September 30, 2013

Misc tip: Duck time

Do you have a bathtub in your sim’s house?  Send your sim to the grocery store in town and buy one rubber duck and one bottle of bubble bath for every bathtub in the house.  The duck doesn’t wear out and the bubbles never run out.  When your sim bathes with the duck, she will get a positive moodlet that sticks around for a few hours after every bath.


Your sims will not only get clean in the bath, but they will play with the rubber ducky during the bath, giving them the Duck Time moodlet.

And don’t forget to take a ducky along when you send your sim on vacation.  The duck can be placed on a tub on a community lot, used and then put back in your inventory.  Your sim is going to take a bath anyway, why not add this little positive to her mood?

September 29, 2013

Another kind of snowman

So I knew that when sims practice making snowmen they can unlock new types of snowmen.  So far, my playable characters haven’t gotten beyond the traditional snowman because I’ve been having them practice other skills to reach their lifetime goals.  But when Ashley was in Shang Sim-la to help me make some tomb walkthrough videos, a townie built this type that I hadn’t seen yet…


Later in that same sim day, I had Ashley sleeping in her tent on the market lot and a meteorite fell on it (but I was able to wake her and get her out of danger before impact).  That leads me to wonder: did the reaper snowman cause the meteorite or was it just a coincidence?

After the meteorite impact, I sent Ashley back to base camp where she found a s-GNOME-man Bittertotter magic gnome next to the mailbox.  Bonus!

September 28, 2013

More crazy gem prices

So I’m gathering more information for the collectibles spreadsheet and I’ve run across another crazy gem price, this time for gem dust.  Here are the screenies…



What is going on here?  Why is one pile of lapis lazuli gem dust that weighs 61.02 grams worth $115 when the next pile weighing 70.45 grams worth only $6?  There is some wild manipulation of prices going on behind the scenes here!

September 27, 2013

Magic gnomes are social creatures

If you have a garden gnome on your lot, you know that you can have your sims kick it over.  But sometimes a magic gnome will appear in a location that you can access and you can add him to your family by putting him in your sim’s inventory and giving him a name.  A magic gnome will often teleport at night to a location in front of a radio or television and turn it on (which will likely wake your sims if they are sleeping in the same room).  But did you also know that magic gnomes like to hang out together?


In this case, we see three of the base game’s Mysterious Mr. Gnomes, two Master Manchu gnomes from China, a Sultan Sam gnome from Egypt and a Graduation Gnome from University.  It looks like Sultan Sam is either dancing or wrestling with one of the Mysterious Mr. Gnomes while the other gnomes watch; since they freeze during the day, it can be a little hard to tell.

There are many more magic gnomes than these.  I’ve also read that the Generations expansion pack allows magic gnomes to create their own families, producing baby magic gnomes that progress through the age states and eventually die to leave a special gnome tombstone.  I haven’t seen this yet (maybe I need to have my sim find one of the female gnomes like the Vampire or Cracklin Nackerbell gnome), but the way that my sims collect these guys, it’s only a matter of time before I do see them.

September 26, 2013

A zombie acrobat in the rain at university

It’s always interesting to see the ways that the many Sims 3 expansion packs combine to create unexpected situations.  In this case, there are elements of four different packs visible.


Earlier this summer I sent one of my sims to university.  Every full moon, the zombies spawn from underground all around my sim’s home.  Sometimes it’s raining on the evening of the full moon, and who spawns as a zombie for the night is a random selection of other NPC sims in the town.  In this case, the zombified sim was a fairly accomplished acrobat (judging by the higher-level career uniform).

Only two questions though… Why do zombies need to keep out of the rain?  and What happened to her right hand to get her fingers all bent backward like that?

September 25, 2013

New meaning for hard water

On many of my sim’s trips to other islands, she takes the water taxi (mostly because she lost the speedboat out of her inventory twice due to bugs in the game software).  Sometimes the water taxi pilot is a little aggressive with getting his passenger to the closest beach.


Either this beach is made of quicksand or the ocean is filled with some really hard water!

September 23, 2013

Got a lonely sim? Have her call someone

The social need is probably the one that I pay the least attention to in The Sims 3.  It’s not that I don’t want my sims to find mates and build families, it’s just that I keep my sims busy with other activities.  So it’s only natural that my sims will eventually feel lonely and sometimes they won’t want to do anything until they interact with other sims to bring up their social need.

