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Sim City Inside The Sims - Russian Doll Effect?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the pong-inside-shen-mue-inside-sim-city-inside dept.

PC Games (Games) 60

Ant writes "According to Wired News: 'It was bound to happen. First there was SimCity. Then there was The Sims. And then came a series of highly successful expansion packs like Hot Date, Livin' Large, House Party and others. Now comes a fan-made plug-in that allows Sims characters to effectively play SimCity inside The Sims. The Sims franchise has gone meta.'"

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The Ultimate Paradox (4, Funny)

ten000hzlegend (742909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285247)

Ok... so the Sims sit in their little homes and play Sim City, what if those Sims within the Sims Sim City started developing a plug in to play the Sims? Then those Sims Sim City Sims Sims started playing Sim City after using the Sims Sim City Sims Sims Sims plug-in... then Maxis does a Cybernet and takes over...

Hmm... my brain hurts, more than an intravenous injection gallon of blueberry squishee

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (4, Interesting)

Mod Me God (686647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285283)

Perhaps we are Sims in some kid's bedroom but we just don't know it.

I'll take the blue pill.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (5, Funny)

krelian (525362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285677)

I think i am controlled by a geek, all he wants me to do is read /. all day long.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (1)

theefer (467185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8287234)

What do you mean, (Score:3, Interesting) ?
I'd have modded it +1 Funny ...

Lucky nobody modded it +1 Informative though.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (4, Informative)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285772)

You don't seem to understand what the word 'paradox' means. For instance, the Liar's Paradox is: "This sentence is false." You see how because of the self referencing the statement can neither be true nor false?

Your statement does not even comse close to being a paradox.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8286383)

Indeed. The parent is clearly describing recursion, not a paradox.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8296067)

also the parent is describing recursion

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8289617)

"Your statement does not even comse close to being a paradox."

While being factually correct, your conclusion is fatally flawed. The word "comse" does not actually exist in the English language. While it is possible you have perhaps inserted a German word, for example, I am still forced to conclude that you are a pedantic asshole.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8325415)

Not all paradoxes are self referential or unresolvable. The word simply means "contrary to thought". A paradoxical statement may be true but contrary to expectations or the general view.

The use you are referring to is specific to formal logic. There is also "Russell's Paradox" which asks whether a set (containing all sets which don't contain themselves) contains itself. Or if you prefer:

"If the barber of Seville is a man who shaves all men in Seville who don't shave themselves, and only those men, who shaves the barber?"

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8333900)

"If the barber of Seville is a man who shaves all men in Seville who don't shave themselves, and only those men, who shaves the barber?"

He has a beard. All of the best barbers do.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (1)

Random832 (694525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8352076)

except, the paradox implies that no-one has a beard (since everyone either shaves himself or is shaved by the barber)

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (2, Funny)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8286266)

So after a few more plugins, we'd get...

Nah...let's not go there. How about we just call it Sim Video Game?

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (2, Funny)

bsartist (550317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289977)

So after a few more plugins, we'd get...

Cenobites. Trust me - that's one puzzle box you don't want to open.

Re:The Ultimate Paradox (1)

SuDZ (450180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8294121)

You just blew my mind.


Question (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8285274)

does this mean the matrix is real now?

i have something deep for yous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8285305)

if it was bound to happen, is it news?

Yep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8285428)

George Bush dying is bound to happen. But it will still be news when he does.

Timing of events is also news worthy....

13th Floor? (4, Informative)

00420 (706558) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285331)

Hmmm... sort of like a low tech Thirteenth Floor []

Re:13th Floor? (4, Funny)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285366)

Does that mean the Sims will come out of the computer and start going to people talking gibberish?

Re:13th Floor? (3, Funny)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289581)

Should I get in a car and keep driving straight until I crash through a few road closed signs?

Re:13th Floor? (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8292288)

Nah, its an 80's film so you'll probably drive through a sheet of glass thats being carried across the street for no apparent reason.

How sad it must be... (5, Funny)

DangerSteel (749051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285455)

How disconnected from the real world is my life if I have to play a video game whose players I watch play a video game?

In Soviet Russia.... (2, Funny)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#8285839)

...The Sims play YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8286060)

Yeah... Who's to know i'm not just an avatar being controlled by some dude out there! And all of this stuff I post comes out as #%@(F(@#%(@??!?!? to him...

