January 25, 2014

Don’t be too quick to age up your sim kids

With the exception of the baby (the “pupa” stage) of sims lifetimes, each life stage has objects and interactions that will help them build skills for later life.  Toddlers can play with the xylophone and peg box to learn creativity and logic skills.  Children can play with the building blocks table and the toy stove to learn handiness and cooking skills; children can also read books to increase any skill that has a book available for it.


All of the object interactions will get your toddler and child sims up to skill level three, while reading books will get your child sims up to as high as you’ve got books in your bookshelf, potentially to level ten.

So, after teaching your toddler sims how to walk, talk and use the potty, have them play with the xylophone and peg box to max out those skills before aging them up.  Likewise, have your child sims play with the blocks and read to maximize the skills that you want them to have before aging them up.  Unfortunately, even though the blocks table looks exactly like the same item that is available in The Sims 2, here in The Sims 3, toddler sims cannot play with blocks, and the draw interaction to make artworks (which also helped with the painting skill in The Sims 2) was removed for both age groups.

Once your sims become teens, they can ask adults to help them learn how to drive (if you’ve got the Generations expansion pack installed), but teens can cook on the stove and play musical instruments, so have them work on those skills while they have time.  Teens, of course, can also read to improve their skills.

All of this skill building while your sims are growing will help them once they become young adults because they’ll be farther along at all the skills you had them develop.  With the University Life expansion pack, the scholarships that are available to sims are based on their skill levels, so there is a bonus there too.

January 24, 2014

Terra cotta in the sky

Edith visited the museum at Champs Les Sims recently. One of the exhibits there showed off a rather strange talent.


The terra cotta army exhibit is on the second floor of the museum, but when you page down to the ground level, the exhibit is still visible, floating above the museum.  Whoops!

January 23, 2014

An alien! On a scooter!

We know that aliens were introduced to The Sims 3 with the Seasons expansion pack.  We also know, from previous sightings, that aliens like to travel to the vacation worlds.  But I thought they used their own spaceships to get around town and not the default scooter in Champs Les Sims.


He probably didn’t have enough tea and not tea to power his infinite improbability drive.

January 22, 2014

The peg box behind you

Katharine came back from the potty to play with her peg box a little more.  The only problem is that she sat on the wrong side facing away from it.


She’s still playing with the toy and learning logic, so it’s not all that bad…

January 21, 2014

Pose with me

Magic gnomes tend to materialize near the things that they like most.  The Little Léon gnome likes nectar racks stocked with rare nectar.  The winter gnome likes snowmen.  And the sculpture gnome likes other sculptures.


If you have enough items that your gnomes like on your lot, your gnomes will be happier, and with Generations installed, you might get a bonus from your gnome family sooner.

January 20, 2014

Butlers do more than just butling

Butlers clean, cook meals and repair broken items around the house.  But they also help to keep the kids company when the parents are asleep or away from the house (so you don’t need a babysitter if you’ve got a butler).  With my sims this week, the child sim sat down to play with the xylophone toy.  Pretty soon, this happened.


The butler sat down in front of Katharine and played with her playing with the xylophone.  Katharine was now not only satisfying her fun need while learning music skills, she was also now getting her social need filled too.

January 19, 2014

Underground foliage

I had my sim doing a workout in her basement gym this week, but when I zoomed out to see if I could spot another family member, I saw these two trees underground as well.


The two trees we see here are exact copies of trees immediately above them at ground level.  They’re white because they are snow covered in winter, but they certainly shouldn't have appeared underground like this.

January 18, 2014

Magic gnomes and electronics

Magic gnomes like to appear in front of expensive objects in your sim houses.  They love to look at them, and they love to listen to music and watch TV.  Your sim can turn off the radio or TV, but the next time a gnome moves around, it’s likely to be turned on again.


This is why I never put a radio or TV in my sims’ bedrooms.  When the gnome turns them on, the noise from them will wake the sims in that room.  As long as the bed is not in the same room, it won’t wake your sims, unlike the gem cutting machine

January 17, 2014

You’re doing it wrong

My logic-loving sim wanted to buy and subsequently use a telescope.  Since the family could afford it, I got them the North Star Seeker telescope (a store item that I got when it went on sale for free one weekend) because it gave a slightly higher fun and logic score than the other telescopes that were available.  But it appears that the eyepiece and direction handle don’t quite line up to the same places as the telescope that comes with the base game.


Well, at least the misalignment of object and animation doesn’t seem to affect sims learning from the object.

