Life By You - Rod Humble and a Map Painting Company Team Up to Take on the World

I figured this now deserves its own thread! It is being developed by Paradox Tectonic led by our very own Rod Humble.

Early Access is September 12

Announcement Trailer below:

But there’s also a 25m announcement event video:

You can preorder on Epic Games now, Steam is currently wishlist only.

Some first impressions:

  • Interesting that they are going for a more realistic look relative to the cartoony look of Sims 4.
  • There seems to be a heavy emphasis on modding and creation tools.
  • It does not look close to being finished (which is fine!). To compete for the sims demographic I think the game will need to have high polish.
  • It is yet to be confirmed whether you can trap people in swimming pools by taking away the steps.

I hope they hire seanbaby to do a follow up article to this gem using Life By You:

They really hit on the idea of no limits, do whatever you want. I feel a tension between that and the idea of a simulation which needs constraints so that things matter. I’ve been a little disappointed ever since the Sims 1, because I was hoping it was more like Sim Ant but with humans. Or Dwarf Fortress, as a later example. But you kind of have to to make your contraints in the Sim games.

Though they also emphasize all the NPCs are playing by the same rules. There’s kind of a line between ‘mod it to do whatever you want’ and ‘do whatever in the game sim’ and maybe that’s how they can do both.

I’ve seen plenty of interviews and forum posts and Rod Humble has thought about that tension 10x more than I have, so I have faith he’s gonna pull off something interesting.

“Remember, we’ve just watched these people play the game,” Humble told me, “and I had people come out and lie to us, to the whole group, about what they just did.”

“I remember a bunch of young guys,” said Humble, “and they get into the room, it’s a mixed room, and we’re like, ‘Hey, what did you do?’ and they’re like, ‘Murdered people. Went in and starved people, had sex with everybody in the town.’ But actually, what you did is you redecorated that bathroom, right? Like, that’s actually what you did. There’s this idea that there are some things you should say you’re doing, but actually, no, you’re cooking, you’re making house.”

“If you hear us talk about playing a life sim, we’ll often alternate between first- and third-person,” said Humble. “So we’ll say, ‘I asked Jeffery on a date, we went on our date, and my person messed it up.’ And so they’ll change from ‘me as the player’ versus ‘my agent did something.’ And that tension is where there’s a lot of magic in life simulation. You’re going back and forth between, ‘Am I playing that person, or is that a little creature that I’ve got a distance on?’”

The idea that players may want plausible deniability about what they do in life sims also led Humble to leave something out of Life By You: telemetry, or the collecting of anonymized gameplay data for statistical purposes. It’s how EA knows there were 289 million “WooHoos” across Sims 4 games last year, for example. A lot of games do it, and the responsible ones ask you before transmitting anything, but Humble decided it was better to leave it out entirely.

“It’s very important for this community, in this day and age, to know that this is a private experience,” Humble told me. “There’s no in-game telemetry gathering data that could, for example, go to a hostile government.”

Not my cup of meat, but I wish Rod all the luck in the world.

Who’s up for some Rod Humble, by Paradox Tectonic?

New trailer.

This is a great decision in my opinion. The delay seems to be related to wanting to improve the game’s visuals and UI.

This seems to be generating some mainstream interest - I was pleased to see an interview with @Rod_Humble pop up in the Guardian: