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Mad Poster
Original Poster
#20226 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:13 AM
Oh, Graham, we're not that bad.



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Lab Assistant
#20227 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inge Jones
I am not sure their playtesting system is ideal. If, as Grant says, they are each responsible for one area of the game, and are playtesting that same area, that's not supposed to be the good way to test. Testing is meant to be done by someone who is ignorant of exactly how that particular system is meant to work, so that they will randomly try things out that the developer had not predicted would be tried in that context. That is more likely to show up bugs. And also show up where the play flow is not as intuitive as it was meant to be. If the tester has to ask "What am I meant to do here?" then they have some more work to do.


That's the type of stuff that falls more on the QA team. We do it some in Production as well, but it's a more informal thing - we have enough in our own areas to fully consume our time. Feature producers are responsible for shipping their areas of the game at a high quality, so we need a clear picture of where our areas are at day in and day out. You can't just check an area off and expect it remains good either; as the game continues to evolve, changes made to one feature have unexpected consequences in other features, etc.

Personally I try and sit in on as many meetings for other producer's features as possible since I know I'll be discussing the game publicly at some point, so I make an effort to learn more areas than my own. Even then it's impossible to stay current on every area of the game. Too many complexities, too many details, too many interconnected features, and too many features that continually evolve... even if you dedicated all of your time to just staying up to date on how every area of the game explicitly works you still wouldn't be able to. One of the biggest challenges of a Sim title is it's not really possible to section off any single feature by itself, you constantly have to consider how it interacts with every other thing in the game since it can all be combined at any point. It really places an emphasis on team work and letting people own their areas.

That actually exposes one of the other difficulties I've found on a base game. Because so much of a base game is establishing the basic functionality, the rules of how the game works, and the foundation of systems that will continue to be used over the life of the game, if you have producers constantly jumping between features you get lots of invalid bugs filed by people who are still operating on old information, or generate inefficient work flows as a new person jumps on something and wants to put their mark on how they think it should function. It generally works best to have the producer who is most familiar with a feature pound on how it should work, and turn QA loose to test all the creative edge cases players will come across.

Sims Producer Graham Nardone - Follow me on Twitter @SimGuruGraham
One horse disagreer of the Apocalypse
#20228 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:20 AM
Thanks for the explanation Graham. I wasn't sure if there was going to be a further QA phase of testing after the developers' own tests since we are so near release date now. Though I guess it's not unusual for a game to have a downloadable update already waiting as soon as players buy the game!

"You can do refraction by raymarching through the depth buffer" (c. Reddeyfish 2017)
Lab Assistant
#20229 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:21 AM
Hi Graham!!! You're awesome!!! Thanks for popping in from time to time, and giving us information!!! We really really appreciate it!! If there was a best guru award you'd get it!!!

That is all.

Sims for for life! My opinion doesn't really matter but I like to share it anyways. :)
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Field Researcher
#20230 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:22 AM
I watched the genetics/CAS video earlier, and I noticed that the randomly generated outfits were... pretty random. I had kinda hoped that the new 'styles' thing would be a way to limit how screwy randomised outfits might look.

Will randomly populated townies, and random outfits from age up be as weird and wacky as they were by the end of the Sims 3 lifecycle or is there something to prevent that?
Field Researcher
#20231 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:22 AM Last edited by SimsTias : 25th Jun 2014 at 8:46 AM.
Graham confirmed that you can play TS4 in windowed mode, just like TS3 but with a new feauture!

Quote:
SimsTias @SimsTias
Can you play #TheSims4 in Windowed mode just like TS3? @SimGuruGraham


Graham Nardone ‏@SimGuruGraham
@SimsTias Sure. You can stretch the window to any wacky size you like as well - go nuts.
@SimsTias Oh, I should also mention in addition to Fullscreen and Windowed modes, Sims 4 now also has Windowed Fullscreen mode. Very handy!
Lab Assistant
#20232 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inge Jones
Thanks for the explanation Graham. I wasn't sure if there was going to be a further QA phase of testing after the developers' own tests since we are so near release date now. Though I guess it's not unusual for a game to have a downloadable update already waiting as soon as players buy the game!


