Welcome back to another deep dive into our upcoming community voted stuff pack, The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff. That’s right, thanks to you and your votes we have a name, and it rocks!
I’d like to remind everyone that game development is rarely straightforward. It’s really kind of twisty, and sometimes a little squishy, and it’s still early in the development of our new Stuff Pack. What I’m trying to say is, this pack is actively being worked on and the information below is subject to change. But enough about that. Let’s get started discussing today’s topic, Rocking Chairs!
You, the community, voted on what the rocking chair would look like. This was the winning design, in case you’ve forgotten.
And this is what it currently looks like!
Don’t worry, it’ll look more like the concept art once our modeler is done with it. This is what we call a “work in progress asset.”
As you can probably surmise, rocking chairs will behave like…rocking chairs. I know, how daring! So maybe we don’t need to go into explicit detail about how a rocking chair functions, but, suffice to say, it is a chair and it rocks.
So, let’s talk about some of the new gameplay surrounding rocking chairs, because that’s where our rocking chairs in The Sims 4 get really interesting.
Sitting in a rocking chair is quite relaxing for Sims, so naturally uncomfortable, sad, or angry buffs will diminish quicker. Sims will also gain a bonus to their Knitting Skill while on the rocking chair, so make sure you take advantage of that. Try building a “Knitting Room” with a rocking chair and a stereo playing Focus/Metal music to fully immerse your Sim in knitting knirvana.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, Elders will have some unique gameplay with rocking chairs. While sitting in a rocking chair, Elder Sims gain increased friendly relationship gains with other Sims. Elders will also be able to Reminisce on rocking chairs, gaining a small amount of fun as they relax and explore their mind palace. If you’re playing as an Elder while they’re Reminiscing, you’ll be able to see glimpses into their mind swirl around them, similar to toddler’s when they play make-believe with toys. What Elders take away from the whole experience is up to their personality traits, but hopefully something pleasant!
Here’s an in development clip of the Reminisce animation, as modeled by this adult Sim. Since adults and elders use the same animation rig they share the same default Sim that is used to model In Progress animations in our animation tools.
Not only will Elders gain unique interactions with the rocking chair, but Children and Toddlers too. Both Children and Toddler Sims will have a Play With Rocking Chair interaction, where they can fulfill Fun motives by rocking in an insatiable furor. Check out this adorable, enthusiastic toddler. Where do they get all their energy?
We’d love to explore doing more with rocking chairs down the road. So, let us know if you’d like to see more rocking chairs in the future!
Now lets bring it over to the Lead Animator on our Stuff Pack, HaeJu Chung! We’re going to ask her a few questions so she can give us some insight into what it’s like to be an Animator on The Sims 4.
Conor: Can you tell us a little about what an animator does on The Sims 4?
HaeJu: Animators create the Sim’s unique movements that show them interacting with other Sims or objects. Every movement a Sim makes in game is individually animated by an animator using our animation tool on The Sims 4. We use our own custom tools that were developed here at Maxis specifically for The Sims.
Conor: What are some of the challenges you’re facing working on the Rocking Chair, and how do you plan to overcome them?
HaeJu: The rocking chair is a challenging object, we have never made anything quite like it before on The Sims 4. Sims on the Rocking Chair are able to perform existing interactions, like socializing with other Sims or reading a book, while the chair is in motion. Since we are using the existing animations for these interactions, I have to create the perfect sitting pose that will allow us to blend these animations seamlessly with the movement of the Rocking Chair. This may sound simple, but it actually is not. We make multiple animations for each interaction to give the visuals some variance – we call these animation loops – and some of the existing interactions, like socializing with other Sims while sitting, have many different loops with various hand movements and different angles for the Sim’s head, among other things. Figuring out the perfect pose so that rocking looks good and works with all of the existing animations we want to use requires a great deal of iteration and testing to get it looking just right. Once we have settled on the perfect pose then we can start making the unique rocking chair animations, including the Knitting while rocking animation.
Conor: Is there a specific animation for the Rocking Chair that you’re excited about?
HaeJu: Yes! There are Play With Rocking Chair animations for both children and toddlers that will be really fun to animate. We shared a clip above of the In Progress animation featuring the toddler. I’m looking forward to finishing these animations and seeing them in game with the final rocking chair model. It’s going to be so cute!
Conor: What is your favorite feature you have ever worked on in The Sims 4?
HaeJu: My favorite feature right now is the Murphy Bed in The Sims 4 Tiny Living Stuff Pack. It was difficult to animate. Like the rocking chair, we hadn’t done anything like it before on The Sims 4, so it was challenging. I enjoyed taking on this challenge, and it was really fun to animate, especially the failure animation where the Sim gets squished by the bed.
That’s for all now! Please keep watching the forums, I’ll have another deep dive for you soon. Stay safe and keep gaming.