Discussion: SimGuru Q&A on r/TheSims

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SimGurus took time to engage with players over on r/thesims and discuss various aspects of the studio, from feature implementation, to development. SimGuruTrev also reiterated previous statements that they do not want to “shoehorn” features into the game.

MissCherieBella: Honestly? A bit disappointed, everything in the trailer of City Living is stuff we have seen before, nothing new. It would be nice that the glitches and bugs that have been there since a long time get fixed, if players can create mods to fix it, why can’t you guys do it? Not everyone want to have to use mods to fix their game.

Oh and while at it, it would be fun that your team remember that we are customers, not kids, what SimGuruDrake wrote in the blog is unprofessional, the community doesn’t deserve to be punished for something we are not responsible of (the leaks of City Living). I just feel like the team doesn’t care about the game or customers anymore.

SimGuruTrev: Sorry you don’t think the new EP will have enough new stuff in it. 🙁 I can assure you, we care! And we’re trying our hardest to cram as much fun content into each pack we can. And yes, I realize that sounds like a bunch of PR-speak. We’re a publicly traded company and we’re under heavy NDA so, sadly, PR-speak is about all we can do in that regard. It frustrates me just as much as anyone else, I promise you. Engineer for the Sims or not, I’m always a gamer at heart and I also get frustrated when games I love don’t end up the way I personally want them to.

I feel like we often get a lot of feedback that the pack isn’t what people want, or a particular feature isn’t how the players want it. But we rarely get a chance to ask them what they do want. So what would you like to see? What would an EP need to look like to make you go “This is exactly what I’m looking for!”

 

Lithiarch: Finally, given that the answer for the implementation of toddlers hasn’t been a flat out “no”, I eagerly await news about it. I have one save file (my generational one) that I created when I first purchased TS4 and have been quietly and patiently waiting for the addition of toddlers before I begin play on it. I don’t ask for news or a straight “toddlers will be released on X date”, but I really, REALLY beg that if, later down the line, the team discovers that toddlers can’t/won’t be in the game for any reason, for you to just… let us know somehow. I know the forums wouldn’t be happy about it, but at least for me, It’d be better knowing that rather than to continue holding out hope for it.

SimGuruTrev: And about letting people know if something won’t happen… The Sims is a funny thing. It has no real end. It’s a life simulator. There are an infinite number of things that can happen in life. As such, we’d never say “never” about a feature. When it comes to The Sims, you never know what you might get. Especially when you get up towards the 8th and 9th expansions.

 

Imthegoshdarnbatgirl: Just happy to see a new EP out soon. I do have a question fr you, however: are you listening to us? Please take no offense to this. I know you hear us, but are you listening to us? Do you guys actually take our feedback and do something with it? Sims 4, while I like it, could use a lot. I get that there were time constraints and coding problems but as you are working on new stuff for us, are you listening? Or are we not venting to the right people?

SimGuruTrev: We do listen. We hear you, we listen and, more importantly, we take note of what the community is telling us. It’s tough for us because if we could give everyone what they want we’d do it. In a heartbeat. It’s not like we sit there going “They want X but who care, let’s give them Y instead.”

We release things in packs and we like those packs to have a theme. When we get a lot of little suggestions, it’s hard to find the right place for them. But, we have boat loads of little puzzle pieces of ideas that we’ve gathered from the community and from the development team. When we’re brainstorming ideas for a new pack, we’ll dig through our little puzzle pieces and see if any of them fit with our current idea. And hell, sometimes we’ll try and jam those pieces in even if they don’t quite fit (for instance, Aliens coming with Seasons in Sims 3). But, by and large, we want it to feel like one cohesive pack and not just a bunch of odds and ends stuck together.

On the flip-side of that, when people give us broad ideas, like “I’d like more family gameplay” or “we want toddlers”, we want to make sure we fill in all the those missing puzzle pieces in a way that everyone will enjoy. If we polled 100 different people about what they’d like to see with regard to toddlers, for example, we’d get 100 different answers. So we certainly don’t want to rush something out the door just because everyone wants it. If we tried to rush some sort of family pack out the door it might only satisfy 5% of the people that wanted more family gameplay. So we like to take our time with it. We have a lot of discussions about what it actually means to play with family, or what it meansto have a toddler. What new objects do we need? What interactions and socials would you have? Would there be new skills? Would there be any new careers? What sort of CAS parts and clothing do we want to add? These are the questions we ask ourselves about every feature. We don’t like to add a big feature to the game just for the sake of adding it. We want to take our time, make sure we do it right. And if we don’t think we can, then we hold off until we feel like we can.

So, long story short, we hear you. We listen to every idea we see. When it’s an idea we can get behind, or something everyone clearly wants, we write it down. It does not go unnoticed! We really do care about our community. Most people don’t realize it but these SimGuru accounts aren’t required. Random people on the team want to reach out to the community, so they make a SimGuru name. We’re never told what to say. We genuinely care about the experience our players have with the game. It matters to us. A lot.

 

Turbo_Sloth: One thing I’ve always been curious about: do you guys work on multiple game/stuff/expansion packs at the same time, or does everyone work toward the upcoming pack, then switch focus to the next one?

SimGuruMegs: We have separate teams on the Sims 4 for SPs, GPs, EPs, and what we call engagement (the team that delivers patches and free content updates.) Usually the bulk of any team is working only on one pack at a time, but the designers write designs for the next pack ahead of the rest of the team, and some engineers may start working on tricky tech ahead of time. We also stay pretty fluid, so if a pack needs more help, people will move off of a different pack temporarily to help out.