Nope the biting still doesn’t make sense

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OK so I wandered off for a while! I was struggling to find a reason for buying the toddler stuff pack, and eventually I thought I may as well because I liked the floor cushions, and I liked the little cooler on a cart, more than anything I really liked the director chairs.

I paid my money and while I was waiting for the downloaded content I started planning the changes I was going to make to the vacation world, I love the textures of the existing wooden card table and I was genuinely (foolishly!) over excited at putting old school, camp chairs around it – I am of that age and country where those folding chairs traditionally used for outdoor eating would be carried in the car for days out by the seaside – that’s my nostalgic memories anyway. Look at old photos of desert campaigns or safari expeditions and you’ll see old familiar folding canvas chairs. I love them, and now they’re almost impossible to get hold of.

So I Loaded the game up and found that they’re ‘Living’ chairs!!! They won’t work with the games or chess tables, not even with a desk 😦

I felt cheated! I was overwhelmed with irrational anger – I don’t like toddlers, and the big clunky play sets didn’t appeal so I quit for a while. Of course news of the forthcoming Cats & Dogs stuff drew me back into the virtual world, and again I am over excited! When it was announced I thought it would be as lame as TS3 with playable animals, but then I started reading the blog updates, and realised that wouldn’t be the case, they’re going to be better looking than TS3 and with better autonomy than TS2, and with foxes too 🙂

Then came an update with a texture fix for the ball pit – to be honest I wasn’t that bothered by the original – I wasn’t using it and I didn’t care either way. I had seen that someone had modded it with something like a trillion polygons which made me laugh – although not at the creator – that must have taken a lot of time and effort. I was laughing because the devs had got it so wrong again. They frustrate the players so much that someone felt the need to remake the object and others felt the need to download graphic card busting custom content in order to get their game right. It made me think about the director/deck chair again, it’s aimed at the toddler age group but in reality a toddler would never be able to sit on one, a clumsy toddling infant would pull it on top of himself if he even tried to climb onto it. And that made me laugh again, foolishly buying into something I didn’t want because of one ‘virtual’ item that didn’t work (as I wanted). Honestly LOL!
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Then I read a discussion on Twitter about bathing ghost dogs, somebody wanted their Sim to be able to do it, and a dev commented saying they’d had lots of discussion about it in the office but would it even be necessary… 

It made me think, sometimes the players can be wrong too – who knows maybe sometime in the future my favourite garden chairs will be recategorised as dining chairs, and then I’ll be laughing. Until then there’s always CC 🙂
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It’s amazing what an update can do! It must be like the electrical surge during the ad breaks in a royal wedding when the entire nation makes tea at the same time. I wonder if the tech team at EA recognise increased player activity after an update, and worry when they see numbers drop at all other times…

Still not getting the biting. I built a vampire lounge and gave it the vampire nexus lot trait, because I want somewhere for vampires to hang out so my vampire hunters can find them easily. OK so I was playing during the daytime and the only vamp in the building was the one I was playing, but I did that because I wanted to see how many folks he could bite, the irritating thing for me is how the other Sims react to a blood sucking vampire. Why do they get so upset? They shouldn’t even be there!

I like the lot though, I took inspiration from a ruined cafe I downloaded from the gallery and built a labyrinth of play rooms underneath it. There’s also a swampy pool out back for late night skinny dips, and I’ll get them to plant the garden so they can make the vampire cocktails.

Building My way

Suddenly I am a perfectionist, or just foolishly over confident all of a sudden! I had to rebuild the apartment block because it irritated me too much. I am a lot happier with this version, not just because it’s facing the correct way, but also because the Sims move around it so quickly now.

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There is a CC free version available on the gallery. Hope it works for you, let me know if there are problems – don’t forget to place using MOO, enjoy 🙂

So that’s the apartment building sorted, I am not going to mess with it anymore! I am actually enjoying this building lark and sad to see there are no more empty lots, but there is one in Newcrest that I am not 100% happy with. I downloaded it from the gallery a while back and messed with it. Now I am not sure whether the problem came with the house or whether it’s something I’ve done, but every so often a Sim will place an empty glass so that it hovers at head height above the table!

Back to the drawing board again! As this is the last building adventure I feel the need to show the a strange way of building I enjoy, I think it’s worthwhile for my stories.

I start from the bottom! I think it’s more about realism, than a bizarre perversion to make things more difficult than they need to be. But I’ve recently started building from a hole in the ground.

