EA Creators Camp 2015!

Disclosure: #Sponsored by EA

I was extremely fortunate to be invited to this year’s EA Creators Camp held in San Francisco, California on November 19-20th.  What an opportunity to meet and get to know my fellow simmers, as well as developers, producers, and other members of the EA Sims 4 team!  This year’s Creators Camp was focused on the upcoming expansion, Get Together, and it was exciting to take an early look at what they’ve got in store for us in December.

As I spend 99% of my time building in The Sims 4, I can honestly admit that I hadn’t given this next expansion much thought prior to the camp.  I was, of course, looking forward to seeing what new buy objects and build mode improvements there might be, but the idea of “clubs” didn’t really appeal that much to me as far as gameplay was concerned.  However, I wound up very pleasantly surprised and impressed by what I saw in live mode.  I’ll leave other simmers who attended the camp to cover it in detail, but I really appreciated how many new opportunities the expansion will provide for storytelling and setting up fun scenarios for our sims to act out naturally.  The interface that the team has created for Get Together has numerous options but was still very easy to use.  If I ever do actually focus on playing in live mode, I’m sure this expansion will help me to enjoy it more in many ways.

Before I move on to build mode, I first have to state that the new world, Windenburg, is truly beautiful!  Camp newbie that I am, I neglected to take screen shots of it, but I’m sure you’ll see plenty of them out there soon.  I think it is probably the largest world they’ve created so far for The Sims 4, and if not, it certainly feels that way.  I love how there is more variety in the terrain heights to get away from the “flat lands” we’ve seen in the past, and wait until you see the water features…they’re gorgeous!  There was a great deal of attention to detail paid in this world, and it is just quality throughout.  I took some time to check for some of the bugs we’ve had to deal with in previous worlds, and while my testing was not exhaustive, I am pleased to report that I did not find any of them in Windenburg.  I and other simmers did find other bugs, but since we were able to identify them before release, I hope that means that you will never see them!

When it comes to building, there are so many wonderful new buy objects available in the catalogue, that it was almost overwhelming!  Those who enjoy building cottages and other traditional styled homes will be in heaven with the numerous new European-themed exterior wall styles and décor.  Those of us who tend more toward the modern styles haven’t been ignored either.  There are new objects for us in multiple categories as well.  I think people will be especially excited about the possibilities with some of the new glass objects.  In addition to the glass dance floors that you have already seen (they come in multiple sizes and can also be sized up), there are a couple of other objects as well, and yes, they can all be worked into use as roofing (I used basement spaces yet again)!  I was also excited by some of the new sculptures, lighting, bars, etc.  Here are several screen shots I took, trying to capture all of the new styles and objects.  Note that the wall styles and flooring come in multiple colors, and I typically have selected just a few from each style.  Likewise with the objects – if I had tried to capture every variation, I would have needed two more days at the camp!

Starting with comfort:


Storage (with the new walk-in closets!):

Entertainment and Décor:

More décor:

Lights and Appliances (counters are base game):

New rugs:

Doors and Windows:

Gates and Fences:

Rooftop Décor:

Outdoor objects and new terrain paints:

One thing I was confused about going into the camp was the term “natural pools.”  I felt like I needed to see the build options first hand to understand what they were.  Now that I’ve seen them in action, I think I can clarify for others that might be uncertain – we are still dealing with our original pool tools.  The “natural pool” is not a new type of pool; rather it is a set of objects and options that allow us to create a pool that can indeed look more like a hot spring or other natural formation.  Now, we can change the color of the pool water!  There are some really neat options for this, and we also have new pool trims, including stony ones.  Finally, there are new objects that sit on the pool floor and emit bubbles or steam, as well as some algae that we can place on top of the water.  All of those options plus many new “stone ruins” décor pieces will help us create some beautiful outdoor spaces.  And let’s not forget the new jumping platforms, which I am sure will please many simmers.  Sims can do some fantastic diving animations using them.  Here are some shots:

The shot below shows the different pool colors as well as more décor I was unable to fit into prior screen shots (I’m telling you, there’s a lot of stuff in this pack!):

Not much has changed or was improved in build mode itself.  Despite the variety in the terrain of the world, the lots are still flat and terrain height cannot be adjusted.  There are no new roof types or patterns, friezes, edging, or other improvements to roofing.  There are no new stair types.  I didn’t see any new or enhanced tools in other areas either.  That said, I and the other builders present at the camp did have the opportunity to speak to multiple gurus at length regarding what we really want and need in the game from build mode as it continues to evolve.  Along with some basics, I advocated strongly for giving builders more flexibility and control wherever possible, mentioning topics such as applying levels to individual sections of a build, getting an option to turn snap-to for walls and surfaces off, ensuring that objects that look like they should have corresponding or matching objects, do, and many others.

As I am largely an experimental builder, I was focused on options to enhance our creativity, such as the introduction of a fog emitter style object that would enable builders to create their own FX, a bridge toolset that would enable us to use sliders to create an arched bridge or a hanging bridge, and sliders to let us elevate terrain (without having to reintroduce the CFE cheat).  I had many good conversations, and while of course the gurus didn’t make any promises, I can tell you that they were interested in my feedback and are very passionate about the game and about build mode itself.  They really enjoy our creations so much, and were full of compliments as they watched us work.  I was pleasantly surprised many times during the camp when a guru would come up and get really excited by seeing me do something new with the tools; it seems to be very gratifying for them to see us take their concepts beyond what they had even imagined, and it just goes to show the versatility and power of what they have designed for us.

I left the experience feeling incredibly optimistic for the future of this game.  I think that it is going to continue to take time to get the features we’ve requested, but I do believe that the team is looking into a lot of it and is indeed open to our feedback.  In case anyone is interested in a breakdown of my time, I’d have to say I probably spent around 70% of it building (and I’ll show you a bit of my WIP below), 10% ogling the new objects, 10% testing for bugs, and 10% taking screen shots (that process took way longer than I’d expected – so much stuff!).

Shots of my WIP, which I will finish once I have the pack.  I knew I wanted to work the glass floor into a roof, and I’ve never designed a lounge, so I went for a night club theme:

And here’s the vibe I’m going on for the interior, dark atmosphere but pumped with vivid, fluorescent colors:

I hope that this article will provide some useful information and images for simmers as we head into the expansion and the New Year with The Sims 4.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave ’em below.  Thank you for reading!

Disclosure: #Sponsored by EA

Note: Although my trip was sponsored by EA, my thoughts and opinions regarding the content I reviewed are entirely my own!