The Sims 3 is a strategic life simulation video game in the popular and critically acclaimed The Sims franchise, originally created by Maxis. Within the in-game chronology of the series, it can be considered a prequel. A collector's edition is also available, which comes with a free sports car download, a sticker sheet, and a 2GB Plumbob-shaped USB drive. Both the collector's edition and the standard edition of the game come with a coupon for 1000 Sim Points (equivalent value in local currency, eg. 10 USD) to spend at The Sims 3 Store.[10][11] In contrast to the previous versions, the houses and neighborhoods are seamless, allowing players to explore and interact with their neighborhood without loading time. The game set a new record for Electronic Arts, selling more than 1.4 million copies in its first week of release.


Sim houses and neighborhoods are entirely in one continuous map, and the developers state that "What you do outside your home now matters as much as what you do within." The game includes an optional feature called 'story progression', which allows all Sims in the neighborhood apart from those the player is currently controlling to autonomously continue as if the player was controlling them, i.e. grow up, get married, get jobs and promotions, have kids, and so forth. Many more features may be toggled on or off that previous Sims editions, for instance, a player may toggle off aging/death if they do not want that feature to be enabled (Though the aging toggle was available as a console command in Sims 2, and aging did not exist in Sims 1).[12]

Of the eight needs of The Sims 1 & 2, only six (hunger, bladder, energy, social, hygiene and fun) remain, removing comfort and environment. These are represented by "moodlets", attributes which are acquired through special events, such as minor events like tooth brushing and major ones like a wedding, and affect the Sims' behavior. Several minor features from The Sims 2 expansion packs appear in the The Sims 3, such as the "young adult" life stage, mobile phones and guitars (University), private cars, personal inventories (Nightlife),own business lots, hire fire sims (the sims 2 open for business). fishing and gardening (Seasons), jewelry and accessories, (Bon Voyage), tooth brushing, ceilings and playground structures (Apartment Life)[13][14]. However, the majority of features from the Sims 2 expansion packs, such as a Sim going to college (University), are not available yet.

[edit] Neighborhood exploration

On March 19, 2008, EA revealed a new feature to The Sims 3: neighborhood exploration. Sims can now explore the world outside their homes without having to face strenuous loading times. Every lot is now synched to the main neighborhood time, whereas before, the time of day (and weather) was different in each lot and would continue off from the last time it was played. Players can also interact with every building in a neighborhood. So, for example, the player can enter their neighbor's house by "ringing their doorbell". Every Sim lives out their lives simultaneously; people will move in, move out, get married, etc., all as they play. There is also a setting that restricts their actions to minor things like showering, eating, and going to the bathroom. Each job has a specific building designated to it. Players are not able to see inside but are able to have limited control of their Sims—tell them to work overtime, laze around, listen to the boss and so on.[15]

As in The Sims 2, there are residential lots and community lots. Most community lots in The Sims 3 are dominated by a public building, which functions as an elementary object - larger than most other gameplay objects. A Sim can interact with a public building - working, going to school, shopping, taking lessons, watching performances etc - but is hidden inside the building during interaction.

Sims can easily move around the town with various transportation devices such as taxicabs, private cars, bicycles, or running, while letting the rest of the family stay independent at home - compared with The Sims 2, where time freezes on the home lot when a Sim visits a community lot.

[edit] Skills

There are several skill-dependent abilities - such as advanced social interactions available from high charisma, special songs for guitar players and appliance upgrades (self-cleaning, more TV channels etc) for high handiness. Painting, writing and guitar are now different skills, instead of the all-encompassing "creativity" skill of The Sims and The Sims 2. Paintings are now more particular to each Sim, based on their traits. Sims can increase their skills by practicing a skill (e.g. playing the guitar, working in the garden, writing a novel, etc.), reading a book about the skill, or taking a class in the skill at a civic building.

[edit] Careers

Many careers are available to pursue and each has a workplace building in the neighborhood which Sims travel to for their shifts. Sims can also apply for jobs within these buildings. Though Sims are hidden inside buildings during the workday, the player can control their behavior at work to a certain extent. Like previous Sims games, the job yields "opportunities" — tasks that could be finished for a reward. There are also part-time jobs. Sims can also take actions to increase their productivity beyond the normal workday, such as working overtime or carrying out assignments. Some of them are associated with unique career interactions, such as interviews in the journalism career, meetings in the business career, or interrogations in the law enforcement career. Job performance is in most cases affected by the relation to the boss or the partner (but not the number of family friends, as was the case in The Sims and The Sims 2). Each career has several rewards, instead of only one as in The Sims 2. Careers can also branch into several possible promotions.

