October 30, 2013

Misc tip – watch for store item discounts

There are a lot of items available from the Sims 3 store for various amounts of SimPoints.  But did you know that some items are available for free?

Most weekends, there are often two buy mode items that are discounted to 0 SimPoints for Saturday and Sunday sales.  Keep an eye on the official Sims 3 website for announcements of free items, but also watch for the little discount tag while you’re in build, buy or create-a-sim modes within the game (assuming that you are logged in to your Sims 3 account and have a decent internet connection).


When you click on an item in one of these modes that is free, it will download to your game and automatically install in your available items and you now have that item and can keep it as long as you keep the game.  The screenshot above shows me downloading the hairstyle that I found for 0 SimPoints this week.  I also found a couple of clothing items and two buy mode items were marked down this week.

However, don’t count on the 0 SimPoint deals to last long.  Download them when you see them because they may only be available on the day that you see them.

October 29, 2013

Minigame added with the recent update

A while ago, I posted about the recent update that was released just before Into The Future.  In addition to the bugfixes that were included in the update, we also now have a hidden object minigame that will appear when sim neighborhoods are loading.  Even though the background on the minigame is the blue beehive background that was added with Into The Future, you don’t need the expansion pack to play the minigame.


The minigame is a screenshot highlighting a bunch of items and sims from an expansion pack, a stuff pack or a set available in the store, and below the progress bar, it will ask you to “Find the …” with the official name of an item that appears in the screenshot.  And in case you don’t recognize where the content being shown comes from, there is a handy icon in the lower right corner so you know what to buy to add the content to your game.  Finding these items is usually pretty simple, as there is usually only one of any type of object in the screenshot (for example, there is usually only one kind of dining table visible).  The only issue that I’ve found with this minigame is the lag that will sometimes occur because the computer is busy loading the full game in the background, and this is noted at the bottom of the screenshot.

The footnote on the screenshot also says you can turn off the minigame in the options panel if you want.  The option is pretty easy to find on the general settings tab.


I’ve left the setting turned on for my game, at least right now, because it not only makes the loading time less boring, but playing the minigame will reward my sims with some extra lifetime happiness points based on the number of objects that I was able to correctly identify and the speed with which I clicked on them.  In my simming this week, I’ve usually gained my sims about 500-700 extra lifetime happiness points with each loading screen, and since I send my sims travelling a lot, I’ve had many opportunities to play the minigame.

The lifetime happiness points that you earn playing this minigame will be split among all your active sims once the game loads.  It’s great when you’ve only got one sim, but larger families might not see as much of a benefit right away from this minigame.

October 28, 2013

Look around — magic gnomes are more prevalent than you might think

When you follow your sim around whatever world she is in at the moment, keep an eye out for magic gnomes.  They will appear in random locations around the world, but there are a few objects in the world that will attract them more than others.

magic-gnome-in-the-museum In Champs Les Sims, you may find magic gnomes hanging out at the museum.  Sometimes they are on pedestals and displays, like this Little Léon gnome, other times they may be found admiring relic displays or just out in the museum gardens.  Also, it’s not just this gnome that you will find at the museum.  The museum has displays for all of the adventure worlds, and you will find all three adventure gnomes there at various times; in one of my recent games, I found a Little Léon, a Sultan Sam and a Master Manchu all in the same room at the same time on separate pedestals.

The invention and sculpting gnomes are attracted to the inventor’s workbench and sculptor’s studio respectively.  You also might find a Lounge Lizard singer gnome or Cranstan Boonitz magician gnome on lots where singers or magicians live.  When there are a few snowmen on a lot, keep an eye out for the s-GNOME-man Bittertotter, and when your sim is scuba diving, Mr. Mariner will sometimes appear at shell spawner locations.

In general, if you see a magic gnome in the wild, you will usually be able to click and drag it to your sim’s inventory.  Once it’s there, click on the gnome and give it a name; that will ensure that the gnome stays on your lot when you place him on the ground.

October 27, 2013

World Adventures tip — learning martial arts in Champs Les Sims

When I send my sims on adventures to the three tomb destinations, I usually start them out in Shang Simla to begin their training in martial arts.  While they’re there, I always have them buy at least one training dummy and board breaker from the general store as well so they can continue their training when they return home.

