October 2011

Sims 3 Pets: The Jumping Skill

Eventually you can jump through fire! (Or try to...)
To learn jumping, you will begin with a set of cavaletti trainers. These are short poles just a few inches off the ground which are used (in real life and in Sims 3) to train both horse and rider in the fundamentals of jumping. As with all jumps, you can either buy some and set them up on your home lot, or you can go to the Training Center and use the equipment there.
The jumps themselves come in several different varieties and level of difficulty. The most difficult jump is the Ring of Fire, which is apparently also somewhat dangerous!
It seems that the sleep cycles of horses and their owners are always out of sync. Luckily, both horse and owner can train independently! You can control your horse then click on the jumps to have your horse train to improve their jumping skill. When the horse is asleep or exhausted, you can train your Sim either by having them read the Riding skill books or by taking classes at the Equestrian Center rabbit hole.

Sims 3 Pets: First Thoughts

Pets expansion pack - "WOW"


I got the Pets expansion pack last weekend, and my thoughts can be summed up as "WOW." This expansion pack has more stuff than any two previous expansions. (Particularly if one of those expansions is Generations, which frankly I thought was pretty "meh.")
At first I thought "WOW, this is taking a long time." I thought that maybe having downloaded Create-A-Pet last week would have brought in most of the expansion pack already, but that was not the case. It took two hours to download Pets from Origin over a high-speed connection. And another hour to install it, update the Launcher, go back to installing Pets, and finally to launch the darned thing.

More Sims 3 Gnome Mysteries


I'm pretty sure I pay a lot more attention to the gnomes in The Sims 3 than the game's designers ever intended us to. But the Mysterious Mr. Gnomes clearly have a lot of complicated programming built into them, all of which is completely obscured from the player. Unlike almost everything else in the game, where either you can figure out what the deal is (like the clothes washer and dryer), or it's just a simple loop (like the birds that periodically fly across the sky).
But the gnomes? The gnomes are a real puzzle!
1. Distribution
I have seen this happen over and over again, both in my own games, and in reports of games from other players. Here's how it goes: you want a gnome, but no matter how hard you try, you can't get one. Then you finally get one, and the next thing you know, you're practically flooded with them. 

Review: Sims 3 Create-A-Pet Demo


I'm a few days away from the opportunity to get the Sims 3 Pets expansion pack, so I have to be content for now with the Create-A-Pet demo. I hadn't tried it earlier, because getting the demo requires that you download and install Origin, and I just wasn't up for it just then.
Origin seems to be what the infamous EA Downloader turned into: a bigger, more unwieldy (less wieldy?) chunk of software that wants to run all the time and sell you stuff. The only good thing I can say for Origin is "at least you don't have to set up a new account." Your old EA account information will work.

Did Herman Cain Swipe "999" Plan From SimCity 4?


For the most part we focus on The Sims games here - particularly The Sims 3, since it was released. But the SimCity games are very much a part of the Sims franchise and history. So it definitely caught my attention when I read that it seems that someone on Cain's staff may be a big SimCity fan!
Herman Cain's "9-9-9" plan would propose a flat 9% rate for corporate income taxes, personal income taxes, and a national sales tax. Seems like kind of an odd number, right? Three nines? Catchy, sure, but why not two eights and a ten? Why not three eights, or three tens?

Special Merchant Adventure Awards


One feature of the three worlds in the Sims 3 World Adventures expansion pack is the Special Merchant. There's one in each world, a local NPC who roams around and lives a regular life. Sometimes Special Merchants die, but they are quickly replaced. (How the game chooses a new Special Merchant is a mystery. I was with a Special Merchant once who died of old age. I switched to Map View a few minutes later and found a new adult Special Merchant had already been selected.)
To find the Special Merchant, switch to Map View and look for the tag. It will be pinkish, with a small picture of the merchant's face. 

Sims 3 Adventures: Collect Broken Stuff! It's Fun!


I have been doubling back on the Adventures expansion pack, and playing through all the tombs. I never did more than toy around with them, and it's a nice change to really focus on completing all the tasks and finding all the things.
One thing that vexes me about exploring the tombs, though, is that you end up with so much crap in your inventory! Much of it broken. Who wants to carry around a backpack full of broken stuff? It's a little ridiculous, frankly.