Friday, November 23, 2012

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going

Hello, everyone. For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful time yesterday. And for those of you that went Black Friday shopping today, you're nuts. :)  I spent my Black Friday playing Seasons, and I am loving it. It is definitely my favorite TS3 expansion pack.

My friends on Twitter know that I have been thinking about how I want to continue blogging. I love sharing with you what's going on in my game, but to be honest blogging had become a grind that I wasn't enjoying. I didn't want to give up blogging, but I desperately needed a way to make it fun again.

I've been playing around with Tumblr this week. For a long time, I really didn't understand Tumblr. I would even say it intimidated me, but now that I have tried it, I like it. Tumblr does have its limitations. As I discussed with my Twitter friends, it is easy for followers to miss posts on Tumblr. So, I am going to use Tumblr to post interesting pics I take in the game that might not fit the story line.

A couple of my friends also recommended WordPress. The funny thing is that WordPress intimidated me too, but for entirely different reasons. Still, I decided to try it out. I am in love. I like WordPress's editor far more than Blogger's. Linking pages together is a breeze, but what I love most about WordPress is the custom  menus. The menus give me more control over how my blog looks. I chose a template that gives my blog a newspaper feel. If you remember, my very first blog was written from the point of view of a gossip columnist. (Um, ignore that part about me not getting The Sims 3.)

So, I said all that to say I have moved to WordPress! This site will remain up, but I won't be updating it. I hope you will join me at the new site.I already have a few posts there. Take a look and please let me know what you think. Thank you for all the support you have given me. Your taking the time to read my blog means the world to me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aging, Seasons, and Groundhog Day?

Warning: This is going to be a massive post. I haven't been posting much but I have been working a lot of things out in my head, and I'm now ready to share them with you.

Ever since Seasons was officially announced, I have been trying to figure out how I want to incorporate aging and seasons into my hood. If you remember when I was doing the TS2 version of this blog, I had given my Sims actual ages based on the initial number of days left in their age stage. I've been wanting to do the same with TS3.

A Sim-Year
I was inspired by a great post from Rachel at New Rochelle, and I will be following her model with a few changes. Like Rachel, my Sim-Years will last forty-eight days, and I will play each family for four days which is a Sim month. I really like the idea of playing them for four days. A week is too long for me to play in a single play session, and only playing them for a day wasn't always giving me enough substance for a post. Four days is the perfect medium. I will set my seasons to be twelve days each which is equivalent to three months. I will set the lunar cycle to twelve days also. It really should only be four days, but I don't want to deal with the full moon that often, so twelve days works better for me. I have also installed Rachel's 36-day pregnancy mod, so that Sim pregnancies will be nine months long. Instead of using Story Progression's TS2-style aging option, I am going to leave aging on.

My lifespan will be set as follows (1 Sim day = 1 week):

Baby - 24 days  (0 to 6 months)
Toddler - 168 days  (6 months to 4 years)
Child -  384 days (4 years to 12 years)
Teen - 336 days (12 years to 19 years)
Young Adult - 1008 days (19 years to 40 years)
Adult - 1440 days (40 years to 70 years)
Elder - minimum of 240 days (elders will live at least to age 75)

I was able to create this life span using Laura's wonderful tutorial. Incidentally, this is my Long lifespan. In my Short lifespan, 1 Sim day = 1 year. In my Medium lifespan, 1 Sim day = 1 season (three months). In my Normal lifespan, 1 Sim day = 1 month. And, in my Epic lifespan, 1 Sim day = 1 day! Once I have tested the mod thoroughly, I may offer it for download.

In addition to having an actual birth year, my sims will also have a birth month based on their astrological sign:

Capricorn - January
Aquarius - February
Pisces - March
Aries - April
Taurus - May
Gemini - June
Cancer - July
Leo - August
Virgo - September
Libra - October
Scorpio - November
Sagittarius - December

A note on University...
If you watched Maxis's October 9th broadcast, then you know Producer Ryan pretty much confirmed that University is the next expansion pack for The Sims 3. I don't know how University is going to work or if they are going to introduce a new life stage. For now, I am planning that the first four years of young adulthood (ages 19, 20, 21, and 22) will correspond to the Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years of University. I have installed Twallan's Careers mod and Rachel's custom majors to simulate University for now. I am sure I will have to re-visit this when the expansion pack ships.