But, I could just as easily send my sims to Champs Les Sims first to get them started in martial arts too.  In the museum, there is a section dedicated to each of the three adventure worlds.  The museum’s exhibits for Shang Simla include a board breaker and training dummy, and they aren’t roped off so sims are able to walk right up and use them.  Sims using these training tools in the museum build their skill just as fast as if they were using them at home.


Unlike museums that we visit outside the game, there are no security guards or docents to keep your sims from touching these two displays, so go ahead and use them.

Also, if your sims get tired while training on this lot, there is a double bed on the museum’s first floor that is freely accessible by any sim.  There are also restrooms, but there aren’t any showers or bathtubs, so bring a few showers-in-a-can if you plan to spend a long time there.

October 26, 2013

How does this not have more fans?

Now I don’t mean the number of fans of this blog (but I would appreciate seeing a few comments and fan interactions at some point), I mean the number of fans of the official Sims 4 Facebook page.  You’re reading this blog, you’re a Sims fan, go Like the page.  As I write this post, there are only a measly 514 fans (and yes, I am one of those 514).  Go on, add the page to your likes right now; I’ll still be here when you get back.  Why should you go Like the page?  Earlier this week there was a post on there with an update on the projected release date for The Sims 4 – Fall 2014.  Until now, we only knew it would be in 2014, now we know what season, so we’ll have plenty of time to play with Into The Future before we’re all too busy with the new version.


October 25, 2013

Epic fail

So with my now annual optometry followup appointments from a retinal tear that I had back in January, my eyes are still dilated from the drops the nurse put in today.  I had planned for this and didn’t schedule any appointments for later today and got as much work done earlier this week as I could, hoping to use the rest of today to sim and collect some more bonks for the blog.  But it was not to be.


I installed the update from earlier this week, but it looks like I’ll have to do a full reboot after uninstalling some other programs to reclaim some hard drive space.  I don’t have a copy of Into The Future yet (I’m still waiting for a few clients to pay on my invoices), so I’ll just have to try a few other possibilities.  I wonder if the update corrupted my save games…?

October 19, 2013

Preventing bonks; update today

On Thursday, EA published an update to our favorite game.  With every update, I always make sure to go read the changelog to see what gems were added.  This week’s update is no exception, already taking sims Into The Future.  Yup, the Into The Future expansion pack will be available on October 22, and this update was released on October 17.

There aren’t a lot of fixes listed there, but a few that stand out in the official announcement are:

  • Sim heads no longer appear on the bodies of Plumbots on display.
  • Pregnant Sims keep their belly when wearing clothing purchased from the clothing pedestal.
  • The projection paneling in the Bot Emporium is now interactive.

Even better is that this update includes a few fixes for problems that I’ve run into with sims going to university:

  • Fixed Sims not always loading correctly when travelling to University.
  • Fixed Sims sometimes losing family data when travelling.

I want my sims to get to university properly, so I’ve applied the update, but I invite anyone who gets Into The Future, doesn’t apply this update and sees the bonk with sim heads on plumbots to send me a screenshot.  Please!  B-)

October 17, 2013

Carven der punkin

Okay, so this image today isn’t really unexpected but rather just showing normal gameplay (therefore, I don’t really count this as a bonk image).  I have been a bit busy this week with finishing photo projects and meeting with clients so my sim play time has been a bit shorter than other weeks.  Anyway, because the real Spooky Day is two weeks from now, my sim is carving a pumpkin.


To make this a little more than just a “look at this” post, here are some quick tips regarding pumpkins:

  • Send your sim to the Fall Festival to harvest pumpkins.  They are free from the pumpkin patch at the festival and your sim will usually harvest pumpkins from several plants if you just let her work at it.  You might find pumpkin seeds from random spawners around the town, but there are always pumpkin patches at the Fall Festival lots that were included in the standard sim towns (and during the other seasons, the grocery store sells pumpkins year-round).
  • When your sim carves a pumpkin, she will retain the seeds which can then be planted by sims with gardening skills to grow and harvest more pumpkins.  This of course leads to increasing your sim’s gardening skills and higher quality fruit, which itself leads to higher quality seeds and if you keep planting and harvesting them, you’ll get perfect quality pumpkins in just a couple growing cycles.
  • Watch out for troublemaking sims after you’ve put your carved pumpkins on your sim’s porch.  Sometimes you may find that your pumpkin has been smashed.
  • As your sims carve more pumpkins, they will create higher quality carvings and unlock more types of carvings, in much the same way as making snowmen can unlock different types of snowmen that the sim can build.
  • Finally, be sure to check out the cookbooks at the bookstore.  There are a couple recipes sims can learn that use pumpkins.  For sims whose favorite food is pumpkin pie, learning this recipe can be quite useful to get your sim’s hunger need satisfied quicker than with other food.

