Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Calendar

As is MTS custom, we had a calendar contest and we are about to announce the winners. Like last year, I made the TS2 version and will again. Last time I made a longer 20 day SSN calendar. This time, I'll be doing the same, but also adding a version that has pop up notification on the holidays. I've created a few sim holidays in addition to the more traditional ones. I also looked at how TS3 is handling their new SSN EP and they have 4 main holidays - one per season. I'm mirroring it a bit, but with better names I feel. The winter holiday in TS3 is called 'Snowflake Day', wtf right? My version calls it 'Winter's Day'. Leisure day became Nation's Day, Love Day is Lover's Day, and they did well with Spooky Day so that's the same. I also included Llama Fool's Day, Founder's Day, and Winter's Day Eve (when Santa comes) and New Year's Eve (father time and baby new year). I figure the holidays can be in the background and if your sim family observes it then they celebrate, if not, whatever. I've been letting Llama Fool's Day go by without much fanfare, but Lover's Day is now a big engagement and wedding day.

I mentioned in my last post about this that I was working on school mods to match, and somehow I made it so that kids can still go to school in the summer if you direct them to (I've been sending anyone with a C or lower to 'summer school') while no sim can go to school on Winter's Day; it's just not an option. I have no idea how that worked out, but I kinda like it. In my game Winter's Day is celebrated with a tree and lights and cookies for Santa the night before, but it's not Christmas. There is no Christ in my game. This makes it easier for all my sims of whatever background to all celebrate it too. I can have 'jewish' sims celebrate the same Winter's Day with a menorah. I prefer not to drag religion into it, so it can be anything to anyone.

You should see this calendar up in a few days when Heaven announces the winners of the LolSim calendar contest. I will also update last year's calendar to have the new improvements of auto-updating and I'll include holiday versions too.

Edit: And the age and vacation mods are up!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Playing Oprah: Giving Away Cars

So, it's not really a project per se, but I just spent some time going through all my families in Pleasantville and the surounding subs deleted ugly Yomoshoto cars and replacing them with awesome new cars I finally got around to downloading, choosing the right recolors, price fixing, and editing to show up in parking lots. After some careful math/research, I've concluded that to correctly price a sims car you need to take the price that car would be today (if it's an older car you find what the used price would be) and divide it by 3. This puts all the CC cars inline with the original ones and it keeps them on a relatively correct scale with each other. Likely the creator didn't bother with keeping things like comfort and fun in check, but all in all, that's not actually a problem for a car.

After I did my research on all the cars I had downloaded (26), some of which were harder to find, I edited their cost in simpe and tweaked the two values required to make them show up in parking lots. I decided that not all my new cars should be allowed to show up, mostly the fancier older ones, and I kept that in consideration while working. Then I tested it out, discovered I had a bug that prevented me from being able to go to comm lots, spent about half an hour tracking that down and nuking it, and finally I was able to send a delegation of sims to a community lot with parking spaces. Lo and behold, it was beautiful. All the sexy new cars I downloaded and what a pretty range of colors and shapes and styles. It was so real and wonderful looking I spent another half an hour just regenerating them and watching the pretty dance of cars in front of me. So happy! I'll do Strangetown and Desdirata later, I need sleep.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Final Two Pleaseantview Contest Entries

Edit: I took SECOND PLACE! :D

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, my part in the Pleasantview Renovation contest comes to a close. I didn't want to make each house it's own post here and clutter up the important WIP stuff, so here are the front views of the last two houses. Links to each one's entry post are included if you would like to see more picture (and you should! These two are really good!)

The third house is for Will and Elise Gibson to try to help them ease past the pain of losing Anne, wife and mother. Will picked up what was left of his family and moved to the seaside. He picked up a nice coastal home and started trying to make a new normal. Check it out here!

And the Wilson's have the final house. When Sarah and Tom added on to their family, suddenly the little one bedroom townhouse wasn't big enough so they packed up and moved. Sarah likes contemporary country, Tom is into sports, and their toddler is a dragon-slayer! See their house here!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holidays and Calendars

I have some exciting new updates! A day or two ago I spent time fiddling with aging mods to see if I can't balance my game better (I'm liking it so far, further testing then I'll upload it), fiddled with summer school break mods, and uni length all working together to try to help bring some sort of real time to my game. I like the length of seasons being five days, but the toddlers seemed to grow up too quickly, I could never get all their skills in, kids grow up super fast and teens just seem to drag. You could have a teenager in the house and then have another baby and it would become a teenager before the other one has to move out or go to college. IRL, it takes 13 years to become a teenager and you only stay a teenager for 7, so that's like half the time. I had to rebalance it. I also wanted my kids and teens to have the summers off, but the nice hack I had made it so kids had half the year off in Strangetown where it is summer for half the year. I instead picked up his (?) alternate version that does it by quads and then tweaked it to be the second quad. Then I changed all my neighborhoods season rotation to have the years start in spring and the summer break month be the second quad. I prefer looking at the UI with the beginning of the year in Spring. My name is April, and that means 'spring, new beginnings'. Also, calendars used to begin on April 1st, which is where we got the holiday from. From how I see things though, spring really starts in late Feb, so that's pretty close to the beginning of the regular calendar year anyways.

I swapped out some of the pictures in my copy of the MTS calendar from last year to reflect my personal favorites and how I want my seasons and holidays to go. I'm working on making a tiny little mod to it to notify me when it was Christmas, Halloween, New Years, Valentines Day, and the first and last days of school. I personally like Christmas being on the third day of winter, but often it slips past me without realizing.

