The Sims 3 Preview - What's Really New in Sims 3, Plus Goals and Ambitions

Get a step-by-step breakdown of what's new in this highly anticipated game, and take a sneak peek at the new life-goals system as well.

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The Sims 3 is finally coming this year, and with it, the renewed hopes and dreams of everyone who's ever wanted to make little computer people have little computer one-night-stands, or make them die horribly in little computer kitchen fires. The third installment of this phenomenally popular series will bring with it new features and improvements to the older stuff--such as better graphics, with enhanced lighting and shadowing, and tons of expressive new animations--but what exactly will be different between The Sims 3 and The Sims 2? We'll take a look, and also dive into the enhanced goals and ambition system, which, if used properly, may grant your sims superhuman powers--such as the mind-blowing ability to never have to go to the potty again. (No, seriously!)

Let's start with the game's customization and editing tools, which are being expanded greatly for The Sims 3. In The Sims 2, there were only two body types ("normal" and "fat"), a handful of preset skin colors, and a handful of preset hair colors. There was a fairly robust set of tools to tweak facial features, primarily based on preset options (a bunch of preset eyes, preset noses, and so on); the most detailed likenesses were created by advanced players using tools outside the game (such as Adobe Photoshop). However, in The Sims 3, facial features will pretty much all have various sliders that will offer much more in-depth tweaking options.

The Sims 3 will also have sliders that will let you choose customized gradients for skin color (to better represent different ethnicities, as well as blue-skinned aliens, green-skinned witches, or what have you); gradients for primary and secondary hair color (for those talented stylists who really want highlights in their hair); a slider for body type that will let you choose how lean, muscular, or fat your characters are; and the new "create a style" swatch tool, which will let you edit and save various color patterns, and then apply them to anything in the world that has a pattern. If you care to, you can make a sim with a leopard-print shirt, a rideable leopard-print bicycle, and a leopard-print refrigerator. (We actually checked on this last part, and we're pleased to report that the leopard-print bicycle totally works.)

You'll find new-and-improved customization and building options in The Sims 3. Plus, you can be a gold digger.

Buy and Build modes have been tweaked in The Sims 3, and neighborhood lots will also work differently. Previously, furniture for your house was sorted by function and type; now they'll have a revamped room-specific sorting list as well. The larger part of the story of the Buy and Build modes will be the use of create-a-style to paint all of your furniture, as well as your house, with whichever patterns you want as freeform wallpaper and carpeting--such as with, let's say for the sake of example, leopard print. (We tried this, and you can absolutely have leopard-print sofas in a room with all leopard-print walls.) Swapping in custom-built items created by the fanatically loyal Sims community will also be made easier in The Sims 3 with a built-in application that runs out of the game's launcher (as opposed to having to quit the game, open up a Web browser, and pulling up the "Exchange" community site, which is being updated to include YouTube-like and Facebook-like functionality, such as blogs, friends lists, favorites lists, and user ratings). In addition to uploading and downloading furniture, customized sims characters, and housing to and from the community site, The Sims 3 will have an in-game movie-making tool that will let you upload and download videos to and from the Exchange. More details on that at a later date.

Furthermore, outdoor lots have been changed so that there will now be only one huge, continuous neighborhood (rather than the separate neighborhoods of The Sims 2), within which time is constantly running. Likewise, your neighbors' lives are constantly changing concurrently. The neighborhood view in The Sims 3 has been changed to be an actual real-time 3D space that shows context-sensitive icons that tell you exactly where you need to go if you plan to go out to a gym, restaurant, store, recreational area, or wherever else. Like in The Sims 2, there will be outdoor "lots" outside of your sims' homes where you will still, in fact, send your sims to work out, have a romantic dinner date, buy groceries, or just play in the park. The difference is that in The Sims 3, the neighborhood view is actual 3D space, so you can seamlessly move from your house to a lot, or from one lot to another, without having to hit a loading screen. In fact, if your have a bicycle or car, your sims can immediately hop on and take a ride; if not, sims will be equipped with a mobile phone that they can use to automatically call a taxi to whisk them away to where they're going in real time (not by sitting on a loading screen until they magically reappear at their destination).