I will often run into a social crash with my sims when I am starting a new game or when I’ve got sims going on extended adventures without any social interactions.  Thankfully, this tip helps in all situations.  By the time my sim has depleted all of her social currency, she has almost always met at least one other sim in her universe.  I will normally, at this point, open up my sim’s relationships panel and look for one of two types of sims for her to call: either a sim from another town or a vampire.


For the foreign sims, I look for those whose portraits are greyed out, which means that they aren’t in the same town as my sim at that moment.  In the example shown here, the sim I’ll have my sim call is from China (note the little sim-China icon on his shoulder), and my sim will “chat long distance” with him.  This interaction completely ignores the game clock and allows my sim to chat with this acquaintance at any time of day to bring her social score up.  You don’t need World Adventures to be able to make long distance calls because there was a base game update that enabled travel to any other town that you have installed, so you could have a sim in Sunset Valley call another sim in Riverview.  Since your sims can travel to other towns, sims from other towns can and do travel to your sim’s town, so it is quite possible to have traveling sims in your relationship panel.  There also does not appear to be any standardized time zones in the game, so any sims in other towns will always answer the phone and be willing to talk.

I also look for vampires (which will be shown with a red outline in the relationship panel), because my sims usually crash their social needs long after bedtime, and vampires (added with the Supernatural expansion pack) tend to stay up at night so they are also good candidates for night calls.

September 22, 2013

Double bonk – Diving reset

So I told Delia to go explore one of the caves in a scuba diving location.  She got there and swam to the cave entrance, but instead of entering the cave, she instantly reset to the nearest beach along with the other two sims that were diving at that location at the same time.


Delia (in her scuba gear) shared the reset space with a fairy and with a mermaid for a few seconds until they all realized how awkward it was and stepped apart.  I’ve seen several instances of two sims sharing the same location, but this was the first time I’d seen three in one spot.  Delia didn’t autonomously change back to her everyday outfit, so when she got home and flirted with and subsequently kissed her husband Triton, she kept the mask on.


I guess the oxygen was more alluring than a real kiss, and he is a merman, after all…

I’ve seen similar resets in various Let’s Play videos, so I know I’m not the only player encountering this issue, but it does get annoying when my sim is trying to fulfill a quest that includes cave exploration.

September 21, 2013

Freezer bunny needs washing too

The laundry system in The Sims 3 isn’t a perfect addition to the game, but it will enable you to add the positive “clean laundry” and “clean sheets” moodlets when the laundry is cleaned.  But it’s not just clothing and bedding that gets washed in the laundry…


Delia decided to throw the freezer bunny into the laundry this time too.

September 20, 2013

Misc tip: Island Paradise assets in other worlds

My favorite expansion pack so far has been World Adventures.  I love that all my sims need is the cash to get to the other worlds and they can easily bring home enough money bags, gems, insects, plants and relics to more than triple the return on investment for the price of the tickets to get there in the first place, and then adding all the lifetime happiness points from satisfying sim wants gets them bonuses even faster as well.

So now that I have Island Paradise installed as well, I’ve found that my sims can get to some of the more isolated locations a little more easily than before.  For example, here we see Delia using a water taxi to get back to the mainland from the river island in France.


Delia had already completed the tomb to get to the treasure room buried under this island, but even if she hadn’t, the water taxi gets her across the water in no time.  Why would you want to take your sim there?  Well, there’s a butterfly spawner on the island that once in a while spawns the extraordinarily unusual glowy butterfly, one of the rarest species (and therefore one of the most rewarding when you sell it) in the game.

If you haven’t installed Island Paradise yet, there was a general base game update a while ago that added the ability for sims to swim in the ocean.  Sims can swim across rivers too…

September 19, 2013

Are streetcars coming in The Sims 4?

So yesterday I put up a nice long post about this week’s live broadcast.  There was a digression in there about rapid transit systems in the game and how I would love to see a streetcar system added to the game.  Today at lunch I was looking at the new The Sims Official Magazine and reading a little more about The Sims 4, when one of the screenshots (admittedly, I had seen it before with the Gamescom coverage) caught my eye.  Here’s a smaller version of it (copied from The Sims official site, where it is labeled as “The Sims 4 Image #3”)…


That sure looks like a streetcar in front of the house, and if you look to the right of the street’s center island, you can see street trackage that continues off the screen to the right.  I absolutely love the look of this streetcar and desperately hope that I will be able to send my sims off to school, work or play via this new (to the game) transportation system.  But if it’s another free-to-ride system like the taxis in the current game, it will detract a bit from my perspective.

