Last week, Platinum Simmers hit GamesCom. BlackGarden interviewed Graham Nardone, producer on The Sims 3 Pets, and sww and BlackGarden both checked out loads of Sims presentations for The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles, and The Sims 3 Pets on PC and console, as well as getting hands on with the games themselves. Here are sww’s impressions of The Sims 3 Pets on PC, based on her experiences at GamesCom.
A lot of Sim players are also pet owners, because of this the community wanted this expansion pack badly! In this article first creating a new pet is discussed, then the look of the world, then the animals themselves and then some miscellaneous things that also come with this expansion pack.
Create a Pet
So we all know by now that Sims 3 pets has besides cats and dogs also has horses!! All 3 animals look amazing, so fluffy, realistic and very cute! In the regular game we had Create a Sim, in Sims 3 pets we got Create a Pet. In CAP you create adult and elder versions of the pets. I will talk more about kittens/puppies and foals later. The pets have different fur styles and you can edit every aspect of their body, face, tails and in the case of horses also their manes. We expected this from EA, because we had it in The Sims 2 and they delivered!
However this is not where the CAP fun ends… There is a new layer system that allows you to create any animal that you can imagine! We saw a zebra and I can imagine you can make llamas, donkeys, tigers, cheetahs, tuxedo cats, wolves or foxes.
Let me explain how it works: you create a new layer, then decide what area of the animal it relates to and then what the layer looks like. There are options for stripes, spots, big patches of fur, tip of the tail or even have half the pet a different fur colour (and many more options). You can naturally change the colour and the opacity of the layer. But… you can also MOVE, scale and rotate the layer around and then see it in real time how it looks on your pet. Want that one spot more down the body, no problem! This is a major improvement from Create a Pet in The Sims 2, where the layers were fixed to its location. The possibilities are just endless because of this. Personally I am excited to create my own cats in the game! It will not be ‘looks like’ my cats, it will be them.
The pets also have traits, here are a few examples: clueless, aggressive, agile (horse only), lazy (my cats are getting that trait!) and piggy. You can select 3 traits for your pet in a Create a Pet. The animations that come with selecting a trait are fantastic! I especially love the animation for the clueless trait. As the game is still in Alpha phase of development I will not post a full list of the traits we saw at Gamescom, as soon as a full list of all the new (pet) traits is confirmed by EA, that it will be in the final version of the game, we will post it in our forums.
Other options in create a pet is give them an accessory (collar) and a name. A fantastic addition in my opinion is a RANDOM NAME GENERATOR; I am excited in case you cannot tell… At this point the generator only works in Create a Sim/Pet but I did HINT that I would like it to work for babies/renaming Sims in town hall. Graham said they will see if there is an opportunity in the future to add it to the game. Pretty non-committal answer, which in my opinion means we need to start campaign to get it. Because we have noticed, if you want something in the game, you have to say it.
And as a final bit about the CAP, you can share the pet that you created online via exchange and I assume any other site that you want.
A little bit about the world, it is called Appaloosa Plains and it has a Mid-Western Ranch feel to it. It has two sections, the floodplain section which has a lot of open space to ride your horse and is very wide spread. Then there is the ‘city’ section with all the NEW rabbit holes. Yes, every single rabbit hole has a new look to it. And like every EA world there are plenty of nooks and crannies for your sim or pet to explore, one nook I recommend exploring is the path that goes to the criminal building that looks like a shack now.
With Sims 3 Pets we also get wild animals in the world, you can be playing somewhere in the world and have a random wild horse walk by in the background. Some wild animals include deers and raccoons, the deers can eat your fresh fruit/vegetables in your garden. So you need to pet proof that… how do you ask? Gnomes! I do not know any more than that to be honest, but I will try to get more information on it.
Besides wild animals like deers, there are also wild horses. They run around in herds and you can befriend them and eventually adopt them. You will also find random stray dogs and cats, but they don’t run around in herds as they are not pack animals.
The pets are Sims now; you control them directly like a regular Sim. When I first heard this I thought that would be very cheesy, but it is actually natural. When your pet is selected you can interact with objects and other Sims, like normal Sim interactions. For example when the dog is selected, you can click the garbage can and knock it over, after that, the dog rolls around in the garbage, increasing the piggy trait. While I earlier said that you can select 3 traits, in the game pets can learn new traits. Piggy interactions, rolling in garbage – stealing spoiled food, can eventually give the piggy trait and maybe even cancel out the opposite clean trait (not sure about the trait name). This is just great in my opinion, it seems right.