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So I have a test Sim in a game without mods, I use the bb.ignoregameplayunlocksentitlement cheat, so much so that I auto type it before anything else. Even in the builds that I am not planning to put a basement in, I still build the ground floor in the basement! In my mad world those are the foundations, and they could become useable basement rooms in the future. In this case I do want a basement flat for a butler.

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When I am happy with the layout of the basement, I concrete over the grass floor and close in the walls of the hole. Then I can start thinking about building above ground.

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Getting out of the basement and the virtual rubble and dust of framing the build is when I settle into the good stuff – decorating! Building can be a real challenge, for me I find the choice of windows the most frustrating because there’s still not a lot of choice to play with.

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Now I am getting into it, finally the house is built. Walls and floors are decorated. It’s time to fill test Sims needs, start to add furnishings and test everything!

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I love the way they move on the booth seating. For a Single Male available on the gallery, don’t forget use MOO to place, let me know if there are any problems. Enjoy 🙂

Almost there

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Given my current predilection for building! I thought I’d share this build story too. A while back Amber Simself married Malcolm Landgraab, they’ve got three kids but it’s Trent the teenage son that the real story centres on.

Malcolm is a hopeless villain, he just doesn’t have it in – especially as I removed the klepto trait – I think he’s going to change career, maybe go into politics next? Trent on the other hand has got mean traits and is smart enough to hack his grades and demand money from strangers. I am itching to age him up so he can get going, but I like him as a spotty teenager too much! Amber is a kind and gentle Sim that either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about what the others are doing, she’s in nursing and loves spending time with the kids.

(moan) Remember how addictive the Motion gaming mat was? That was fixed, only to increase the desire to craft knife blocks on the woodwork bench. Well now it looks as though that fix has led to an unending desire to play dolls with the kids! Of course it’s easily fixed by taking away the dolls house, but I like it when Amber plays with them, it looks cute. Even when she’s exhausted after a days work, she’ll get down on their level and play make believe. It’s not cool seeing hardened criminals, or stroppy teens playing dolls though! (/moan) On the subject of kneeling…
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I am still seeing Sims kneel to eat when they take food from the fridge, it happens very occasionally and the only other times I’ve seen it has been with the retail fridges. It’s not a game breaking glitch, because I think it looks quite cute.

Anyhoo, back to the story. Malcolm and family had been living in the Affluista Mansion, but I really don’t like that building. I’ve tried to redecorate and rebuild it but still don’t like it, and I don’t like how it looks on the map either. So I thought with Malcolm making slow progress in the criminal career, and young Trent snapping at his heels for his slice of the pie, they should really have a home more fitting their lifestyle.

Way back in the mists of time, Amber had grown up in a castle that Gianni Simself had bought when he made his first million, and I loved that castle. It would have been great for story progression if I could have dropped it down into the game again, only this time with one of Gianni’s offspring living there. But, I didn’t save a copy to my library (or if I did I’ve since deleted it!), the builder has deleted the original from the gallery 😦 and I had a recent purge of my backup drive – so it’s not there either (doh!)

There are quite a few on the gallery, but they’re all too intricate for an easy game. Not meaning to sound derogatory, but I try to keep interior spaces simple so the Sims can move around quickly, and those beautifully crafted lots can have too many nooks and crannies, and places for Sims to get lost or stuck in. There was one that grabbed me because it was really simple, but when I dropped it into the game it covered the entire lot. So I took inspiration from theirs and built my own!
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Same but different too! I’ve made mine slightly smaller and the moat is swim-in-able.

The story goes something like this… There was once an unscrupulous property developer who had made a lot of money building shoddy homes in Oasis Springs. He made so much money so quickly he decided to build himself a castle. However, he was caught out by his own cost cutting shortfalls and eventually his cash ran out and he had to sell it unfinished. That was when Malcolm entered the fray, he snapped it up in a moment of showy bravado! Never giving a second thought as to how he was going to pay to live there, or even how he would afford to finish the project. Still his kids loved it, and Amber who was not unused to middle-aged men and their ‘King of the castle’ whims, actually (secretly) liked the bragging rights too. The biggest challenge is raising enough cash each week to pay the bills before the power is cut.
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The unfinished, partly decorated shell is on the gallery. If anyone wants to have a go at finishing the project. I am most proud of the library – I could enjoy that lifestyle 🙂

Don’t forget use MOO to place (stairs & supporting pillars) – I have no idea why they’ve made that so tricky. Big Blank Canvas

I’ve found another alternative to actually playing the game

One so bizarre I don’t even recognise myself!

