Making Of: The Sims

By Kieron Gillen on January 18th, 2008 at 1:37 pm.

[Our Making Of series returns! Since I'm starting to run low, I'm working on another string of articles to mix in with them on Fridays. It's a series of interviews with some of my favourite Indie-game stuff right now - basically, all the RPS favourites. However, in the meantime, here's what I think is good one - Will Wright, on the Sims, in typically expansive and intelligent mood. This remixed version features considerably more matieral than the original which appeared back in PC Format. Oh - and I'm using a mix of Sims and Sims 2 grabs, for decoration's sakes, though this is 100% about the original.]
Wright makes right.

In our time sitting down with Will Wright, the prime mover behind the Sims games, we talk about many things. The game’s origins, its development, its trials and tribulations and its success… but the one question that we really wanted to know remained unbroached. “So… Will,” we’d grin, “Exactly how grotesquely rich are you?”. You have to wonder. There were 29 million copies of the Sims and spin-offs sold at the time of the interview [And 70 million now - Ed], and you have to presume there’s some serious green in the man’s pockets. But not that he hasn’t had to work for it. The Sims is a game that simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for his faith in the project. And its gestation lies well back in the history of a much earlier game. Though probably not the one you’re thinking of…

“It was 1993, and I’d just finished SimAnt,” Will recalls, “In the game we simulate an ant colony fairly realistically, with pheromone trails. But the game had a back yard, with someone walking around who could step on the ants or attack them. But he was programmed in more traditional procedural programming, and when I finished the game I’d realised that the ants were smarter than the guy was, because they had a more robust intelligence and able to react to more circumstances. I began wondering whether there was a way we could simulate human behaviour in a more distributed sense in the way the ants do – more hard and robust.”

The other inspiration was Austrian architect Christopher Alexander. “I was inspired by the idea that environment design influenced behaviour,” Will explains, “I started thinking it would be cool to do a game about architecture where depending on how well you design something you’ll see people score it by how efficiently they live in it.”

Don't worry. It's just surprise sex.

As the future best selling PC game ever, it was immediately embraced by the corporate culture and… actually, no. In fact, the Sims almost died at birth. “We had a focus group back in 1993. And it tested very badly,” Will remembers, “No-one liked it at all, and was the worst idea out of the four we presented that night.” Will Wright went over to Sim City 2000 to work on that, and the Sims were forgotten until around 96, where Will managed to secure a small team. “I got one programmer and one behavioural modeller, and did a couple other things like SimCopter,” he says, “I didn’t really get back to the Sims until 96 or 97. We had a few guys on it, working on the behaviour.”

“It was a battle, the first few years, inside Maxis,” Will mentions, “It was referred to as “The Toilet game”. It was the game where you clean the toilet. We had a product review meeting at Maxis where we had to decide whether we’d publish this thing or not… and the executive said “No, let’s do that”.” So the Sims was over… except Will Wright secured the services of a tools programmer who wasn’t doing anything and worked secretly on the game. “No-body was using his tools, and they were thinking of axing him,” says Will, “I trundled him into my Black Box – so to speak – and did a little Skunk-works.”

“At that point it was focused on characters interacting with objects in a very open-ended format,” Will continues, “We were very concerned that it was going to be expandable, which was a hard thing to figure out, until we realised we could distribute the verbs in the objects. We could then easily add verbs to the game. It’s normally hard to add new nouns – more objects – but it’s hard to add verbs, or actions. I was trying to figure out a way to make the game more expandable on the verb side.”

We often think of magic hats.

Not this was in any way easy to get working. “This is a game where the players build the environments, so there’s a huge variety of situations,” says Will, “It’s real easy to design when you know there’s going to be a guy walking down a corridor with a gun and you’ve got to hide from him… and that’s about it. You can design AIs that are very specific in certain circumstances. Designing a generalised AI which can figure out if it’s sitting on the couch watching the TV, or locked in the bathroom, or throwing up in the toilet or kissing his girlfriend… the wide variety of situations these characters had to encounter was the biggest challenge technically.”

