Vote for Gameplay Features for a New Stuff Pack!

If you haven’t already heard, Sim Guru Graham and the Stuff Pack team have opened the development of a new stuff pack to the community. Graham has been explaining the kind of decisions that have to be made and the process behind designing and making a pack. The community have been able to vote of aspects like the style of the objects and which clothing concepts are chosen for Create-A-Sim. Now it’s time to vote for the GAMEPLAY of the pack! The choice is between: 1. Carbon Conscious; Laundry; Food Preserves; and Off the Grid. And you can vote for your favourite on the official site.

Here are screenshots of each design blurb and I’ll say what I thought of each below.

1. Carbon Conscious

At first glance this seemed like something I would be very interested in! I have my Freegan household which I’ve been playing for a while.

I really like the idea of a ‘freegan’ trait and I like the idea of rummaging in trash cans because this made me think of the dumpster diving in TS3 University Life. However… only ingredients??? I get that freegan thing of not wasting edible food but Sims can already rummage in trash cans for food so that doesn’t really add anything new. And you can already get free ingredients by collecting them from plants around the open world areas. So there doesn’t seem like much point to this. I’d rather something more like the TS3 dumpster diving where you collect random junk, mixed with the TS3 junk yard. I’d love to collect old dirty furniture and broken electricals, clean and repair them, and sell them on for a profit.

I like the idea of the composter a lot, but would prefer this along with an ‘eco-friendly’ trait which I’d prefer over the ‘freegan’ trait as I think I’d use it more.

I like the idea of recycling bins but feel like it’s overkill alongside the composter. I’d be happy with a trash can mimic that looked like recycling bins in different colours.

As much as I’d love more eco-friendly features, I feel like this concept is underdeveloped and the ideas could be incorporated into a larger pack or be combined with one of the other ideas.

2: Laundry

Love it! Want it! Would definitely purchase!

I like that it specifies that it would only come into effect if you actually placed the objects on the lot, like in TS3, because I may want laundry as gameplay for some families but not others.

I like that it has machine and non-machine options. I think hand washing and line drying would suit historical games. I love the idea of a line.

My only concern is that it doesn’t specifically say that ‘eco concious’ is a trait, and I would really want it to be.

3: Food Preserves

Nooooooo! Why would you do this to me!? How can I choose between this and laundry!? Canning and nectar making are two of my all time favourite Sim things!!!

I AM IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION!!!

Wait… these features are close to my heart and I have concerns:

1. Are there different fruit flavoured jams? I want the jam to reflect the chosen ingredient, not be generic ‘jams’.
2. Do the jams, cans and nectars have a value? Because I’m going to want to sell them. A lot.
3. It says ‘a new harvestable plant’, indicating there will be one new plant in this pack. But it also says there will be new grape varieties. It’s important to me that the new grape varieties are also harvestable plants.
4. Can I can, preserve and nectarificate (nectarify? We’ll just say ‘ferment’) ANY ingredient? No matter how silly? Because if I want to make 2000 year old chicken and onion nectar and force my Sims to drink it to see how sick they get then I AM ENTIRELY WITHIN MY RIGHTS TO DO SO!!!

5. ‘electric’ canning pot? Urgh, I hope it’s not some huge mechanical monstrosity like the cupcake machine! A key thing I liked about canning in TS1 and TS3 was that it had that adorable stove and it was so old-fashioned and lovely. The word ‘electronic’ puts me right off!!!

See, how great does this look from Butterbot at Mod the Sims?!

I’m surprised that the pack suggests we will get canning, preserves AND nectar all in one pack and I am VERY concerned that this means the development will be stretched and it won’t be as in depth as previous versions and mods. If that were the case I’d rather have one or the other in this pack and have it done properly, then continue to hope for the other in another pack.

I actually did vote for this one, because I just loved nectar making so so so much and I know I’d use this so often! But it was difficult to decide between this and laundry.