The only things missing from this screenshot for the streetcar system are the overhead wire and the trolley pole on the streetcar.  There have been streetcars built using battery or diesel engine powered cars, so a scene like this isn’t completely out of line, but streetcars powered from overhead wires are by far the most common type of systems used worldwide for the last 120 or more years.  I wonder…  Is there a railfan working on The Sims design team?

September 18, 2013

Thoughts on yesterday’s live broadcast

In case you missed it, a few members of The Sims 3 team made a live broadcast yesterday.  There is a recording on their broadcast page, but it’s not public on the official The Sims YouTube channel yet.  If past actions are a prediction, it should be available through the regular channel soon.

For this broadcast, there were three major sections, each having to do with an upcoming stuff pack (Movie Stuff), expansion pack (Into the Future) and town (Midnight Hollow).  I’ll address each with my thoughts in turn below.

Movie Stuff

Overall, my reaction to Movie Stuff is kind of “meh.”  The items in the pack look good and as has been mentioned in at least one review, the broadcast noted that this pack also includes additional clothing options for children and teens (and a bunch of new shoes for several age sectors).  The broadcast hosts showed off some of the different styles for a few of the items and pointed out the various styles available for some posters and signs.

There were two items that were shown as part of the Western theme that will be of interest to simmers who don’t have the Generations or Island Paradise expansion packs.  This stuff pack includes a rocking chair in fine wood grain patterns and an all-in-one bathroom decorated like a country outhouse.  The former adds a few interactions with baby through elder sim (i.e. rock with baby, nap, or even extreme rock if your sim has the daredevil trait) while the latter adds a way to get a shower, sink and toilet all in one sim house square (and, as confirmed in the broadcast, it’s also a woohoo location).

The stuff in this stuff pack looks nice, and if I had it, I would be using the Western and horror (really, more gothic) themed objects in my sim houses and wardrobes, but the superhero items just seem a bit too cartoonish for my gameplay.  At least the producers confirmed that the outfits in this stuff pack wouldn’t randomly appear on sims in the neighborhood (unlike the “bride of Frankenstein” hairstyle that was added a while ago which I’ve seen randomly used by cab drivers in my sim towns; and no, I don’t have a screenshot of that yet).  Specifically, she said that you won’t find sims randomly “roamin’ around Sunset Valley” in the superhero costumes, to which my first thought was “Romans?”  Now that would be interesting…

So this stuff pack looks nice, but it doesn’t really add to the experience in the way I play The Sims, especially since I’ve already got Generations and Island Paradise for the rocking chair and all-in-one bathroom.  Also, I don’t make machinima with The Sims (or with any other game, for that matter), so having a bunch of themed costumes isn’t a reason for me to go out to get this pack.

Into the Future

The next part of the broadcast showcased the new Into the Future expansion pack that will be available beginning October 22.  There was a lot of new gameplay and item interactions shown off this time.  Since previous broadcasts have shown us the premise of the pack and talked a bit about plumbots and how sims’ actions in the present will affect the future sim world, the producers used the time here to show us more about this expansion pack.

They started off showing some of the new outfits and makeup styles that will be included.  They were interesting, but overall they seemed a little too garish for my sim tastes.  The producers showed us the new pod-style bed with a new dream-enhancement chip that sims could unlock that would let them dream about some of the features in the upcoming The Sims 4 release.  The dream icons were really only hints at what is to come, and I’m sure other simmers will be able to interpret the icons better than I can, but for now this seems a bit kitschy.  The Sims 3 preview in the final expansion pack for The Sims 2 (where the game was available on the in-game computer) was a better preview than this appears to be.  We’ve been promised in previous broadcasts that we would be able to see screenshots from The Sims 4 in this expansion pack, but these were no screenshots.

The broadcast then talked about sims working on the new advanced technology skill and mentioned that there are a number of new recipes that can be unlocked at the food replicator (which builds the advanced technology skill too), including chocolate gnomes.  Now the question arises… how long will it be before we see this confectionary treat in our local grocery stores?

As always, the producers showed us the incentives for purchasing early and for purchasing the higher-priced bundles.  This time we got a look at the quantum stasis chamber and suit.  Primarily these objects are yet another way to fulfill all a sim’s needs at once, but the suit also adds a teleportation ability to the sim wearing it.  On super gigantic worlds, the teleportation can be nice, but what I liked was the pose that the demonstration sim took when she entered the stasis chamber.  It was oddly reminiscent of one particularly well known character.