We actually have 24/7 QA coverage on this project from various teams around the globe. QA has been testing the game for quite some time now... it's not like we hand it off to them once we think we're finished

Sims Producer Graham Nardone - Follow me on Twitter @SimGuruGraham
Instructor
#20233 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by lil bag2
Ah. So they did fire the guy who gave us the EPs with the WORST clothes and hairstyles ever. Good call EA


Supernatural has nice hairstyles and make up (if you change opacity of the zombie make up you can get pretty shading and non puding look :lovestruc )
Lab Assistant
#20234 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:34 AM
Graham. Teens. Heights. Please, just give a simple yes or no. I haven't seen anyone say that the teens are shorter or as tall as adults yet.
Top Secret Researcher
#20235 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:36 AM
Thanks Graham for your replies!

What would you say has been the most challenging thing working on The Sims 4? It seems like development is constantly evolving and changing. It sounds like a hard thing to keep up with! lol

~* Childish, Eco-Friendly, Snob, Couch Potato, Inappropriate *~
Field Researcher
#20236 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:38 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimGuruGraham
We actually have 24/7 QA coverage on this project from various teams around the globe. QA has been testing the game for quite some time now... it's not like we hand it off to them once we think we're finished


So, I read this article with the CEO of EA talking about changes to the way they make games, and I was wondering how much that was impacting The Sims 4 team. To me it sounded like the company as a whole was moving towards agile or one of its relatives (or at least a hybrid of that and a more traditional method). I was wondering what project management model / dev process your studio tends to use?

(Since you're talking about something tangentially related to it and I have been kinda burning with curiosity since I read that article I thought I'd ask).
One horse disagreer of the Apocalypse
#20237 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by happycowlover
Thanks Graham for your replies!

What would you say has been the most challenging thing working on The Sims 4? It seems like development is constantly evolving and changing. It sounds like a hard thing to keep up with! lol


Oh yeah! For a commercial project with budgets and deadlines, the actual project must keep changing as some things start to take too long or cost too much etc. And then moving the rest of the features around to close the gap. At least with things like S3PE we could decide what was gonna be in it in the first place then it was finished when it was finished and it didn't matter.

"You can do refraction by raymarching through the depth buffer" (c. Reddeyfish 2017)
Inventor
#20238 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:41 AM
Since the gurus are mostly focused on their particular areas, does that mean that they don't get to play the entirety of the game until it's pretty much finished and most of the aspects of the game are drawn together? Or do they gradually expand to other areas of the game as it draws closer to the release day?

Shy, Clumsy, Insane, Artistic, Hopeless Romantic, Cat Person, Supernatural Fan

Art tumblr
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Instructor
#20239 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:42 AM
SimGuruGraham is here! Yassss! :lovestruc

Well, I have a question too (I hope you'll answer on it): How camera works in the sims 4? Is it smooth and can you zoom out,in extremely,does it pop on the roof,does it work with the smooth edges option...?
Field Researcher
#20240 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:50 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edero
SimGuruGraham is here! Yassss! :lovestruc

Well, I have a question too (I hope you'll answer on it): How camera works in the sims 4? Is it smooth and can you zoom out,in extremely,does it pop on the roof,does it work with the smooth edges option...?

Yes!
This have I also wondered. I hope you can answer Graham
One horse disagreer of the Apocalypse
#20241 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimsTias
Yes!
This have I also wondered. I hope you can answer Graham


Why don't you ask Graham on twitter, then more people will have a chance of seeing his reply as loads of people tend to retweet and copy the tweets to blogs.

"You can do refraction by raymarching through the depth buffer" (c. Reddeyfish 2017)
Field Researcher
#20242 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inge Jones
Why don't you ask Graham on twitter, then more people will have a chance of seeing his reply as loads of people tend to retweet and copy the tweets to blogs.

Did it now
Field Researcher
#20243 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 8:59 AM
RE: No toddlers in CAS and a potentially combined baby/toddler stage - a special message from The Rugrats:

Instructor
#20244 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inge Jones
IMHO Twitter's as good a place as any, and neutral territory. Saves you from any accusation of "favoritising" certain fan groups. Though you need to "Follow" me to stop me getting jealous of my rival fans that you do follow . (Only joking)


He IS following you now! =)
Lab Assistant
#20245 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidhedera
So, I read this article with the CEO of EA talking about changes to the way they make games, and I was wondering how much that was impacting The Sims 4 team. To me it sounded like the company as a whole was moving towards agile or one of its relatives (or at least a hybrid of that and a more traditional method). I was wondering what project management model / dev process your studio tends to use?

