SimGuru Spotlight: SimGuru SarahJen

Via: The Sims

We love our studio members here at Maxis. They are fun loving, creative, and super passionate about The Sims; and some love this franchise and community so much they decide to become SimGurus! Some of those passionate folks are on The Sims Mobile team and today we are here to have a chat with the wonderful Senior Producer for the product, SimGuru SarahJen.

Can you give us a brief introduction to yourself?
I love the Sims and have been in and out of Maxis for the past 15 years! I was a producer on The Sims 2 and on Spore! After Spore I left to work in Mobile Games for about 7 years and then came back to Maxis to work on my dream game, The Sims Mobile. I love working in games because I am surrounded by super creative people and there is always something interesting going on. I have two kids, a boy and a girl, who both love the game and in my free time I love to read and go on hikes in the Redwoods.

What do you do on The Sims Mobile?
I am the Senior Producer for The Sims Mobile, which means I wear a lot of hats. Most importantly, I make sure everyone on the team is focused on what will make a great game for our players. I also get to spend a lot of time with our marketing, publishing and community partners!

What’s’ the best thing about being a SimGuru?
It is such a treat to be able to speak to and interact with people who love our game and our franchise! I love meeting new people and hearing what they think about The Sims Mobile and what they would want to improve. The Sims Mobile is what it is because of feedback from the community. The legacy challenge, originally created by our very community for The Sims 2 and updated for The Sims 4, was the genesis for legacy gameplay in The Sims Mobile. We’ve listened to a ton of feedback from the community and much of it has been implemented in the game today!

What do you love most about The Sims franchise?
I love how creative you can be, especially creating unique looking sims! Often I get lost in Create a Sim and spend hours working on my perfect Sim when I should be checking a bug or doing other things. The creation tools that we give our players are really powerful and I love stretching them to see where they take me!

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
I don’t eat dairy, so I would probably have to go with coconut sorbet.

Check out our previous SimGuru Spotlights on SimGuruDuke and SimGuruNinja. Interested in our Simmer Spotlights? Check out our previous ones featuring JulyVeeGaming and the Family Vacation Build Challenge.

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SimGuru Spotlight – SimGuruDuke

Via: The Sims

It’s an exciting time to be a simmer, and an even more exciting time to be a SimGuru! With the announcement of The Sims™ 4 on XBOX One and PlayStation® 4 we just had to sit down with our newest SimGuru, SimGuruDuke!

Can you give us a brief introduction to yourself? 
Hey everybody, I’m super excited to join the Gurus. I have worked at Maxis for the past 11 years. I started as a Gameplay engineer on The Sims 3, when we were still designing the game. I then worked as a Development Director on The Sims 4, in charge of both the Gameplay Engineering and Design Teams. In my free time, I enjoy running, gaming, and traveling.

What do you do on The Sims 4 now?
I’m currently the Senior Producer on The Sims 4 for Xbox and PS4. We are working hard to make sure this is the best console game we have ever released for The Sims, and I’m thrilled to help bring the game I love and worked on for years to console players. I personally prefer to play on console, and I can’t wait to do so this Fall – even though I already get to (the perks of working at Maxis).

What made you interested in becoming a SimGuru?
I really wanted to share with the community more about the console project. You guys have been asking for this for ages, and I want to hear what can make it great and also share our progress with all of you. Also, this community has always been so unique, it is unlike any other gaming community I know of.

What do you love most about The Sims franchise?
All the creative choices, and none of the judgment. I love that I can tell any story I want from one day to another. I love that there is no right way to play the game. There is just the way I want to play today. That freedom creates the perfect escape. I also love that even if I have a story in mind, the game always has a couple twists in store for me. That surprise really keeps it interesting.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? 
Peanut Butter Cup

Looking to learn more about the people who make (and love) The Sims? Check out our last SimGuru Spotlight featuring SimGuruNinja and our latest Simmer Spotlight on the Family Vacation Build Challenge. Be sure to check out our console announcement and keep up to date on the latest news by following us on TwitterInstagram & like us on Facebook.

SimGuru Spotlight – Our Favorite Community Moments!

Via: The Sims

Last week we celebrated the 17th Anniversary of The Sims™ and we’ve had a whole bunch of fun on social media with giveaways, videos & talking to all of you amazing fans. It’s been great to hear all of your memories of The Sims over the years.

We wanted to add one final Anniversary blog to the series though, hearing from the SimGurus! We sat down with a bunch of them to find out what makes them feel really excited and proud to be part of the team, as well as identify specific moments in the community that have stood out to them the most.

As a result, we got some pretty amazing answers:

SimGuru Gnome I loved the machinima that players put out during Sims 2. Music videos, shorts, etc… was one of the first ways I really saw the community having fun with our game.

Image by forum user Mero

SimGuru Ninja The community constantly surprises me with the life they breathe into the game. Builders make amazing creations that make my eyes water, they’re so beautiful. CAS players upload to the gallery some of the most gorgeous Sims I’ve ever seen. Storytellers constantly create interesting, compelling story lines & characters that I never would have anticipated or thought up myself. The community is able to take the content we make for them and push it in fresh, exciting, and surprising directions. The community is the ultimate wild card – I love ‘em!

