Simulate the World | Autoethnography Beta

The concept of simulation is massive when we consider the Sims franchise. Besides the obvious example of virtual reality, it is not prominent to see a videogame simulate reality. Obvious examples include Cities Skylines and Truck Simulator; however, the Sims attempts to simulate life itself. The Sims franchise follows an important principle explored throughout virtual reality – planning a process to monitor the factors that eventually lead to results – manufacturing a system that gives a visual environment to all the players involved (Mujber & Szecsi 2004, p1836).

Simulation in video games is especially interesting because it is simply an algorithm (Wak, 2006, p. 128). There is a tremendous discourse around the Sims and the concept of simulation. Videogames always follow the principles of ludology, therefore as stated in Digital Allegories (on The Sims) “as the player proceeds through the game… the rules that operate in the universe constructed by this game” are gradually discovered (Wark, 2006, p. 128).

The idea of learning how the game operates – by extent the simulation of life – eventually leads to players learning to code the game (Wark, 2006, p. 128). As spoken about in my previous blogs, Simulate the World Pitch on oryemajok.com. Players become developers due to modification. As I mentioned before, the accessibility to create and apply modifications in the Sims 4 is encouraged. Games cannot truly decentralise without modification (Smith 2009, p.25). Therefore, the decentralised network encourages the players to become the main source of innovation.

As stated in my beta video, the concept paratext became essential to my analytical framework. providing a productive framework for game scholars has been successfully utilised in several subsequent studies (Fiadotau 2015, p.85). The access players have to custom content and mods (modification) indefinitely improves the gaming experience. Entire online communities are built on this fact, I have noticed comments on Reddit where players prefer to download a mod for free, rather than pay for an expansion pack from the Sims 4. As stated, “There is nothing new about paratexts attempting to frame or shape the players’ experience of a game” (Fiadotau 2015, p.87), furthermore, thus providing a “more direct insight into their authors’ and communities’ tastes, beliefs, and values” (Fiadotau 2015, p.88).

At this point, I have yet to implement any academic sources in relation to User experience as a concept. I do believe this concept is particularly important as It was very clear to see whether or not something was created by Game developers or players. The interaction design of the modifications was often confusing to learn, and custom content had a tendency to glitch out.

At this point, I have finished my Digital Artefact, Hover to complete my autoethnography I will begin to collect more sources on User Experience and AutoEthnography.

Schedule to finish Simulate the World:

WeeksPrimary Research AutoethnographyFinal Digital Artifact
Wk. 1Primary Concepts: Simulation, Modification, Paratext & UX.Draft a UX observation of the Sims 4 linking key epiphanies with primary research.Begin to Edit all the Short-Form Clips from YouTube Shots and TikTok for my Primary Research.
Wk. 2Secondary Sources: The World of the Sims 4. Finish Documenting my experience making the digital artefact.Begin to Edit all the Short-Form Clips from YouTube Shots and TikTok for my Secondary Research.
Wk. 3Finish Research Findings.Create Digital Artifact Video.Complete Final Assessment for BCM241.

Why not read more? Comment your thoughts below!​​

References:

Ellis, C, Adams, TE & Bochner, AP 2011, Autoethnography: An Overview, Qualitative-research.net, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, viewed 5 October 2021

Fiadotau, M 2015, ‘Paratext and meaning making in indie games’, Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 85-97.

Mujber, ST Szecsi, T & Hashmi, MSJ 2004, ‘Virtual reality applications in manufacturing process simulation’, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, vol. 155-156, pp. 1834–1838.

Smith, AV 2009, ‘The Impact of Decentralisation on Networked Computer Games’, Computer Games Programming B.Sc. (Hons) & School of Computing University of Derby, pp. 1-54.

Wark, M 2006, ‘Digital Allegories (on The Sims)’, Grey Room Inc. & Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pp.126-138.

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