AiP Rebuild Special

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slide 1:

So once again I need to rebuild. huge sigh Last time it made sense – I had done several Very Bad Things because I didn’t know they were Bad. Now I can tell you that placing occupied lots in the Sim Bin – and worse then placing them in a different ‘hood – is a Very Bad Thing Indeed. But on this rebuild I was very careful: no moving occupied lots no bartending on owned lots no vampires anywhere near Mrs. Crumplebottom… And yet Samatha Littledragon wanted to Buy a Guitar when she was a Child. I was hoping it was because she was just a musical little girl but Children can’t use guitars drums or basses. When Children start rolling Wants for things they cannot use your ‘hood is on its way out sooner or later.

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Another Very Bad Sign: I ended up with cloned tombstones in my OWBC household – or rather I ended up with one tombstone and one urn for each dead Sim. I’ve never heard of that happening to anyone else but it doesn’t strike me as at all healthy. I might get two more generations out of the ‘hood or it could go boom at any time. Now I have Bon Voyage which means that I have the problem where townies start spawning and never stop. It can swell your Characters folder like nobody’s business. I also have a Mac which means that there is no patch for this problem. Your only solution as far as I can tell is regular rebuilds. I have been planning for this and since I have to rebuild instead of play this week I might as well tell you about what I’ll be doing.

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The Neighborhood There are several things that need to be rebuilt: the neighborhood itself the houses in the neighborhood and the Sims who live there. Owning a Mac no SimPE. Let’s start with the neighborhood. This is what the “original” Sandersville looks like. I have “original” in quotes because it is not actually the first neighborhood I started playing in. You remember I moved occupied houses between neighborhoods But this is the neighborhood layout I used when I had to rebuild last time. I don’t like it. It doesn’t work for me and it’s too hard to make subdivisions.

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This is what the new Sandersville looks like. I like this template much better and have used it several times before. It’s the Sedona template with the terrain type changed to “Lush.” It will need more neighborhood decorations of course but I sort of add those organically as they seem appropriate.

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There are subdivisions within this ‘hood. Cheap housing for low-income families is nearest the monorail: currently this consists of one trailer but there will be more trailers and/or crummy little houses on small lots as needed.

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Going into the second branch of the canyon we have the farmhouses – or we will when we have more than one. I am sure you recognize the one that’s already here: it’s the one that Jasmine Littledragon bought after Jasper lost all the family’s money to an Internet scam.

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On the lip of the canyon with the nice views we have the expensive houses such as the home of the legendary Bertram McClellan and the other Princes of Charming. For more about them you can read “Everybody Loves Bertie” found in the Other Challenges forum over on Boolprop. The remainder of the houses are a mix of middle-class homes because let’s face it: The Sims franchise is very heavily geared towards middle-class morality and values. There is plenty of room for expansion and I have also left spaces for a few community lots. Not sure exactly what they might be yet but I don’t want this to be a purely bedroom community.

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This is what the old downtown looks like. It’s based on the Takemizu Village template and was officially named “Take Talk.” I don’t like calling the downtown area “Downtown” since everywhere I have ever lived has had an actual name for that area. On the other hand when it comes to making up names I am made of fail. “Sandersville” Honestly Take Talk got its name from a song from South Pacific which I consistently mis-sing: the lyrics are “Happy talk keep talking happy talk” but even though I know that I still sing it as “Talk keep talk keep talking talky talk.” huffily It’s my game I’m the only one who has to think it makes sense.

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At any rate that doesn’t really matter since this is the new downtown which is named “Petula” after Sixties singer Petula Clark who had a huge hit called “Downtown.” If I ever think of a better name I’ll change it. I’m sure you can see right away that while the right-hand side of the subhood is almost identical the left-hand side is very different as is the loop at the top center. That’s deliberate. The large complex at the back is also different although that is mostly because I can’t flip back and forth between ‘hoods easily to compare the two. I don’t know what the complex is for but it has searchlights going at night and helicopters coming and going at all times. Nothing good can come of a mysterious complex that has its very own nuclear cooling tower… The lots on the right-hand side of downtown are specially designed to all fit together in the order and orientation that they do. There are walking paths made using the terrain tool that go from one to another. I also took the view from the other lots into account when I designed each lot. Because these lots are never-owned community lots I simply packaged them when I completed them and can safely put them down as many times as needed in as many ‘hoods or subhoods as needed. The buildings on the left-hand side of downtown in Take Talk are there because I haven’t yet figured out exactly where they belong or even if I’m keeping them. I use the left-hand side of Petula for architectural experimentation. If something works out it gets packaged for safekeeping and easier future rebuilds and then placed in the live ‘hood as needed. What do I mean by “the live ‘hood” Did I not explain that I’m sorry. No worries – I’ll explain that when we get to the part about the houses.