It was worth it. That expandability has clearly been a bedrock of the game’s success, with Sims expansion kits being almost being an industry in themselves. But this was an incredible pay-off from a real self-imposed development burden. “We spent probably close to a year in development making sure that the game was expandable in every possible way,” Will notes, “We probably could have done the Sims a year earlier if it wasn’t expandable. We were putting a bet on it that it’d be worth it. And that bet really paid off, much bigger than I’d expected it. I thought if it did pay off it’ll double the sales – not twenty, thirty times.” Wright lays the success primarily to the fans. “I thought the game would either do a million units or… 50,” he says, “I thought a million would be a hit. It would be a hit or a total dog. I didn’t forsee was the size of the community, and it’s that which took a million to thirty. All the cool stuff you can do with websites, and downloading content and storytelling.”

Not bad for what’s basically the world’s most glorified Dolls House. “I used to call it Doll House actually,” Will says, “But in one of the focus groups I discovered that it didn’t test well with 14 year old boys. And that was the point which I stopped calling it doll house. In my mind, yes, that’s what it was. It was a high-tech animated doll house with AI.” Which possibly explains the Sims huge female gamer-base? “Not necessarily,” says Will, shrugging off such patronising attitudes, “You can play the Sims as a straight game, and very goal orientated. You can play with it as a modelling system, and just use it to design houses. You can use it for telling stories. Meta-games that live on top of the sims. I don’t think the reason women bought it was because they wanted to play with dolls. I think, if anything, real women have a higher standard of leisure entertainment than men do. They tend to go for entertainment that are a little more expressive. Also entertainment that connects back to them and has some personal meaning. The Sims allows a path where you can play it as a deep personal reflection of yourself. Also, at the same time, there weren’t any games available besides sports and fantasy and whatever. Games are remarkably narrow. For how elaborate the medium is and how many copies we sell, it’s amazing how few subjects we deal with”

Chicks dig being levitated to the side. No, it's true. Really.

Which kind of leads to the question of /what/ they chose to simulate. Life’s a big place. How did they choose what was key? “A lot of it came down to the storytelling side,” Wright says, “What I mean is that we have a situation, and within that there are certain stories which come to mind. If you hand someone a gun, you expect it to be a murder mystery. If you give someone a cream pie, you know it’s going to be a comedy. The game suggests certain story spaces. We saw players presented with a game about everyday life, and they gravitated towards them – Can you kiss? Can they fall in love? Can they Die? And a lot of these were just the normal parts of every day life. Bits were more on the fictional side. Can they romance? Can they have sex? And these became the objects in the game. What are the iconic elements which people build stories out of, that exist in this level of life?”

Which kind of leads me back to one of my standard riffs on Wright – that simulations aren’t, by their nature, neutral. What does he think of authorial bias? “Any simulation is a set of assumptions,” he says, “You tell the computer every little detail about the system. There’s no way you’re not to get a lot of biases and assumptions. However, as a designer, you want to step outside and ask “What are the different directions I think an average player they might want to go?”. But even the fact I chose to do a game about lives or cities is a bias right there. I could have chose to do a game about something else. It’s a form of communication, like anything – but it’s actually a little more elaborate than that, computer games being a new model and shared communication with a designer communicating a range or possibilities the player are then navigating. In some sense, the player is co-designing the experience with the designer. The Designer gives a landscape, and the player then takes a story through that landscape. And I can design the landscape to appeal in different regions, and disallow others, but in there, the player can head in any direction they want to. We have to think “We’ll put a 1000 people in this space. Where will be the biggest trails?” And we expand that part of the game.”

A screenshot, yesterday.

In terms of the lessons he learnt from the Sims, one thing stuck out. “It really drove home the point that the players in their minds were almost seeing this as an interactive movie, and they were making this epic story as they were playing the game,” he opines, “And we wanted the game to have a deeper recognition of the story that was in the player’s imagination.” So while the player of the Sims could put a man and a woman in a house, have them fall in love and think of them as man and wife, the actual game didn’t recognise it in those terms. “The Sims 2 has a much keener understanding of certain events and archetypes that players have in their mind,” Will notes, “With that understanding we can really turn up the drama in the game, so it realy feels like a story.”

