Brrrr! We’re just moving into November, and here at Maxis there’s already a cold chill in the air. What better time to talk about winter in The Sims 3 Seasons and how it’s going to completely transform your game? My name’s Graham Nardone; I’m one of the producers on Seasons, and winter was one of the really big parts of the game that I worked on over the past year. As someone who grew up in Florida for 25 years, I’ve always dreamed of beautiful soft snowflakes and waking up in the morning to see a world blanketed in white. That’s why I absolutely love when winter rolls around in Seasons, and why it’s my favorite time of the year in-game. I guess it also helps that I never had to shovel a driveway! There’s so much more to winter than just snow though. There’s everything from snowboarding to ice skating, snowmen, igloos and lots more!
Certainly the most apparent change when winter arrives in Seasons is just how different the world around you appears. By that time, the trees in the world will have shed all their leaves to give a somewhat barren look to parts of your town. You’ll also notice less daylight, as the sun will peek over the horizon later in the morning and set in the early afternoon, causing temperatures to plunge. Speaking of temperatures, winter in The Sims 3 Seasons is downright chilly, and your Sim better bundle up to keep warm!
Outerwear is a brand new clothing category that Sims will wear anytime it’s cold, which means primarily in winter. As you create or edit your Sims, you’ll see the new Outerwear category, which provides an abundance of sweaters and jackets, pants, gloves, and of course, new winter hats to keep your Sims toasty…
…no no, not that kind of toasty; it’s to keep your Sims warm! There are lots of new warm weather clothes to choose which are available for toddlers through elders. For those of you with other expansions or stuff packs installed, you’ll even see appropriate clothing from those products available to select. Players who have purchased clothing from The Sims 3 Store will also receive an update after Seasons releases that will enable many of the clothes sold there to be selected as Outerwear. Anytime it’s cold out, your Sims will be smart enough to automatically put on their warm clothes and they’ll brave the weather just fine. Should you decide to send them out into the snow without a jacket though, you’d better watch out; they’re susceptible to freezing solid. Once they keel over and become a Sim popsicle, they’ll need help from another Sim to thaw them out or else they’ll face an early grave from freezing to death, which is one of the new ways to die in Seasons.
Of course, once your Sim is bundled up, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy being outside! First and foremost, you get the absolute best snow in the winter. Check the forecast and plan ahead, because you’ll definitely want to set aside time for some fun when you know there’s going to be fresh powder on the ground! The first sign that the conditions are right for some snow is when you start to see frost on the ground. Every morning when there’s a chill in the air, you’ll see frost collect on the ground and on your home’s windows. With the right temperatures in place, any storms that form will turn into falling snow that will cover your world. A light snowstorm may just result in a light dusting, but an extended blizzard will really pile up snow that covers everything! As more snow falls, you’ll actually see snow continue to pile up, and soon enough your Sims will find themselves shin deep when trudging around outside. Deep snow is the absolute best, because it unlocks a number of fun activities for your Sims throughout the world.
All Sims love making snow angels, but daredevils will take it a step further by trying to make one face-first. Sims also love building snowmen together and decorating their yards with frosty friends. There are lots of different types of snowmen to discover as well, ranging from a hockey goalie to the tragic clown snowman, an alien snowman and many more! As your Sims discover new snowmen types, they’ll be able to select which one they want to build in the future. A word of warning though… building snowmen might attract s-GNOME-man Bittertotter, a cranky old gnome with three lumps of coal who had a tough life growing up in Strangetown. Perhaps you can show him how to have fun by building an igloo! Sims put them together brick by brick, and once complete they are great places to not only play inside or catch some Zzzzs, but also to heat up any winter night with a quick WooHoo in the igloo!
The winter festival that will set up in your town provides even more opportunities for fun, with great activities for all Sims to enjoy. I like to start my festival with a glass of hot chocolate or perhaps some eggnog, a tasty treat that gets me in a festive mood. From there, I love sending my Sims ice skating… of course, there’s an ice skating rink available to use, but what I really enjoy is finding a lake that’s frozen over to go skating on. Ice skating on lakes is really the perfect way to enjoy being outside on a cold day, and I always have my Sim skate backwards and do some spins to show off how much he’s increased his skill! After that, it’s straight to the half-pipe, where I can show off how my Sim has gotten better at snowboarding from the previous year as he pulls off ridiculous tricks while catching crazy air. All that activity leads to some pretty sore muscles though, and my Sim has two great options to end the day… a relaxing dip in the new hot tub feels just perfect, or how about diving into the ocean to really shock the senses while also joining the polar bear club?
The perfect end to every winter is when Sims come together to celebrate Snowflake Day, a brand new celebration where the holiday cheer is infectious and all Sims around town seem to have a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye. In the days leading up to the holiday, you’ll see your neighbors homes light up at night with the brand new holiday house lights, adding a festive feel to your world. You’ll definitely want to hang some lights of your own; it’s as easy as clicking on your front door and selecting either a standard or an icicle style, then choosing the color you want! It’s also the perfect opportunity to throw a Gift Giving party, which is just one of the new party types in Seasons. Invite your family and friends over in the morning, and each guest will arrive with a present that gets added to a big pile on the floor. Once everyone’s arrived, it’s time to tear them open! Will you get a fun toy or a lump of coal? Don’t get greedy… if you try and end the party early to keep the gifts all for yourself, the other Sims will not react well to you hoarding their presents!
As much fun as I had taking screenshots of our many worlds blanketed in snow for this blog post, I promise it’ll be absolutely incredible when you see it for yourself in-game. Along with the other seasons, winter is absolutely packed with attention to detail and has been carefully crafted to give you a beautiful weather simulation. Small yet realistic details abound, including cars that leave tire tracks in the snow, roads that gradually clear over time as vehicles drive over them, snow that piles up everywhere except underneath roof overhangs, icicles that form on roof edges, visibly warm breath that steams up in the cold air, fountains that turn off as the world freezes, snow that melts in patches, small pets who tunnel beneath the snow… I could go on and on, but all of these come together to form a real experience that you’ll be thrilled to play in. I’m so proud of what we achieved in Seasons, and I just know you’ll enjoy playing it as much as I absolutely loved helping to create it. I can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on the game when The Sims 3 Seasons releases the week of November 13th!