Ah the Sims; progeny of the SimCity franchise I love so much, I find it impossible to loathe you. Sure, your focus on the lives and loves of just a handful of Sims at a time varies somewhat from your ancestor’s interest in the macro concerns of an entire city of simulated people, but the general gist – allowing players to interfere with the lives of virtual citizens – is still something you hold dear to your chest.
To be completely honest, I’ve never really “got” the Sims. Lots of people do; most people do, if you look at the stats (it’s the biggest PC gaming franchise of all time, don’t ya know?), making me a bit weird when all is said and done. But having seen (and played with) The Sims 4, I suspect all of that is about to change.
Well this is interesting. In The Sims Studio’s efforts to infuse an entire brain-rainbow of believable human emotions into the next generation of sims, they’ve hit upon the tricky business of body image, and its psychological bedmate since the invention of the mirror: perpetual, crippling self-loathing.
Sims in The Sims 4 will have the ability to gain and shed pounds as they eat and exercise, as well as the capacity to feel grossly unhappy about their own appearance, which is a cruel degree of realism to inflict upon an innocent simulated person.
“We have some little things like fitness, so sims can naturally change over time in the game,” says The Sims 4′s producer Grant Rodiek. “If they overeat they’ll become overweight. If they never exercise, they might become overweight. But if you eat healthily or eat properly or you exercise, your sims will lose weight.”
Previous games in the series allowed you to manually set your sim’s weight and body shape in the creation screen, and fitness objects such as treadmills and weight machines would simply improve a sim’s strength rather than sculpt their body. In The Sims 4 it seems that maintaining your desired form requires some actual management of your sim’s diet and exercise routines.
For as long as I’ve been playing The Sims (which is more than ten years now), their tiny lives have been defined by what they need at any particular moment: money, new TV, lunch, a shower, a pee (always with the peeing). The Sims 2 and 3 made the little computer people more relatable, adding in aspirations and expressions and stronger personality traits, but their limited emotions were still dependent on their needs and how fulfilled they were. In The Sims 4, their needs will be dependent on their emotions.
For the first time Sims have persistent emotional states. Rather than just being happy or sad, fulfilled or unfulfilled, they can be depressed, angry, flirty, vulnerable – and when they’re in these states, it affects what they can do and how. Angry Sims will work out harder, depressed Sims won’t feel like doing much. They look like they feel, too – hunched shoulders, clenched fists, quivering lips. Instead of being about fulfilling their need (or not), the game becomes about manipulating their emotional states to run their lives, rather than manipulating their circumstances by, say, buying them stuff or walling them into a room with no toilet.
At the Sims Camp I had the opportunity to interview Sim Guru Jill about The Sims 4.
She is one of the CAS producers and I love the way she explained us the new Create a Sim features during the first The Sims 4 masterclass.
Below you can find the Q&A, together with my comments about the answers.
There are many interesting info about The Sims 4 that I didn’t include in my previous articles. Enjoy it!
During CAS demo, you mentioned some news about the use of boots in The Sims 4. Could you tell us more details?
In The Sims 4, boots go over or under the pants depending on the kind of pants you are using.
The game recognizes the different parts of legs, pants and boots and figures out how boots should be shown. For example, certain boots will go over stretch pants, while they could go under baggy pants.
With time and practice, Advanced Technology Sims will gain enough skill to master many futuristic objects! A Sim with low skill Advanced Technology is more prone to failures, but with a higher skill a Sim will become more successful in using Advanced Technology objects. Additionally, more interactions will unlock as a Sim master the skill. Obtaining higher skill Reduces the chance of Time Sickness from occurring in addition to unlocking new future timelines.
Sims will gain skill Advanced Technology at an accelerated rate while in Oasis Landing. To start gaining the skill, simply use any of the following objects: Drink Synthesizer, Holographic Computer, Food Synthesizer, Jetpack, Hoverboard, Dream Pod, Sonic Shower, Air Tube Elevator, and Time Portal.
The sims are the ultimate expression of transhumanism, their fundamental, constant transformations powered by both technology and a reflection of how real humanity is changing.
Like the first children of the Twitter generation, of Internet submersion, the avatars of The Sims 4 won’t just be able to multitask, they’ll be better for doing so.
When a sim in the world of the upcoming, latest version of the computer game, multitasks, they’ll be able to build twin skills, both at the regular rate.
The game “has to feel natural and make sense for who we are as human beings today,” said Rachel Franklin, VP and Executive Producer for The Sims 4.
That means they can, for instance, eat and talk at the same time or exercise and chat, or watch TV and text.
Where the original Sims was based on the concepts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychological breakdown of human motivation often depicted as a pyramid, increasingly The Sims is weaving nuance into those ideas.
“At the beginning, The Sims was about needs,” Franklin said. “How are you going to manage your time to satisfy your needs, get more money to buy better things. We’ve evolved the sims over time, over generations.”