Life By You

Life By You Art Style: Latest Dev Stream Shares Art Love!

life by you art style fe

Get a closer look at the art direction for Life by You!

Life by You art style

The Life by You art style has received mixed reactions from players anticipating the release of Paradox Tectonic’s upcoming life simulation game. Some people love the realism. Others aren’t a fan of it, saying that the humans have a distinct uncanny valley vibe going on with them. Whether you love or hate the art direction for Life by You, you might be interested in learning a little more about how the current art style came to be in Life by You.

The Life by You team hosted a developer livestream today on their YouTube channel that focused exclusively on the Life by You art style. Let’s go over everything that was covered in the stream!

Life by You Art Style: Escaping Childish Cartoons

Life by You Art Team Dev Stream 2 30 screenshot

Of course, players are eager to know why the team chose to develop a life sim with a super realistic art style. Many people anticipating the release of Life by You have become accustomed to The Sims franchise which is known for its youthful cartoony aesthetic. Breaking away from this well-established art direction certainly comes with risks but as Art Director, Richard, explains, they know their target audience.

Life by You art style

The people playing Life by You are most likely going to be mature adults who grew up playing “other life sims” (aka: The Sims) and want something more than that now. The team didn’t want the Life by You art style to copy any other game. They wanted it to have its own distinct style and a style that is going to appeal to adults, not children. The team recognises that the children who grew up playing The Sims are not children anymore and will want a game that is more reflective of a more mature player base.

Another reason for the Life by You art style is that this visual design is easier for players to modify. One of the biggest selling points of the game is that it’s the most moddable life simulation game on the market. So the visuals of the game are intended to serve that purpose and allow players to create whatever they want for the game and have it look seamless and like it belongs there. It’s an art style that doesn’t commit to any one particular aesthetic which allows it to become any aesthetic players want it to be.

Making an Open World Feel Alive

Life by You Art Team Dev Stream 1 56 screenshot

One of the biggest challenges that comes with designing an open world game is making it feel dense and lived-in. Rabbitholes and buildings that are just background set dressing can be a good way around this; however when it comes to the Life by You art style, they didn’t want to put anything in the game that doesn’t add to the gameplay.

Every building you see in Life by You’s beachside world is a real destination your humans can explore. Every business and every home is a fully functional lot with humans working and living there. NPC humans live out their lives fully within the world and do not travel to the edge of the map and disappear somewhere. It’s this kind of dedication to real, livable spaces that the dev team feels is going to meet the challenge of making an open world feel alive.

On that note, the dev team confirmed that the world shipping with early access is a beachside world. They even included multiple screens of some concept art maps for the world. Keep in mind these are early development maps so they may not be 100% accurate to the final world we get in September, but you can get a feel for the general aesthetic of the world from these images.

Lighting Effects

One aspect of the Life by You art style players might not immediately think about is the lighting. Lighting is so important to set the tone and feel of a game so technical artist, Chris, discussed how he helped contribute to the Life by You art style through dynamic lighting.

Life by You art style

In Life by You, every individual light source is dynamic. This means that it casts its own shadows and has its own light source that reflects off of whatever surface it is near. So a crackling fireplace, a candle, and a ceiling light are all going to have their own distinct glow and interact with their surroundings differently, in a more realistic way. Having this dynamic lighting system sets the whole mood of the game both indoors and outdoors. The lighting in Life by You is so detailed that you can even faintly see dust particles floating in rays of light filtering through a window.

Life by You Art Team Dev Stream 10 26 screenshot

The world lighting will of course change with the day/night cycle and if players want to skip the game ahead several hours or even days to get a particular lighting effect, they can do that. Rod Humble mentioned in a previous stream that players can skip time ahead a decade if they want to.

Players can also control the lights themselves. Their humans can turn lights, candles, and fireplaces on and off. There is also settings for auto-lights, so lights can automatically turn on and off as humans enter and leave rooms or go to sleep for the night. Businesses have their own auto-light setting that will turn the lights on when the business is open and turn them off when the business is closed.

Character Customisation

Another important piece of the Life by You art style is the character customisation. Players can give their humans variety of unique scars and tattoos that they can free place, rotate, and scale to their desired position and size.

There are also sliders to adjust wrinkles and glossiness of the skin. Irises, pupils, and scleras can be adjusted individually to create humans with heterochromia.

Life by You art style

Every facet of the face has adjustable sliders. Weight painting was used to control how a part of a humans face morphs with the slider positions. While there are still some issues to work out with the weight painting, the team is happy with their progress so far and feel like they are very close to getting the face customization to a fully polished state.

When it comes to hair texture, the Life by You art style needs to match the rest of the game while still being versatile enough for players to customize. The team is actively working on things like hair tints, eyebrows, and hair textures that are diverse and detailed. While the early access will start with a small number of basic hairstyles, the Life by You art style team plans to add many, many more styles that are unique and diverse.

Watch the Stream

Want to watch the Life by You art style stream for yourself? Check out the full stream below!

Life by You’s early access begins on September 12th, 2023! You can preorder the game now on Epic Games and save it to your wishlist on Steam.

For more Life by You news, bookmark our Life by You category!

About the author


A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.

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