Foldit Wiki

The Play Offline button on the Foldit logon screen.

Normally, Foldit is played online, with the Foldit game clients communicating with the Foldit server. Online, players see scoreboard updates, and can upload and download recipes and puzzle solutions.

Players with a metered internet connection may not find it advantageous to stay connected to Foldit for hours at a time.

Foldit also offers the ability to play offline. When playing offline:

  • all Intro Puzzles are available
  • puzzles and solutions already saved locally (on the computer's hard drive) can be opened and played
  • solutions can't be uploaded to or downloaded from the Foldit server
  • the scoreboards are blank
  • solutions can be saved locally
  • any solutions saved during offline play are opened in evolver mode when returning to online mode
  • chat is not available

The "Play Offline" button on the Foldit logon screen is one way to play offline.

Other methods include using a software firewall, turning off WiFi (or a "MiFi" mobile hotspot), or simply unplugging the internet cable.

The Foldit team cautions:

We strongly discourage playing offline, as it does not guarantee that your high-scoring structure will be reported to the servers, thus defeating the key purpose of playing this game.

Windows offline play using a software firewall[]

While the "Play Offline" button is preferred, a software firewall, like Windows firewall, Norton, or Sygate Personal, can also be used to play offline.

Disconnecting the computer from the internet (using "airplane mode" or the equivalent) also has the same result, but affects more than just Foldit.

With a firewall is installed and operating, open Foldit, and log in as usual. Then use the firewall to block Foldit, or simply disconnect from the internet.

In this mode, gameplay is normal. You won't see any scoreboard updates, and you won't be able to upload or download solutions or recipes, until you unblock Foldit or reconnect to the internet.

The exact steps to configure the firewall may vary. In Sygate, the disconnecting process is straightforward:

  1. open the Sygate console by clicking on the symbol in your tray (bottom right side of the window)
  2. in the lower portion of the console, under the heading of "running applications", locate foldit.exe.
  3. Right-click the icon and choose "Block"

Other firewalls have similar options for blocking applications or addresses.

The steps to unblock in Sygate are as follows:

  1. open the Sygate console by clicking on the symbol in your tray (bottom right side of the window)
  2. in the lower portion of the console, under the heading of "running applications", locate foldit.exe.
  3. Right click the icon and choose "Allow"

When reconnecting, you should stop any recipes and manually save a solution. In most cases, when you disconnect and reconnect in this way, you'll still be logged in to the game, and your work will soon be credited when reconnect. In some cases, however, the Foldit client may fail to reconnect to the server. A "hang" may result if you try to share a solution, where Foldit "stops responding" and must be closed.

Manually saving a solution before reconnecting ensures you won't lose credit for your offline work.

If the puzzle you're working on is expiring soon, be sure to check the website to make sure that your best score is reflected after you reconnect.

Playing offline from the start[]

To play Foldit offline from the start, simply click "Play Offline" when the game starts. Once a client is started in offline mode, you must close it and restart it to play online again.

Playing offline from the start avoids the need to change firewall settings or disconnect from the internet.

When opening one or more offline clients, you can:

  • play Intro Puzzles
  • play puzzles that where already downloaded before and/or saved locally, and save the results locally
  • save a result in one client and open it in another client (provided both clients were started from the same directory)
  • save a result that was previously downloaded from a shared solution or from one of your soloist designs

Playing offline from the start means that any solutions you save will be opened in evolver mode when you play online. You or your teammates will need to add 2 points to the score for it to count as an evolver solution.

This restriction makes it possible for "pure soloists", who aren't members of a group, to play as evolvers. A group member can also "auto-evo" a solution by playing offline.

The steps involved in being a "self-evolver" are:

  • save a solution while playing online
  • start Foldit with "Play Offline"
  • open the saved solution
  • save the solution again (optionally after improving it)
  • close Foldit
  • open Foldit with "Play Online"
  • open the solution saved in offline mode
  • improve the solution by 2 points to join the evolver competition

While this procedure is not recommended, it sometimes comes in handy. For example, if you have a breakthrough shortly before a puzzle is due to expire, you can use this procedure if no group members are available to play as evolvers.

Avoiding client crashes or hangs when playing offline[]

As mentioned above, Foldit sometimes "hangs" or stops responding after a network outage. This can happen after a local network outage (unplugging the internet cable or switching to airplane mode) and also after problems with the Foldit server or other parts of the network.

Closing Foldit and restarting is generally the only way to resolve this condition. In some cases, players have been unable to recover their best scores after restarting.

When playing offline, or anytime you suspect an internet outage, be sure to manually save a solution before doing anything that connects to the Foldit server.

The actions which may result in a hang include:

  • sharing a solution
  • creating or deleting a track
  • refreshing the puzzle list
  • refreshing the list of shared solutions
  • downloading a recipe
  • sharing a recipe

Hangs and crashes due to network problems are rare, but having a manually shared solution before attempting the actions listed above helps ensure you won't lose work.