The Sims is also interesting in that it’s a hugely successful game that’s lead to virtually no clones, and certainly none of note. While Doom, Command and Conquer and even Sim City birthed genres, the Sims continues its lonely vigil. Will Wright is also surprised so few have followed their lead. “I thought it’d take a couple of years and we’ll start to see some pretty viable competitors… but it’s been over four, and we’re seeing some not terribly good ones,” he notes, “Which kind of disappoints me, because I wish there were better competitors, because I think it would help grow the genre. Though I think people are underestimating it. The Sims appears such a simple game, but they don’t understand how complicated it is to make the AI model and to get the User Interface just right. We redesigned the UI eleven times from scratch. Total rebuilds.” So, presumably, he must have been pleased with the final results. “I didn’t think it could have got a whole lot better,” he eventually decides, “We were definitely on some maximum. To get any better it’d have to been something radically different. We were drawing on existing conventions – how an existing gamer would expect to do something, plus how someone who has NEVER played a game in their life would expect to interact with something.”

We have lots of money! Woo!

The Sims is the ultimate story of a triumph of a game designer: being proved right when almost everyone else thought him wrong. So what advice would he give to a fellow developer when considering trying to bring their own, unique, dream project into existence. “Never underestimate the value of persistence,” he states, “Even with SimCity, I spent several years trying to convince people that SimCity would be a good game. Around that time it just seemed that it was a battle that could not be won. If you’re incredibly persistent, and you really believe, then persistence can overcome any number of barriers.”

“If you really believe in what you’re doing, don’t be discouraged easily,” he grins, “otherwise you’re in the wrong industry”.

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50 Comments »

  1. Alex Cox says:

    Lovely interview. It’s such a shame that The Sims makes me convulse with hatred; I’d love to like it for its ethos and whathaveyou, but I find that it sums up everything I hate about gaming in one poorly animated package.

  2. Seniath says:

    I’m loathe to read this on grounds of taste. But I will, all the same.

  3. Butler` says:

    Why all the Sims hatred? Y’all scared of girls’ games?

  4. Meat Circus says:

    It’s not /for/ you.

    It’s for the other 97%. And there are more of them than us. And that’s why Will Wright is rich and you’re merely disgustingly wealthy by global standards.

  5. Alex Cox says:

    Does this mean Spore won’t be for me either?

  6. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I quite liked The Sims except for the daily micro-management required to make your little computer people functional, to the point where you can end up just juggling stat bars. I mean to give The Sims 2 a shot at some point too, as it seems to fix a lot of my grievances with the first game while fleshing out the more interesting aspects.

  7. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    I find a lot of people just dismiss the Sims without giving it more than 20 minutes, assuming it’s for girls and only girls like it and it has lots of flowers in it, not to mention ponies.

    I say these people are obviously “over-compensating for something” (I hate that phrase, but I can’t think of a better way to say it). It’s great. I can happily play THE MANLIEST GAME EVER (Gears of War) and then put on the Sims and try and make the ugliest baby ever by getting the old guy to sleep with the alien.

    Don’t be ashamed, give it a go!

  8. Flint says:

    I’ve only got the first Sims, but personally I really like it. Although, it only gets really enjoyable IMO when you abuse the money code so you don’t have to waste precious time on work and can just live the life of a rich bastard. It’s not the kind of game that I play intensively, but it’s great fun for some sessions every now and then.

    Great interview as well, thanks.

  9. Meat Circus says:

    I did give it a chance, as it happens. The Sims was fatally flawed for me, by two things:

    1) The tedious micromanaging of your Sim’s life

    2) The fact that there wasn’t enough time in the day to actually satisfy all their needs. I mean, it took 45 minutes for a Sim to have a piss!

    In order to keep all the stats bars up, you’d have to keep your Sim up until 4am, and then they’d oversleep, and get sacked and get even more sad.

    In the end, it was best to simply set the ungrateful little shits on fire and watch them BURN.

    Sims 2? I never bothered, because the endless parade of idiotic-looking expansions sapped my will to live.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    One of my standard arguments about the Sims add-on packs is… well, the Sims isn’t a game. It’s a genre.

    How many RTS or FPS come out a year?

    Imagine if only one company had bothered to make an FPS. Damn right they’d be releasing more stuff, because there’s a massive audience wanting more of that sort of game and someone’s got to supply them.

    The mainstream industry’s failure to make a Sims competitor is pretty much that bad*.

