The Sims 4

Multi-Actor Behavior Sequencing in The Sims 4


Brian Bell – Senior Software Engineer on The Sims 4, shared some info on Game Developers Conference website about how The Sims 4 runs better on low-end machines. A few months ago, during The Sims 4’s big reveal, SimGuruRyan made a statement about The Sims 4 running better on low-end machines than The Sims 3:

We know that our players have a wide range of different PC specs. We want to make sure that somebody playing on a lower end machine has just as great an experience as somebody on a higher end machine.

Right now we’re doing a lot of work to optimise the game’s performance, cut down on loading screens, and make sure everything still looks as beautiful, the Sims feel as vibrant, and that your gameplay is just as much fun regardless of what spec you’re playing on.

Today, Brian Bell shared some interesting news about his upcoming class on GDC on how The Sims 4 works. What’s really interesting about this text is that he often compares The Sims 4 to an online game.

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.


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 Link

Thanks to Rincon Del Simmer for the find!


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