Meet The Sims 3 Development Team

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In this featured blog, we take a walk down memory lane with some members of The Sims 3 development team and use The Sims 3 University Life and The Sims 3 70s, 80s, and 90s games as inspiration.
 
MEET THE SIMS 3 DEVELOPMENT TEAM
 
Inspired by the recent expansion and stuff pack releases for The Sims 3 , we thought we’d ask some of the development team members from The Sims 3 University Life and The Sims 3 70s, 80s, and 90s Stuff some questions about their high school and college days as well as share screenshots of game features or objects they personally worked on that are most memorable to them. We hope you enjoy this new featured blog.
 
 
GRAHAM NARDONE, ASSOCIATE PRODUCER (@SimGuruGraham)
EA REDWOOD SHORES

 

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Graham at his EA desk, in college, and Graham’s favorite contribution to The Sims 3 franchise – tombs from The Sims 3 World Adventures. These are the cavernous chambers that lay deep beneath the Temple of Heaven, one of the major landmarks in Shang Simla.
 
If you could be any icon from the 70s, 80s or 90s, who would you be and why?
 
I’d have to go with Dan Marino. Growing up as a kid in Miami I could actually see Joe Robbie Stadium in the distance from my bedroom window, so it only stood to reason that I became a huge Miami Dolphins fan. There was no bigger name in Miami for a near 20-year span then “Dan the Man.”
 
 
Did you have a favorite poster on your bedroom wall in high school or college and if so, what was it?
 
When I was a bit younger I had this awesome Green Day poster from the Kerplunk album. It was neon green, yellow and pink which made it really pop visually. It probably represented the last dying gasps of the style of the 80s, but I loved the way it looked on my wall. I tried to find a picture of it online after thinking about this question, but my search turned up nothing… I wonder if it’s actually a rare one? When I got a bit older and really into videogames, I started putting more game posters on my walls. My prized possession there had to be a Battlezone poster signed by the developers, which they sent to me for making such positive contributions to the game’s community back then.
 
 
My favorite TV Show growing up was…
 
Growing up I think I was always so intrigued by videogames that I never spent too much time watching TV. Kids around me would really get into things like the Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers, but I can’t say any of the shows growing up really interested me. If anything, my guilty pleasure was some of the sitcoms of the 90s. Things like Seinfeld (of course), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and NewsRadio.
 
 
My college mascot and team colors were…
 
My college mascot was the Dolphins, a happy coincidence considering my allegiance to my favorite NFL team. And when I say our mascot was a dolphin, I mean that quite literally. No goofy guys in a costume, there’s a dolphin named Nellie who was born in 1953 that students and alumni can still visit at Marineland in St. Augustine, FL. Our school colors were forest green and white. It made for a pretty classy combination, although I’ll admit I like the aqua and orange of my Miami team more.
 
 
My favorite memory from college was…
 
As I was getting closer to graduating, I still needed to complete an internship to actually earn my degree. The internship I ended up with wasn’t exactly what you’d consider a typical experience… Rather than going to a company and learning beneath someone, I was temporarily brought on-board by an amusement park in the Florida panhandle who wanted to completely re-design their laser tag experience and build a new arena for players to complete in.
 
Being a student who worked with 3D modeling as well as someone with a great interest in first person shooter videogames, they entrusted me with coming up with the layout that they would ultimately build. I spent a few nights on location, working throughout the night while the park was closed to take measurements, as it’d be important to create a very accurate depiction of their space. I took what had been a jungle setting and transformed it into a modern Tokyo inspired setting in the midst of an alien invasion.
 
There were some really cool design elements to make you feel like you were in ruined streets of crumbling concrete buildings, while still retaining a safety area for visitors. When I submitted the final design to them, they were so pleased with it that it was in-fact built, although I’ve unfortunately never had the chance to see it in person once they completed construction.
 
In college, instead of studying, you’d catch me doing…
Playing videogames, what else! I was also a manager in the arcade at a local amusement park back then, so be it work or my own free time, I always had some sort of electronic gadget around that was keeping me occupied.
 
 

 
 
AMY UNGER, SOFTWARE ENGINEER
EA REDWOOD SHORES

 
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Amy at her EA desk with all her stuffed animals, in college, and a screenshot of some of Amy’s favorite objects that she worked on including a foosball table and hot tub!
 
If you could be any icon from the 70s, 80s or 90s, who would you be and why?
 
Jennifer Aniston. I totally loved her hairstyles and she always seemed like the nicest person.
 
 
Did you have a favorite poster on your bedroom wall in high school or college and if so, what was it?
 
No posters just tons of stuffed animals everywhere. Wait I still have tons of stuffed animals everywhere.
 
 
My favorite TV Show growing up was…
 
She-Ra. I’m a huge fan of female super heroes.
 
 
My college mascot and team colors were…
 
Michigan Wolverines. I bleed Maze and Blue!
 
 
My High school mascot & team colors were…
 
My high school had an unusual mascot. We were the River Rats! When the school first opened in 1969 our rival school called us “River Rats” as an attempt at insulting the students. But the students took pride in their school and petitioned to make our mascot be the River Rat over other suggested mascots by the school board.
 
 
My favorite memory from college was…
 
Working the student bagel stand in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building on campus. Even though I had to wake up super early, I had so much fun greeting fellow students as they stopped in to grab a quick breakfast (and more importantly an extra strong coffee) on their way to class. I used to open the stand at 7am with my friend Rob who is now my husband.
 
Second favorite memory was hanging out with my computer engineering friends at a house they shared. We used to have a BBQ every week called “seared flesh” where we pretty much tried to BBQ anything and everything including marshmallow peeps.
 
 
In college, instead of studying, you’d catch me doing…
 
Hanging out with friends.
 