A note about Fertility...
Since my Sims will be adults until age 70, I need a way to stop them from getting pregnant at unreasonable ages. When a Sim hits 40, I am going to block Twallan's Story Progression from getting them pregnant. Specifically, I am going to set the "Allow Pregnancy: Progression" setting to false, but leave the "Allow Pregnancy: Any" set as true. This will allow me to manually get them pregnant if they roll a wish for a baby or if they have the Surrounded by Family lifetime wish. However, at age 40, it will be presumed that the Sim underwent a fertility treatment, so the chance of twins and triplets will be higher and I will likely charge the family a fee. After age 45, I will also set "Allow Pregnancy: Any" to false, so that the Sim will not be able to get pregnant at all. (Judy Bunch will just barely make it because I think she will start off at age 45.)
Groundhog Day?
Well, now that I have devised this system (in addition to figuring out how to prevent the Face One Virus and stop my Sims from constantly switching partners), I really want to start over with Sunset Valley. I won't delete the posts I have already written, but once I have Seasons installed and all of my mods updated, I will be beginning again. It will be September 2000 in Sunset Valley. This will be the third time I've started this blog. The third time's the charm, right? Right????

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Round 1: Wozny 1 -- Mating and Relating

We have finally made it to the last house in Round 1 of Sunset Valley! It only took me a year and three-quarters to get here. *rolls my eyes* 

The last house belongs to Holden Wozny and his new bride, Faith. For the longest time, I read Holden's last name as Wonzy until I noticed the "z" came before the "n." I suspect his name is a nod to Steve Wozniak. I digress..

Me: Hey, guys, you don't know how happy I am to see you. Aw, sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt an intimate moment.

Holden: No worries.  I was just giving Faith a hug before she leaves for work. We believe it is important to always have a moment together before parting. With her being in law enforcement, I know there's always the possibility that I'm saying goodbye for the last time.

Me: That's sweet, Holden. A little morbid, but sweet. Maybe you guys could lead a marriage seminar in Sunset Valley.

Me: Lord knows there are many couples in town who could benefit from your services.

Holden: I hear what you are saying, but I couldn't possibly get up in front of a group to speak. I prefer to communicate through the written word. As a matter of fact, I am headed out now to gather research for my first book.

Me: I see you have found a new friend.

Holden: This is an exquisite find! I thought it was only a myth that pygmy tortoises existed in Sunset Valley.

Me: I can tell you two are going to be great friends.

Holden: Yes, now all I need is to find a mate for Humberto, and I can begin my research.

Me: Research? Exactly what kind of book do you plan on writing?

Holden: A nature book, of course.

Me: I'm sure your book will fly off the shelves. Good luck, and see you next round.


Wait. Didn't Harry just move in with Jennifer? And didn't Talia just have triplet babies with her (ex) husband?

The Casanova in question is Galen Hickey.  Right after I got this message, the one below popped up:

This made me laugh out loud. Coby was living with Galen and Katrina. I think he was tired of the drama and decided to get his own place.

And finally, the last SP message of the round could not make me any happier!

They got back together! True, they will probably break up at the beginning of Round 2, but I can be happy while it lasts. :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

3 Things I Wish I Knew Three Years Ago

Now that I have almost completed the first round of Sunset Valley, I have learned a couple of things about Story Progression's inner workings and the game itself that I wish I had known when first started out.

1) I wish I had known about the Face One Virus. When I first started playing, I didn't know all of the townies were generated with the same face. I thought The Sims 3 behaved more like The Sims 2 which generated the townies from a set of templates. For more details about the Face One Virus, see my legacy blog entry where I explain it in more detail. Since I initially allowed the homeless to move in, I have a lot of townies running around with the same face. I am seriously considering annihilating them with Master Controller so that their genetics don't overrun the town.

You can prevent this situation by installing Twallan's Register Mod and configuring Story Progression to generate townies from your Sim bin. See Twallan's FAQ for more details about managing immigration.

