Some players just want to make elaborate fantasies. While this may seem easy because there are no rules, it's not easy at all. This kind of building takes time, tearing down and rebuilding over and over until the vision in the player's head is brought to life on the lot. Sometimes a player knows ahead of time what he or she wants, sometimes they just build and let the creation take its own form. Either way, though, it's a labor of love.
Above: Builders can let their imaginations run wild, as this impressive beach castle by Neffy demonstrates so splendidly
It seems pretty clear that whatever we think can be done in this system, the builders can do more. We're always educated by what they make, and it always forces us to rethink what is or isn't "useful" when we debate what next to put into the system. Since we've started listening carefully to what our builders tell us they want in forums, chat rooms and emails, we've done well in giving them the tools to make their dreams come true. We're really grateful to them for showing us the way.
Tim LeTourneau is senior producer at Maxis Studio, the creator of The Sims. He has worked on The Sims since the original game.
Charles London also contributed to this article. Charles is lead designer of the Sims 2 expansion packs and was art director for the original game.