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Creator's Camp - Day 1

As some of you may have noticed on other sites, or even here at TSR, I was invited to visit EA Studios in Redwood City, California for an entire week (this week) for the Sims 3 Creator's Camp (for lot building and storytelling) along with some really great CC artists from TSR and all over the globe.

First things first, I have flown to California many times. My brother is a Marine in the US Military, and we visited him in San Diego 4 or 5 times a few years back. However, I have never traveled alone...especially 1/2 across my country to spend an entire week with people I've never met. So, yes...a wee bit stressed, and few tears...but I made it to my gate at the airport safely. I arrived two hours early because I really wasn't sure how long everything would take, especially since September 11 (a very unfortunate day in the US back in 2001). Well, everything took all of 15 I sat at my gate and BlackGarden (Heather) calmed my fears. Well, basically brought out excitement which buried the terrible fears I was having of flying alone.

We all loaded the plane, and I was assigned just behind the wing. I noticed something leaking from it, and thought to myself that I was not going to let something like that bother me to the extent that it really should have. They started pulling equipment away from the plane and a man walks by and notices the drip. He bends down to smell it, and then calls some others over. Just great. The captain shortly gets on the intercom and tells us there's a fuel leak and it'll take an hour to fix. Even greater. So, I get off the plane to get some breakfast, as I was rather hungry. When I try to get  back on, the gate keeper tells me they aren't loading. I got a bit snippy with her because...well, because I was stressed and told her I'd just gotten off and that my stuff was sitting in my set unattended. It really wasn't, but you know me...I do tend to overexaggerate. She tells me I can't board regardless. I was so mad, I cried. I called my mother and told her that I was still in Texas and that my plane has a fuel leak. The captain said it was a brand new plane, as well. There's not telling what else will break on the way to California.

Across the aisle from me was an interesting looking fellow, and I took notice of him because of his clothes and red mohawk. Come to find out, when we arrived at the airport and were waiting for our hotel shuttle...we discovered we were both in San Fransisco for the same thing : EA's Creator's Camp. He's from Brazil, and very friendly. VERY friendly. But, that is good...someone needs to break the ice, better him than me. 8]

This hotel room is the most fanciest thing I've ever seen. I mean, really...I am scared to sit down...or even use the bathroom sink. 8/ I was starving and sat down to eat at the Hotel Restaraunt and couldn't figure out what 1/2 the stuff on the menu was. So, I just opted for the cheeseburger. Then, wanted dessert, but I couldn't figure out what anything was on the menu either. So, I just asked for some vanilla ice cream. It was ordered to my in a wine glass with a plant in it. 8I ...yeah, a plant. I am assuming that it is mint, but there's no telling in this place.

All in all, it has been very eventful, and I have met some truly inspiring people. I must first say that Steve is nothing like I expected, but between him and Padre333 (how many three's is it?)...I can't stop laughing. What a bunch of loons. Good loons, that is. It is also nice that Steve has been here before, and when we had something totally...weird to eat tonight,  he told me where the nearest grocery store was to get something else to eat. Long walk from the hotel, but better food. By far. Dot takes cover when the cameras come around, and no...she is not equipped with Pink Hair. Let down...I know, I know. Estatica and Hatshepsut are very genuine and nice girls, and they are generally who I follow around the campus. Ulkrhsn is really quiet, but she had a 22 hour flight from Turkey and her body clock is all kinds of, I can't blame her for being dead tired. I can't imagine a 22 hour flight.

As far as the game goes, so's pretty good. There are a few things that I really don't like, but that is probably because I am accustom to Sims 2. And of course, it's still in a test there are some bugs that we have to work around and there are some things that have yet to be fully applied.

For starters, we had an EA Campus Tour. Holy cow...I am just amazed. I'd have taken pictures...but, the camera has gone to the bottom of the lake...or, I wish it had. It's being junky, and I've given up on it. Figures. It's only the most important event in my life so far...why would I need to take pictures?! 8I

The Campus is just huge. Absolutely huge. They have an onsite dentist, physical gym, basketball court, tennis court, day care, two cafeterias, and even little TV's and computers everywhere if the staff wants to play some games. They have a massage parlor, a name it. He said it was because they wanted to make it so the employees never have to leave...and geez, why would they want to!?

