The first proper details have emerged of The Sims 3, which EA says is designed to appeal to hardcore gamers as well as casual players.
As reported in the latest edition of PC Gamer magazine, key additions include buff and inventory systems. The former temporarily gives your Sim positive or negative attributes based on how your they're feeling. This allows EA to move away from the six things that previously dictated the mood of a Sim.
You could be on top of the moon after eloping with your rather attractive wife, for instance, which will consequently make you work more productively and befriend more people.
The inventory system, on the other hand, lets you store objects for completing certain tasks. You might have to walk to the shop to get some ingredients to cook a meal. Brilliant.
The Sims 3 will be without a multiplayer mode for the time being, but you will be able to upload your Sims to the official website where fellow dabblers can download them and use them to populate their neighbourhood.
Sims will look more realistic - expect more natural skin and better animations - and there will be sliders for things like weight and musculature to keep everything varied.
The world will be less structured. You'll have much more freedom to wander about and build things. This will be echoed in the unconfirmed but inevitable expansion packs.
"The fact that it's a seamless world means that eventually - not to give away too much of our expansion pack strategy, but in theory - The Sims 3 could expand into an entire seamless world," suggested producer Rod Humble. "You can imagine a Sims country which you could just live your life in."
A release date for The Sims 3 has yet to be announced.
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