2) I wish I had known I could limit the number of romantic interests a Sim can have. This didn't really become a problem until Generations. With the introduction of the Romantic Reputation system, Sims with multiple love interests have a difficult time maintaining a steady relationship. This is a big part of the reason why you see my Sims break up so often. Twallan's Story Progression Mod has a setting under the "Flirt" menu that specifies the number of romantic interests a Sim can have at a time. By default, it is set to zero, which means there is no limit to the number of romantic interests a Sim can have. I have now changed this setting to 1. I am hoping that will reduce the volatility in the Sims' relationships. I don't think it will help the current young adult/adult generation much, but I am hoping it will help the future generations.

3) I wish I had known the EA team was going to release so many darned neighborhoods. Ok, I put this one in for the lols, but seriously they have already released eleven neighborhoods and there is at least one more on the way (Moonlight Falls). Sheesh! It's going to be 2050 before I finish this thing. Hopefully, I live that long.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Round 1: Wolff 1 -- Llama Tail

Me:  Good morning, Morgana!

Morgana:  *nom* No time to talk. *nom, nom* I just got off work and now I have to go back an run a clinic. *nom, nom, nom*

Me: You Medical Sims are some of the hardest working Sims in town.

Morgana: I don't mind the long hours. It gets lonely in this big house with Thornton spending so much time at the office.

They crack me up with their medical gadgets. Lily and her husband got checked out.

I hear illness is coming back with Seasons. I wonder if sick Sims can go to Medical Sims for a cure.

Me: Aww...Clark (Sauer) Baker is having some fun with his stepson, Topher. How sweet!

Morgana: *wistfully* I know Thornton could be just as good of a father as Clark if he would only consider it.

ROFLMAO! Game, you rock! Of course it would be Molly French who contracted Llama Tail. Ok, that's not really fair to Molly. She's been rather tame in this save.

Me: Not a bad job, Morgana.

Morgana: I probably could have gotten to the sixth patient if Nick Alto hadn't scared her off.

Me: He probably got wind that you're working with Jennifer Martinez, rather than Vita, so he sabotaged you.

Morgana: Those Altos! They are mean!

Me: Mean? You're a good Sim, so I guess that's the worst you could come up with.

Morgana: I am not good all of the time. Every now and then I can convince Thornton to take a skinny dip.

Me: Well, he is your husband and you're in your own private pool, so it's not that scandalous, Morgana. Anyway, keep it up, and you may get that baby after all. See you next round!

Ok, I have been struggling with this update for a month. Morgana and Thornton gave me nothing to work with. I am impressed that Morgana didn't go and get herself knocked up. I guess the Dislikes Children trait trumps the Family-Oriented trait.

Anyway, here are the SP UPDATES:

Shocker. *rolls my eyes*

Katrina doesn't strike me as the type to go around smashing Loveseats; she'd just set your whole place on fire.

What? Adam and Talia broke up? When did that happen? Dude, your (ex-)wife just gave birth to your triplets!

I approve.

That's what you get for a being a deadbeat mom. Araceli is one of Hank's baby mamas. And speaking of Hank...

Ok, ok, I know this is just Story Progression moving them to a bigger house, but I like to think of it as Hank and Pauline settling down with their family.

There is just one more update left and then we move on to Round 2!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Round 1: Williams 1 - Goin' Legit

There are only three lots left in Round 1! First up is the Williams family.
Me: Wow, Marley, you have a gorgeous view. That is a great spot to eat breakfast every morning.

Marley: It's ok.

Me: Ok? If I had that view I would never leave my house!

Marley: Don't get me wrong. The house is beautiful, and my family loves living here. I am feeling guilty about how I acquired it. You see, my wife and I were art thieves.

Me: Really? Apparently, you were good at it.

Marley: Yes, we were very good at it.

Marley: We were so good that we were able to put my wife through nursing school.

Marley: But our daughter, Malika, is getting older, and I don't want her realizing all she has came to her illegally. Also, my "boss" will be retired soon with Nick Alto coming to power. It's the perfect time to get out.

Me: Well, I can understand your reasoning, and of course I support a Sim who wants to earn an honest living. What are you going to do now?

 Marley: Excuse me for a minute, I hear the phone ringing.

