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How ‘The Sims’ Customisation Scene Is Making The Game More Inclusive

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How ‘The Sims’ Customisation Scene Is Making The Game More Inclusive

Much like Skyrim, The Sims is a game that few of its fans play without modding or amending it. Player-created custom content, or CC, can change everything from hairstyles to home furnishings, and there’s a thriving community of creators, curators, and collaborators. And as with all modding and game customisation scenes, there are people finessing the details of their own worlds, and others trying to make the game more inclusive for everyone. Content creator and influencer Danielle Udogaranya, known online as Ebonix, is interested in both.

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This summer, The Sims players got to move into all-new cottages – check out the trailer below

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Ebonix first started creating custom content for The Sims in 2015. “I was off work waiting for knee surgery and kind of fell into playing The Sims again. I was creating stories through pictures and posting them on Tumblr at the time,” she explains. “There was a character who I wanted to have a more afro-centric style and outfits to match, but I couldn't find any!” From there, Ebonix looked into how to retexture clothes for The Sims to make her first dashiki. In her own summary: “I didn't see what I needed, so I did it myself!”

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One of Udogaranya’s custom creations / Credit: EA, Danielle Udogaranya
One of Udogaranya’s custom creations / Credit: EA, Danielle Udogaranya

Most of Ebonix’s CC is hair, focusing on braids, locs and curly hairstyles that are underrepresented in the base game itself, along with accessories like hair wraps, hoop earrings and nail art. Her efforts were exclusive to CC for a long time, until she was one of the community members asked to consult on the December 2020 update that retooled how skintones worked in the base game. It was something that had long been criticised by players of colour, as darker skintones were limited in number, and sometimes had visual conflicts with in-game cosmetics. Ebonix said she was honoured to contribute to this update, adding that, “Whilst it took a while to get there, they are listening to the community about the importance of representation and visibility of Black sims and simmers”

Another of Udogaranya’s custom creations / Credit: EA, Danielle Udogaranya
Another of Udogaranya’s custom creations / Credit: EA, Danielle Udogaranya
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Ebonix’s specific CC designs were also recognised by The Sims when she was invited to design an official set of nails for the Spa Day update, which added nail art for the first time. “This is major for me as a black creator, where the expression of nails have held so much meaning culturally, as they gave me free rein to make a design and I went ALL OUT!” Before the update, she was one of the creators who had made nails as CC - which previously had to be treated as rings by the character creator - and according to Ebonix, having her designs officially in the game was enthusiastically received by people who followed her work.

Ebonix has been an influential figure on increasing representation in The Sims, but as in 2015, her approach to making CC still has a focus on designing for the games she wants to play. “I have to really like what I'm making in order for me to put my heart into it, you know?”

This piece is part of a series exploring how people choose to play games their own way, via customisation, character choices, or other forms of inspiration. How they present their 'other me'. Read more: God of WarDestiny 2Dead By DaylightStardew ValleyCrusader Kings IIIAnimal Crossing: New Horizons, Forza Horizon 5.

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This editorial content is supported by Philips OneBlade. Philips is committed to providing products that fit into every individual's life, to suit every personality's idea of style. Every one of us is unique, and every one of us feels comfortable and confident in different ways - and the flexibility of Philips OneBlade ensures that anyone can express themselves in a way that's all about them. Find more information here.

Featured Image Credit: EA, Danielle Udogaranya aka Ebonix

Topics: The Sims, Mods, Interview, Philips

Ruth Cassidy
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