The Sims™ 3 Community Blog
: May 2012
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...continued from "Team-Wide Content Creation on The Sims 3 (Part I)"

This is a two-part post. Please check out Part I first!

We had submissions from artists, modelers, producers, designers, gameplay programmers, world builders and engineers. And the variety was wonderful!

For example, one gameplay programmer submitted some of his own childhood watercolors:


This was perfect, because we needed art that spanned all Sim skill ranges, from scribbles on paper to oil masterpieces. He also submitted higher skill pieces like this nice city boat scene:


One of our world builders painted a triptych. This added another element of collection to the painting skill because you will only randomly paint one segment at a time. Based on your skill and luck, it may take a long time to get all three. (Collectability can do wonderful things for engagement, especially when you craft your content and systems for this purpose).

And our localization producer submitted some Photoshopped photography as chic modern art:


In all, we received more than 65 submissions. I also used an incredible painting program called ArtRage to make 30 more to fill in the gaps in skill areas, from childish on up:


In the end, we had more than 150 pieces to work with. Far more than originally budgeted. The best part was everyone who contributed was super excited. They jumped at the chance, and then spent their free time working on or gathering submissions. They didn't view it as work because it wasn’t work. It was a chance for them to immortalize their art in a game that millions of people would play.

It was self-actualization.

Then, to get variations for different personality Sims, I ran all of these through Photoshop filters. All Sims could paint the “normal” version of a painting, but if they had a specific character trait, then there was a chance they’d paint the modified version for that trait. Here are some examples:


                       Normal                                    Artistic                                     Insane


                       Gloomy                                  Neurotic                               Computer Whiz

The full set gave us 1,580 paintings, a seemingly endless number to find that helps players project onto their Sims and tell interesting stories about why their Sims paint what they paint.

And there are some art critics out there who have taken the time to replace the entire set of 1580 paintings with works from the web and deviantART. I love our community and I’m constantly surprised about how much time and effort they put into modding The Sims 3.

This approach of appealing to the team worked so well that in The Sims 3 World Adventures Expansion Pack, we had everyone submit fortunes for the fortune cookie machine. It led to some gems like, Help me! I’m trapped in a game development studio! and Never trust rugs.

Bottom line, if you could find one feature in your game that everyone on your team could contribute to, what would it be? If you can find something, you’ll get plenty of creative content leading to a richer game experience and an overall happier team.

Ray Mazza was co-lead designer on The Sims 3, lead designer of many expansion packs, and is an author of fiction.

07:07 PM
Posted by: SimGuruRay
Categories: Screenshots  PC/Mac Game