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 Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring? 
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Post Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring?
Just kind of thinking about all that Sims 4 talk recently, especially on the Sims website's forums. Most thread I've seen, however, seems to generally focuses about how it should bring "new animations for sims, toddlers, etc", "new illnesses statuses and so on" or "how it totally need the content of X expansion pack done in the past!".

Which... actually, I can understand some of the logic behind these, but kind of bothers me. As they're either very minor and trivial affairs, or stuff done in past expansion packs to past or current games.

In short, all stuff that could be done in an expansion pack to the current game without requiring a new game(and engine) to do so.

So it kind of made me wonder about -how- past games changed the formula each time, the major gamplay mechanics changes brought. Thinking back about it:

The Sims 1: The first title in the series might make it think that it shouldn't be mentionned when thinking of gameplay changes but in a fashion it was. Taking the name of "The Sims" by clearly being inspired by the name of "Sim City", it took us away from the city simulation franchise to a new franchise with a totally new gameplay. From a game which focused on managing a large city, it suddenly changed the scale to not managing a city but a single family within this city, a totally new style of game never seen before. And it proved to be popular because after a certain amount of expansion packs, it would later lead us to:

The Sims 2: Would be a new title in the franchise. Not just an expansion pack, but a true new core title. But rather than just featuring updated graphics, it also changed gameplay a fair bit. Sims were no more affair of mere "needs bar", but also saw the first development of more "customized" sims with the ability to choose Aspirations for them as well as Lifelong Aspirations, Dream Goals for them to succeed within their lives. Not only that, but it also introduced for the first time the concept of aging as a core gameplay element to the game.
Before, kids always remained kids(until an expansion pack had to build a literal work-around in Makin' Magic, as the engine probably wouldn't have supported aging otherwise), and Sims never grew old. Now, not only could they have kid, but they could grow old and so did the kids. You weren't just playing a family, but for the first time ever you might see yourself playing a -dynasty-, by playing generations after generations of Sims. Eventually, this proved again so successful that...

The Sims 3 The current era. The Sims 3 again, like the Sims 2 before it, decided to build upon it's predecessors. Aging is back there again, and even some stuff previously seen in expansion packs like gardening have made their way in. Or it even included some previous game expansion content like gardening in the base game. But again, those are minor additions.
The Sims 2's aspirations systems was modified and built upon to become a "traits" systems which allowed deeper customization of Sims... to the point we could now literally talk of Sims with some actual level of personality to them, rather than just broad stereotypes like the nerdy science sims or vain greedy fortune sims.
However, though a major changes(alongside the new moodlets system, a very nice addition in my opinion) the biggest change would probably instead be the open neighborhood. Sims in the original games since the Sims 1 and 2 were always coralled between 4 invisible walls within their home lot. They could visit other lots, but again it would only to be coralled between four different walls and it wouldn't happen without going through a pletora of loading screens first.

The sims 3 basically turned this all over it's head by introducing a new neighborhood which was loaded all at once and interconnected into a single entity. Your Sims can now thus leave their house by merely walking out, visiting their neighbors(something that wasn't doable in the past) with a mere click and without any of it requiring a single loading screen as everything would be loaded up at start and in real time. In a fashion, it might not look like much, but it truly did change the whole game in more ways than one. Some people might complaint about stuff still "missing" but as said before it's nothing that an expansion pack couldn't fix until eventually...

The Sims 4: Has not been released yet. Development, or even design might not have started yet. But it's why I couldn't help but speculate a bit, especially with previous thread, about -what- it might actually bring new.
The sims 1 moved from Sims City's city management to a smaller scale of managing a family.
The Sims 2 introduced aging, sims that could grow old and die and so on, as Sims could now not only families, but literal dynasties.
The Sims 3 broke the four walls around a family's lot by bringing an open neighborhood and even more unique Sims.

