<![CDATA[Suum Sim - News & Thought]]>Tue, 15 Dec 2015 07:11:59 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Coming soon!]]>Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:49:36 GMThttp://www.suumsim.com/news--thought/coming-soon
End of this summer we will make the Entworld available for download.
Some new screenshots have been added under the Projects tab. Check them out!
<![CDATA[May 04th, 2013]]>Sat, 04 May 2013 18:13:05 GMThttp://www.suumsim.com/news--thought/may-04th-2013
The Orinoco Flow of The Sims 3

Reflecting for a minute on the phenomenon  

So what is it, really?

A game with no plot or conclusive scenario that imitates what we do everyday life and becomes one of the most successful longest running game franchises the world has ever seen. Here’s what I think. First ponder with me these thoughts from the life of one of the greatest fantasy minds of the 20th century.

“In Surprised by Joy, Lewis recalls that, one summer day when he was only six, there arose in him a memory of an earlier time then his brother had made a toy garden, bits and twigs and moss arranged in a biscuit tin. Lewis compared the momentary sensation that came with this memory to Milton’s ‘enormous bliss’ of Eden, saying that was his first experience of beauty. He adds that Warren’s miniature garden, more than the actual out-of-doors, made him sense nature as something cool, fresh, dewy, exuberant… Later, in reading Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin… the young Lewis again experienced a nameless longing…. In an unpublished autobiographical fragment composed about 1930, he explains more fully that it was not the narrative of Potter’s book which so thrilled him, but rather the pictures of woods in their full autumn splendor. In the same text Lewis notes the unusual quality of joy as something never quite possessed, always ‘over there’: the pictures in the book set him to longing for the real trees outside his house… But when walking among the actual trees in autumn made him long for the pictures he had seen in the book.” – from The Most Reluctant Convert, biography of C.S. Lewis. David Downing.

Bear with me now. Not to sound over-cliché but life is the most intriguing, most valued, most compelling subject material on the planet. It’s reasonable to say that without life, life would be pretty dull (chuh). Perhaps it’s so broad that most creative endeavors avoid it for more specific subject matter such as love or war or some other overly picked apart venue. Raw daily existence is so taken for granted yet clung to at all costs. Perhaps we look at it so sacredly and transparently that we dare not wrap our creative processes around it, yet that is indeed what Wil Wright and the Maxis Team has done with the Sims.

In creating a virtual platform that imitates life sans many of the perennial real world restraints he has tapped into a very down-to-earth form of lucid dreaming. I’m seeing brother Warren’s toy garden in the biscuit tin here. But maybe I’m not saying anything worth writing home about at this point. Here is, however, the point I want to underscore. It’s what I believe is the Orinoco Flow that keeps this game moving like a steam roller around the globe.

It’s not merely in the imitation of life but in its artistic interpretation of its imitation of life. This is a dimension as profoundly subtle and transparent as the very life it imitates. This light bulb clicked on soon after visiting EAs Salt Lake Studios recently. I had won their Inspiring Creativity Contest and they flew me and a few others there to show us several aspects of the whole process. The first presentation dealt with the animation process and a pillow fight scene was the sequence demo. First they filmed two real life people having a pillow fight. Then the animator transposes a small sub screen as he interprets the moves, frame by millisecond frame into the two sims. The obvious question was asked, why not just use motion capture? The answer was that they feel it is in the artistic touch of the animator’s interpretation that is at the heart of the look and feel of the Sims, that signature surrealistic skew. Bravo and very deftly spoken! Again, I’m seeing Squirrel Nutkin tree illustrations. Understand that those “pictures” referred to in the excerpt were not photographs but artistic renderings.

In closing and on a side note, I have to mention that during the same Salt Lake Studio visit we spent some time over in the area where they were building the worlds. I learned that, contrary to the animators, the world builders basically comb though digital scans from the US geological service till they find a match for the typography they need, plug it into CAW and start coloring. 


These new worlds are certainly presentable, no denying that. I can’t help but wonder, however, how much extra wow-power they would have if the same artistic interpretation process was applied to them as with the animations.

Just some meandering thoughts that I had to get out of my knuckle-head so I could sleep soundly

<![CDATA[April 12th, 2013]]>Fri, 12 Apr 2013 21:13:03 GMThttp://www.suumsim.com/news--thought/april-12th-2013My Trip to EA Salt Lake Studios
Much to my amazement I ended up winning  first place in EAs Inspiring Creativity Contest and here is my video blog about it. I wish Freddie could have been there.  It was AMAZING! Did I say that in the video?
<![CDATA[March 19th, 2013]]>Wed, 20 Mar 2013 00:57:06 GMThttp://www.suumsim.com/news--thought/march-19th-2013Somewhere in the 18 month process of fleshing out the Fratres project Freddie & I realized that we were on to a concept that literally nobody else was pursuing... storyline worlds. Storylines, yes. Worlds, yes. But worlds with in-game, playable storylines... no. As fun as building x by x lots had been up till now, it didn't take us too long to hear our new calling. so here were are making it happen.