Each career branches off into different jobs that branch off as well. For example, if there were two Sims in the Business career track, they may not end up with the same jobs or duties even if they were on the same level in their careers. Nonetheless, a Sim who reaches the peak of a respective career can still receive raises, rewards, and additional payment if he or she keeps performing well at work.[16]

There are also several part-time jobs around the town. These are available to teenagers, as well as young adults, adults, and elders.

[edit] Create-a-Sim

Create-a-Sim is the character (Sim) builder, where the polygon 3-D models of Sims can be modified by changing a wider variety of properties than what was available in previous installments. This opens the door to creating completely unique Sims with regard to weight, fitness, hair, and clothing, etc. Footwear and headwear can now be chosen individually. Players can customize nearly everything in the game, including furniture, clothes and shoes. Rod Humble described the new interface in Create-A-Sim as "drastically different". Prominent birthmarks such as freckles can also be added to Sims. A preview tour of The Sims 3 with Ben Bell showed that players could create their own eye color with the color wheel (As used with Create-a-Style tool.)

The gradual increase in weight on a Sim in The Sims 3.

Individual fitness bars have been added to adjust the Sims' obesity and muscularity between extreme levels. In The Sims 2, there were only three body types—fat, normal and fit. As in The Sims 2, body shape varies with diet and exercise, so that Sims created as overweight can become slim by exercising and Sims created thin may become fat by eating too much and not exercising. Skin color is also continuous, instead of the four colors of The Sims 2, and exotic colors such as blue and green are available. When customizing hair, the player is shown a circle with all shades and hues of colors, and able to choose the base hair color, tips, roots, and even highlights. Texture for clothing follows a similar formatting scheme. Players can also adjust the pitch of their Sim's voices.

A "Create-a-Twin" feature is also included, allowing players to create identical twins.

Personality configuration for Sims has also been made more complex, with the original 'percentage bar'-style personality points replaced by a combination of traits, similar to those in the personals section of newspapers.

Create-A-Sim now features more than 60 unique traits to choose from.[17]

Some examples of these traits are party animal, kleptomaniac, daredevil, childish, hot-headed, ambitious, snob, vegetarian, hates the outdoors, technophobe, inappropriate, loner, grumpy, great kisser, workaholic, exciteable, green thumb, never nude, insane, flirty, evil and clumsy.

These traits control the way Sims behave. For example, a clumsy Sim may break items whilst using them and a hot-headed Sim may annoy another Sim at random.

Toddlers have two traits, and a new one is added for each new life stage, until they reach young adulthood—so they have 3 as a child, 4 as a teen, then 5 as a young adult, which are the five traits they stay with for the rest of their lives. When creating a Sim, however, all trait spots do not need to be filled.

The player can also select a Sim's favorite color, music genre, and food.

[edit] Build and buy modes

The build and buy modes have received their own makeover. The square tile outlines that appeared on the ground in previous Sims games' build and buy modes are now one-fourth their original size to give the player more liberty to place objects where they want. However, walls and wallpapers do not configure to fourth tiles. The square grid allows the player to see where they can possibly place the objects in the game. The player can also turn off the grid and rotate objects freely as well as place objects freely with in-game toggles.[18]

The overall game has the option to "customize everything", choosing a color through all 32-bits and use different patterns (the game has predefined samples for objects, etc). For instance, on a couch the player is able to customize the arms, cushions, base and seats separately.

The "auto-roof" function now updates the roof when walls are rebuilt. Features such as wide staircases and basements are also easier to build.[13] The spray paint terrain feature returns from the Sims 2, but this time allows the player to spray square floor tiles. A "wall drag" tool allows the player to grow or shrink a room, moving the furniture with it. A new “slot” system gives several choices where to place decorative objects on surfaces, such as tables and dressers. Most existing objects can be recoloured and re-textured.

[edit] Movie making tool

The official website has announced that there will be a movie making tool. This tool, known as the Movie Mash Up tool will enable the player to create and share movies on the Sims 3 exchange using footage from their own game. As the camera angles within the game will be more accurate and the graphics will be better, the quality of these movies has the potential to be greater than those produced using The Sims 2.

