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Controlling Your Cats & Dogs: New Blog 8/31

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simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 6,757 Member
edited August 2017 in Expansion Packs
Controlling Your Cats & Dogs
BY GRANT RODIEK

[img][/img]smp0AGb.png


Hi Simmers! We were thrilled to finally announce The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs*. It’s a huge relief to finally get it out in the open. One of the first questions the community asked after our big reveal: Can I control my cats and dogs?

This is appropriate, because it was one of the first questions we asked ourselves long before we started working on the game itself. It’s one of the most important design questions for the entire pack, so we want to dive a little deeper into what it means. Early on our team was almost evenly split and gearing for a creative fight. Folks (me included!) had (and have) VERY strong opinions on this topic. We knew it was incredibly important. In The Sims 2, you couldn’t directly control pets. In The Sims 3, you could. We went back and played the old games, read the forums, and conducted survey research on this topic specifically to fully consider every angle.

We went back and forth, and finally our creative director made a very important point. The question isn’t control or not control? It's what can we do with either solution, and why is one solution superior? What do we gain? What do we lose?

Before we continue this, let’s take a step back and examine other aspects. I’m a dog owner and have been almost my entire life. My corgi, Peaches, is often the focus for my weekends. My wife and I take her to the beach, throw her in the car to shop, and we read in the backyard so she can enjoy the sun. We dote on her.

[img][/img]iWPsiBq.png


I’m not alone in being obsessed with my dog or cat on the team. When discussing this pack, we tried to really dive deep into the essence of our pets and why we love them. Why they make us laugh. Why they make us angry. Why we photograph them constantly. We found out that we were all drawn to what made our pets special. How they sleep on their backs. How they always bark at a certain person. How they listen for the crinkle of a plastic bag as they know it’s a walk.

We knew our cats and dogs in The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs needed to be responsive, observant, and obsessed with the Sims. Their owners. Their companions. We also knew we wanted them to be surprising, to act in unexpected and delightful ways, and to be living creatures. We were guided by the idea that cats and dogs would be like Sims for your Sims.

This brings us back to control. There are many factors at play here, some technical, some design, but in a nutshell, if players could see and control every aspect of their cat or dog, it made it difficult for us to make them do surprising, fun, and unexpected things. When we compared all the options, we knew that our game would be the most fun if we didn’t let players select cats and dogs, but instead gave you other ways to interact with them. When we made this decision, it fundamentally opened up things we could do with cats and dogs that we can’t do with Sims even!

This doesn’t mean they’re wild and without control. Far from it. I’m going to give some examples, but before that, let me ask: How do you control your dog or cat in real life? How do you get them by your side when you want to pet them, or get them to sit when they’re misbehaving? The answer in your mind, it’s how it works in the game too. When your Pets need your attention to solve their needs, they’ll animate, act in certain behaviors, communicate with your Sims, and yes, the UI will tell you what they need. You can even ask them!

[img][/img]egLJ2TI.png


When they act badly, you can train them to stop. When you want them by your side, you can call them immediately over to you. But, like all good dogs and cats, there is a good chance they’ll be at your feet, walking along side you, or snoring on the couch next to your Sims already. If you want your dog to breed with another dog, you can instruct them to do so. When you need your cat to sleep in a certain bed, you can call them to do so.

In a nutshell, you won’t be frustrated by a lack of control. We’ve taken great pains to design, implement, and test an assortment of solutions and content to make sure that isn’t the case. But, we’ve also filled the game with unique behaviors and attributes for your cats and dogs so that you’ll be observing and telling stories for years.

We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control. Some of you may not agree, but don’t worry, The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs will be out soon and we’ll be talking more about it in the coming months. Soon you’ll agree that this is the most pawesome decision!

Until next time.


https://www.thesims.com/news/control-cat-dog
Post edited by simgirl1010 on
If It Doesn't Make You Happy, Let It Go.

Comments

  • LeGardePourpreLeGardePourpre Posts: 8,613 Member
    edited August 2017
    I predict a lot of annoying behaviors that the mods will fix.
    (Drink water each 5 seconds)

    The cats & dogs should be as much efficient as the NPC butler :p

  • alanmichael1alanmichael1 Posts: 2,937 Member
    I find the arguments in the blog very convincing.

