Welcome back to another Nifty Knitting Deep Dive! This is part 4 of our ongoing series where we take a peek behind the curtain (of yarn?) to discuss in depth upcoming gameplay features, and have a little Q&A with members of the development team. Today, let’s talk about Plopsy!
Plopsy is an online arts and crafts marketplace to buy and sell goods. It’s sort of an amalgamation of real life online stores, but the themes should feel familiar. For a pack centered around knitting, this felt like a really good add. Afterall, there are only so many times you can gift your significant other a sweater…and yet so many sweaters to knit!
The flow for Plopsy is relatively straightforward – once you’ve crafted an object the List on Plopsy interaction becomes available. Listing an item on Plopsy costs a small fee, and will remain listed on Plopsy for several days. You can keep track of your listed items in your inventory, where you will see the current duration of the item and if there are any interested buyers.
(it’s that easy!)
If someone is interested in buying your item, you’ll be notified with a message. If you agree to the buyer’s offer, you can use the Ship on Plopsy action to ship the object in the mail. You’ll be paid immediately and get a thank you message from the buyer when they receive your package. Alternatively, you can ignore a buyer’s offer and relist the object for sale again.
Plopsy offers a higher payout than selling things the old fashioned way, at the cost of some general maintenance and patience. The goal is to offer a better selling experience for both the stay-at-home crafting professional and the fairweather crafting hobbyist. Plopsy isn’t tied down to a career or a gig, so anyone is free to try it!
Sims can also purchase things on Plopsy through their phones or computers. This storefront will rotate in random crafted items throughout the day, so even non-crafty Sims have a chance at some cool stuff (including the new knitted clothing!).
We plan for Plopsy to be available for things like paintings, woodworking statues, potions, knitted items, flower arrangements, and more. Hoping to wrap future arts and crafts under Plopsy too!
Without further ado here’s Rick Rodgers, engineer extraordinaire here on our Stuff Pack team, here to talk a bit about coding, UI, and all the bits between.
Conor: Can you tell us what it means to be Gameplay Engineer on The Sims 4?
Rick: To understand what a GPE is (we always say GPE), you need to understand a bit about how The Sims 4 works. The Sims 4 uses a client-server architecture, which means it is essentially composed of two separate programs that talk to each other. The first program we call “the client”, and it is responsible for displaying the game to the player. It handles things like graphics, audio, and the user interface (it’s relatively important!). The second program we call “the server” and it manages what we call gameplay systems like autonomy, interactions, relationships, aspirations, skills, and careers. The server keeps track of those systems and condenses them down into operations the client understands, like “play this animation on this object” or maybe “put this cat on top of this vacuum”. As a GPE, my job is to build (and fix) the gameplay systems on the server and make sure designers have the options they need to create features using them. (Disclaimer: I am simplifying a bit)
Conor: You also work on UI Engineering. How is it different from Gameplay Engineering? How is it the same?
Rick: To me, gameplay engineering is about solving abstract problems like “where and how should a Sim put down the object they are holding?” while UI engineering is usually about solving much more concrete problems like, “What do we do if the Russian word for Tiny Home is too long for this button?”. UI engineering can be really satisfying because the changes we make are usually immediately visible. There is also something fun about changing-up the interface of the game that we stare at all day long. At the end of the day though, code is code. I like to work on both because it means I get to implement the gameplay and UI components of a single feature.
Conor: Is there one thing in Nifty Knitting that you’re really excited to be working on?
Rick: Plopsy – I think partly because the idea of selling things I make at home has always appealed to me in real life. Also, Plopsy breaks some of the assumptions we had previously made about how we would use the crafting system, and it’s been fun to find and solve the problems that have come up.
Conor: What is your favorite feature you have ever worked on in The Sims 4?
Rick: Can I pick two?
Favorite feature to make:
I had a lot of fun adding Freelancer Careers to the game. We had done something similar to Freelancer with the Acting Career in The Sims 4 Get Famous, and we wanted to figure out a way to use some of the things we liked about the Acting Career to make other careers. When we added another Freelancer Career for Fashion Photography in The Sims 4 Moschino Stuff Pack, I felt like my baby was all grown up.
Favorite feature to play:
I really enjoyed working on the Murphy Bed in The Sims 4 Tiny Living Stuff Pack. It’s convenient design, but sometimes prickly exterior, make it the perfect combination of sensible and a little nefarious. You might say I identify with it a bit. I didn’t hook-up the object itself, that was our design team. But I worked on it because we needed gameplay support in code for a bed that was also a loveseat. We had never made anything like that before.
Conor: Thanks Rick!
That’s all I have for this week, Simmers, but never fear, we have one more design deep dive to share with you. I saved the best, and my personal favorite, for last. So be sure to join us next time for the Knitting Deep Dive!