January 2009

Sims 3: Latest Updates

Rumors of a delay in the Sims 3 release date are gaining more credence. Snooty Sims reports that Electronic Arts is quoted as saying "We are evaluating the launch window" in an article at the Eurogamer website. European stores are being told that the game will be released in "the first half of 2009," which could mean as late as June. Will the game hit the U.S. before being released in Europe? Doubtful. EA has said they will issue a definitive statement regarding the release date on Tuesday, February 3rd, so stay tuned! In the mean time, more delicious videos and articles are being released every day. MSN's French site has a video following a group of French Sims bloggers as they visit Sims 3 headquarters and get a tour. Although the voice over is in French (obvy) there is still a lot of great gameplay video, illustrating many of the points I had heard before, but had not yet seen. I also enjoyed seeing the Sims 3 developer office environment. What are those big green leaf thingies? Are they to help filter the overhead fluorescent lights? Very cool!

Sims 2: Being Pregnant

Once you have successfully impregnated your female Sim, you will want to watch her carefully until she gives birth. I have had female Sims nearly die of hunger on me before, because I wasn't paying enough attention. (And by the way, elder female Sims cannot get pregnant. However, elder male Sims are still fertile, and can impregnate younger female Sims.) As a rule of thumb, I now make my pregnant female Sims eat before sleeping if their Hunger need is less than half full. If they get hungry while they are asleep, I will wake them up and make them eat. It takes a long time for a Sim to die of exhaustion (mostly because they will pass out involuntarily). However, a Sim can die of hunger relatively quickly. So learn from my experience, and feed 'em up! Once your Sim has entered pregnancy, if she has a job, she will be granted three days of maternity leave. The maternity leave is granted based on when the Sim was impregnated. Linda Shin (the one who nearly starved to death) got pregnant right before her carpool arrived, so she actually worked on the first day of her pregnancy. Each of the three Sim Days corresponds to one of the three trimesters of human pregnancy.

Sims 2: Pregnancy: When two Sims love each other very much...

Female Pregnancy Sim fertility has been a big topic of mine recently, since I'm doing a generational challenge (follow a line of Sims through 26 generations, one for each letter of the alphabet). The basic facts of Sim life are simple: when two romantically involved Sims are together on a property with a double bed, click on the bed and tell your Sim to "Relax." If you are in control of both Sims, tell them both to Relax. If you are only in control of one Sims, have it relax on the bed, and most likely the other will follow. Once they are in place on the bed, click on the other Sim and choose the menu option "Try For Baby." If "Try For Baby" is successful, you will hear a little lullaby sound effect play after your Sims have finished their, err, exertions. A Sim has to be older than teen to get the bed options. If you have the University expansion pack, your Sims can engage in hanky panky while they are at college.

Things I Have Learned About The Sims 3

1. The release date on the Amazon page has been changed to February 16th although the original official release date was February 20th. No one is sure if this is a weird Amazon glitch, or an actual change in the release date, or just due to the discrepancy between "ship date" and "release date." 2. It may not ship with SecureROM. In response to much consumer outrage, EA has started pulling SecureROM from many of their titles. After the SecureROM debacle with regards to Spore, I think it's a safe bet that EA won't ship The Sims 3 with SecureROM. 3. Several high profile bloggers have posted what they learned at the super secret Sims 3 "Creators Camp" conference. Snooty Sims probably has the best list, which features an extensive set of changes. The most remarkable to me is that Sims will age even if you aren't playing them.

Alphabet Challenge: Generation 2

For the second generation, Aaron and Alice first had a pair of twins, which I named Bob and Baxter. I initially chose Baxter to be the heir, since he seemed a bit more studious. This left me free to let Bob become a vampire, just for fun. Unfortunately, this decision would cause me some problems later on. My original goal was that each generation should be comprised of three children. I hadn't been paying enough attention, and Alice aged into the "elder" category before I had a chance to get her pregnant again. Oh no! My solution was to adopt a third child. I didn't really think this through. This is the second decision that caused me some problems later on. To adopt a child in The Sims 2, have one of your adult Sims pick up the phone and call a Service. Then choose "Adoption Agency" from the menu. (Not the pet adoption agency, mind you!) If your Sims family meets the adoption agency's income requirements, a random baby will be sent out to you within 24 Sim hours. (By the way, I read somewhere that if your children are taken by the Social Worker, you can re-adopt them if you move fast.