4: Off the Grid

I do really like this idea! Particularly the idea of having the new lot trait which would switch off utilities. I think this would be good for history players and households like the Freegans.

Like the Carbon Conscious pack, I feel like this one is missing something. I feel like those two packs could be combined by keeping the stronger features and dropping others. Or that this could be part of a larger pack like Seasons or Farming because of the water/solar aspect and rustic theme.

I’d prefer a traditional, slightly rustic/industrial style for the objects, like a handy Sim cobbled them together in their shed. The whole ‘tree and leaves’ thing sounds weird to me.

Conclusion:

I basically like all the ideas and would like ALL THE THINGS!!! But I think Carbon Concious could offer something more interesting like dumpster diving and cleaning/upgrading/repairing broken objects like my junk mod. I think this would be more useful as rummaging in the trash for food and collecting free ingredients is something that already exists. And as much as I like the sound of Off the Grid, it sounds like it could be included in a bigger pack like Seasons or Farming. Although I’d still be happy to get it in a Stuff Pack too! I would love both Laundry and Food Preserves and I would get the most use out of those packs. I am just concerned that nectar making and jam making won’t be as flexible as I would like it to be.

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Summer 2017 Seasonal Teaser!

The Sims team recently released the summer quarterly teaser:

What!? No expansion pack!?

But what’s that you say? A family focused game pack?

The teasers never give away many details so there’s a lot of speculation about what might be included. Some simmers think that the backpack, school books, and desk indicate something to do with schools: maybe open schools or home learning? But SimGuruNinja also tweeted:

Which reveals the main focus of the pack to be interactions between family members. Perhaps we might get parenting techniques since lots of players miss the punishment system from TS3, but I hope anything like this is optional and/or customisable because I don’t want all my Sim parents to run a tyrannical parenting regime!

The other pack featured in the teaser is a stuff pack themed around fitness. Graham said that they don’t want to give too much away and this is literally just a hint about the theme:

He also confirmed it is fitness, not ‘sports’:

I like the wooden panelling of the treadmill, it makes me think of very upmarket gyms or designer home gym equipment. I’m wondering if we’ll get a new fitness object such as an exercise bike. Also, health foods are a big thing right now, along with vegan foods, so I’m wondering if we’ll get something in that areas. Juicers have been a fairly popular request, for example. I’m personally hoping there will be a new aspiration or two revolving around an interest in living a healthy lifestyle, because I have a lot of sporty and health-focused Sims and they’re not all bodybuilders!!!

I’m interested in both of these packs and I’m looking forward to hearing more details! ^____^

Help to Create A Stuff Pack!

Yesterday the gurus dropped some exciting news! Sim Guru Graham, who is the lead producer on Stuff Packs, has opened up the creation process to the community and is asking for our input in designing a new stuff pack! Right now we are being asked to vote on what will be the theme of this pack and you can take part over at the official blog. You can also get more involved in the new forum section, ‘Graham’s Corner‘.

So head over to the official site where you can get your voice heard and help to influence the design of a Stuff Pack!

News: Vampires Look Fangtastic!

The Sims team just released a blog and video on the upcoming Vampire game pack and… woah! These creatures of the night would make short work of the old sparkly types. I think those who were disappointed in the TS3 vampires will be pleased that the TS4 version are much more traditional and, yes, they DO sleep in coffins!

News: TODDLERS!!!

That’s right! Toddlers are actually here and you can get them in your The Sims 4 game RIGHT NOW!!!

FOR FREE!!!

They have been patched in with LOADS of content! Just update your game and there they are! You can adopt them, age up babies, or add a new toddler to the household using CAS! You can even assign caregivers! Toddlers can also be given a special trait: Angelic, Fussy, Silly, Charmer, Independent, Wild, Clingy, or Inquisitive! And they can learn new skills using items such as the potty, bath, blocks… or just by having them dance!

They look amazing and I’m off to go and play with them!

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.)