    KG

    *If you take the quasi-realistic element out, you’ve got some more stuff in the vague area – it’s the Animal Crossing ultagotchi school of games. Developers seem to be able to understand this stuff a little better.

  11. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Hate the Sims. I do all that shit on my own every day, don’t want to do it all over again in video-game form.

    Much like Roller Coaster Tycoon, the funnest part of the Sims is killing people.

  12. Will says:

    Is it not a cutting metaphor for life, that we can’t get what we want done in time because “the system” wont let us?

  13. Meat Circus says:

    @Will:

    If it is, it’s not a very good one, because most people have enough time in the day to have a piss *and* go to work.

  14. Iain says:

    I’m going to make two seemingly contradictory statements now:

    1) The Sims is one of the best videogames ever made.

    2) The Sims isn’t a videogame.

    I’ve easily put something like 400 hours into The Sims and The Sims 2, and no, I don’t have all the expansion packs. In fact, I haven’t bought a single one; the only ones I have are ones I’ve been given to review.

    I think a lot of people hate The Sims out of fashion – it’s easy to bash it for the rampant commercialism of the expansion packs, but to do that is to ignore the brilliance of the design – that being the level of observation and simulation. (and in The Sims 2, the standard of the AI and the quality of the animation)

    The Sims gives you so much more freedom to do what you want to do within the confines of the game’s rules. An FPS is point, shoot and maybe you have two ways to approach a set situation. The Sims however, gives you so many more ways to interact with an object or a person than shooting it. It allows you to express yourself and experiment in a way that many games don’t, and that’s what I love.

    It’s a videogame. But it’s not a videogame, it’s a toy… and like any toy (say, the plastic Optimus Prime you had as a kid) if you play with it in a one-dimensional way, you get a very one dimensional experience. The fun is with using it as a conduit for your imagination – creating your own stories and being the God of your own little virtual world, where you have a whole lot more power and control than you ever did in a God-sim like Black and White or Populous.

    Personally, I want to see a lot more videogames that give you the same kind of freedom to sandbox like The Sims 2. Because there’s nothing wrong with playing with toys…

  15. Meat Circus says:

    Look, it’s all very well gushing about its observation and simulation, but that’s the one thing (The Sims) it screwed up badly.

    Its core mechanics are actually broken. There’s not enough *time* to get all the things done your Sims need, and really, it need not be your responsibility anyway.

    Whether II actually fixed the fundamental flaws in the mechanics of the first I know not, but it always seemed to me like making the details of the actual core game work was a secondary concern.

    If anything, the games treated their players with the contempt that the developers believed they deserved. They knew they didn’t have to make it work. They just needed to throw more poor-quality content out every three months and their captive audience of angry, frustrated housewives would just lap it up.

  16. fluffy bunny says:

    Thanks for a great interview. I’m going to install The Sims 2 on my “new” computer now. Moved over the saves ages ago, but haven’t been compelled to go back before today.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    Meat: Problem is, there is enough time. The fact that so many of us have successfully played the Sims is testament to the fact.

    (And I really can’t work out a way to say this without coming out like a diss. It’s really not.)

    You’re just not very good at the Sims.

    KG

  18. Andrew Farrell says:

    I get the impression that a lot of the people here are actually just shit at The Sims.

  19. Andrew Farrell says:

    (and feel more defensive about it than they would a twitch-fest or a RTS)

  20. Iain says:

    The thing with The Sims is that a lot of the implementation is very subtle. If you’re *cough* pissed off about your Sim needing half an hour to take a pee, try creating a Sim with higher Active stat. They do things a lot quicker than ones who are lazy.

    And should it really be too much of a surprise that sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day? I know my life gets like that. Knowing where you can cut corners and compromise one Need in favour of another is all part of the balance you need to strike.

    Also, who says that you have to keep your Sims happy little bunnies? Being absolute shits to them is an equally valid approach and can be just as much (if not more) fun. In The Sims 2 I like setting up relationship spiderwebs (not so much Love Triangles as Love Octagons), throwing parties to get everyone in the same house and then having them snog or Woo-Hoo in front of their love rivals…

    Cruel, but oh, so FUN

  21. Kieron Gillen says:

    I admit, I usually end up doing that, but it’s normally accidental. I try to make them cheat with each other at parties, but fail.

