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The Sims (Windows)

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Title Screen

The Sims

Also known as: Les Sims (FR), Die Sims (DE), Los Sims (ES), De Sims (NL), SimPeople (JP)
Developers: Maxis
Publishers: Electronic Arts, Bild Interactive (DE), Aspyr Media (Mac)
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS Classic
Released in JP: April 2000
Released in US: Feburary 4, 2000
Released in EU: March 30, 2000


AnimationsIcon.png This game has unused animations.
CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
Sgf2-unusedicon1.png This game has unused abilities.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
SoundIcon.png This game has unused sounds.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.


ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article
PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

The Sims is nothing but the Game of Life, and somehow managed to become one of the best selling PC games of all time.

Sub-Pages

Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info
Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info

Resources

TS1 fancyartthumb.png
Unused Animations
See Sims move as you've never seen them move before!
TS1 stereothumb.png
Unused Sounds
It's nothing but a bunch of Simlish!
TS1 cheapshelfthumb.png
Unused Text
"To help scientific research for Health would you be willing to have your fingers bitten by rabid ferrets?"
TS-TESTICON.BMP
Unused Graphics
When Sims had Technicolor thoughts.

Miscellaneous

TheSims UnknownThumbnail.png
Oddities
Oddities? In The Sims? Go figure.

Version Differences

TS1 Nhood Sign JPN.png
Regional Differences
Sims from around the world!
TS-newspaperB.bmp
Bild Interactive Build
Read all about it! Early remnants rule Sim Lane!

Hidden Autorun Art

TS1 willwright art.png

It is relatively known among the recurring Sims players that, if one clicks at the Maxis logo, located at the bottom-left of The Sims autorun application (setup.exe), a hidden illustration, containing a of slight-smile game designer Will Wright at his trademark red scooter, accompanied by five little computer people, appears in new window.

A similar dialog exists for SimCity 3000's autorun file — instead, Wright is drawn as one of the city advisors. The Sims Online had its share of this, with a modeling clay Wright holding a The Sims box!

Unused Debug Boxes

Room Map tool dialog functioning as intended, on a debug build.

The programming and behavior for every single object in the game (plus quite a few tweaking facilities of a more advanced bias) are directly attributed to the infamous in-house developer tool Edith, engineered by the own The Sims staff — there attached at the game's main executable Sims.exe in debug/pre-release builds, getting its core features and interface almost wholly cut off from the retail releases, for natural reasons.

Well: almost.

The exe's for the majority of The Sims patches, from the base game until its last update, Complete Collection, still appear to hold extra leftover dialog boxes originally belonging to the Edith tool — the Bild Interactive build figures an exception, however it's already bundled with quite a few quirkiness to call its own.

Examples include the Room Map (draws real-time top-view blueprints of the world in its current state), Terrain Tweak (changes the soil's properties, as the color and grass levels) and Neighborhood (people's data in strings, most infamously indicating their age and many other unused attributes).

Because none of the game's commands may trigger these dialog pop-ups, and the game's OS window menus are always blocked by default, it's strange to imagine the user experiencing this via no hacked means.

(Source: LUCPIX)

Hidden SimsWebCam Feature

SimWebCam message pop-up.
stalk.ini

An undocumented snapshotting tool, commonly referred as SimsWebCam or stalker camera, exists in the base game, and was entirely removed for the future patched versions (that, including Expansion Packs). Pressing F7 as the cursor is positioned over a Sim, playable or not, causes some zoom-in rectangles to focus them, and a 320x240 JPG file named SimsWebcam to be created or overwritten, at the game's main directory. It explains, in part, why the initial releases of the game made the inactive characters to slow down as the mouse pointer selected them.

Notably, it was used for weekly streamed gameplays, among developers and fans at the SimCity website, prior to the game's release. The system automatically updated screenshots about every 10 seconds, causing a sequence of pictures narrating a live user-driven story (often with the viewers' involvement), as they would ask the developers what could (and could not) be done in this mysterious in-progress game called The Sims.

