The Sims™ 3 Community Blog
: February 2012
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Sam Breach is the lead artist overseeing Sim creation for worlds. Sam, can you tell us about the Sims in Lunar Lakes, and share with us some of your favorite families?

Once we knew our world would have a futuristic theme, my first idea was to include some clones! It was fun to reincarnate the Landgraabs for this clone family and create Sims who look very closely related, but also retain a touch of individuality at the same time.

Landgraab was not the only family from previous neighborhoods on our minds. We wanted to honor the fact that many of the fearless space adventurers in Lunar Lakes are the brave descendants of Sims who our players already know and admire. The artists on The Sims 3 world-building team love no family more than the Bayless family from Twinbrook. We were overjoyed to be granted our wish of including a Bayless relative in this world. His name is Stefen and he lives with his sweet-natured, flame-haired girlfriend, Anais. Because they live off the grid a little, I imagined her wardrobe as having been created from a natural patchwork of fibers and found materials that contribute to her slightly haphazard, distressed style of clothing.

If you look in the crater-top lakes (which is where a creative type like myself would most certainly live if I were a Sim!) you’ll see that the families who live there are closely connected to their natural surroundings. Having a ‘go green’ personality on this planet doesn’t mean everything is green, like it does back in Sunset Valley. To the contrary, the palette of Lunar Lakes’ unusual fauna displays rich purples and reds with vivid oranges and dusky blues, and you’ll see all of these colors reflected in the visual style of most of the bohemian Sims who chose a life away from the main settlement on the spacecraft plain.

In particular, I love the ‘juxtaposition between land and sky’ theme you see running through the Sekemoto family. Gretel’s style reflects her love of geology, with some of her clothing resembling rock formations, whilst her husband aspires to more dizzying heights with his penchant for decorative star fields. As a consequence, their confused toddler son, Kristofer, doesn’t know if he should remain grounded or have his head in the clouds! And it’s not just the Sims themselves - their whole home represents the constant pull between earth and sky.

On the spacecraft plain, the proletariat population has a far less vibrant outlook. Although they don’t go so far as wearing uniforms, you might notice that most people are plainly dressed in neutral shades with just the odd splash of color here and there. Of these Sims, I am most intrigued by Gloria Goode, whose father died in a tragic accident. Gloria’s poor father can be found haunting the graveyard. If you bring him back to life to have him join your family, the first thing you will notice will be his unhealthy, unearthly green pallor. He looks as though he might have been laying underground for quite some time! 

We have a lot of fun creating unique ghosts for the worlds we make. For Lunar Lakes we mirrored their appearance towards the swampy lunar landscape, incorporating yellow-greens and oranges. In technical terms, creating this kind of look is simple, but requires following the same set of rules for all ghost Sims. We pull down the eyebrows, eyes, cheeks and corners of the mouths to make the Sims look sad. We make the skin green, but keep it really subtle – we want the Sims to look like they are starting to decompose, but we don’t want them to look like an alien! We use makeup creatively to emphasize a deathly pallor and we carefully match the hue of the skin with colors in the clothing to minimize the contrast and help pull all of the elements together to give an overall impression of decay. If you’ve never brought a ghost back to life before, now is the time to do so – you never know what unusual looking Sims you might find!

11:03 PM
Posted by: SimGuruSarah
Categories: Special Announcements 

Donna Bennett is a modeler on The Sims 3. She was responsible for crafting the focal point of Lunar Lakes, the massive spacecraft called The Perigee, which brought our Sims to this fascinating foreign planet. Donna, can you tell us a bit about the spaceship and what it was like to work on this complicated model?

The spacecraft was a fun and different assignment as I usually work on everyday objects and conventional buildings. Focusing on anything from space is a real treat! Our team decided we wanted The Perigee to look like it had crashed and Sims had built buildings around it and moved civilian operations back inside. The blue lights inside the ship’s hull cavities are designed to look like dwellings for Sims living in the ship.

The steps for creating the model was to first build the spacecraft intact and upright. We then rotated it and finally decided to twist the hull slightly. We then slowly started picking away at it so it looked destroyed. Most of our time was spent creating holes, making flaked away panels and adding “new” lights to the cavities. One of the most challenging areas of working on this model was adding the level of detail to the edges of the holes to make The Perigee look destroyed, yet repaired and re-inhabited. Another challenge was working on a model that had been rotated in space so it wasn’t at right angles anymore. That’s tricky in 3D. Despite the challenges, the most rewarding part of the process was creating the destroyed look of The Perigee using the big holes. It really gave the ship character and made it different from any model we have previously created for The Sims.