Also newly revealed with this broadcast was the crystal plant.  Any good gardener sim should be able to grow this plant and then harvest and use its crystals for a bit of a moodlet enhancement.  This pack also adds excavation spawners to the wasteland area of the new world; in these digs sims can find pieces of a key that will unlock a small World Adventures style lot that holds additional treasures.  And for simmers (like me) who didn’t purchase the Pets expansion pack, this pack adds digital pets in the form of holo-sprites.  They kind of hover above a little disk, and I imagine that sims would interact with them much like a kid of the 1980s played with a Tamagotchi.  I’ve only once had my sims try to keep fish, so I don’t really see myself keeping a holo-sprite going either.

Toward the end of this part, there were again a couple comments that I wanted to hear more about.  There was mention of a “bot arena” where you could send the plumbots that your sims build.  Is it anything like Robot Wars or BattleBots?  Probably Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots is more likely.  The other comment that I caught was a mention of the dark industrial set, presumably of furniture and clothing, that had more of a steampunk style to it.  That would be an interesting set to combine with assets from Supernatural and the horror/gothic theme in Movie Stuff.

Warning – digression ahead! 
There was one feature that’s been shown in the previews and trailers that hasn’t been expanded upon yet – the invisible-tracked monorail.  As a railfan and model railroader, seeing anything running on a track in The Sims is of interest to me.  The Sims 3 Late Night added the first real rapid transit system to the game with the introduction of subway stations, but we didn’t get to see the interior of the stations or the trains that run underground; sims would just teleport with subway sounds from one station entrance to another.  With Into the Future, we get to see a little bit of rapid transit that exists above ground, but I’m still not clear on why they chose to build it into the game with an invisible track.  There are a wide range of railroad simulation games that have realistic track and train motion physics, and it seems that with other experiments that we’ve seen in Sims 3 expansions, such as the abandoned railroad in Ambitions (the line circled the outer perimeter of the island, and a repurposed streetcar formed the basis of the diner) or the train on the background viaduct in World Adventures (the viaduct is in the far background hills of France past the nectary and occasionally has a short steam-powered train moving along it), that there are developers working on the games who have an interest in railways.  The Sims producers should be able to build a more prototypical passenger railway system in the game.  I would especially love to see a streetcar system, perhaps something like what is done today on the heritage streetcar line in Kenosha or the F/Market line in San Francisco.  It seems strange to me that in The Sims, the taxis and subway lines are all free-of-charge to ride.  Is the fare for each trip added into the every-three-days bills?  I assume that the new monorail will also be free to ride.  Sims should have to pay for public transportation too; from costliest to cheapest, monorail, subway, streetcar and even bus lines could be less expensive than taxis, but all of these modes should take a toll on sims’ wallets.  Sims get a discount on their monthly bills if they add one of the Prius custom content objects to their lot, so there is some mechanism for transportation costs in the regular sim expenses, but this could really be enhanced greatly.

Midnight Hollow

Finally, the broadcast concluded with a preliminary look at Midnight Hollow, a new town that will be available beginning on September 26.  They showed us the trailer (the same one I linked to in a previous post), then they opened the town and showed us a few details close up, such as the overall color scheme and style of the town buildings, including some new eave detail objects for buildings.  They also clarified the “where the sun never shines” statement in the trailer to say that there is daylight in this new town, but it just won’t be as bright as it is in other towns.

The real bonus with this town is that it adds gameplay reminiscent of the Sims 2 Open for Business expansion pack.  We were told in this broadcast that sims would be able to set up stores that could sell a majority of items that are available in buy mode.  One of the questions the producers chose to answer in this broadcast was whether or not sims would be able to sell their collectibles (i.e. gems, plants, fish, etc.) in a store.  It sounded like none of these would be saleable in a sim store, but gameplay testing will give us a definitive answer.  One interesting bit that I noticed during the demo is that when a sim purchases an item from a sim store, the item doesn’t disappear from the display; in Open for Business, the item would disappear and sims would have to restock the display before an item would be sold from that specific display location again.  So in that sense, it makes building a store a little bit easier with this town than with Open for Business.

This new town also introduces the toymaking skill (via the toy building machine thingy) that was shown as part of the premium content for the town’s more expensive version.  This was also a feature that was added in Open for Business.  The skill and self-employment profession are added to The Sims 3 with this content, along with a series of new toys that become available when it’s installed.

