March 30, 2014

What are those things?

I’m working on a new lot with a number of levels this week. Sometimes in build and buy modes there are these diagonal pieces that become visible. The lot has to be rotated at a certain angle to see them and they don’t appear to affect how the lot works, but they are really ugly.


In this screenshot, we see two pieces at the floors of two basement levels. These are phantom ceiling pieces that, as far as I can tell from a few searches around the interwebs, are a byproduct of the autoroof tool. Luckily they are easy to remove. Just use the sledgehammer tool to delete them. The tricky part of removing them is getting the sledgehammer in just the right place; sometimes you’ll only see a very small sliver of the edge, but if you’re careful, you can remove them.

March 22, 2014

Bonus SimPoints? Not quite…

Have you noticed the little box in the lower right corner on The Sims 3 launcher’s main screen?  Here’s a closeup with that box highlighted:


Yeah, it says that we can get bonus SimPoints for watching a video or two.  The thing is, I have never seen a video after clicking that box in my launcher frequently for the last two or three years.  Where are the videos?  I can understand EA limiting the number of videos that I am presented, but to have this teaser up and never even show me one video even for a measly 10 SimPoints seems a little sketchy to me.

Hey EA!!!  Either remove the box from the launcher or show me the videos!!!

March 12, 2014

Sim house – The Barcelona


As I write this, there are 810 lots on The Exchange that were designed for Aluna Island, the world created by James at The Sim Supply.  This lot is number 806 in that list, and it’s my latest contribution to the simming community.

Inspired by Spanish Colonial revival architecture, this spacious house is ready for the up-and-coming Leader of the Free World.  There are three bedrooms and three full bathrooms in this house on a 25x40 lot.  The main level features an open floor plan with a great room that encompasses living, kitchen and dining areas.  A home gym resides at one end while an office and study room is at the other.  The great room's expansive windows look out over a wide deck that is a perfect location for extraterrestrial exploration by telescope or just for a grill next to the dining area.  Stairs lead down from both the great room and the deck to the lower level with a bar, small library and its own deck and hot tub overlooking the ocean.  The master suite has a private full bathroom.  The other two bedrooms and the second full bathroom are also located on the lower level.  A central climate control system keeps this home comfortable regardless of the weather.  Outside there is a carport that can be expanded to hold three cars, and there is a series of solar panels installed on the roof to help defray energy costs.  Growing families can easily expand the living space by adding another level above the main level; there is space for a staircase, currently used as a sculpture display, next to the wide stairs leading down.


This was a fun lot to build and required more extensive use of the constrainfloorelevation cheat to get the lower level to work the way I wanted.  I had started on another Sears house build and had the main floorplan set for it when I saw a couple more videos that James released this week.  One of them was the first of what I hope will be many lot showcase videos where he took a closer look at fifteen of the lots that have been created for the world.  He commented in that video that he wanted lots that were a bit more colorful and that would be more appropriate for a tropical island.  The other video was a tutorial on building multilevel houses on cliffside lots (actually two videos: building on cliff lots and building multilevel houses on cliff lots), of which there are many on Aluna Island.  I hadn’t had much luck building walk-out basements and these tutorial videos solved the problems I was encountering.  So I decided to try building something new based on Spanish Colonial architecture with a walk-out basement that would fit on one of the island’s cliff lots.  This house is my first entry following those suggestions.  The lot is on The Exchange (download).  I didn’t go very far with the color palette, just started with an ever-so-slight pink stucco for the exterior wall and used lighter colors on the interior.  I did add a few color accents here and there as I thought appropriate.  Since this house was built on a lot with a cliff (Aluna Island lot number 60), it might do weird things to the surrounding land in worlds that don’t have lots with terrain like this one.

By far, my favorite part of this house is its walk-out basement and bilevel deck.  When placed on the Aluna Island lot, the hot tub is at the edge of the lot that is above the ocean.  I can imagine sims lounging in the hot tub watching boats go by as they sip Avornalino and Gralladina Fran nectar (that they may have obtained from an adventure and stored in their nectar rack just inside the deck).  Another interesting feature is that the foundation on the main level is just one stair-step high.  Since this house descends down into the cliff, I didn’t want a full four-step foundation on the upper level, and I really liked the way this one-step foundation looked.  This didn’t require a cheat, but was easily achieved by holding down the Alt key when I placed the first foundation piece (I am so looking forward to the variable height floors and foundations that are promised features in build mode for The Sims 4!).

Really the only part that I don’t like is that the lower level’s perimeter walls (except for the wall with the windows and door) are actually foundation walls, so I can’t put any wall-mounted decorations on them.  I didn’t want to sacrifice another square perimeter row of real estate to build interior walls, so I’ll have to live with bare walls that are all the more apparent in the master bedroom.  I put a sturdy concrete fence around the carport mostly because of the comments about vehicle safety in the lot showcase video.  There probably should be an entry from the carport into the office space; having a separate exterior door would be perfect for clients visiting that office.  The only other change that I would make right now would be to add more landscaping around the gym, but as this lot is already well over $120,000 furnished, I didn’t want to push that cost up yet.  I’ll let the future residents of this lot add to the exterior.

The sculpture area on the main level could easily become the location for a stairway leading up to a future expansion of the house for more living and/or skill-building space.  The resulting third floor could also extend over the carport area for additional space.  I had originally envisioned that the main level bathroom would only be a half-bath, but added the tub anticipating that the gym and office might be converted to bedrooms.