Sims 2: In-Game Product Safety Recall

If you have played The Sims 2 with the Pets expansion pack for very long, you know that toddler Sims will often fall asleep in the pet bed. Unfortunately, when I was playing last weekend, one of my toddlers became STUCK in the pet bed. Connor fell asleep in the pet bed, and awoke with his "hygiene" need at critical level. He cried and cried, but would not get out of the bed. I sent various adult Sims over and instructed them to pick him up, bathe him, cuddle him, etc, but the action vanished as soon as it hit their queue. At first, I just thought that Connor was pitching a temper tantrum. I tried buying a teddy bear and setting it beside the pet bed, to tempt him out. No dice!

Sims 2: Living with Vampires

Vampires were introduced to The Sims 2 in the Nightlife expansion pack. For information on how to identify vampires and have your Sim "brought across" see my previous article, Vampires in The Sims 2: Identifying and Creating Vampires. Your vampire Sim will have certain, shall we say, "cravings," but it is not necessary for your vampire Sim to feed on other Sims for survival. Vampire Sims are just as happy filling their Hunger need by cooking and eating regular food. (I decided that my Vampire character Bob would probably like spaghetti, since the meat sauce looks like blood.) Vampire characters can fly, although I have never seen an NPC vampire do this. To make your vampire fly, click on the destination and select "Fly Here." Your Sim will transform into a bat, and fly to that destination.

Sims 2: Identifying and Creating Vampires

I sent both Bob and Baxter to college. While they were there, I flipped a coin and decided that Baxter would be the heir. This left Bob (the spare) free for me to goof around with. I decided to make Bob a vampire. Vampires were added to The Sims 2 with the expansion pack Nightlife. After you install this expansion pack, two new NPCs (the Count and the Contessa) will appear in your Downtown lots at night. The vampires can also be identified by their two stereotyped behaviors: 1. "Stalking." A "stalking" vampire walks around with their arm over their face, in the classic Noseferatu pose. You can have your own vampire Stalk somewhere by clicking the destination, and choosing "Stalk here." 2.

Alphabet Challenge: Generation 1

A little while ago, I decided to play a modified (i.e. unofficial) version of one of the many generational Sims 2 challenges. The idea with a generational challenge is to play an entire blood line through a series of generations. In my case, I decided to go whole hog and play through 26 generations, one for each letter of the alphabet. (My apologies for the poor quality of some of these early pictures. I didn't realize I had my game camera stuck on "medium quality" and "small picture size" for a while.) I started by creating the challenge founders, Aaron and Alice Alphabetti. Aaron was a Family sim, with a lifetime aspiration to have ten children. (Good luck with that one, buddy!) Alice was a Knowledge sim, who wanted to max out all seven of her skill levels. Aaron and Alice had what could well be the single worst wedding in all of history. I lost track of what was happening, and didn't realize that Alice's carpool had arrived to take her to work. As a result, she walked away and drove off to work immediately after the ceremony, but before it was time to cut the cake.

The Sims 3 is coming! The Sims 3 is coming!

I should preface this by pointing out that I am a complete nut for The Sims games. I lost a year and a half of my life to The Sims. I was there for the debacle that was The Sims Online. (I was a beta tester, but dropped out after the first few weeks. My review in a nutshell was, "Blecch.") I gave Spore a whirl, didn't care for it, and switched back to The Sims 2. As you can imagine, I'm terribly excited about the prospect of The Sims 3, which is scheduled for release this February. There is precious little pre-release information about The Sims 3, aside from what you can read on the back of the box or on the Amazon page. (The game went up for pre-release sale not long ago.) There are two features which will set The Sims 3 apart from The Sims 2 you will now be able to follow your Sims to work, and they are no longer bounded at home by the edges of their property.