Random Thoughts on City Living

Ok, let’s get this one over with… Apartments. I was so disappointed to hear we can’t build our own apartments with City Living. I’ve been building pretend apartments since the base game and was really looking forward to making them run more smoothly. The pretend ‘apartments’ I have now are sort-of functional, I like that door locking was patched in, because that’s really helpful for keeping the right Sims in the right spaces. But there are issues surrounding money management, where other sims in other apartments will be earning money from their careers or spending money on food, and it’s not very realistic to have 4 households who are supposed to be living in separate apartments having a shared bank account! So, there are things I hope to see in the future, like having individual funds for sims as well as the ‘household funds’ and to be able to move money between them as we do with retail and business funds. I’m hoping that we will get more tools to help us build our own apartments and dorms in a University expansion.

Some of us are thinking ‘We can’t build our own apartments!’ and while we can’t build City Living apartment lots, we can build functional apartments already, we’ve been doing it since the base game, we just need a few more tools to help make them more functional.

I also see people saying ‘this pack has nothing for builders, it concentrates on gameplay’. I’d like to question this idea a little. Firstly, if builders aren’t interested in gameplay, then why are they bothered about the functionality of apartments? To someone only interested in building, we have been able to build ‘apartments’ since the base game. And there is a TON of new content for builders to stick their teeth into in this pack, there are some gorgeous new windows and doors, and interesting architectural pieces that can be seen in the trailers. Also, it appears there is advanced window placement options, with windows placed on foundations, and stackable windows. So, while I sympathise with the concerns, if we look at it critically, there is actually a lot of stuff for builders in this pack.

Apartments also give players a new challenge. I can’t wait to see what the community does with these small spaces! Our interior design skills will really be challenged if we choose to decorate a tiny apartment on a budget!

Gameplay wise, these apartments look very interesting and fun to play! I personally loved TS2 Apartment Life and I loved the experience of having interesting neighbours. I really get the same feel from this expansion, and I love the concept of starting out in a very questionable flat with faulting plumbing, insect infestations, and a creepy landlord! Then working your way up to a cool artists loft, and maybe eventually to a swanky penthouse! I love that I now have new ways for my Sims to live, that I can tell their stories in new ways. Is this sim a ruthless businessman with a modern luxury high rise? Or are they a bohemian rebel artist, spray-painting motifs onto their bare brick walls? And my Sims can now rent instead of owning a property, which makes things much more realistic! I love the idea of traits for lots, and that each apartment will have different perks or faults. I think that will be really interesting!

Do I still feel a tinge of disappointment. Yes. But if I put that one annoyance aside this really does look like an amazing pack with a ton of content! Some of the highly requested objects are making a return: basketball; the gaming console; karaoke; a keyboard; and graffiti! The world looks great! I like that the different districts have their own unique theme, it reminds me of Urbz. I love the idea of festivals like Geekcon! And I’m thrilled that we’re getting more variety of cultural influences because that reflects the diversity of cities in real life. It also allows more players to reflect their own cultures in the game. It’s inclusive, and that’s great!

There will still be more content that we haven’t heard about yet. I’m interested in hearing more about the three new careers (politics; social media; and critic) and learning more about how these will function. I’m so pleased that the podium will be making a return, and that Sims can hold protests again!

We need to ask ourselves if this pack has enough good stuff to outweigh our disappointment over apartment restrictions. For me, this is slightly pouty but enthusiastic YES!!!

The Thompson Family – Words, Words, Words!

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William was certainly not going to work for the local publishing house. He’d had enough of being told what to write and he wanted to pursue his own interests. He wanted to write the stories that he felt were important. No more fluff articles on the latest faux celebrity feud. He wanted to cover the stories that affected real people.