Now let’s take a tour of the house through screenshots:




















March 8, 2014


So as the legend goes, zombies eat brains. But in Oasis Landing, they’ve found a new way to satisfy that need with the food replicator. It may be a plate full of brains, but that’s no reason not to be civil about the meal, even if it is a zombie’s meal.


March 7, 2014

Sim house – Sears plan #165, bungalow

If you haven’t been paying attention to what James is doing lately over at The Sim Supply, do yourself a favor and go check it out.  Recently he released a new small island world called Aluna Island; the world grew out of a video series he did called “Let’s Create a World” and he has also built a section of his website to feature lots (all of which are available on the Exchange) that were specifically designed for the world.

My connection is that I have uploaded a few lots that I created for this world, and I’d like to share a little bit more about them with you here, mostly because the images that I am able to include in the lot packages don’t really show the rooms as well as they should.  So here’s the first lot that I made and uploaded for Aluna Island.

The first lot I decided to build was a simple bungalow plan.  It’s based on the plan for Sears kit house number 165 that was available in the 1911 through 1913 Sears Modern Homes catalogs, and was priced at $1,362.  Architecture of the time, especially for basic houses, was fairly simple, and it was still somewhat of a novelty then for houses to be built with bathrooms, air conditioning and wired for electricity.  The fireplace in the central hallway would provide heat for the home in winter, while opening the windows would get air flowing through to cool the house in the summer.  Also prominent on this house is the expansive front porch, which would be used as an exterior “room” on warm days.  The single bathroom is quite small and added onto the rear of the house behind the kitchen.

Adapting this plan for use in The Sims 3 was pretty straightforward.  There are no diagonal walls and the roof is a simple peak, so there really weren’t any cheats that needed to be used to build this lot.  I used moveobjects to get the porch and deck posts out to the edges, but that’s really the only cheats that were used here.  The rooms in this adaptation are a little larger than they should be if the house was strictly built to the plans; this is mainly to accommodate the game and sims’ abilities to navigate through the house more than anything.  This is built on a 20x30 lot; lot number 11 on Aluna Island.  The lot itself is flat, and using one of the standard lot sizes with this flat terrain seemed a great way to start with this house building series.

I tried to keep the lot to just base game content, but as you can see on the download page (NOTE: this link may change once I have a chance to update the default screenshots with custom images) on The Exchange, there is some content from World Adventures, Ambitions and the Sims 3 Store.  What is used should be easily replaceable with base game content.  The decorating features wood floors in the main living area with linoleum and tile in the kitchen and bathroom and ceiling tiles in almost all of the rooms.  I used a fairly basic color palette for this house, with the red wallpaper in the dining room showing the most vivid color.  There is enough space in the backyard for some children’s activities and a reasonably-sized grilling and picnic area.

Here’s a tour of the lot in screenshots (click the images for larger views):

Now that this lot is built and has been available for a little while, I can start thinking about ways to improve it.  The first update I’d like to try is to build this with smaller rooms that are more appropriate for the plan.  This is a very basic house that should be affordable to sims as a first house, so I’d also like to try to get it down under $20,000 in sim currency.  I suppose I would like to see the restroom closer to the center of the house, maybe where the fireplace is now, and the fireplace could be moved to the wall between the living and dining rooms, but I really like that the chimney comes out near the center of the roof.

Are we still reticulating the splines?

Remember back in Sims 1 and Sims 2 when some variant of the phrase “reticulating splines” came up on the loading screen? Expansion packs for those two games played with the phrase a little and modified it for their specific content. But I have yet to see any version of the phrase appear in The Sims 3. There are a few sites that mention the phrase is still used, but I haven’t seen it. Have you?

March 6, 2014

Ice cream truck!!!1!

Way back in time when kids still played stickball in the street, the arrival of the ice cream truck was always cause for cheer. It looks like sim kids will still be able to enjoy the frozen goodness well into the sim future, as this ice cream truck is hanging out in front of Nuts n’ Bolts Bot Emporium.


I wonder when the food trucks from Late Night will also show up…

March 5, 2014

Happy goth is happy

In the utopian future, everything is cheery and bright, and even the most angst-ridden teen can find something to smile about.


Maybe he’s getting ready for a Dia de los Muertos celebration…

March 4, 2014

But you’re the one wearing the alien mask

My sim went to the future to visit her descendants. Apparently her great granddaughter didn’t approve of the Quantum Power Suit my sim was wearing.


It really does “take one to know one.”

March 3, 2014

Too spicy too late

With the addition of World Adventures, sims are now able to try some dishes from regional cuisines that use hotter spices than they might be used to. When they do have a spicy dish, there is often a reaction when the sim is still seated with smoke and flames coming out of the sims’ mouths and ears, but there seems to be a bug in when this reaction is triggered. More often than not, I see the reaction after the sim has risen from the table and cleaned the dishes.


Sims tend to stay in this seated position, in this case on an invisible chair with her legs stuck into the front of the food replicator, until their next action.

March 2, 2014

In the future, even the thieves are happy

One of the key features of the Into the Future expansion pack is that sims in the sim present can affect the world of the sim future creating one of three possible futures: dystopia, neutral or utopia. In the utopian future, all of the sims strut around in glee, even those that are usually on the fringes of sim society.


He must have burgled something exceptional at the last heist.

March 1, 2014

Not that far back

I’ve written before about how I will often add a rocking chair into my sims’ nurseries so they can have some quality bonding time with their offspring. Sometimes sims still don’t quite know where to sit even if I don’t use the moveobjects cheat.


I guess it’s just an extra soft cushion in the chair.