Hello Simmers! We’ve reached the most important moment in the development of this collaborative Stuff Pack project yet. Today you’ll be participating in a vote to determine what new gameplay features could be included within this Stuff Pack.
If you’re new to this project and find yourself wondering what this is all about, I’ll direct you to the welcome post in SimGuruGraham’s Corner on the official forums. There you’ll find information on what this project is, how far into development we are, and the votes that fellow Sims players have already participated in. After you catch up, be sure to come right back here to cast your vote!
In the time since the last vote, where you helped select 29 objects and 17 pieces of clothing for this pack, we’ve been buzzing here in the studio about what potential features we could include. With the Stuff Pack team gathered together in a room with a trusty white board, we brainstormed all the potential gameplay features that came to mind that could work with our theme. In a brainstorm, there are no bad suggestions – just a torrent of ideas for us to sift through.
As you can see, a whole bunch of initial possibilities came to mind. There’s a lot to consider here! Some are tried and true favorites from past Sims titles, while others would be brand new to the series. Unfortunately, these ideas can’t all move forward to the next step in our development process, where we write something that we call “design blurbs”. A design blurb is just a short design that’s only a few sentences in length. They exist to give the most basic idea of what we hope to accomplish. It isn’t until later, when we write the full design, where all the little details are added that make each feature truly special. Design blurbs also allow members of various development disciplines to provide a rough estimate of how long they think it will take them to implement their work for a feature. This is vital information that we use to determine what we can add during our development schedule, before work even begins. In the survey today, you’ll be reading design blurbs to determine which group of features you want to cast your vote for.
Before we can write these design blurbs, our designers and producers collaborate to pluck out the ideas we think have the most promise to deliver a great Stuff Pack. Our philosophy for Stuff Packs is to provide features that complement both the overall theme, and each other. We also take into account if our development schedule allows enough time to deliver upon the promise of a proposed feature. Then we consider if what we’re proposing fills a unique niche that’s currently lacking in The Sims 4. It’s also important for us to select features in Stuff Packs that can stand on their own – we recognize that there are many small quality of life additions that players request, but they’re generally a better fit as a supporting feature in a larger pack. Finally, we try and steer clear of features that we suspect a Game Pack or Expansion Pack may want to tackle in the future.
With that perspective in mind, it was fairly easy to eliminate some features from the brainstorm right off the bat, by knowing that they simply can’t be done within a Stuff Pack. From what remained, we pushed our favorites forward, using a mixture of designer intuition and player feedback to determine what could be compelling additions. Some clear themes stood out to us, and you’ll see those represented here in today’s vote.
Voting ends on June 26, 2017 at 10AM PT.
OFF THE GRID
An optional gameplay system for Sims who want to disconnect from the utilities grid, and instead choose to live off the land. Some gameplay feature ideas include:
– Off the Grid Lot Trait – When this lot trait is selected, the lot no longer receives electricity or water utilities. Bills are significantly reduced or eliminated altogether.
– Well Pump / Water Well – An object that provides a means of acquiring water. Sim would be required to occasionally pump water. An attached reservoir would display how much water is remaining to supply the lot before the well must be pumped again. If the reservoir is empty, objects requiring water become temporarily unusable if the Off the Grid lot trait is active. Reduces weekly bills, and has the potential to break or have upgrades.
– Solar Panels – An object that provides a means of acquiring power. Sim would be required to occasionally calibrate and clean the solar panel to ensure it can still supply enough power to the lot. If panels are not maintained, then objects requiring power become temporarily unusable if the Off the Grid lot trait is active. Reduces weekly bills, and has potential upgrades. (May look like a traditional solar panel or may appear to be a tree made of solar panels. Will be a ground placeable object only.)
– Wind Turbine – An object that provides a means of acquiring power. Sim would be required to occasionally calibrate and clean the wind turbine to ensure it can still supply enough power to the lot. If the wind turbine is not maintained, then objects requiring power become temporarily unusable if the Off the Grid lot trait is active. Reduces weekly bills, and has potential upgrades. (May look like a residential wind turbine on a pole or may appear to be a tree made of small wind turbines as leaves. Will be a ground placeable object only.)
An optional gameplay system that’s only used by the active household when laundry objects are placed on the Sim’s home lot. Moodlets and modifiers to the decay rate of certain needs serve as some of the benefits and pushback of this system. Some gameplay feature ideas include:
– Washing Machine – Sims can use the washing machine to clean dirty clothes that are collected from a hamper, or from piles of clothes on the ground. Object could break, be upgraded, and potentially have a fun interaction or a funny failure.
– Dryer – Sims can take clothes that have just been cleaned in the Washing Machine or the Wash Tub and have them dried. Object could break, as well as being upgraded.
