The Sims FreePlay Adds Multiplayer AR In ‘Brilliant Backyards’ Update

Real-time cooperative building and AR functionality arrive in a seasonal themed update to EA’s mobile Sims experience.

The Sims FreePlay, a free-to-play mobile version of EA’s wildly popular strategic life simulator, The Sims, launched its latest update today, offering a slew of fall/autumn themed content to spice up your digital backyard. This includes new plant life, seasonal clothing, unique outdoor kitchen and water features, a well as reruns of past Halloween Seasonal Wuests.

The most interesting addition comes in the form of an augmented reality cooperative build mode which allows players to cooperate in building their virtual dream homes anywhere they’d like in the real-world. 

Powered by Apple’s ARKit 2 platform, players can select any flat surface in the real world and begin building their home from the-ground-up using thousands of digital objects. For a better view of the interior, players expand the augmented world to real-world size and view the creation as if they were a Sim! They can even save the location of their AR home and check in on it at a later time.

Players are also free to invite guests into their world to cooperate on AR builds in real-time. Can’t find your characters or pets? Hit the ‘Sims Tracker’ to call your family back to your AR lot. While there, they can then interact with digital objects just a they would in the standard game mode.

“We thought it was a really cool idea, and as we continued working on the feature, we thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we could build together?,’” spoke Chris Brousseau, Senior Product Manager for The Sims FreePlay, during an interview. “I saw people’s eyes light up, so, we said “Yeah, let’s do it!”, and we got to work whipping up a prototype. Once we got multiplayer build mode in the game and we started editing and adding things to the same house within AR, we thought it was the coolest thing.”

Introducing augmented reality functionality opens up a brand new world of possibilities for this free-to-play application by offering an unprecedented level of camera control previously unheard of in past Sims games. Being able to freely navigate the the augmented lot and lean in close for a better look, just by simply walking around, feels like such an obvious feature for this franchise.

To get started, download The Sims FreePlay now on an iOS device compatible with ARKit 2 (iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, SE, 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, Max, XR, 1st & 2nd gen iPad Pro, iPad 2017). On the town map screen of the app, select the new green button located in the upper right side of the screen and select ‘New.’

After choosing a name for your home, select its location by pointing your smartphones camera at a flat surface (to avoid any tracking issues, stay away from textures that are pure white or black, or feature a shiny or glossy finish. Once you’ve placed your starting grid, hit the blue multiplayer button on the bottom left of the screen to invite a friend and start collaborating. When finished, you can save the location of your creation and return to it anytime by lining up its ‘snapshot’ with the real-world location using your camera.

The Sims FreePlay ‘Brilliant Backyards’ update is available now for free on iOS. A full list of AR-specific changes can be found here.

Image Credit: Electronic Arts

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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