This is based off of the TV reality show called "Solitary", in which contestants are stuck in individual isolated pods, cut off from society and forced to push their physical, emotional, and mental limits. Enduring painful treatments, the first contestant to give up is eliminated from competition, until finally one is the winner. So, I thought it would be really cool to make a Sims challenge like it!
NOTE: I have NOT play-tested this yet, although I am going to very soon. I would love feedback. Also, feel free to adapt this to your own liking. In the TV show, the game is run by a computer named Val, and in the Sims, you're that computer, so you run the show. I'll give a lot of alternative options to things, so pick which one you think works best and give me feedback. Also, this “walkthrough” will be very, very long since each stage is detailed. Hopefully that won’t turn anyone off.
Step One: Creating Your Sims
On the TV show, there are 9 contestants, but in the Sims you can only have 8, so create 8 "test subjects" (I have never used mods before, so you can use them if you like, but I am no expert on their effects). I suggest making 4 guys and 4 girls to even the playing field. Create them however you like; I suggest making them all different - the different strengths of competitors is part of the fun! You may use any trait you like EXCEPT: Heavy Sleeper (they need to be able to wake up to noise, you'll see why later) and Insane (true, they'll probably lose their sanity during their stay in Solitary, but with this trait they can talk to themselves, which increases Social and that defeats the point of Solitary). You can have the Loner trait (some people, like myself, are natural loners and are thus a little more comfortable in Solitary), though I may decide to eliminate this if this gives them a really significant advantage, whether the Social decay is too slow or the moodlet for solitude is unfair. I'll let you guys help me judge that.
The contestants will not have names once they enter Solitary - they will be known by their numbers. So as a first name, name the first contestant "Number One" (or just "One" if it won't fit), name the second contestant "Number Two," and so on. If you wish, you may put their own first name in their last name slot so they have some form of identity once they get out.
None of the subjects are allowed to be related - they're all perfect strangers and, in fact, will never meet each other.
STEP TWO - BUILDING THE PODS
Each contestant is to be placed in individual pods (8 contestants, 8 pods). Make them small - 4x4 should be enough. Make the pods as plain as possible - keep coloring to a minimum, and if you do color, make each pod a different color. Place one mirror in each pod. The ones on the TV show are round, but you don't have to do it that way if you don't want (it may be easier to stick all the pods together like one big house with eight rooms, so you can see each contestant easier). Connected to each pod should be a small bathroom chamber (so make a door and a 2x2 or a 2x3 mini-pod). The ONLY THING this mini-pod should contain is a toilet. No shower, no sink, nothing that will offer hygiene. Just a toilet.
Place nothing else in these pods (except a light at the top, so it’s not dark). As the game progresses and you start bringing in Tests and Treatments, you'll place items in there yourself (you can keep these in the Family Inventory or just buy them as you need to) and take them out when done. When the contestants first enter these pods, they will be completely empty.
You MAY, however, create another room that’s not a pod that you can keep other stuff in, like bookshelves (since some activities will require books), desks, and whatever other items you buy. That way the contestants can’t access them, but you can.
Use any cheats you want for money and building (throughout the game, you'll probably use testingcheatsenabled pretty often to help manage needs and keep them low but not fatal).
Step Three: Welcome to Solitary!
Put the contestants in their pods and lock the doors so no one can get out. From here, your Sims will be pushed to their limits! The basic layout goes like this: You are Val and run the show - your contestants follow your every command. Sims will have to function on very low hunger, sleep, social, and hygiene needs (sometimes fun as well). Each day (or couple of days - remember, you run the show so you can dictate this) contestants will go through a Test, which usually involves solving puzzles and the like (I'll give you the ideas for these tests in a bit). Whoever finishes this Test first is exempt from the following Treatment (and guaranteed to move on). The Treatment will push contestants to physical and mental limits by putting them in pain and discomfort until someone quits.
NOTES: I am not sure if talking in the mirror raises the social bar (I don't care if it raises Charisma). If it does, eliminate the mirror. ALSO, your test subjects may use the bathroom any time they want EXCEPT during Tests and Treatments, so you can have them pee before you conduct these (but, if you don’t want to do that, it adds an interesting element...it's almost better if you don't actually). ALSO, as this is your experiment, Treatments don't necessarily end when the first person quits. Nobody else knows someone has quit, so let them continue in their misery a little while longer. Multiple people can quit - it's only the first one that does that gets eliminated!
