Cheating in The Sims Social — An Odd Twist to the Social Graph

EA Playfish’s The Sims Social “officially” launches today on Facebook, but it’s been playable in beta form long enough for people to have formed in-game relationships that challenge traditional social game interactions.

In The Sims Social, it’s possible for Facebook friends to become neighbors, which is standard for a multiplayer social game experience. Neighbors can visit one another to earn bonus energy and join friends in using whatever devices or activities the friend has purchased for their virtual home. Sims Social takes it one step further, however, with a social interaction system lifted from the original Sims franchise of games where dialogue trees guide individual Sims along a progression toward friendship, romance, or animosity, with each new “level” of relationship opening up new social interactions.

The most interesting feature of this relationship system on Facebook is the compulsive need for permission. Because gameplay is asynchronous, EA Playfish has introduced a system of invites that notifies players when their Sim has reached a new possible level of relationship with another Sim. This does not happen at all relationship levels (e.g. Introduction, New Friend, etc.), but rather at crucial levels of interaction where the relationship dynamic changes dramatically (e.g. Dating, Enemies). Once these invites are accepted, new interaction types are available for users to try — or can happen autonomously as a result of “free will” built into the game’s engine.

This presents players with interactions never before available in a social game. For example, we took our Sim to a neighbor’s house and initiated a Flirt. Because our neighbor was already in a Dating relationship with another Facebook friend, the game prompted us to ask that friend to break up with their partner. Though some romantic interactions were still available to us (e.g. Romantic Kiss, Give Flowers), the relationship could not progress until our Facebook friend ended his relationship with the other Sim.

This was the Facebook Message he sent in response to the Sims Social invite to leave their romantic partner for our Sim:

We spoke with Tom Mapham, a producer on The Sims Social, to better understand the gameplay systems at work and how this could impact a Facebook user’s social graph. In the traditional Sims games, there were no real obstacles to a player “cheating” on a romantic partner, save for the romantic partner developing jealousy that expressed itself in hostile actions (e.g. kicking over your Sim’s garbage can, slapping your Sim, etc.). Because the romantic partner in The Sims Social is controlled by an actual person, however, this jealousy mechanic doesn’t translate to a social game, and so Mapham says a gameplay choice was made to limit romantic partnerships to one per Sim.

“We felt that being able to date 30 other Sims at the same time would lose any connection to real relationships,” he says. “So at present Sims can only sustain one romantic relationship at a time. The game is a live service in beta and we will continue to review the design based on player feedback.”

At present, the game doesn’t use a player’s social graph beyond the friends list — so there’s no way for Sims Social to know that our friend indeed is engaged to another Sims Social player in real life. This gives the player, more or less, total control over how much of their real life they want to replicate or parody in the Sims Social. Though again, Mapham says, the team is open to player feedback on the matter.

As for sexual relationships (here called WooHoo), Mapham explains that Sims must reach a certain relationship level before it becomes a gameplay option, which involves a series of invites to progress to that level.

“Once that relationship level is achieved,” he says, “your Sim can ask another Sim to WooHoo and can even WooHoo autonomously. It does not need another ‘handshake’ from your friend.”

The Sims Social officially launched today on Facebook. According to our traffic tracking service, AppData, the game currently has 4,859,046 monthly active users and 2,064,153 daily active users.

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Leave a Reply

18 Responses to “Cheating in The Sims Social — An Odd Twist to the Social Graph”

  1. randy says:

    do u know u can get married in it

  2. robert says:

    thanks for the info. But where is the CHEAT????

  3. melany oyola says:

    jajaaj q malo no puedo jugar

  4. Gamescom 2011 Roundup: Social & Mobile Highlights says:

    [...] Sims Social Receives “Best Browser Game” – The Sims Social won an award at Gamescom for “Best Browser Game.” Currently, the game boasts a daily [...]

  5. froggy says:

    Robert.. it’s talking about “cheating” with another sim while your sim is already in a “relationship” not a cheat code

  6. Gilly says:

    Yeh Im gutted I was expecting a cheat for this game as its doing my head in!

  7. Sara says:

    I think it’s a good aspect.We live in a generation where people do ‘cheat’ online and have no qualms in doing so,So having a game this popular that wont allow it is quite a quirk maybe it’ll rub off..Lol..

  8. donna says:

    always reload reload and reload !!!
    i hate it

  9. alekfj says:

    the sims social loje shume e bukur me te vertete ma come si giocare in computer no in facebook ???? perfavoree

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey, is it possible that a massage can autonomously turn into a woohoo? I had my sim massage another one, and nothing looked different — i.e., the animations were all the same as a normal massage — but afterward, it popped up a message saying, ‘woo-hoo! the sims did it!

    That freaked me out. I don’t want to perform woo-hoos with other sims, and I don’t know whether or not my friend was notified. If she was, I will die from embarrassment, and never initiate a massage again!

    My question is, is it possible that the sims woohooed through a massage, or was it just — I hope — a game error that popped up the wrong message, meaning they didn’t woohoo?

  11. Anon says:

    Yeah, when I massage my friends, it says “woo-hoo” too. Weird. >_>

  12. angela angelica cazarez says:

    hii

  13. D.O'Neill says:

    A very disappointing app. I expected to woo Hoo with whom i like cos you said “Cheat on Sims ” But notso . Must break up with currentwoo hooer… Why????ou also increase status each visit after interactions but every time one reaches inspired anything it reverts back within hours. Making it boring, tedious and pretty amateurish for its producers. Think your advisers are niave and very narrow minded…. Myself an 4 friends are growing very tired of it. Think your “frequent” reviews are useless….Just sain, its worse than farmville….

  14. Coline says:

    i cant play SIMS SOCIAL,it keeps reloading!

  15. maurice says:

    Add me please, daily player http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1596291545

  16. Riley Fallen Holly says:

    Weird never have these problems.

  17. Playing God and evangelizing virals in Idle Worship, launching today says:

    [...] ways to do this like shocking or humorous descriptions of in-game activities — something The Sims Social has used to great effect. Idle Games has also opted for more difficult ways, like playable mini-games that players can send [...]

  18. The Sims Social and the Power of Social Network Gaming says:

    [...] To be neighbors in the game, you simply send requests to your Facebook friends, and after being accepted you can visit their houses, and they yours. While interacting with your neighbors in the game, their actions are still governed by A.I., but their character traits, clothing, design of their house, etc., are decided by your Facebook friends who have made those decisions about their sim. (AJ Glasser has written more in depth on the dynamics of real-world relationships and their interaction with virtual relationships in The Sims Social; check it out here.) [...]

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