We had quite a few demo seminars during the day, and finally just before dinner we got to play the game. YES! We got to play Sims 3! I've taken a LOAD of, be prepared for a lengthy blog. You're's lengthy now, and it only gets longer. 8D

tdyannd's Sims 3 Creator's Camp Notes:

~One of my first concerns was if the neighborhood is entirely open, can Sims get hit by cars? The answer is no. The cars just drive right through them.

~I was also wondering if sick sims can visit the hospital to get well. The answer is also no, but you can go there to have your sim baby if you'd like.

~Every article of clothing is always available to you in the game and in CAS, and they are always recolorable. This means that sims no longer need to 'buy' clothing before being able to put it on.

~There is this new tool called something fancy, but I call it the 'Drag and Drop' method. If you have a set pattern/texture that you like for one thing. You can drag it and drop it onto different items/objects/clothing items, and it just plops the new pattern onto the object. Makes recoloring an entire room just super fast, or an entire outfit.

~As of right now, you cannot import patterns into the game. However, with all the options and color wheels...your pattern design is limitless. Literally, limitless.

~Hair coloring is astounding. You now have the option of coloring the roots/eyebrows, main hair color, highlights, and tips completely different colors if you so want.

~You can move the mailbox anywhere you'd like on your lot. But, whatever door is closest to the mailbox is considered the front door.

~Children can wander the neighborhood alone, but toddlers must be carried. No one is glued to the house. (I have not checked if the infants are glued there, but I am sure they are.)

~Each and every aspect of a sim can be changed. An eye for instant is broken up into groups (lower lid, upper lid, eye shape, etc) and each can be changed with a slider bar to create an unlimited number of different eyes.

~It is possible to have more than one hood. Though, I would think older/slower computers may get some lag for having too much going on as the neighborhoods are so big.

~You can change the lifespan of your neighborhood from 25 Sim Days to 1,000 Sim Days. 95 Sim Days is average. You can also turn the neighborhood aging completely off.

~Free Will is on a slider bar. You can choose None, Low, or High, I think. Meaning...Low Free Will is that sims will do freely in an emergency, and High Free Will is basically 'Free Will On' in Sims 2.

Those are just a few things I found super interesting. But, here are notes from specific aspects of the game.

CAS (Create-A-Sim/Create-A-Style)

~The Drag and Drop method applies, making it super easy to recolor/restyle an entire outfit.

~It is possible to have a different hairstyle per outfit, though I've not figured it out yet.

~Changing hair/clothing/face is so easy. You can just click on them and the CAS takes you directly to the right menu for editing whatever you selected.

~All the accessories and hats are customizable.

~You can easily change texture/pattern colors, and save them for the life of your game so you can easily get to them for another item/object.

~There are literally TONS of hair color possibilities. Each and every item has a color wheel to choose colors from.

~Custom hair colors, make-ups, patterns, can all be saved in your game for quick access.

~There is an eyelash length slider bar. It's amazing. I love it.

~It is a LOT easier to make normal faces, and is 'possible' to create uglies. But, it's not as easy as in  Sims 2.

~You can now choose beauty marks and freckles and their variances.

~There is a color wheel for literally evertyhing. Clothing, make-up, hair, skin tone, textures.

~Socks and Shoes are also fully customizable. YES SOCKS, TOO! Shoes and socks are chosen seperately per outfit, as well.

~The only limit on custom texture space is how much your hard drive can hold.

~You can Zoom In and Out at any time in CAS. Meaning, no more only looking at head shots for makeup. You can do it while you're choosing shoes if you so wish.

~You can also choose your sim's voice and change his/her voice pitch.

~An option for Evil Sims is to troll forums, and wreak havoc online.

~Sims now have favorite things. Like a favorite food or favorite type of music. There are different groups, and each group depends on what traits you've chosen for your sim.

~No more Personality Points. You choose actual traits. You can have 1 to 6, and they are totally up to you.

~Some Sims 3 developers are premade sims.

~You can create twins in CAS regardless of their age.

~Elders can have any color hair you want them to have, but are defaulted to grey/silver.

~There are no themed clothings right now, but with the number of textures and can easily make whatever you need for your story.

~If your Girl Sim has an updo prior to entering the shower, she will have a downdo whilst in it and afterwards.

