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.

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.

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 🙂

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.


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


A worthwhile community lot

The space travel/internet cafe.
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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.