So what new, major, gameplay element could the Sims 4 bring to build upon the series. We already have families that can now grow old, have children that can grow old as well and have children of their own allowing you to play generations after generations of Sims. The Sims 3 brought in an open neighborhood which we could now visit as we wished... even those small background areas you could have never reached in the Sims 2.

Therefore, what could the Sims 4 bring? And to differentiate itself from something that could have been done by simply developping a new expansion pack to the Sims 3, it -will- have to bring some major new gameplay element... a literal "game changer" that would require a totally new different architecture to the game's engine and design.

That could be a couple of things. A friend of mine was talking about interconnectivity.
This could be done in a couple of fashion. On her end, she was suggesting interconnected neighborhood. Basically, if the Sims 3 brought us an open neighborhood... a Sims 4 could bring us an open world. Not only restricting you to go around and visit your own city, but also neighboring cities and their own citizens.
This could ideally merge with a different kind of interconnectivity, one which Showtime has given us a taste of: Online interaction. Add people to your friends list. Connect up to their own city and neighborhood and visit what they have built their, their citizen. Invite some of their sims to your own neighborhood or visits theirs to make friends.... or create havoc. Or in a more limited form, download their own neighborhood to add it to your world's own neighboring neighborhoods to be visited as you wishes... as part of your own world.

Another change would be something akin to the changes brought forth by the Sims 2 or 3, as specific game-changer gameplay.
If Sims 2 brought us the passage of time for our sims, and the Sims 3 brought us an open and living world... what if the Sims 4 could bring us the passage of time to the world itself?
Since the Sims 2, we have the ability to see the passage of time with our Sims. To see and play them throughout generations.... but though they and their status might change, their world does not.
At the same time, ever since the first game there has been arching metastories of the various prebuilt families throughout the generations, mentions of their past and presents. A whole genealogy of sims, so to speak.
And we've had many "themed" neighborhood reflecting various types of cities or towns, or even era past and future(such as Lunar Lake).
What if we could play that whole passage of time however? Not only of the Sims, but of time itself, of the world itself. For an example... what if we could play that simple family of immigrants moving to the "new world" in the Sims' equivalent of the 1920s to settle down in some Sunset Valley to start up a new life.... and then play throughout the generation as they move to become a city shaking dynasty in some futuristic Pleasantview of the 2100s?
Basically, what if instead of a themed neighborhood you could actually pick an actual period of history of a neighborhood and see how things could grow differently throughout the periods of history as you play through them throughout generations of sims as sims, science, technology and city all change throughout the years, perhaps even affected by the actions of your own sims as science carreer sims help develop the new technology that will make life easier for the whole neighborhood or politic sims actually get to make decisions that will affect the very future of the city they live in?

And then start a new game, already set in the future era and see how different the neighborhood's default "future era" is from the future you helped shape in the other savgame?

Heck, it could even make totally new gameplay if one was to bring back the "time machine" of the Sims 3 Ambition's inventor carreer(or maybe make some of the inventor career(or Sims 4 version of) into items that could even be sold in the regular buymode in era succeedin their inventions).

Anyway, what are your thoughts about what kind of changes a Sims 4 game could bring, the kind of major game-changing changes that a new title like this might bring or that you would like it to bring?


Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring
What appeals to me, the most, about the Sims franchise is the high level of customization and control the player gets. I can pick a town and populate it with my own creations and watch them live. The Sims was developed out of Sim City, giving the player control over a sim family. I'd like to see The Sims 4 bring back some of the elements of Sim City, allowing the player to control the aspects of the town itself, as opposed to just the sims. We can already do that to some degree, with CaW, but I'd like something less like a modding tool and more as a feature of the game itself.

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Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:50 pm
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Post Re: Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring
Pretty much is an aspect that I'd like.

Basically, through the live of your sims somehow manage to change and customizes not only the sims themselves, but the city itself.

Maybe in a sort of very slight hybridization of Sims and Sim City, however that may play out.

