The Sims FreePlay

The Sims FreePlay

Role: Designer
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Studio: Firemonkeys
Platform: FTP iOS / Android

The Sims Freeplay is a live service free-to-play Sims game available for both iOS and Android devices. Players craft their worlds and narratives, perform quests and hobbies to unlock new content, and look after their Sim characters as though they were caretakers of their own virtual world. Key Takeaways:

  • System and mechanics development
  • Economy tuning
  • Content design
  • Narrative writing
“Dance Party”

By the time we released (my) final update, we completed a tool set which significantly reduced the man hours required to release each update.

For the Dance Party, we leveraged “rug technology” to allow a user to design their own custom dance floor. This was done through multiple grid sizes (1×1 to 3×3), and a few color and animation variants.

“Day Care”

As it turns out, the community loves toddlers. This is not terribly surprising considering the audience. So, we obliged with a fun and playful toddler dream.

“French Romance”

One of our most popular updates included everything needed to recreate the land of romance. Players who completed the event were even awarded a truly customized French chateau house template, which was truly massive and included a painting of one of our engineers. Oo-la-la!


“2016 Holiday”

Unfortunately, this was an example of how things can go massively wrong. After the success of the community event system, it was decided to make massive and sweeping changes without care or discretion. Despite being the holiday season, and using our most effective system, this was one of our lowest performing updates since I was on the team.

“2016 Halloween”

Nothing could be creepier than toddlers high on sugar and in a googly-eyed Halloween costume. So, that’s exactly what we did! Still, we had an positive response and requests for their costumes.

“Day Spa Community Event”

We ran a new community event, and had the opportunity to take internal and community feedback to make it even better. We added a daily goal system which served as a tutorial, multiple time selectors to aid in player agency, a better UI and interaction flow, and improved bonus system.

Despite being out of season, the design improvements showed a better player response.


Themed around spring time and Easter, this update featured an NPC toddler dressed in a bunny suit. Unfortunately, the other bunnies did not think he was a very good chocolate egg hider and he needs your Sim’s help. His egg hunt challenge excites him as your Sim participates, and he slowly gets his bunny legs back.

“Romance Island Community Event”

Focusing on player engagement, I designed a new “Community Event” system which leveraged existing mechanics, as well as a new one. It also incorporated player agency and choice in how they progress, and a global cooperative progression in which the entire Sims community won new prizes together.

Needless to say, it proved to be a resounding success.

“A Christmas Chill”

Perhaps the largest undertaking for a single update in Sims FreePlay, this update included three narrative quests, hobbies, and special events.

“Monsters and Magic”

How creepy can toddlers be? Well, give them a sugar high and dress them in Candy Monster outfits to find out.

In this update, players had to scare candy monsters, only the eventually turn the into friends.

“Dream Homes”

When I first started on the Sims FreePlay, I was asked to come into a brainstorming session for content on the following year. I felt as though the build mode of homes was severely lacking. Fortunatly, the team was receptive and responsive to my ideas (they probably felt the same as well). This is the result. More advanced construction including balconies, basements, and patios!

“Baby Steps”

In this update update, I leveraged previous mechanics to develop a system for interaction between adult Sims and infants. Prior to this update, infants could not leave their cribs.

I also wrote the quest for “Superpower Ultra”, who is an imaginary friend on a quest to acquire milk and cookies from the “Parent Alliance”.

“Glitz and Glam”

By far the most massive drop of content the Sims FreePlay has seen. Organizing and checking the 1000+ items in this update was quite an undertaking. Players unlock this content first through a quest involving a “Sim-eating plant”, who is misunderstood, then by cleaning up the 2nd floor of the SimTown Mall.

“Great Outdoors”

Players must help a park ranger solve a mystery, then turn to their survival and campfire story telling skills to prove they are capable of taking care of the natural world, and enjoying it with friends.

“Royal Lineage”This was my first contribution to the Sims FreePlay team by writing the quest to enter the castle. It was ripe with sybolism, in which a player had to demonstrate noble characteristics, as well as a nod to childhood favorites. The fairy says “Hey, listen!”, if you know what I mean.

Talk about professions here.