significant parts of the game's code is in Javascript.
  • The game can be played without an internet connection indefinitely after modding. Can only stay in one city.
  • SimCity has behavior for offline save handling. When offline, your city is saved and is uploaded to Origin the next time you go online. Offline mode seemed to be cut hastily.
  • Debug tools were left open, allowing 'griefing' other people's cities by setting DEBUG=1.
  • "Big maps" are referenced multiple times in the game's code. Possible DLC regions with big city plots? It's the only way they can increase the city size without breaking existing maps.
  • Internal terraforming tools were discovered, but requires a special build of the game.
  • Population numbers are faked / inflated - GetFudgedPopulation. chart - thanks fat_ugly_midget.
  • After modding, you can play around outside 2km2 plot, and it saves syncs to the server.
  • Latest patch has made package files read only, and disabled debug tools / the cheat console. (Confirm please, I do not own / will not support the game)

#19 Edited by TruthTellah (8716 posts) -

@arabes: Yeah, I know what you mean. I still think it's quite entertaining, and even with some jank, it has an interesting flow to it. But I'd agree that you're still left wondering about what it could be, and it's not quite the revelation they seemed to plan for it to be.

@dagbiker: It is definitely not like a classic SimCity. SimCity always made me feel like the god of a big city. This is more like being a dictatorial mayor of a reasonably sized city. ha. Which is fine in its own way, but the SimCity name does make the game have some rather big shoes to fill.

And I agree about those darn people living next to my nuclear meltdown site. Jerks start dying and think they're entitled to a hospital...

#20 Edited by Floope (190 posts) -

@fattony12000: Are there any youtube demonstrations of this yet?

#21 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Wonder what EA/Maxis will comment about all this.

#22 Edited by Fattony12000 (7252 posts) -

@fattony12000: Are there any youtube demonstrations of this yet?

See my edited post.

In other news, this type of city build is fascinating.

#23 Posted by WarlockEngineerMoreDakka (432 posts) -

So we're basically one step closer to proving that EA/Maxis have been lying through their teeth.

It at the very least confirms that they've set aside a LOT of features for future DLC. (Larger city sizes for instance)

Not surprised.

#24 Edited by EXTomar (4627 posts) -

I wouldn't say there is anything conclusive. It shows they planned and worked on various things players wanted but were ripped out where I suspect it was abandoned because the fundamental parts simply didn't work correctly and they ran out of time.

#25 Posted by casper_ (903 posts) -

this is really exciting

#26 Edited by EXTomar (4627 posts) -

Wonder what EA/Maxis will comment about all this.

I hate to be cynical but I suspect they will "comment about all of this" in a patch that either modifies or removes a bunch of the holes.

#27 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2020 posts) -

@extomar said:

@the_laughing_man said:

Wonder what EA/Maxis will comment about all this.

I hate to be cynical but I suspect they will "comment about all of this" in a patch that either modifies or removes a bunch of the holes.

This is their likely course of action. I doubt they'll be able to accomplish this without people getting extremely fussy or the modding/hack community doing something about it though.

If modders and hackers made a push to roll out exploits and mod fixes prior to this happening, though, things might get a little interesting (kind of like how PSP exploits and homebrew came about way back when). It is likely they'll have something even if EA/Maxis attempts to shut them out. The challenge would be to get it out before most people are forced to update.

#28 Edited by Nictel (2399 posts) -

@extomar said:

@the_laughing_man said:

Wonder what EA/Maxis will comment about all this.

I hate to be cynical but I suspect they will "comment about all of this" in a patch that either modifies or removes a bunch of the holes.

The new patch has bug fixes and changes that optimize performance (As in the bug we fixed that allowed people to see our future DLC)

ALSO ANNOUNCED: TERRAFORM DLC! Terraform your region in this completely new dlc! Buy it for $25,-. It is only a 1KB download as we only need to unlock some settings.