Maybe by having work venues having to be "unlocked" somehow in some fashion or something or most of the baisc ones are there, but esoterics ones or "advanced" versions of existing ones can be added through gameplay(such as if one of your family member reaches a certain level in that job) which might add more gameplay mechanics to the game("Our science institute of quantum mechanics would be proud to present our dear city with our newly developped teleportater transit system, now available for use by everyone!", for example).

And perhaps a sort of "freeplay/build" mode letting you customize a town with such elements from the getgo.

Then again, I can't help but a sort of "eras-based" gameplay might be interesting. Like how Age of Empire was an RTS that let you go through different eras of history, it would be neat to see some of this in the Sims, with all the overarching history to many of the families.


Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:25 pm
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Post Re: Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring
I have never thought of an "era-based" game before but that really, really, REALLY appeals to me! I love that idea! I think it would be really interesting because the interactions, jobs, opportunities, and leisure activities would change with every era, which would open up new gameplay as you play. That would totally keep me playing for a long time. Time could either move automatically or the Expansion Packs could be used to add new eras.

The only downside I see, if there is one, is that eventually you could "finish" the game. It would have to end at a certain era and while I'm sure you could play for infinity in that era, it might just become like TS3 at that time. I suppose there would always be the option to start again from a different era or maybe pause an era to make it last longer if you're enjoying that time. It's a cool idea.

That being said, I think the open world would probably be more likely, and even that is a stretch. EA is still messing up TS3 with buggy EP's and updates...

I also like Phoenix's idea. I can't use CAW to save my life but I like to change my town to make it mine and I find that somewhat difficult to do in TS3. I would love more customization.

Very interesting ideas. I have been wondering what the "big change" could be in TS4 and I couldn't come up with anything at all. I'm 0-3. :laugh:


Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:18 pm
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Post Re: Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring
I really like the ideas floating around in this thread. I, too, have thought of the game-changer The Sims 4 could bring. I think that the major change, unfortunately, will be Internet entanglement / multiplayer. Now, I only say unfortunately because that basically kills the type of game play we have right now.

However, I do believe that the ideas of an online game play version could be implemented, especially with what you guys are talking about. More control over the city, a SimCity hybrid, more control over the world, more controls to make you feel like god... idk.

Also, another thing that could be thrown in, in my opinion, is person perspective gameplay. The Sims 3, as is, would look AMAZING from the POV of a Sim. Hell, just look at any good Machinima. I like the idea of taking proprietary control over one Sim for a while, however long you chose, and changing the world from that point. Just imagine the range of ways you could change the Sim-World with the contrast between sim change to world change. That could be a huge marketing standpoint aswell. The developers of The Sims love to give different gameplay types for different players.

Building on that last point, if you think about it, each Sim game is limited to the control of one family. Though this may be the point, and though "switching" may give you a way to feel asthough you are playing otherwise, there is no true way to control the neighborhood as a whole. So, I feel like that could be the next logical step.

Think about it; That's exactly how Medieval worked!! Maybe EA put that out as an experiment for gameplay; now, of course we would be able to customize each building unlike Medieval.

Also, a side note, I really think the Glass-Box engine may be used in The Sims 4 to give more connection to the neighborhood, and rid the "lot" restriction. Also, it'd be nice if we got Euphoria engine aka realtime animations.

That is all! Claps to you if you read this all!

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Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:36 pm
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Post Re: Speculation on major changes that the Sims 4 would bring
Oh, I read it Derek. I read all of it. I am so impressed with those of you who have come up with these ideas while I sit here with a ? hovering above my head, lol.

I have never played Medieval, so I don't know first-hand how that worked, but that sounds really interesting! Controlling the neighborhood as a whole withing having to switch families... very interesting!

The Sim-Perspective could be really cool, too! It would be really cool to actually walk around the neighborhood AS a sim, as opposed to just following them around.

I hope it isn't internet and multi-player based, because I would have little interest in that. I understand that a lot of people like that and miss TSO but I do not. If that was an optional feature, that's fine, but if that were the "major change" I would be really disappointed.

Great ideas guys!! It will be really interesting to see what EA actually does with it!


Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:52 pm
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