Seems like something to get excited about

Coming soon, ‘Parenting Skills!’ Oh my, parents everywhere are all probably sighing in unison – “if only it was that simple!” – Anyhoo, I’ve been away for a while and I did start earnestly enough with my plan to publish a glitch blog. But, it’s too much hard work!

The problem for me was that a lot of the glitches I’ve come across happen in long established games, and that takes time. And starting new saves to demonstrate those bugs is just too much effort for an oldie like me. So of course I’ve been moving folders around and dipping in and out of my legacy save – just for the sake of sanity!

That’s when I noticed this

05-21-17_11-56-34 AM

The weird swirly skin overlay has been upgraded to a high definition skin condition that looks both irritating and gross. I love it! Seeing a miserable Sim covered in pustules shouldn’t make anybody happy! but it’s extraordinary details like that, that gives the game depth. I think we’re due a patch tomorrow and the Parenthood GP next week, so again I am excited to see what’s coming.

I am taking a break

…to play the game. It seems that a lot of the frustrating bugs & glitches are either too bogged down in the game, and therefore too much hassle, or just not important enough to fix. And it occurred to me that the only way to be taken seriously when complaining about these bugs & glitches is to play a completely vanilla game. That probably means starting a new save every time an update fix is released – although I am probably not going to go that far because that’s an unfair expectation.

So I’ve archived my legacy game because of the CC and I’ve moved a saved vanilla testing game back to the EA folder. I opened the save with a Sim that lives in San Myshuno, he was hungry so I sent him out for breakfast at one of the stalls, seeing him content and eating his snack whilst chatting with his neighbours I decided to close the game and come back to it later. But I couldn’t do that because a vampire was breaking in – it was 7.32 am!!

That really sums it up for me, I love this game, it’s been a pleasant distraction in my life for 17 years, I am going to be 50 next week and that makes me way older than the target audience, probably older than the developers. And much more likely to get irritated when things go wrong – it’s my age and I can’t do anything about that! My family call me the grumpy old man, depending on who you ask they’re probably going to say I always have been! The one thing that really, really, really irritates me (and that’s a lot of irritation) is the glib way the devs handle ‘fix updates’ even if the number of TS4 players that have been with the franchise since 2000 is less than the number of youngsters coming to the game this year, the devs should still remember that those players are going to be ‘mature’ and would appreciate a more honest, apologetic response. A personal example would be when Jaguar/Landrover wrote to me a couple of years ago to say my car needed to be recalled to replace a faulty module in the ECU, they apologised profusely and dealt with my car quickly. Even though I tried to tell them that the problem didn’t affect my car they still did the work, made the changes and even valeted the crud off the car while it was in their workshop!

That is the standard of customer service we expect when we reach an age where money has a value, and when purchases no matter how impulsive or frivolous are still thought over. I wonder if any of the trendy, young hipsters at The Sims Studio will ever feel it’s appropriate to apologise, say something like “we’re sorry but when we were developing this, that or the other, we forgot to adjust the tuning on something else, that’s why you’re seeing the glitch in the game. We’re happy to say we’ve fixed it now and we apologise for being so clumsy, blah, blah…” Anything other than the glib quasi comedic drivel that they post now. Because we’re consumers, we’ve invested hard earned money into this game, and they’re not doing us any favours issuing these updates – it’s an obligation!

Done with the rant now, I am going to play their game their way – no mods, no CC and I’ll happily continue to road test and help debug other players games. Happy Simming 🙂

Toddler frustration. Building frustration. Vampire frustration…

Seriously! Is it just me or is this GAME getting harder?