I've done some initial testing and it looks pretty doable, and on the upside, that also make the calendar more usable because it will set itself to the correct day. I'd love to stay up and work on this more, but I want to go to bed now. My bf was really nice to me today and I want to curl up with him. <3

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LolSims Calendar

This year's calendar theme is LolSims. I entered in the LolWhut category and the LolPets category. My LolPets image was a winner!

The Breadfruit trees are bugged so that when they are struck by lightning, they do not go out. I decided to use this as a Moses and Burning Bush sorta image. Moses sees his second burning bush, but then God admits to messing up.

This one was a bit simpler and I think that's why it went over better. So much for that Doginatchi training system, Cyd!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Uni Buildings are Going Up

In attempts to get out of the mini-depression my failing nano has caused, I've gone back to my Uni hood. I've finished off all of the parking lots because they are simple, and I've constructed the baseball stadium. I haven't furnished it yet, but I'm pretty happy with the structure. I had already also completed and fully furnished my English Department. I've made a fire station, but I don't really like how it looks so I think I might start that one over. I constructed one of the professor's houses and I have 2 of the 3 dorms done. I had the third one done, but I lost it while messing with my AnyGames. It was pretty sweet, so I'll likely rebuild it just as it was if I can.

I'm having trouble with some of the more specialized buildings, the ones where I know I'll be making a more EPs better version. To do those, I think I'll need to make the better one first, and the copy it down into my base hood. That way I won't have to move walls to include activities I didn't have the objects for. It's looking like that's what I need to do for Performing Arts, Design, Basketball Stadium, Soccer Stadium, and Co-Rec. I think those all need FT.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Officially Quitting Nano This Year :(

So, now I'm more than a week behind on my word count and its looking more and more impossible to finish. I wrote about 12500 words last year and that was about what I wrote this year too. I feel like if I kept pushing myself to finish it the writing will suffer (I've already noticed that in some of my last chapters, like glossing over dialog), so I think I'm going to officially quit before I get entirely burnt out on it and just hate it completely. I'd rather pick it back up next year and try yet again to finish it, though at the pace I go, it looks like it will take 4 Novembers to finish.

Anyways, I think its best I set it aside again. I feel upset that I let myself down, but hating a project you were excited about is worse. I'm still trying to get over my senior capstone project because the idea was fantastic, but I rushed the design and execution and it didn't turn out as well as I hoped. I don't want that to happen to my little nano.

I'm going to go back and reread all my college collection stuff and see if I can't get reenergized about that instead. I hate this feeling of boredom and no motivation; the only thing that sounds good is napping on the couch, going to bed early, and sleeping in. I need something that is pulling at me to work on it every second I can spare, and nano was that for a while, but its lost that. There is just too much guilt associated with it now.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

National Novel Writting Month

Ok, so its not really sim related, but it kinda is. I'm *trying* to participate in NanoWrimo this year again. I got violently sidetracked last year because it coincided with my final projects at school, but I'm currently unemployed and out of school, so I should have a much better shot at it. I'm going to pick up where I left off and continue with my Apocalypse story. That's how its related to sims. Last year I was very into getting my Apox Challenge and Apox mods done, and it just kind of fueled the fire for the genre for me. Here's hoping I can even remember what I was trying to write. >.<

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Vacation Destinations

This is another project I've been sitting on for a while and I keep forgetting I have it. I'm working on a custom vacation destination. It's for Strangetown and technically it's an Asian local, but its designed to be an Alien Space Colony. It's called Pollination Station #23 and I've already got a sweet hood deco and layout going on, but I should really work on making better custom lots. I also need to research what vacation activities you are supposed to be able to do at the Takemizu and see how many of them will line up with this new place.

I'm also interested in making a ski resort for a mountain local, where its always winter and it would have lovely ski lodges and lots of christmasy and winter decorations. It would be sweet if I can figure out how to make custom outings for it as well, so they can pay a tour guide to take them skiing and snowboarding since it's not so likely that I'll be able to include those activities any other way. An ice skating rink would be nice to include as well.

The third vacation spot I'd like to create is a wooded lake area. It would have lots of beach lots and activities like fishing and canoeing. Many of the existing mountain tours work well enough for this. I just want to include a lake beach that would be perfect for my Log Cabin Lake House and my Lakeside Cabins.

To round it out I'd need a beach local, and the point of these is to kind of mix up the typical so I can't do a nice warm tropical beach, so the only other option is a colder one, similar to New England beaches. But, no sense in reinventing the wheel, plasticbox has a fantastic neighborhood that I turned into just that. So I will have to think on this some more. I made a bunch of those little houses into single family 'rentals' by placing hotel doors on all the bedroom doors. This helped out when my Stargazer family vacationed there but had trouble making sure that the kids got fed. Renting a house with its own kitchen meant that mom could still cook for the littler ones.

