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…