“Hey, who are you playing on my computer?”

“What? Not me, no-one playing here… just an old obsessive gamer with a compulsive desire to change things”

“Oh well that’s alright then”

“Why won’t someone tell me to stop? …I need help …hello?”

“helloooo, anyone?”

So I spent a couple of weeks building stuff, probably the most compulsive aspects of the game. It starts out well enough, but before you know it you’ve spent six hours straight trying to put together a couple of artsy looking boxes, and then after shutting the computer down for a well earned break (for the computer!) you find yourself rushing back because you’ve had a flash of inspiration, and may have figured out a solution to the problem that led you to shut it down in the first place.

But I am not very good at building and I get bored easily, which is not such a bad thing after all.
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This time after finding more random Sims living alone, I decided to bring them all together in a house share again. Only this time I did what I said I didn’t want to do last time, and I built them a tower block! Not only does it look ugly, it’s also facing the wrong way! I was so wrapped up in decorating their individual boxes that I built the balconies on the wrong side and not overlooking the lake behind them 😦
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I am trying to limit the amount of CC in my game because I am genuinely excited about the pets EP, when ever that comes around. So I have no custom chairs, sofas, beds or any kind of surface that a pet might interact with. But, there are three CC items that I just have to have.


So it’s got nothing to do with this build, but features in every Sim household anyway. LuumiaSims body hairs (now version 5) is awesome cool 🙂

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So that’s me done with building now, that was the last of the empty lots in Newcrest. It’s not perfect but it will do…

While I was playing this household, one of the Sims woke up with a need to mop up puddles, I followed him because I thought the stupid Sim was going to try and mop the garden again (they can actually do that now, mop the terrain that is). But he didn’t he ran along the sidewalk to the little park nearby and started cleaning up some horrible child’s mess. By the time he got back to his own ‘apartment’ he was exhausted. But that made me check the park from time to time when I am playing, that’s when I noticed this creepy figure.
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OK so he doesn’t look that scary, especially in the daylight surrounded by bright colours. But he’s Count Vladislaus Straud’s side kick, I think Stephen King called them ghouls, and he is supposed to be Straker to the Counts Kurt Barlow, if that makes sense. Yet looking at him in the cheery daylight he’s anything but undead, and totally unthreatening even though he’s apparently loitering in a playground.

And that led me back to the manage households tab again, judging by the amount of squeaky voiced male teens I found it had obviously been a long time since my last godly intervention.

Normally I will spend a couple of hours every month or so making changes to the homeless townies, adding husbands and wives, or children and toddlers. Sometimes I age up a couple to keep them in the story, other times I turn off active households so they’ll age up and die in the background.

This time around it became obsessive, I have literally spent the entire weekend moderating the families. I’ve added loads of toddlers and kids, given almost all the single Sims a partner. I never make changes to the random Sims generated, I just keep pressing the randomizer until I get the one I want, which creates some really unusual pairings. For instance there’s a big, butch body builder that I see training Sims at the gym, he’s a huge, muscular giant of a Sim and although he’s homeless I thought I’d give him a partner. So after flicking through the generated females and not finding any to suit I hit the male button and a slight, frail, fragile looking male Sim appeared with a pinched up face and a high pitched squeaky voice, it was too good to be true! I gave him high heels and silly walk and marked him up as a wife for the butch townie.

Then I noticed the guy who works in the coffee shop, he looked lonely and in need of a wife too…
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and he got super lucky 🙂 The screenshot is rubbish because her skin tone and eyes are gorgeous in real life! I had to give them a child after seeing how beautiful she was and the kid looks cool.

Pulling random Sims from the homeless bin adds so much to the game, I’ve set this family down in a house and turned off aging. I suppose he’s lost his job now that he’s a played Sim, but he’s gotta be grateful for having such a merciful god taking care of things. Although, one of the Sims that has moved into the new tower block with Dean Simself is Brayden Mireles, he’s one of the cool triplets and he’s cute! Those two (Brayden & Mrs coffee shop server) have got to hook up.
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It got so every time I fired up the game I would load a family then type in testingcheats on & cas.fulleditmode and go straight into household management! Where I started tweaking vampires, now they’ve all got pointy teeth and regular outfits when they’re not in their dark form, and I’ve made some wardrobe adjustments to their alter egos too.