Morph Mesh Curtains

So, I've had this idea for a while and I just never bothered to get started on it and do anything with it because its such a low priority, even though I think its cool. Some objects can have morph meshes, like the swingset and some cushy chairs. They adjust to the shape of a sim's butt visually. What's actually happening is that a second mesh group with exactly the same polys just in different places is taking over when the sim starts to interact with it. I figure this could be applied to curtains, particularly the maxis ones (cuz if it isn't maxis match it tends to have a limited life expectancy in my downloads folder.) The normal mesh would be the default open state of course, but then I could add in the 'closed' version of the curtains. Sims could walk up to the curtains and open and close them, like Atavera did with the BG windows early on. The patterns would straighten out and it would just look very natural - in theory, keep in mind, I've done no poking around yet to see how possible this even is. I think it could work, the painful parts being making straight versions of squished up meshes (likely just have to remesh everything and make custom drapes instead, and then making straight texture versions of all the existing maxis recolors. And then it would break every other recolor as well. Maybe these shouldn't be defaults after all...

Pane-ful Windows

I've picked this project up and put it down so many times I've got at least three or four versions of the list of windows I want to work with. What I've got planned here is to recolor the glass portion of the windows to include things like broken glass, frosted glass, winter frost, stained glass, screens, and no glass. Some of the windows need to have their glass section added and become CEP enabled, and others are silly and need to be remapped and then have the glass as the second subset. Why we need to be able to separately choose wood colors for log windows is beyond me.

This project was going smoothly until mustluvcats came out with her Privacy Screens that basically did exactly what I was planning, but in a one-size-fits-all way. This lead me to have a crisis of faith sorta moment and I put the project down for a year and a half. I've since decided I still want to proceed because my way can give me 'empty' windows, which is something I've been wanting for a long time. Nicely shaped porch window openings without any glass in them. And, I can fix those non-nonsensically two-faced window subsets while I'm at it.

Corner Deco Stairs

I've been putting off doing this post for a while cuz it's dead simple, the project has nothing two it, but yet its a bunch of sucky busy work. Getting the meshes to line up and be low poly is just a nightmare. See the nice inside corner stairs in the center of the picture? Basically I want to do the opposite, make an outside corner. I'd also need to add a bunch of slots, that's not that hard either, it's been done for stairs. The tricky thing I was working on was figuring out a way of making the object a slave to multiple master stairs. A good number of the stairs actually all use the same mesh, not just the cheap brown and green ones, but others share as well. I think there might be a way of doing it because a few times when I've cloned an object but haven't Fixed Integrity or something, it will pick up my new recolors in addition to the original object's colors. There might be something to that. The reason I need to worry about that is because there have been multiple stairs made recolorable, and I want to be able to accommodate that with as little catalog cluttering as possible.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pleasantview Contest

I've tabled my other projects for now but I'm glad there is so much interest in my College Collection project. Once I have the time I will pick that one back up again. I'm also working on the contest entries for jones' contest. I did the business guy for my first house, and I'm doing the flower lady for my second. It seems to be what everyone else is doing, but I'm trying to put my own takes on them both. Steve went for a really retro look and I chose to loose points by opening up his bedroom. Take a tour!

Rose(mary) Gardner just has to be the younger sister to Marigold Gardner, thus making her a plantsim. Building a plantsim friendly house while still having everything the judges are going to want is proving difficult, but fun. My version will be vastly different from the other Rose's houses. Go check out the rest of the house!

Secret Projects!

I've been avoiding making a post about my current two projects because one is a joint project with Echo for Halloween, and the other is a MTS official project, which you will also know about on the first of November. Basically, don't disappear from MTS right around then, you will want to see what's planned.

Edit: The secret project is out and is posted, if you are interested, it's a costume trunk and available now! The other was the start of MTS Official Creator Competitions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Joined a new Contest

So, its been quite some time since my last post. I almost have a good reason for it. I'm job hunting. I've also had a few paid gigs and I've got one really freaking early (by my wake-up-at-10:30 standards) tomorrow. Yay! I also have been working on a side scheme to make money by designing and selling dollhouse kits. There might be more about that later if it pans out.

On the sims side of things (cuz this isn't a personal blog, you guys care about sims) I've joined jones' Pleasantview Reno House Contest. Spots are open until Saturday, so if you want to play, get it in soon!

Update: I've uploaded this house! Get it here!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Custom UNI Hood

And nothing says getting out of hand like a project exploding into a full hood... If I'm going to be making all these awesome new buildings for a university, I should prolly make the university as well. I don't really want to make the SC4 terrain so I found a lovely one by my new favorite map maker, Nepheris, called Maple Lake. I'm always looking for some smallish maps with roads that aren't too far apart or look silly, and Maple Lake is turning out to be just perfect. I took some grid paper and have gone to town ;) designing the layout of the new Uni hood. There was a few tiny leveling issues in the center of the map so I had to edit it in SC4. While I was at it I connected the sports complex road to the village. I may or may not keep it like that.

I'm referencing my own University as to what buildings are required, and I nearly forgot the Frat Houses. I hate them and never play them, but I'm sure somebody out there just loves them, so I can't leave them out. And what's college without loser frat guys having wild keggers and leaving red cups littered everywhere 4 nights a week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

University Comm Lots

And this project is quickly getting out of hand. After I made the dorm I didn't want to decorate it because that would require some extra EPs and SPs I didn't want to include. So I decided to make a University Store that had everything incoming freshman would need. But that quickly got out of hand too. It was ugly and needed a bunch of EPs/SPs. So the next logical thing to do was to divide the store into separate shops, have a bookstore, an art store, a music store, a furniture store, an electronics store, and a clothing store. That way as many people as possible can use as many of the stores as possible. I only need FT for the music and art stores, why require it of all of them?

