From Movie Watcher to Oscar Worthy Director

The Sims has always had an incredible community of movie makers. A quick Google search will return thousands of hilarious and touching videos made with our lovable Sims. Unfortunately before, The Sims 3 players didn’t have an easy way to make movies. That changes now!


Scene 1: The Drawing Board

Every great director must first design a story with a plot and characters. I noticed I kept creating odd, mythical Sims. I thought they would make great characters in a low-quality cable access channel sitcom! My favorite characters were Puck Midsummer, Chazz Diablo, Cleopatra Egyptia, and Lizz Cupid.


As for story? I wanted to introduce these mythical and literary characters into Sunset Valley. Instant sizzle and drama!


Scene 2: Shooting the Thing

Most of my time as a director is spent shooting the video clips. It takes time to get my Sims in costume (Create-A-Sim), build a set (Build and Buy Modes), get them organized on the set, then let the camera roll (Un-pause and start video capture). Because of this (and my Sims’ bladder, day turning to night…) I always want to capture my videos in as few takes as possible.


I always plan ahead! I like to scribble out a rough idea of my scenes with a pen and paper. I try to put in the characters, what I’ll have them do (Slap? Play computer games? Go swimming? Propose marriage?), and any dialog I may need. It really helps.


As for Puck, Chazz, Cleo, and Lizz, I knew of a few key plot points. For starters, Chazz is a real jerk and Puck is a total prankster. They were going to be at odds. Lizz Cupid is a matchmaker that is horrible at finding love herself, so I knew she’d have failed dating exploits in town. Lastly, Cleo is a flirty woman who tends to attract men and trap them. With these in mind I was able to quickly sketch out fifteen scenes.


Scene 3: Cut! Cut! It’s all wrong!

I knew ahead of time that I would need lots of tweaks when editing my video. I tried my best to explain the story through clear shots and help my viewers build an emotional attachment to the characters I created. I also accounted for short-attention spans!


I keep my videos to just a few minutes when possible. I honestly cannot remember the last time I sat through a 5+ minute long YouTube video! I did this by only using video clips that advance my story. I knew that the more fluff I added the more distracted and confused my viewers would become.


I try to keep all of my sitcom videos to about 2 minutes. Because of such a limited time I tend to focus on just one or two characters per video. I like to keep Puck and Chazz Diablo together, with Lizz Cupid and Cleo on the other videos.


The Create a Movie tool lets me drag and drop my clips in order, then re-arrange them until I’m content. I can then tweak every clip to only show what I want. For example, if I have a 40 second clip but only want the 5 seconds in the middle I can do that! After this I add transitions like fade-ins or wipe rights. Some of these will really make the scene shine, especially when I’ve set my camera angles and shots in the sequence just right.


I like to Preview my shots before I save the entire movie. It’s really handy to view a shot by itself or in a sequence of 2 or 3 shots strung together. I also like the flexibility of choosing whether to use in-game audio on each clip. Sometimes I really want to use the Sims dialog or an object noise (toilet flush anyone?). Other times I just want players to hear the music. Speaking of music…


I always add accompanying audio from our huge audio library. I’m constantly amazed at how much sound can change the tone of a video. Hip hop, rock, country, and classical can change a tragedy to a comedy!


Scene 4: Creating an original screenplay…

The visuals just won’t be enough for some of my films. Thankfully, I can add captions to each clip in the online video tool. These are great for dialog, narration, or just calling out more subtle plot points. I have to constantly remind myself to keep things brisk! I must show, not tell, because more words are rarely better.


I tended to use a lot of quick one-liners to explain the scenes in my series. I transition between four fictional characters that are doing a wide variety of odd activities. Had I not narrated the scenes, most people probably wouldn’t have any idea what was going on. Learn from my mistakes and try to make a story that isn’t so confusing!


And, scene!

Create a Movie will let you create home movies of your Sims’ weddings and birthdays, parodies of your favorite TV shows, or even original movies of your own design. We’ve given you the tools – what’s inside your head, just waiting to get out?


I’ve saved all of my movies on The Sims 3 community site in my own personal Studio. From there I can share them with friends on, via email, or on social networks like Facebook or YouTube. I can literally make a movie for the world!


