September 2012

Earning money fast in The Sims 3

From (digital) rags to (imaginary computer game) riches

Being rich gets boring, which is why I recently set myself a poverty challenge recently by wiping out all $4 million my family had in cash, not to mention the value of their multi-million home and its contents. I made them start over again from scratch with an empty plot of land and not a single Simoleon to their names. Hilarious! 

In fact, one of the somewhat frustrating aspects of the game is how easy it is to accumulate wealth. I remember playing The Sims and having to wait for weeks of gameplay before my Sims had enough money to afford a hot tub. But in The Sims 3 you can probably afford one after only a week of gameplay, if you work it hard enough.
 
Here are some tactics to Make Imaginary Money Fast:

Sims 3 firefighter

Living at home vs. at the fire station

If you have the Ambitions expansion pack, then your Sims can now join the firefighter career.  Furthermore, it means that all the towns in your game can now be edited to include a fire station.  The fire station is where your firefighter Sims goes to work.  It can also be the place for your Sims to sleep at night, if that is how you wish to play the game.

Curing your Sims 3 Zombie

Tired of lusting for braaaaains? Read on!

Last time I talked about the mechanism by which your Sim can be turned into a zombie. This is different from the way that townie NPCs get turned into zombies. Townie NPC zombies spawn on your lot in the middle of the night, and they turn back into regular Sims at dawn. But if your Sim gets bitten by a zombie, they can be turned into one for life.

This is fun at first. The available actions are a hoot: when you click on another Sim, your options are "Braaaaains," "Argggh," "Arrrgh," and so forth. Their needs drop, but they can perform most interactions without any problems: you can still tell them to shower, eat something from the fridge (instead of your garden) and so forth. 

Turning into a Sims 3 Zombie

I mean my Sim - not me! Well, KIND OF me.

Zombies aren't just hilarious midnight garden raiders: they can also be a little bit dangerous. After much anticipation, this weekend I was finally able to see the Zombie Bite at work.

You have probably already noticed that, when zombies are afoot, your Sim occasionally gets the "Zombie Attack!" action queued up. This happens whenever a zombie attempts to attack your Sim, and it can even happen when the zombies are outside, but your Sims are inside. 
 
I have not yet had a Sim wander outside during an attack, nor have I ever seen a zombie come into the house (even when the door has not specifically been locked). But if you want to protect your Sims, you will want to keep a close eye on them when zombies are around. 

Do you give your Sims’ toddlers high chairs?

Or are you all for feeding on the floor?

A big part of game play for the Sims 3 is raising kids.  When the Sims are first born, there is not a whole lot of things for them to do.  However, once they get to be toddlers, you can get very busy trying to make the most out of their toddler years—or days I should say.

As toddlers, Sims can learn quite a bit.  An adult Sim can teach the toddlers how to walk, talk and use the potty on their own.  With the right toys, the toddler Sims can get a head start in their logic and guitar skills.  Then there are also things that toddlers can learn through reading books like painting, writing and logic.  

The return of Bonehilda

This Sims 1: Makin' Magic favorite returns in the Supernatural EP

Edit: This article details my experience with Bonehilda. Apparently there is a lot of variation in behavior among Bonehildas - check the comments for another Simmer's experiences, which were very different from mine.

Having trouble keeping up around the house? If you have the Supernatural expansion pack, Bonehilda can give you a hand! Sort of.  Bonehilda began as a service NPC in the Sims 1 Makin' Magic expansion pack. She returns to The Sims 3 with a very similar set of advantages and drawbacks.

You can find Bonehilda in Buy Mode under Décor -> Sculpture. Buy her living quarters (an upright casket) and set it on her property. Then click on her casket and have one of your Sims choose the "Awaken Bonehilda" action.
 
Unlike the other service NPCs, there is basically no interaction between your Sims and Bonehilda. Apparently they can chat with her, although I have never had that option. You cannot build a relationship with Bonehilda (thus she can't be married or impregnated.) I can only ever Dismiss Bonehilda, which sends her back to her casket until you awaken her again.

Sims 3 Supernatural: Zombie Attack!

They eat your garden and chomp your brains.

I mentioned the peashooters recently, but I should probably have started with the zombies. (Talk about burying the lede! Then digging it up and sending it out to shuffle around your neighborhood! Okay, I have probably taken that joke about as far as it can go.)

Theoretically, zombies only show up at the full moon. But I have found that they can occasionally pop up on any night. And some people have found that the zombies are glitch, and show up all the time, and never leave their property. So the zombie distribution is somewhere between "by appointment only" and "all the time everywhere."
 
Zombies appear on your lot by spawning. They rise up from the ground, along with a lightning/fog effect and some spooky sound effects. The living dead shamble in classic zombie fashion, and have a terrifying appearance: hollow eyes, gray skin, black lips, the whole kit. 

The big problem with Sims 3: Pets

For gamers who love their imaginary electronic pets too much!

If I were a developer at EA, I would be both pleased and somewhat perturbed by this phenomenon. I have talked to a lot of different Sims players, and the same basic story crops up over and over: "I loved Pets when it came out, but I was so sad when my pet died that I haven't created a new pet since then."

Imagine a game so lifelike and effective that people don't play it because they get too emotionally attached. That's quite an accomplishment. But it is also a little bit disturbing from the perspective of a game company. After all, EA wants you to play your games as much as possible! 
 