In other news: Hemp production up to new highs!

Re:In Soviet Russia.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8286581)

my dude sure likes to keep my hands busy...

Re:In Soviet Russia.... (-1, Troll)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8291893)

I, for one, welcome our new ,Sim City playing Sim Overlords...

Dammit, that's twice now...

Ouch! (5, Funny)

jaaron (551839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8286046)

They maybe able to build an interesting Sim plugin [] , but sure can't build a website [] !

Someone needs to teach these people some basic HTML and site design skills. This hurts my eyes almost as bad as the Slashdot Games color scheme!

Re:Ouch! (1)

superpenguin (595439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8288296)

Ahhhh! [Gouges out eyes]

Re:Ouch! (4, Interesting)

theantix (466036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8288717)

Even better is the quote at the bottom of your linked page: "Windowcat Designs, Inc.: Do you need help starting a new website, or someone to host your existing site? Check out for full-service web site development services and affordable hosting options by familiar folks."

Yes, after seeing an example of their mad HTML skillz I'm dying to pay them to design sites for me. Hell, I know people who design better looking sites than that who are literally colourblind. And I'm not going to touch on "NETSCAPE USERS: This site is best viewed using an IE 6.0+ browser. Click here to get one free". Fucking twits.

ugh. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8286131)

Nothing screams "I need to get a life!" more than roleplaying somebody who roleplays somebody else (and thus also needs to get a life).

Dark Life in Second Life (5, Interesting)

Critter92 (522977) | more than 10 years ago | (#8286417)

In a similar way, some Second Life [] users decided that they wanted to be able to play a traditional RPG within Second Life. The result of their creation was Dark Life [] , captured in SL's New World Notes [] . The Dark Lifers have been quite successful and have drawn many players into their game, including many new users. In addition to the usual creature killing, magic spells, healing and leveling, they have also introduced some very interesting twists on traditional RPG gameplay.

It's only a matter of time... (5, Funny)

MrDickey (653242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8286503)

before the sims are polluting the sim earth and stepping on sim ants "All I caught while fishing was this tin can, old boot, and book of cliches"

Not that new (4, Informative)

BobTheJanitor (114890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8287073)

LucasArts's Day of the Tentacle is the sequel to the classic Maniac Mansion, and if you go into Weird Ed's room (in Tentacle) and use his computer, you're presented with a 100% complete version of Maniac Mansion. So, Weird Ed plays Maniac Mansion on his computer.

Re:Not that new (2, Informative)

Bagels (676159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8288995)

And DK64 had the full original Donkey Kong in it (as well as Jet Pac). Best part of the game, IMHO.

Re:Not that new (1)

molafson (716807) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289923)

And IIRC, Super Mario 3 included the original Mario Bros. game. And didn't Tekken also include Galaxian?

Re:Not that new (1)

malign (120557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8292048)

that was ridge racer, could access it during the load up sequence

Someone should write a book about that... (3, Interesting)

Anonytroll (751214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8287263)

What we have here is a game that has been merchandised and capitalised almost to death (how many expansion packs are out again? 4?) and now they have been crossing the borderline from gaming to metagaming. I'm pretty sure a lot of those who metaplay would make interesting vic... patients for modern psychologists.

Re:Someone should write a book about that... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8291463)

There are 6! Livin large, house party, hot date, vacation, unleashed, superstar, & makin magic. Plus a really lame attempt at MMORG. Frankly though Maxis missed the boat with sims. Stuff like this is what they SHOULD have been doing...with the ability to have multiplayer in the normal game.

The Sims has the right mix for a great multiplayer if they'd just get back to basics! The lack of interaction with your sim is the best feature of have to PLAY the game rather than play social games. I'd like to see more of this stuff! Mostly I'd like to see a pack that gives players more control to "script" sims lives out and maybe embue them with a touch more AI..especially now that its ELOd

7 expansion packs + many more custom objects (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301531)

Maxis has shipped 7 Sims expansion packs, and re-issued The Sims twice with some of them built in. But the number of objects in all the official expansion packs combined is quite small, compared to the number of user created objects.

By a large factor, players have created far more custom objects for The Sims, than the 1500 or so that Maxis has produced in 7 expansion packs. It's hard to estimate the exact number of player created objects, but it's interesting to note the number of "magic cookies" registered:

The free Transmogrifier [] program enables players to create their own objects for The Sims. Anyone who downloads Transmogrifier may optionally register to get a free "magic cookie" (a unique 16 bit number) that distinguishes the objects they create, so the IDs of the objects created by different players won't collide.