Then I got to thinking what about all the other community lots on a college campus, what if I did minimal EP versions of them as well? I could have a co-rec that only needs FT, a Student Union with NL (bowling) and BV (food dinners). I'm just getting carried away. Then I started thinking about the Stadium and sports complexes. I can build some of them, but some just look better as Criquette's hood deco, so I was thinking why not include a SC4 map of a university. Make a version that is as simple as possible, and then do a full complete version that uses all of my lots and requires a bunch of them for those people who have everything already.

Then there are the actual academic buildings. Most people tend to leave them out because there isn't much point to them, sims won't really go there for classes, but I like seeing where I can pretend my sims are going to class and I like the buildings taking up space in the neighborhood. For that reason I've complied a list of all the Uni majors and all the Maxis career paths and sorted them out into Departments. With just the majors I had it combined to 5 departments, but then when I added in all the career paths I found other commonalities between them that should be recognized on their own. My college will have 10 department buildings: History, Law, PoliSci, Math, Business, Science, English, Design, Theater, and Psch/Phil. These buildings will all have classrooms, offices, computer labs, and specialized rooms specific to the needs of the dept (such as labs for Science, studio space for Design, theaters and practice rooms for Theater). Many will also have their own libraries. As far as I can tell, Mootilda is the only one to have included academic buildings in her college, and it was brilliant. She also did it as a custom Uni template, and I'd like to look into doing that as well perhaps. Though, perhaps not to keep the EP requirements down. The Design and Theater Colleges are likely going to require FT, but I think I can manage without that for the rest of them.

Everything is just getting out of hand - like it should! It's exciting when a project starts running itself! Gosh I'm having so much fun just thinking about it all!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

UNI and IKEA Dorm

Ok, I am more than happy that something has finally beaten Afterschool Activities in my poll. Particularity one I want to work on at the moment. After spending nearly all day yesterday in shock from the new of my promotion to Super Moderator, I eventually managed to do something useful. One of the things on my list was to build a dorm that actually seemed to look like a real dorm. I created one and based its shape and dorm rooms off a dorm at my school. I still need to do some final tweaks to it and test it to make sure everything is accessible, but I'm already much happier with this one than any of the Maxis dorms. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

OMG I'm Purple!

Sometimes I guess it really does pay to be patient.  I've been staff here at MTS for a little over 4 years and today I got promoted. I even skipped a level. I'm super excited to be purple, and a Super Mod now. This means I now have privs in all areas of the site, not just Bodyshop and Downloads. In the next few days I'm likely going to be organizing TS2 Objects and Modding forums, unless I get a real job handed down to me. Its always been my goal to help creators, and I feel if information is easy to find, its easy to create things. TS3 create areas are still in flux because we are still getting new EPs, but TS2 is set in stone now. Its about time to give it a good cleaning and organizing!

So happy to be my favorite color! Makes me feel ok that I don't dye my hair purple anymore (just graduated college, looking for a real job, remember?)



Friday, September 14, 2012

Pretty Little Houses

So, its been like almost 5 whole days since I posted last. To be fair, I'm currently job hunting. Anyways.

I've recloned all 5 of my bug houses and got all of their effects working. They are super cute! I'd show you picture of them all, but I only have the meshes done for 2 of the 5. I redid the beehive because I was hating it, and I finished the butterfly house. I'll work on finishing the meshes of the moth, fly, and firefly next. When all that pretty stuff is done, then I need to really dig into the BHAVs of it all. That's usually where projects take the longest and get sidetracked. It's not a good place to be.

I also fixed them all so they are recolorable and have the same catalog ratings as the ladybug house. Fun is not advertised (as it was in the Flinko), and Environment score is set to 1. Apparently, just changing it in the catalog does change the real value. I covered an empty lot in these things and watched my sims' enviro score sky rocket. It was more than entertaining to see an entire lot covered in butterflies. :P

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Progress and Research

I spent last night re-working my existing beehive because I couldn't remember what I cloned it from and I'm always trying to make things as base-game as possible. The vast majority of this set will require SSNs, but I think it would be nice if I could make a few with versions that didn't.

The beehive is now cloned from a flamingo, so bad sims can come up and kick the thing. The idea though, is kicking it will then cause the bees to swarm out and chase you. I realize that's a BV/FT interaction, so I'll look into using the BG fly swarm for the BG version. I also intend to have the Fly/Maggot Farm react the same way; kicking up a swarm.

Ladybugs, butterflies, moths, and fireflies will not be kickable. Or if they are, it won't cause harm to the kicking sim.

The second thing I was working on was doing research on when these bugs are most active. I want to have their odds of spawning on the lot coincide with reality. Turns out bees are a sun-up to sun-down kind of worker, with an increase in activity from 11-3. However, if it gets too hot for them, they will slow down and seek shade. Butterflies are a little more relaxed with their wake up and bedtime hours, but they are also most frequent from 11-3. They really don't like the cold, so they are a spring to summer bug. Moths seem to be a late spring to early fall creature, and are most active in the early hours of the night, from 1-5am. Fireflies are most active from dusk to midnight, and appear from early summer to early fall. There are so many different types of flies that its common for flies to be around all times of day from spring till fall. I need to remember to put weather checks in as well. Flying insects and rain are not friends.