REMEMBER: Any items used in Tests and Treatments are immediately removed after the Test and Treatment is over unless I otherwise specify.
ALSO: "Days" just indicate order. You can allow as much time to pass between events as you want, using your best judgment about what your test subjects can handle.
Your Sims will have no sense of time in Solitary, so feel free to put their schedules on whack. Now that they are in their pods, just leave them be. That's right, leave them by themselves, doing nothing. Wear those needs down until the Hunger bar reaches "Starving" (or gets close). Yes, the sleep bar will probably wear down much quicker and your Sims may end up falling asleep on the floor. If I recall correctly, they don't sleep for long on the floor, but if they do, wake them up. Here you can use "testingcheatsenabled true" and drag the sleep bar to make it very low (so they're tired) but still able to function. (Although for this first treatment, you will probably not want to do that. You can do it for future treatments.)
When the contestants are starved, allow them their "meal bar." This can be an apple or another single piece of food (only one, possibly two if one just will not cut it after enough playing), or you can drag the bar yourself with testingcheatsenabled. They should be hungry still, but able to function. I haven't play-tested this, so I don't know how Sims will react to the harsh conditions, so testingcheatsenabled may be used fairly often.
For the first day, the mood-lessening was the "Test" (no Sim is exempt from this one), now here comes the treatment. Each contestant is allowed a bed. Yes! Much needed sleep! Only this is YOUR experiment and your job to test them. Allow them to sleep for random short intervals (like 30 minutes, 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours, whatever), then, after placing a radio in each room, wake them by turning it on at full blast. Sims can go back to sleep by turning off the radio (I'm not sure if Sims will decide to do this on their own...if they don't, after waiting about thirty minutes, turn it off yourself for the first two or three times...after that, if they don't turn it off, it's their own fault). After they turn it off, they may go back to sleep. You will wake them again shortly, of course.
HOW THE TREATMENT ENDS: Here's suggestions. After a set amount of time (let's say, 8 or 10 hours), whoever has the least amount of sleep is eliminated from Solitary and is kicked out immediately. OR, if a contestant falls asleep on the floor after not turning off the radio (or after they do, just not making it back to bed), they have quit and are eliminated. (Perhaps, if a Sim is unlucky and his radio breaks as it is turned on or off, you could say they broke it out of desperation and have quit!)
Be creative. Regardless, now there are only seven contestants left. Take the lights out of the pod of the one that left. It's now empty and out of use.
"DAY" TWO BEGINS
Rise and shine, subjects! Hope you "slept" well last night/morning/afternoon. Start off the day by allowing the remaining contestants 30 minutes to an hour and a half with a "favorite" item (check out their traits for hints - if a contestant is a bookworm, give them a book...if childish, a children's toy...you get the point. If you can't come up with anything specific, just give them something that will allow them to have fun for the short period they're allowed it). After their time is up, remove it from their pods.
"DAY" TWO: THE TEST
Your contestants must figure out a puzzle...in the form of writing a book! Place a cheap desk and computer in their cells and get them typing away. If for any reason a contestant stops typing and cannot continue, well, that's their loss. Looks like they'll definitely be enduring the next Treatment. The first Sim who completes their book (or, if all Sims stop for any reason, whether fun drops too low or hunger or sleep gets the best of them, the Sim who wrote the most) is the winner of the Test and is exempt from the next Treatment. While everyone else is suffering, that Sim can relax (you can give him/her a chair if you like, or allow him/her some time with a "favorite" item).
NOTE: Using the restroom is not an option during Tests. If you don't allow them to use the toilet and they get up to use it while they're writing, they've been disqualified and must face the next Treatment.
"DAY" TWO: IN BETWEEN TEST AND TREATMENT
Allow your Sims their "meal bar" (whatever you made that to be) and have them do something with the mirror (I don't care which action you pick). With this action, contestants will be giving themselves a pep talk and boosting their confidence. Have all contestants do this, but remember, the one who won the Test will not have to do Treatment.
"DAY" TWO: TREATMENT
It's time for some hard work and a bit of chance. Place a Handiness book and a radio in each contestant's cell (except the winner of the Test, of course) and have each contestant read it until they gain one level in the Handiness skill. As soon as they do, have them start Tinkering on the radio.
