Planning a Legacy

It's a complicated decision-making process

 I'm two generations into what I plan to be a long dynasty of Sims. I'm starting out with the official Sims 4 Legacy Challenge, and then I'm planning to keep going to a full 26 generations. (There's an Xbox achievement for it, and I am all about Xbox achievements.)

When you start a legacy, there are a few questions you need to decide. For example, will you be using a naming convention? Naming conventions can save you time and effort finding names later on. 

I will be naming my Sims one letter for each generation - the first generation has names that start with A, the second generation's names start with B, and so forth. Other people name all their Sims after flowers, or colors, or anything else you like. 

Another decision you have to make is how you will designate the heir. Will it be the first-born child? Or your the one you like the most? Will you be alternating genders each generation (a male heir, followed by a female heir, etc). And will you allow adoption? (If not, you won't be able to have same-sex Sim couples, unless one of them gets lucky and is impregnated by an alien.)

What are your big concerns when you're starting a legacy or generational challenge?

It's Laundry Day!

Laundry Day stuff pack launches January 16th

 EA has published the official Laundry Day Stuff Pack trailer, and it looks intriguing. In The Sims 3, your Sims could get a buff from wearing clean clothes, and that seems to hold true in Sims 4 as well. But it also seems as if other Sims will be able to tell if your Sim is wearing dirty clothes, and they will have negative interactions as a result. ("Dude, you're rank!")

Laundry Day also includes a scrub tub and clothesline, for Sims who want to get back to nature - or who are just too plain poor to buy proper indoor laundry machines. 

EA seems to be leaning in to this "poverty" thing, because this Stuff Pack also includes a lot of furniture, clothing, and hairstyles which the company euphemistically calls "rustic."

Personally, I know this sounds a little weird, but I'm excited to see if laundry hampers make the same noise. I really loved the "thoomp thoomp thoomp" sound effect when your Sims tossed dirty laundry into the hamper.

EA releases new quarterly teaser

More stuff for 2018

 EA's newest quarterly teaser for The Sims 4 marks the official announcement of the Laundry stuff pack (which we have known about for a while) and the Adventure game pack (which is new to me at least).

The teaser is very brief, only 13 seconds, and doesn't include the official names. So we'll just call them Laundry and Adventure for now.

Laundry has turned out to be one of the most contentious issues in the Sims community in years. Apparently everyone either loves laundry or hates it. I personally liked laundry, but I had no problem living without it. 

Laundry haters will have to content themselves with... well, with not buying or installing the Laundry stuff pack! Problem solved.

The Adventure game pack looks very interesting. I don't want to read too much into it, but it looks like a new version of the World Adventures expansion from Sims 3. I loved World Adventures, and spent so much time playing in the various worlds that it was always a bit of a shock when I did finally send my Sims back home.

Both of these new content packs will be available some time in the next three months, although we don't have a clearer date than that. Fingers crossed!

Putting out a fire in The Sims 4

Putting out a fire in The Sims 4 It's trickier now!

 I remember the first time I was faced with a fire in The Sims 4. The smoke alarm went off, so I directed all my Sims outside, and hoped for the best. My concern turned to puzzlement, then eventually to panic, as their house continued to burn unabated. Finally I sent in one Sim (the one I liked the least) to extinguish the flames by hand. It was quite a harrowing experience - and quite a surprise!

In previous Sims games, the only item of fire safety gear you needed was a cheap smoke alarm. The alarm would alert Sims on the lot to the danger, and also summon the fire department (if you bought the nice one). In a pinch, you could call the fire department from a phone.

Some kind of societal collapse has obviously happened between The Sims 3 and The Sims 4, because there are no more firefighter NPCs. When a fire happens, you're on your own.

The first line of defense is to click on the fire and command a Sim to Extinguish it. This is risky, of course, because your Sim can catch fire.

If you have the Get to Work expansion pack, you can build a device that will put out the flames. Send your Sim to work in the Science lab to invent the Sim Ray, which can (among other things) extinguish fires easily and quickly.

And of course, you can cheat! This won't help with a current fire, but you can prevent any fires from happening in the future by using the cheat fire.toggle false which will turn off fires. To turn fires back on, use fire.toggle true.

A look back at The Sims Online

What a sad fate for such an amazing property

 The Sims Online is one of those things I forget about for years at a time before an article like this one at SimsVIP reminds me. I was in the beta test program for The Sims Online, way back when (this would have been 2001-2002, before the game launched).

I was skeptical about The Sims Online even then. Having spent the previous year playing The Sims like a second job, I was looking forward to a sequel. And The Sims Online very much was... not that.

I remember I logged on and did a few basic introductory tasks. And then I looked around and realized... all those other Sims were real people like me. It was, as one critic remarked, "more of a chat program than a game."

I never went back. I kept playing The Sims until The Sims 2 finally rolled around, in 2004. 

The Sims Online remains, for me, an object lesson in not chasing current trends. EA developed it because MMOs were extremely hot at the time. World of Warcraft wouldn't launch until 2004, and Second Life was still several years away in 2003. But the early success of MMOs like Everquest (1999) and Neverwinter Nights (2002) showed that massively multiplayer games were the hot new thing. Much like VR is considered the hot new thing today. But not every game can or should be shoehorned into the same niche, as the failure of The Sims Online certainly proves.  

Stardew Valley recreated in The Sims 4

Two great things, together!

 If there's one game I like, it's The Sims 4. If there's another game I like, it's Stardew Valley. So imagine my excitement when I learned that a pair of gamers has faithfully recreated Stardew Valley's Pelican Town in The Sims 4!