You'll also find it easier to make your way around town, which comes in handy for sims aspiring to become superstar athletes.

There will also be new public events in The Sims 3, such as music concerts, movie premieres, pool parties, barbecues, sporting events, outdoor fishing, and the most civic-minded public activity in a Sims game to date, attending a public protest at SimCity Hall, where your sims can voice their discontent with the administration's legal mumbo jumbo by angrily shouting their own nonsensical "simlish" mumbo jumbo.

The management of sim characters and relationships will also be tweaked and streamlined for the sequel. Previously, you had to manage each of your sims' "motives" (personal needs) such as hunger, fatigue, and needing to go to the bathroom; many of these needs are now automated, and if neglected, sims will take care of themselves. You'll also be able to drag and drop garbage items into the trash to keep your house clean (rather than having to order your sims to manually pick up each old newspaper and clear each dish).

Managing relationships and conversations will be a lot more interesting in The Sims 3. Especially if you pursue a career as a super spy.

And previously, your sims would start relationships with their neighbors by using "socials," various types of social interactions such as chatting, telling jokes, and so on, and you'd raise or lower your relationship with another character by repeatedly doing either something that the other character liked, or didn't like, until your relationship number reached 100 (the highest level) or -100 (the lowest). In The Sims 3, as we've mentioned in our earlier coverage, you can't simply choose to "chat" with another sim 87 times until he or she falls in love with you; you'll have to vary up your responses, and you'll have different conversation options available depending on your character's personality traits (for instance, having the "evil" trait will let you literally steal candy from a baby) and even on your character's career path (for example, aspiring politicians can ask for campaign donations).

One of the biggest changes in The Sims 3 is the "traits" system, which helps you determine your sims' personality (previously, you used sliders to select how messy or neat; active or lazy; shy or outgoing they were, and that combination would assign your sim an arbitrary horoscope sign, such as Leo or Taurus, that determined personality). Another of the biggest changes is the new-and-improved goals system, which has expanded way beyond The Sims 2's "aspiration" system (which gave sims a handful of daily goals to work toward filling a fulfillment meter to "platinum" level).

You can choose up to five "traits" for your adult sims that will define their personalities, how they interact with their neighbors, what kind of career paths might be more suitable for them, and which characters might be more or less compatible with them. EA's Sims team has done a great deal of fine-tuning on the design of these traits to ensure that they work for different kinds of Sims players. For ambitious players who want all of the advantages, traits such as "ambitious," "schmoozer," "charismatic," and "genius" can give you a head start along certain career paths and put you in a better position to be popular in the neighborhood; for players who are more interested in either creating purposely disadvantaged characters, or creating characters who resemble people they know in real life, there are disadvantageous traits such as "absent-minded," "inappropriate," "unlucky," and of course "insane."

In fact, here's a full and complete list of the 65 traits in The Sims 3 for you to look over: absent-minded, ambitious, angler, artistic, athletic, bookworm, brave, can't stand art, charismatic, childish, clumsy, commitment issues, computer whiz, couch potato, coward, daredevil, dislikes children, easily impressed, evil, excitable, family-oriented, flirty, friendly, frugal, genius, good, good sense of humor, great kisser, green thumb, grumpy, handy, hates the outdoors, heavy sleeper, hopeless romantic, hot-headed, hydrophobic, inappropriate, insane, kleptomaniac, light sleeper, loner, loser, loves the outdoors, lucky, mean spirited, mooch, natural cook, neat, neurotic, never nude (yes, from Arrested Development), no sense of humor, over-emotional, party animal, perfectionist, schmoozer, slob, snob, technophobe, unflirty, unlucky, vegetarian, virtuoso, and workaholic. Enough traits for you?

