Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beefing Up Sim Emotions

Gamescon, one of the largest public gaming trade-shows globally that draws hundreds of thousands of people, is this week! And it comes with a flurry of announcements such as a new Sims game (The Sims 4) and The Terminators (based off of the movie franchise). 

So what’s different about the Sims in the new game? Maxis and EA are focusing on the feelings of the Sims. Emotions will drive the game much more than previous versions. If a Sim is angry, you can no longer force them to talk to someone. If a male Sim just broke up with his girlfriend, he might become a couch potato and gain 20 pounds. These are the schematics that will drive the gameplay.

There are other little tweaks, such as a more in-depth character creation system that some developers have remarked will allow you to “sculpt” you Sim. Instead of pre-set body sizes you can adjust height, hip size, muscles, etc. by moving your mouse over the Sim body to create realistic Sims. The key point that Maxis is harping on is making these digital beings more alive. Which is also…a bit creepy. Even mundane aspects such as walking and talking at the same time are being taken into consideration.

I will not lie, some of the joy I have out of playing The Sims is to get them to do things that would be impossible to coerce others in the real world. Playing pranks, drowning a Sim, making green dogs and purple cats, walking around in your underwear to work, all of these aspects are why so many of us enjoy The Sims. We get to play though an imaginative life without consequences. With the addition of these “emotional systems” that fun is going to be stripped. Send a Sim to work in their underwear and they may freak out, causing internal distress, and that Sim may spend the rest of their life locked up in their home. That, is not fun, and none of us want to subject the poor Sims to that kind of state. Walking around in your underwear to work or to get groceries is suppose to be funny. It’s a game. Not reality. By injecting the reality into a make-believe world, it can potentially remove the joy from playing.

So I don’t know where to go with this. Then again, I still can’t get The Sims 3 to work on my overpowered PC that has no trouble running Crysis at max settings. So go fig! 

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