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!

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

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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.

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 🙂

So many stories, so little time

I wanted to write a post about my Simself family moving to San Myshuno, but then I realised I’ve got too many other stories to tell.

You see I’ve been playing rotational, and a lot of the households not only have familial ties, they also affect each other’s outcomes. Seems like I’ve finally uncovered the games strength, and it’s compelling draw. There really isn’t enough time in the day to play all the story lines, and swapping between the households creates even more 🙂

Installing the preceding update filled me with horror because I’ve been enjoying the game so much, the list of update fixes is massive, although I was somewhat irritated by the fact that a lot of them won’t show unless I start a new save. That to me kind of sucks because I am sure that most if not all Sims players, play legacy games – and you simply can’t start a fresh every time fixes are delivered. I’ve been grumbling about it for years now but it seems that play tests are still being done in a new game environment. I think if I was a developer I’d have a couple of trusty old machines that are loaded up with the complete game, and running a saved game from the start. That way I’d be able to see and be able to deal with the conflicts. However, I am not a developer! And that’s probably a very simplistic view, there are probably good reasons why they don’t do it that way.

So most of the fixes don’t make any difference to a legacy save, it’s frustrating but so are a lot of other things…

There was no horror at all with installing the City Living EP, there’s so much good stuff in there. So much that I’ve been waiting for, it’s a massive expansion for the game. There’s tons of stuff I haven’t found yet, but so far the futon bed (I like the used, uncomfortable version best), the little karaoke machine, food booths, chopsticks! Talking toilets, suitcase side table are my favourites. But as I said, I’ve barely scratched the surface and all of the beaten up, flea market furniture recolours fill me with joy.

Best of all?

Travelling with my Sim to the bakery lot that gave me so much grief, and seeing the npc’s not only cleaning but also restocking autonomously. And when my hungry Sim bought a tray of cupcakes to take home, he stopped off to eat one at the counter. Oh happy days 🙂

So here I am, Saturday morning and I am sitting in my office, staring out through the window. I’ve got a list of jobs that need doing as long as both arms, the stables need mucking out, dogs to bathe, house work, gardening, maintenance, blah, blah… Still I am watching the wildlife. Outside my office window there are pheasants, rats and rabbits picking at seeds fallen from the bird table beneath a magnolia tree, it’s a beautiful autumn morning and I could watch all day. But then instinctively my finger reaches for the blue power button on my PC and wooompth I am back in Simsville.

Once a daily fix was enough, every evening I would load up the game and play for a few hours – some of those sessions were lengthy, depending on the story and what I wanted those Sims to achieve. But that was enough, I could put it down as easily as picking it up. And even though some times playing against the frustrations left me wiped out, and with a head full of plans for the next evening’s session, it wasn’t completely ruling my life. Now though with a head full of stories and a web of effortlessly connected households compelling me to play on, two or three lengthy sessions a day is not enough! I actually woke up at 4 am today wanting to see what would happen with a storyline I’d been playing. And I am far too old for that kind of nocturnal awakening!

First of all there’s a long running saga with Malcolm Landgraab and my Simself’s daughter Amber. Amber has just given birth to their second daughter (Matilda), but it’s Malcolm’s relationship with his mad scientist friend Clarke Spencer that’s tickled my fancy. Malcolm is working his way through a career in crime. Although he’s the most unlikely big bad around, I have a feeling he’s going to be good at it.
Clarke Spencer is working his way through the science career, he was in danger of becoming a dull little Sim until he met Malcolm, now the two are as thick as thieves and Clarke is kept busy inventing and upgrading the gadgets and gizmos that Malcolm needs to run his evil empire. It’s not all hard work though, Clarke gave a slimming formula he’d created to a heavy weight alien and then promptly fell in love with her.
So now somewhere out there he has an alien love child. Playing at the science career lot is OK, it gets a bit repetitive sometimes, but mostly the challenges are good fun. He’s already built the space travel machine, though I’ve yet to use it. And even now after all this time I’ve yet to see anyone travel to the alien world.
Malcolm meanwhile spends all his free time cultivating Cowplant Berries. There’s a tuning mod Long-Lived, Peace-Loving Cowplants by coolspear1 at MTS that I am eager to try out, but growing the seeds is not a quick process. I’ve also built a locked cellar beneath the cellar where Malcolm grows his cowplants. Eventually Clarke is going to deliver a cloning machine, though I think it’s going to be Malcolm’s teenage son Trent who’s going to head up Evil inc and create a (small) clone army.