Along with new traits for your sims, The Sims 3 will have a revamped life-goal system built around "lifetime wishes"--a single long-term goal that you can choose for each of your sims that will eventually grant that character ultimate happiness. You build up to lifetime wishes with periodically updating regular "wishes," which take the form of basic tasks that will unlock minor rewards and increase your sim's overall morale with a "moodlet"--a minor condition that contributes to your characters' overall mood. Evil sim just stole candy from a baby? Ahh, that's a good moodlet: +15. Having to listen to the annoying sound of the crying baby? Ugh, that's a bad moodlet: -15. Working toward your lifetime wish will win your sims "lifetime happiness points" that can be spent on extremely powerful items, such as a teleport pad, or on astoundingly superhuman abilities, such as iron bladder, a complete immunity to having to go to the bathroom. No, seriously.

And if you want to keep your dreams small, you can take a boring job, like being a space astronaut.

And here's a full list of the game's 32 lifetime wishes: professional author, world-renowned surgeon, become a superstar athlete, CEO of a megacorporation, hit movie composer, heartbreaker, rock star, the tinkerer, become a master thief, forensic specialist: dynamic DNA profiler, become an astronaut, master of the arts, perfect mind/perfect body, gold digger, star news anchor, living in the lap of luxury, jack of all trades, surrounded by family, renaissance sim, chess legend, the culinary librarian, golden tongue/golden fingers, international super spy, super popular, presenting the perfect private aquarium, celebrated five-star chef, illustrious author, swimming in cash, the perfect garden, leader of the free world, the emperor, and become a creature-robot cross-breeder.

And that's a lot of new stuff going from The Sims 2 to The Sims 3. We're looking forward to playing this new sequel and trying out everything that it has to offer--and it'll offer quite a bit. The Sims 3 is scheduled for release in June.

Discussion

233 comments
billybob7897
billybob7897

@fivefourthsdumb you can rotate items 45 degrees and each grid is subdivided into four smaller squares (for center objects, an improvement over the old grid). i agree they need to improve a lot of building features. It's annoying that I had to look up how to make a basement. A basement! a ton of homes have them! but don't count the sims 3 out yet. it's possible they just haven't talked about all the new building features. i remember when the sims 2 was coming out ALL they talked about were aspirations.

unknownblob
unknownblob

They say that there isn't going to be DRM with the sims 3.

superballfun
superballfun

Awesome game definately gonna get it.the graphics are amazing for pc :)

DoomBlast
DoomBlast

@fivefourthsdumb: Indeed, I was also looking forward to seeing more build mode features. Building structures is a big part of the fun of this game, and I still haven't heard anything new about it other than the "create-a-style" thing.

dioroq
dioroq

I agreed with mr versipellis. looks good to me

Rusty_Bullet101
Rusty_Bullet101

Can someone translate "jason19"s comments? I am lost....laughing....but lost

fivefourthsdumb
fivefourthsdumb

They focused too much on the personalities and crap of the Sims... don't get me wrong, that does make it more fun and such, but what they REALLY need to improve on is the building mechanisms. A game should include things that a ton of people use cheats for, so the community DOESN'T have to use the cheats anymore. Also, just other intuitive building features to make homes much more extravagant and interesting. A few off the top of my head; 1. Allow 180 degree of rotation when placing objects down 2. Allow an option to select GridMode on or off, decides whether you want to place objects anywhere, or link them to the traditional grid. 3. A better system for split level homes and split level stairs 4. Curved walls/paths/pools/etc. and corresponding objects. 5. Better driveway features 6. Etc. etc. I could go on so much Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Sims games, but what I'm getting at, is to make a new game doesn't just mean to make a cute new personable Sim. They need to realize that, yes, people love the Sims and their lives, but a huge portion of the game, the one that mainly appeals to a lot of people, is the building aspect...and if they don't change a lot of it, you're just buying a more glossy version of Sims 2...

slabber44
slabber44

It sure does look better, but it still sounds alot like the gameplay will basicilly be the same as before. I'll have to play the waiting game on this one.

jason19
jason19

i hope all new is goin be like sopre need good video care

nyranasaurus
nyranasaurus

lol my life is a little like the sims. After work i DO Have to go to the toilet and i do just about pass out after a hard days work and my real life green bars need replenishing.