    But it's quite sad that they put so much effort in their concepts - and then comes the next pack and breaks everything.
  • LeGardePourpreLeGardePourpre Posts: 8,613 Member
    I don't like to control the pets but sometimes the AI isn't very smart and requires the God hand to make the right choice.
  • JimG72JimG72 Posts: 1,102 Member
    AmySims09 wrote: »

    I'm glad they aren't controllable :smiley: Controlling their every move would get boring.

    Agreed.
  • DegrassiGenDegrassiGen Posts: 2,159 Member
    Aside from the fact that creative control is yet again being taken away from us this line is what I find even more offensive "We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control."

    Seriously EA your saying taking gameplay from storytellers is what makes an awesome expansion pack! And what's worst Simmers are supporting this because they believe that it's ok to control people but it's not ok to control a pet it's too unrealistic. I am so upset! The Sims used to be about giving the tools to give the players what they want to do and how to tell their own stories. I don't care how laggy The Sims 3 was cause we had so much freedom but more and more are we being told what to do and simply not being allowed to do what we could before. Why Simmers are supporting the idea of taking away gameplay from players I will never understand. And just as bad EA saying removing a feature is what makes a best expansion is truly heartbreaking. This is coming from someone who up until now always avoided these backlashes but I have to say my piece on this. We storytellers were let down badly.
  • AmySims09AmySims09 Posts: 1,227 Member
    edited August 2017
    Aside from the fact that creative control is yet again being taken away from us this line is what I find even more offensive "We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control."

    Seriously EA your saying taking gameplay from storytellers is what makes an awesome expansion pack! And what's worst Simmers are supporting this because they believe that it's ok to control people but it's not ok to control a pet it's too unrealistic. I am so upset! The Sims used to be about giving the tools to give the players what they want to do and how to tell their own stories. I don't care how laggy The Sims 3 was cause we had so much freedom but more and more are we being told what to do and simply not being allowed to do what we could before. Why Simmers are supporting the idea of taking away gameplay from players I will never understand. And just as bad EA saying removing a feature is what makes a best expansion is truly heartbreaking. This is coming from someone who up until now always avoided these backlashes but I have to say my piece on this. We storytellers were let down badly.

    Yeah but knowing what your pets are going to do the whole time your playing the game would get very boring. That's probably the reason why simmers are supporting this.

    We need some change and unpredictability in our games. Change keeps things interesting.

    They have a good reason for doing this and I'm glad they made the right decision.
  • CrueltivityCrueltivity Posts: 161 Member
    I'm so glad they did the right decision. It looks like they put so much effort on it too. After what they did with toddlers I can really see how great this EP can be.
  • DegrassiGenDegrassiGen Posts: 2,159 Member
    AmySims09 wrote: »
    Aside from the fact that creative control is yet again being taken away from us this line is what I find even more offensive "We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control."

    Seriously EA your saying taking gameplay from storytellers is what makes an awesome expansion pack! And what's worst Simmers are supporting this because they believe that it's ok to control people but it's not ok to control a pet it's too unrealistic. I am so upset! The Sims used to be about giving the tools to give the players what they want to do and how to tell their own stories. I don't care how laggy The Sims 3 was cause we had so much freedom but more and more are we being told what to do and simply not being allowed to do what we could before. Why Simmers are supporting the idea of taking away gameplay from players I will never understand. And just as bad EA saying removing a feature is what makes a best expansion is truly heartbreaking. This is coming from someone who up until now always avoided these backlashes but I have to say my piece on this. We storytellers were let down badly.

    Yeah but knowing what your pets are going to do the whole time your playing the game would get very boring. That's probably the reason why simmers are supporting this.

    We need some change and unpredictability in our games. Change keeps things interesting.

    They have a good reason for doing this and I'm glad they made the right decision.