Playing video games
 
Taking a nap. I love naps.
 
 
CONNIE BEATY, SENIOR QUALITY ASSURANCE TESTER
EA SALT LAKE

 
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Connie today, in college and a screenshot of a Townie in The Sims 3 University Life she submitted named Garrison Fort.
 
If you could be any icon from the 70s, 80s or 90s, who would you be and why?
 
Princess Leia! I love Star Wars more than most things and who wouldn’t want to date Han Solo?!
 
 
Did you have a favorite poster on your bedroom wall in high school or college and if so, what was it?
 
When I lived with my roommate and best friend Liz, we had an epic Jonny Depp Wall, which included posters of Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean, Willy Wonka and Corpse Bride.
 
 
My favorite TV Show growing up was…
 
Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Watched it every day after school.
 
 
My college mascot and team colors were…
 
Our colors were Blue and White, and our mascot was a giant blue bull affectionately known as Big Blue. Best thing about Big Blue was at basketball games he would repel down from the roof onto the court and then crowd surf through the student section. He was hardcore!
 
 
My favorite memory from college was…
Being a part of my comedy improv troupe. Everyone in the group came from different backgrounds and were very different people but we all got along so well and became our own little college family.
 
 
In college, instead of studying, you’d catch me…
 
Playing Xbox, Playing Munchkin with Friends, or watching the latest episode of Adventure Time.
 
 
LEAH LEAVITT, SENIOR QUALITY ASSURANCE TESTER
EA SALT LAKE

 
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Leah at work, college graduation and a screenshot showing off a Sim building their Science Skill. Leah mainly tested the Science Skill in The Sims 3 University Life, which can unlock a lot of unique interactions and socials.
 
If you could be any icon from the 70s, 80s or 90s, who would you be and why?
 
I would be Buzz Aldrin because that would mean I had walked on the moon, and punched a man for claiming otherwise. Or I would be Bill Gates because I would have a decent amount of cash. Or Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell. I would be perfectly fine with any of those!
 
 
Did you have a favorite poster on your bedroom wall in high school or college and if so, what was it?
 
My room was pure chaos. You couldn’t see the walls, as they were completely smothered with band posters, album art and newspaper clippings. My favorite poster was Albert Einstein riding a bike…because it’s Albert Einstein riding a bike.
 
 
My favorite TV Show growing up was…
 
Arthur, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Saved by the Bell
 
 
My college mascot and team colors were…
 
Our mascot used to be a Ute Indian, and now it is a red-tailed hawk, and our colors are crimson and white!
 
 
My favorite memory from college was…
 
I love traveling, and university gave me great opportunities to do that. I went to Japan for two weeks and stayed with families in different cities. I really got a sense of the country’s culture.
 
I also had an internship at the public defender’s office in New York City to fulfill my Political Science major. I was only 19, and not quite socially adept. My shyness got me into a lot of awkward, but memorable situations. I had to learn to adapt pretty quickly to the lifestyle there (as it is not very similar to Utah!)
 
 
In college, instead of studying, you’d catch me doing…
 
I only took one semester off during my 4-years at university, so I think I spent 92% of my time studying! For the other 8%, I read, took photographs, played video games, browsed the Internet, hung out with my boyfriend and friends, and went to the park with my dogs.
 
 
CHRISTIAN MALAN, WORLD BUILDER AND 3D MODELER
EA SALT LAKE

 
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Christian at his desk, in high school, and a screenshot of a bowling alley and sports bar in The Sims 3 University Life.
 
If you could be any icon from the 70s, 80s or 90s, who would you be and why?
 
I’m not much into following celebrities… but if I wanted to be similar to someone that was an icon in their field, I would choose J. Scott Campbell. I really loved his comic book art back in the late 90’s.
 
 
Did you have a favorite poster on your bedroom wall in high school or college and if so, what was it?
 
I had some pretty great Star Wars posters that complimented my X-wing model that I had hanging from my ceiling in my room. In fact I still have that same X-wing toy, it is now hanging above my desk here at EA Salt Lake. If you can’t tell, I love geeking out on Sci-fi.
 
 
My favorite TV Show growing up was…
 
Well during college I loved watching Arrested Development. Love that show!
 
 
My college mascot and team colors were…
 
Waldo the Wildcat and the colors were purple and white. I was never into going to sports games though. I have no interest in that kind of stuff. I was mostly into studying art and doing activities in that department.
 
 
My favorite memory from college was…
 
I loved going to gallery shows at school. I also had a lot of fun working on building an indie videogame with my buddies.
 
 
In college, instead of studying, you’d catch me doing…
 
On the weekends I would go camping with friends in the mountains, and we would throw big bonfire parties. We had some pretty great times.
 
 
SARAH DAHL, QUALITY ASSURANCE TESTER
EA SALT LAKE

 
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If you could be any icon from the 70s, 80s or 90s, who would you be and why?
 
Honestly, I’m not sure but I guess I’ll say Molly Ringwald because for a little while there she had like 12 movies out. And she’s a redhead, so that would be awesome.
 
 
Did you have a favorite poster on your bedroom wall in high school or college and if so, what was it?
 
I had a big N*Sync poster for the longest time. It was a teenage girl’s dream. I loved it.
 
 
My favorite TV Show growing up was…
 
I am a good ol’ Looney Toons girl. I had a Tweety Bird bedspread for the longest time.
 
 
My college mascot and team colors were…
 
Wildcats and purple.
 
 
My favorite memory from college was…
 
Taking classes with my friends and being able to goof off when the professors weren’t looking… and sometimes when they were.
 
 
In college, instead of studying, you’d catch me doing…
 
Doing plays and playing some videogames. I’d always be at some sort of gaming system. I had a great group of friends who I’d hang out with too. I actually wrote my own Sim’s stories too!