In practice, it is not very different from the final Camera Mode-generated pictures, except it contains the default Simply SimSational! caption at the image's lower-left; it can be edited through the cheat code w, followed by the desired text. The camera's settings can be adjusted via the stalk.ini file, increasing the resolution output, along with one other unknown parameter.

(Source: LUCPIX, Earliest SimWebCam livestreams reference (04/29/99))

Maxoid Factoid

TS1 did you know 100.png

Completing the light-dark day cycles for the 100th time in a row under the same household — an effort that is usually quite ruined by events like the passing of all the family members, house swaps, marriages etc — causes long, illustrated Did You Know? hint boxes to reward the faithful player with the voluntary income of 27 daily bits of information about the game's core development team and interesting facts about its production.

An interesting observation is its (deliberate) unavailability in localized versions of the game: Out of the fourteen languages The Sims was translated to, only three of them — default, USEnglish and UKEnglish — trigger this event at the time they have to, so most international players should never get the chance of experiencing this, as confirmed by the translation notes attached to the easter egg's strings:

ZZZ - DO NOT TRANSLATE - EASTER EGG TEXT - Only Appears in English Version

Build Date

TS1 buildvercheck.png

Sims.exe, the binary for all the game's versions, contains strings for information upon the date and time for when the latest installed build was compiled.

It is possible to print the strings through a pop-up window choosing an occupied lot at the Neighborhood Menu and pressing V.

Neighborhood

Unused Lot Data

The original base game handles one 10-lot neighborhood at a time, House01.iff through House10.iff. However, two lots are not accessible in the game in any version.

Thumbnail Filename Note
TS-HOUSE00.bmp House00.IFF A full-sized, deserted 64x64 tile property. NPC's (such as the service Sims), ghosts and, the passersby from future expansion packs, such as the Townies from Hot Date and Vacation Tourists, have this lot set as their home. If one replaces a house the game can normally load with this lot, then moves a family into it, none of the Sims will automatically spawn due to no pedestrian/car portals, mailbox or *Trash - Outside being present, making it practically impossible to be played with any sorts of story progression. The lot's grass pattern also is identical to several shown in the Gamestar Preview Video of a February 1999 pre-release build of The Sims, suggesting that it was mainly used for testing reasons.
TS-HOUSE11.BMP House11.IFF Not much special other than the fact it actually has a unique "U"-shaped pavement (which could not quite accommodate any of the areas from the final neighborhood) and a different style of crosswalk. A notable development phase in which one can spot this lot in action is the Steering Committee build (Jun 1998), as one of the demo scenarios. In its original state, had quite a few early trees, and the lawn pattern and flooring remained untouched after all the following iterations, albeit unused. A video tour can be seen here. If one renames House11.IFF to one the game can normally load, the game engine will report "missing objects", as the lot misses the vehicle portal, suggesting at one point that controller object had different IDs. Consequently, carpools and the school bus are never spawned at this lot, making it a rather unwanted house to be played at if one wants to get a Sim a job.
(Source: Eientei95, LUCPIX)

"Developer Time Message"

TS1 readonly lots message.png

The Neighborhood Menu triggers a prompt box that, upon the player's consent, reverts the read-only state from the house files in game (naturally, forbidding the players from saving their games). Because the unused lots House00.iff and House11.iff are the only ones among the twelve lots available that meet this condition, players can never get to experience this unless their game is otherwise deliberately hacked.

(Source: Autinerd)

Early Friendship Sprite Leftover?

Smiley.bmp, the one that most likely is a placeholder design of the Friendship icon, can be triggered at the Select-A-Family menu. Strangely, it is based upon a photograph of a real person — probably a developer. Whether its presence in the final game is a mere oversight or it was intentionally coded as a fun hidden feature is unknown. Those who own the game's final build are able to activate it by holding ⇧ Shift as they click on the Select or Create Family button there on the Neighborhood Screen. It is unknown if it affects the game experience in any other way, however.