    Taking away gameplay from storytellers is not a good idea! I'm all for change but again since the very beginning The Sims 4 has been about sacrifice. Which too this day I don't understand. Just like how I don't understand how you agree that pets are unrealistic in control but people are.
  • AmySims09AmySims09 Posts: 1,227 Member
    AmySims09 wrote: »
    Aside from the fact that creative control is yet again being taken away from us this line is what I find even more offensive "We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control."

    Seriously EA your saying taking gameplay from storytellers is what makes an awesome expansion pack! And what's worst Simmers are supporting this because they believe that it's ok to control people but it's not ok to control a pet it's too unrealistic. I am so upset! The Sims used to be about giving the tools to give the players what they want to do and how to tell their own stories. I don't care how laggy The Sims 3 was cause we had so much freedom but more and more are we being told what to do and simply not being allowed to do what we could before. Why Simmers are supporting the idea of taking away gameplay from players I will never understand. And just as bad EA saying removing a feature is what makes a best expansion is truly heartbreaking. This is coming from someone who up until now always avoided these backlashes but I have to say my piece on this. We storytellers were let down badly.

    Yeah but knowing what your pets are going to do the whole time your playing the game would get very boring. That's probably the reason why simmers are supporting this.

    We need some change and unpredictability in our games. Change keeps things interesting.

    They have a good reason for doing this and I'm glad they made the right decision.

    Taking away gameplay from storytellers is not a good idea! I'm all for change but again since the very beginning The Sims 4 has been about sacrifice. Which too this day I don't understand. Just like how I don't understand how you agree that pets are unrealistic in control but people are.

    Because the Sims is all about controlling human sims. It wouldn't be much of a game if you couldn't control them.

    Wouldn't you like to see what they get up to without micromanagement?
  • DannydanboDannydanbo Posts: 12,517 Member
    I keep hearing about "storytelling" and how without being able to "be" the pet, you can't possibly control the pet in order to tell a good story. It sounds like there will be a lot of control of pets. But how about one or two of you storytellers provide a link to some of the fantastic stories you told in S3. Then, we all could see for ourselves why it is that you need all this control. I just hope these pet stories are worth all this talk.
  • DivieOwlDivieOwl Posts: 1,078 Member
    I'm one of the simmers that wanted to control my pets. I was (likely still am) disappointed that they are uncontrollable. But, I read the blog earlier this morning, and them explaining the thought process behind the decision is helping me to understand and accept the decision. I'm now more open to the EP and am more willing to give it a shot. It's amazing what open communication can do for a simmers wants and outlook.
  • SimpkinSimpkin Posts: 6,297 Member
    Great blog. Although I would have loved to hear more about the game not a justification/defense cause of some plum players.
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  • NeonHighwaysNeonHighways Posts: 1,505 Member
    It's sounding good! I really want to see how they behave in gameplay, and with the sims camp coming up, there will be lots of first hand experiences so we'll know how it all works out!
  • LenaDieters11LenaDieters11 Posts: 1,346 Member
    I just hope they got pets right this time and all their quirks. I feel like it is the most important part of a pets EP. I would rather have quirky unique animals that react like real ones than 100 species in the game....to me no matter what they leave out, if they do get that right it is a step forward. However, it would also make me hopeful that they could do that again with another species....
    Let's see, so far I am hopeful, since it seems that they put the most effort into this essence of a pet!
  • DivieOwlDivieOwl Posts: 1,078 Member
    Simpkin wrote: »
    Great blog. Although I would have loved to hear more about the game not a justification/defense cause of some plum players.

    I'm getting real tired of being talked down about because of a different opinion. Because someone doesn't share your opinion on something they are a "plum player"? How is that any different then looking down on someone for the color of their skin or their romance preference? I am getting quite tired of how toxic this forums are towards each other. Why can't people be nice? Why call others names? Don't we have enough of that in the real world? Shouldn't these forums be a nice, respectful place to share a common interest and have fun?
  • SimpkinSimpkin Posts: 6,297 Member
    edited August 2017
    DivieOwl wrote: »
    Simpkin wrote: »
    Great blog. Although I would have loved to hear more about the game not a justification/defense cause of some plum players.