Conclusions – my assessment

For these three packs, I would really only be interested in purchasing two of them as funds allow.  I probably won’t get Movie Stuff because it doesn’t add anything of substantial value to my gameplay that I didn’t already get with other expansion packs.  I am intrigued by both Into the Future and Midnight Hollow, however.  I will probably wait a bit for Into the Future to go on sale because I don’t see as much of a need in my gameplay for the limited edition’s inclusion of the Quantum Power Pack to get the stasis chamber.  Midnight Hollow is probably the next pack that I will buy out of these three as it has gameplay additions that I could easily add to my sims’ lives.  But, the bundles that I see on the store right now push the purchase price up to equal that of Into the Future (although it does include a hefty dose of extra sim points to spend afterwards), so I’ll have to wait a little bit for that to go on sale too.

September 17, 2013

Bonehilda must have been a troublemaker

Delia recently came home to her houseboat on a cold day.  As she was checking the mail, she heard an evil laugh behind her.  Who could be making that laugh?


Bonehilda decided to kick over the magic diving gnome.  Sim free will is a fascinating thing sometimes…

September 15, 2013

Sims 3 Supernatural tip – gem cutting machine

The Supernatural expansion pack added a machine that would let sims cut gems at no cost – the gem cutting machine.  While it did take the sim through the progression of different cuts from the most basic emerald cut through the moon cut (even the expensive heart cut is there, but it seems to be available right from the beginning of a sim’s use of the machine), the gem cutting machine did not impose any simoleon charge to cut the gems, unlike sending gems away to the gem cutter via the mailbox.

If your sim can’t afford to purchase one outright, head over to the elixir consignment store.  There’s a gem cutting machine there that your sim can use for free.  The machine is quite loud and will wake other sims in the house, even if they are separated from the machine by several floors.  Sims with the heavy sleeper trait may be able to sleep through the noise, but everyone else, including Bonehilda, will be awakened by its noise, and you may see one or more of your sim’s family members come down to complain about the noise.

One other thing I noticed with the machine has to do with a sim’s want list.  When you see this want appear in a sim’s list:


Your first thought might be that as long as you get a gem cut with the machine, it should satisfy this want, right?  Well, it isn’t quite that simple.  You see, in order to satisfy this want, you have to click on the gem cutting machine and select “Cut a stack of gems…” then follow the dialogs to select a gem type and cut.  If you click on a gem in your sim’s inventory and select “Cut [all] with machine…”, your sim will still use the machine and cut the gems, but it won’t satisfy this want.  Starting the interaction from the gem cutting machine is the only way that I’ve seen so far to satisfy the want.

But if this want does appear, it’s an especially quick and simple way to add 200 lifetime happiness points to your sim’s balance.  It’s not a lot, but it adds points faster than just letting your sim be happy.

September 14, 2013

Get a room!

Delia met King Triton on one her dives this week.  The two hit it off and got into a relationship.  They were soon married with a baby girl mermaid on the way.  But while Delia was out trying to find some more magic messages in bottles, King got a little too friendly with Bonehilda…
Just what are they doing there in the restroom?

September 12, 2013

Wait, what?!?!?! A non-expansion pack expansion pack???!!?!?1?!!

So I’m poking around on my lunch break and I find that EA uploaded a new trailer to their YouTube channel about a new town that will soon be available called Midnight Hollow

The Sims 3 Midnight Hollow official trailer by EA Games.

The trailer seems all normal and stuff describing the town as a place for sims that don’t quite fit in with the other towns; while they’re saying this, I have visions of sending my vampire and fairy sims there.  But then it mentions “set up your own store and hire employees to earn extra simoleons.”  WTF!  Is this how we’re going to get The Sims 2 Open for Business gameplay in The Sims 3?  It might be a worthwhile town to get just for that added play.  But also of note, as many of the previous comments on the video mention, the trailer uses music that was first used in The Sims 2.

The town is scheduled to be available on September 26, so we’ll see….

September 11, 2013

More details on Sims 4 build mode capabilities

In a word, awesome!  There are a number of new enhancements that are coming in The Sims 4’s build mode.  One of my favorite sim vloggers, TheSimSupply, sat down with SimGuruHouts to talk about some of the new features that we can expect.

I didn’t hear anything about the items on my recent want list post, but what they did tell us with this interview makes me want the new version even more.  Check out the video posted today on YouTube for all the juicy bits!

September 10, 2013

Treasure hunting in the dark

Once in a while, when my sim walks into a different room, the lights might not turn on like they usually do.  Everything in the room still behaves like I would normally expect it to, but I just can’t see anything because the room is dark.  Today this happened to Delia while she was treasure hunting in Egypt.
With the shadow effects on Delia, it almost looks like she’s sporting a little 5-o’clock shadow.  Whoops!

