Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SimOperations Sims 3 interview

Hey all,

Just putting a link out there for those interested; I did an interview with simoperations about my experience at the Creators' Camp, and with Sims 3, in general.

Edit: simoperations is currently moving to a new site, so the link is no longer valid. I will update with a new link soon. Luckily, I still had the original interview in my email sent folder, so here it is, in its entirety:

******************************

Hi, Thanks for taking the time for this Q&A:

No problem!

1: What kinds of things did you make at the Creator's Camp?

Well, I'm limited to what I can say regarding what the "machinima
artists" worked on while out there. Although the other content creators
have been more free to talk about what they did, the videomakers are
still under a strict NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with EA until the
official site goes live. So, I can't go into specifics on what I did
while out there, other than I worked with the video-making aspect of the
game. The other custom content creators were making sims, clothing, and
some really gorgeous homes.


2: You're a Machinima artist. Are the movie making tools in The Sims 3
good or do they require improvement?


From the build we worked with, the machinima tools in-game are very
similar to the ones in Sims 2. We had to modify our camera .ini file to
make a few adjustments, but that should all be fixed by the final
release, from what we were told at the time. One difference is that
there will be 5 camera presets, not 4, like in Sims 2.


3: What can you tell us about your experience of the game? Does it need
more work?


Again, we were working with a beta build, a few builds behind what the
development team was up to, so of course there were quite a few bugs
that needed to be ironed out. We were all writing down notes as we went
along, recording any bugs we encountered, things we thought could be
improved upon, and the development team was right there in the room with
us, pulling up chairs, sitting on the floor, even, writing down
everything we told them. They were very interested in what we had to
say.

4: Can you tell us a little bit about what happened over the course of
the week?


The first day, Monday morning, we had a tour of the EA campus, then
demos (demonstrations) of the game, and that afternoon we got to start
up the game for the first time. We had various meetings the first few
days that were optional to attend, depending on your specialty. I
attended the machinima meeting, but not the CAS one or build mode ones,
for instance. We spent some time in the Media Lab on the second day, and
got to sit in on a session with Nicki Rapp, who you know as the child's
voice for Sims 2. She will be continuing on in Sims 3. Most of our days
were spent at our computers, with the machinima folks doing video work
in one room, most of the other custom content creators were in the room
next door. Bloggers, journalists and a film crew followed the event, all
week long. During the evenings, the attendees were usually hanging out
in the Sofitel Lounge, or going into San Francisco, blowing off steam.
By Friday, we had our projects done, and had a presentation and awards
show showing everyone's work, that evening. It was amazing to see what
everyone was able to do in a week's time. Many of the attendees have
blogged about their experiences. I blogged about mine back in January
and February on http://acuppajoe.blogspot.com/ , so check it out!

5: Will we be seeing more machinima from The Sims 3 in 2009?

Definitely! EA is putting more emphasis on machinima with Sims 3, so it
will be encouraged. At the machinima meeting I attended, Todd (todnyc,
who now works for EA) told us EA would now be referring to us as
"machinima artists" rather than "Sims videomakers" or "Sims
moviemakers", for TS3. I am still in contact with many of the attendees,
and even a couple of people who weren't on the machinima team are now
trying their hands at TS2 machinima and wanting to work with TS3
machinima. You can count on me continuing on, for sure!

6: Finally, anything else you can say about the Creators Camp and the
game?


The Camp was such a fun experience. Everyone was really down to earth,
and it was great meeting people whose stuff I've used in my videos for
years. The Maxoids were great, too. They sat with us, ate with us, and
had a great sense of humor. It was a rather surreal experience, sitting
with people like Kate from Parsimonious, or Maxoid Drea, or Shtinky from
Holy Simoly, or Jope and Suza... I almost felt a little starstruck at
times, but everyone was so real. No longer just a name on a website or
forum. The weirdest part had to be when I was recognized at the airport,
from my YouTube vlog, though! And then again at the Sofitel, by two of
my fellow machinima crew, SidDog and Eggzie. It was sad leaving
everyone, because we'd all become pretty tight by the end of the week.
We had a party at the Sofitel lounge the last Friday night, with several
of the Maxoids, and it was a lot of fun, but very bittersweet. On
Saturday morning it was so quiet in the hotel lobby.

As for the game, I enjoyed it. I think others will, too, but they need
to keep a realistic perspective about it all. My standard response when
asked about my impression of Sims 3, is that I don't see people giving
up Sims 2 completely for Sims 3, like most did for the original Sims and
Sims 2. Rather, I see people playing it in *addition* to Sims 2. At
least I will be! Sims 2 will remain on my Windows partition, and I'll
install Sims 3 for Mac. With the original Sims, it was such a drastic
improvement, from the graphics to the AI. Genetics, family ties...all of
that was frustratingly non-existent with the original Sims. The main
difference between Sims 2 and 3 is the fact that the entire neighborhood
is playable, with one "active household", and storylines continuing on
outside of that. The graphics are amazing, too. Having said that, people
have to keep in mind when they first fire up the game, that it will be
"vanilla" (and custom-content free), so they may feel a bit frustrated.
But think back to the switch from The Sims to Sims 2, and how little
custom content was available at the time, and it's pretty much the same
deal. It'll take some time for it to really get going, and once the
custom content creators get going on it, it's going to be really cool.
It's a fun game, I can't wait to play it again, and I am dying to see
how the outside storylines go on around your sims. I didn't get that far
into gameplay, since I was only setting up scenarios for video work. So,
yeah, I'm looking forward to June!

******************************

Back to your regularly scheduled blogpost...

And for those of you coming HERE from THERE, I am editing to add links to the Creator Camp entries:

Here
Here
Here

Easy peasy.

Also, I've become a social network whore and have signed up with both Twitter and Plurk. Because myspace and facebook weren't enough.

https://twitter.com/VRevis

http://www.plurk.com/VRevis

You'll also see a widget has been added to the blog, to the right. Nifty.

(This is what happens when you get in a car accident, and are stuck with no wheels for days, and have to do all socializing online. And are REALLY REALLY BORED.)

Oh, yeah... was in a car accident Thursday. Cross your fingers for me that my car is not totaled. I'm okay, a little bruised up, but fine. My car, however...yikes.

Until next time!

~V

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