    I'm getting real tired of being talked down about because of a different opinion. Because someone doesn't share your opinion on something they are a "plum player"? How is that any different then looking down on someone for the color of their skin or their romance preference? I am getting quite tired of how toxic this forums are towards each other. Why can't people be nice? Why call others names? Don't we have enough of that in the real world? Shouldn't these forums be a nice, respectful place to share a common interest and have fun?

    if the haters stayed on their sims 3 forum or off the s4 one when they don't like the game, then it'll stop :) Those haters aren't here for common interest but just to whine.
    I didn't eve use a bad word lol. This forum censors everything.

    edit: and this blog was directly at the complainers, not even about the game. The whiners rain on the developers and the game lovers' parades. I wanna hear about the game not a justification to their decisions.
    Everybody's looking for somebody's arms to fall into...that's what it is
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    SPENCER REID SUPPORTER! LOVE THE CUTE LITTLE MUFFIN.
  • littlemissgogolittlemissgogo Posts: 1,292 Member
    glad they got into the thought process behind their decision! hopefully it put the folks on the fence at ease a lil. at the very least, I imagine the modding community will come up with something for those seeking control. but if you don't use mods then you'll be in a bit of a pickle. .
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  • KatyJay88KatyJay88 Posts: 1,879 Member
    This paragraph/part:
    " Why they make us laugh. Why they make us angry. Why we photograph them constantly. We found out that we were all drawn to what made our pets special. How they sleep on their backs. How they always bark at a certain person. How they listen for the crinkle of a plastic bag as they know it’s a walk."

    has me especially excited! I think they may have nailed this!!!
    My only wants:
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  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 6,757 Member
    KatyJay88 wrote: »
    This paragraph/part:
    " Why they make us laugh. Why they make us angry. Why we photograph them constantly. We found out that we were all drawn to what made our pets special. How they sleep on their backs. How they always bark at a certain person. How they listen for the crinkle of a plastic bag as they know it’s a walk."

    has me especially excited! I think they may have nailed this!!!

    So true! My dog starts wagging her tail and heads for the door as soon as I pull out that plastic bag. :p
    If It Doesn't Make You Happy, Let It Go.
  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 6,757 Member
    edited September 2017
    DivieOwl wrote: »
    Simpkin wrote: »
    Great blog. Although I would have loved to hear more about the game not a justification/defense cause of some plum players.

    I'm getting real tired of being talked down about because of a different opinion. Because someone doesn't share your opinion on something they are a "plum player"? How is that any different then looking down on someone for the color of their skin or their romance preference? I am getting quite tired of how toxic this forums are towards each other. Why can't people be nice? Why call others names? Don't we have enough of that in the real world? Shouldn't these forums be a nice, respectful place to share a common interest and have fun?

    @DivieOwl, if you see comments that violate the forums' code of conduct you should report it. :) The new forum moderators seem to be keeping on top of things.

    ETA: Glad to hear you're become more open to the idea and willing to give it a shot.
    If It Doesn't Make You Happy, Let It Go.
  • MVWdeZTMVWdeZT Posts: 2,461 Member
    I was never very interested in corgis, but I have to say that Peaches is adorable. Now I want one of my families to have a cute little caramel-and-white one. Maybe call her Nectarine?
  • Dreamie209Dreamie209 Posts: 3,069 Member
    edited September 2017
    Dannydanbo wrote: »
    I keep hearing about "storytelling" and how without being able to "be" the pet, you can't possibly control the pet in order to tell a good story. It sounds like there will be a lot of control of pets. But how about one or two of you storytellers provide a link to some of the fantastic stories you told in S3. Then, we all could see for ourselves why it is that you need all this control. I just hope these pet stories are worth all this talk.

    Well, I don't know about full blogs, but I used to have a story back in TS3 (gosh that was sooo long ago lol). But anyway getting the pets to do exactly what I needed to was a bit easier story wise. Although when it came to gameplay, I'd hardly use pets in TS3.

    I actually do prefer uncontrollable pets, however in the same token I also understand the controllable crowd too. Shockingly my son and older niece were apparently in that group :lol: .