September 7, 2013

A strange formula for cut gem prices

I’m going through adding a bunch of data to this blog’s collectibles information page today and I found some interesting information about the prices of cut gems.  For comparison, real diamond pricing is usually based on the “4C” method; jewelers price their diamonds taking into account the stone’s cut, color, clarity and carat weight.  In The Sims, I was expecting a simpler calculation because only the gem’s stone type, cut pattern and gram weight are displayed.  I was expecting that heavier gems would be priced higher than lighter gems within the same stone and cut categories, following some identifiable pattern.  However, there does not appear to be a direct correlation between a gem’s weight and its price, or if there is, the game allows for some wild exceptions.

For example, the prices that I’m seeing in-game for plumbob cut quartz gems seems reasonable based on the weight:

weight price
91.77 §30
88.05 §28
80.01 §26
69.84 §22
67.80 §22

So the only outliers on this list would be the last two where they are the same price despite a difference of just over 2 grams.  But, that could be attributed to a rounding difference, depending on the formula that is used.

However, I also had a stack of plumbbob cut jade in my sim’s inventory.  The prices for those gems do not appear to follow as consistent a formula.  Here’s what I saw:

weight price
70.08 §398
63.81 §384
39.86 §1,148

WTF?  Why is the third gem at almost half the weight of the other two almost triple their price?  And just to be certain, here are some screenshots of the plumbbob cut jades listed above:




So really, WTF?  I don’t see anything different in any of the descriptions.  Do you see a difference?

In general heavier cut gems will be worth more than lighter weight gems of the same type of stone, but in some cases the weight might not make a difference in the gem’s price.  It almost looks like there is some kind of 4C calculation being made in the game to come up with the price; now if only the game would tell me the missing variables.

September 5, 2013

My wish list for The Sims

I’ve been playing various incarnations of The Sims starting with the original The Sims game.  In that time, there are a number of features that I’ve found I liked in them as well as features that I wish they all included.  Here are my thoughts on what I would like to see introduced in future sim games or updates to the current game:

