Relationships in The Sims 2
Beyond all the worries about money and careers and material possessions, relationships are the cornerstone of human life; and it looks like relationships will become the cornerstone of game play in The Sims 2.
Relationships in The Sims grew increasingly complex with the release of the Hot Date expansion pack. Some players have even complained that it was so difficult to maintain relationships that it made the game unplayable. From what we have heard, it seems that the folks at Maxis have learned from this experience with The Sims and designed The Sims 2 from the ground up to incorporate all they've learned.
Frankly, in The Sims, the characters are dumber than a stone. They have no memory of past events and no plans for the future. Sim children don't know who their parents are and sim adults don't know which kids are theirs.
Sims suffer from the same mental disabilities when it comes to relationships. They can walk into a room filled with friends and foes and never acknowledge the existence of either. Except for designated group activities such as eating at the table, the only reaction they have to what other sims are doing is neurotic jealousy.
All this will change in The Sims 2. Relationships will be more complex and have more long-lasting effects on the characters' lives, but at the same time they will be more like human life.
Sims are much more aware of each other in the new game, to a level that seems to be an astounding breakthrough in the behavior of computer game characters. They notice significant events and evaluate whether these events please them. It appears that they can even have a three-way conversation!
For game play, it means that The Sims deals with a major problem in the first version while capitalizing on the key features that set The Sims 2 apart from other video games. We know they are computer-generated characters, but nevertheless we were often frustrated by the sims' behavior.
Improvements in the characters' personalities go far beyond their enhanced awareness of each other.
A character's happiness in future relationships in The Sims 2 will be based on how much experience the character has had in the past. From love's first kiss to playing in the hot tub, be it good or bad, experience counts. Early experiences will provide a new challenge for players, shaping the personalities that the sims will have in adult life.
We will explore the wonderful world of relationships among the sims in more detail in subsequent essays as we go along. Click on the links in the menu to learn more about relationships in the amazing world of The Sims 2.