Sims Creator Will Wright Interviewed
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If you are one of the many gamers sucked into the engrossing, involving world of The Sims and its expansion pack Livin' Large, then you will find this in-depth interview with the creator of the series a worthwhile read. Developer-oriented site Gamasutra did their usual excellent job of interviewing Will Wright at last month's Game Developers' Conference, and the result is a portrait of both the man and his creations. He discusses the motivations and inspirations behind the Sims, as well as some of the technical devices and strategies used to coax such uncanny behavior out of an otherwise simple simulation.
One of the most interesting aspects of The Sims is how the game extends beyond the boundaries of your computer, even though there is no true multiplayer aspect. With the ability to upload photo albums to the web and hundreds of fan sites dedicated to fan fiction, creations and downloads, The Sims is a growing organism, not a static game destined to gather dust. Here's an excerpt on this element of the game, and how Wright encouraged it:
How important is the online community?Although Mac users do not have access to all of the tools and downloads that PC users enjoy, community sites such as SimsForMac fill that gap with converted downloads and Mac-tested add-ons. Be sure and drop by Gamasutra to read the rest of the article. The Sims and Livin' Large were brought to the Mac OS by Aspyr Media; a port of the second expansion pack, House Party, is due this summer.
Oh, it's vital! Absolutely vital. The Sims is not a multiplayer game, but the online community is probably half the experience of The Sims because we designed it around this heavy customization, storytelling tools, and all these things. So, really one of the most entertaining parts about The Sims is sharing what you've done. Either you've created these cools things, or this interesting family, or you've built a really neat house, or you've told a neat story and put it on The Sims website. A lot of people play the game, and for a while they really get into it, they enjoy it, but at some point they flip over into this community mode where they start talking to other people about strategies or they start creating stuff and putting it on the website. Other people download that and create something even more out of it.
Really, something like The Sims is much more like a hobby, like a train set, than it is like a movie. Most games are built under this movie metaphor, whereas The Sims is really under this hobby metaphor. It's really a shared experience, but each person can take their particular slant on it. If you look at people that are seriously into train sets, a lot of them are just into the train or the way the mountains are sculpted. Other people are into the switching logic or the little village. Yet, they all come together around this one activity, and they have different talents too. This is the type of thing where my talent can really leverage off your talent; if you're really good at making mountains and stuff, and I'm good at laying out the tracks, then we can work together make something better than either one of us could on our own. You see this a lot on our website where people upload these stories, and there are very good writers, and some of the stories are very interesting. A lot of times they're made out of a lot of custom content that other users made and put on their websites. It's kind of the users downloading the other users' stuff, and combining it in other ways to make new things.
An Interview with Will Wright on Gamasutra
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