The Sims 2 The Sims 2 at E3

The Sims 2 will give a lot of you what you have been wishing for: sim children will now grow up.  However, this has a downside to it in that your sims will also grow old and die.  Sim families will become a lot more like real families, with multiple generations and a family history.  Since Maxis knows how hard it is to get a family to sit together for a portrait, you'll now be able to capture AVI files of your sims for inclusion in your album.

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A first kiss.

This change also allows The Sims 2 to support a more goal-based approach than before with the addition of a life score for each sim.  The life score is a measure of how well a sim leads his/her life.  If a sim marries, has kids, and manages a successful career then the life score will be quite high.  Die alone and with a dead end job and the life score will be very low, even negative.  The goals that your sims need to meet in order to score positive points for their life scores are spread throughout their lifetime.  For example, a baby will strive to take his first step while a teen sim will want to focus on getting her first kiss.

As you can probably guess, a lot of a sim's life goals will require interacting with other sims.  The Sims 2 will provide you with more interactions than ever before, and will also give you sub-interactions.  You'll be able to not only tell your sim to "greet" or "flirt", but will also be able to tell your sim which interaction to use to do so.  Furthermore, these sub-interactions can vary from sim to sim.  A successful and suave sim will have a lot more interactions available when trying to attract someone of the opposite sex, while a slovenly loser may be limited to "hit on". 

You'll also be able to see sims' reactions to interactions in far more ways than ever before.  The new facial models support expressions, so when sims are mad, happy, sad, jealous, or whatever else, you'll be able to read it in their faces.  These facial expressions will work with all sims, even ones whose faces you've spent a lot of time with the sim character creator getting just right. 

Sims are more aware of the actions and relationships of other sims than ever before.  Rivals will pick fights with each other, laugh at each other's misfortunes, and storm out of rooms if their relationship is sour enough.  Also, thanks to sim DNA, sims will recognize members of their own family and react accordingly, so don't try to marry one of your sims off to his sister. 

During the E3 demo, a male sim was in a hot tub with two lady sims who each had a bit of a crush on him.  When the guy began flirting with one of the ladies, the other first moved to the other side of the tub, then began looking away, and finally stormed out of the hot tub.  The first lady made the mistake of staying in the hot tub during a rain storm and was hit by a bolt of lightning, leaving her singed and her hair a smoldering mess.  This couldn't have been a more pleasing event for the jealous lady who couldn't stop laughing at her lightning struck rival.