I seemed to have spent most of this month building stuff, because it felt a lot less taxing than playing the game. I am not moaning though 🙂 I love this game and I like the way it’s gently (but firmly) led me into exploring the building aspect. Because that’s the thing I least enjoyed in the previous games. Now I am actually enjoying it. And that’s probably thanks to the game and expansion packs, because they’ve given me content to experiment with, and I love all the beaten up, grungy, weathered stuff that came with the vampire pack – especially the living cobwebs and the crumbling wall decor, it’s cool.
So it started with the glamour of a new bedroom in their swanky new penthouse. Honestly Mrs Simself was in a perpetual state of giddiness, like a queen bee in her three storey hive of glittering luxury. Not even a sulky teenage son, or the clumsy butler could make her feel down. Luckily her fundraising commitments took her out of the apartment for most of the day, but then the inevitable happened and twin babies were born!

And then they grew up into toddlers 😦 Urgh! I suppose it’s ok to say they weren’t very attractive… I mean, I wouldn’t say it outloud if they were some other Sims kids, but these are ours so I’ll just come straight out with it. Ugly! And that hair Urgh!!

Anyhoo, that’s what the CAS cheat is there for. Mrs Simself seems to always be wearing a bikini 🙂 that’s just because there’s a hot tub on the balcony and it’s where she goes to relax (honest). They moved out of the penthouse and into the Old Salthouse, I really don’t like the penthouses. Trying to follow three caregivers and two toddlers around three floors of sprawling real estate was a total nightmare. And I thought the smaller house would be easier, but because it was such a nightmare I channelled all my gameplay into building, and then because I ran out of commercial venues I started on their new home. And now that’s on three levels too! But at least now the toddlers are less dependant and are running! around on their own. Running!? Bloody hell 😦
I also rebuilt their holiday home, it used to be the over sized Greek inspired villa (with the cute housekeeper), now it’s more compact  and a lot easier to get around. Mrs Simself is still in the political career, their teenage son is actually quite cool now because he’s great with the toddlers, and Gianni Simself has quit work for good this time. It was all too much…

The vampire story

I really like the vampires, surprising because I really didn’t in TS3. There’s so much to them now that even if you don’t like the idea of them, it’s hard not to be impressed by the theatre. I love it when they pop up in a cloud of smoke, and the way other Sims react to their biting. The fighting is good and the smoldering in sunlight even better, though I’ve yet to see one die in the sunshine. I am playing Count Vladislaus because I like the way his dark half looks. One thing I really want to do is have his dark half wear a hospital gown, but I’ve forgotten how to find them in the catalogue. There are some CC gowns available but they’re all bright comedy coloured, what I would really like is to find a dirty, tattered version that looks like he was buried in it. Maybe that’s the boost I need to figure out how to make some CC of my own.

I’ve been slow to get going with vampires because I wanted a good Sim in one of the towns to be able to cure the victims. I had originally planned for one of the Goths to learn the trade, but I like them as they are. By chance I found a homeless single male Sim in household management. Melvin Wiley seemed perfect for the job because he’s got a really big beard and a cool surname ‘Wily’ Then I spotted another single, homeless Sim, Hakim Mounib, this one is fun because he’s big and athletic looking but he’s got that goofy walk which made him perfect as the wily vampire hunters dopey sidekick.

Unfortunately that all changed as soon as they started sharing a house, they took turns flirting and before I knew it they were romantically entangled! So back I go to the homeless bin. I’d noticed a very beautiful Indian lady, Ananya Gupta around town so I found her and moved her in also. It took a couple of days of misery for the two men to quit moaning at each other and crying under the covers, but now apart from the occasional outbursts of jealousy Melvin and Ananya are a happy couple. Happy to toil away in the garden night and day cultivating and harvesting the ingredients for the vampire cure. Hakim will come around eventually and his goofiness will win out especially since curing vampires is anything but simple!
They live and work in an underground bunker beneath an abandoned trailer in Oasis Springs. And I like it mostly, I wish I’d planned it better though, it might have been cool to hide the stairs in the old trailer so there’s no discernible entrance on the lot. But by that time I was done with building and bogged down with vampire hunting.