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This is the “original” university. I very much liked the template I had before the rebuild but thanks to my extreme “cleverness” each and every community lot that represented a school building had been owned some of them twice in different ‘hoods and one had even been occupied. Every dorm had been occupied as well. I decided it would be nice to start over with a different template and a different style of university architecture. The Three Lakes template is not a good one to use. Very few lots fit making a strange campus layout. Plus it has a low water table – so much so that my non-university community lots are covered in water up to my Sims’ mid-calf. Once so covered moving them doesn’t help the water remains. Plus my non-university community lots were designed to fit together like some of the lots in Take Talk but they don’t work on this layout.

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So I am going back to the older university layout which uses the Moon Islands template. There is a town/gown division: the college buildings are on the right lower and half the left sides of the larger circular road. The town buildings are on the small loop half the left side and the upper side of the large loop. Eventually I will build more university buildings and add neighborhood decorations. Notice that there is also a monorail in this subhood. That is how you would get from Sandersville to college. Well the monorail and then the ferry across the strait.

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The Houses I don’t have a business district attached – I don’t see the point since my ‘hood simply isn’t that large – and my vacation destinations are all the default ones so the next thing to look at rebuilding is the houses. I started the new ‘hood for the rebuild at the same time as I rebuilt Sandersville last time. I named it “Easy Rebuilder” probably with unfounded optimism. Whenever a new lot was completed I placed it in both ‘hoods. If I modified or redecorated a house in Sandersville I modified or redecorated it in Easy Rebuilder. Houses that were completely built in Sandersville but that were occupied like the one Nirel and Harkon live in were recreated in Easy Rebuilder and packaged without people in them so that I didn’t have to recreate them ever again. Twice was enough thenk yew. That by the way was what I meant when I referred to the “live ‘hood” earlier. Sandersville is the live ‘hood the one I play in and Easy Rebuilder is the emergency backup ‘hood.

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I recently took to using a new method when it comes to moving families. Moving them into a new home redecorating it and then opening Easy Rebuilder and trying to remember what the heck I just did just doesn’t work. I redecorate the home in Easy Rebuilder package the never-occupied lot and place it in Sandersville. This method doesn’t allow me to place Career or Aspirations Rewards nor can I bring over portraits or other custom paintings but I’d lose those in a rebuild anyway.

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Although portraits aren’t as lost as you might think Instead of using “Paint Portrait” or “Paint Still Life” I take a regular in-game snapshot of what I want. I go into GIMP – my image manipulation program – and crop it resize it and make any other needed modifications. Then I save it as a Custom Painting. My Sims could paint a hundred of these Officially Wacky Boolprop Challenge portraits if I wanted them to I just don’t see the point. Following a rebuild any needed portraits will be re-painted. For Career and Aspiration Rewards I’ll just bust out the boolprop cheats. Which is a neat segue to our next topic.

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The Sims The Sims are the most important – and most labor-intensive – part of the whole rebuild process. Although I tend to stay away from using boolprop it gets heavy use at the very beginning of a rebuild because how else can I restore a lifetime’s worth of skills badges rewards and relationship points No SimPE remember Alas some family relationships have to be sacrificed since you can only build and set relationships for eight Sims at a time in CAS.

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To start off with I chart out quickly who is related to whom. I then mark the needed family groupings. I think that it is more important for a Sim to recognize their spouse children and grandchildren than to recognize their other relatives. If there’s room to fit others it’s more important to recognize siblings than extended family and when it comes to extended family closer relatives are more important to recognize than more distant ones. Once I’ve charted out my make-in-CAS groupings of eight or fewer it’s time to go recreate the Sims themselves.