Build/Buy Mode

~The biggest lot size is 64x64 (same as a 5x5).

~ In the catalogs, you now have images to click on instead of tabs. It's hard to explain, but pretty nifty.

~You can expand rooms/walls by using the drag tool and grabbing the entire wall and pulling it whichever way you want to go. It also pulls all items along the wall with it, including wall coverings and flooring.

~There is an option for Auto-Roofs. So, while you build the roof automatically appears and contorts to whichever rooms you add on as you build.

~Instead of using the Roof Slope Cheat, there is now an ingame slider bar that allows you to change the slope to nothing or extreme and everything in between.

~All the stairs are the same, but you can use them indoor or out, and can make them 2 tiles wide or 3 tiles wide, etc. You can also, by dragging the mouse, create multilevel stairs simply.

~When placing stairs inside, you can recolor the wall underneath them to match the rest of the room or be totally different, or you can delete them all together.

~There are single tile doors, double tile doors, single tile doors that center on double tiles, and even three tile doors.

~Can easily build courtyards! The center of your house won't automatically get a roof if you don't want it to! You can have a little park surrounded on all sides by walls! It has external lighting.

~There are cielings under ANY floortile placed.

~Lighting is awesome. You can choose ANY color for the light bulb and change the intensity of it's brightness, too.

~The Maximum number of floors is 5, your foundation and roof both count as floors individually.

~Sims 2's one tile equals Sims 3 four tiles. Tiles are much smaller but bring way more possibilities.

~45 and 90 degree rotation come with the game.

~Holding the ALT key is the same at the 'snaptogrid' cheat and free rotation.

~Table and chairs will now all move together, and can be rotated any which way. Same with desk and chairs and beds and end tables.

~It is possible to put appliances in a corner diagonally, and they are fully functional for the sims.

~Overhead cabinets come with the game.

~There are 4x's as many slots on tables, mantles, ect that you can place clutter on. These slot's items are also rotatable.

~You cannot move objects up and down on walls.

~Diagonal Walls are fulyl functional, and objects placed flush against them are also fully functional.

~There are randomize buttons for all objects, and they choose random textures in your game to apply to the item.

~You cannot change the scale or repeat pattern for any texture, but some come with three different sizes of the same texture.

~You can still rotate and quarter floor tiles. Floor tiles are also fully customizable.

~Parking Spaces do not have to be attatched to the road. The car will randomly disappear and plop onto the road, even if sitting next to the road.They can also be placed diagonally, and do not have an set floor tiles.

~There are also bikes and bike racks that you can use to get around town.

~There are tons of terrain paints, and you can change their opacity. There are also square and circle brushes now.

~There are TONS of trees.

~The shrubbery automatically comes in different sizes, there is no way to choose what size you get.

~All the trees/flowers/shrubs sway in the wind.

~When you raise or lower the terrain, the plants go with.

~There is no diving board for the swimming pools yet.

~Sims no longer need a ladder to get in and out, however drowning a sim is still possible. You can cancel the 'climb out' action from their queue.

~There is now a tool that allows you to delete more than one objet at a time. You can drag the 'sledgehammer square' around and anything within the square deletes and is sold for money.

~Fireplace Mantles also have numerous slots for clutter.

~You cannot change the outward brick appearance of the fireplace.

~There are no 1/2 walls yet.

~There are tons of fences, but they are not customizable.

~The dragging tool works for fences as well, but you cannot drag a diagonal fence/wall or a straight wall that is connect to a diagonal.

We actually got to play for a few hours prior to dinner. Hatshepsut dove right in to creating a new lot, Estatica and I fiddled with CAS...and while she figured out how to build a new lot, I started to play the game...just play. I took a few...okay, a lot of notes to share with you all that I noticed while I played.

First Time to Play Notes

~You can follow your sim in the taxi or car by right clicking their thumbnail.

~Pop-Ups in the right corner let you know when a shop is having a sale or a big event is happening somewhere in town.

~Sims still have the Need Bars, but they are not as important as Sims1 and Sims2.

~Cars drive right through Sims in the road...shame.

~We asked about 'new deaths', but they wouldn't say anything. ;]

~Depending on your Sim's traits, specific actions appear. I had a sim who liked to cook, and she carried a cookbook around and shared recipies.