The build is a collaboration between YouTuber Loverrlee and Twitch streamer DrGluon. I particularly love their attention to detail, for example stocking all the shelves in Pierre's General Store. 

You can download the build here and install it in your game. Note that you will need to have the "moveobjects" cheat on, in order for it to work properly. Click CTRL + Shift + C to bring up the console, then type in "bb.moveobjects on" (no quotes) to turn on the "moveobjects" cheat. Click CTRL + Shift + C again to close the console.

New Sims 4 DLC for consoles this December

Xbox One and PS4 players get more stuff!

The Sims 4 launched on console with the City Living and Vampires expansion packs, and the Vintage Glamour, and Perfect Patio stuff packs. Just one month later, EA has announced they will be releasing the Cool Kitchen Stuff Pack and Luxury Party Stuff Pack on December 5th.

Cool Kitchen Stuff included new clothing and hairstyles, new kitchen items, and an ice cream maker which can unlock a lot of special buffs and effects. 

Sims with enough Cooking skill can make an ice cream that can make Sims fat, another that can make them thin (???), one that grants five random moodlets, and others that trigger various moods.

Vintage Glamour is just in time for the holiday season, with its focus on fabulous fancy party clothes, hairstyles, and decor. 

It will also add a new TV channel "TV Classics," a Butler service NPC who can be hired to maintain your home, also includes a bar in a big globe, and a vanity you can use to adjust your Sims' makeup. Children can also "play with makeup" at the vanity, with predictable results.

A Review of Sims 4 on Xbox One

Sul sul!

I have been eagerly awaiting the launch of The Sims 4 on console. I realize I'm the only one, but I'm okay with that. In recent years, I have become increasingly a console gamer, to the point where it feels weird to play video games on my computer. I also have trouble concentrating on a video game when I play on PC, because I have so many other distractions - constant alerts, social notifications, websites to check on, etc. When I'm on the console, I can just kick back and focus.

You may be wondering, how IS the Xbox One port, anyway? The short answer is: pretty freakin great.

First and foremost: Yes, you can use cheats. But be aware: If you use a cheat, it will permanently disable the achievement system for the game (trophies on PS4, and Gamerscore on Xbox One). Personally I am planning to 100% the game on Xbox One, so no cheats for me.

Next up: Content. Console ports of The Sims 2 and 3 were sorely lacking in content. EA/Maxis had to "dumb down" the games in order to jam them on the console. Not true in the case of The Sims 4, it's a full-featured version of the base game.

What's it like to play Sims 4 with a controller? Well, it did take me a while to get used to it. If you spend a lot of time in Build, Buy, or Create-A-Sim, you may find the controls frustrating, because it can be a little clunky. 

There are a few things I find I prefer with the controller. It's a lot easier to use the two thumbsticks to control the camera, versus a mouse. And I really like the ease of switching between Sims (right and left trigger) and speed controls (right and left bumper). 

Simmers who enjoy sharing screenshots will have to work around that issue, since neither console makes it easy. I have the Xbox app on my iPhone, so I take a screenshot, wait for it to be transferred to the app (5-10 minutes), save the screenshot to my iPhone, then share it to Instagram. It's clumsy, and I wish they would simplify this process.

Overall, The Sims 4 on console is pretty much the same as PC, except you can play it while you're kicked back on the couch, instead of sitting at a desk. Loving it!

EA donates to pets in need

Partnering with the SPCA

 As part of their promotional efforts for the Sims 4 expansion Cats & Dogs, EA is partnering up with the SPCA to help out pets in need. Every week for the next four weeks, EA will be donating $5,000 a week to the SPCA, for a grand total of $20,000 for shelters across the country.

Each week EA will also be hosting related community challenges. This week's challenge: Vote on which outfit you think suits Ruby the Pug best. Log in to your EA account and <a href="">visit their web gallery to place your vote</a>.

Personally, I don't see how you could vote for anything other than the purple unicorn outfit. Or are you some kind of monster? Okay, fine, I'll admit it - they are all pretty cute.

If you want to enter the competition with your own outfit for Ruby, be sure to tag it with #RubyRocksSims4Paws when you upload it to the Gallery.

Will we be able to use cheat codes for Sims 4 on Xbox One/PS4?

An in-depth investigation!

Update: According to this GameInformer article, Sims 4 on console does have cheats. However, using cheats disables achievements. 

I'm excited about Sims 4 on console, which launches next week. In fact, the game is already out for people with the EA Early Access program, but I personally am not going to pay extra money just to play a video game early. (I care, but... not that much.)

But perhaps some of you Early Access folks can give us a hand: Can you use cheat codes for Sims 4 on Xbox One or PS4?

Here's what I can tell you for sure:

1. Cheat codes ARE available for other Xbox One and PS4 games.

Here's a list of cheat codes for GTA 5 on Xbox One. As you can see, you enter the cheat code by pressing the specific buttons in the specific order for each code. For example, the code for max health and armor is "B, LB, Y, RT, A, X, B, RIGHT, X, LB, LB, LB."

2. Cheat codes were available for earlier versions of the Sims on console.

One article I found instructed players to press the R and L bumper while at the main menu to open up the cheat console.

3. Cheat codes have been an integral part of the Sims franchise since the beginning.

Would they really ship out a version of The Sims 4 without them?

I don't personally use cheat codes. I prefer the challenge. But no judgment for those of you who do use them, and I will keep you updated as this developing story unfolds!