Concept art for The Perigee:

Mike True is a jack of all trades – sometimes a modeler, sometimes a texture artist, yet always a builder. In Lunar Lakes, he created many of the houses and the community lots. Mike, can you tell us what it was like to build lots for this unique setting and share with us some of your favorite locations in Lunar Lakes?

Lunar Lakes was challenging from the get-go. Although the initial design concept of creating a world on another planet sounds simple enough, the real challenge was making something that would read as another planet but would still appeal to our players. We initially explored what “futuristic” meant and decided we two ways, either a post-apocalyptic direction or a funny, Atomic Age/retro future direction. In the end we settled on someplace in between— a volcano-infested moonscape with a bright sulfurous marsh. Of course, this is much easier said than done!

Concept art for Lunar Lakes:

Building lots in this world was fun because we could really throw out a lot of the “rules” we impose on ourselves when we try to make lots as realistic as possible. We initially experimented with lots that defied gravity and ignored a lot of construction limitations we have on earth, but ultimately went for a more “futuristic but still buildable with earth materials and gravity” style for most of the spacecraft plain houses. The homes in the volcano craters were more naturalistic, sort of a space-hippy vibe. In the end, many of the houses ended up with a science fiction movie style.

The houses that we built for the Sims living in Lunar Lakes presented special challenges that were more fun than difficult, such as “what does a space bachelor pad look like?” or “what makes a Sim house artistic when every house is not the norm?”
For me, making the community lots is a very enjoyable experience. I usually start with a concept or idea. For example, the gym started as a stack of individual workout pods and the library started as a model reminiscent of the United Nations building in New York City. My favorite venue is the pool bar. Its window tanks just seem like a very “Sims” location, even in this off-world setting.

06:36 PM
Posted by: SimGuruSarah
Categories: Special Announcements 

Hello Simmers! My name is Sarah Holding and I am a producer on The Sims 3. I am very pleased to introduce you to our newest world, available exclusively on The Sims 3 Store – Lunar Lakes!

Stranded on a foreign world after their spaceship became disabled, these intrepid Sims have utilized homeworld technology and foreign planet crystal tech to survive at the edge of space. Several generations after arriving on the planet, the Sims have established a thriving colony, complete with roads, transportation, schools, businesses and agriculture.

The world has three areas of inhabitation--a flat expanse called the “spaceship plane,” centered on the disabled spacecraft; a craterous colony of bohemian farmers living on the shores of freshwater lakes; and an area at the edge of society where a few stragglers live and pursue their unique dreams.

Lunar Lakes is by far one of the most unique worlds we have crafted so far in The Sims 3. We very much wanted this world to feel different, yet at the same time, remain true to the core gameplay of The Sims 3. While we can’t change everything (taxis are still taxis, and if you have The Sims 3 Pets installed, then wild horses will be roaming the lunar terrain!) we did make some pretty major changes to alter the feel of the world. We felt our normal rabbitholes would look out of place in Lunar Lakes, so we created portals that hint at subterranean dwellings.

The most impressive new rabbithole is the science lab, which has been built from the remains of the crashed spaceship that brought these space-faring Sims to Lunar Lakes --The Perigee.

One of the coolest parts of Lunar Lakes is that its power source comes from alien crystals. You can glimpse the raw, un-harvested crystals embedded in the rocks and see the crystal tech at work in the street lights around the world. Another piece of mysterious crystal tech is the Tree of Prosperity, an exotic plant made of floating crystals that the Sims found while excavating in the crystal mines. The color of the fruit that hovers at the heart of the tree changes several times per day. When it changes, look for the crystal formation of the tree to change with it. Sims can harvest this fruit and eat it to gain accelerated skills. For example, if your Sim eats the green fruit, the Fruit of Harvest, they will get a bonus towards improving their Gardening, Fishing, or Cooking skill. This leads to quicker skill level-ups, which will ultimately help your Sims advance through their careers more rapidly.

I am a longtime Sims player and a huge fan of The Sims 2, so I naturally had to pay tribute to my favorite The Sims 2 neighborhood. A little fun fact -- there are six references to Strangetown hidden throughout Lunar Lakes. I challenge you to find them all!

11:28 PM
Posted by: SimGuruSarah
Categories: Special Announcements