TREATMENT ENDS: 1) When a contestant stops tinkering and refuses to continue for any reason, they have quit. 2) If a contestant gets an electric shock or breaks the radio by tinkering, they have quit. 3) If a contestant must use the restroom during Treatment, they have quit. 4) If none of the above situations occur, the last person to get an upgrade on the radio by tinkering has quit.
Remember, just because a Sim quits doesn't mean the others know about it. Allow them to continue until a certain amount of time has passed or until there are just three or four that haven't "quit" yet. Then they may stop.
Now that there are six left, allow them a couch or a bed and have them "nap" once or twice, depending on your mood (or just testingcheatsenabled, if you prefer).
"DAY" THREE BEGINS
I'm sure your contestants are quite hungry by now. How would a real meal sound? Something that will actually satisfy hunger for a long time! Well, if they want it, they'll have to compete for it. Leave a children's book (or another book with few pages) in each pod and just wait for contestants to get it on their own time. The first contestant to finish the book wins the meal (if none do, then either award none with the meal or give it to the first one who actually picked up the book). You can now put a counter, a fridge, and a stove in the winner's pod so they can cook a meal. If possible (depending on the time of day), try to make it a non-burnable meal so they don't start a fire, but if they do, have them put it out and try again until they make themselves a meal that's not horrifying quality. Everybody else gets a "meal bar."
"DAY" THREE: THE TEST
Time to clean up! If you just have the base game, use a toy box (I'm pretty sure adults can get toys out of the box...scatter them around the room) or a bookshelf (scatter books around the room). If you have Ambitions, use laundry (have them change clothes many, many times and make a mess)! After the room is trashed, the first Sim to clean it of their own accord wins (with Ambitions, the Test ends when the final bit of laundry is taken out of the dryer). With books, you may instruct Sims to pick each one up, as otherwise they'll probably just read them (if you have a Childish Sim with the toys, too bad!). If the toilet is also dirty, you can wait until Sims clean it as well, but it's not necessary. Winner is exempt from Treatment!
"DAY" THREE: BETWEEN TEST AND TREATMENT
Allow your Sims to be artistic and creative. Give them an easel and allow them to paint. The pods would look better with a few paintings! Take the easel away after two small paintings (or one, if you're impatient) are finished and placed on the walls.
"DAY" THREE: THE TREATMENT
Get ready to devastate their fun. Use "testingcheatsenabled" to reduce their fun to as low as it will go (if,for whatever reason, it won't work, have them write on a computer, as writing depletes fun). Then place a regular book, a cheap TV (no chair), and a cheap radio in the room. Allow them an hour to do what they wish (hopefully they'll choose one of the items to have fun with, but you will not force anything). After an hour, cancel their fun action and take away the item they were using most to have fun with (if for some reason they didn't use any item, take away one at random). Allow them another hour, then do the same thing. After one more hour, check their tabs.
TREATMENT ENDS: 1) Whoever has the least amount of fun after the three hours has quit. 2) Whoever has to use the restroom during it has quit. 3) If the fun tab is way too close to count, take the Sims with the lowest fun and check their traits. Whoever has the most negative traits (Evil, Mean-Spirited, Klepto, Slob, etc) quits.
And now there are five contestants. Allow each one to have three "naps" (or however many will keep their energy fairly low, but allow them to function...use your own discretion).
"DAY" FOUR BEGINS
By now your contestants probably smell like a sweaty warthog's behind. A shower would sure be nice! After giving each contestant a "meal bar," place a telescope in the room. Allow them to look through it and gain the Logic skill, then have them search for stars. First one to find a star wins one shower to get squeaky clean (allow them an expensive shower -this is supposed to be a luxury, not cheap crap that gives them a "cold shower" moodlet!)
"DAY" FOUR - THE TEST
By now, your Sims know how to tinker. Get them back to work! Have them all tinker on their toilet. The first to upgrade it is exempt from Treatment (whoever breaks their toilet is disqualified and must endure Treatment!). If all their moods are bad enough that they will not tinker, allow a nap or another meal bar, whatever they need. If it's lack of fun, tough noogies for them.