(Source: Blayer98, Trussive, LUCPIX)

lotpos.txt

lotpos.txt

Found in GameData is an undocumented read-only simple text file named lotpos. There are printed ten different X and Y coordinate variables suitable for a 800x600 canvas, which correspond to the placement of the 10 house files that the Neighborhood Menu displays (in order). It can be easily edited via simple text editors, influencing the position of the affected coordinate's house the next time the game is opened.

Later expansion pack-based versions of the game make the task of editing the houses' position a little less intuitive (yet still possible), however, as the coordinates data are, then, located within different IFF files for each neighborhood the player owns, demanding appropriate tools to edit them.

(Source: LUCPIX)

Unused Registry Entry

There is an unused registry entry called BetaSite with a REG_DWORD value of 0x00000001 (1). What it does is unknown and changing the DWORD doesn't appear to do anything visually, so it's completely unknown what it's meant to be for.

(Source: Blayer98)

Unused Behavior

A number of interactions in The Sims went unused. For the purpose of this article, they are validated by the observed effort, among the game staff, to engineer and put them in the game, be it due to their reminiscent data or resources.

Hello - Unused

Both child and adult Sims contain a menu item dedicated to the appropriately-named Hello - Unused interaction, without sufficient tree data to even cause an action, in case a player commands a character to access it via hacking. It is worthy mentioning that social interactions are always written as verbs, as "Tickle" and "Play". May be a leftover of a much earlier build, as a counterpart of the used Greet interaction.

Unused Talk Topics

If the player toggles the interests cheat code, Babies, Beauty and Spooky Stuff are mentioned.

SPR# ID 436-449

Sims are created with a certain interest in the Spooky Stuff, Beauty and Babies conversation topics, although they are always ignored during talks. That's because the SimAntics tree that manages what the Sims will converse about (do I like topic?) does not contain the primitives corresponding to the topics' strings; always labeled, by the way, as Old Conv. Topic, suggesting that their obsolescence was deliberate.

One may include them in game via modding, but they don't seem to present anything particularly unique in comparison to the used conversation topics.

Babies 5 and Spooky Stuff 5 appear briefly in the base game's intro video, spoken by a female adult Sim to a child.

Unused Personality Trait

TS1 edith unused personality.png

As an old leftover from pre-release builds, out of the 6 listed personality traits within Globals.iff, Generous is not mentioned anywhere in the game. Non-playable characters have a relative level of this, but it doesn't seem to influence their behavior at all.

Unused Skills

TS1 edith unused skills.png

Furthermore, hidden away (and unavailable) within the skill-oriented strings the game's files are some room dedicated to the discontinued skills Gardening, Music, Cleaning and Literacy, conveniently flagged as "old", among the actually used skills. In the final build, instead, the player is able to tweak one Sim's neatness, which ultimately determines their affinity to general cleaning. Plus, the Music skill was eventually swapped as a more straightforward Creativity (, that also controls the characters' painting talent).

Complimenting for Kids

Child Sims have a full set of voice lines for both receiving and giving compliments (the same applies to the adults), despite how neither the Complimenting interaction is available to them, nor can be detected adequate animations for this routine.

Play for Adults

TS1 adulttag.bmp

The running animation strings that are called during the Play (tag) interaction have adult equivalents to call their own, but are never used, as this interaction is normally only available for child Sims. It can be tested via hacking with flying colors, however it misses appropriate voice lines to accompany the interaction.

