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Sims 4: Principles of Animation

Routing and path finding

Anyone that's played previous Sims games know about the pain in watching a Sim or group of Sims trying to navigate their way through a doorway flanked with furniture, or through a cluttered room. So much work has gone into fixing this that EA demoed the tools they had developed to enhance path finding in the game. The game won't have the luxury of allowing 16 Sims in one family but in the demo we saw a circle of 16 Sims stood facing into the centre. All were tasked with walking to the opposite side and then pause was removed. The result was 16 Sims walking forward until they all met in the middle, but instead of standing still and shaking their heads while trying to find a route through the crowd, they all just kept walking, shuffling and turning around the crowd until they all came out of the bunch on their opposite sides. It was an amazing piece of software engineering in its own right, but this is Sims 4 we are watching... It's going to be great! We also saw a bunch of 4 to 6 Sims all tasked with passing through the same door at the same time, and even this resulted in a fluid process of Sims passing through unhindered and regrouping on the other side. The result is that Sims getting stuck, or being in each other's way resulting in slow animations of sidestepping and shoulder shrugging, are a thing of the past... Hallelujah to that!

Another great demo that stuck in my mind was that of the garden path. We saw something that it's hard to do in Sims 3 without the use of terrain paints, and that was to make a good looking garden path set on open grass with 90 degree turns. A Sim was tasked with walking to the gate at the other end of the grass. Now in the absence of the demo I had to recreate something in Sims 3 for you to see. In the above image you see Gunther Goth walking through his own garden. Notice that he doesn't actually use the paths, he just takes the straight route to where he's going. In our TS4 demo, a Sim took off down the garden path, turning with it to avoid walking on the grass, emerging at the other end triumphant.

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