January 16, 2014

Misc adventure tip – always go back to tombs

There’s a tip in the game that says you should have your sims save up their simoleons because adventures can be expensive.  I’ve found just the opposite – adventures are very profitable.

After your sims have gone through the various tombs in the three World Adventures destinations, always have your sims go back to walk through them again.  The treasure and relic spawners within the tombs respawn throughout each tomb when your sims return to their home worlds.  Since your sim already opened all the doors and disarmed the traps, she can just walk through the tomb collecting everything in a fraction of the time it took to explore the tomb in the first place.


This screenshot shows portions of five rooms in two different tombs under the Celtic ruins in Champs Les Sims.  There’s a relic on the table nearest the camera, just out of the frame to the right in the corner of the next room is a money bag (the spawner is under a rubble pile the first time through this tomb), there’s a pile of ancient coins on the table in the middle of the screen, just behind that table (the small room that has a secret door entrance) is a gem spawner that sometimes produces extremely rare gems, and in the far background corner we can see another money bag.  Treasure chests will also be refilled, so open them all again too.

The only places treasures don’t respawn are inside sarcophagi.

January 15, 2014

Misc tip – everyone watches at the wedding arch

If you want your sims to have a wedding at home with all the family watching but you don’t want to throw a wedding party, just use one of the wedding arches available in buy mode.  It’s just a step up from the “have private wedding” personal interaction; it gets the sims to exchange vows but involves the household too.  Use the “get married” interaction on the arch and the couple will, assuming their relationship score is high enough, use the arch as the location to exchange rings.  Plus everyone in the house at the time they do this will come over to the arch to watch it happen.


In my sim’s case, there was only the butler in the house besides the happy couple, but he stopped his butling (going so far as to drop a pile of garbage on the kitchen floor instead of putting it in the trash compactor) to watch the event too.

January 14, 2014

One more place for public woohoo

This game continues to amaze me with what the developers have added into it.  You’ve probably seen the videos that try to show all of the woohoo places in The Sims.  It’s likely that you’ve had your sims woohoo in bed (duh, who hasn’t?), in the shower, in the hot tub, in an igloo, in a haystack and now in the restorable car that comes with the newest town.

This week I had my young adult sim and her fiancé tour the Wilsonoff Community Theatre on a date.  I wanted to have them watch a movie or see a show together, but instead I found these options in the location action selection:


Yup, they can makeout, woohoo and even try for a baby in the backstage area.  The building stays firmly positioned on its lot, but a shower of hearts falls on the roof to indicate the activity that is occurring inside.


Now I wonder what other rabbitholes also support woohoo?

January 13, 2014

Spinning the guitar jams

Edith Upchurch got engaged this week and decided to throw a bachelorette party.  With musically-inclined friends coming to the party, she started a jam on the guitar, but chose a rather unusual fingering technique.


The guitar is spinning around her right hand, which as you can see is all akimbo.  I wonder if Partaeus Maximus over there in the corner has anything to do with it.

January 12, 2014

Misc tip – finding mushrooms

Mixing elixirs sometimes requires various kinds of mushrooms that can be found throughout the world (as well as occasionally for purchase at Aleister’s Elixirs and Sundries).  Your first thought might be to try using the Collection Helper lifetime reward object to find them, but there isn’t a selection to find mushrooms with it.

Fear not, the mushrooms light up on the map along with the seeds selection in the collection helper.


Sims with enough gardening skill can plant and cultivate more of any mushroom that they find, but any sim can pick mushrooms in the wild like this one.

January 11, 2014

Lightning strikes, sometimes hitting sims

If your sim goes outside during a heavy rain, she might stop what she’s doing for the action shown below.


The tooltip on that action queue icon in the upper left corner is “Get Struck By Lightning” which is exactly what’s about to happen…


Except for the flash from the lightning and the boom from the associated thunder, the effect is the same as if the sim were electrocuted, like when a sim with a very low handiness skill tries to repair something electrical (especially if there’s a puddle of water where the sim is repairing it).


Once the lightning has dissipated, the sim is singed.  Bathing will clean the sim up again, but don’t be surprised if she doesn’t want to go out in the rain again right away.


January 10, 2014

Most likely to…

Do you remember those “most likely to…” proclamations that were made in your high school yearbook?  Teen sims, with the Generations expansion pack, have a chance of earning one of those in award form when they attend graduation ceremonies from high school.