He had been looking for a premises for a while, somewhere where he could set up his own newspaper or magazine. Even before they moved to the new house, he had been looking at offices around Newcrest but hadn’t been able to find anywhere suitable. He didn’t have a lot of money to spare: it was nice not having to pay rent anymore after inheriting his aunt’s old property, but they still had to pay bills and school fees, and Willow’s job as a patrol officer didn’t bring in much money. He had to make sure that the income he made from his newspaper covered at least the basic costs. Or he would fail and be consigned to a life of writing drudgery at the corporate publishing house.

The children left for school. William was itching to get out and continue his hunt for an office, perhaps he would have to extend his search to the neighbouring areas, he could try looking in Willow Creek. There was a severe lack of building space in the suburbs and he decided the first thing he wanted to cover as a freelance journalist was the housing crisis! But that morning he had to wait until the gardener arrived, he hadn’t met them yet.

Willow was clearing away the breakfast things, ‘We need to get the rest of these things put away soon. I didn’t realise how much stuff we had in that tiny little apartment! I might just dump it all in the basement for now.’

‘We might have to rent them out soon,’ William protested, ‘I haven’t found an office yet and I’m worried we might have to spend more than we first anticipated. We could use the extra money.’

‘Oh, I forgot to tell you,’ Willow gasped suddenly, ‘That nice artist lady… what was her name…?’

‘Amalie Swan,’ William supplied.

‘That’s it! That nice artist lady, Amalie, mentioned that her nephew has been writing at a little book store down near the canal…’

‘Simspeare and Co?’ William interjected again, ‘Yes, I’ve been meaning to visit.’

Willow continued talking as she fluttered around the kitchen wiping the sides down, ‘…well she mentioned that they have an attic space that isn’t being used for anything at the moment and I thought you could take a look.’

‘Brilliant,’ William cried cheerfully, ‘I’ll go and look at it today.’

Willow got changed for work and fortunately the gardener arrived soon after, so William didn’t have to wait for long.

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William walked to Simspeare and Co, it was an easy walking distance from the house, which he took as a good sign. It was a lovely little bookshop, every surface crammed with a huge variety of books, most of them collectables. There was a small section for magazines and comics too, so he knew he would be able to sell his publication there. The clerk told him they had a small but enthusiastic local customer base, but that they also supplied items across the county via the internet. They happily allowed him to access the attic space, and although the room was tiny, William instantly knew he had found the right place! The best part was that they were going to let him use the space for free! On the condition that he supplied them with his newspaper for no charge. Which suited him very well indeed!

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A few days later, William had sourced the furniture for his office from an old library that was under refurbishment. The typewriters had been lurking in various places around the bookstore. And he had secured a vintage printing machine from an antique store. It took some work and a lot of oil to get it working again, and it had a tendency to leave big blobs of ink on the pages, but it kind of gave the paper a hipster vintage look. William was pleased with the results.

He also employed a few writers. The first was a gloomy, and slightly hopeless, assistant that he found lurking around the European History section. Gunther Munch was a bit clumsy and had a tendency to drift away into his own thoughts, but he was passionate and knowledgeable about current affairs and William thought he had potential. The second was a cheerful and organised lady who worked in the bookstore cafe. Her name was Harriette Baker and over one of her husband’s homemade cakes she had confessed her dreams of becoming a famous romance writer. When William had asked if she wanted to help him on the paper she had jumped at the chance! They settled in to their new home quickly and the only thing left to do was figure out what they wanted to write about first!

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The Thompson Family – Write From the Start

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William Thompson was tired. Tired of renting a small, over-priced apartment in the city. Tired of working for a glossy magazine that pretended to care, when all that really mattered was profits. So when his favourite aunt sadly passed away, leaving him her big old house in her will, he eagerly moved his family from the fast-paced city centre to the bohemian outskirts of Newcrest.