– Hamper – When a Sim in the active household changes their outfit on their home lot, laundry is added to the hamper as long as it exists anywhere on the lot. Over time, the hamper gradually fills up. If there is no hamper, or the hamper is full, then a clothes pile appears on the ground.
– Clothes Line – Sims who prefer to be eco conscious can choose to use a clothesline as an alternative to the dryer. Using a clothes line does not require power and offers savings on the weekly bill, but clothes take longer to dry.
– Wash Tub – Sims who prefer to be eco conscious can choose to use a wash tub as an alternative to a washing machine. Using a wash tub does not require power or water, and offers savings on the weekly bill, but the Sim must remain at the object to wash their clothes by hand. can choose to use a wash tub as an alternative to a washing machine. Using a wash tub does not require power or water, and offers savings on the weekly bill, but the Sim must remain at the object to wash their clothes by hand.
A collection of features that add new things to do with your harvestable fruits and vegetables, allowing your Sims to produce and store food for personal use or profit. Some gameplay feature ideas include:
– Canning & Preserving – A new counter-top Electric Canning Pot that allows Sims to take harvestables and preserve them for long term storage, or to make fresh jams. When a harvestable is preserved, the contents of the canning jar will no longer spoil. At any point, the Sim can retrieve the harvestables as fresh as the day they were canned. When fruit is turned into a jam, new recipes are available to make Toast and Jam, Bagel and Jam, or Scones with Jam.
– Nectar Making – A new Nectar Maker object, paired with the new Nectar Making Skill. Use of this object allows Sims to use grapes and other harvestables to create nectar, which can then be aged in Nectar Aging Racks to increase the value of the bottled nectar. New varieties of grapes would be available for planting and harvesting for Sims with the Gardening Skill.
– Superfood Harvestable Plant – A new harvestable plant. (Exact type of plant not yet determined.) Superfood would add new recipes, or have the option of being added to some existing recipes to make them healthier.
A collection of features that allows Sims to reduce their carbon emissions in a variety of ways. Some gameplay feature ideas include:
– Freegan Trait – Sims with the freegan trait have interactions to rummage in large or small trash cans, and potentially elsewhere, to scrounge ingredients. Will include some new ingredients to discover. (Apple core, banana peel, etc.) New ingredients will be used to prepare some new recipes that Freegan Sims will love. Freegan Sims can eat spoiled food without getting sick. Freegan Sims always want to use the Composter object, and will receive special moodlets when doing so.
– Composter – An object that Sims can use to dispose trash, dead plants, spoiled food/harvestables, and to scrape the remains of meals into. As the composter is filled, the contents are converted into fertilizer. Fertilizer is then used on harvestables in accordance with the Gardening Skill.
– Recycling – Recycle Bins can be placed from Build Mode that function differently than trash cans. Sims with certain traits will prefer to use a recycle bin when available, and will receive special moodlets for doing so. Sims will have an option to rummage through existing trash cans to sort their contents for recycling. Sims will have an option to take the recycling they’ve collected to a recycle center – Sim will walk off the lot and disappear, and return a short while later with extra simoleons.
When this vote closes on Monday, we’ll know a whole lot more about what this pack will be, but we still won’t have the full picture. It’s important to note that as we write the full designs for the winning features, that things have the potential to change, and they invariably will. We’re confident we can deliver a fun experience no matter what the result in this feature vote, but the majority of work still lies ahead of us. After the votes are tallied we’ll start writing those full designs, which will comprehensively detail the entire experience that these features will offer. A full design means that each discipline on the Stuff Pack team can provide more accurate estimates of how much time they’ll need to work to implement these features. If estimates change, we have to go back and re-evaluate the features that have been approved. When full development of this pack ramps up in August, we’ll finally know if we need to make any cuts, or if we have room for any further additions. I’m certainly hoping for the latter – there are some great ideas from the brainstorm that are small in scope that we’d love to sneak in. As development progresses, we’ll be sharing with you every step of the way. You’ll not only hear about any changes we make, but the thought process that guided our decisions. Check back regularly in SimGuruGraham’s Corner on our forums to see all of the latest news about this project.
To close, I’ll leave you with dates for the remaining votes for this project. Circle your calendars and come back to make your voice heard!
• Feature Vote (June 23rd – June 26th): Select the top gameplay feature(s) you want to have included in the pack.
• Pack Icon Vote (September 6th– September 8th): Peruse different icons and select the one that will appear in the pack’s box art and within the in-game catalog.
• Pack Title Vote (September 13th – September 15th): Select a title that best summarizes the pack’s atmosphere and content.
You may find answers to commonly asked questions in the FAQ.