jason19
jason19

why was time put new expack pack some goin swlit sim 3 you need to pay tax like you sime 2 in wolrd off wacft goin swlit sim 3 look good nere go back sim 2

jason19
jason19

you see i got new pc look good in paly spore on it not fast one it up paly good that sweet my pc like few mount oid

jason19
jason19

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

b3tti
b3tti

There is a lot of buzz right now about Sims 3 not hitting its Feb ‘09 release date. Is this just in the UK market or will the US market be affected as well by the “evaluating the launch window” statement? The Sims 3 will launch simultaneously worldwide on PC, Mac, iPhone and iPod touch June 2, 2009. http://www.everyjoe.com/simsgamer/answers-from-a-sims-3-developer/

osama99
osama99

Can we organize orgies with the neighbours in this game ?

jackomagic
jackomagic

Bring on the Sims 3! I'm really bored of the old engine on the Sims 2 and the bizarre errors like a sim getting his arm crimped and having to go to work before it uncrimps. I pray that this time EA have done some proper work on the bug testing with the additional time they've had before going to market instead of us being the guinea pigs and having patches that corrupt saved games. Fingers crossed....

super_snake5555
super_snake5555

"In fact, if your have a bicycle or car, your sims can immediately hop on and take a ride; if not, sims will be equipped with a mobile phone that they can use to automatically call a taxi to whisk them away to where they're going in real time (not by sitting on a loading screen until they magically reappear at their destination)." I believe that the first "your" should be the word "you" instead. Also, can't wait for Sims 3; my girlfriend is super excited for me to get it for her, haha.

Squall_gunbl
Squall_gunbl

YAy no more sim feeling like crap just because I made them do a series of normal things.

benwrong
benwrong

from watching all the videos it looks like they have made some nice improvements to the game. I am looking forward to trying it out in June. Some people don't get the Sims at all and that's fine. I spend more time making unique homes to put in the game than playing the game sometimes. the game has many aspects to it besides playing a virtual person on screen.

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

I want the ability to murder other sims with my sim.

TheMoneyShot13
TheMoneyShot13

am i, or have i ever missed anything buy not playing a sims game?

william623
william623

if the sims 3 is launched, that means the sims 2 mansion and garden stuff is the final expansion pack? or any new pack for the sims 2 in the future?

dogzerx2
dogzerx2

I think that playing in the whole neighbourhood at once is actualy a huge improvement! I hated that time only went by the sims you played with, it wasnt logical, now time goes by the same to everyone! i love that. Hope gameplay is somewhat better now though. I remember sims 1 and 2 to be a constant race to keep my sim's bars the greenest posible.. and when i tried to do something crazy like going out to dinner after work, i came back home a complete mess, to the verge of peeing my pants and/or passing out from lack of sleep!

arnovm
arnovm

Obviously this one will not have all the previous expansions features incorporated in it. Watch out for the first expansion within a month after release . . .

TheBlackSpeed
TheBlackSpeed

Can not wait to buy this for my mom. She is the biggest Sims fan I know. By far. She'll love it. : )

crash_ash
crash_ash

I cant beleive they put off the release date... hmmm i guess it gives me more time to decide if i really wanna cough up the cash for this... I'm a really big sims fan... but i think EA is really milking this one for more than its worth... only time will tell

eestiwe
eestiwe

@ jason19 What do you mean go to pay on the sims3? if you mean : do you have to pay for it then yeah you need to buy the game

jason19
jason19

do you got to pay on the sims 3 ?

Sigh_han
Sigh_han

@ ShiroKitaHoshi I agree with you 100% I was really looking forward to this before i found out all that bs about it. Why can't they just do the disc check without requiring an internet connection or installing secuROM etc. I'd say more people would buy it if that was the case, but now i think it will be pirated much more than before.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

I'll steal this one. Got a more important uses fur ma monney

ShiroKitaHoshi
ShiroKitaHoshi

Speaking of exploitation - did you know there will be in game advertising? So you won't be able to play it on a computer without an internet connection. I'm sure the advertisements will slow down the game quite a bit too...... In addition - despite the revenue they would get from selling advertising rights - the price of the game won't be lowered. To all this - they will add DRM. Sorry, but I won't be playing Sims3, no game is worth the extortion and insults EA has to offer. They will keep digging their own grave unless they start treating their customers with respect. Right now Spore is the no.1 pirated game of all time. If they release Sims3 with the advertising and DRM - I'm sure Sims will overtake Spore as the no.1 pirated game of all time.

