The Sims Bustin' Out Designer Diary #4

In our last diary from Maxis designer Mike Perry, he goes over the console-specific features of the game.

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Platform Differences
By Mike Perry, Game Designer

After we finished development of the original The Sims on console earlier this year, it was important for us to take the game design to the next level and take advantage of platform differences in the next version. Therefore, in The Sims Bustin' Out, we designed each version with unique features of the platform in mind. In The Sims Bustin' Out, which ships on December 16, we've got an awesome online mode on the PlayStation 2 and really cool connectivity features between the Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance versions, and the Xbox version will sport amazing visuals with the HDTV support. Let's take a walk through each of the platforms and the exclusive features you can expect for each.

PlayStation 2 Online:
This year we have answered a longtime fan request with our online play in the form of weekends in The Sims Bustin' Out. We're really excited about offering fans weekends, because it's the first time any version of The Sims has incorporated this feature. Since this is also the first year that we're going online with the PlayStation 2, we worked very hard to perfect the experience. The Sims Bustin' Out features two-player cooperative gameplay online, which lets you experience weekends with no work obligations. Most people know that you can skip a day of work in The Sims without losing your job, but you always get that nagging phone call during the day. If you want to have some truly guilt-free time off work, go online. You can invite another player over to check out your customized locations and show off how stylishly you've decorated your pad. Online also features a trading system that lets you swap the objects and social moves that you've unlocked in your offline game. So if you're just dying to get your hands on the mutant plant, trade your tesla coil for it. Or if you've done the "pull finger" social to death, swap it for "moonwalk." While online, you can also build skills and get hints and tips from other The Sims Bustin' Out players. You might even be able to snag a few extra simoleans from generous hosts.

The PlayStation 2's online mode is exclsusive to the console.

When you first go online in The Sims Bustin' Out, you'll enter a lobby where a matchmaker screen displays the astrological signs, genders, and personalities of other sims so that you can decide which new friend you want to meet and play with. You'll probably want to choose someone who has advanced through several levels of his or her chosen career, so you can get the best objects and social moves from that player. You can also chat using the key board or through a headset, which is a great way to get tips on the game. All in all, online weekends are a great way to get new stuff, make new friends, and give your sim a much-needed break from the daily grind!

Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance Connectivity:
For video game junkies like us, it's extremely cool to connect a Nintendo GameCube to a Game Boy Advance and extend the gameplay experience of The Sims Bustin' Out. It's also a great way to cheat and get your GameCube sim powered up in the skills and motives departments or make your GBA sim filthy rich.

When connected, you unlock a hidden arcade cabinet in the Nintendo GameCube version, which lets you play minigames such as Cliff Diver X and Pizza Pandemonium on the Game Boy Advance. This is a great way to earn some extra simoleans for your sim, in addition to having a fun little diversion. You can also download and play with your Nintendo GameCube sim in the Game Boy Advance world to obtain simoleans, raise your motives, and improve skills, all of which are brought back into the Nintendo GameCube version. Any money you have in the GameCube version is brought into the Game Boy Advance version, so it won't take long before your GBA sim is rolling in simoleans. As you can see, Nintendo GameCube players can take their gameplay experience to the next level, pump up their simoleans, motives, and skills, and bring their Nintendo GameCube sim with them anywhere they go when it's downloaded into the Game Boy Advance.

The GameCube version will feature connectivity with the Game Boy Advance version of The Sims Bustin' Out.

Microsoft Xbox HDTV Support:
HDTV is the way television was meant to be seen. All versions of The Sims Bustin' Out have really excellent all-new graphics and special effects, but only the Xbox has native 720p widescreen HDTV support. In HDTV mode, you can play The Sims Bustin' Out with smokin' graphics so detailed they are even better than DVD movies. The colorfully psychedelic dance floor of Clubb Rubb looks awesome in HDTV.

The Sims Bustin' Out team is really looking forward to gamers getting hold of the game and experiencing the all-new locations, outrageous new objects and social interactions, and zany characters. With exclusive features for each console, The Sims Bustin' Out has something for everyone, regardless of what system you play it on. You may want to purchase two or even three different versions of the game, just to make sure you experience everything the game has to offer. Now that we're shipping next week, the team is getting some well-deserved rest and relaxation. But, we'll be back to listen to fans' feedback on The Sims Bustin' Out. This is our last designer diary, and it's been a lot of fun sharing the process with you! We hope this gave you a little insight into the world of The Sims Bustin' Out.

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