Sections

The Sims 4 models weight loss and gain, emotional reactions

Thursday, 29th August 2013 00:57 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The latest Sims game will enable its virtual inhabitants to change their body shape through play, rather than just setting it during character creation and leaving it at that.

Speaking to PCGamesN, producer Grant Rodiek said Maxis has implemented fitness modelling.

“Sims can naturally change over time in the game. If they overeat they’ll become overweight. If they never exercise, they might become overweight. But if you eat healthily or eat properly or you exercise, your sims will lose weight,” he said.

Somewhat troublingly, Rodiek confirmed sims will react emotionally to changes in their body, although he denied any “statement” will be made.

“We have the ability for them to be unhappy about their weight. It’s tricky with the emotional state being based on people’s weight. We want to make sure we’re not making a statement or telling people what’s right or wrong, but you can tell a story with those tools,” he said.

“We give you all the pieces you need to tell that story if you want to do that.”

“Your sims might react, like, when they get bigger you’ll notice they’ll look at themselves and react. How well we change their emotional state based on it, we don’t want to make a statement about things like that because that’s not our place to do that.”

The developer’s wording is deliberately vague, but may suggest sims can have multiple reactions to changes in their body shape; perhaps there’ll be a “good self esteem” character trait which will help sims evade the constant media assault which drives most first-worlders to dissatisfaction with their physical state.

The Sims 4 was detailed at gamescom and includes more robust character customisation. It does not have always-on DRM.

Breaking news

9 Comments

Sign in to post a comment.

  1. TheWulf

    This bothers me, frankly, and it’s the one thing that would put me off the game.

    America’s current obsession with the hyper-thin, mostly thanks to the gift of vomit-culture, brought to us by Hollywood, isn’t healthy. I’ve been talking with a friend about this at length.

    People are genetically predisposed to having a baseline weight, this is actually a thing and you can read up on it. Some are healthier thin (but not that think), whilst others are actually healthier with a little pudge. This is due to genetics. Trying to force them to drive their body away from it’s natural, healthy state just to look pretty for the masses? No thanks.

    That’s not the kind of lesson I want games teaching, and if I hear that The Sims 4 is going to be preaching bad health at me, then I’m just not going to want it. I’m tired of the shallow, superficial, skin-deep obsession with stick figures.

    Everything in moderation.

    So if they force this on me, not interested. If they don’t, then everything is good.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Kabby

    I’d like to see this used in something like Skyrim/RPGs. These games employ some basic sliders but essentially everyone uses the same base skeleton. Improvements in player and npc diversity is definitely an area that needs improvement.

    As for the Sims game itself? This addition probably aligns quite well with their mostly female, self obsessed audience.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. viralshag

    @2, Fable has always had weight gain with eating. Eat 100 pies and you’d get podgy.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Kabby

    It did, yeah. That series did have a few redeeming features.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. viralshag

    @4, I agree it’s not the best franchise in the world and overall and it went downhill from 2 onwards but I still enjoy playing the games. I’m hoping for a return to the glory days of the first game with the next-gen version.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. sh4dow

    @1:

    Does the middle picture up above look “hyper-thin” to you?!

    A lot of the time when people make claims such as you do, I can only shake my head. I don’t think I’ve EVER come across something where hyper-thin was hyped, aside from models. But as I’m not into fashion, I simply don’t take note of them.

    Aside from those, it’s usually well-trained, yet lean bodies that are “advertised”. And guess what most people would look like if they did a little cardio and a little weight training every day? I bet that most people who argue about genetics sit on their ass all day while going “Uhm yeah, it’s all just genetics”.
    When REALLY, cardio has been shown to lower risk of heart disease and weight training (if done not for looks but functionality) simply makes you better functioning in everyday life (because everybody has to carry shit around at some point) and less prone to injury while doing strenuous work. And of course it can be good for your self esteem because it can be pretty embarrassing when people watch you having a hard time carrying around something that you really should be able to lift quite easily.

    I actually think (and this is why I clicked on the article in the first place, even though I HATE The Sims) that it is a great idea to convey to people what leads to over-/undereating and what one can do to get into a better emotional state. HOWEVER… do I think that The Sims will actually provide any meaningful, positive messages in that regard? I find that very, very doubtful.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. sh4dow

    Oh and you know how I know that? (Not that anybody’s gonna read this, probably)
    I used to be a genetics blamer myself. Hell, I DO have a shitty metabolism.
    But guess what? If I eat healthy and exercise regularly, I do look a lot like the dude in the middle up there. But that’s really not the point. It’s just a neat side effect. The most important thing is health.
    Having your heart last longer (lower base heart rate), lowering the chance of heart attacks, being able to carry heavy things without injury, reducing the risk of back injuries AND just as a perk also looking fit. It’s really a win-win-win-win (or something) situation. As long as one doesn’t become obsessed with it, obviously – as with anything, really.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. viralshag

    I eat, smoke and drink too much and I’m somewhere between the middle picture and the one on the right haha. But I balance it off, like you say #7, with a lot of cardio and the gym. Which is still no way to live as you get out what you put in which is why my results are not the middle picture but not the right picture either.

    Everything in moderation but there’s not really any GOOD reason for not trying to stay fit and at a good weight. Even though I have the metabolism of a 40 year old apparently… :/

    #8 11 months ago
  9. williamansley

    Leaving aside all considerations of what lessons a game should or should not be trying to teach, let’s consider the accuracy of this article. I have played the Sims 3 enough to know what I am taking about, and the weight of your sim can be changed during game play in the Sims 3. If you keep forcing your sim to eat when it isn’t hungry, you can make it get as fat as you want, up to the maximum size possible in the game, no matter how thin or muscular it starts out. On the other hand, if you create a sim maxed out in fatness and with the lowest possible muscularity, if you force it to do cardio exercise (treadmill, for example), it will become thin, and if you force it to do strength training, it will become muscular. However, the sim will slowly return to its original shape (over a few sim-days) if you stop force feeding it or forcing it to exercise. The sims have no emotional reaction whatsoever to gaining or losing weight or muscularity, nor do the sims around them. It seems to me that being able to have your sims react in some way to a change in their shape will make the game much more interesting. It just shouldn’t be a “not being as thin as possible makes me depressed” fixed reaction. And, as far as the reactions of other sims to a given sim’s appearance goes, it should be be something you can choose, so you can have a sim who only flirts with buff sims or a chubby chaser sim.

    I will be very interested to see what the actual changes in game play with the Sims 4 will be, if any. I may have observed a sim in the Sims 3 eat when it wasn’t hungry, but this happens very rarely, if at all, and I have never seen one get fat on its own. However, if you create a maximally fat, athletic sim in the Sims 3, and make it exercise until it reaches a high athletic skill level, and make sure it has easy access to a a treadmill, then it will exercise on its own often enough that it will remain thinner than its original size.

    #9 11 months ago