Marley: Naw, Nick, I'm not interested in the job. I'm goin' legit, man...What? I don't care if you need me for this one last job. There will always be "one last job." I'm done...Come on, man, I've got a baby girl...I do what you gotta do. Can I at least think about it? Ok...yeah, we'll be in, you have a good day.

Me: That didn't sound too good.

Marley: He said he would expose me if I didn't do one last job for him.

Me: He's blackmailing you? Not surprised.

Marley: It's all good. He's giving me fodder for my new career.

Me: What new career?

 Marley: I'm going to write suspense novels about an art thief.

Me: Well, they do say to write what you know about. Good luck, and watch your back!

Their house is pretty crowded with two adults, three toddlers, and only one bedroom.

Talia's roommate, Noemi, married Fiona's ex-husband and moved into a new home.

As for Talia, she had triplets (two girls and a boy) with her husband, Adam. I renamed the triplets, but the SP message didn't pick up on it. The triplets are actually named Julia, Lena, and Fabian.

Ooh...I bet Corny and Agnes are getting together to plan Agnes's wedding.

 Could these two be any more different? I don't expect this to last long.

Pablo's ex-wife has moved on to Casanova, Galen Hickey. I know I have said it before, but Katrina, Fiona, and Jennifer just can't stay away from the Casanovas and gigolos.

I don't find it a shame at all. This opens the door to a Pauline and Hank reunion!

Ok, so Marley and Aimee wanting to "go legit" was inspired by both of them starting off in the Criminal career, but wanting to switch to Writing and Medicine. Nick Alto did actually call Marley to discuss art, so  that's where I got the idea of them being art thieves.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Round 1: Wainwright 1 -- Skip to My Sue, My Darlin'

Me:  Good morning, Sue.

Susan: Well, it's about time.

Me: Yeah, I know it has taken me a while to get to you guys. I have been going through a rough time.

Susan: Please spare me your personal problems. Save that for your shrink. I meant it's about time  because you skipped us!

Me: *blushing* You are right, I did.

Susan: Didn't you learn your ABCs? Wainwright comes before Wan.

Me: I know, I know. I was so eager to get to Pauline's lot, that I accidentally skipped you guys. My apologies.

Susan: I know you have your pets, but you could at least treat the rest of us like we exist.

Me: You've made your point. I am going to slink off now and check on Boyd.

Me: Hey, Boyd! *gagging* That looks pretty tasty...eww. Gotta love you slobby sims!

Susan: Well if he would let me hire a maid, he wouldn't have to eat spoiled food. And if he would let me hire a repairman, I wouldn't have to fix this stupid toilet.

Boyd: Why pay someone good money to do something that we are fully capable of doing ourselves?

Susan: So you fix the toilet next time.

Boyd: I would, buttercup, if you wouldn't jump ahead and fix it first.

Susan: I asked you do it last month, dear, but you've been too busy watching your nature documentaries to fix it.

Me: Speaking of nature, I think you two need to get out and get some fresh air. How about a trip to the park?

Me:  It's busy as usual. Spencer and Irene Funke caught my eye because they were swinging in perfect unison.

 Me: I can't remember if these two are twins. I'll have to double-check the next time I play them.

Me:  I think they might want a new computer for Christmas.

Susan wants to be a Chess Legend, so she is building up her logic and chess skills by playing a match against Coby Frederick.

Coby: I can't believe I took a job working on Vita Alto's campaign. I might as well be working for Satan himself.

Coby: I shouldn't have said that out loud. She'll probably send one of her husband's thugs after me.

Boyd: This was a great idea. My hobbies and interests normally keep me indoors, but there is nothing like being one with nature and taming wild beasts.

Me: Wild beasts? You caught a minnow, not a shark, Grizzly Adams. Anyway, I will see you two next round.

Fiona has adopted a dog. Hopefully, this male will stay loyal to her.

Aw, Jared and Connor are keeping the family bonds strong. I guess Jared was commiserating with his brother over his failed marriage.

Speaking of Connor's ex, Jamie is duking it out with Katrina over Casanova, Shelby Donner. I don't know why you two are fighting over Tamara's sloppy seconds.

 Gage decided to move out of the house that he was sharing with the other Townie boys.

Could it be that he is preparing a love nest for his bride-to-be? Congrats Agnes and Gage!