Electronic Arts News The Sims 4

Game Developer Conference!

GDC (Game Developer Conference) is just around the corner, and Simmers around the world are hoping for new The Sims 4 info during that time.

There will be 3 different The Sims 4 presentations happening at GDC. Each presentation will teach other developers about new technology that’s used to build TS4.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Improving Visualization of AI Info

Location: Room 3007, West Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 18

Time: 11:15am-12:15pm

FormatSession
Track: AI Summit
Vault Recording: Video

When AI was simple, debugging consisted of confirming that the character was simply doing the one thing you expected. Over time, debugging moved away from “what” and became more about “why?” or “why not?” The collision of information about the agents, the environment, the player and the game state creates an enormous amount of data that can affect the decisions that the characters make. In this session, three developers will share methods that their studios employed to expose that information in manageable, understandable ways to programmers and designers alike. Bill Merrill of Turtle Rock Studios will explain a simple yet powerful timeline-like view they used in the upcoming Evolve. Charles Gast will show details of their HTTP-based Game State Inspector, allowing powerful information widgets for The Sims 4. Mika Vehkala will demonstrate features of ReView as used for debugging the multi-player bots in Killzone: Shadow Fall.

Takeaway

Attendees will see a variety of existing methods for visualizing information for developing, tuning and debugging AI, and plenty of ideas for developing their own visualization tools.

Concurrent Interactions in The Sims 4

Location: Room 304, South Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 19

Time: 5:00pm-6:00pm
FormatSession
Track: Programming
Vault Recording: Video

In real life, people often do several things at the same time, but games typically limit agents to performing actions sequentially. For The Sims 4, we developed a system for authoring interactions that allows simulated people (called Sims) to express multiple concurrent behaviors. Interactions are largely data-driven and are defined in terms of constraints, which specify the state a Sim must be in to perform the interaction. Constraints are used to test whether interactions are compatible, and to drive decisions that Sims make about whether, how and where to perform an interaction. This system allows Sims in The Sims 4 to convincingly eat, watch TV, chat with other Sims, express emotion, and perform many more behaviors simultaneously. We believe that this powerful and simple technique could be applied to a similar effect in your game too.

Takeaway

Attendees will learn a powerful and practical technique for defining composable behaviors using constraints. Constraints can drive decision-making and allow multiple behaviors to be expressed simultaneously. This technique allows characters in The Sims 4 to eat, watch TV, and socialize with other Sims, all while sitting, expressing anger, and much more.

Intended Audience

The main audience for this presentation will consist of software engineers who are curious to learn a new technique to add to their toolboxes. The presentation will also be of interest to designers and producers, who should be inspired by the possibilities that are unlocked by constraint-driven behaviors. This presentation has no prerequisites.

Multi-Actor Behavior Sequencing in The Sims 4

Location: Room 2020, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 21

Time: 2:30pm-3:30pm
FormatSession
Track: Programming
Vault Recording: Video
As online gaming continues to surge in popularity, simulation complexity increases rapidly and aggressively multi-core platforms become the standard, decoupling game presentation from simulation becomes increasingly important. For The Sims 4, we’ve developed a novel model for rendering high-fidelity synchronized behaviors involving multiple actors, even when driven by a simulation that runs at highly variable and/or low-frame rates, and which potentially communicates with the renderer over a high/variable latency connection. Historically, such products have often made significant compromises, either by requiring their simulations to run at real-time rates, and forcing extremely rigid synchronization, or by limiting visual quality in critical areas like character animation. Our solution addresses all of these, and is capable of scaling across a variety of game types by offering a core framework for individual game teams to extend and customize.

Takeaway

Attendees will leave this presentation with a working general knowledge sufficient to recreate a basic version of our solution to the problem of high-fidelity, multi-actor behavior in a game with a decoupled simulation, as well as specific solutions to common problems related to character animation in such an environment.

Intended Audience

The primary audience for this presentation is software engineers who are interested in delivering high-quality, multi-actor character animation and other visual behaviors in an online or otherwise parallel game architecture. Prior experience with online (client and server) and simulation-style game development is helpful, but not required.

 GDC Presentation Links:

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Improving Visualization of AI Info

Concurrent Interactions in The Sims 4

Multi-Actor Behavior Sequencing in The Sims 4

About the author

Jovan Jovic

Founder of the Sims Community website. I do plenty of things around here including writing articles such as "Top 10 Disney Princesses in The Sims", social media management, video content creation, streaming and more!

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