#29 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

What I thought they meant by offloading calculations was basically interactions between different player cities, nothing internal. And so I was expecting more influence by other cities on my own. From a multiplayer perspective, that seemed to make sense. Now, it never made a lot of sense that they'd be offloading anything too substantial, but I thought it was certainly plausible that batch-processing some of these calculations might be more efficient on a server specifically designed to handle those sorts of things quickly. Of course, now we know that's not what's really going on.

The existence of terraforming tools and larger city sizes in the code are pretty damning, though. And if they're right about offline mode being cut hastily and possibly at the last minute, then there is no reason to think that they couldn't quickly and easily patch the game to allow that, and for offline, local saves. If they don't patch it, it looks like we'll have a mod to do that soon. And the game's only been out a little more than a week.

Does anyone else remember such a clusterfuck of a release?

#30 Posted by Jams (2960 posts) -

I don't have SimCity 2013 but if I did I wouldn't touch any of these mods or try anything until I heard from EA Maxis about it. Because you guys know how that goes. All of a sudden everyone'll be banned and all butt hurt and there'll be more hoopla about.

#31 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

So basically modders found code for EA's planned DLC already in the game, that's pretty fucking disgusting if you ask me.

#32 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@haggis said:

What I thought they meant by offloading calculations was basically interactions between different player cities, nothing internal. And so I was expecting more influence by other cities on my own. From a multiplayer perspective, that seemed to make sense. Now, it never made a lot of sense that they'd be offloading anything too substantial, but I thought it was certainly plausible that batch-processing some of these calculations might be more efficient on a server specifically designed to handle those sorts of things quickly. Of course, now we know that's not what's really going on.

The existence of terraforming tools and larger city sizes in the code are pretty damning, though. And if they're right about offline mode being cut hastily and possibly at the last minute, then there is no reason to think that they couldn't quickly and easily patch the game to allow that, and for offline, local saves. If they don't patch it, it looks like we'll have a mod to do that soon. And the game's only been out a little more than a week.

Does anyone else remember such a clusterfuck of a release?

This. I thought the Diablo 3 launch was rough, but this game has been an absolute train wreck in every way possible.

#33 Posted by EuanDewar (4873 posts) -

reddit is terrible

#34 Posted by Fattony12000 (7252 posts) -

More:

Found the offline savegame directory (self.SimCity)

submitted 9 hours ago by simcityperson

C:\games\SimCity\SimCityUserData\EcoGame\

In there, there are subdirectories from which each of them contain a city or region of yours. If you disconnect the game while playing (firewall) it starts to write 1mb files there that disappear when you reconnect. It also starts to upload with 200kb/s then.

So it actually can save offline already.

[–]palehorse74 10 points 6 hours ago

hmmm, if only there was a way to "freeze" an application's state in Windows, save said state, and then recreate said state -- in lieu of using traditional "save game" functions.

In other words, somehow fool the operating system into thinking that the game was never exited (similar to how iOS handles it's app-switching by freezing/restoring app states)

Doing the above would allow the "run offline indefinitely mod" to last beyond the closing of the game itself (ie. forever). It would also allow you to blow up cities and then "load" a previous game state.

Perhaps a third-party application could somehow accomplish this, but I'm really not sure if one exists(<--- kind of a big problem, I bet? lol). Example: Run the 3rd-party app in the background. When you're ready to quit the game, hit a key macro to take a "snapshot" of the entire game's runtime state -- to include all RAM and ROM data associated with the game's current state. The infoe could be stored in a parity file of some sort. Later, you could "open" the parity file to recreate the entire game runtime situation from the exact moment in time the snapshot was taken.

Theoretically, the game would "run" this way indefinitely, so it would never need to contact Origin again.

Just a random thought...

[–]Coherent 6 points 3 hours ago

Actually, this might be easier than you think. Open and run the game on a virtual computer in full-screen mode. I often use Oracle VM Virtualbox, which is a completely free virtual computer compatible with a wide variety of operating systems. I know for a fact that when you snapshot the virtual computer, you can capture running programs, presumably because the snapshot takes a memory image of all systems that are operating at the time.

So this might be one way to do it.

[–]Alphasite 7 points 3 hours ago

I did that once, it completely fucks with origin, and parts of the game.

