The Sims

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The Sims
Developer: Maxis
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Year: 2000
Platforms: PC, Macintosh, PS2, Xbox, GameCube
Genre: Simulation
AI Era: (see era list)

The Sims is a life-simulation game in which the player has control over semi-autonomous people as well as design of their house (architecture and interior design).


Description of AI Behavior

Sim characters are semi-autonomous and attempt to lead normal lives involving eating, sleeping, bathing, going to the bathroom, working, having fun, and participating in relationships.

Notable Behaviors

The Sims ability to autonomously participate in daily activities regardless of the arrangement of the environment is impressive. In particular, Sim characters can intelligently interact with any object in the game since the interaction logic is stored within each object rather than inside the Sim (Smart Object / Smart Terrain architecture). Moreover, each Sim has a somewhat complex architecture involving Personalities and Needs that help drive the Sim through everyday life.


Agent Architecture

Sims have four key aspects to their personal agent architecture: Personality, Needs, Skills, and Relationships.


Each Sim has individual ratings across five personality traits. The traits are: Sloppy to Neat, Shy to Outgoing, Serious to Playful, Lazy to Active, and Mean to Nice.

Personality traits affect what Sims choose to do autonomously and how much benefit a Sim receives from a given interaction. For example, a serious Sim will derive more "fun" from playing chess than playing a pinball machine.


Sims have two classes of Needs: Physical and Mental. Physical needs include Hunger, Comfort, Hygiene, and Bladder. Mental needs include Energy, Fun, Social, and Room.

Each Need is rated on a scale of -100 to 100 based on the history of the Sim. For example, if the Sim is fully rested, his Energy is at 100. All eight needs are weighted through individual Response Curves and summed together to generate an overall Mood (on a scale from -100 to 100).


Sims can acquire various degrees of Skills which affect their interactions. Skills include Cooking, Mechanical, Charisma, Body, Logic, Creativity, and Cleaning. For example, if a Sim has a low Cooking skill, they will catch the stove on fire when they try to cook.



Smart Objects and Smart Terrain



What Worked


Individual Good Thing


What Didn't Work


Individual Bad Thing


Lessons Learned


Reception by Public

The Sims became the best selling PC game in history when it came out, selling more than 6.3 million copies.


The Sims on Wikipedia.

External Links


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