Another important bit of information concerning butterflies and moths:
  • Butterflies rest with their wings closed, folded above their bodies.
  • Moths rest with their wings open, spread out on either side of their bodies.
This will help me in the construction of their houses. Particularly the shape of the entry.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bauhaus Furniture

Now I can't very well expect people to vote on a project that I haven't posted about, but it seems like you do any ways. I'd rather you all be informed voters, so here's a post about furniture from my absolute favorite designers and time period.
This originally was a group project between myself, QBuilderz, Leesester, and Fresh-Prince. We were working on products, houses, and cars from Bauhaus and Mid-century Modern design. I am very interested in the office furniture of the time. Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen.

I've got Breuer's bookcase done, and I had the Barcelona Daybed meshed, but it was extremely high-poly so I'll have to rework that.

ta539 at MTS has already done some of the pieces I'm interested in, but she doesn't always use the correct name, there is no catalog description, the recolors are all over the place, along with no slaving, and I'd be willing to bet most of her meshes are far too high-poly now (we didn't have poly guidelines back then). She seems to still be active at MTS, but hasn't posted anything since 2005.

College Costs

I haven't done any play testing of this yet, but I think I've got a starting point for the tuition cost. I'm thinking its going to be $2,500 a semester. That means going to college costs $20k. If I manage to get the scholarships to repeat on the beginning of Junior year, I'm going to up the cost to $5000 each instead. I'm also going to nuke the $20k handout upon graduation. That is the least realistic thing ever. I just graduated, where's my $20k? I had to move back in with my parents, and I think colleges grads should have to as well. This will also up the amount of apartments I use in my game because apartments are actually still within a college grad's budget. I wasn't planning on limiting student loans to only students, so they could take a few more out just to make sure they can land on their feet upon graduation. I am not trying to make college impossible or sucky for my sims, I just want them to know that it wasn't free, they had to work toward it, and to appreciate everything. Yes, little pixel dolls can learn that. :P

As I was going through the scholarships, I noticed that I don't think anyone has made any scholarships based on FT Hobby Interests yet, so those should definitely be included. I want to make college cost, but I do want it to be attainable.

I need to find a BHAV that gets called during the switch from semesters that I can insert all this tuition stuff into, but it should also be one that I'm not using to add in inventory items into. I want the tuition to work even with custom majors, and the inventory items will only be for the maxis ones.

Afterschool Activities

Because for some reason even without a post about it, Afterschool Activities is already winning my poll, I should prolly write about it already.

This project was the very first thing I wanted to make when I first got into modding. It was way over my head, and much much bigger than I could handle at the time, so I back-burnered it, and started learning everything I could. I can't tell you how the original concept was supposed to be played out (well I prolly can look up some notes, but that way died and it doesn't matter) so I'll explain where I'm at and what I've yet to do.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Smaller Driveway

As my first vote is for smaller driveways, I should prolly write up a post about it. I've never cared for the scale and proportion of the driveways and garages in TS2, and this project has been on my to do list since the beginning of 2011. I started with the driveway itself, thinking that a plain flat object should be easier than one with animation and joints, but with all those tiles and GUIDs, its a nightmare to figure out which ones are the ones I need to keep and which ones are the ones I need to get rid of. Plus when I was working on it the texture somehow disappeared. I'm willing to give it another go, but its complicated.

I want to make a 3 tile wide set (driveways, extension, and garage door), and maybe if that works out, a 4 tile wide one as well. I also need to figure out how to make a double garage door. It needs to be a single door that sits with two 3 tile wide driveways and the door needs to open when a car on either side needs to use the door. If that's not enough, I also want to make fence gates that work with driveways. The car gates need to work in four different opening actions. I want a single gate to swing all the way inside, right or left. Then I want one that opens in the middle. I also want one that lifts up, and one that sinks into the ground (like police blockades).

It's a very complicated project, without much reward for me. It is mostly just a bunch of headache coding and I don't know much about animating objects yet. We'll see.

College Money Matters

I was doing some more thinking about this today. I think Government Grants should work the same way that phoning for Scholarships does. The amount of money for the grants would be based on the sim's grades and some math to do with lot value and family value. Might take into consideration the number of sims living on the lot. It should also consider sims incomes. My college roommate got some grants and she was less than thrilled with how the money was allotted. I do want my sims to have college debt, but I don't need to do it in a stupid way.

I'm thinking the tuition bill needs to be placed directly into the sim's inventory when they start each new semester. They have until their final exams to pay their tuition bill. If the tuition bill object is still in their inventory when they head off to their final exam, they will be placed on academic probation for the next semester. College isn't free now! ;) I'm also considering making scholarships and grants re-applicable, or perhaps recurring for a little while. My college scholarship lasted for 12 quarters. My college tenure was actually much longer, so the last year or so I didn't have that anymore. Oh! My scholarship was dependent on community service hours. Maybe I can include some sort of community service stuff. Cash for work based on hobby skills and regular skills. Helping build a new community garden if you've got good gardening talent skills sounds like a good thing to me! Teaching kids robotics, not sure about some of the others, but I'll work on it. This project is starting to get exciting now!

The key for this though, is I have to find a realistic amount to make the semester tuition. If it's too much, no sims will be able to afford it, or ever get out from under their student loans, but if I make it too easy, then what was the point? Ooh, I do like game design. It was the one thing I really really liked when I was interning at Hasbro Games.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Further Bug Functionality

The obvious thing with the bees is, that they should produce honey. Its already been done by a few people, so I don't know how I want my take to be different on it. I think I just want it to end up in their inventory. Maybe it would be cool if I can add it to the Juicer and add some juices like Honey Lemon Tea. Right now the bees and the butterflies are kinda redundant, and the butterflies are better because they do shrubs as well. That's why I want to make the bees do something. Every bug should have its own reason to be needed on a lot, that isn't a duplicate of another. It might be okay to let the butterflies and moths double up. I'm still working on their role.