    Fond Sim-memories: I apparently got quoted in one of the gay papers for the bit in my PCG review where I proudly manage to set up a man-on-man kiss.

    The time my highly-strung student failed his exams by trying to get a girl into bed, then – at the edge of succeeding, she rebuffed him as moving too fast. At which point, he had a nervous breakdown and was dragged off to the funny farm.

    That’s awesome, and pretty much a great example of something I wouldn’t want to happen in real life, but incredibly compelling as videogame.

    KG

  22. Iain says:

    I try to make them cheat with each other at parties, but fail.

    The hot tub is your friend. :-D

    I really like the neutrality of the way it handles sexual orientation as well. Most of my Sims end up bisexual, and one thing I always get a chuckle out of is having both halves of a couple screwing the cleaning maid. When one of them inevitably gets found out and the relationship between the couple gets broken, I love the hypocrisy: “Why are you mad? You’re fucking her too! I just haven’t found out about it yet!”

    It’s a great game for megalomaniacs and control freaks. Which goes a long to towards explaining why I like it so much…

  23. Meat Circus says:

    @Kieron:

    It takes 45 minutes for a Sim to have a piss. That’s not me being bad, that’s the game being stupid.

  24. Alan Au says:

    I love The Sims. Also, I hate The Sims. It’s this neat toy that lets me just sort of tinker, but inevitably I reach a point where it becomes work.

  25. Satsuz says:

    @ Meat Circus:

    That’s not real time, though. Most games use an abstraction of time in order for the player to achieve goals during playtime. Thing is, it’s never a perfect scale because every action you take has to look reasonably realistic. The real-world time it takes to wait through the animation of a Sim taking a piss is a reasonable equivalent to how long it takes a real person to do the same. The real-world time it takes to wait through 1 Sims hour is nowhere near the same. Of course the minute-to-minute values aren’t gonna match up.

    Let’s take an example from a more typical sort of video game. In “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”, it takes almost 1/2 of an in-game day to walk through Hyrule Field from the entrance to Kokiri Forest to the Hyrule Castle drawbridge. A conservative estimate for that would be 10 in-game hours. The real-world time it takes is just over 1 minute. So 1 minute ~= 10 OoT hours. Now, does that scale hold up over every other action in the game? Let’s say someone does a boss fight, and it takes them 5 minutes to complete it (a VERY conservative estimate). That would mean poor little link just spent over 2 sleepless days fighting a giant monster. Is that scale realistic? Of course not. Is that “the game being stupid”? Well, that’s a matter of opinion, but most reasonable people would say no.

    The only thing that matters in the relationship between real time, game time, and the actions being performed is balance. If a player can perform actions in the game and achieve goals, then the system works. Whether it’s a close call or you have time to spare comes down to the balance between the player’s skill and game difficulty. Now, “The Sims” is almost universally considered to be an easy game, and that makes sense since it was made with consideration for non-gamers. So the conclusion here is… (wait for it)… “You’re just not very good at the Sims.”

    Sorry for the wall of text everyone, but it took a lot of words to baby-step the reasoning along.

  26. Sam says:

    To be fair to Meat Circus, it does seem that quite a few people just “aren’t very good at the Sims”. I mean, I’m terrible at The Sims, but that’s partly because it feels too much like work for me to ever have spent more than about 30 minutes playing it.

    I appreciate that other people apparently enjoy playing it, but…

  27. Garth says:

    I agree with Meat Circusses comment that certain actions, especially mundane things, take too long. You can’t defend it by saying “but they’re on sims time, which is faster.” because they still only have 24 hours in a day to do anything.

    To add an absolute game-breaker for me; I tried to make a two-story building, with the bedroom on the top floor, and it was absolutely impossible for my sim to get up in time for work. It took him THREE HOURS to get down the stairs, go to the bathroom, and change. And that was with me shoving him towards each thing. All of the rooms were next to eachother (Bedroom was beside the stairs, bathroom was opposite it, beside the stairs, the stairs lead straight to the door — yes I know my Feng Shui sucks.)

    I don’t agree, however, that that makes it a bad game. It just limits things severely. I only had fun, for example, making houses. I’m not going to say a game is bad because it isn’t my style of game — especially when it caters to most gaming types in at least some fashion.