His aunt Eleanor had converted the basement into two small apartments, which she had rented out to lodgers to supplement her income. William toyed with the idea of doing the same, he knew there was a housing crisis and it seemed like the right thing to do. The extra money had allowed his aunt to maintain the house, and he found it in perfect condition. Almost too perfect. Museum-like. Towards the end of her life, Eleanor had become so frail that she felt that she needed the support of a care home. She had moved out, and so had her lodgers, and the house was left in the care of the gardener and daily housekeeping service. So it had the slightly too tidy atmosphere of a show home.

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Moving in day was cluttered but fun. William’s wife, Willow, was as keen to move out of the cramped apartment and into the spacious house as he was. And the children, enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of the old house.

Some curious neighbours arrived to welcome them to the area. One lady also worked for a publishing company, but she reminded William too much of his old colleagues. He courteously introduced her to his wife and slipped away to chat with an charming artist called Amalie, who talked vividly of old French novels, and had flecks of paint on the inside of her wrist. William encouraged her to investigate his aunt’s bookcase and Amalie eagerly borrowed a well-thumbed novel by Hugo. She had been forced to abandon her books, she told him sadly. William didn’t ask why.

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The first night in the old-new house was troubled. Gemma was woken by strange noises and rushed to her brother’s room screaming about a monster under the bed! Not content with waking Karl, she ran to her parent’s room to tell them about the strange creature too!

‘It’s alright,’ Karl called from the hallway, ‘I’ll handle this one.’

William and Willow snuggled thankfully down into their feather pillows. It was just the excitement of the move, and sleeping in a strange new room, they assured each other in the dark.

But Karl knew that telling Gemma it was all in her imagination wasn’t going to work. Big brothers were much more capable of dealing with bed monsters than grown-ups were. Armed with a bottle of water used for spraying house plants, he tiptoed into Gemma’s room.

‘Is it still here?’ he whispered to his younger sister, who was now giggling at her brother’s antics.

She nodded, her wide eyes darting to the space beneath the bed.

Karl nodded thoughtfully for a moment. Then he whispered, ‘Does it have a name?’

‘I don’t know,’ Gemma whispered back, ‘I haven’t asked it yet.’

‘Then we should give it one,’ Karl said decisively, ‘what does it look like?’

‘It’s sort of smokey…’ Gemma replied thoughtfully, ‘… and it has tentacles.’

‘Then I shall call it Dave.’

Gemma giggled, ‘Dave?! Dave is a silly name for a monster!’

‘Exactly!’ Karl said triumphantly, ‘And how can a monster with a silly name like Dave possibly be scary? Now hop back into bed.’

After a moment’s hesitation and a concerned glance, Gemma vaulted into her bed before Dave could tickle her ankles with his tentacles.

‘Now listen up, Dave!’ Karl puffed himself up and raised his voice to the shadows, ‘I have a bottle of monster repellent here and I’m not afraid to use it! I know you are a night-time animal, and you just want someone to play with. But my sister is a day-time monster, and she has school tomorrow so please stop waking her up.’

And he sprayed the floorboards for good measure. ‘I think he’s gone,’ he whispered to his little sister.

‘He’s gone,’ Gemma confirmed, yawning into her pillow. She was already fast asleep again before Karl had slipped out of the room.

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Stevenson Manor is on the Gallery if you would like it.

I think I forgot to upload the family because I’m so super-smart and good at remembering things, but I’ll try and do that soon. 😄

News: A Trailer for a Trailer

It’s happening people!!! There was a trailer posted by the official The Sims twitter account today… to announce that there will be a trailer for the The Sims 4: City Living… TOMORROW!!!

So, we have the official title now, which is kind of cute-sounding. And in the teaser trailer we can see a girl who might be a tourist gazing in awe at something high above her (Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a super high rise luxury apartment with a rooftop pool! Maybe?) There is a girl walking past with a 60’s inspired outfit, perhaps a fellow Audrey Hepburn fangirl? Then there is a hipster guy walking in the other direction, and two Sims sat chatting on a bench, one of whom might be wearing a turban?