Thinking more about the flies, I think cloning the compost bin might be the best way to go with them. I want sims to be able to scoop up some maggots, and put them in their garden and then that should fertilize it. It would also be cool if sims would 'feed' the flies, by bringing them dirty plates. Feeding the flies would then leave the sim with a not smelly or fly-y plate that they can then go wash.

I've got a neat little idea for the fireflies as well. A lot of people (myself included) use captured firefies as mood lighting for their lots with the noBugDecay cheat. Why not just make them little bug lantern houses in the first place. They would only glow at night and not in winter; they'd sit on either the ground, tables, or fence posts. I like this idea because most of the other bugs are already taking care of most of the garden, and fireflies don't actually garden much from what I've read.

Now I just need a good way to differentiate the butterflies and moths and I'm in business!

College Collection

So, I'm not really sure how this project is going to play itself out. Having just graduated college myself, I'm really not impressed with how our sims do college. For starters, why the hell is it free? I'm up to my eyeballs in student loans and sims have zero debt and have cash coming out of their ears. Gotta fix that. Secondly, I've come away from college with a TON of stuff. Books, supplies, paper materials, toys and projects I've designed, the list could go on all day. Sims skate through college barely collecting anything. This was one of the reasons I added inventory items to my college major. But its still not enough. I had to rent a U-Haul trailer to dig me out of my apartment of 3 years. My sims should be equally saddled with crap and cheap furniture. The third main thing that bugs me is their dorm rooms. They are terrible. At all the schools I've been to, they have uniform dorm furniture and everyone decorates their rooms. Sims (aside from the stupid uni-townies) never spend any time in their room because they suck and there is nothing to do in there. Part of this problem is because all the rooms are single. College is about roommates! Ok, with all that in mind, here's my list:

This is a laundry list of stuff that is needed. Thankfully, I don't have to make it all. I don't know how I'm going to be presenting this yet.

Tuition: college needs to cost money, and perhaps a different amount based on where you go.
Student Loans: because tuition is just too expensive! Maybe through the phone or comp?
Gov't Grants: based on lot value, family income, and number of family members.
Scholarships: add in Hobby skills and Witchcrafting.
Ask Parents for Money: phone call interaction based on how much parents love their kid, and money in the bank, and how many times they've already called.

Inventory Items for all Majors: just like my major, I want junk added to all majors for almost all classes (some just don't make sense)

Futon: foldable bed, like the Murphy.
Oversized Bean Bag chair: with cuddle interactions.
Laptops and Printers: cuz we all need them in college now.
TVs: small flat screens or larger clunky CRTs
Minifridge with a Microwave on top: and foods that use them.
Matchy matchy bland dorm furniture: IKEA gave us a bunch of nice MALM crap to use.
Supplies: Textbooks, Notebooks, Calculator, Pens, Pencils. All which immediately loose all $ value.
Fans: Box and Rotating, cancels dorm noise.
Bulletin Boards: for pics of friends
Small Bookcases and Shelves: to hold any sentimental stuff from home.
Backpacks and Messenger Bags: just to clutter the rooms.
Stuffed Llama and Cow: University Spirit!
Storage: Clear tubs and plastic crates.

Roommate Door: cuz we really need one already.

I'll be adding links as I find these things. I'm thinking about maybe making it part of the phone call when you go to college. You have to pay a certain amount, and it tells you that the car will be there at 7am, so be packed and ready. Then I'll have a pop up notification listing all the great things your college-bound kid is likely to need.

Moving Day Mods

I'm surprised this project didn't come to me sooner. For years I've been packing and moving, between houses and apartments and hotel rooms and boarding houses for my school. On one of my 'final' moves I really really wanted to have my sims pack with me. They've moved a lot for their poor little sakes. I'm still playing my original save game from over 8 years ago. I had a late start with them because I started on a Mac, but then we safely transfered them to a new temp laptop, then a new bitchin one, and now they are at their (hopefully) final computer - my graduation present, a new gaming tower!

This project is coming along nicely. I have the first part completely done, the middle is in progress, and the harder 'if I could do anything' stuff still isn't any closer to becoming a reality. Here's what's going on:

For Sale Sign:
This is a mix between two 'borrowed' things (as usual). I very much like Inge's Stay Things Shrub. But as usual, I hate it when the object has absolutely nothing to do with the mod it's performing. So Instead, I looked at how it was working, and figured out a new way of making it only 'stick' things in your house that would actually be left when moving. Things like plumbing, lighting, and most of the kitchen. Then, I needed a cute little object to run this. Being lazy, I found something that is already nice. When I upload this set I will make sure to change the mesh and do the textures myself, but for now, this sign by KiaraRawks was perfect.