The depths of my feelings for my Sim pet took me by surprise. I have had a lot of real world pets, so it's not like I was displacing a lot of frustrated pet owner angst. And I very rarely get too emotionally attached to my human Sims. Usually I am relieved when they finally die, because I was getting bored with them by that point.

The Sim 3 Martial Arts Master

How Bruce Chan became the Master of Sim Fu

In my Sims 3 game, Bruce Chan was the male Sim that I made specifically for Vicky Lee to wed.  In the process of creating him, I was determined to make him into a martial artist.  Therefore, I picked some traits that would help him to achieve the lifetime wish of becoming a Martial Arts Master.

Out of all of the available traits in The Sims 3, the one that has the ability to help a Sim to master Sim Fu the fastest is the disciplined trait.  So of course, I made Bruce Chan disciplined.   I also gave him the athletic trait so that he would be able to get faster and stronger at a faster rate when working out at the gym.

Beekeeping in The Sims 3

Another great Supernatural addition
Despite all the awesome witch and zombie and werewolf action, I find myself drawn over and over to the beekeeping trade. I would not call it a hobby, because there is no skill involved. 
 
To get started with beekeeping, simply buy the beehive (or use the beehives that are found behind the alchemy store) and get to work. The beehive can be found either by looking through Collections -> Supernatural, or Sort by Room -> Outdoors -> Outdoor Activities.
 
The hive comes filled with bees and comb honey. You have four basic actions your Sim can perform: Smoke Hive, Clean Hive, Feed Bees, and Harvest Honey. Before your Sim works on the hive, they will change into a beekeeper's hat and veil.
 
You will need to work on your hive about once per day. A wise beekeeper smokes the hive before performing any other action. As in real life, smoking the hive makes the bees sleepy so that you are less likely to be stung. 
 
Note: if your bees are happy, you may not need to smoke the hive first. The first few times I sent my Sim to work on the hive, I did not smoke it first, and she did not get stung.
 
To successfully keep a hive, you should feed and clean the hive once a day. If the hive is neglected for too long, the bees become angry and will be likely to sting or swarm attack.

Sims 3 jelly bean bush

Another great item from the Supernatural expansion pack
There are so many great items that come with Supernatural, I am trying to work through them one at a time. The first thing I tried out was the jelly bean bush, because doesn't that sound great? Being able to pick fresh, delicious jelly beans whenever you want?
 
Maybe not with THIS bush! The Supernatural jelly bean bush packs quite a punch.
 
This little potted shrub can be found in Buy Mode, under Décor -> Plants. It costs $575. Unlike a regular garden plant, the jelly bean bush does not seem to require any watering or tending, and it produces jelly beans immediately. You can also find a jelly bean bush behind the Alchemy store in Moonlight Falls (or if you have placed the Alchemy store in your town).
 
Every time your Sim eats a jelly bean, something different happens. The first jelly bean my Sim tried was awesome: it topped up all of his needs and gave him a positive moodlet. Not bad!

New Sims 3 feature: In-game gifts

I'm not a fan of the social stuff, myself.

With the most recent update prior to the release of the Supernatural expansion pack, all Sims players now have the ability to send each other gifts. This is true (so far as I know) even if you do not have Supernatural or Showtime (the expansion pack which introduced a major social element).

This ability to send gifts to your friends is lifted directly from the Sims Social Facebook game. (I played Sims Social fanatically, until one day I didn't. I stopped playing and never went back. It was that dragon tower thing that killed it for me. All the work I put into it, all the requests to friends, and I still wasn't able to build the castle in time… it was pretty demoralizing.)
 
Gifting is a not-so-sneaky way of binding you to the game. This social component is carefully designed to get you coming back to the game more often. It lends the game an air of social obligation that can be surprisingly good as a motivating factor. It gets you to boot up the game not just because you want to play, but so that you can reciprocate the gifts you know people have sent you.

Supernatural: Where is my Sims 3 peashooter?

You have to download the PVZ content separately.

If you pre-ordered the Supernatural expansion pack, you - like a lot of other players - including myself - might be hunting around Build and Buy mode, looking for the special Plants Vs Zombies content. This included the peashooter, immortalized by PVZ and now available to help fend off zombie attacks on your Sims 3 property.

So where is the peashooter? Short answer: you have to download it separately.
 
When you received your notice from Origin that your Supernatural expansion pack was ready for download, you would have actually received three emails. One of those was about the expansion pack itself. And the other two were for the special free-with-presale Plants Vs Zombies content. 
 
Once you find those emails, log into the official Sims 3 website. Go to The Store -> My Store Account and click on "Redeem A Code."

Sims 3 Supernatural launches tomorrow!

This expansion pack features fairies, werewolves, zombies and more.

I was lukewarm about this expansion pack at first. But I have to admit, I have become more excited about it as its launch date approaches. (Surely this has nothing to do with the fact that I broke down and pre-ordered it during a weak moment a few weeks ago. I just love Plants Vs. Zombies, and I really really want those pea shooters!)

As you might expect, Supernatural has a ton of supernatural elements. The high points are werewolves, fairies, and zombies. Although there are also added magical abilities so that you can have witches and warlocks, as well as expanded functionality for vampires.
 
For many players, the best news of all is that for the first time, you will be able to create an altered life state straight out of Create-A-Sim. Want a playable ghost? Create it in Create-A-Sim! (Any type of ghost except "thirst," according to the wikia page… not sure why…) Want a vampire? Create it in Create-A-Sim! And so forth.