Are you excited for The Sims 4 game to come out? You should be. The newest installment in the ever popular Sims franchise features a whole new way to customize your Sims just how you want them. You can even make a Sim that looks just like you. The wide variety of changes players can make in their Sims’ physical features and body size created a big challenge for the creators to solve when animating the Sims. Let’s take a look at the new Create a Sim mode, the problems it created for the animators, and how they solved them.
The new Create a Sim mode for Sims 4 might be the most powerful character creator in video games. Players can change all of their Sim’s physical features by clicking on the feature they want to change and pushing and pulling it to the shape they want it to be. The character creator in Sims 3 was also very customizable but players had to wade through a large set of menus to do it. This character creator is much more intuitive and detailed. It is detailed enough that players can accurately recreate people from the real world.
But the degree to which players can modify their Sims created a big problem for the animators when animating the Sims’ motions. Imagine two Sims hugging.
If you’ve made a very thin Sim, the other Sim’s arms would just awkwardly hover around them. On the other hand if your Sim is wide, the other Sim’s arms would go inside their body, which is closer than most people want to be. The body shape of the Sim affects nearly ever animation in the game, including the Sim’s arms hanging at their sides.
To solve this problem, the animators had to animate the Sims in a way that would take into account their body shape. Their solution was to place markers that they call slots at dozens of places on the surface of the Sims’ bodies.
If you’ve ever seen an actor in a motion capture suit, it looks very similar to that. The slots move when the players change their Sims’ shape in Create a Sim. Then the animation for the Sims’ motions is tracked based on which slots the Sims’ hands are closest to and the animation is adjusted to fit the position of those slots.