  28. Satsuz says:

    I understand what you mean, Garth, but you’re oversimplifying my argument. The boiled down, no evidence to back it up version of what I said would be this:

    Game time is faster, but the actions a character takes have to look right compared to real time. That’s why things can take so long in game time. But the incongruency of scale doesn’t matter, per se. What matters is if it works in the overall system of the game. If someone, anyone can succeed in the game as it was intended to be played, it works. From there, it’s an issue of player skill and game difficulty.

    I may have been a little harsh, but Meat Circus’ method of forcing opinions as truth had to be responded to; especially since his supporting statements were largely false. Yes, 45 minutes is too long to spend urinating. Yes, that is unrealistic. No, realism doesn’t really matter. No, it does not make the game impossible (or even very difficult).

  29. Steve says:

    But… but… Will Wright’s said all this before! This isn’t news!

  30. roBurky says:

    I think this comments thread has suffered a lot of needless arguing over a misunderstanding. Meat Circus is talking about Sims 1, everyone else is talking about Sims 2. In Sims 2, it was intentionally made a lot easier to satisfy your Sims’ needs and still have time for other stuff in a day.

  31. JPizzle says:

    Thanks for another great interview. Keep ‘em coming!

  32. cliffski says:

    The sims is a real time strategy game. Its not presented like a war based RTS, but it is very much an RTS.
    I’m a little disappointed there haven’t been more games in the genre, and more variety in gameplay and presentation terms for the expansions, which are generally just content and environment packs. But the sims is a great game, and probably one of the most influential and important games of the last 10 years. Very few games create an entire genre.

  33. ECH says:

    Sims strategy is about time management (assuming you are trying to play the sims in the positive, traditional way instead of just letting them starve). So the game is not as easy as people expect, at least in the beginning. Many gamers also don’t seem to know what to do with a game that doesn’t hold their hand and give them a goal.

  34. DigitalSignalX says:

    Curious, the other day I was struggling to find a single player title that was designed for 350+ hours of play. For some reason The Sims didn’t even come to mind. As Lain said, perhaps it’s simply not a video game, in practically all the linear goal oriented ways we expect. Never tried it personally, but I will admit to being curious about just how far adrift from the realm of the every day perverse I can guide a character.

  35. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The one Maxis game I really miss is RoboSport.

    OK, the sentient robots in SimEarth were pretty cool, though fairly difficult to build.

  36. kadayi says:

    I think the Sims is a very interesting game, in that it’s a constructive game, rather than a destructive one, and that much of the hate and derision it receives is down to this simple fact. With other construction games, you are often constructing in order to destroy an opponent in some manner, with Sims it’s never about that at all, it’s about achieving your Sims goals. Admittedly you can just torture them until they go mad, but I’m not that kind of a guy tbh.

    I do agree Meat Circus that the game does have some serious flaws in it with regards to time scaling (showing takes forever as well). I also think that Maxis should of engaged in some serious reappraisal of the life cycle system since they introduced all the expansion packs and the numerous goals they have added (I turn aging off straight away these days).

    I do also agree with Kieron though that the lack of a clear genre rival, really hasn’t forced Maxis to upscale the formula much. Most of the expansion have been fairly lacklustre in terms of content and game mechanics.

    I’m keen to see where they go with Sims 3. Naturally a better engine/more realistic look to the characters is a certainty, but I’m hoping that it’s more than just a graphical update and they add a degree more realism to the characters, as well as slow the aging cycle down considerably.

  37. Skadi says:

    As someone who has been playing since the first day sims 1 came out, the needs of sims can be hard to deal with. But TS2 gives you more control. Want to take shorter showers? Buy a better shower. Want to move faster? Give them more active points. Get a sim to platinum and their moods don’t go down as fast.

    At the end of the day, the community also takes care of many things. You can get a game mod that allows your sims to “power idle”, one that makes the bathrooms run more efficiently, in order to get more time in a day.

    And don’t forget the built in rejuvenation reward, that makes all their needs go green.

    As for having enough time, the challenge of playing with ageing on is that they won’t get to do everything in one lifetime, just like we can’t. Want to cram more into their life? Use the rejuvenation reward and ageing off.