[edit] Development

[hide]System Requirements
Operating System Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista Service Pack 1
CPU Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
2.0GHz (XP)
2.4GHz (Vista) [If built-in graphics chipsets then 2.6 GHz Pentium D CPU, or 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo, or equivalent.]
Memory 1 GB (XP)
1.5GB (Vista)[If built-in graphics then add 0.5 GB additional RAM]
Hard Drive Space 6.1GB or more for extra content
Graphics Hardware DirectX 9.0c compliant card with 128 MB RAM (NVIDIA FX 5900/ATI 9500 or better) and support for Pixel Shader 2.0
Sound Hardware 100% DirectX 9.0c compliant card
Operating System Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard
CPU Intel Core Duo Processor
Memory 2 GB
Hard Drive Space 6.1GB of free space and 1GB for additional content
Graphics Hardware ATI X1600 or NVIDIA 7300 GT with 128 MB RAM or Intel Integrated GMA X3100

Electronic Arts first announced Sims 3 on the 19th March, 2008.[20] The game was developed at their studio in Redwood Shores, California,[21] whose other titles include Dead Space. On January 15, 2009, EA invited "some of the best" custom content creators to their campus at Redwood Shores where they were hosting a Creator’s Camp. Creators have been invited to spend the week exploring and creating content like Sims, houses and customized content. The Creators' work is used to pre-populate The Sims 3 Exchange.[22] In the seventh expansion pack for The Sims 2, The Sims 2: FreeTime, an event occurs in which a Sim-version of Rod Humble, the head of The Sims franchise, gives the player's Sim family an unopened gift box. When opened, the family gets a computer with The Sims 3 on it. The Sims 3 game cannot be bought in the catalog. Sims can then play The Sims 3 on their computers or console systems. Like all the other games that Sims can play in The Sims 2, The Sims 3 is a looping gameplay video shown on the player's Sim's computer screens when played by a Sim. On July 15, 2008 the first video preview of The Sims 3 appeared on the official website as did seven new screenshots and five Create-A-Sim screens. Four screenshots that appeared on the website and were then taken down soon after, leaked onto the internet by a member of the community.

Copies of the video game Spore also came packaged with fliers advertising the game, with information stating whole-neighborhood accessibility and endless possibilities on character creation. On October 31, 2008, two teaser trailers were released by Electronic Arts featuring a comical view on the 2008 presidential election in the United States. Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama were included along with John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama's running mate Joe Biden.[23] In the eighth expansion pack of The Sims 2, The Sims 2: Apartment Life, new objects were added including logo posters and framed screenshots. The game was shipped with a code and an internet address, where the player could download clothing with The Sims 3 logo on it. Another developer walkthrough was released on November 6, 2008, featuring in-depth previews of the neighborhood and Create-A-Sim.

On March 23, 2009, the look and feel of The Sims 3 was seamlessly threaded throughout the storyline of an all new episode of The CW series One Tree Hill. On screen, the episode opens in an idealized Sims version of One Tree Hill and then transitions into the real Tree Hill. As this episode plays out, Sims versions of popular One Tree Hill characters are introduced and then morph into the real-life characters, including Dan (Paul Johansson), Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Peyton (Hilarie Burton).[24][25] The Sims 3 versions of the characters are available for download via CW's official website.[25]

On April 19, 2009, Target exclusively released a promotional disc of The Sims 3 that features a Ladytron Band poster, The Sims 3 theme song music download, and a $5 off coupon. The main menu includes screensaver downloads, videos, Create-A-Sim, Create-A-House, and much more. There is no actual gameplay involved, but it describes what playing feels like.

On May 8, 2009, EA announced that The Sims 3 had gone gold meaning that the game had finished beta testing stage and was off for manufacturing ahead of its June 2009 Release.[26]

On May 15, 2009 EA released some online interactive teaser experiences on The Sims 3 Website, including 'SimFriend', which allows users to choose a vitual Sim Friend who would email them throughout the day. 'SimSocial', which allows users to create their own Sim online, and have an adventure with them. 'SimSidekick', which allows users to surf the web with a sim.[27][28]

Two weeks before the game was scheduled to be released, a pirated version of the digital distribution version[29] of the game leaked onto the Internet.[30] EA later commented the leak was a "buggy, pre-final" version.[31] EA claims that more than half of the game is missing and is susceptible to crashes or worse.[32] Reportedly, the title has seen higher piracy rates than that of the most pirated game of 2008, Spore.[33][34][35]