"DAY" FOUR - BETWEEN TEST AND TREATMENT
Solitary can be awfully depressing. Time to recharge your contestants! Place a radio in the room and have them dance for an hour and a half. It's good to let loose!
"DAY" FOUR - THE TREATMENT
Your Sims must be hungry. Well, now you get to let them eat...and eat...and eat. Place a fridge, a counter, and a stove in the pod. First have them eat three "quick meals." Then have them cook a meal and eat it. Have them cook another meal (it can be burnable or un-burnable) and let it sit until it goes bad, then have them eat THAT. Afterwards, put a sink in the room and leave Sims to wash the dishes on their own.
TREATMENT ENDS: 1) If a Sim has to use the restroom, they have quit. 2) If a Sim catches the stove on fire, they have quit. 3) If a Sim throws up, they have quit (first one who makes it to the toilet and hurls is eliminated!). 4) The last Sim to clean the dishes has quit.
Now we're down to four contestants!
"DAY" FIVE BEGINS
Poor little contestants, dying for sleep. I'm sure they'd enjoy a full rest in a luxurious bed. To compete for their reward, they must entertain you with music. Place a keyboard, a guitar, and a bass in their pod and leave them to play with them. Little do they know, you prefer piano music! Whoever gains a skill point on the KEYBOARD first wins a full rest on the most expensive bed you can buy (if none of them pick the keyboard, stop them after they've gained a skill in their instrument, then take their instrument away and leave them to pick again.) The losers get a half-"night's" sleep on the cheapest bed (which you will wake them from by a loud stereo, of course).
"DAY" FIVE: THE TEST
After hearing such lovely music, you're still in an artistic mood, so you want some paintings. Put an easel into the room and have each contestant paint a small painting. Whoever paints the most valuable painting wins the Test and is exempt from Treatment. If some get the same value on a painting, place the painting on their wall and then leave them be. Whoever starts painting another painting on their own will first wins. As always, if they have to stop and use the bathroom, they're disqualified!
"DAY" FIVE: BETWEEN TEST AND TREATMENT
You're wondering how your test subjects are feeling deep in their hearts, so you want them to write it in a letter. Give them a desk and a computer (and a chair, duh) and have them write for an hour. Yes, they might end up with the "stressed" moodlet - and that means you got your wish. They just told you how they really felt!
"DAY" FIVE: THE TREATMENT
The best things in life come to those who wait, and this you shall teach your contestants. For this treatment, have them stand on one side of their pod. Then cage them with a tall fence, as tight as it will go around them. Their pod just became a lot smaller! Allow them to ponder their predicament for an hour, then it's time to bring on the torment. While they're trapped, place a foosball table across the room. (You may want to grab paper and pen - this next part might be hard to keep track of!)
TREATMENT ENDS: 1) If a Sim pees themselves, they have quit. 2) The first Sim to complain three times about not being able to get to the table (in other words, they stomp their foot and have the "path blocked" symbol in their speech bubble) cannot stand their misery any longer and has quit. 3) If a Sim falls asleep on the floor, they have quit.
Final three, baby! Give each contestant a little rest (two or three naps).
"DAY" SIX BEGINS
Your remaining three Sims must have been strong to get this far. Only one, however, can be the winner, and your contestants would love to hinder their competition as much as possible! After giving them their "meal bars", there is one quick way to discover the winner. If one Sim has more skill points (in any skill - add them all up) than the others, then they are automatically the winner. If not, put a bookshelf in the room. The first Sim to pull out a skill book and begin to read is the winner (if, after thirty minutes, they are reading a wrong book, cancel the action, put the book back on the shelf, and see if they try again). The winner's reward will be discussed momentarily.
"DAY" SIX: THE TEST
This Test demonstrates that the seat one chooses to sit in is important! Place an easy chair, a computer chair (with the wheels on the bottom), and a dining room chair in three different spots. Give Sims 20-30 minutes to sit in a chair (if, after the first thirty minutes, they insist on standing, place a book in their inventories so they'll sit down as they read it...give them up to 40 minutes if it takes them this long to decide to sit down). You have a pattern in mind: easy chair, dining chair, computer chair. At the end of 20-30 minutes, observe which chair the Sims are sitting in. If it is the easy chair, have them walk across the room and remove the chair. They are two steps closer to victory. For the Sims that chose a different chair, move them and leave the chairs there. They need to try again and guess the pattern. The first person to get to the third round and sit in the computer chair (that is, if two people make it to the third round, the first person to choose to sit in the chair wins), wins the Test and is exempt from Treatment. This may take a while. If this absolutely does not work, let me know so I can think of something else.
