The Sims 4 features perhaps the most powerful character creator in gaming. This tool offers a wide variety of customizable content, including physical features. You can make your Sims wispy thin or sumo wrestler large. Noses can be huge or tiny, hooked or straight, wide or narrow. Mouths can move around on the face. A Sim’s head can be squished or stretched, it’s all up to you.
While all of that variety is of course awesome, it also creates a huge challenge in terms of animation: .
Imagine you are creating an animation where a Sim puts her hand close to her hip. In the animation, that hand will have a defined position in space - about three feet up from the ground and one foot over from the center of the Sim. The problem is that the hip on a sumo wrestler sized Sim would be an additional half foot out from where a more slender Sim’s hip would be. So when the Sim plays back that animation, their hand would be buried inside their body:
Image A above shows an idle playing on a thin Sim. Image B shows what it would look like if we just played A’s animation on B without adjustment. Image C shows the corrected version that The Sims 4 automatically creates.
Because Create A Sim allows such extreme modifications of body shape, this problem exists not just for animations where the Sim touches its body, but for any animation where the hands get near the body, which turns out to be pretty much every animation in the game.
To solve this problem, we had to come up with a way to make our animations aware of the Sim's body shape, and adjust the hand motion to account for it.
Our solution places dozens of markers, called slots, on the surface of the Sim's body. The positions of these slots are adjusted for each piece of clothing to mark where the surface is. When players change the shape of their Sim in Create A Sim, the slots move with those changes as well.
The white dots on the Sims’ body are surface markers called “slots” that are used to adjust animations for different body shapes and clothing.
Our animations are then matched up with information about which slot the Sim's hand is currently closest to. We have a custom tool to allow us to do this, and to define soft transitions between slots for when the hand moves from one slot's area of influence to the next. Our animators create this markup by hand for every animation they create, and all animations are tested against a variety of shapes to make sure the motion still looks good with the modification.
In The Sims 4, our animation engine then adjusts the hand motion according to the actual position of the slots - so for the sumo wrestler, if his hip slot is displaced outwards a half foot from normal, the game adds an additional half foot outwards to the position of the hand.
In The Sims 4 Official Gameplay Trailer, you can actually see this system in action: Every time Ryan adjusts his Sims' hip size, the position of the hands smoothly adjusts with it. Check it out around 0:48 in this video:
The world's most famous least interesting Sim, Pancake Bob, will be in Seattle this weekend. He has been travelling the United States in search of the fluffiest stack of pancakes the world has ever known. You may have spotted him and his trademark red robe, in New York, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles and Portland. Now, his cross country quest in search of pancake perfection has brought him to the home of the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX).
For two days, Pancake Bob (and some of his Sim friends) will be treating fans to a FREE PANCAKE BREAKFAST*. All he asks is that you share a photo of yourself with the pancake legend on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram.
Where: Lost Lake Cafe 1505 10th Avenue Seattle, WA 98211
Still hungry for more The Sims 4 awesomeness after breakfast? Head over to PAX and check out our photo booth. Not only will you get a great shot with your friends to share and print but you’ll also receive special gift from The Sims 4 team. We’ll be at booth S4 in the South Lobby for all four days of PAX, and we’re looking forward to seeing your smiling faces!
Can’t wait to see The Sims 4 gameplay in action? Stop by the Twitch booth or tune in to twitch.tv/PAX on Saturday, August 30 at 4:00-4:30pm PDT to watch a live demonstration Live Mode! Don’t miss this chance– you never know what unexpected things might happen in The Sims 4.
Of course, you can follow all the excitement on Pancake Bob’s official Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to show him some love with #TheSims4 and #pancakebob while you’re there!
See you soon!
Be in the know when it releases!
1. Sims with Character
With rich Emotions and quirky personality traits our all new Sims are more expressive than ever. This has a dramatic impact on the choices available to them throughout the game! We’ve said it before but it bears repeating; it’s what’s on the inside that really matters now. Storytelling with The Sims 4 is more powerful, more fun, and more entertaining.
2. So Smart, So Believable
It takes a lot of hard tech to make the little things shine and that’s exactly what you have to look forward to with all kinds of new Sims smarts. Our Sims move about the world more naturally, get into and out of groups smoothly and can even do many things at once! All of that adds up to the Sims behaving more naturally, which makes Sim watching in the Neighborhood just as much fun as playing, and it gives you totally new ways to strategize and maximize your Sims’ days.
New menus and layouts put life at your fingertips with everything you need to know conveniently available at all times. It’s discrete yet functional - and moved to the edges so you can spend even more time immersed in your Sims’ world. On top of that, with such expressive Sims you can get a ton of information just looking at their faces and body movements!
4. Exploration Galore
Want to move to another world without starting a new game? Well, now you can! Take your Sims back and forth; live in one world, visit the gym in another, pursue relationships across multiple Neighborhoods, explore for collectibles and secret locations. The world is your oyster.
5. Create Anyone
In Create A Sim, using direct manipulation gives you easy, all over control to make whomever you can imagine, from original Sims to simified versions of real-life people. With more support for ethnicities and body shapes than ever, there really is no limit to who you can create.
6. Fashionista Made Easy
CAS Styled Looks give you the ability to easily try complete fashions on your Sims, including outfits, accessories, and make up – with just one click. It’s like shopping from a catalogue, but you don’t have to wait for the mailman.
7. Move In Ready
The All new Build Mode in The Sims 4 features Drag and Drop building with both furnished and unfurnished rooms which allows you to create great looking homes quickly. You can see just how easy it is in this video from a Twitch broadcast two of our SimGurus did last week.
8. Build Quick, Build Details
The push and pull approach to building allows you to easily tweak and tune your homes to get the exact sizes, shapes, and architecture that you’re looking for. Once your basic layout has been established there are a myriad of tools to really dive deeply into – everything from fences or decks to spandrels and friezes!
9. Sharing is Caring
Accessible from directly in the game, the all new Gallery empowers you to both exchange and download content with other players throughout the world. Instantly add Sims, entire houses, or even individual rooms directly to your game without skipping a beat. These Sims even come with their complete personalities – a great way to spice up your game.
10. Make it Your Own
The Gallery also offer a showcase for the astounding creations our community comes up with. The ways in which our Simmers make content are truly endless and inspiring. Even if you don’t want to venture into the world of custom content that’s OK – it’s there for you to browse.
We hope you are as excited as we are with the release of The Sims 4! Happy Simming!