  • The ability to set a sim’s height in Create-A-Sim.  This is one of the most often requested feature enhancements, and I was very disappointed to hear that it will not be included in the base version of The Sims 4 (as mentioned in the live broadcast from Gamescom).  However, remember that adjusting a female sim’s bosom wasn’t available in Create-A-Sim until one of the patch updates to The Sims 3, so I remain hopeful that this feature will be added in the future.
  • Layered clothing in Create-A-Sim.  I would like to be able to specify my sims’ shirts and coats separately such that in warmer areas, they will wear their shirts and then grab and put on their coats over those shirts when they go to colder areas.  It would be terrific if this could be paired with an animation of the sim actually putting on the coat, which would also lead to the ability to use coat racks or just coat hooks near doorways.  But extend this idea out to allow sims to layer every type of clothing; in real life, we usually wear undergarments beneath our other clothes, so do this in The Sims.  There was a hint of this ability in The Sims 4 where hats and hairstyles will be independent of each other (also in the video linked above), so it looks like we’re on the right track
  • Better vehicle animations and interactions.  The Sims 2 introduced cars as a mode of transport for sims.  The animations and additional interactions were wonderful.  Sims would walk to their cars in their parking spaces at home, open the door and get in before backing out of the driveway and onto the street.  When a carpool car arrived, sims would walk to the car at the sidewalk and again open the door and get in before the car left.  Sims were able to just go out and sit in their cars if they wanted to, and if two sims were sitting in a car, it became an additional woohoo location.  So I was very disappointed to see many of the animations and almost all of the new interactions not present when The Sims 3 was released.  It seemed that the Fast Lane Stuff pack would have been the perfect update in which to include these features, but alas, the pack only increased the number and types of automobiles available.
  • Improve Edit Town mode to allow better placement of lots and rabbitholes.  There are a lot of custom-created worlds out there on the interwebs that can be downloaded and added to the game for free.  But, as I add them to my game, I find that, especially since I don’t have the Pets expansion pack yet, the most recent versions of them won’t install and older versions that will install with my current expansion pack collection don’t always include all of the rabbitholes that I need from newer packs.  If I try to use Edit Town to move or change lots, I will usually run into a situation where I can’t put a lot down where I want it.  Even if I delete abutting empty lots, I can’t place a lot of the combined total size in its place for any of a number of reasons, and then when I try to put the original lot sizes back, I get the same errors when trying to place the smaller lots.  If I can change the lot to what I need, the necessary rabbithole sometimes is not included in the built lots that can be placed in the world.
  • An UNDO tool in Edit Town mode.  This is necessary because of the changes that I’m trying to make as noted above, when I remove a lot and can’t put it back into the same place.  I need an UNDO tool to put it back, but there is no such tool in Edit Town mode right now.
  • Better wall control in Build mode.  Remember way back in the first The Sims game when we couldn’t put windows and doors on diagonal walls?  Control of wall pieces hasn’t improved very much beyond that ability.  I would love to be able to place curved walls or walls that are built to an angle other than an even multiple of 45 degrees.
  • Better stairway control in Build mode.  We’ve got straight staircases, the Generations expansion pack added spiral staircases and a recent free game update added ladders.  But I want to build straight staircases that go around corners.  I don’t want to use cheats and extra floors just to add staircases that have a landing halfway up.  Also, the ability to build a grand staircase with curved sides for my sim mansions would be fantastic!  I would also love the ability to stack straight staircases on top of each other (they would be oriented in the same direction, but would make it easy to place a basement staircase below a staircase that leads to the second floor, which is quite common in contemporary house construction).  Finally, I want to add attic spaces onto my sim houses but I want to use one of those retractable staircases to get there; you know the kind that telescope and then retract up into the ceiling when they’re not in use.
  • Customizable blueprints in blueprint mode.  Blueprint mode is great, but it is exceptionally limited in what I can place for use on my lots.  I want to be able to create rooms and then save them as blueprints.  I want to be able to share my blueprints in the Exchange and also be able to download other simmers’ blueprints and add them to my game.
  • More hobbies that can lead to skills or constructables.  It would be cool if I could have my sims take up sewing or knitting.  The items they make could become new clothing pieces.  In old cartoons from the mid-20th century, there’s the stereotype of a woman knitting some baby clothes as a signal to those around her that she will soon become a mother or grandmother; I want my sims to do that.  Also, a number of my real life friends are handy woodworkers and often make furniture for use around the house.  I would like to teach my sims woodworking so they could build some of the furniture instead of outright purchase it; the cost of materials could be lower than the cost of the furniture item, so it could be an economical way to get sims’ furniture.  The Free Time expansion pack for The Sims 2 had some of this, such as sewing, so we should be able to add it in a future pack.
  • Improved interface for achievements.  The idea of achievements and/or badges for specific accomplishments was added in the Showtime expansion pack for The Sims 3.  I like the challenges that some of them involve, but I don’t see an easy way, aside from the social connection panel, I don’t see an easy way to track the achievements in-game.  I want them to appear on my sims’ skill panels in much the same way as the challenges and counters for existing skills appear there now.  With that interface, it would be easier to see what I still need to make my sims do in order to complete the achievements.
  • Working closets and dressers.  Yes, I know that dressers in The Sims can be used to set clothing styles and have sims change clothes between saved outfits.  There are two aspects to this wish.  First, I want to be able to build closets to store my sims’ clothing and to serve as a place for them to change between saved outfits.  Second, I want my sims’ closets and dressers to behave more like the dressers did in The Sims 2, where my sims have to go out and actually purchase the clothing before it becomes available to them in their closets or dressers.
  • Brooms and vacuums.  Floors get dirty, and the only time the floors are dirty in the game is when a sim leaves a pile of trash or laundry on the floor or when a plumbing fixture breaks and leaves puddles.  I want to have my sims’ floors get dirty as they are used more frequently and require them to periodically clean the floors with brooms or vacuums.  Maids, butlers, cleaning bots and Bonehilda could perform the floor cleaning as well (hey, add a Roomba as a purchasable object!).  This could also be expanded with the Seasons expansions such that rainy days can lead to muddy areas outside and careless sims could track mud on their shoes into the house.
  • Dust and cobwebs.  A natural extension of the brooms and vacuums idea above is to have an entropy engine in the game that very slowly adds dust and cobwebs to areas of the house that get less use by sims.  Again, maids, butlers, cleaning bots and Bonehilda could easily perform the dusting, but feather dusters could be purchasable objects too.
  • Consistency in sims’ circadian rhythms.  So far, in all of The Sims games that I’ve played, it really doesn’t matter what day cycle a sim starts on, as long as the sim has had enough sleep recently.  If my sims are in careers with open work hours, such as the Inventor, Sculptor, Painter or the Scuba Diver, it really doesn’t matter when my sim sleeps or works, as the construction, collection and product sales activities can occur at any time of day or night.  It should take much longer than one day for sims to adapt between working first shift and working third shift, for example, and I shouldn’t be able to just put my sim to bed one night at 10:00pm, have him get up at 8:00am, play a little bit then go back to bed at noon, sleep until 9:00pm and then get up and work or play until 7:00am.  It’s gotten to the point in my games that I completely ignore the clock anymore except to keep track of when my sim has to go to work.

