The Sims 3 Updated Impressions - Exclusive Details on Editing and Online Tools
We take an up-close look at the editing, online sharing, and social tools in the console version of The Sims 3.
The console version of The Sims 3 will attempt to bring the open-ended gameplay of the original PC game to consoles. And beyond just the unusual premise of controlling little computer people as they live, work, make friends, make potty, and make "woohoo" (the game's euphemism for getting to know someone in the biblical sense), the console version will have extensive tools for editing content and sharing it online with your friends. We took an up-close look at some of these tools and will cover them for you in this report.
While the console version of The Sims 3 will come with a lot of the content from the original PC game, it will also be, as EA describes it, "adapted for console players," to be more focused on recorded achievements that can be used to earn Xbox Live achievements and PlayStation Network trophies and can also be uploaded to those newfangled social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter. These achievements can include anything from buying your first car to having your first rated-T-for-Teen romantic encounter, and if you prefer, you can have these achievements broadcast over the Web to your social network of online friends.
The console version of The Sims 3 will have its own versions of The Exchange--the PC game's community site, where players can upload, share, and rate their own custom content. Each console version of the game will have its own separate version of The Exchange, and each console version will be powered entirely by user-generated content created with the console games' editing tools--which include all kinds of furniture, cars, buildings, and even a full lot that contains an actual, fully built and furnished house. The Exchange page will have a running news ticker to follow updates from you and your friends, and you'll have your own page (called, surprisingly enough, "MyPage") where you'll be able to upload your own wicked-awesome leopard-print toilet. All your custom content lives in your game's "My Documents" folder, and you can upload any new stuff you create more or less instantly to the game's server.
You can also sync your profile to Facebook and Twitter to have either or both social media services broadcast updates whenever you make or upload new stuff (the broadcasting defaults to "off" so you don't end up automatically flooding your friends' and followers' pages with a zillion updates with annoying frequency…but who even does that, right?). And naturally, there will be a layer of moderation tools to catch any offensive custom creations, and you can report any and all objectionable content. You can also rate any and all custom content you find and perform searches using filters that will return only the highest-rated stuff, or stuff that was tagged a certain way, or stuff that was created only by your friends, though if you prefer, you can also choose to "follow" talented content creators who aren't actually your friends yet (if you find someone who's really good that you haven't yet met)--similar to a YouTube subscription, this system will automatically update you when SofaKing_Great27's next round of amazing art deco furniture is ready to download.
The Sims 3's editing tools will offer you a surprising amount of flexibility. You can edit more or less any object in the game by manipulating the color scheme on each of its parts using a version of the original PC game's "Pattern Maker" application, which lets you choose different pattern swatches and color layering using a color wheel to adjust your hues just so.
The console version of The Sims 3 will let you create a lot of custom stuff and share it freely with all your friends in-game and outside of the game. The Sims 3 will be released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 in October.
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