I know I am probably going about this the wrong way, and because I’ve been caught out moaning about stuff I was doing wrong previously, I’ll put in this soft moan quietly…

So Melvin the vampire hunter researched all there was to learn about vamps and qualified with the knowledge to make the vampire cure cocktail. Good enough, Ananya had been busy gardening and there was plenty of produce to make their first attempt. Vlad the bad had been seen biting into the neck of a pretty damsel in one of the clubs, so Melvin went hunting. Seeing the Sim transform into a vampire is cool too, although she hung about too long and started smoldering before she figured out it would wiser to get indoors! Melvin found and befriended her, then tried to invite her over – it was nighttime and she was sleeping! He tried the next day and of course “she’s a vampire and couldn’t do that” turns out there’s a brief window between 9 and 11pm where they’re willing to leave their nest. But then with the cure in his inventory he set about 8 hours solid mocking, hating, arguing and fighting with her with no option to give her the cure. He could have slayed her within the first hour, he was even able to throw ‘a drink’ at her but it wasn’t the cure and she laughed at his failure 😦

Eventually the sun came up, Melvin was wasted being truly nasty is exhausting. His two cohorts had quit trying to help hours earlier and were happily sleeping, and the vampire went home.

That evening he travelled to the vamps house, he still had the cure in his inventory and I’d read online that it still worked even if it had gone bad. It hadn’t by that time, so he knocked on the door and was invited in. The house was empty, and Mrs vampire was eventually found sleeping in a double bed with her teenage son!!!

And so began another marathon effort to apply the cure by any means available, but it wasn’t to be because that option never came up. The option to slay was always available, is that what I should be doing? It’s not what I wanted to do. Why provide a cure if that’s the only way to deal with vamps. There must be an easier way…

I think if I was a game developer and someone at EA were to ask me, I would suggest they keep the ‘Slay’ option in the mean menu and a ‘Cure’ option in the friendly menu. Maybe that’s how it works already and I am missing something. Whatever, Melvin left the cure at the vamps house because it had gone bad, so maybe she’s found it and cured herself – who can blame her? After enduring three days of verbal abuse she probably decided life would be more peaceful without the angry vigilante’s attempts at ‘healing’ her.
…to be continued!

edit 25/2/17: I think the ‘Cure’ problem is caused because the victim is only a fledgling vampire. I just tried with the Count. After a short fight Melvin the hunter was able to throw the cure at him and turn him back to mortal. If that’s the case then it makes hunting random townie vamps a lot more challenging, especially if they’re homeless. But it also adds a lot of realism because the hunter is going to make a lot of undead enemies in his quest to cure them all. And it’s also a tad easier to have Vlad turn Sims that I know already in the game, that way I can play them as vamps, then swap back to the hunter when I know he can cure them. As for the random townies he can always slay those anyway 🙂

The Goths are back

In all the years I’ve been playing Sims I’ve never had any interest in the Goths. I can’t even give a logical reason – I just didn’t like the look of them! And their house in TS4 is a bit lame. Although I do remember Gianni Simself having a bit of a fling with Bella, but she got old and died – and then so did the rest of the household.

Recently I’ve started tidying up the map, there is a lot of big empty house that need demolishing/rebuilding (or money cheats) because they’re too expensive for new households. As I don’t enjoy building houses from the ground up, my skills aren’t really good enough and I get frustrated easily! I prefer remodelling what’s there already – most of the time! – Ophelia Villa was a different matter altogether, I just couldn’t fix it up for another family.

So I had an idea to just reinstall the Goths, and leave them to it as I’d done previously. But then I also had an idea to introduce a vampire hunter into the town. My plan was to have a Goth descendant study vampire lore until eventually he would be able to start ‘fixing’ them.

I want a vampire hunter because I really want to play the vampires I have in the game already, I need for them to start turning hapless townies into creatures of the night – but before I start with that I really want an opposing force that can make ongoing repairs and keep a good balance.