All of us here are so excited to see your creations online, because we know we have the most creative fans in the world!


The Great The Sims 3 Facial Hair Competition

Game development is a labor of love. We’re working really long hours to finish The Sims 3, which is shaping up to be one of the coolest games ever. No joke! However, long hours lead to us…not shaving.  To provide a little incentive (err, excuse) to continue to not shave, we’ve created an awesome facial hair growing marathon. The results are frightening and awesome.


We didn’t want to do just the typical “grow facial hair until your face falls off” type of competition. To encourage innovation and creativity in the field of facial hair growing, we wanted people to shape their fuzz into hilarious and unfortunate mustaches, goatees, and anything else they could come up with.


I thought I’d show off some of my favorites!






Pete, Development Director, sporting “The State Trooper” 



Ben, Executive Producer, sporting “The Pizza Man”



Dan, producer, sporting “The Mobster”



Mike, engineer, sporting “The Hairy Anchor”



Grant, producer, sporting “The Evil Mustache”



Brian, engineer, sporting “The British Landlord”



Jerome, producer, sporting “The Otto von Fuzzmark”



Juan, designer, sporting “The Lawman”


Sarah, producer, sporting “The First Mate”



Amelia, QA, sporting “The Fu Man Female”


Ryan, producer, sporting “The Fear and Loathing”



Ray, designer, sporting “The Beauregard”



Chris, engineer, sporting “The Flame Red Fuzz”



Andrew, engineer, sporting “The Biker”



Eric, designer, sporting “The Winfield”


Sharon, QA, sporting “The Her Francis Drake”



Jon, engineer, sporting “The Hetfield”



Max, engineer, sporting “The All Nighter”



Ramin, QA, sporting “The Six Fingered Man”



Josh, engineer, sporting “The Omega Directive”





How goes it Sim fans? When we develop our games, we’re constantly trying to balance our designs between the varied groups that play The Sims. These include the builders who create incredible homes, the gamers who strive to reach the top of the career or befriend everyone, and my personal favorite – the storytellers.


We’ve written about Traits, the town, and creating unique Sims, which are just tools that feed the storyteller’s appetite (Note: Link to previous blogs here). Shall we take a brief jaunt through one of my stories so I can prove I’m not just making this up?


I almost always create a character based loosely on myself, perhaps because I can empathize with him, or maybe I just have a fascination with seeing how my life could turn out differently. Grant Duders is typically a Workaholic who Loves the Outdoors, is a Green-Thumb and Bookworm.


Why these Traits? For starters, Grant works extra hard to make ends meet while trying to make it as a professional writer. Writing is difficult though, and writer’s block a common foe, so he frequently spends his time outdoors gardening in the sun. It’s a great stress reliever!


Every writer needs a muse and Grant is no exception. The town is full of attractive singles and few locations are better for mixing and mingling than the gym. It’s the perfect plan – the Sims there are in shape, outgoing, and exactly where Grant is!


Unfortunately, the conversations don’t go so well after Grant’s charming introduction. Grant frequently talks about work (yawn), relies too heavily on the fact that he’s an aspiring writer (who isn’t?), and frequently stinks (from working out).


Being single is hard!


Luckily, Grant’s an optimist. He’s convinced Ms. Right is somewhere in town. Plus, being single has its perks! With all of the time saved by not having to date, Grant can focus his energy on landscaping and arranging his home so that when he does have the perfect girlfriend, a sweet job, and friends, he can throw an awesome party.


Suddenly, I must become a gamer so Grant Duders can make enough money to furnish the home. Then I have to become a builder to make all the parts of Duders’ home and backyard look fantastic. Once all the pieces are in place, I return right back where I started – telling my, err, his story exactly how I want it to unfold.


We want every player to love their Sims, feel an attachment to them so that they are well taken care of, and most importantly, feel the satisfaction of seeing their often goofy Sims succeed at whatever they put their hearts to. I cannot wait to read your stories in just a few short months!


Thanks for reading!




P.S. The real one.

Grant Rodiek
Assistant Producer