News: The Sims 4 Backyard Stuff Announcement and Trailer

I’m so excited about that bird feeder! I feel like I’m going to burst into song like Mary Poppins. XD

*caterwauling* Feeeeeeed the biiiiiird, tuppence a baaaaaag!

So the Backyard Stuff pack seems aimed at family and friends hanging out in the garden. It has a summery feel with the slip n slide and cheerful animated windmills. It seems like the Lawn Water Slide is the main feature of the pack, and it has different animations like a sexy pose or a surfing pose. There is also a fail animation which is quite amusing, and I love that Sim covered in bubbles at the end!

Interestingly, there are lots of gameplay objects in this pack. There is the bird-feeder with new animations. There is also a juice pitcher with a choice of lemonade or iced tea. This seems like an updated version of the drinks tray that came with Spa Day because it actually has a pouring animation. I’m a little bit disappointed that it doesn’t appear to have a recipe that uses the harvestable lemons, but I’m excited to have the local kids set up a lemonade stall again (I figure I can use the retail system for this somehow). As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a set of wind chimes which have lots of customisable options: ‘Choose from bamboo, ceramic, or metallic chimes… pair them together if you like, or even set the length of the rods to adjust the chime’s pitch’.

Oh, there is also a new style of patio table with SIX seats instead of the usual four. This is great if you have a big family gathering and want a couple more seats around the dining table (granddad can sit at the kids’ table). And there are lots of nice decorative objects like the animated windmills, and general summer garden clutter. I like the step ladder with the flower pots! And finally, we have that Sim classic… the white picket fence!

There are some new relaxed hairstyles in the pack, with some ombre colour options. And an assortment of summery clothes. And SimGuruPizza just tweeted out that we have skinny jeans that can be tucked into boots! Yes!

There seems like a lot of gameplay content for your money in this pack, and I think this will definitely be worth getting!

News: The Sims 4: Kids Room Stuff Trailer

I didn’t think I would be so excited for this pack! What surprises me is that there are TWO gameplay features, and they both seem pretty in-depth.

First, there is a puppet theatre! Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!! This is too adorable! Kids can increase their social skill by using this item, and there are 5 performances to unlock! I’m going to place one of these in Willow Creek park to make a visit more enjoyable!

Secondly, there is a whole new electronic game for kids based on a similar concept to Pokemon or Digimon! There are twenty Voidcritter cards to collect and you can actually find these around the world as new collectable items! Then you can challenge your friends on the Voidcritter Battle Station. I asked SimGuruGraham if we could sell them in comic book stores and he said yes! There are lots of decorative items in this pack that will be great for comic book and toy shops, and also cinemas as one of the bedroom sets continues the robot theme from Movie Hangout Stuff. I love this continuity between packs!

Oh yeah… there are new bedroom sets for children to help you personalise their room! Are they into computers and science? Sports? Or are they interested in popstars? There are room sets for them all! But now this makes me want more hobbies like soccer or a Freetime style expansion with interests. XD

I’m really excited for this pack! And I’m planning which of my Sim children will be using these items! I feel like stuff packs are going from strength-to-strength lately and think the gameplay element means they’re much better value for money than the TS2 or TS3 stuff packs were! ❤

Read the official blog here!

News: The Sims 4 Expands Gender Customization Options

Now, there are two extreme reactions to this:

‘Oh, wow! This is amazing! It’s so great that The Sims is supporting the LGBT community and giving players more options to customise their characters!’

and

‘No… no… no… no… no… *horrified face*!!! I don’t feel comfortable with this and I’m not sure I’m happy having this in my game!’

Or maybe like me, you’re somewhere in between. You are happy that players have more options and think it’s great that The Sims team are supporting different life choices. But maybe you don’t really want men to get pregnant and worry about how this might affect your game. Yeah… it’s great to have the choice, but maybe you don’t want every single townie to look like Prince, Ellen, Bowie or Lenny Kravitz (as much as you love those people in real-life).