Then I finally reached the point of quitting when I would normally cull a load of hefty looking aliens, because they irritate me so much. But one thing that’s puzzled me since they were introduced led me into another scenario. And that is I’ve never seen an alien in human disguise in my game, they’re always around and other Sims always react, and I keep seeing notifications that a Sim has seen through their cunning disguise, but they never have been disguised. So I started fiddling about with them too, now I know it’s possible to slim them down and most of them had attractive human forms already.

The issue is that they’re dropped into the game in alien form, and there’s no way of changing the disguise of the npc aliens. Yet it’s so simple to do with a played alien, makes me wonder who dreamt up that scenario, and wouldn’t it be better for the game if the aliens arrived from Sixam dressed as humans until they were discovered to be an alien. That way makes more sense to me, especially as there’s gameplay objects already in the game to detect aliens.
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Much more entertaining EA, he hasn’t got a clue who or what he’s chatting up, but she’s got him figured.

Now I WANT! to get back to playing the game, I feel like the stage is set for some lively mix ups and I am looking forward to seeing them play out.

Finlay leaves home

He’s gone to live with the cool geeks, but it’s a struggle to maintain their nerdiness! Is it wrong to complain that my Sims are so (too) friendly? All I want is for them to live with their loner, geek, clumsy and anti-social traits and all they want is to spread the love and hang out together…

Anyway, it started with Ralph Mireles, one of the triplets originally dreamt up to be live in servants at the Simself’s penthouse. But then came the butlers, and then I didn’t enjoy playing the penthouse lots very much, and actually the triplets turned out to be really cool Sims on their own. Ralph was the first to leave home and moved into 19 Culpepper House (the ‘needs tlc’ apartment). It was fun for a while but eventually the rats, roaches and iffy green stink just became really boring. He was learning to be an astronaut so didn’t have the time or skill to fix problems, and the landlord was useless too. So he moved into 17 Culpepper House the one with gremlins!! And that wasn’t any fun at all 😦

Here’s a thought EA, why not enable those starter flats and fixer-uppers to be fixed up. If for instance the tenant regularly put rat/roach poison down why not make the vermin appear less often, and then possibly never again. And why not enable a ghostbuster service NPC to clear away ghosts too. Introducing real life challenges might just make the game more dare I say intuitive. Certainly having the Sims work hard and save to climb the social ladder will be much more immersive than numbing players with repetitive animations that get boring very quickly.

So, I have a cool Sim, Ralph, and he’s got cool siblings. It’s his mother you’ll see in a lot of the venue screenshots, the one with the big boobs and cowboy hat. Honestly she came like that and she’s the most fun at a party. He’s also got loads of mates from all the time he spends at the gym, loads of love interest. Again though it was the game that hooked him up with a really cute, though soppy guy.

Most of the time hanging out in the apartment, his bf had a key 🙂 And going on dates or meeting up with friends in the venues was good, so I like the idea of apartments. And I like San Myshuno too, the background buzz and street food is very cool, I just didn’t like how locked in it became. I know it’s possible to move between apartments, and that if you’ve the patience to persevere it is doable to buy the Sims way up the property ladder (fill the apartments with high end furnishings, then sell everything to buy another empty shell), but I still think my idea is best!

Cool Sim + Liking apartment living = Learning to build!

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Which is not so easy after all as the game doesn’t provide an apartment lot type (yet?) and there’s no way of creating public/residential areas or level skip markers like TS3. However I have one apartment type lot already in the game already (Roomies Reimagined) and I enjoy playing that household, so I decided to have a go! And built a couple of boxes 🙂

So I am not a great builder and there’s much better available on the gallery, but for my first attempt – and I set myself some very challenging design challenges with this build – I am pleased with the results.

First off it’s in Newcrest which in my game is a fairly low level town, and the apartment building is surrounded by small, modern houses so creating a huge, towering box would look odd, so my first challenge was to build the entrance/kitchen/dining area in a basement. Warning! Don’t try that unless you’ve got a driving need for frustration in your gaming lifestyle, because you cannot set a front door in a basement 😦 I already had plans to get around that, but one thing that might work (although not for me in this situation) is set a staircase away from a wall so that it forms a landing, then fence off that landing and I think you can set the gate as being the front door.
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Basement level contains kitchen and small cloakroom.
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Living room and access to the garden is on the next level.