Give Gift "Stomp" Outcome

TS1 giftstomping.png

In the base game, to Give Gifts to one Sim's enemy/acquaintance/friend/lover always trigger the interaction's positive outcome — the present is well accepted, and the characters' relationship score increases. There's an unused negative scenario routine where the interaction's other end rejects the present by shaking the green box, throwing it on the floor with anger, and stomping on it (with one foot) until it becomes a disposable item, in the same fashion as the game's garbage pile items. The only scenario in which this particular interaction seems to be possible is when the A Sim thinks somewhat highly of B, but B doesn't — an impossible one, given how two Sims tend to score the same amount of points however they have an interaction, making both ends to think the same about each other in most cases. Future expansion packs would heavily redefine how social interactions work — also increasing the number of factors that may cause a social interaction to go "wrong", like task repetition — making Give Gift's "stomping" outcome less and less obscure, after all.

Full-House Move-In Outcome

TS1 full house movein.png

A Sim of a successful adult-to-adult friendly/romantic relationship is not able to access the Move In/Propose social interactions, in case there are already 8 Sims living in the house. Hacking the player's way to both interactions (under the previously mentioned full-house context) trigger this unused text box, forgotten in the dialogs set of SocialInteractions without any translated equivalents; then it's assumable that its obsolescence wasn't a mistake.

(Source: LUCPIX)

Unused Object Interactions

  • Child Sims can not cook meals, while they have been engineered to be technically capable of knowing how to use the Toaster Oven object and prepare "quick meals" using a set of unique, functional animations designed for this task. The cook food tree, which controls the food preparing routines, contains the global subroutine call Am I a Child? — when True, it immediately interrupts the interaction, refraining kids from being able to do anything with the to-be-done meal objects.
  • Tree objects have animation strings associated with it, implying they were originally meant not to signify only still decorative items that boost the gardening/room score, but a recreational spot where Sims could hangout, eat fruits, and even urinate at. An earlier dialog descriptive of the Hunger motive mentions picking fruits from trees as a way of meeting Sims' wish for food. As the ugly duckling among language ID's, the Brazilian Portuguese, for some reason, carried through this idea while describing the Apple Tree:
String Translation
Macieiras são árvores bonitas e com um aroma delicioso. E já que elas quase não precisam de cuidados, por que não plantar algumas e colher os frutos depois? Apple trees are beautiful and have a delicious aroma. Since they take almost no work, why not plant a few and reap their fruits afterwards?
  • Similarly, all the bookshelves, lamps and couches have strings regarding cleaning/dusting animations, despite they never display a time-based cleanness decay.
  • The game contain a full set of animations reminiscent of a scrapped soccer ball object concept, for both adult and child Sims. Since no leftover behavior data associated with it exists, the actual mechanics of this object are anyone's guess. Yet, the idea would be effectively put into action for the game's MMO counterpart, The Sims Online — interestingly, using the same set of animations as the first game's.
  • The base game's "Fountain of Tranquility" and all fireplaces have trees dedicated to a View interaction, in the same vein as most decorative objects, with missing data. Therefore, nothing happens when Sims are forced to access it.
  • Stereo objects have SimAntics trees, a sound and an animation unveiling that, at some point, they were intended to be broken and repaired, as most electronic facilities in game. Most likely, it was scrapped very early in development, as this routine doesn't follow the common object fixing conventions from breakable items: the Sim first punches the device a few times, and it immediately returns to its normal condition.
(Source: LUCPIX)

"Nothing to Bill For" Message Box

TS1 nothing to bill for.png

The ultimate developer foresight. Though not unused, the game triggers a text box in case no (net) changes have been done to the current household since the (Sim world's) previous three days that could justify the receipt of Mail Box bills to be paid. That implies on playing on an empty lot for 3 (Sim world) days without doing absolutely nothing, then most Simmers will never get to experience this.

(Source: LUCPIX)

Magic Spells

3 cheat codes/easter eggs attached to Sims' binary — xyzzy, plugh and porntipsguzzardo — indirectly reference other games. The first two cheats tribute Colossal Cave Adventure (1976), known as the first text-based RPG. In the game, these two samples of nonsensical words are magic teleport commands — Nothing happens here as one of the possible negative outcome strings, also justifying why the Sims player gets these exact words in response to inputting these cheats.

