Welcome, to this incredibly long blog post that gives insight into the ideation stage of my digital artefact the “Sims of EA.”
Instead of instantly revealing to you exactly what my digital artefact is, I think that the best place to start this blog post from the start of my ideation process. This way you can receive the full picture of how the idea of my digital artefact was developed.
After partaking in BCM 112 last semester and working on a digital artefact that I had no care for I had to start again from the beginning. What initially prompted my ideation process were the design questions laid out in the pitch format guide;
“In what area am I knowledgeable? What project would I want to continue if I could? What do I enjoy doing/feel strongly about? What do I know more about than most people around me? What communities have I identified around these interests? What communities of users of [something] am I a part of or familiar with?”
After some consideration I decided to stick with basing my project around The Sims. The Sims is a game that I’ve been playing since I was six or seven years old. Furthermore, ever since my discovery of social media at the age of 12 I have been heavily involved in the sims online community.
Firstly, I decided that I had to tackle the sad but true issue of boredom in the game. Now don’t get me wrong, I like all of the other hard core sims fan absolutely love the game. However, when you’ve been playing a series of fairly similar games since the year 2000, gameplay can become a bit monotonous. Whilst there are some ways to spice up gameplay such as game packs and mods, each of these methods have their drawbacks.
What simmers need is a way to change up their gameplay without any of those additional add ons, and the way to do this is through how they play the game itself.
Another issue with the Sims that I wanted to tackle in my DA is a feature specific to the Sims 4 called the gallery. The gallery is a feature exclusive to the Sims 4 which allows players to upload, share and download their sims and house build creations. However, the gallery has become a highly oversaturated platform with large volumes of similar content. Furthermore, people tend to have a certain playing style. Hence looking for sims and storylines outside of a players style can be difficult and almost pointless on the gallery as you’re essentially searching for something you can’t conceive.
In summation, here is the starter pack of the people my DA is tailored to.
Now for the reveal of my Digital Artefacts concept…
Sims of EA is essentially a curated version of the gallery. It is a platform for people to feature their sims and spread inspiration for gameplay and create a sim. I want the Sims of EA to be a diverse platform, full of many different sims and storylines, suited to multiple gameplay styles. The Sims of EA is currently being run through Instagram, which you can find here.
The process of how I run the account is different at the moment to how I foresee it to be run in the future. Currently, I source my featured sims from platforms such as Reddit and Tumblr as these are platforms where people like to showcase their own creations. When I see a creation or a storyline that I find unique I then reach out to the person and ask if I can feature their sim on my page. For example, this is a screenshot showing how I sourced my first sim Missy Books when I was just starting the project.
The ultimate goal would be to eventually have people submitting their creations directly to me either through email or direct messaging on Instagram. I have had one person directly contact me through Instagram in the hopes to feature a sim one day, but so far they have not recommunicated with me.
Furthermore, the way that I curate my individual posts have been different to how I originally foresaw them to be, and as of yet I have not chosen a distinct style. Originally, as stated in my Instagram bio I wanted my project to mimic the ‘Humans of New York’ Instagram page which includes a picture of the individual and a quotation as the post text.
However, as I have developed my idea from being a curated version of the sims 4 gallery to being a space that encourages different styles of gameplay the way that I present the sims have changed. For example, in my most recent post I finish the description of the family by saying;
“All three sims are young adults, skill less and at the start of their careers. This family is a great one to play as if you’re a fan of working your way through your sims careers in a rags to riches style of gameplay.”
Another aspect of my project that I have been testing is follower engagement through Instagram stories. I have recently recoloured my profile picture from a plain white background (as the actual EA logo is) to a more colourful version of it. I feel that this recolour of my profile image represents diversity that I plan to represent in my project, and the inclusion of the audience in the decision to change it will hopefully create the idea of my digital artefact as an interactive community space.
Finally, the last feature of my digital artefact that I’m testing is the idea of creating an editor character for the Instagram page. This character will appear in the Instagram stories and will give insight into upcoming projects that the account is working on. Thus far there has only been one story post featuring this character, however, I am hoping this editor character will make the audience more willing to connect and interact with my digital artefact.
It’s clear that I have certainly been thinking a lot about the function and future of the Sims of EA. Currently, I am in the observing phase, where I am testing a bunch of different ideas and seeing how my audience reacts to them. I am very excited to get to the stage where I can clearly define every aspect of my digital artefact.