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But just look at this face This face is the result of five generations of interesting and occasionally incompatible genetics. Er not counting the last rebuild. How am I going to recreate this face

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The quick answer is: I’m not. These two versions of Byron Miller are from the previous rebuild and you can see how I was unable to adequately recreate the facial deformities caused by breeding. So some Sims will get a little better-looking. I can live with that if I have to.

slide 19:

But I do want to get as close as possible and this is how I do it: reference photos Each and every Sims gets at least three pictures taken. One of these is full-face one is profile and one is three-quarter view. I can spin the Sims around in CAS and tweak them until they look the same from all angles. If a Sim has some sort of facial “furniture” that obscures part of their facial structure – glasses mustache hanging-over-the-face hairstyle things like that – then their official reference photos are taken with them bald and their face naked. I then add one or two pictures of them with the additional face- obscuring bits included so I can put them back correctly.

slide 20:

Recreating the personality and any recessive genetics can also be difficult. Partly because I can’t always be sure what recessives are actually there. I use a very basic form for that. It looks like this: Name: Family net worth: Skin: Cost of family business: Eyes: Hair: Build: Fit Average Fat Aspiration: Career: LTW: Level: Zodiac: of friends: Personality: List of friends: __ Neat __ Outgoing __ Active __ Playful __ Nice Turn Ons: 1. 2. Turn Off: Skill Points: Relationships to family/friends: __ Cooking __ Mechanical __ Charisma __ Body __ Logic __ Creativity __ Cleaning Badges: Robots: Flowers: Toys: Cosmetology: Sales: Register: Restocking: Gardening: Fishing:

slide 21:

Filled out the finished product looks like this. Lather rinse repeat for thirty-eight more Sims. sigh

slide 22:

At this point I dig out my printouts from SNOOTY SIMS. Their Info Center in invaluable for this – it tells you what level is equivalent to each job title which items to spawn so that you can restore what what cheats to enter where so you can spawn the items in the first place and just about anything else you might need. Now there’s nothing for it but to roll up my sleeves put on some good music brush up on my supply of swear words and start recreating Sims. It can be very frustrating.

slide 23:

Some Sims have recessive genetics but I can’t set that in CAS. I do like having some semblance of genetic diversity and I can’t get away with not putting recessives back – I know for a fact that some people voted for my OWBC heir based on his genes. You should check out my OWBC by the way. It’s only about 98 Official but it’s extra Wacky to make up for it. /shameless self-promotion What I am going to try – and I really hope it works – is to fake some grandparents with the proper recessives in CAS. I will create them breed them and remove them from the family. Then I will cross my fingers and keep them crossed until the next generation is born.

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There is one other really really annoying thing about recreating everyone and that is getting the ages correct. For starters CAS will not accept this as a family group. An Elder is not allowed to be the parent of a Teen according to CAS even though that can happen quite readily in-game. In fact with a little planning you can have an Elder as parent to a Toddler. But try telling that to CAS.

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How do I adjust ages Boolprop of course. If a Sim needs to be in the next age group really as in an Elder parent of a Teen who had to be created as an Adult so that I could set their relationship then I use the Set To Birthday option. After that or just instead of it if the Sim is in the right age group already I use elixir. You can indeed age a Sim using elixir – if your Sim is in the red they have a good chance of having three days added to their life instead of subtracted. I put the Sim in the deep red using the setAspirationLevel cheat and do a lot of quitting without saving when they get the days taken off anyway. sigh But just to be fair I then use the setAspirationLevel cheat to make the Sim platinum when I’m done.

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Then comes a lot of moving people in and out of various families so that people who should know each other actually do. I drag the relationship scores to where they’re supposed to be give or take about ten to fifteen points it’s not very precise motherlode or kaching the families who need it so they can afford the house they lived in before and stuff the inventories of the people who ended up with too much money full of Expensive Crap. I suppose I could strategize who moves in with whom in what order a bit better than I do but to be perfectly honest it takes me several weeks to get to this point and I’m sick of rebuilding – this is good enough and I want to play Which is what I’m going to do now. Next time around we should return to our regularly scheduled programming. Until then: Happy Simming

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