Creativity Forbidden in The Sims

It seems Maxis isn’t too happy about the recently released program, Script Station. Script Station is a program offered over on the IFFEdit website that (albeit in a crude way) edit SimAntics, the programming language of The Sims. Well okay, technically there really isn’t a programming language per se. It was an interface to edit IFF files and let you walk through the behavior instructions that an object offered. The author, Tom van Dijk has been given essentially a cease and decist letter telling him to remove the program from his website:

SimAntics is a proprietary language created for The Sims by Electronic Arts. Electronics Arts doesn’t license it for use outside the company. SimAntics is NOT public domain like C++ or BASIC.

I found your program to edit with it on your site. I am pretty sure we are not interested in licensing it out at this time. If you do not remove it I will have to report it to the Electronic Arts legal department.

Thanks for your time,

*** Maxis official ***



Grant you, Tom created the program via the old fashioned way, changing a byte on a file, checking to see what it did, rinse, repeat, wash hands on pants style of programming. This is pretty much the only way to build an application like this without having any information from Maxis and in a nutshell boils down to reverse engineering the file formats. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t seem to recall that a) this isn’t reverse engineering the application, only a data file and b) reverse engineering seems to be allowed when it comes to computer games for the purpose of discovery. All in all, a bit of a gray area but kinda sad that companies are essentially asking people not to write programs to create new content. I can see both sides of the argument but wonder if something like this might happen to Simposium which allows you to edit/create animations? Time will tell…