There’s also another building, that I am calling a bunkhouse on ground level. My original plan was to have young professionals in the three ‘apartments’ and then add random townies to live short term in the bunkhouse. That’s what I originally intended, but the first two random Sims I introduced are so cool (and from legacy families) that they’ve become permanent!
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The bunkhouse has a games room, communal kitchen and dining area and a large empty space that I’d like to use as a laundry/garage. Upstairs there are two large bedrooms with camp beds and two basic bathrooms. Or there was until I moved in the two visiting Sims who were too cool to purge, I’ve remodelled one of the rooms so it’s more comfortable for them 🙂
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Finlay Simself sharing a room with his BFF Max Villareal. He’s all grown up now and looking for work, I hope that’s what he’s doing!
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Loads of hangout and group activities outside. I’ve set the only door to the bunkhouse as the front door, and all the other ground floor and basement doors are locked to everyone but family. But I have also locked all the bathroom doors so each of the ‘apartment’ living Sims can have their own private bathroom. That leads to another bug! Locking the ‘apartment’ doors for just one or two (if there was a couple) Sims, meant that they couldn’t invite a partner to sleep over because once the doors were unlocked for their partner, then the rest of the household could crash their privacy. Keeping the doors unlocked and having a locked bathroom ensuite to their bedroom (with claimed beds) means that other household members are unlikely to spend time in each others bedrooms – unless it’s good for the story 🙂

So there are beds available in the bunkhouse for occasional/frequent/OMG! use, which is kind of cool (for the guys anyway) because they don’t have to wake up next to their beer goggle conquests (if they could get drunk) and slip away in the night to their own bed. Or they could if it weren’t for the bed claiming bug! Woohoo in any bed other than their own removes their claim from their own bed. It’s not a game breaker, but it means I have to make them claim their original bed back every time, and I like to play with as little direction as possible. I love the way the game creates characters, and opens opportunities but there’s always some little snag that stops it from being laugh out loud cool. It would be awesome if the lads could invite a date over, go do their thing in the bunkhouse then slip quietly away to sleep in their own beds without me having to intervene. Anyway…
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The bedrooms are on the top floor with access to a private balcony. Here I’ve broken the rule about keeping the bedrooms private because there’s a yoga mat on the balcony, there’s also a running machine in one of the other bedrooms. I’ve put them in their bedrooms because I didn’t want to build a home gym, because I think that’s a bit lame. I much prefer to have the Sims travel to a town gym, but in real life a young guy living alone (sort of) and working long hours might have exercise equipment at home too – I really love the way they have workout video on the TV now too, that’s very cool. So very occasionally one of the other household Sims will want to use the running machine or yoga mat in the others apartment, I’ll only stop it from happening if it’s going to disturb a sleeping Sim.

So Finlay has left home, he’s started in the entertainment business but I am not it’s such a good choice though, his best friend Max is in the sports career which might have been better. Although to be fair he doesn’t need to work because his father can drop off bags of cash anytime he ever needs it
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Stacks of Cash by plasticbox at MTS works a charm for transferring funds between households.

Other news from the Simself household, Gianni and Mrs Simself are living in separate houses! It’s not doom and gloom though, although they do say they’re ‘doing it for the kids!’ Bringing up two toddlers was too much, so they’ve separated with each looking after one toddler. Then I think it won’t be long before they’re aged up and become independant. There will be more babies in the future, especially as it seems future content will centre around the toddler life stage. But for now, I think they’re good for a break.

Thanks to those that have already downloaded, I hope it’s working for you – download the updated version when it’s ready, it looks better and it’s properly finished!

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…

Here’s Herbert

Herbert Of Liverpool
RIP Herbert Howe 1944 – 2016

A long, long time ago in a tiny, cluttered office above a trendy salon in Liverpool, I met a man who changed my life. I was working in his office as part of a YTS training scheme – now that shows how long ago it was! There was an attempt to revamp traditional apprenticeships in the early 80’s and they were rebranded as ‘Youth Training Schemes’. Mine was in office work, and the scheme run by Herbert Of Liverpool gave kids a chance to work in hairdressing, fashion, beauty, retail, he even offered workshops where kids could learn about computers and IT – Outstanding at the time, because even in his up-to-date world we were still using electric typewriters in the office. His Aunty Christine was the bookkeeper and office manager and that poor woman went home most days with a migraine brought on by my constant need for Tipp-Ex!