~Every single item you interact with gives your sim a good or bad mood boost depending on their traits/personality.

~You can become business partners with community businesses.

~Jobs pay hourly, not daily.

~Sims can have favorites. They get mood boosts in a good way from using/doing these favorite items. These favorites weigh heavily on the traits you choose for your sim.

~You cannot see the inside of community buildings. Your sim disappears into them, and comes out when you tell them to or when they are done.

~You can put different books on your bookshelf or you can carry them in your inventory. I will assume you can buy books to put on your bookshelf as well.

~At night time, the lights do not automatically pop on. Your sim must physically turn them on, you can walk through the room and they pop on and stay on.

~I had a cheap toilet, and my sim had to push the knob three times before it actually flushed. She got frustrated with it.

~My sim also had a fear of nudity, so when she bathed...she wore her swimsuit. 8D

~In the mornings, when she got in the tub and got out, she was still wearing her PJ's. I had to manually change her into what i wanted.

~Cars disappear when you reach your destination, and they reappear when you leave.

~If you buy a car, for the first few times your sim is in it, they get a 'new car smell' mood boost.

~Depending on your sim's mood, their thumbnail changes to represent their mood.

~You can change a sims's outfit by clicking on them, anywhere at anytime.

~Sims automatically have a cell phone.

~You must go to the grocery store to buy food.

~You can save at anytime from anywhere.


Those are my notes from today. Keep checking back as I play more, build more, and start to work on stories. I will continue to blog what I can from the event. So far, it's been awesome. If you have ANY questions about anything I've posted sure to leave a comment asking about it. I will get back to you. Later, guys!

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#12Jan 14, 2009

oh yeah.. and will we ever be able to import our own patterns and will herman and arnie be a premade family? thanks for the info, have fun!\:D

#13montonaJan 14, 2009

I want to thank you for such an informative blog entry. You are honestly my most favorite blogger of all time as of this moment. I do not think that even I had been there I would have been able to catch as much detail as you have here. You must have an eye for it since you are obsessed with creativity. Are you alllowed to say more of what you did not like (besides the cars driving through sims point)?
Off topic, take this from a southern girl from NC, there is nothing wrong with a drawl. If you can speak intelligently and get your point across, embrace it and revel in it. Some people would prefer it to a bland non-accented voice any day.

#14luv2playJan 14, 2009

I just wanted to say thank you for such a detailed description & I sure hope you continue to have lots of fun while you're there.  \:D

#15zeppo2Jan 14, 2009

Super run down of your first day! I was having doubts about purchasing it but you may have changed my mind. I look forward to hearing more about what goes on \:\)

#16postileniVIPJan 14, 2009

Thank you for your fabulous run down. I can't wait now, it sounds great.

#17cariadbachJan 14, 2009

Wow , what a lucky girl you are and what an interesting time  you are having . Its been great reading your blog , I think I will have to come back a few times to digest it all . I hope you will have some pictures to show us . Go buy another camera\;\)Take care , shall look forward to hearing more \:\)

#18hbtsoJan 14, 2009

Thanks for sharing your info with all of us. I have a couple of questions for you. Were you asked/able to make mention of any bugs that you noticed while testing the game? Were you able to make suggestions for any improvements or features that players would like to have in the base game or for future expansions?

#19binky13Jan 14, 2009

So cool! I love all this info. A sim bathing in a swimsuit is too awesome. \:D

#20qvisnJan 20, 2009

OH TIFF!!! i wish i was there with you, is anyone there from England, if so then who?  It must be awesome to work at EA and they have such a great worklife, although i suspect they can tear their hair out at times when a prog goes wrong.  The sims3 sounds wonderful, being able to follow your sims to town rather than watch the loading screen, about time too. shame they cant have beach lots and swim in the sea, i know you can live by the sea but its sad you cant get in. The swimming pools with no ladders could be a big prob if you go and play sims2 sometimes, i will drown all my sims. LMAO.  I csnt wait to make sims that look like my friends and one of me now we can make bodyshapes, i can have small butt and big top. LOL cant wait for more chat from you. luvya babe.\:wub\:

#21phoenix42793Jan 24, 2009

I just wanted to sign in to thank you for all the information you posted,  I would give you the biggest hug of your life right now if I could.   Thanks so much \:wub\:

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