SimGuru Insights: Nick and Arvin Explain Live Ops


On April 22, SimGuruNick and SimGuruArvin were both welcomed via Twitter and revealed to be members of the Live Ops QA. Yesterday, a fan on the forums posted a welcome thread to greet the new gurus. Both took the time to reply to the thread with an introduction to themselves and their job.

SimGuruNick has been working on The Sims PC for over 9 years in Quality Assurance. In fact, his first project was the IKEA Home Stuff for The Sims 2.

While SimGuruArvin hasn’t been around quite as long, he can boast that he’s been with The Sims team since The Sims 3 Island Paradise. Arvin also spends a lot of time on The Sims 4 gallery providing feedback and comments.

The Live Ops QA is a team of employees that continue to ensure quality assurance after the content has gone live. Live meaning the current build of the game that players have access to. According to the gurus, they have a laundry list of responsibilities and even compared themselves to a ‘bug assasination squad’.

  1. We strive to track and organize bugs and issues that you report. We then try to reproduce the issue on our own, narrow down when exactly it was introduced, figure out how many people it’s affecting, and write a separate report that goes to the people who do the actual fixing. We sit right next to the people doing the fixing, so we’re able to accurately describe in-person some of the more complex bugs when we need to.
  2. We track and organize crashes. Any time you crash, if you have Share User Data enabled in your Game Options, the data gets uploaded to us, and we’re able to enter reports and hopefully get those crashes fixed!
  3. We run all sorts of tests and checks for every game update released, and server maintenance. Server maintenance is when you notice the Gallery go down for an hour or so, while we’re doing repairs.
  4. We run tests on candidates for Maxis Favorites on the Gallery (you can see what goes into testing Maxis Favs here)

Nick even made the obligatory note in his post to remind players that they cannot share knowledge of future content. (And let’s be honest, who didn’t see that one coming?)

Until now, it was common to see the Gurus mention that they would forward the something to the QA team, but now they’ve stepped out from behind the curtain. Simmers are allowed to contact both Nick and Arvin concerning whether the QA team is aware of any bugs or issues, and to inquire if the team is able to reproduce the problem. Nick and Arvin have both expressed that they are excited to begin working more closely with the community.

Hopefully this means that there will be more feedback concerning players that are having trouble with their games. How do you feel about the surge of community involvement from the QA team?