The Sims™ 3 Community Blog
: March 2012
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   Norman McLaren once said that “animation is not the art of drawings that move, but the art of movements that are drawn.” While many of us animators in the game industry have moved away from the blue pencils and peg bars of our predecessors, observation and reference is still a major part of our workflows. The Sims is a game where we are trying to make little collections of polygons feel like living people with lives, hopes, dreams and fears, so it’s crucial for the animators to understand the reality of something before we can exaggerate it and make it part of The Sims world.

   In The Sims 3 Showtime, your Sims will make their rise to fame in the new world of Starlight Shores and become the star headliners in town.  One of the new active careers they can choose is to become a magician. From basic street illusions to full-on ‘can I have a volunteer from the audience’ style extravaganza, the magician allows your Sims to amaze the crowd with their prestidigitation as they progress from small local venues to huge sold-out arena shows.

   In order to make our magician Sims feel like ‘the real deal,’ we elicited the help of local magic-man Dan Paulus. We admired his special blend of comedy and magic and thought it would mesh perfectly with the zany world of The Sims. Dan was able to give us a private magic show in which we picked up some great tips of the trade. Ultimately, our team was able to come  out of the experience with much more than we had expected.

Some of the team, participating in a bit of up-close table magic.

   It’s important to note something here, (and we’re sure Dan would appreciate the caveat) no secrets were revealed in the show. In fact, we didn’t want to know the cloak and dagger of it, and made that clear from the beginning. We didn’t want Dan to break the old adage that a magician never reveals his tricks. What we focused on, however, was his movements, showmanship (flourishes, poses and misdirection) and all that makes a magician’s performance memorable.

   Dan delivered that and much more. We enjoyed his awesome show of course, but we also got some fascinating insights. Dan’s career spans a variety of levels from  birthday parties to consulting for Emmy-nominated television programs, it’s kind of similar to the career experience your Sims will have in The Sims 3 Showtime. Dan also taught us about magician’s code, their proper handling of live animals and about the interactions of magicians with fans and their peers. I should note many teams found Dan’s information useful, not just our animation team, but all who attended, including modelers, producers and designers. Everyone took copious notes to help them understand how a professional prestidigitator operates.

Dan's volunteer from the audience, eyeing an innocent piece of rope with suspicion.

   The entire experience was really positive for all of us and we’re sure the magic acts in The Sims 3 Showtime are much more awesome now as a result. Thanks to Dan Paulus for his performance and wisdom, and of course, thanks to all our fans for continuing to support our efforts to create the best life simulator in the world. Enjoy the show!

07:56 PM
Posted by: SimGuruYokley