(Since you're talking about something tangentially related to it and I have been kinda burning with curiosity since I read that article I thought I'd ask).


Simple question with a complicated answer. It really changes team to team based on the needs and preferences of the team. It can even change within different disciplines on a single team depending on how they prefer to manage their group. My understanding is that Sims 4 used agile at one point prior to when I joined the project... it hasn't been widely practiced since I've been on the team. We generally use a waterfall development method, which is what I'm used to (I've never actually worked on a team using agile). Factoid: The Redwood Shores Sims 3 expansion team used waterfall, while the Salt Lake Sims 3 expansion team used agile.

A lot of times we still pull in aspects of agile development and kind of mix it up to be our own hybrid of the two approaches. Not having fully used agile myself it's difficult to speculate, but from what I know of it I feel like sprints are too restrictive to how I like to work... I like flexibility. Agile feels very rigid and structured, which certainly works for some people. That's why I think it's smart to consider the best approach for the people on your team.

If there's a company wide push to use agile, maybe I missed that memo I have a feeling Andrew was talking about unifying a lot of the underlying tech between different teams so that knowledge and tech can more easily be transferred between different teams, different projects, or even individual developers. The Sims requires such a unique style of development though that we end up operating a bit outside that realm. For example... if you've been following EA, no doubt you've heard how all EA titles are either built on the Frostbite or Ignite engines now. Sims 4 is an exception to that rule, using our own tech to suit the specific needs a life simulation has.

Sims Producer Graham Nardone - Follow me on Twitter @SimGuruGraham
Lab Assistant
#20246 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edero
SimGuruGraham is here! Yassss! :lovestruc

Well, I have a question too (I hope you'll answer on it): How camera works in the sims 4? Is it smooth and can you zoom out,in extremely,does it pop on the roof,does it work with the smooth edges option...?


We're still tweaking the values of the camera movement... it's just a matter of plugging in different numbers to adjust the way different aspects of camera movement behave. Something I personally found very frustrating with the camera in Sims 3 was the way the camera bounced when you got close to walls. It isn't my feature but I've made it a pet project to try and stomp out as much unnecessary camera bounce as possible so that you can position your camera where you want it to be.

You can zoom out a good distance, it does move smoothly, you can still hold shift to accelerate camera movement, and the edge scrolling option is still there. We've added the ability to click the ground and drag the camera to that position (think of how Google Maps functions). We've also added a simple cam mode that is turned on by default - if you're anything like me though, the first thing you'll do is go into the options and turn on the legacy camera controls. Simple cam automatically adjusts the pitch of the camera as you zoom in and out, and swaps the position of camera pan & camera rotate buttons on the mouse.

Sims Producer Graham Nardone - Follow me on Twitter @SimGuruGraham
One horse disagreer of the Apocalypse
#20247 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:28 AM
Talking of Agile, Peter is away on a course for that tomorrow!

"You can do refraction by raymarching through the depth buffer" (c. Reddeyfish 2017)
Instructor
#20248 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:28 AM
That's a double post
Any comments on the teenager-size, toddlers and such already possible? At least you can definitely answer this question

Yes, I am serious though I'm not serious at all. I'm serious about this!
Even the joker can be deadly serious...
Wichtig ist, was hinten raus kommt!
Entscheidend daran ist, wie?
Field Researcher
#20249 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:30 AM
Thanks for your answer about that Graham!

The interview I saw he was using a lot of the same buzzwords I see in pro-agile project management stuff so thats where I got the idea from. I was just curious. My impression from talking to developers at large firms is generally that the sorts of strict methods taught in school/uni never actually get used. Managers take a bit from here and a bit from there and if they are a good manager, do so in a way that works for their teams. I've only ever worked for small (Australian) companies, and I know thats how THEY do it, but we're arse backwards in tech here in so many ways. Its been quite surprising discovering that some of the 'tech giants' do the same thing, and that maybe my teachers were overstating the importance of some things.

It makes sense that The Sims is a little different to the way the rest of things are done. Its a pretty unique game really. (PS. I'm super psyched about the AI changes. So incredibly excited to see them in action.)
One horse disagreer of the Apocalypse
#20250 Old 25th Jun 2014 at 9:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidhedera
Managers take a bit from here and a bit from there


And quite a lot from legacy projects and methods in the company. It can be cheaper/easier than redesigning everything and retraining everyone.

"You can do refraction by raymarching through the depth buffer" (c. Reddeyfish 2017)
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