SimGuru Steve About a month ago we decided to try something different for the holidays – a Yule Log stream where we would just leave Bob Pancakes in an enclosed lot through the holidays. People came and chatted while Bob did his thing. What amazed me was not only how some people stayed to chat, but how they returned day after day! Soon they built friendships and shared stories all because of their shared interest in The Sims. I’ve started this three times now and all the regulars come back. The kindness in our community really shows when they welcome any new viewers who step into the idle stream and inevitably say “So what is this?”

Image by forum user MDianaSanders

SimGuru Kimmi – How the way they told their Sim story through so many screenshots of visual progression is soooo cool. Like, look at that screenshot! Using a fence as part of the house “construction” fiction! SOOOO COOOOL.

SimGuru Trev – One thing that amazes me about our community is how clever they are with the objects we provide to them. Whether it’s Hatsy scaling up ice cream cones to make spires on a castle or DrGluon using half walls and bakery displays to create a make-shift dining table/car for a drive-in theater, the amount of creativity blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.

SimGuru Lyndsay – I’ve been making the Sims for a long time now and can honestly say I never cease to be amazed by what comes out of our players’ minds. The most exciting part of my job is seeing what is most exciting to them.


Now we’ve covered some of the Gurus, what’s your favorite memory of playing The Sims? Come find us on TwitterFacebookTumblr and Instagram, and tell us all about it.

SimGuru Spotlight: SimGuruGraham

Via: The Sims

Want to know more about the fine people working on The Sims 4? Good news! We’re starting up a new series: SimGuru Spotlights, where we talk to a different member of The Sims Studio and ask them to answer questions about their life, their passions, and, most importantly, their favorite ice cream flavor.

Let’s chat with SimGuruGraham!

Can you give a brief introduction to yourself?
Hey, I’m Graham Nardone – one of the producers working in The Sims Studio. You might also know me as @SimGuruGraham on Twitter or our forums, where I frequently shoot the breeze with other Sims fans. I’ve been working on The Sims for going on 7 years now, which is always easy to remember as my hire date was the exact same day that The Sims 3 launched. Before arriving at EA I broke into the video game industry as a QA tester on a number of action games and third-person shooters. Some people find that sort of gaming background an odd juxtaposition to The Sims, but I think everyone in our studio brings their own unique identity and interests, and that’s part of what makes The Sims such a rich life simulation.

What do you do on The Sims 4?
As a producer I’m fortunate enough to do a little bit of everything, and that’s exactly the way I like it. Each day brings new challenges, new people from different disciplines to work with, and there’s always an opportunity to learn and grow within the role. As a jack of all trades, it’s important that producers get out amongst the team and communicate with everyone that’s working on one of our features. The more I understand the challenges they face, the better equipped I am to make decisions that impact the final product that players get their hands on.
Currently I’m focused on the Stuff Pack line of content that we release for The Sims 4, which I’ve really grown to love working on. Because stuff packs are smaller chunks of content, we rapidly go through production cycles, always have something new and interesting to work on, and get to immediately apply whatever we’ve learned to the next thing. From the initial design brainstorms to nailing down the final bug before we ship, I’m involved with it all.

What’s the best thing about being a SimGuru?
As someone who hasn’t had too many opportunities to travel outside of North America, being a SimGuru has opened doors to traveling all around the world. It’s wonderful to meet with The Sims fans and press, and to be entrusted with representing the hard work of everyone back at the studio. That last part in particular is so important to me, because too often in video games fans attribute success to a single person, when there’s an amazing team of developers that the game couldn’t exist without.
As much fun as I have on producer tours, I’m also fortunate to get first-hand exposure to The Sims fans who take the time to share their feelings about what we’re creating. I perceive one of my roles as being an internal mouth piece for the community, and I’m always vocal to help represent fan’s opinions in group discussions in the studio. When I think back on these trips though, I’m primarily left with so many wonderful memories… be it presenting on a gigantic stage at Gamescom in front of tens of thousands of people, being taken to a fancy ice cream shop in France, or participating in a photo shoot with a dingo in Australia… they’re all great experiences that I remember fondly.

What do you love most about The Sims franchise?
As a teen I spent a lot of time fiddling with level editing tools in various video games. I’d always considered it a hobby that I loved, and had hoped to even do it professionally one day. I ended up following a different path while finishing my education, but the curiosity to explore those tools and just build play spaces that spring from your imagination was always alluring. As such, Build Mode in The Sims was a natural fit for me to gravitate towards. To this day it’s my favorite aspect of the game, and I love seeing what players create with it as well. One of my proudest moments working on The Sims was building a number of the tombs that came with The Sims 3 World Adventures, essentially fulfilling a childhood dream to create gameplay environments in a professional game. The Sims players always manage to one up us though, and there’s no better example than all the over-the-top houseboats that players dreamed up when The Sims 3 Island Paradise was released.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
I don’t particularly have a favorite flavor, I find I often select one on a whim. That said, I have to give it up to Chocolate Caramel Gelato. It’s one of the very few flavors you can find in stores that simply combines caramel with chocolate… which is far superior to the more common caramel and vanilla pairing.
Looking to learn more SimGuru Spotlights? Check out an interview with SimGuruRomeo, and another with SimGuruJill.