October 14, 2013

A little (black) light reading

What does a zombie do when there isn’t a gnome to kick over and all the player controlled sims are asleep?  He pulls a book out of his pocket and starts reading it, of course!


October 10, 2013

Difficult skill building – fishing through walls

So this is one of the sims that I was playing earlier this year.  She is a grown and simified imaginary friend (which is why she’s got green hair) who likes adventuring.  On one of her trips to Shang Simla, she decided on a strange location for increasing her fishing skill.


October 9, 2013

Zombies are troublemakers too

A while ago I put up a bonk showing Bonehilda kicking a magic gnome.  Well, zombies are just as mischievous…


Magic gnomes move around only once per day, so they leave themselves open to getting kicked over a lot.  This zombie really wanted to give it to my sim’s Master Manchu Magic Gnome on a recent full moon night.  I should have guessed this zombie’s intentions when he showed up with that shirt.

October 7, 2013

If it’s that loud…

I always wonder about the gem cutter and its noise level.  The noise never seems to bother the sim that is using the gem cutter, but everyone else on the lot complains (as I noted in a previous post); even the zombies complain.  It’s a good thing there isn’t an OSHA rep in the game or he’d make everyone wear ear protection.


So if you want your sim to use the gem cutter late at night but you don’t want to wake everyone on your home lot, load the uncut gems into your sim’s inventory and send your sim to Aleister's Elixirs and Sundries to use the gem cutter there.  Don’t worry, the shop is always open and Aleister won’t charge any usage fees.

October 6, 2013

Baby rocks!

The Sims 3 Generations expansion pack added a bunch of new interactions and some new content for different life stages.  One object that I will almost always add to my sim houses from this pack is the rocking chair.  Teens and older sims can rock and nap in the chair, as you might expect, but there’s another interaction that I really like, “rock with baby.”


This interaction helps fulfill social needs for the two sims that are rocking together, but if the baby being rocked is very low on energy, the baby might fall asleep in the older sim’s embrace and replenish some of that energy too.

I have one last tip with the rocking chair, at least for now…  Wait until the parent sims have the want to buy a rocking chair pop up in their wants list, then buy the chair to get a few more lifetime happiness points for your sims.  In the families that I’ve played, this usually occurs somewhere near the baby’s birth, so you won’t have to wait very long.

October 5, 2013

Mummies and their needs

When you send your sim on an adventure, she will often find canopic jars and pieces of sarcophagi.  Collecting and building these is one way to add another sim to your family.

Collect enough sarcophagus fragments to build one, which is five fragments for any of the sarcophagus types, then collect five canopic jars of any type.  Your sim must be on her home lot before you will get the reconstruct action for the sarcophagus; unfortunately, the base camp lot in any of the adventure towns will not work, but if your sim has purchased a vacation home, the sarcophagus can be built there.  Once the sarcophagus is built, make sure the canopic jars are in your sim’s inventory and have her use the “summon mummy” interaction on the sarcophagus.  She will put the jars into the sarcophagus and step back as the mummy appears.  Once in a while this interaction will fail, but don’t worry, the jars that you tried to use will be restored in your sim’s inventory.

Voila!  You now have a mummy in your household.  The mummy has the usual hunger, social, hygiene and fun needs, but bladder and energy needs both appear with mummy wrapping around them.  Hovering over the bladder need sows this tooltip:


If you happen to have the Sarcophagus of the Kings on your lot, you can have the mummy rest in it and he will soon be “cured” of his mummification and become a regular sim.

October 3, 2013

Double bonk: Walking through walls

We’ve all seen where sims will once in a while walk through seemingly solid sim objects.  There’s one location in France where adventuring sims have tended to walk through one wall more than any other.  It’s a secret door in the Celtic ruins quest.  Here’s one sim that I was playing last month at that door…


And here’s a different sim at the same secret door earlier last summer…


There’s something not quite right with that door.