Xyzzy and plugh ultimately were inspirations for multiple contexts throughout the early computing history, used as secret commands for software of different kinds; among notable examples, Minesweeper: Typing in xyzzy unlocks the game's debug commands. The term also does a timid "cameo" within scripts of the Unreal Engine.

On the other hand, porntipsguzzardo is also the all-time-favorite SimCity 2000 money-getting cheat code; except that, on The Sims, the players get a playful line in return, reminding that they would not get the same benefits from the command as that of SimCity 2000. Yet, the latter cheat is always inaccessible through the game's release, unmodified builds;

(Source: LUCPIX)

Data

TS1 EdithSimAnticsTool.png
Unused SimAntics Features
In fact, age ain't nothing but a number.
TS1 EdithSimAnticsTool.png
Developer Tools
Unless you're Patrick, you probably shouldn't read this.

Unused NPC Features

Bones (Anim test).
  • Some base game NPC's are named in a format such as job_fafitmed, suggesting that multiple firefighters, maids and mail carriers were planned to be generated live. Similarly, the Hot Date expansion pack does feature multiple variants of cashiers and restaurant staff which will spawn if the same objects are used more than once on the same lot.
  • The game has leftover files for Bones *Anim Test an animation test NPC. This Sim causes the game to hang if you try to load it onto a lot, as the skeleton referenced by the body strings (biped) does not exist. If you change it to the used adult, the Sim loads with a missing body graphic, before walking off the lot spontaneously.
  • Party Clown. Not the Tragic Clown from Livin' Large or the Entertainer Clown from House Party. This NPC appears to have been conceived as an entertainer for a children's party. Some ideas were probably rolled into the other Clown NPCs, though. This Sim will crash the game to desktop if you try to load it on a lot. No debug mode error is shown by the SimAntics engine.
(Source: Blayer98)
  • thief.iff has the data that orchestrates the acts of the Burglar NPC. It contains two unfinished trees that are not associated with any pie menu items: Attack and Attack Test. Attack is also how are named the physical fight interactions among playable Sims, implying that the burglar was once intended to be able to get in fights with either the people who own the house he invades or the policewoman NPC. In the final game, no Sim-to-Sim actions exist for him.

Development Oversights

Lost Time

Tested in all versions: Though the game completes the circadian rhythm flawlessly, the control panel's clock always fails in displaying the first minute of the days.

(Source: LUCPIX)

Unbalanced Relationship Score

Up until the major engine facelift provided by Hot Date, The Sims' third expansion pack, the Control Panel section dedicated to the active Sim's relationships contained a brief text that explained to the player the Sims' takes on the people they know, from the own character's perspective. Because both ends of a Sim-to-Sim relationship tend to benefit (in points) from social interactions more or less in the same amount, two strings in particular — intended for a scenario where the A of the relationship sees B as a friend, but B doesn't think highly of A likewise — are never seen in game:

Why Can't We Be Friends?
I don't understand, from my perspective things couldn't be much better, yet we still aren't friends. There's something standing in the way. I should pay attention to our interactions to figure out where things are going wrong, and then try a different approach.
(Source: LUCPIX)

Vampiress' Swapped Mesh

Only available on the Makin' Magic expansion pack, the players are invited to first venture into the art of wizardry by producing the Beauty or Beast charm — at the best possible scenario, it temporarily modifies both the head and body skins of the caster as one of the various fantastic creatures available. Because the filename of the original vampiress body mesh (MagicFAFitlgt_Vampire) bears resemblance, in context and spelling, to that of Vicki Vampiress' skin (MagicFAFitlgt_Vampiress), a mistake occurred during the input of the filename strings, causing the charm to always use the vendor NPC's mesh instead — the unique set of body files meant for the charm's vampiress summarily going unused as a consequence.

MagicFAFitlgt_Vampiress (Used) MagicFAFitlgt_Vampire (Intended)
TS1 vampiresswrongskin.png TS1 vampiressrightskin.png
(Source: LUCPIX)