Gisteren hebben verschillende SimGuru’s op Reddit de tijd genomen allerlei vragen van Simmers te beantwoorden. Het is dan wel allemaal niets ‘nieuws’, maar desalniettemin nog altijd fijn om van iemand anders te horen dan SimGuruDrake. (Zij is namelijk enkel verantwoordelijk voor die communicatie.) Van het ontwerpen van nieuwe content tot aan de communicatie met fans; er komt weer van alles voorbij. De meest belangrijke vraag en antwoorden hebben we daarom hier voor jullie opgesomd.
One thing I’ve always been curious about: do you guys work on multiple game/stuff/expansion packs at the same time, or does everyone work toward the upcoming pack, then switch focus to the next one?=
We have separate teams on the Sims 4 for SPs, GPs, EPs, and what we call engagement (the team that delivers patches and free content updates.) Usually the bulk of any team is working only on one pack at a time, but the designers write designs for the next pack ahead of the rest of the team, and some engineers may start working on tricky tech ahead of time. We also stay pretty fluid, so if a pack needs more help, people will move off of a different pack temporarily to help out.
To second the “we’re customers, not kids” point, SimGuruDrake seems to be one of the only (if not the only, I’m not sure) gurus that will reply to fan questions etc, and her tone is seriously off-putting at times. I don’t go into the forums often, so I could be wrong, but she’s the only Guru you’ve got on there regularly, and interactions with her are how people are viewing the team. I get it, the forums are a toxic mess, she seems to be handling a lot of that toxicity by herself and that’s got to get to a person. I do admire her mission to try and sort it all out (although I think it’s futile at this point, it’s gone on too long now) – she’s obviously trying so hard – but the way she’s wording things at the moment just don’t seem professional, and it’s not great for how you’re all viewed. She’s gone back and deleted a few of her interestingly worded comments today, so I guess she’s realising this, but still.
Either she needs someone else to chip in and take some of this nastiness off of her shoulders (I honestly feel sorry for her, her ask a guru threads derail so, so quickly), or she needs to remember the mantra lots of us have to deal with in customer service etc – grin, be polite, bear it and call ‘em names when you get home.
Part of her daily duties are entrenched in the forums, so you’ll see her as the primary person responding to threads. That also means that her goal is to defend victims from attacks (deleting mean comments, banning trolls), mitigate damage (stifle rumors, communicate the miscommunicated), and organize conversations (re-rail conversations). I’m not sure of the specific posts you’re talking about, but I trust her to make calculated conversation that achieves those objectives. She’s the best equipped person to determine X is the right thing to do due to the current landscape in the forums.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are supposed to be working but we like interacting with the community and essentially volunteer for SimGuruness. You’ll see some of us occasionally comment in the forums (or here on reddit) – but the amount of time we as dev team members can spend is limited, especially compared the the number of conversations going on at any one time. Honestly, I’d rather the forums function more like Reddit with easily split conversations and upvoted comments/content, but I digress.
Anyway, so that makes Twitter our main form of outgoing communication – quick, simple, public, and supports animated gifs. That said, I know that a ton of dev team members are redditors. Although they aren’t supposed to speak on behalf of the team without being vetted as a SimGuru, I regularly see /r/thesims posts show up in internal emails or water cooler discussion. Plenty of us are subscribed here, even if only a handful of us are SimGurus that respond. I have no doubt plenty of members will be reading these posts during the work day tomorrow.
Just happy to see a new EP out soon. I do have a question fr you, however: are you listening to us?
Please take no offense to this. I know you hear us, but are you listening to us? Do you guys actually take our feedback and do something with it? Sims 4, while I like it, could use a lot. I get that there were time constraints and coding problems but as you are working on new stuff for us, are you listening? Or are we not venting to the right people?
We do listen. We hear you, we listen and, more importantly, we take note of what the community is telling us. It’s tough for us because if we could give everyone what they want we’d do it. In a heartbeat. It’s not like we sit there going “They want X but who care, let’s give them Y instead.”
We release things in packs and we like those packs to have a theme. When we get a lot of little suggestions, it’s hard to find the right place for them. But, we have boat loads of little puzzle pieces of ideas that we’ve gathered from the community and from the development team. When we’re brainstorming ideas for a new pack, we’ll dig through our little puzzle pieces and see if any of them fit with our current idea. And hell, sometimes we’ll try and jam those pieces in even if they don’t quite fit (for instance, Aliens coming with Seasons in Sims 3). But, by and large, we want it to feel like one cohesive pack and not just a bunch of odds and ends stuck together.
On the flip-side of that, when people give us broad ideas, like “I’d like more family gameplay” or “we want toddlers”, we want to make sure we fill in all the those missing puzzle pieces in a way that everyone will enjoy. If we polled 100 different people about what they’d like to see with regard to toddlers, for example, we’d get 100 different answers. So we certainly don’t want to rush something out the door just because everyone wants it. If we tried to rush some sort of family pack out the door it might only satisfy 5% of the people that wanted more family gameplay. So we like to take our time with it. We have a lot of discussions about what it actually means to play with family, or what it means to have a toddler. What new objects do we need? What interactions and socials would you have? Would there be new skills? Would there be any new careers? What sort of CAS parts and clothing do we want to add? These are the questions we ask ourselves about every feature. We don’t like to add a big feature to the game just for the sake of adding it. We want to take our time, make sure we do it right. And if we don’t think we can, then we hold off until we feel like we can.
So, long story short, we hear you. We listen to every idea we see. When it’s an idea we can get behind, or something everyone clearly wants, we write it down. It does not go unnoticed! We really do care about our community. Most people don’t realize it but these SimGuru accounts aren’t required. Random people on the team want to reach out to the community, so they make a SimGuru name. We’re never told what to say. We genuinely care about the experience our players have with the game. It matters to us. A lot.
Finally, given that the answer for the implementation of toddlers hasn’t been a flat out “no”, I eagerly await news about it. I have one save file (my generational one) that I created when I first purchased TS4 and have been quietly and patiently waiting for the addition of toddlers before I begin play on it. I don’t ask for news or a straight “toddlers will be released on X date”, but I really, REALLY beg that if, later down the line, the team discovers that toddlers can’t/won’t be in the game for any reason, for you to just… let us know somehow. I know the forums wouldn’t be happy about it, but at least for me, It’d be better knowing that rather than to continue holding out hope for it.
And about letting people know if something won’t happen… The Sims is a funny thing. It has no real end. It’s a life simulator. There are an infinite number of things that can happen in life. As such, we’d never say “never” about a feature. When it comes to The Sims, you never know what you might get. Especially when you get up towards the 8th and 9th expansions. 😛