[–]Coherent 2 points 1 hour ago

Yes, but it might work with the "Run endlessly without server" mod installed.

[–]WinOSXBuntu 2 points 4 hours ago

It would be awkward because only a driver running alongside the kernel is allowed to read and write to memory directly. You'd need access to Microsoft's driver API documentation which I believe is mostly missing.

But it could work.

#35 Edited by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

@extomar said:

@the_laughing_man said:

Wonder what EA/Maxis will comment about all this.

I hate to be cynical but I suspect they will "comment about all of this" in a patch that either modifies or removes a bunch of the holes.

This is their likely course of action. I doubt they'll be able to accomplish this without people getting extremely fussy or the modding/hack community doing something about it though.

If modders and hackers made a push to roll out exploits and mod fixes prior to this happening, though, things might get a little interesting (kind of like how PSP exploits and homebrew came about way back when). It is likely they'll have something even if EA/Maxis attempts to shut them out. The challenge would be to get it out before most people are forced to update.

Has any of this come up on their official forums?

#36 Posted by probablytuna (3597 posts) -

Somebody get the popcorn!

#37 Edited by super2j (1666 posts) -

It was seriously only a matter of time. It really sucks that people have to fix these games like this. I feel like this situation is worse then Aliens was, even though technically, Aliens was a bigger mess. I bet you there will be mods to make this game work offline, fix it so the game tells you what is wrong and where, increase map size and do it with cheeta mode on.

I am so glad I have no affinity for this franchise, I feel like I would have been bummed at how all this played out.

#38 Posted by Hawkerace (276 posts) -

How come they locked the other one, but not this one? :S

#39 Posted by AiurFlux (902 posts) -

Un-fucking-believable. I am legitimately at a loss for words.

#40 Edited by benpicko (2005 posts) -

Well this should be fun.

(also lel leddit xD xD xD etc)

#41 Edited by Fattony12000 (7252 posts) -
#42 Posted by envane (1160 posts) -

@fattony12000: that video was really inspiring , good to see someone objectivly discussing the game strategy and gettign deep into it , bugs and all , without being liek FUCKING EA!.. and yeah it helped me understand some tricks i could use , which is mabye enough to get me to play some more :/ i got really pissed off in my last session however when i send 500k in gifts to my new city only to have that money vanish into thin air

#43 Posted by envane (1160 posts) -

oh hes a startcraft player no wonder

#44 Edited by Winternet (8012 posts) -

This may go places. I'm interested.

#45 Posted by MedalOfMode (294 posts) -

YES!

#46 Edited by Fattony12000 (7252 posts) -

Oh dear.

(Insert usual disclaimer here regarding how you do this at your own risk and of your own free will, something something burning in the sulphurous pits of fiery damnation for all eternity.)

SimCity code includes the 20 minute shutdown timer, which you can easily remove for permanent offline play

So...if the game detects that you are offline it starts a 20 minute countdown, if you are not online before that countdown expires it'll force you to exit the game.

So...if you remove this line of code you remove the ability of the game to force you to quit.

Here is extracted/abridged source code of the always-online feature:

http://pastebin.com/8NR1EdkN

Simply commenting out line #22 defeats the force disconnect.

22. this.StartForceQuitCountDown();

The below code shows the first four lines of the above JavaScript which controls the arbitrary 20 minute disconnect timer. As you can see, it's a pretty simple set up.

1. simcity.Constants = {};

2. simcity.cConstants = {

3. kNoRepeatNetworkAlertSeconds : 15,

4. kNetDownForceQuitAfterMinutes : 20,

#47 Posted by BjornTheUnicorn (356 posts) -

@fattony12000: I was just going to link this. The always on DRM is literally just a line of code. Wooooowwwwwwwwww

#48 Posted by shatteringlast (221 posts) -
#49 Posted by Hailinel (24260 posts) -
Online
#50 Edited by EXTomar (4627 posts) -

To be fair, the online mode is necessary for doing an "online team mode" like this but the idea the whole game needs "clouds computing" is junk more and more players poke and investigate it.