Greetings, Sims Fans:
One of the great joys of working at
Maxis is the excellent teams of
people that I find myself surrounded
by each and every day. The sense of
humor and fun that you find in our
games correlates directly with the
people who create those games. You
can rest assured that even during
the most intense development period,
where everyone seems to be working
'round the clock, the antics and
good humor of team members shines
through in ways that raise the
collective spirits of all and gets
us through our long, arduous days.
With that in mind, I thought it
would be great to get inside the
minds of some of the best and
brightest of Maxis. The release of
The Sims 2 Body Shop looms large on
the horizon, and one of the
individuals crucial to its
development was Producer Darren Futa.
I sat down with Darren and picked
his brain on all manner of things,
both related to The Sims 2 and The
Sims 2 Body Shop, but also questions
of a more personal nature. Read on!
Hello! What's your name and
what do you do on The Sims 2?
Hi, my name is Darren. I’m a
producer, and like most everybody
here, I do a bunch of different
things on developing the product. I
have my hands in The Sims 2 User
Interface, custom content features,
storytelling, Create A Family, and
spent a lot of my time focused on
The Sims 2 Body Shop…. coming soon
to a download near you.
How did you become a
Producer for The Sims 2?
Before I moved north to the Bay
Area, I was managing editor at a
television news Web site, writing
articles and serving as the in-house
movie and music critic. Free CDs! I
initially got hired at Maxis to help
build the SimCity 3000 Web site and
have been here for over five years
What's the best part of your
Working on The Sims makes you laugh
just about every day. You hear
people calling out random things
like, “Aww, my head’s stuck in the
toilet!” or “Should my Sim be able
to marry his cousin?” In what other
office are you going to get that?
Oh, and 25 cent candy bars ain’t bad
What's your favorite feature
about The Sims 2 Body Shop?
While playing it, I’ve found that
creating custom skin tones is a
kick. Sure, you can spend hours
painting every detailed contour for
all ages and genders, but I go for
the quick dirty method: Open up all
the textures and replace them with a
bright green fill. It takes about
two minutes and I have a radioactive
Sim that can have little radioactive
Any tips for folks who want
to make content for The Sims 2?
Don’t be too critical of yourself.
The Sims 2 Body Shop is a powerful
tool that will probably take some
getting used to, but once you get
the hang of it, you can really take
advantage of its’ deep feature set
and the content inventory that we
will be releasing over time. Don’t
worry so much about making something
that’s going to get downloaded by
thousands of players, just start out
making custom content for your own
enjoyment -- slap your dog’s picture
on a shirt … make some yellow eyes …
stretch a Sim’s face into all
directions. If it makes you laugh,
or if you make something that you’ll
enjoy seeing in the game when it
comes out, that’s good enough.
What are your hobbies?
Playing The Lord of The Rings: The
Return of the King with my wife …
watching obscure movies … building
Web pages … mowing the lawn …
playing with my nephews. I’m looking
forward to getting back to some of
those after we release The Sims 2
What's the first computer
game you ever played?
That’s hard to pinpoint. I loved
Adventure on Atari 2600. The first
PC game I really got into was King’s
Quest. My Dad drew up a big map of
all the screens so we could remember
where we’ve been and see how the
screens connect. One time at E3, I
had the chance to talk to Roberta
Williams and ask her how to solve
the one riddle I never got. That was
a nice nostalgia moment for me.
If you could take 3 things
with you to an island and had to
stay there for the rest of your
life, what would you take along?
My wife, Annie.
DVD/TV and the complete collection
of Hitchcock movies (can we count
that as one?)
All the macaroni and cheese I can
What's it like working in
the game industry?
There’s sort of a saying a lot of us
use around here … Sure, it’s hard
work, but at the end of the day,
you’re making games! You get to sit
around and talk about whether the
toddler’s nose-picking animation is
funny enough (it is), or whether
custom content creators should be
able to make makeup for men (you
should), or does this Sim look cute
enough (she does).
Be sure to check out Darren at his
Pretty fun stuff, eh? Now that
you've gotten a little insight into
The Sims 2 Body Shop and one person
of many, who is making it a reality,
we thought it would only be fair to
titillate you with some screenshots
of The Sims 2 Body Shop in action.
Check 'em out!
Have a great weekend!
Executive Producer, The Sims 2