First of all, I 100% agree that it is a problem that you can’t immediately and clearly tell whether a sim you want to date is a teen or an adult. Pro tip though: you can always take a look at your social menu options – if your sim is an adult, the “Romantic” portion of the social menu will not be there if you are talking to a teen. Admittedly that is not ideal in terms of immediate user feedback, but it might save you the time and simoleons for the drinks next time you try to pick up a stranger at the bar
I wanted to clarify a couple of points you are making in your review about teens and animation. You seem to be saying (I may be misunderstanding you of course?) that Sims 2 and 3 had complete sets of animations for teens, in addition to the adult set. I worked on all three projects, and I can assure you that that is not the case – teens in both games shared the vast majority of the animation content with adults. Because of the height difference, this led to a couple of negative consequences for those games:
One, all adult animations on Sims 2 and Sims 3 had to be animated so they played back without obvious visual issues on teens. Because the teen’s arms were shorter, this meant that animators could not hit the full range of poses possible for the character (e.g. the arms could almost never extend all the way). If you are an animator, you know that “extreme” (in the sense of fully extended) poses are important for expressiveness and animation quality. So in practice the shorter teen height meant that animations both on Sims 2 and 3 could never be as expressive as we wanted them to be.
Two, the height difference meant that there was a not insignificant amount of animation on Sims 2 and Sims 3 that could not be shared for technical reasons. In those cases we had to duplicate the adult animation and hand adjust it for the teen. Each case of this is “invisible” content, in the sense that it did not add any more stuff to do or special behavior to the game but ate up valuable animation time. It’s hard to put a number on how much content we lost to this, but I can say with some confidence that teens in the Sims 2 and Sims 3 did have significantly fewer teen-specific interactions than we wanted to make for them because of the invisible work we had to do in order to support their size.
Our decision to do away with the shorter teen was really driven by a desire to improve animation quality, be able to make more fun content for the game in general (children, I believe, benefitted the most from this), and add more special behaviors for the teens themselves. I still think that it was the right decision, but as an animator I am not neutral on the issue We are listening to the community to tell us whether the trade off was worth it, and what we can do to improve the teen experience. I’m happy to hear you say that after playing for a bit it is not as big a deal as you feared.