Ultimately, the 16 bit magic cookie wasn't big enough: In four years, I've given out 127,031 magic cookies (so the 16 bit counter is about to wrap around a second time), so there are at least that many people interested in making their own objects for The Sims.

Players have created and published so many objects for downloading, that you can buy third party utilities [] to help categorize all your object downloads, and renumber object id collisions.

Assuming conservatively that each player who bothered to register a Transmogrifier magic cookie made only two objects (and ignoring everyone who didn't register), and assuming generously that Maxis made 1500 objects in all 7 expansion packs (by my count there are 1461 objects, including official Maxis downloads, excluding characters and special invisible objects), that's a User:Maxis ratio of 169:1 -- a factor of a couple orders of magnitude.


Meta (3, Funny)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8287486)

The Sims franchise has gone meta
It's been meta for ages. How you think we are able to play Sim City ? Well posting isn't everything, now I will go peeing for 2.5 hours, eat a sandwich for one hour and have a chat with each of my friends for 2 hours, because even a long-term relationship will fade if I don't do this every three days, and that will get me to lose my job

Re:Meta (2, Funny)

bsartist (550317) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289994)

I will go peeing for 2.5 hours

You need to see a doctor - NOW.

Re:Meta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8294851)

Be sure to allow time for the 20 minutes to walk out to your car.

Shenmue (5, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8287756)

In Yu Suzuki's masterpieces Shenmue and Shenmue 2, hero Ryo Hazuki can play Yu Suzuki's early arcades: Hang On, Space Harrier, Out Run, and After Burner 2. Also, he can buy collectibles based on other Sega games, such as Sonic, NiGHTS, and 18 Wheeler.

this has been done before in reverse (5, Interesting)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8287857)

Anyone else remember the games Streets of Sim City, where you could import your SimCity save files then drive/walk around in the city you made. This game was way ahead of it's time...think VIce City/GTA3 except it game out in 1997 so the graphics weren't quite up to par but the gameplay was quite similar. There was also SimCopter where you got to fly helipoter missions around in SimCities you built and imported.

Re:this has been done before in reverse (1)

lpret (570480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289884)

Woah, i completely forgot about that game. I remember building cities in SimCity just so that I could wreak some serious havoc on the streets. If I remember correctly, the point was to be a firefighter and get to the scene, or paramedics or whatnot. It was pretty entertaining...*looking through old games for it...nope...*

Re:this has been done before in reverse (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8290452)

My fav was stealing the apache helicopter from a military base in SimCopter then wreaking havoc on my cities. :D

Re:this has been done before in reverse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8299781)

It always annoyed me to make rescues. And if you dropped them, they would get more hurt, but won't die. You could shove them out land, put them in, take off, and shove them out again and they'd still be living, abeit very bruised.

I do recall one time, though, in which I got fed up, grabbed the patient, flew as high as the game would allow, such that all but the tallest buildings were masked by fog, and shoved the patient out. I hear the heart beating as usual on the way down. After about 10 seconds, it stops, and I hear "assistance no longer necessary". That was kinda funny.

I had this idea many years ago... (2, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8288602)

Way before The Sims. I thought it would be cool if all of the sim games were integrated into one big one. Needless to say, that idea was unfeasible and is now downright impossible.

Re:I had this idea many years ago... (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289486)

I had that idea, too. I think so did everybody who played the Sim Earth and Sim City games. :)

Re:I had this idea many years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8294730)

I think God had that idea too.

mod me offtopic, but... (0, Offtopic)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8288841)

That page had a flash ad WITH SOUND! And I though FireFox's popup blocking was enough...

Re:mod me offtopic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8291869)

get Opera [] . hit F12. turn off Plugins, java, animated gifs, and what the hell, javascript too. thank god most ads are done with flash nowadays and dever defile my precious screen. need to see em? hit F12. offtopic as all hell but opera rules.

OB PVP link (4, Funny)

satanami69 (209636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289505)

Start [] from the first comic


End []

aww man not again... (0, Redundant)

UltimaL337Star (641853) | more than 10 years ago | (#8289960)

Dammit people, this is probably how The Matrix starts...

