Little Sim World Gameplay Documentation

This version of the game design documentation will be gameplay focused and a highly verbose iteration of the full GDD.

The full design documentation is a little convoluted (quite long) and is not well represented for casual reading. This condensed version is aimed at readers looking to quickly understand the core features of the game without getting into balance numbers, spreadsheets and art guidelines.

The core Little Sim World gameplay loop revolves around the player going to work via a careers system and generating income on a regular basis. With this income, the player is able to purchase various furniture and player upgrades that give the player a sense of general progression.

To perform well in the player's career, they must manage the wellbeing system which are a list of player needs such as hunger and energy. There are eight in total and are represented on the bottom left of the player screen and is one of the main focuses of the game.

There are many other features that are included in the game, such as freelance careers as well as player interests that they are able to level. This will be discussed in the sections below.

To summarise the gameplay loop (heavily verbose version):

  1. Maintain player wellbeing.
  2. Go to work (careers).
  3. Generate income to purchase furniture and player upgrades.
  4. Go home and use the players free time to level interests and character progression.
  5. Go on dates if the player can find the time.
  6. Repeat.

Major Game Features

The main features of Little Sim World are as follows (once again, highly verbose):

  1. Character creation.
  2. Build mode.
  3. Careers mode.
  4. Dating.
  5. Multiplayer.

Just to clarify that by 'mode', we refer to this as part of the game. There is only play game type, 'build mode' and 'careers mode' does not refer to different standalone games. They are all part of the same playthrough.

Other core features:

  1. Player wellbeing (eight needs in the game the player must manage).
  2. Player interests (player skills that can be levelled, such as cooking and fitness).
  3. Very large number of interactable furniture.
  4. Open world design.
  5. Large number of public shops that will be expanded over time.
  6. Sophisticated world NPC and traffic system.
  7. London transport system (bus, cars, underground and bikes).
  8. Pets
  9. Sophisticated colour wheel both for clothing, makeup and furniture (almost all items in the game).
  10. Weather system.
  11. Seasons.
  12. News channel.
  13. Weekly events.

The above is not an exhaustive list, but are all features that have been designed and are in progress. The only exception is multiplayer, which will not come for some time.

The game begins with a character creator. The character creation system we currently have in the game is highly sophisticated with perhaps the best 2D character creation made to date in any video game. The emphasis on the character creator is very important as it is a common complaint among life-sim players that there is a high lack of under-representation not allowing the player to customise the Sim into one that is desirable.

The player character after changing outfits.

In this character creator, the player is able to customise most body parts, such as hats, hair, face, facial hair, glasses, mouth, top, bottoms, belt and shoes. More are currently planned but will make their way later on in the game.

Currently customisable body parts:

  1. Hair
  2. Eyes
  3. Mouth
  4. Face shape

Currently customisable clothing parts:

  1. Hats
  2. Eyewear
  3. Mouthwear (upcoming)
  4. Tops
  5. Bottoms
  6. Belt
  7. Shoes

Players can choose between different personalities, which allows a sense of individuality which is highly necessary in the Sim genre. This we believe is a non-negotiable part of the genre. The character has a personality and talents. The personality defines the overall interests and skill benefits of the player and the talents are more minor which may increase individual interest or experience bonuses. For example, a talent may moderately increase your resilience to getting sick.

The player wellbeing system are another way of saying player needs. They must be maintained to keep the player in a good mood. If the player is kept in a good mood, then they will perform their job better (careers mode). If the player wellbeing drops too low, then the player will slowly begin to lose health over time. If health drops to zero, the player will faint and wake up in hospital with a bill and some game time lost (approximately 12 hours at the time of writing).

The player wellbeing UI.

Currently, there are eight player needs in the game and are self explanatory by their name:

  1. Hunger.
  2. Thirst.
  3. Health.
  4. Social.
  5. Energy.
  6. Mood.
  7. Hygiene.
  8. Bladder.

This is part of the core gameplay of the game, where the player must maintain their wellbeing and cater to their Sims needs. We believe eight is the perfect number and we do not plan to add more. Other systems will be in place such as player popularity and job progression but those do not form a part of player wellbeing but are part of other systems that will be further explained.

Player interests form another core feature of the game. Player interests are a necessity as it gives a very strong sense of character progression by playing the game such that it will motivate the player to invest more time into Little Sim World. Player interests are as the name suggests, a list of interests and activities the player can participate in to level up. Levelling up player interests is highly important as it allows more actions to be unlocked. For example, by levelling up the cooking interest, the player is able to make more dishes, cook more efficiently and is a requirement for certain career progressions.

Currently planned player interests. More can be easily added later.

Currently, the player begins at level 1 for all intersts and the maximum level is currently 12. It will likely be extended to 20 later to make space for more content.