So with all that in mind, I really did want to like TS4 Goths, and I do! They’re cool, but I think I am going to leave them as they are. Probably I’ll have Mortimer hunt vampires, and Bella doesn’t work anymore either – she’s a lady of leisure now – possibly she’s a resting (out of work) actress. I’ve put horror film posters around her dressing room, so I think she’s a B-Movie queen. Cassandra is awesome because she’s so gloomy! And little Alex wakes up screaming every morning because his bedroom is in a crypt! He’s never going to do well fighting blood suckers – Though he could be a Xander for Cassie’s Buffy…

Anyway, all of that is dependent on them having the right house to live in. I found Oxford Vampire House by ConceptDesign97 and I love it 🙂 But, the builder has used MOO a lot! There are route blocking vines everywhere! And it took quite a bit of fixing up to create living spaces for the family. But, it looks amazing and hats off to the original builder, it’s a creative gem.

Better still, Cassandra has taken a shine to a geeky kid that lives across the street, and that’s loads of fun 🙂

Fixing up the old town

Yesterday morning I woke with a bee in my bonnet! Not unusual in the slightest, and probably due to a fast approaching spring.

The sun was shining and the gales had blown away, so I wandered around the garden looking for something easy to fix. Eventually after a mug of coffee and a long conversation with a tame pheasant, I decided to remove a concrete step that was jutting out from the edge of the lawn. My house is over 200 years old and I think that step has been there for all those years. It took me a good half hour of hitting it with a sledge hammer before it was crumbled enough to shovel it away. Now when I cut the grass I won’t have to worry about wrecking the blades when I drive over the edge, so all in all “A good job well done!” – there’s a big hole to fill in, and it’s going to need reseeding before there’s any grass to cut – but that’s by the by, I’ve done what needed to be done. I am happy 🙂

And that lead me to think about Simsville, and how easy their lives are. Planning a refurbishment? Or contemplating some groundwork? It’s as simple as a couple of mouse clicks to completely remodel your house and fix up a boring yard.

Now I’ve never been much of a Sims builder, but I did study interior design, I did even consider it as a career – the only thing that stopped me was that I know I’d be rubbish at listening to what other people (paying customers) really want. I have tried over the years to offer guidance when asked, but I lock up when people say stuff like, “oh I don’t know…” or “that’s not quite what I was thinking…” But in Simsville, I am in charge! I’ve got no one telling me how it should be done, and bless them all they’re so perpetually happy – there really is no effort.
It started with the vampire update, although I regularly spend time trawling through household management – making partners, kids, adding a next generation for elderly townies etc – keeping the continuity in check. But it was the garlic plant introduced with the vampire pack, and a need for all the households to have access to the plant. That and enabling them to learn the skills needed to craft the decorations so preventing vampires from obliterating their townships, that inspired me to change up the town venues.

It just didn’t seem very realistic that every house had fully stocked gardens, I know that a lot of the Sim characters have no interest in gardening – some of them have never even cooked a family meal, they get by with an occasional BBQ and the neighbourhood is full of places to eat. So I decided that each town should have a community garden, where they can grow and collect produce freely. Except for San Myshuno because they’ve already got the produce stalls.

In Oasis Springs I’ve used the roof of the science museum/library which works really well because it’s an ideal venue for space plants and obscure grafted plants. But I wanted to do something different in Willow Creek, it’s an older town and I really wanted to build a community garden. There’s a small National (cruising!) park that has the ranger station which is good too.

GGOYAM-BANGSAIN-004 fits the bill. It’s perfect, I changed it from residential to a cafe, put a load of planters in so the Sims could plant their own. A playroom and plenty of toddler pottys and high chairs. It’s a joy to have somewhere for the Sims to socialise, hang out with the kids and grow/harvest the produce that they need.

That lead me into fixing up all the community lots in all of the worlds! I haven’t finished yet 🙂 Here’s some from Willow Creek.