Well, the good news is that The Sims team have this covered! You really can play YOUR way here, as the new features are entirely optional. In fact, you have to opt-in to them and if you don’t want the new features, you can ignore them and continue to play your own way. And they have gone to great lengths to make sure no random townies will spawn with the new options. As a player who is a bit of a control-freak, this makes me very happy!

Now, when you go into CAS you will see a small unobtrusive ‘…’ option that opens a window with the new features. At first some of these choices seem a bit strange, but they are provided to help players create the transition period between changing from one gender to another, or the difficulties they might face. The Sims team worked with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group GLAAD to make sure they provided details and features that would help players create the Sims they wanted to create. So, you can choose whether a Sim can pee standing up, or if they can get others pregnant, or get pregnant themselves. You can also choose the ‘frame’ of your Sim, so you could have a female with a masculine frame or visa-versa. I tested this out on Cinderelli-sim.

I live in an area where it’s not unusual to be gay or be in a same-sex relationship. There are same-sex couple families, and occasionally you might meet a transgender person (although you might not be sure). So the new features are not as shocking or controversial to me as they might be to others. However, I also live in a very multi-cultural place, and can sympathise with people who may be uncomfortable with this because they come from a community where this is a taboo. On the whole, I’m lucky enough that all these different people just get on with their own lives and don’t worry about what others choose to do with theirs.

At the moment, I don’t think I’ll use the advanced gender options. I already have my main characters, most of whom have been with me since The Sims 1, and they have pretty set story-lines. I just don’t happen to have any transgender Sims. However, I do have ‘feminine’ men and ‘masculine’ women and already show this through walk-styles and body-shape. For example, I have a aging rockstar based loosely on David Bowie. And I have a young girl who is pretty tough and wants to join the police force! Both these sims are ‘straight’. I do have a gay Sim but he just looks like any other male in my game.

What I really REALLY like about this update is that we now have soooooo many more clothing options when it comes to CAS! With a simple toggle, you now have access to almost all CAS assets for either gender if you want them. Sure… some are more dramatic than others, but I was pleasantly surprised to find so many options worked really well for both genders! In fact, I started to get a bit confused about which item had been for which gender before the patch!

One thing I particularly like about this is that it gives you more ‘covered-up’ clothing for females. I have a big variety of characters in my game, including a lot of mothers and grandmothers who don’t suit the vast majority of young and revealing female CAS items that are more appropriate for younger Sims. Being able to access the male CAS means I now have more jeans, trousers and (most importantly) cuddly cosy jumpers for my more modest Sims!

I’m very impressed with the new clothing options, and even if you are unsure about the new gender features, I encourage you to at least explore the variety of clothing that is now available. There are a lot of items that just aren’t suitable or don’t really work too well at the moment. But there are also so many great clothing assets that I think most people will be able to find something in there that they like.

But new gender and clothing options aren’t all there is in this patch!!! Oooooooh no. There is also new lighting that looks absolutely beautiful! Light now passes through windows.

And there are also a lot of smaller details including:

* Sims can now grab a drink of water from the tap or sink.
* There are lots of tweaks to the Ui.
* There are FINALLY more carpet colour options!
* A new ‘Ask just to be friends’ social interaction.
* And being able to size-up paintings and photos!

This really is a huuuuuuuge patch and there is something for everyone!

I really like how The Sims are trying to cater to different player’s needs and I like this idea of being inclusive and allowing people to represent themselves in the game. What I feel they need to do next is look at other communities of players and provide items for them. This includes traditional cultural clothing like head scarves, turbans and saris. It upsets me to think that any players feel like they are being marginalised, and in the interests of diversity and representation, I think they could do well to look to other players who might need support. Recent world events have created tensions and fear of certain cultures, just as the LGBT community has been faced with fear and misunderstanding. The Sims has always been a progressive and inclusive game and I feel like the next step is to provide content that shows solidarity with these players too. But that’s just my humble and inclusive opinion. It just a game after all.