"DAY" SIX: BETWEEN TEST AND TREATMENT
Your Sims have been awfully lonely since they got in Solitary, having no contact with the outside world. Now you will be gracious and kind to them and allow them a phone call to their family and friends. Use testingcheatsenabled to raise their Social bar about halfway up (the phone call is very short!).
"DAY" SIX: THE TREATMENT
Give your Sims two or three naps (they'll probably need it). Now remember the winner of the first event of day six? If that person went on to win the Test, they can choose which contestant they want to give the penalty to (you can roll a dice or compare their traits and see if there are any direct opposites between them). If they didn't win the Test, the penalty automatically goes to the other Sim in Treatment with the first-event winner. First, place a treadmill and a TV in each room. The goal is to make the Sims run for one hour on the treadmill, then cancel the action and allow them thirty minutes from the time they fully get off the treadmill to turn the TV on. At the end of thirty minutes, it's time to get back on the treadmill for an hour. If a Sim fails to turn on the TV in time, they incur a penalty round, where they must run for thirty minutes on the treadmill.
The winner of the first event gives a penalty round to an opponent, so that opponent must start the treatment by running thirty minutes on the treadmill while the other opponent rests.
TREATMENT ENDS: 1) When a Sim has to use the restroom (as always). 2) The first Sim to become fatigued has quit (this can be quite easy, with penalty rounds). 3) The first Sim to refuse exercising for any reason has quit.
And now it's the Final Two. Get ready!
"DAY" SEVEN BEGINS
Give Sims their "meal bars", then check the total number of skill points they have (for all skills). Divide that number in half and that is how many hours they are allowed to sleep in a cheap bed.
"DAY" SEVEN: THE TEST
The Test is actually very simple for the final day. Check each Sim's Lifetime Happiness Points. Whoever has more wins the Test and wins the advantage for the final Treatment (no, they don't get exempt from this Treatment - there's only two Sims left and they must compete!).
"DAY" SEVEN: BETWEEN TEST AND TREATMENT
Allow each Sim three hours with a "favorite" item. They're in the final lap - might as well have some fun before the stakes get very high!
"DAY" SEVEN - THE TREATMENT
Inhumane. Murderous. Sick. Sadistic. You will probably be called all these things after putting your contestants through this final Treatment. Whatever. This is your show and the contestants agreed to play by your rules. Place counters all around the edges of the pod, leaving two open spaces for a stove and a fridge. (Yes, you can see where this is going.) The penalty given to the one who didn't win the Test? They have to have the largest rug on the floor as well. Have your contestants start cooking something and then cancel while it is cooking on the stove. Soon, it will catch fire. Lock the door to the bathroom - there will be no escaping there when the fire starts. You may not command your Sims to extinguish the fire - they must decide to do it on their own.
TREATMENT ENDS: 1) The first Sim who faints has quit. 2) If a Sim catches fire, they have quit (if you're a merciful humane host, you'll extinguish the fire on their body, but I don't suppose you have to). 3) The first Sim to survive the fire is the winner ("survive" means either to extinguish the fire or to wait until it has taken its course and ended itself). Obviously this puts a great disadvantage to the person who has the rug in their pod, but the rug doesn't always catch fire, so...yeah.
And that is the end of Solitary. The reward for the final winner is up to you.
Adapt the ideas to your own liking. I put a lot of thought into this (obviously), but you can use it as you wish.
I have playtested this through and noticed a few things that might need changing. You may need to make the pods a little bit bigger, to fit the items in. You should use your own discretion when awarding sleep and food, because sometimes they just won't do anything until they eat (and with "meal bars", they'll need to eat very often). What I did is, when the first contestant got eliminated, I sent them to the supermarket to buy a crapload of apples (so I could just pull them out of the fridge when the contestants needed to eat) and several books that were necessary for the challenge, then kicked her out.
And when you have to discover stars, it actually requires 3 points of logic skill, so you'll have to work a little more.