February 2012

Simport: New Showtime Expansion Pack Feature

Send your Sims over to your friends for new adventures!
Today I was cruising Youtube looking for something else, when I spied an official Sims 3 Showtime preview of how the Simport feature will work. In this four minute video, two Sims 3 producers walk you through the process of using Simport, and explaining how it's going to work.
Simport is the big breakthrough that the Showtime expansion pack has been teasing about for ages. As I suspected, you will not be able to personally go over to your friends' Sims' houses and play with their stuff (the way that you can with The Sims Social game on Facebook). Instead, you will be shipping your Sim off to your friends, who will have your Sim show up in their game.

Sims Social Cost/Benefit Of Items

Always calculate that ROI, otherwise it can really bite you in the butt!
Over the weekend, I spent some time pondering my future Sims Social purchases, and paging through the (incredibly slow to load and super frustrating) Buy screen. I came up with the following list of the most expensive items that you can buy, which do NOT come "some assembly required"! For each category I picked the most expensive item for both Simoleons and Social Points.
Item: Cost (Increase to Household Value)
Aside Table: 2,000 social points 
Bamble Fuju Table: $3,500
Anachrobox Chair: 290 Social points
Future Flush 3000 Toilet: $3500 
Aside Table: 2,000 Social points
Sterling Metro Bed: $2,500 ($2000)
Stolen Kiss: 2,750 Social points ($7,750)
Orville's Iron Fireplace: $28,000 ($10,750)

Sims Social: The Two Types of Requests

How you handle them will depend on your playing style - and your friends list!
As you play the Sims Social Facebook game, you encounter situations where, for one reason or another, you need to ask people to give you stuff. Maybe it's part of a quest chain, or maybe you need some Relaxation so that you can finish building that couch. Maybe you need four Pens so that you can level up in the Writing skill. You can't play the game for very long before you encounter one of these situations.
Type 1: The Targeted Request
This is the most common way the game makes you ask for things. When you click on "Ask friends" it takes you to a list of all of your Facebook friends. You can then click to select which of your friends you are going to pester with your request. (PROTIP: stick to just pestering your Sims Social friends!)

Sims Social Strategy: Never Craft Anything

Save those ingredients for when you really need them!
As you play the Sims Social Facebook game, you accrue a bunch of random crafting ingredients. Half the time when I repair something broken, my Sim earns a Wrench. Whenever she paints, she gets a bunch of Rags and Soap, and so forth.
My initial strategy was to craft away. Why not, right? What, was I waiting for the perfect moment, saving up my "instantly refill Clean motive" potion? Nah. Just use 'em. So I thought.

Is The Sims Social "Exploitationware"?

And if it is... so what?
Game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost is probably most famous for having created Cow Clicker, a Facebook game which was a critique of Facebook games. In Cow Clicker, you click a cow. Six hours later, you can click it again. And… that's all. 
Cow Clicker was a commentary on the ultimate nature of Facebook games, which is to use Skinnerian training techniques to essentially enslave Facebook users. You get hooked on clicking on things, and you fork over money in order to click on more (or better) things, and Bogost's contention is that the only ones who win are Facebook and Zynga (or in the case of The Sims Social, Playfish).