The Sims 2: Castaway

2007, Electronic Arts, PS2/Wii (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities: Game and Lot Design, Prototyping, Lot Transition Portals, Gameplay Programming: Harvesting, Crafting, and Music Systems

As a radical departure from the traditional “get a house, get a job, buy stuff” gameplay of The Sims, Castaway pitched the player onto a tropical island where they had to harvest materials to build their own shelter and find their own food. I helped design and prototype the crafting system which allowed players to unlock recipes as they explored the island, finding ingredients, and exploring ancient ruins.

The Sims 2 Pets (PSP)

2006, Electronic Arts, PSP (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities: Training/Mentoring, Porting Code, Gameplay Programming: Pet Interactions

The Sims 2 for PSP was a hybrid game which copied the Sims 2 Pets base game from console, but made its own changes to the game design and code. I was sent to train a team of engineers at EA Canada and support the process of merging code from the Pets game being finished in California while implementing the custom behavior changes. After five weeks of hard work we finished the port and I returned home.

The Sims 2 Pets (Console)

2006, Electronic Arts, PS2/Wii/GameCube, (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities: Gameplay Programming: Pet Plaza Buildings and Store Interactions

The Sims 2 Pets was a simultaneous release which shared assets between a PC expansion and a Console game. I worked on the console game, which was a sequel to The Sims 2 Console but with added pets content. As someone familiar with developing both the console and PC versions of The Sims, I was able to assist modelers and animators from the PC team who were unfamiliar with content requirements for the console games.

The Sims 2: Open For Business (Expansion Pack)

2006, Electronic Arts, PC (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities: Gameplay Programming: Store Manager AI, Employee Assignments, Crafting Stations

After working on the base game The Sims 2 and the first expansion pack The Sims 2: University, I was called back to the PC team following the release of The Sims 2 Console to help make an expansion pack about building a store for your sims to shop at.

This project was the first which introduced the programming language Lua, as an alternative to the built-in proprietary language normally used to write The Sims behavior. Lua allowed for more complicated scenarios to be created easily by the engineering team, such as realistic poker games played by sims, and my assignment, which was a store managerial AI.

I learned the Lua language during this project, and used its strengths to help design the sorting and prioritization algorithm of the Store Managerial AI. When you told a sim to watch your store, they would intelligently manage which other employees should stock, man the register, take a break, etc, taking into account the various skill levels of the sims working in the store, as well as the skill levels of the manager. Beware of hiring a manager who isn’t very smart.

The Sims 2 (Console)

2005, Electronic Arts, PS2/GameCube/XBox (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities: Game and Interaction Design, Gameplay Programming: Anti-Gravity Hot Tub, Wave Machine, Fire-related Systems, Food Sources

As an experienced engineer with The Sims 2 programming language, I was transferred to the console team to help bring the gameplay of The Sims 2 from the PC to XBox, PS2, and GameCube. On the PC, a mouse would be used to send the sim to places and interact with objects, but we wanted to avoid having a cursor. I helped prototype a system which gave users direct joystick control of sims for navigation, with proximity and direction determining which objects the user could interact with.

The Sims 2: University (Expansion Pack)

2005, Electronic Arts, Windows/PC Expansion Pack (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities:Gameplay Programming: Fashion Photographer Camera, Hydroponic Garden, Bubble Hookah

The first expansion pack for The Sims 2 game included many objects and experiences surrounding College life. The camera was the most complex object I worked on for this expansion, as it needed specific engineering support to turn a screenshot into an in-game texture for a canvas.

The Sims 2 (PC)

2004, Electronic Arts, Windows/PC (view on MobyGames)

Responsibilities: Game Design, Prototyping, Gameplay Programming: Candy Factory, Playing Tag, Autonomous Urinal Selection Behavior

The Sims 2 was the first commercial video game I helped program. I was hired by Maxis, owned by Electronic Arts, to learn the proprietary language used to script behavior in the game. As part of the extended development to improve the game design of The Sims 2, I was placed on a “SWAT team” to design behavior for Sloppy sims, as well as contributing to the design and testing of death scenarios.

“Show Moose” (Mixed Media)

For this work, created as one of a series of daily drawings in August 2004, was a combination of colored pencil and oil pastels, a pair I had not yet experimented with. I’m not sure where the idea of moose dressage came from, but here you go.