[edit] Audio

The music to The Sims 3 was written by composer Steve Jablonsky, who recorded the score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[36]

[edit] Software copy restriction

Some of EA's other recent PC titles, such as Spore and Dead Space, have used a SecuROM copy restriction scheme that requires online and offline authentication and limits the number of times a user can install the game to five. While it was speculated that The Sims 3 would use the same system, on March 26, executive producer Rod Humble revealed that The Sims 3 uses traditional disk-based copy protection as Sims 2 did, and does not require online authentication to install. A product key is also required.[37] However, SecuROM based restriction is still present within the "Digital Download" version of the title, limiting users to a total of 5 authorizations for 5 different machines via online activation, each of which can be de-authorized online at any time.

[edit] Delay

On February 3, 2009, it was announced that the release date of The Sims 3 would be delayed from February 20, 2009 to June 2, 2009 in the US, and June 5, 2009 in the UK. John Riccitiello, CEO of EA Redwood Shores, said "In the case of Sims 3, we’re moving this title to June 2 to give us additional time to build the worldwide marketing campaign a title like this deserves".[38] Grant Rodiek, Associate Producer of The Sims 3 said:

The Sims 3 June launch gives more time for tuning and polish and the ability to launch the game on PC and Mac platforms simultaneously. This is a key EA franchise and title and it deserves a bigger bet on the best Sims game EA has made. These last few months will give us a little more time to tune, tweak, and polish the game. Our players have been waiting for something awesome and that’s exactly what we intend to give them.[39]

[edit] Marketing

EA Singapore launched The Sims 3 with a launch party[40] which was held on 2 June, 2009 at the new shopping mall Iluma in Singapore. At the event, The Sims 3 T-shirts were available for purchase. Players who pre-ordered received unlock codes for a Vintage Sports Car and a free The Sims 2 Expansion Pack download.

In Sydney, Australia on June 4, 2009 a fashion event to show off the freedom and self-expression in The Sims 3 was held by Electronic Arts Australia, and included a performance by Jessica Mauboy.[41]

[edit] Release

The Sims 3 Collector's Edition box design with the 2GB flash drive.[42]

The game was released as both a standard edition and a Collector's Edition. The standard edition contains the first release of the core game, while the Collector's Edition includes the Sims 3 core game, a 2GB The Sims Plumbob USB drive with matching Green Carabiner, an exclusive Italian-styled/Vintage Sports Car download for in-game, a Prima Tips and Hints Guide (not the actual Sims3 Prima Guide), Plumbob stickers, The Sims 3 Neighborhood Poster, and a quick start reference guide.[43][44] It is still unknown which countries are / will be able to purchase the Collectors' Edition, but this list definitely includes Israel[45] and South Africa.[46] A preview CD with more information about The Sims 3, such as music samples, family descriptions, and career information, was also released.

[edit] Reception

[hide] Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 86.74%[48]
Metacritic 87%[47]
Review scores
Publication Score B+ [49]
Edge 8/10 [50]
Eurogamer 8/10 [51]
GamePro 4/5 [52]
GameSpot 9/10 [53]
GameSpy 4.5/5 [54]
IGN 8.9/10 [55]
Telegraph 8/10
Total Video Games 8/10 [56]
Total PC Gaming 8/10 [57]
Boomtown 8/10 [58]
3D Juegos 8.3/10 [59]

Critical response was generally favorable, with Metacritic calculating a metascore of 87% based on 47 reviews.[60]

PC Gamer awarded The Sims 3 a 92% and an Editor's Choice badge, calling it "The best Sims game yet".[12][60]

IGN PC awarded The Sims 3 an 8.9/10, stating: "This is simply a better playing Sims experience, and once you experience the freedom to hit the town without hitting a load screen you’ll be hard-pressed to go back to any of the earlier games". The review also said the following: "Blowing up the size of the game was certainly a risk, but it was a sensible and overdue one, and kudos to EA for recognizing that the decade-old formula needed some growth. And while there’s still plenty of room for more innovation, we’ll settle for The Sims 3 for now. It delivers a solid foundation for what should be many more years of Sims sales dominance".[55]

GameSpot awarded The Sims 3 a score of 9.0/10, the review praised the game: "The latest Sims game is also the greatest, striking a terrific balance between the fresh and the familiar".[53]

[edit] Sales

EA reported that in its first week, The Sims 3 sold 1.4 million copies. According to EA, this represents the most successful PC game launch the company has ever had. [61]


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