There’s a whole other story due soon, after seeing the Pancakes’ toddler I’ve reintroduced some familiar faces…

An apology

To those that read the two bizarre and misleading posts about moving/splitting (or failing!) to move household members. (edit: I deleted them) And why did no one tell me how stupid I was…

First of all, it’s not impossible to split households. In my case I wanted a young adult Sim to move out of the family home and start his own family, in the two previous posts I outlined several massive fail scenarios – very embarrassing!

In reality it’s very, very simple, all you need to do is select the Sim you want to move and choose the ‘Create new household’ button. I can’t believe I screwed it up so badly, and then promoted my ineptitude! Luckily no one reads this blog, and I may be able to cover my tracks with some clever editing!

Secondly and probably most importantly, if there’s anything that puzzles or that you’re uncertain about go here first >>> I have book marked the Amazon affiliate link as I am buying from Amazon all the time – I am not sure how it works, whether or not the author earns from my purchases as I am transferred to the UK when I log in, but I spend a lot on Amazon and hopefully it’s trickling down to the site owner. If you don’t want to do that though, and you’ve found the guides helpful – I’ve used the resource for years, though apparently haven’t learnt much – that’s down to my stupidity! Make a donation, because resources like that (when used properly) – that is when they’ve been read and understood, will save you a lot of frustration (I know this much) and it would be a shame to lose them.

And thirdly, I apologise to all the game developers at Maxis/EA. What can I say? I am just so dumb sometimes 😦

The system is not flawed, and although I needlessly complicated things it is easy to use. I promise never to jump into a rambling, rant ever again! I probably can’t guarantee that, but I will promise to research the problem first… and try to follow recommendations.

Evolve All

I noticed this a while back, and I feel bad for not publicly thanking the team already. It goes without saying I am 100% happy with the toddler update, they add so much to the game, it’s a joy to play again.

Of course they came with some bugs though, the two that affect the most are that Sims won’t sit to watch TV, and have lost the ability to swim! But, they will be fixed soon, I am sure of that because they’re part of the game. And there’s still the issue with the executive desk chair not working with any of the desks, although no-one seems in a hurry to fix that glitch. There’s probably other bugs upsetting other players too, but they’re the ones that I notice the most, and they’re almost insignificant when I see Sims gardening without a load of prompts.

The dev team slipped it in without any fanfare or drum roll, perhaps they’re worried that something is going to break it down the line. Who knows, all I care about is it works perfectly (for me anyway) now and I want to shout my thanks to all those concerned. THANK YOU 🙂

(if you haven’t noticed already) set a Sim to evolve a plant and they will autonomously evolve MOST of the other plants waiting for evolution. It might depend on the number of plants waiting to evolve, or most likely other Sims breaking their attention by wanting to interact, so they may only evolve two plants at a time. But, it’s OK (better than it was), and if you place a whole load of seeds in the planters and tell the Sim to plant the Sim will plant them ALL – it’s a joy to behold 🙂

Currently I am lost in the mists of Forgotten Hollow, and my personal favourite Count Vladislaus Straud in his dark form rocks like Stephen King’s Kurt Barlow. And I am loving it!

They’re really here


I did not see that coming!

I am grounded at the moment whilst I am resting my back injury and I spent most of yesterday playing the game oblivious to what was coming.

I totally understand the radio silence pre content release. Even though the dev teams must be bouncing off the walls as they wait to launch, I think it’s a smart idea from the management to curtail gossip because it must give those teams an unbelievable high when they see the crowds reaction.

And what a treat, I knew they would be worth waiting for. Thank you EA 🙂

A worthwhile community lot

The space travel/internet cafe.
There’s a cafe at street level with comfy sofas and gaming pc’s. An observatory and two giant rockets. You need MOO to place the gate on the fence – they still work though.

And in the basement, there is a bullion store – it’s all swipeable! – an infirmary, though that’s only for show! A space travel portal, dormitory, bathroom, gym and massage facilities.

I’ve also had one of the scientists build and upgrade the rockets so they’re safer for even the most novice space tourist to use.