Planned Interests (more can be added, unlike player wellbeing):

  1. Fitness.
  2. Cooking.
  3. Handicraft.
  4. Logic.
  5. Knowledge.
  6. Efficiency.
  7. Computer.
  8. Writing.
  9. Art.

And much, much more!

Build mode is the second cornerstone of the game. The build mode is highly sophisticated in Little Sim World, allowing a very large number of furniture and items to be placed in the game world. The current build mode is split into two types - decorate mode and construction mode.

The construction mode allows the player to build walls and structural objects. These all have a large number of different styles including roofing as well as wallpapers, ground tiles (both indoor and outdoor, outdoor being tiles such as grass and dirt). It allows the placement of windows and is the fundamental basis for house building.

The decorate mode involves furniture. There is a large array of furniture currently available such as chairs, tables, appliances and more. Some are decorations, serving only a visual purpose such as a lava lamp (does give light, though) but all items classified under furniture have planned interactions with them. The end goal is to have all furniture include a meaningful interaction.

To summarise, build mode is split into:

  1. Decorate mode.
  2. Construction mode.

Allowing the player to highly customise their house. Furniture must be bought at the store, however.

The build mode UI at the time of writing. Much is still a work in progress and will see substantial improvements over time.

Objects are split into two main categories in Little Sim World. Furniture and decorations. In general, furniture are interactable objects such as the stove for cooking or the shower for taking a shower. Decorative objects cannot be interacted with and exist, as the name suggests, for decorative purposes.

Sample furnitures available in the game at the time of writing.

The classes of furniture and decorative objects currently implemented is vast (and growing) so they will not be completely summarised here but we will outline some examples below:

  1. Stove (cooking).
  2. Fridge (storing food, expires slower).
  3. Wardrobe (changing outfits).
  4. Mirror (changing appearance).
  5. Computer (surfing the internet, finding jobs, playing games, writing and more).
  6. Shower (taking a shower).
  7. Toilet (going to the toilet).
  8. Sink (washing hands).
  9. Kitchen counter (cooking, mixology).
  10. Bed (sleeping).
  11. Table (putting objects on, computers, TVs).
  12. Lights (illuminates the game world).
  13. Mailbox (collects mail).
  14. Safe (Storing items).

Careers mode is the most difficult part of the game to implement correctly. This is because all other features are purely based on aesthetics and is not subject to as much testing. Gameplay is much harder (in our opinion) to get perfect than aesthetics. The careers mode will not be 'active', such that the player will not physically have to go out and play a minigame to finish work.

We have tested extensively towards active jobs in the past, as well as interviewing gamers and the consensus is that no matter how much development time is sunk into the game, it becomes repetitive very quickly and minigames are highly undesirable. This took us a very long time to rationalise these decisions and we are happy to discuss this further if necessary.

The careers mode will consist of various different career options with 5 to start with, but will expand to 10-15 later. The current ones played for the pre-alpha are:

  1. Chef
  2. Athlete
  3. Scientist
  4. Policeman
  5. Journalist

Each job has 10 different ranks in ascending order. For example, the athlete's first 5 ranks are:

  1. Waterperson
  2. Locker room attendant
  3. Assistant Lifeguard
  4. Lifeguard
  5. Personal Trainer

Fundamentally, the careers mode boils down to a simple gameplay loop. We believe our approach is innovative while using tried and tested features from other games with improvements for a relaxing gameplay experience.

The gameplay loop for careers:

  1. Find a career via the phone or computer.
  2. Go to work by taking a bus (or car/taxi if you can afford it).
  3. The bus will arrive at the bus stop being work begins. The starting time is highly dependent on your career path and current rank.
  4. At work there will be different work options, such as 'work efficiently or simply 'work normally'. Picking different work options will have different outcomes as the speed at which the wellbeing is drained differently.
  5. Different careers have different wellbeing consumptions. For example being an athlete will consume more energy and hygiene per day, whereas being a scientist will consume more social per day. These can be mitigated via talents and interests, however.
  6. Each day at work, different pop-up events will happen, making the experience seamless and will have a moderate impact on gameplay.
  7. After work, the player will receive tasks to do, such as cook a meal as a chef. These will be optional and by doing so, it becomes faster to your next career ranks.
  8. Higher career ranks grant larger financial rewards.

The player can date various NPCs in the game with scripted events. This gives the player additional motivation to improve their character as well as their interest levels. This will require some commitment in terms of writing and game design and will generally follow the gameplay of visual novels with event requirements with each NPC.

These features however are to be finalised and will be looking into release around Q4 2022.

NPCs will come in different personalities and flavours with a character portrait in full anime style art. See image below for an example.

Various NPC portraits available for dating.
  • gdd/design.txt
  • Last modified: 10:26 10/06/2021
  • by Terry Jin