There has been a lot of speculation already about what may or may not be in this expansion. The conversation has been fulled by a series of ‘leaks’, some of which were less believable than others. I don’t want to believe too much in the leaks because I don’t want to build my hopes up for anything that hasn’t been officially confirmed, but if that really is a turban, then there may really be a cultural aspect to this expansion. I truly hope there is! Because one thing I LOVE about my nearest city is that it is such a diverse and interesting place, and there is a great mix of people and cultures and that makes the city more vibrant and exciting! I like my game to reflect the world I see around me, and I want to represent all kinds of stories and backgrounds in my game.

I took a wild guess that there might be five possible ‘zones’ or ‘areas’ of the city, based on the colour coding used on a street map. But it might also just be a standard sign. I would love something like Urbz though, where you have different areas with a very different feel. Where you meet different types of people depending on the area you are in. If you never played Urbz and want to know what I’m waffling on about, you might want to check out this fab Let’s Play by The Arcade:

However, I suspect that they’ll move away from the traditional city expansions based on nightlife as simmers have been quite vocal about having a lot of that content already, and they may have gone with a different feel. So don’t panic too soon if you’re on the NO MORE PARTY CONTENT team. ❤

Anyhoooooooo… we'll just have to wait till tomorrow to know for sure but I'm hoping for some Friends and New Girl style cute hipster apartments! Also… I hope for basketball.

(And yes… at one point I said ‘whom’. And no, I’m not sure if I used it correctly, but it felt natural and I embraced it.)

Custom Content Skirts by Oh My Sims

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I wanted to make a quick post about some really useful Maxis Match custom content I recently added to my game. I’ve felt like there is a lack of variety of skirts in the game so far, skirts tend to be either too short or too office-looking, which is fine but they don’t suit all Sims in all situations. However, there are some nice skirts attached to full outfits in the game, I tend to find myself using these very often but this means my Sims often end up wearing the same clothing just in different colours.

The fabulous Marion at Oh My Sims recently separated FOUR of these full outfits into separate tops and bottoms. Not only this, but she also made variations to the clothing: offering different skirt lengths, colours, patterns, and designs.

* GP03 Flower Dress
* EP02 Cropped High Waisted
* Base Game Classic Drape Dress
* EP02 Boat Skirt

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Separating these outfits allows for much greater freedom and choice when it comes to creating new outfits. The pieces are much more flexible and add so many more options! There is admittedly a little bit of clipping, and not every combination will work. However, as someone who has been struggling to find suitable skirt options, these pieces are very welcome in my game!

The tops too can be re-thought to make new outfits, I really like the cropped lace-panel vest from EP02 and it looks great with skinny jeans! As does the 3/4 length sleeve top in the longer variation.

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It’s great to have all these separates for the game, so THANK YOU MARION!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

And I hope you all find them as useful as I do!

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The Banditos Family: Week 1 Round Up!

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This is just a mini-blog of other things that happened to the Banditos family that didn’t quite fit into a full blog post.

Firstly, Nancy invited Carlos and Sophia to a party at the Art Gallery in Willow Creek. Hmmm… could they be planning something? The couple did some romantic canoodling afterwards and I got some pretty screenshots.

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Marcos took his little sister Isabella to the park where she made a friend, Lena Clausen! And Maroc made friends with another of my Sims, Craig Mitchel (who I haven’t blogged about yet).

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Marcos went to the gym with Craig, and I think I started a gym club for them! These two are going to be friends because they’re both into exercise and are both a little vain. 😄

Then they went to the cafe in Windenburg which I converted into a restaurant.

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There was a cute moment where Marcos caught his sister crying under the covers and talked it out with her. ❤

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Antonio played cards with Estelle, these two are getting along quite well now.

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And I was trying to mod the photo studio so that Sims can play from the model’s perspective. I want to be able to send Sophia on modelling jobs while the household is active (even if I have to pay her with the money cheat). I got it halfway working then managed to break it. *sigh* But it’s on the to-do list unless Maxis get to it first!

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