*edit Nov/16 So everything worked well enough, Clarke built and upgraded stun guns, a space travelling portal and a cloning machine which he delivered to to Malcolm’s house. And Malcolm was able to put the heavy machinery in his inventory and then install them in his locked bunker. But, the stun guns and tested potions were next to useless as no one in Malcolm’s household could pick them up! I had an idea already planned though that eventually fixed the problem (more about that here soon!)

Another lively household is that of Ellen Mireles and her three teenage sons David, Brayden and Ralph.
Ellen was a homeless townie for a long time, regularly popping up and I never felt the need to change her because there was something about her personality that other Sims seemed to like. So when I had the idea of my Simself family moving to a penthouse and needing live-in help, she seemed like a good place to start. I moved her into an empty property and used the genetics to create a son, he looked cool so I created a twin, then I couldn’t help myself and created another twin. They aged up to teens by themselves but then I had to start playing the household because I wanted the boys to be skilled up before moving into the penthouse.
Two of the boys already had part-time jobs. Ralph is a construction site labourer (I think) so he’s concentrating on handiness. And Brayden is a childminder so he gets to work on his wellness skills, David seems to like cleaning! So he’s learning to cook and bake. All of them are cool, especially Ellen, I decided she should be an internet personality and has just been promoted to ‘Cat Video Editor’ she’s out and about all the time, and seems to have a thing going on with an Indian guy in San Myshuno – which could get interesting because I am sure he’s married.

Playing this family alerted me to changes made to autonomy settings. It’s great to see adult Sims helping their kids with homework, and Sims with the tidy trait are more likely to clean sinks and bathtubs without being told to. I’ve even seen one fix a broken computer all by himself! (Although that was at the science lab so maybe it doesn’t count). On the other hand though, I’ve had to remove all the woodworking benches from their homes. Because every idle Sim in the world wants to craft knife racks!

Something else worth noting, I am keeping their grades at B level, because I am not sure if there’s still a problem with the autonomous extra credit action. I know before the recent update that teen Sims would cause the world to freeze when they chose to study, and keeping them below A grade should remove that risk – it’s just a theory!

Best of all!

Another pat on the back for the developers, because the boys have different hobbies and lifestyles their body shapes are different. They started out identical, except for hairstyles, but now the two Sims with active lifestyles are different, one is slim and the other more muscular. While David who spends all his free time cooking (and eating!) is piling on the weight and looks a lot chunkier compared to his siblings.

A doctor, policeman and a playboy – The grown up Simself kids

Almost all of the grown-up Simself kids have left home now. The first was Amber who was born before he married Jenna. Amber is married to Malcolm Landgraab and they have two kids of their own Trent and Paula.

As much as I love Malcolm I really didn’t like the Affluista Mansion he lived in, so for a long time I left them to get on with it by themselves. Recently though I’ve been filling in the blank spaces on the map. Remodelling and replacing the lots I don’t like, everything apart from that massive house.

I started to tweak it a bit, but I still wanted to keep the original shape because I wanted to keep the map screen looking the same. Not being able to change the colour of the roof trim frustrated me, even after demolishing and rebuilding the bright white trim kept returning! It was becoming a bore, as all I wanted to do was play the game. Then after going through the gallery, downloading and deleting lots of different houses that I didn’t like either, I went back to the original that I’d saved on the gallery, and looked at it from the perspective of a storyline I was thinking of.

