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The Sims 3 Preview with Producer MJ Chun (second part)

Written by CriCri on . Posted in Base Game

MJ ChunOn March 13th, EA Italy invited us to their offices in Milan to take part to a The Sims 3 preview with the Producer MJ Chun. This is the second part of the article, and we're going to talk about the neighborhood, the gameplay and the game launcher. As for the first part, even this article has been realized with the cooperation of Zukkao, SimsFan webmaster. I still thank all the persons I've mentioned in the first article, in particular Eden, who allowed us to publish a couple of juicy details about the game that haven't been published before!

I'm not going to repeat the same introduction I've made in the first part, but I invite everyone who hasn't done it yet to read the first part of our review before reading this article. First of all for the introduction ;) and then because we talk about the creation of a Sim. So here's the first part of our reportage.

I also recommend you to read Eden's review, that is available on her site.

Gameplay, neighborhood and stuff

Once closed the CAS window and said goodbye to our Sim, that hasn't been saved (MJ really waves him goodbye and talks to him in Simlish too! ;)), we're facing the neighborhood screen. In the blink of an eye, a couple of mouseclicks open the Settings Panel. Almost popping our eyes out of our heads, we can read the several options, that are:


  • Aging on/off: has the same function of the Sims 2 cheat, and can enable/disable a Sim's aging. It is a global function, and affects all the characters of the neighborhood. We haven't found out if there's a cheat that disables the aging only for selected families.
  • Story progression: concerns the development of the story. It's one of the things we were curious about, and thanks to a question about pregnancy, we had the chance to ask MJ what this option actually does. Normally, when the story progression is enabled, if we have a pregnant Sim and play with other families, once we get back to her we'll find the baby, whose name has been randomly assigned from the game. If we don't want this to happen, we must disable the story progression, so the Sim won't give birth until we don't play with her. We haven't found out if this option freezes all the events or just the most important ones.
  • Average life length: we have talked about this in a Creator's Camp review; this options can be used to decide the average length of a Sim's life, stretching from 25 and 1000 days.
  • Free will: through this option we can decide how self-sufficient Sims will be and how long they can go on without our help. Although Sims 3 is not focused on satisfying needs, if we set the free will to the minimum value, the game will concern mainly on them, like The Sims 2.

We must admit, however, that we're almost sure we have forgotten about an option and we can't remember if autonomy and free will are arranged in two separate options (one with a slider and the other with a checkbox) or only in one, or if we haven't heard about this missing option at all.

It doesn't seem to be any connection between the neighborhood size, the number of families and a computer's performance. They said there won't be noticeable differences, if not just for the number of details.

Lots and terrains

The "open" neighborhood is the peculiarity of TS3, and that's why is important that terrains and lots are well-organized, to make everything more striking. MJ showed us the new Build Mode tool, thanks to which we can enlarge a lot by simply dragging and dropping the walls, keeping the current object arrangement. At this point we asked if there are still different lot sizes and so if the house structure has limits. MJ says there are three lot sizes - small, medium and large - that are very important because we can peek through the neighborhood's windows. Then, if we have picked a small lot and can't enlarge our house anymore, we'll have to move it on a bigger terrain. We haven't tried that personally, so we only quote what she said. We hope we can know something more later..

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