Another thing that just seems right to me too is the adjustment EA made to the pet motives. Each pet had a unique motive; the cat has scratching, the dog has destruction and the horse has exercise. If you don’t find a positive way for the pet to fulfill this, they are going to find a negative and don’t be surprise your furniture is their way to go. Thinking of the dog and cats I’ve had in RL this just SO true. My dog destroyed her pillows until we managed to find one she thought was perfectly comfortable and my (bratty) cats like to see the sofa as their scratching pole. Also, if you don’t take proper care of the pets, they can get taken away. Just like what happens if you don’t take care of a kid. This is the worst thing you can do to your pet. So if you are of the torturing Sim type, you cannot do it to a pet!
Now about the behaviour of the pets. The main feel I got with that, that it seems very realistic. A wagging tail also moves the butt of the dog and the dog looks adoringly to their owner with just a sense of pure loyalty. The cat has a sense of independency. Graham mentioned that cats can pop up anywhere, under the sofa or on the bed, sleeping with your Sim. I really want to see a screenshot of this last thing, as my cats do this.
The pet interactions/behaviour we saw in the different presentations: a Sim telling a dog to play dead, belly rub, give treats (the dogs excitement for that is cute!). The dog himself decided to knock over the garbage bin and then roll in the garbage. A Sim kid was playing with the cat, with a laser pointer and the cat was going a bit crazy with it. We also saw a cat tackling a child, imagine the cat jumping from the ground onto the chest of the Sim and then holding on for a moment. My thought was that I am really glad that my cats do not do that, ouch! A naughty action we saw was the cat jumping on the counter and stealing (spoiled) food, this increased her piggy trait.
With the horse we saw a Sim riding her, actually the Sim first went onto the horse backwards… not that good in riding skill yet! In the Sims’ yard was a track with a few jumps and the Sim and horse were riding/jumping along it. The horse learned jumping skill and the Sim learned the riding skill in tandem (at the same time). The best thing we saw with the horse was: The horse changing from his riding outfit (saddle) to the regular outfit (nude). You know how a Sim jumps/rotates when changing outfit, the horse does that too!! The horse jumps in the air and then rotates.
The horse then went for a drink in the pond, all animals can drink from the pond and even from pools (I guess no need for chlorine in The Sims 3). Cute thing, as pets for some reason prefer any type of water as long as it’s not from the tap. Yes, in the game pets can also drink from the toilet… not the nicest of things, but realistic.
In game you can breed puppies/kittens/foals, not much information was given of these but a litter can have more than one puppy/kitten/foal. What I am sure about, you cannot create puppies in Create a Pet.
Now comes the unicorn, I found this something I hadn’t expected, but they got horses now, why not a unicorn! And it’s a magical unicorn, they can start fires, make flowers (plants?) grow, curse or bless Sims and teleport. You can have an evil or a good unicorn this way. Your Sim can even ride on the unicorn and then when the unicorn teleports, your sim teleports also! How cool is that!! The unicorn is also fully customizable and shareable online.
Unicorns are also able to breed with horses and you may end up with a unicorn foal!
No information was given about how to get a unicorn, all this did was hint that you cannot start with one at the beginning of the game (same as vampire, you had to get bitten in game to get that). Update 20th October 2011: find out how to get the unicorn here.
Besides the big pets you can have, there are also some small animals that you can play with but do not have to take care of their motives/desires. The small animals mentioned were turtles, birds, rodents and lizards. Each of them have 12 color options but you cannot customize them. When we have a full, confirmed, list of all the small animals in the final version of the game we will post it in the forums.
We got collections!! In Generations they added filters for different expansion packs, now we can make collections that do the same for things that we want put together. Like all downloads from a single website.
We got a new plant, carrots.
Cats and dogs can learn the hunting skill, they can catch small animals or even a date for your Sim.
Pets in the world have a different routing system than the Sims, meaning they can run over lots, basically take the shortest route to their destination when a Sim keeps to the road.
There are new lifetime wishes for Sims, while pets do have wishes, they do not have lifetime wishes.
The memory system also works for the pets.
Your pets can get fleas and then need a medicinal bath for it, good luck giving a cat a bath; I wouldn’t dare to do that in RL to my cats.
Dogs can guard the house against burglars; they try to catch if the burglar does dare to get on the lot.
While the horse is jumping, they can throw off their rider… Ouch.
Cats cannot climb up trees.