Moving Boxes:
Next up if we are going to move, we should pack first. I always hated the idea of putting everything into my Sim's inventory. It's got a backpack for it's icon, but sims don't wear backpacks, so it's probably just their pockets, like where the cell phone ring comes from. What logic tells me that I can put 50 things in their pockets? Ok, so I can't fix that issue yet, but how about the hella long time consuming job of putting everything individually into and out of their inventory? Ok, so my plan didn't really fix that either, instead of into the inventory, you have to put everything into a box and then into their inventory, so we are actually adding a step, but somehow it makes the story better. And you don't have to pack or unpack all your stuff the second you move in. We could store junk! And, I even made labels for them. :) The idea here is a box with 4 or so slots in it, and in Live Mode, things in the slots are not visible, and in Build and Buy, the box isn't. I might need to make some part of the box stay visible so you can see where you are placing things and such, but you could also do all that though the inventory hand tool. Who knows, I haven't gotten everything worked out yet. I do have a nice mesh and a sweet texture though! Echo is helping me with it.

Moving Truck:
The final part of this project (that will likely never actually happen or work) is a moving truck. I don't like the idea of sticking all these boxes into inventory, but would rather put them into a truck instead. I also want to be able to call up a moving company on the phone and have a truck show up at my house. Then I can put all these boxes inside, and the larger furniture, and then have my family drive off for their move out. Then enter the neighborhood screen and pick a new house. The cinematic for moving in would use the moving truck and either the taxi or the family car. The moving truck would then not leave until I unloaded all the stuff and paid the driver. I'd love that to be how this all works. No idea how much of that is possible. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Added Bug Apperance

I was thinking more about this last night in the shower (water is my conductive thinking juice - bathing or swimming). What if having these bug houses on your lot increased the chance of having those bugs spawn on your lot as well. We already have mods that will do that globally, so why not? joninmobile, also known as TheNinthWave, made a very nice little mod that does that globally, he even made a flavor I like, with butterflies being a 75% chance in Spring and Summer and 25% in Fall, and fireflies 25% in Spring, and 75% in Summer and Fall. Very nice.

I don't want to just limit this to butterflies and fireflies, I also want to try to make it for the bees and ladybugs (make them spawn anywhere on the lawn like the other two do) and the little basegame butterfly moth things (I'm totally going to retexture them so they do this set justice) and even the awful flies.

Speaking of the flies, I'm thinking maybe some sort of mix between the flying version and somehow connecting them to a garden plot. Maybe have an interaction of taking the maggots from the house and placing them on the garden plot. I also want to include a tiny percent chance of the flies getting super mad and swarming, maybe a 5% or 10% only for the summer sorta thing.

My two favorite parts of a project are the planning stage (when everything is possible) and then when I have everything meshed and textured and its in my game (sometimes even before its actually working yet). I do really like when everything is working and done, but because I don't play much, that's usually the last time I get much fun out of my own stuff. Oh well. Eventually I will play again, right?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Stackable Chairs

This is one of those projects of mine that has been on the books for far too long. It's so old, I can't even find the original conversations about it between Echo and me. My family are packrats. We have boxes upon boxes of stuff still packed from the last couple of times we moved, and I really hate this one object per tile thing. (More about boxes in Moving Day Mods) What if you are having a party and you need a bunch of chairs? Forget this magical Buy Mode Catalog in the sky, where do you store all these chairs? Most normal people can either fold or stack their chairs, why can't we?

I went through the entire catalog looking at every chair and table and piece of furniture to see if it could realistically (in respect to physics) stack on top of itself or fold up. With the Murphy Beds in AL, the last part became possible but wasn't originally in the scope of the project. With a little help from my fave shiftable OMSPs, I was able to see what would work and what wouldn't. I think another part of the reason this project came up was because my drawing teacher at the time had assigned us to draw stackable chairs. It is much harder than you think it is!

I'll get you pictures as soon as I get something working. Echo made me a template a long time ago and I have been trying to duplicate it and I just can't get anything to work for me.

Beehives and Butterfly Houses

This project is about making lots of little insect houses. One of the biggest things that 'bugs' me is that there isn't enough movement in our sims' houses. Looking around at my own house I have to admit I'm pretty much the only thing doing any moving, but there are always bugs. Maxis gave us lots of pretty little icky bugs to play with. We have bees and flies and cockroaches and even some relatively unused (and badly textured) butterflies to play with. When Seasons rolled around we got better butterflies, fireflies, ladybugs, and those little icky white nits. I really love the ladybug loft because it adds cute little flying bugs, and I love the fireflies and butterflies. For this project, I'm going to make houses for all of them (except a Roach Motel, this is about the flying bugs). Now, while cute little flying bugs everywhere is adorable, it's not actually useful. I don't make stuff without a purpose (generally). I liked the idea of TwoJeff's Perfect Plants mod, but I don't like how it feels like cheating. By giving some of the garden care over to these little bugs, it feels less like cheating, cuz I had to buy them, and not every family will have a perfect garden. The other thing I don't like, and I feel like I might be in the minority here, is that when the flowers are properly trimmed and 'prefect', they don't look as pretty or happy. I might consider letting flowers keep their unkempt state for the summer if they have bees tending them or some such. I'll just try to make sure that it doesn't effect the gardener score or environment score or anything. And I won't let them go past that state of being wilty and dying. Though, bugs really have nothing to do with whether they are getting enough water. Oh! But it rains in the game. So maybe I'll go with that. Having bees or butterflies will disable the need to trim them, and in the summer the plants can let loose a bit. Bees and butterflies will do the job of the gardeners for trimming, and keep flowers from dying all together. I hate that the most. I leave my pretty garden for a while and forget to call a gardener and before you know it, everything is dead and I have to rebuy everything. Hate that.