Malcolm is a cool Sim, and I liked the way he was destined to be dastardly even though he’s camp and flouncy. I changed his evil trait to kleptomaniac although I’ve yet to see him nick anything. And it seemed right that he should still be living in his parents house. He is after all a bit of a ‘plastic’ gangster, he has all the evil overlord ambitions but none of the drive and determination. It doesn’t help that he married a warm, caring doctor but then again neither does his flamboyant arm waving and the need to give loving hugs!

He will always be one of my favourite Sims though and maybe one day he will sire a truly nasty villain. Until then, he’s going to keep on hacking local businesses and work on his rocket building skills so he can explore space and fill his house with collectibles.
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The house is basically the same, all I did was change the windows, roof, windows, doors and wall coverings! It wasn’t until I swapped the naff looking concrete fence at the front for plasticbox’s Tasteful Fence override that I was able to enjoy the process and start putting together a house I’d like to live in.
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I built a secure basement so he can maybe grow some space plants (I am thinking drugs!) and a locked safe room behind the closet in his bedroom where he can stash all the loot he may or may not steal in the future.
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I love these folding chairs by Sandy at Around The Sims, almost every household has them because they look so good.
Rustic bed frames & texture referencing mattresses by plasticbox.

Dean moved in with ‘Uncle’ Dave the guardian of Lincoln and Ariel Patel. Uncle Dave was a random townie who just happened to be in the right place when Gianni Simself’s first girlfriend got old and died, it didn’t take much tweaking to make him cool and having the kids move in with him meant they didn’t have to live with Gianni – because at that time he was living it up in a bachelor house. They could have done after he was married but it seemed cruel to keep moving them around.
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Their house is one of the Newcrest Contempo Starters by ruthless_kk but I did mess about with it! I built an extra floor to put in two more bedrooms and restyled it a bit to make it look like a townhouse. I also put a foundation under it because I like decking out back rather than just plonking stuff down on the turf. I think the different levels look better and those worn out planks are my favourite EA floors, they’re all good but I really like the colours of that wood.

Putting the house on a foundation causes a very annoying glitch that resets the front door, although it can be fixed on the low foundations by putting a staircase – literally one step – on the foundation directly ahead of the front door.
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The house next door is another Newcrest Contempo Starter by ruthless_kk, where Luca & Colin live with their adopted son. I messed about with that one too, though they’re both great to start with.

As with a lot of these houses it’s difficult to find CC, mostly it’s because I use a lot of overrides. Looking at the picture above I can see the  Very Low Stone Wall by plasticbox at MTS – another plasticbox override that I use often is the Small/Neutral Override for Kids’ Ceiling Light.
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George Simself moved into the big Cypress Terrace with Clarke Spencer-Kim. I had no idea how his story should go, but I had an idea the building was near the waterfront and would make a good party house. He didn’t know Clarke before he moved in, although it doesn’t take much to bond a couple of Sims, no matter how unlikely the pairing is.

The location of the house was a pleasant surprise though as it’s situated in the middle of really good looking parkland. Again, I changed the wall coverings, roof, doors and window colours to make them less bold.04-20-16_3-50-17 PM
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Turns out Clarke is a bit of a nerd, totally the opposite to George’s partying lifestyle, but it put in mind a new storyline. So I moved both the lads out to an empty lot and built a science lab in the attached extension that looks a lot like a hanger. Then when the lads moved back in, Clarke joined the science career and George who doesn’t actually need to work as he still has a ton of cash from his father’s bank account, spends his time learning to code and modding games.
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There’s that awesome floor again! I love the little sunken garden it seemed a great place to put a growfruit tree, although I hadn’t realised how many of them there were in the surrounding parkland already and I’m not sure if they’re all going to disappear with the next update. It might be nice if they’re magically replaced with another harvestable, something like a marshmallow or strawberry cheesecake tree – but that’s not likely. I could maybe put a cow plant in there instead if they didn’t scare me so much!