    I never thought that not being able to play as their favorite animal heroes would be the biggest decision of not wanting the pack. But eh, I think it draws into the realism half vs the fantasy.

    Some want the pet and experience them and what they find cute of them, some want to be the pet and see life through their eyes. Both are valid so I could definitely see why Grant said there was a giant debate about it.

    Either choice isn't a big deal for me for me honestly though. But I get both sides.
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  • TriplisTriplis Posts: 2,775 Member
    Aside from the fact that creative control is yet again being taken away from us this line is what I find even more offensive "We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control."

    Seriously EA your saying taking gameplay from storytellers is what makes an awesome expansion pack! And what's worst Simmers are supporting this because they believe that it's ok to control people but it's not ok to control a pet it's too unrealistic. I am so upset! The Sims used to be about giving the tools to give the players what they want to do and how to tell their own stories. I don't care how laggy The Sims 3 was cause we had so much freedom but more and more are we being told what to do and simply not being allowed to do what we could before. Why Simmers are supporting the idea of taking away gameplay from players I will never understand. And just as bad EA saying removing a feature is what makes a best expansion is truly heartbreaking. This is coming from someone who up until now always avoided these backlashes but I have to say my piece on this. We storytellers were let down badly.
    I don't expect you to agree with the arguments for it, but I think the salient points are more or less that:

    1) Even among their own devs, there was some impassioned disagreement. It's not just simmers. This was a polarizing question, even for them. In other words, it's not as though they flipped a coin and said who shall we throw under the bus.

    2) The decision that was made, whether for better or worse, enabled them to make design decisions that simply wouldn't have otherwise been an option. Whether you, Degrassi, would enjoy the results of those design decisions is anyone's guess, especially since we haven't seen the feature set yet.

    But it does sound like you can control your pet to a certain extent, just not in the literal, switch to their portrait and give them commands, meaning of control. They compared it to a real person's relationship with their sims, if I'm remembering correctly (I read the article earlier). So it may be a little bit like the Parenthood pack with children, where you can "influence" them to do certain things or (hopefully, though I'm speculating wildly now) you can train behavioral patterns or actions.

    My recommendation is, give it some time and see what the feature set looks like when it comes out. Maybe you'll still abhor the idea of it, but you never know.
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  • BeJaWaBeJaWa Posts: 903 Member
    Dannydanbo wrote: »
    I keep hearing about "storytelling" and how without being able to "be" the pet, you can't possibly control the pet in order to tell a good story. It sounds like there will be a lot of control of pets. But how about one or two of you storytellers provide a link to some of the fantastic stories you told in S3. Then, we all could see for ourselves why it is that you need all this control. I just hope these pet stories are worth all this talk.

    I don't write my stories publicly but will just trust me when I say that it was worth it for me and my stories :)
    Simpkin wrote: »
    DivieOwl wrote: »
    Simpkin wrote: »
    Great blog. Although I would have loved to hear more about the game not a justification/defense cause of some plum players.

    I'm getting real tired of being talked down about because of a different opinion. Because someone doesn't share your opinion on something they are a "plum player"? How is that any different then looking down on someone for the color of their skin or their romance preference? I am getting quite tired of how toxic this forums are towards each other. Why can't people be nice? Why call others names? Don't we have enough of that in the real world? Shouldn't these forums be a nice, respectful place to share a common interest and have fun?

    if the haters stayed on their sims 3 forum or off the s4 one when they don't like the game, then it'll stop :) Those haters aren't here for common interest but just to whine.
    I didn't eve use a bad word lol. This forum censors everything.

    edit: and this blog was directly at the complainers, not even about the game. The whiners rain on the developers and the game lovers' parades. I wanna hear about the game not a justification to their decisions.

    :o wow.
    I'm complaining because I own and play ts4 not because I play ts3 if I played ts3 I wouldn't give a rats bottom about a disappointing ep.
    I want more creative freedom to do what I want in game I'm giving my criticism of this pack in hopes in combination with other complaints future eps might actually give me that freedom I so deeply want in a Sims game.

    I honestly didn't find this blog all that appeasing either but wow what a way to attack those of us who have expressed our grievances. :|
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