Re:aww man not again... (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8293017)

Then you'll have to play it for 600 years before Neo comes to see you, Architect.

Prior Art (2, Informative)

planetsphinx (712454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8297031)

I'm sure there was something even before my example here.. but in Day of the Tentacle [] you could play the prequal game, Maniac Mansion [] on a computer inside the game.

Too Many Sims (1)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8298015)

A lot of people have commented about how sad it is to play a game that simulates people playing a game. I kind of found the reverse: I stopped playing "The Sims" when I realized my Sims had more social interaction, time spent putdoors, and generally nicer lives than I did.

I always considered it a wake up call, but in retrospect maybe it was just jealousy.

Neil Gaiman/Gene Wolfe Recursion (1)

Embedded Geek (532893) | more than 10 years ago | (#8298133)

The delightful "A Walking Tour of The Shambles" [] details a (presumably) fictional region of Chicago filled with amusing/disturbing/terrifying sights and characters inspired by Charles Addams and Edward Gorey. In it, there is a description of Number Eight, Old Street, which...

"...houses an interesting store in which this guidebook and many other useful and curious items may be obtained. (Notice that this book is in the shop, which itself is in the book -- an infinite progression)."

Sims Proposals (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301017)

Sims Proposals []

Here [] are some proposals and documents I've written, describing the work I've done and projects I've proposed with The Sims character animation system, plug-in objects and tools. After four years, a great deal of useful information has been reverse-engineered by independent third-party developers and open source projects like The Sims Technical Library [] . I hope these ideas will inspire more tool developers to contribute their programming skills to the Sims community.

Will Wright's original vision was enabling creative storytelling, by allowing players to add their own characters and objects to the game, and encouraging developers to program new objects and create tools like Transmogrifier [] and RugOMatic [] . Before The Sims was even released, Luc Barthelet sewed the seeds of its success by providing fans with content and tools like SimShow [] , so they could start making web sites and character skins. By the time it was released, you could already download a wide range of skins from many different web sites!

Four years later, Sims Object hackers have taken it much further than anyone ever imagined. A third-party tool called "iffpencil 2 [] " has taken the place of Edith [] (Maxis's visual Sims object programming environment) in the Sims object hacking community.

One mind-blowing example is Slice City [] , which is an amazing game within a game: SimCity within The Sims! Your Sims can walk around and interact with a live, growing city like a Lilliputian scene from Gulliver's Travels. I'm not making this up: this actually runs INSIDE The Sims, and is ingeniously implemented by plug-in objects!

You start with a power plant, which gradually grows a whole city populated by swarms of insect-sized people. As the city grows, it spawns new objects including buildings (reprogrammed houseplants that the gardener still waters), crowds of people (reprogrammed cockroaches that you can still stomp to death), parks, marinas and monuments. You can go into build mode and rearrange them however you like, place roads (that get extremely busy at rush hour), and interact with the buildings through pie menus in play mode. There's even a tornado that comes through and knocks down your buildings. And you can download add-ons and pre-made cities [] !

Nothing like SimSlice was in the original design plan, but Will Wright credits all the creative players as the primary reason The Sims has become the #1 selling game of all time.

I believe the starkly contrasting failure of The Sims Online has a lot to do with the fact that it doesn't support player created content like the original Sims. One of the fundamental reasons that original Sims players have been disappointed with The Sims Online, is that Maxis never executed on the original plan to let online players upload and exchange their own skins and objects.

In order to help more fully realize Will's original plan, I wrote these proposals and documents to support the community of Sims artists, tool developers and object programmers like Bil Simser [] , Judson Hudson [] , Michael Watson [] , Rick Halle [] , Tom van Dijk [] , Dave Baum and Greg Noel [] , SimSlice [] , Paladin [] , MegaSims [] , Hacker's Resource [] , The Sims Basement [] and SimFreaks [] .


Third Party Content Authoring Tools for The Sims (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301082)

This is a propsal I wrote to Maxis after The Sims was released in March 2000, outlining some of my ideas for third party content authoring tools that I could develop. This led to The Sims Transmogrifier [] , but it touches on several other interesting tools and projects that Maxis never got around to.

A Proposal to Develop Third Party Content Authoring Tools for The Sims []
by Don Hopkins, March 2000

Problem Definition:

There is a strong demand many from third parties who want to develop their own custom content for The Sims, including characters and objects.

