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The Soul of The Sims

Or 0111001010101, as I like to think of it

Here’s a rare insight into the ways of a top-tier game designer. Don Hopkins, whose fascinating if slightly bewildering site we’ve linked to before, back when he was drawing back the curtain on the free version of SimCity for the One Laptop Per Child scheme, recently shared a remarkable game-history curio.

It’s Will Wright’s original code for The Sims.

Some of it, anyway. It may look like crazy ultra-maths if you’re not fairly versed in programming, but flicking through I nevertheless get a gentle sense of the checks and balances behind One Of The Most Important Games Ever. Seems this early version of the game – then known as Dollhouse – was a little more verbose about your Sims’ situations: “You smell very bad, mandatory bath” is the sort of statement we can all learn something from.

Well, yeah, it’s some lines of code. But it’s also a precious hint as to how Wright, a man who’s had a firm hand on PC gaming’s till for decades now, views his own games – where we see a puddle of wee, he sees

if (Motive[mBladder]

Ooh, it’s like future-poetry.

See the code, which is posted with Wright’s blessing, here. Found via Waxy Links.

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Who am I?

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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