Here's what's planned:

BugVisual Effect EPHabitatBehavior
LadybugsSSNLoftkeeps SSN nits away
BeesBGBeehivekeeps flowers pretty, maybe summer growth
ButterfliesSSNMesh Housekeeps flowers and shrubs nice (caterpillars eat the shrub overgrowth)
Butterflies (look better as Moths and at nighttime)BGMesh Housekeep shrubs nice and weeds from spreading (again with the caterpillars)
FliesBGMaggot Farmkeep soil fertilized
FirefliesSSNGlow Lanternoutside porch lamps

If anyone has any ideas on how you can help me pull apart TwoJeff's mods, that's really all that's holding me up at the moment. See this thread please!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Round Five: Graduation!

Our final round is the kids' graduation! Like the round before, the mini-theme comes first. You can't graduate high school without going to Prom! Well, technically you can, but it isn't any fun. You can choose whether your kids are graduating high school or university/college. I wanted my teens to graduate high school because I wasn't ready to breeze them through college. And that's why this is late, I spent most of my day doing age conversions from the Uni grad wear to teens - and I'll be uploading that soon for you all to use as well. Anyways, find your teen a sweetheart, buy her a dress or rent him a tux, and send them to the dance! Usually these dances take place in a decorated gym or cafeteria, but my senior prom was at a University Ballroom that my class rented. Now, it's not just a dance. Most Proms have an 'after-prom' and an 'after-party'. My after-prom was Casino Royale themed, we had fun pretending to be James Bonds and secret agents all dressed up fancy playing Texas Hold'em. Our after-party was a three hour bus ride to an amusement park, beginning at 6am after a completely sleepless night for all of us. Sleep deprived roller coasters are an interesting experience to be sure.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Round Four: Birthday!

Kids just grow up so fast don't they? This round I need you to throw one of your kids a birthday party! This should be their Child/Teen birthday, so invite lots of kids over and have lots of child-friendly activities going on. I don't actually want to see many teenagers at the party cuz it's kinda weird how they suddenly grow 3 feet taller and are now 'so much cooler'. We are pretending that it's their 12th-ish birthday, they are still kids - give them a bouncy house and hire a clown to do balloon animals before they are suddenly too embarrassed to be seen with you. The bonus round for this one comes a little out of order, you'd have to do it before the main spread. It's the first day of school. There should be lots of nice September scenery and cute back-to-school outfits. As long as you have one spread in on that Friday/Saturday/Sunday that I award extra points for, it doesn't matter which spread you have up - you still get the points for it. After you are done with this round, get your kids about half way though their teen years.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Round Three: Vacation!

Round three will be a Vacation spread. Send your family out to have some fun in a strange new place! Your kids should be child-aged at this point. If you don't have BV, then send find a cool community lot to have a grill-out, or go to a really cool looking pool/water park place. You don't need to go all the way to Takemizu for this. The bonus spread for this week is Holiday. I'm American and I'm using the American versions of these words, a Vacation is when you go someplace, a Holiday is a date on the calendar that you celebrate. Any holidays are acceptable, but there needs to be a change of weather between the two. If you go to the beach for vaca, then it needs to be a snowy winter holiday. Or, going skiing for vacation, and celebrating the Fourth of July.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Round Two: Baby!

And the next theme is..... BABY! Officially "And Baby Makes Three (or More)". I need two pages showcasing your family becoming a family. Some interesting ideas for shots include mom being pregnant and belly rubs, actually giving birth (faked to look like a hospital, I don't want to see any of the typical birth animations plz), dad being proud, grandparents looking on, whatevs, make it cute! Here are two hospitals that have birthing suites: sunni's Mercy Hospital and my Apox Hood Hospital. The mini theme for this round (optional to complete) is "Firsts". This should be pictures of baby's first words, first steps, first time sitting up, rolling over, whatever you can think of. Photos can range from this child being an infant up to a toddler. Don't age them up to kids in these spreads.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Round 1: The Wedding

Whew that was close! We just barely got our 10th contestant so we are good to go!

Start planning your weddings! Hire a GOOD wedding photographer. Officially you need at least 2 photos, but you may have up to 6 to put on 2 pages. Be creative with it! Everyone will likely have that nice shot of the first kiss, but what about other wedding traditions, like the cake, throwing the bouquet, best man's toast, the flowergirl and ring boy. The mini theme for this round is their Honeymoon. Take them someplace exciting before kids ruin everything! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm Hosting A Contest!

I'm really excited to get this contest rolling! I've wanted to do this for a while now, but school keeps me busy.

The idea here is to make a Sim Scrapbook. Contestants will create a family within the guidelines and then take photos of them at 5 specific Life Events and scrapbook it all together as their entries.

Judge a Book by its Cover: For the application stage, you need to prove you can take a decent photo and do some basic image manipulation. You will be submitting a ‘scrapbook cover’. Place a photo of your two starter sims, and some words along the lines of ‘Our Family Memories’. Make it look nice, as it will be setting the tone for the rest of your pages. Keep in mind things like image borders, word plaques, and nice fonts. You will not receive a score for this page, but it will be judged on whether you are qualified for this contest based on the same things as the rest of the pages. Contestants should start with 2 unmarried sweetheart sims. This contest will create for them a scrapbook of their future family. They will, in the course of the contest, have at least one child. You must use the same family the entire time, but not every family member needs to be in every photo or page spread. Grandparents might be handy to have, but are not required. You may use one of your preexisting families that you’ve been taking hundreds of photos for your legacys or whatnots.