Proposed Solution:

Update, clean up and document the content creation tools, so third parties can make their own characters and objects for The Sims.

Port the tools to the latest version of 3D Studio Max.

Make the tools self contained so they can be run stand-alone, by removing all dependencies on the Maxis environment and expensive software packages: Character Studio (Biped, Physique), Access, SourceSafe, MKS Toolkit (Korn Shell).

Document the content creation tools with an overview, examples, tutorials, and a reference manual. Write down the folklore that has been passed by word of mouth. Read over the code and document how it actually behaves.

Provide consulting, training and content creation services to third parties who want custom content authored for The Sims, but don't want or know how to do it themselves.

Develop a Sims Content Authoring SDK, so it's possible for third parties to create specialized content creation tools, like FaceLift.


Third Party Character Creation and Customization:

Characters include virtual people who the user can play with, as well as autonomous non-player characters with programmed behaviors. Characters consist of bodies, heads and hands of 3D polygonal meshes with texture mapped bitmap skins.

Characters are created at Maxis by highly skilled artists using expensive tools like 3D Studio Max, Character Studio, the CMX exporter, and Photoshop.

Simplify the content creation tools and make them run stand-alone, so third party artists and designers can create their own characters and objects.

Maxis' expert 2D character artists currently use Photoshop to paint body textures in layers, then flatten and dither them into 256 color bitmap files.

"Flesh out" the process of applying layered clothing to naked bodies and dithering to 8 bits, so anyone can dress up their characters in all kinds of clothes.

Maxis' expert 3D modeling artists create textured low-poly rigid meshes (like heads, hands and accessories) attached to individual bones, and the CMX exporter creates rigid suits.

Make the CMX exporter easy for third parties to use, so many proficient 3D artists will be able to make their own textured heads, accessories, selected character pointers, and carried objects.

Maxis' expert 3D character modeling artists attach textured low-poly deformable meshes (like bodies) to skeletons using Character Studio Physique and Biped, and the CMX exporter reads out the weighted vertex/bone bindings and creates deformable suits for the game.

Character Studio is an expensive plug-in that enables a skilled artist to bind deformable meshes to skeletons, but there are other ways to do that with 3D Studio Max and other 3D tools.

Enhance the CMX exporter to support Max's new way of attaching deformable meshes to skeletons, so third party 3D artists can create bodies.

Maxis designers and programmers use the Edith tool to configure the behavior of characters and objects.

Clean up and document Edith, so third party designers and programmers can program and modify their own characters and objects.

Third Party Object Creation and Customization:

Objects consist of pre-rendered z-buffered sprites, packaged together with character animations, sound effects and programmed behavior.

Objects are created in-house at Maxis, by highly skilled 3D modeling artists, using lots of polygons and detailed texture maps in 3D Studio Max. The sprite exporter breaks the objects up into tiles and renders them in different scales and rotations, then writes out z-buffered sprites.

Clean up and document the sprite exporter, so third party artists can use it with 3D Studio Max to make their own objects.

The sprite exporter is very specific to 3D Studio Max, especially when breaking apart multi-tile objects.

Maxis' expert 3D character animation artists create skeletons and animations of characters interacting with objects. They use Character Studio Biped, although the exporter supports other types of skeletons, like the bones built into Max or even hierarchies of normal objects.

Clean up and document the CMX exporter, so third party character animators can use it with 3D Studio Max with or without Character Studio to make their own character animations.

Enable Third Party Content Creation Tool Development:

Develop and document an SDK (Software Development Kit) that gives third parties the information they need to make their own content creation tools for The Sims.

Enable and encourage the development of tools like FaceLift and Blueprint by third parties.

A "BodyLift" tool that enables anyone to mutate, breed and tweak deformable body meshes, like FaceLift lets anyone do with rigid head meshes.

A skin tool that enables anyone to layer clothes and accessories on different bodies, skin colors, sexes, ages, etc. Allow artists to create 32 bit alpha masked layers of clothing that can be applied to any body.

An animation tool that enables anyone to create their own dance sequences, walk loops and idle animations, by mixing, cross fading and mutating between many pre-existing dramatic poses, dance moves, walks and idle loops.

Specialized object creation tools that enable anyone create their own customized objects from templates, like a PictureFramer that would create a framed picture from any bitmap, or a JukeboxFactory that would create a jukebox full of your favorite mp3 files.

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