Curzad
Curzad

As much as I resent EA games I know I'll still end up buying this for my daughter. Just not looking forward to the 500 expansions that will follow the main release. I will give EA one compliment...they are experts at exploitation.

HeCtic_GaMer
HeCtic_GaMer

i like the sims don't get me wrong, but the creators could make this game better. It's all marketing strategy they could improve this games graphics but why not leave that for the sims 4.

Vendre
Vendre

I remember getting new shiny ideas every few weeks for a new neighbourhood. I always ended up making a god-character and about 3-8 families with a generaly vast history. Once a few sims died of natural death I switched to another neighbourhood.

FuBi2k
FuBi2k

I just hope we get some random generation of new Sims and houses through templates or something. I had to design every Sim and house in TS2, because I hated the "stock" Sims and houses. I'd rather just focus on one and have the computer generate content, if it can reasonably, and get rid of all the pre-made stuff. Kind of like how I imagine when a band comes to your neighborhood/town, it will probably always be the same band in everyone elses game. Assuming that event isn't based on the characters present. Might be nice to see Sim versions of famous bands though..

PrincessxShadow
PrincessxShadow

I honestly cant wait for this to come out because the sims 2 is like freakin boring now they have put open neighborhoods and trait and creativity systems. And just because it isnt a shooter doesnt mean it isnt great so dont hate on it.

Destroy3r3
Destroy3r3

At last, a COMPLETE Sims editor!

master_zidane
master_zidane

Another lame game by EA. It only lasts as long as you haven't seen everything that the game has to offer; which isn't much, so you grow over it pretty quickly. Hope that it's not as heavy as its predecessor, they really need to work on the games engine. Frakkin' load screens got the best of it.

DoomBlast
DoomBlast

The Sims 2,5? Oh please. I bet you just looked at the screenshots and didn't find much of an advancement graphics-wise. It's true, it didn't change much, but the game is just fine this way. Graphics are important, sure, but they're not a decisive factor on making a game good, I will have to agree to ChangelingJane's statement on this one. The customization is great, the new features are very unique, I'm happy enough. Just look at how different sims can be from each other, this level of customization was non-existent on This Sims 2.

ChangelingJane
ChangelingJane

If I had to choose between AWESOME NEXT-GEN GRAPHICS and a completely open neighborhood, I'd pick the latter. I'm glad they did too. (I'd rather the game come out this century and be able to run on my current system.)

Arkali
Arkali

I'm thinking you either don't play the Sims OR you didn't actually read the article if you think it's Sims 2.5.

Vasot
Vasot

Looks like Sims 2,5 to me

Ytopiq
Ytopiq

I think that this won't be sequel that the fans are waiting. It's most like to be like a big expansion or something. But I'm sure that the fans will play it. Will wait and see :)

Hazzerz
Hazzerz

Why is this here? This doesn't say anything new, this is old news that was released over a year ago for god sakes. The Sims isn't even out until June now thanks to that idiotic delay, so what's the point of just rehashing this same crap over and over again? Get this off the front page.

midnight445
midnight445

can't wait to put my hands on it! Kill some sims, make some cake and babies XD

lil_stucky
lil_stucky

Are you serious 'yduc'? And big-boss-91, you are being sarcastic correct? A gold digger is a person, mainly a women, who marries older and very rich gentleman so that when they die (sooner than later) the Will states that the other person receives all the money. This isn't WOW kids, you don't actually send out your Sim to shovel a lot for precious metals.

ISmokePapaSmurf
ISmokePapaSmurf

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

iceveiled
iceveiled

if you've played sims 2, and READ the article, you would know the answer to your question. Namely deeper character customization, and how you pick personality traits this time (as opposed to assigning a limited amount points to a few personality traits in two), an open world instead of only being able to load one "lot" at a time, less micro management, deeper character interaction, etc. etc. etc.

keatman
keatman

please tell people, what is the big/main difference/differences between sims2 and sims3? i'm not insulting the game, it just i dont see much different between sims2 and sims3.