That’s about all I can think of right now.  I’m sure I’ll add to this list as I play more, but I’ve got to end this post somewhere, and this is as good a time as any to get back to my game…

September 4, 2013

An update from EA – Updated

So after posting about a bug yesterday, today EA announces that update 1.58 is available.  The release notes don’t appear to address the issue I described then, but there is another issue that I ran into but hadn’t written up yet that is apparently fixed in the update.

I moved Delia Dietrich to a new 3-story houseboat (I’m still playtesting this houseboat and plan to upload it as soon as the uploader stops giving me errors that the lot couldn’t be shared for some undisclosed reason) that used two Hewnsman Spiral Staircases stacked on top of each other to transition among the three floors.  I chose this spiral staircase because I liked the way it looked in the corner of the living room better than the ladder or the other staircases.  [Hmm… what if I used an elevator…?]  I built the houseboat so that it had two main floors above the water line and a basement floor below, which meant that the main entrance was on the middle of the three floors.  Therefore, the staircases were one going up and one going down.  When I tried to direct Delia to go to the basement floor, she route-failed and couldn’t figure out how to get down there unless I either removed the upper staircase, or used a different spiral staircase.  I settled on using the Roundabout Spiral Staircase because the problem appeared to be isolated to the Hewnsman model.

In the release notes for today’s update, I see this may have been addressed:

Sims can now route properly up consecutively stacked staircases on houseboats.

I’ll have to put the Hewnsman staircases back and try again…

Also, if you haven’t ever read through the release notes for a The Sims update before, take another look at them.  There are some interesting gems to be found in them, like this one:

Fixed two occurrences where a houseboat could be created on top of another houseboat thus causing both houseboats to be stuck for eternity…which is a very long time.

I wonder how I could create a houseboat on top of another in the first place?

UPDATE – I just tried replacing the Roundabout stairs with the Hewnsman stairs and yes, this game update fixed the issue described above.  Yay!

September 3, 2013

World Adventures and Island Paradise bug: travel while already on vacation

In my time playing World Adventures, I’ve found that the fastest way for my sim to earn money is to go on an adventure and hunt through the tombs (and yes, I do plan to make some walkthrough tutorials eventually…).  So now that I’ve got Island Paradise as well, it was only natural that I would send my sailor sims on adventures.  Today I found a menu option that shouldn’t have appeared.  My sim was finishing up her current vacation and it was time to send her home; rather than waiting for the game to time out, I had my sim pull out her phone and that’s when I saw this…


On the “Real Estate and Travel Services…” menu, I was expecting only to see “Return Home” but instead got the option to “Travel” again.  So I clicked on Travel to send her to France; it opened the travel itinerary window, but the three worlds that were available in the menu were Egypt, France and Barnacle Bay, instead of showing me a list of all my installed worlds like it does when my sim is at home.  However, no matter which of the three worlds I selected, the OK checkmark stayed grayed out and the game would not let my sim travel from China directly to another world.

In this case, I clicked on the phone icon in my sim’s inventory panel to get to the travel menu (that’s why my sim’s disembodied head appears in the panel rather than further up on the screen).  I have yet to try clicking on my sim to go through the “Cell Phone…” menu to check for this bug, so I don’t know if this is isolated to one menu.

It seems to me that the Travel option should not have appeared on the menu in the first place in this situation.  Now as a former computer programmer myself, I know that it is virtually impossible to eliminate all bugs in a product before it ships, and as far as the severity of this one goes, this is pretty minor.  But I hope the devs find out about this problem and can include a fix in the next update (which will likely be released on the date that the Into The Future expansion pack is available).

September 2, 2013

World Adventures tip: A room with no doors?

So as you’re wandering around and exploring in tombs on your World Adventures, keep an eye on your sim’s want list.  When you enter a room and see this one pop up in the top panel…


… it’s a pretty safe bet that somewhere in that room there is a hidden door.  So, assuming that you have an empty slot in your want list, add this wish to your sim’s list and find that door.  Look around the room for walls that have a slightly different shade of wallpaper color, or floor panels that use a different texture or that are covered with semicircular rugs against a wall.

However, be careful when you see the “Disarm a trap” desire pop up when you walk into a room, it is likely that there is a trap in that room, but I’ll have more on that at a later date..