Week 9 – 3D Modeling in The Sims

Last winter, I took a class taught by Dr. Favro, so I was very interested in the article she wrote, “A Personal Walk Through Historical Simulation Modeling at UCLA”, from this week’s reading. In the class I took with her, we used the 3D Model of the Roman Forum for a project where we wrote a narrative about someone walking through the Forum and used the model as a visual accompaniment to our story. The narrative was supposed to inform readers about how different classes of people felt experiencing the different parts of the forum. When I did this project, I thought the Roman Forum model was really interesting and complex, but I did not realize how much went into creating it. In this article, Favro discusses the phases of the project – Phase 1: Formation, data aggregation and interrogation of process and Phase 2: Geo-temporal interrogation and increased kinetic experimentation. As someone who has experienced the 3D Model of the Roman Forum, it was very informative to hear Dr. Favro’s account of her experience making the model. Prior to taking her class, I did not know there were so many projects focused on digitally recreating historical sites. In fact my only experience with 3D modeling had been games like the Sims and Zoo Tycoon.

I played the Sims 2 and Zoo Tycoon in elementary school because I thought they were fun, but in retrospect, games like the Sims and Zoo Tycoon are a really great example of 3D interactive modeling. The programs offer a lot of room for creativity and freedom. Most of the time you built your house or zoo entirely from scratch. If you were a interested in architecture, the Sims could be a great tool for practicing building houses. As new versions of the Sims came out, they became even more detailed and realistic. The Sims 2 is the first to offer 3D visuals. I found some really beautiful examples of modern and contemporary homes built on the Sims 2.

sims_2_modern_black_and_yellow_hillside_mansion_by_ramborocky-d5awhkg small_modern_house_by_ramborocky-d595crk MTS_sarahrose-1020972-Sims2ep92009-10-2117-23-49-122


These homes probably weren’t built by the average Sims player, but it’s still kind of crazy to think these can be built on a computer game designed for children. I stopped playing after the Sims 2, as new versions came out the 3D visuals in the Sims got even better. Here is an example of a house built using the Sims 3.


These houses are from the newest version, the Sims 4.

The-Sims-4 TS4_054_PE_HOUSE_02_001

From the pictures, it is evident that the 3D graphics got better and more realistic with each version of the Sims. The houses from the Sims 2 look very flat compared to 3 and 4. Playing this game as a kid is probably what sparked my interest in architecture. I always paid more attention to designing their houses than actually playing with the characters. 3D models are becoming more and more accessible, and are great tools.