Anyway, this one Monday, I was making coffees out in the corridor and suddenly the air was filled with the most delicious fragrance. I could still hear the rumble of traffic and the street noises outside, but it all seemed so distant for a brief moment when he brushed past me in that tiny alcove. “Hello, who are you?” he said, and I told him my name and what I was doing. And he paused, you have to believe that even a millisecond in his gaze felt like hours. In that moment he saw right into me, completely from head to toe, inside and out he’d measured me up – NOT in a creepy way – he wasn’t that kind of man. He broke the gaze with a blinding smile, “you’re too good for this type of work, come and work with me and I’ll show you the world” he said as he opened the office door then disappeared inside.

I probably did one of those cartoon head shakes, I know I was faffing about for a while finishing up the drinks because Christine said hers was too cold to drink by the time I got it done. Herbert was in the office for about an hour, moving quickly from one pile of folders to another. VAT, PAYE, rent payments etc, he swept through them like a whirlwind until all the decisions had been made and he left…

A couple of weeks later and I was standing at the reception of his flagship Liverpool salon, going through the most bizarre interview ever! He led me by the hand around the massive salon, I think he introduced me as a country bumpkin to all his managers, staff and customers! And I probably looked a lot like a startled deer as I trailed behind, following him through his glittering world. Trust me when I say that growing up in Liverpool during the 70’s was harsh, no-one that I knew had any money, and luxury was a foreign concept. I was one of the more fortunate ones because my hardworking parents had provided us with a decent home, but even that seemed grey and lacklustre compared to the over-the-top glamour and sparkle he was showing me.

I started working with him there and then, and in time rose to the position of managing his barbershop. I let him love me, though I think I loved him more. And the times we spent together will be forever special. I did over thirty years in the hairdressing business before retiring (early!) but it will always be the years I spent at Herbert Of Liverpool that mean the most – sorry everyone else! But you know it’s true – I’ve never met anyone else since that powerful. His charisma was his strength, but he used it like a gift. I learnt early on (and it’s something that I’ve tried to pass on too over the years) that anyone can cut hair, physically it’s just a process or method that can be taught to anyone. The real skill lies in knowing that person, understanding what it is they want or need, and making them feel good. That was his power and strength, even if he never even touched your hair, even if you only met him in a queue at the bar, or in a car park, that brief spark of warmth and joy would be enough to raise your day, and make you want to spread the goodwill to the next person you met. I loved you Herbert and I am so sorry we lost touch, I wish more than anything I’d made time to come and see you before you left. As far away as I am now from the big city we both loved, I’ll never forget the good times 🙂

Adding some sparkle to The Sims 4

I had to do this, and I know it’s not a terrific likeness but the traits work and the little Sim does light up his environment!
I had to run the money and free real estate cheats to get him into one of the penthouses in the fashion district. And I had to do quite an extensive remodelling because over-all they’re not very special. The apartments work well though, and the penthouse is huge – probably too big, because the scale of the rooms seems off. Still it’s a good addition to the game and they can be built on so there’s plenty of room for future content.
There are two companions sharing his penthouse, one to cook and clean, and the other to fix and maintain things and keep the bar stocked with sparkly cocktails. There’s been no romance though! But I think that’s OK, the cowboy has unflirty traits yet Herbert has made stronger friendship bond with him. It’s the little guy that does the cooking and cleaning that worries me the most, he could end up the wrong side of the duvet and as Herbert’s world expands and his entourage grows that might not work so well. I might have to find a love interest for him elsewhere, because the last thing I want to see in the apartment is anger or sadness.
Last time I started a list about all the good stuff I like in the new EP and I completely forgot the games console! I am so happy to see that reintroduced although, none of the multi-player options seem to increase their social levels, and even with all whooping and hollering they don’t seem to interact with each other when they’re playing together. Doesn’t matter though because it’s a thousand times better than the old gaming rig. I also love that high backed loveseat, it looks amazing and very high end. Sadly though, the big, high backed executive desk chair seems to no longer work, even though it slots into the desk with no problem the Sims can’t sit on it, so as you’ll see in the screenshot I’ve had to replace it with another chair. Hopefully that’s an easy fix because I really liked the way it looked.
There is a nod to the Herbert I knew and loved in his en-suite, the real Herbert had a Christmas themed bathroom in his little house in Roby. He used to say it was Christmas everyday in his home 🙂 There’s also a tricked out pink bidet (because why not!) and a large shelving unit ready to be stocked with elixirs and good times potions.
Rose petals around his bed and some of the best looking furnishings yet released.
How can you not love this game?

If you want to learn more about Herbert and see the great man in action – I warn you it’s compelling! Here is a video from the late 90’s, I moved away from Liverpool in the early 90’s and it’s how I remember him.