International Space Station - NO CC

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Uploaded 1st Nov 2015 at 10:17 PM · Updated 1st Jun 2016 at 4:55 AM by Zarathustra : Requested close-up photos of interior of modules.

High, high above the day-to-day lives of people on the planet below, a technological marvel swiftly traverses the heavens. The International Space Station is the result of decades of planning and cooperation, with the space agencies of dozens of countries having made contributions to the project. It is the largest artificial object in Earth orbit (second only to the Moon overall), and depending on the metric used, is the single most expensive structure ever created, ringing in at more than $150 billion (though thankfully this TS2 lot is comparatively inexpensive!).

The first component was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 1998, and with the arrival of the first shuttle crew in 2000, the station has been continually inhabited for 15 years. It was assembled piece-by-piece with a series of Space Shuttle and Soyuz missions, gradually expanding to the size it currently has. Over such a long life, the plans for the station have changed, with certain modules being dropped from consideration, or altered significantly. The primary mission of the station has remained more or less constant throughout though; providing a platform for scientific research in a microgravity or vacuum environment.

My TS2 version of the International Space Station (ISS) has some obvious differences from the real version (which should come as no surprise). Obviously, TS2 is not set up to function as a zero-G simulator, so the lot is designed to work for Sims who are still going to have to walk everywhere they go. The truss that supports the solar panels on the actual station does not contain living space, however in this lot, the bedrooms, fuel cells, and gyroscopic laboratory are all found towards the ends of it, between the massive solar panel arrays. The individual modules in the middle make some attempt at following the shape of the actual ISS, however their functions have once again been heavily altered, so that they work for Sims, rather than for real-world astronauts.

This isn't to say that I didn't make an effort to stay in keeping with the ideas for the ISS though- this lot is very heavily focused on science and research, with a number of career rewards and high-tech skill-building items placed around the station. Oftentimes, these are placed in such a way that they appear to be part of a long-term scientific experiment running on the station. Other elements, like the permanently-docked Soyuz craft (usable as an emergency lifeboat on the real ISS) have been copied with a somewhat higher degree of accuracy, despite not really being all that useful within the limitations of the game.

I also included elements that have been cancelled or modified on the actual ISS, simply because they improved the aesthetics of this lot while generally staying in keeping with the rest of the station. Most notable is the central tower and small solar array on top of it, which are a project that has been heavily altered (not to mention not-yet launched in any form) in reality, but with this lot, excluding that seriously hurts the 3-dimensional quality that the space station has (you can't exactly rotate the main solar arrays like the ones on the real station do, after all!)

While most of the solar panels on this lot are created just with the use of floor tiles or tiled wallpaper, there are two small arrays located about halfway out either side of the central truss, and these arrays contain 76 functional solar panels, which should be more than enough to cover any bills that would otherwise come due. This means that the only element of Sim life on this station that isn't self-sufficient will be food. (I just couldn't find a good way to make enough space to grow harvestable crops in a believable way!) You'll have to decide for yourselves what method of keeping your orbiting Sims fed fits best with your gameplay. Aside from that, everything your Sims should need will be present- all 7 skills can be built in some fashion, as well as plenty of entertainment, money-making opportunities, and social contact points, and there's even the infinitely-capable garbage chute, so your Sims won't have to leave the station to take out the trash when the compactors are full!

Even things that aren't of concern for Sims, but which would be for real-life astronauts, I've tried to incorporate in some way or another. I already made mention of the Soyuz lifeboat, and you'll also notice modules housing an air-purification system, as well as a hydrogen-burning fuel cell. (that might also be just because I was running out of ideas to fill modules though... )

As far as gameplay goes, this is a large lot, although it's still considerably smaller and cheaper than many that I've uploaded! It is a rather unusual configuration though, so it does require some suspension of disbelief. Obviously, a playable lot can't be 250 miles above ground! Evidently, SimWorld has an orbital altitude of around 50 feet... The station is still not connected to the ground though, so you'll need to either take advantage of move_objects or have Sims who can teleport in one fashion or another in order to get your first crew to the station! If you don't want to have to direct Sims to the station and back, if you're regularly having them leave the lot, you can also just extend the spiral staircase down further from the lowest level- three more staircases will get you to the ground floor (although it kind of messes up the floating-station aesthetic! ) There are also NO external doors on this lot- it doesn't seem to impact gameplay, but it is something to be aware of- newspapers and visitors will just appear near the mailbox and trash can, as they would on a truly empty lot.

If you decide you want to do any remodeling work, you'll find it trickier than with most lots. There's no CFE work to cause problems, but the free-floating nature of this structure means that finding a way to extend the available tiles can be difficult. While making the main exterior portions of the lot, I actually just encircled the entire lot with walls, essentially creating a single massive building, and guaranteeing that there would be floor tiles available everywhere. Unfortunately, once the station began to be more and more complete, I found that this approach no longer worked, as it would cause there to be too many wall segments on the lot. I then started using stacked columns to provide the necessary construction space and support- a slightly more time-consuming process, (it's kind of tricky to find the right spots to place columns at ground-level to reach the 6th or 7th story!), but one that still lets you change the station if need be.

I did fairly extensive playtesting of a clone of this lot, found and addressed several issues, playtested it again, and they seemed to be fixed. For some objects in the lowest level, Sims may not immediately find the proper route to use them, (seems to just be a problem with things placed on a diagonal) so you may occasionally see temporary routing errors, however, if you direct a Sim to stand in front of the object, and then have them use it, it should work out just fine.

If you find any other problems or issues in your gameplay, please let me know so that I can try to address them!


Lot Size: 5x6
Lot Price (furnished): $302,971

Additional Credits:
The real-life International Space Station is a cooperative venture between the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the European Space Agency (comprising nearly two dozen additional countries). Credit for the external structure and inspiration for the lot as a whole should go to them.

Number of bedrooms: 2 Bedrooms
Custom Content Included: None
Furnishings: Fully Furnished
Special Flags: Not Applicable

Tags: #no cc, #space, #rocket, #space ship, #NASA, #Russia, #space station, #orbit, #science, #solar, #research, #astronaut, #cosmonaut, #stars, #planet, #module, #astronomy