    It’s not going to be a game for everyone, but everyone can play it.

    And when you get stuck, or want prettier stuff, you come to a third party site like mine for help and custom content.

    That’s what makes the game stand apart.

    -Skadi, owner, sublimesims.net

  38. malkav11 says:

    I think I would like the Sims a lot more if it focused more on the stuff that’s interesting about it – relationships, cool toys, funny things to do with your Sims, interesting careers and so on, and less on the nitty gritty day to day upkeep of your Sims. I think Space Colony (which isn’t a direct Sims clone, having some city-building game to it also) handles things better on that front – you still have a bunch of needs, but most of them don’t drop fast enough to be huge issues. Plus individuals have particular needs that define the majority of their happiness. One colonist might not care particularly if they’re clean, but deny them enough sleep and, hoo boy.

  39. Martin says:

    The Sims got some serious competition when Dwarf Fortress was released/made fameous.

    Now *that’s* a hard-core social simulation game if I ever saw one. :)

  40. frankie says:

    Jeez, many people here need to realize that The Sims 2 is NOTHING like The Sims 1! In The Sims 2 it does not take as long to urinate and your needs decay much slower. That was the whole point, was to have more time to do things. That is why people don’t give part 2 a chance because they assume it will be just like part 1, when in reality they are completely wrong. I heard that The Sims 3 will give you even more time to do things than in part 2. The needs just decay slower and slower after every part. The Sims 2 is easier in my opinion. Part 1 focuses more on needs, part 2 focuses more on goals, thus causing the needs to decay a lot slower. Besides, both games come with a tutorial to help you play the game. Just because one sucks at it does not make it a bad game, it just makes them a sore loser. After all, if the game truly sucked, it would have never been the best-selling PC game of all time. I think that makes haters mad because they can’t see why it is. :)

  41. Jonathan says:

    Martin
    Damn straight! The Sims are the Crimson Skies to Dwarf Fortress’ Microsoft Flight Simulators.
    To those complaining theres not enough time, thats kind of the game. Sleep on the couch, go to a dead end job, get a few wage packets, buy a bed, sleep more, spend more time improving bars, go to work happy, get a raise, use new money to buy a gym set, buff up, get a raise etc.
    Thats the grown-up way to play it. The real way is to fill a house with hot outgoing people and see who partners up. I seem to see a lot more spontaneous lesbianism than spontaneously homosexual dudes. The wonders of computer programmers.

  42. Andrew says:

    Dwarf Fortress is analoguous to Microsoft Flight Simulator?

    Now you’ve put me RIGHT off it. I was hoping more for an IL-2.

    Except Dwarf Fortress will never be as accessible as that, at this rate…

  43. malkav11 says:

    I was talking about the Sims 2. The Sims I haven’t played in far too long to remember much except torturing Sims with the Tragic Clown from Livin’ Large. Which, incidentally, was an astoundingly anemic expansion.

  44. Topaz says:

    I used to have the sims 1 and i just downloaded this coffee machine that maxed out their motives then it made everything easy. In the sims 2 all you have to do is press CTRL+SHIFT+C then type maxmotives but then it gets kinda boring cos your soms don’t actually need anthing thats in their house…

  45. CP says:

    I loved THE SIMS until one day i realised how the game was turning to be exactly as my life. Wake up, eat, work, eat, sleep. Taking a piss now ans then and using my “free time” cleaning the house. It got me depressed.
    xD

  46. Meat Circus is awesome! says:

    Hahaha, Meat Circus! I love reading these comments from a guy who obviously think he’s a “hardcore gamer” and yet he couldn’t figure out The Sims. My girlfriend can get a Sim to the top of a profession (plus all the money it comes with) from scratch in a few hours of playing. Meanwhile you complain cause you’re too slow to figure out how to get your Sim pissing and working in the same day. Go back to your linear games (if you can even manage those) and leave the thinking to people who still have functioning frontal lobes.

    [Okay, that's enough personal insults for now. The "joke" URL was a bit much too, Mr Is Awesome - RPS]

  47. Mortal says:

    I’m gonna play SimAnt now.

  48. rebecca says:

    when i got sims it made me a new women it is the best i just can’t wait intill sims 3 is out