I had a teen sim graduate this week; she earned the award ribbon shown here as “most likely to rule the world.”  There is a Ruler of the Free World lifetime wish, but my sim wanted to grow the perfect garden instead.  Maybe I’ll have her drink a young again potion and try that wish later…

In the meantime, her award is mounted on her bedroom wall to help with the room décor.

January 9, 2014

A souvenir from prom

When you send your teen sims to prom, they will almost always come home with a photo from the event.  The photo shows the teen sims in the formalwear outfits that they wore to the dance, and if they went with a date, the date will also appear in the photo.


Prom photos are a little more interesting than other photos because of the poses that sims take when they are being photographed.  Once the sims get home with their souvenirs, the photo can be placed in the house like any other decorative object, helping to give your sims the decorated or nicely decorated moodlet, depending on how many décor objects (especially if they’re more valuable) are in the room

January 8, 2014

More stuff to buy

So have you ever wondered how to add special “hidden” objects to your sims’ lots?  Almost everything that you see in the game can be purchased and added to your lot, you just have to know how to enable them in buy mode.

Open the cheat window (Ctrl-Shift-C) and type

testingcheatsenabled true

Hit enter and then reopen the cheat window and type

buydebug on

Turning on these two cheats will add all of the special objects to buy mode where you can select and place them like any other object.  They’ll be accessible through the menu labeled with a big ? symbol, like this


The Sims team took some time to add punny names and complete descriptions to all of the objects as well, so take a look through the full inventory and have a chuckle or three.

January 7, 2014

Misc tip – instant metal smelting and a little more

So you want to send your raw metal ore away for smelting but you don’t want to wait until the next sim day to get the ingots back, right?  The simple solution is to deposit the ore in the mailbox just before the mail carrier is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 AM every sim day.


It doesn’t matter what town your sim is in when she sends the ore to be smelted.  In the screenie shown here, my sim just sent some iridium ore to be smelted in Champs Les Sims.  The mail carrier waiting for my sim to move away from the mailbox is there to deliver the iridium ingots already.

Also, send your metal ore to be smelted while your sim is still in the adventure world.  There is a chance that you’ll get back one of the magical gnomes from that world with or in place of the processed metal.

January 6, 2014

One shy sim

So sims can have the shy trait which makes them less eager to introduce themselves to other sims.  I usually don’t play with that trait on my sims, but they always tend to walk between the bushes and the walls when I tell them to go somewhere.  In this case, my sim was on one of the adventure quests where she has to ask one sim to go on a date with another sim.  I guess she really didn’t want to ask the sim out.


In the reports that I saw from SimsCamp at Gamescom last summer, routing is one part of The Sims 4 that will improve over The Sims 3.  Sims are supposed to follow the paths and sidewalks that are already there, so we shouldn’t see sims walk behind bushes like this.

January 5, 2014

Cycl0n3 Sw0rd, the fairy

NPC sims get up to a lot of hijinks of their own when you’re not looking.  Apparently Cycl0n3 Sw0rd, the NPC sim with the most ridiculous name in this version (I’m waiting for Goopy Gilscarbo to return with some future update), got pretty friendly with a fairy recently.


What if old Mrs. Crumplebottom decided to get romantic with a vampire?

January 3, 2014

Lifeguarding in the snow

When sims work as a lifeguard, the game randomly picks the beach for them to patrol in the course of their duties.  In towns where winter is enabled, the lifeguards still have to go out in the snow and cold to rescue beachgoers.  Why they’re going out to the beach when it’s so cold out is a different question, but even with several inches of snow on the ground, the lifeguard still has CPR to administer to unlucky sims.


The lifeguard sim will get cold from being outside all day, so give him the immune to cold lifetime reward when he can afford it.  He’ll need it for days like this.

January 2, 2014

The gem cutter is just too loud

I’ve mentioned before that the gem cutter shouldn’t be used in a household where sims are trying to sleep because it will wake them up.  I’ve also noted that zombies think it’s too loud.  Well, this week I found that imaginary friends also think that the machine is too loud.


I don’t think there’s any type of character in the game that can tolerate the noise from the gem cutter, except for the sim who is using it.

January 1, 2014

Sims can walk on water

With the update that was released last summer upon the release of Island Paradise, sims learned how to wade into the ocean and go swimming.  But the code that was added to control the wading missed a little bit of edge detection correction, because once in a while, a sim will walk on the water rather than wade in it.


This new ability doesn’t seem to affect how the sim feels about herself, however.