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Free Time

Date Posted: 3rd May 2008 at 7:49 PM

I am absolutely loving Free time. With a neighbourhood of rich high achievers and retired sims it is really worthwhile. I have also been going around putting the new objects into some of my old lots - the university buildings, especially the art departmen have had a bit of an overhaul!

I also have a few more lots to upload, nothing particularly groundbreaking at the moment, but there are certainly some free time based community lots in the pipeline.
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Wow cool!

Date Posted: 23rd Jan 2008 at 10:49 PM

My village made the nominations list for Farm and Rural. With so many lovely entries I was doubting it had a chance at all. Feeling quite pleased about that.

Good luck to everyone participating!
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Date Posted: 6th Dec 2007 at 10:32 AM

I have decided i need to start entering creator challenges. I have been working quite hard lately on raising my game uploadwise, both in the builds and the presentation of the uploads. Having done NSUP I need something else to work towards.
I havn't had an upload picked in a long while, which worries me in case my standard is slipping, although that said a lot of my recent stuff is far more technically complex than the picked lot, I'm obviously overlooking the "Je ne sais quoi" the mods look for.

Anyhow I'm going to give the rural challenge a go. Not sure it will get me anywhere considering I refuse to use custom content (I don't use a lot of it in my game, and I think it is unfair to insist that people put certain CC in their game for a lot to work, I think the merits of a good lot should run deeper than what fancy custom decorations you plaster all over it - people should be free to choose and add whatever augmentations they want, to me a lot is about building skill - /rant) But I think I shall go all out on detailing and nifty build techniques and at least do something *I* am pleased with.
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New State University Neighbourhood

Date Posted: 3rd Dec 2007 at 4:01 PM

I think I am done for now on NSUP. I have one more academic building I would like to make, I know what I want in it, but I can't figure out what kind of archetecture I would like, so it will have to rest until the muse visits me again.
I'll probably add in some more residences too, not dorms, it has 3 of them, one basic, one nice and communal, one appartment building, no real need for any more, but I would like to do a few more 1-4 person rental houses, maybe even a very big one, for the full 8 students. None of this is immediately urgent though so I shall do it when the mood takes me.

For now I thought you might like to see what my neighbourhood looks like in my game, so this is NSU, all lots built by me - the one thing you can't see is the secret society!

Every lot in this 'hood is available for download on MTS2!

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More on New State University Project

Date Posted: 2nd Dec 2007 at 4:12 PM

I've been off work in post-op convalescence for a week now, I'm not able to do much but sit at my PC, and I havn't been able to play any games likely to make me tense/jump!

The good news is that sim progress has been phenomenal, I have done a whole cycle of my increasingly large neighbourhood, build one large family house and done a lot of work on NSUP.

I finally did the union, which had been buzzing around my brain waiting to get out for a while. I also did the park and the gym, which had also been sitting as empty lots waiting for ideas/input for weeks.

Then I started a whole new set. It occurred to me that one of the most important features of a university is the academic buildings, but most uni neighbourhoods only contain student lodgings and social areas. This makes sense, after all, simstudents walk off lot to go to class, we never see where they go.

However when I was a student, the academic departments wern't just a place for labs and lectures, they were a place to meet your friends, check your email, work on an essay with all the most relevant resources to hand. So I started making faculties for NSU.

It's been really interesting, I have been combining the NSU concept (beautiful, interesting archetecture, with a grand and retro theme) with ways of making these community lots useful for sim students (and specifically the sim students studying the relevant major) as well as adding real life details, that don't work in game, but make for good aesthetics and storytelling.

I wanted to use the speech podium career rewards in the lecture theatres, but I havn't been able to figure a way of getting them into the lot without using CC extracted ones - I thought I could use the method I used for the secret society, but it doesn't work as SS are based on a residential lot, while these are comm lots, and changing the zoning still doesn't allow sim access without a postbox. I shall probably DL an extracted one, but I won't put them in my packaged lots as they are all CC free.

So far I have done: Physics, Arts (for drama and art), and humanities (history, philosophy etc) . I intend to do a Natural Sciences one, and a Business one, and possibly whatever else comes into my head .
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Neighbourhood Springclean

Date Posted: 24th Oct 2007 at 4:26 PM

I decided my neighbourhood was too sprawled, so I shuffled it about so all the lots take up about 1/3 of the area. It took me a little while, and it kinda feels like I havn't anything to show for it (no family progress, no new buildings) but it looks a lot better:

Of course there is plenty of room for more lots....

The number of little green plumbobs kind of surprised me - I am playing 14 families at the moment!
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Silver linings

Date Posted: 14th Oct 2007 at 9:18 PM

Never let it be said that creating for uploading is without its rewards.

Today, for the second time in the last couple of months, my neighbourhood did a dissapearing act. All the files are there in the EA Games folder, but the game won't recognise them. I've tried a variety of ways of restoring it, but it seems that the only way is to revert to a backup. Unfortunately I have been a bit slack lately, and my most recent backup is 2 weeks old.

According to Xfire I have been a busy simmer lately, in the last 7 days I played for 27 hours (I really need to get out more).

The good news is that most of that time was spent building stuff, that I packaged and uploaded, which means that all I have to do is install them into my restored neighbourhood.

The bad news is that I did play through about 6 households, at a sim week each, so that has to be done over, no biggie, but that's also 4 babies born in that time which I can't get back, oh and 2 major house rebuilds that I didn't package. Plus the request build I *finished*, photographed and forgot to package

I am also currently a bit miffed at the BV bug, which according to EA wouldn't do any serious harm, but has caused one of my sims to be overwritten by a Tour Guide.

I tend to get quite offended by Sims not working properly, because Sims is what I do to unwind, so it has no right to make me cross and frustrated
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Student incomes

Date Posted: 14th Oct 2007 at 10:27 AM

I have been building a lot of uni lots lately, and I have therefore been contemplating student incomes, which I have to, if I want my lots to be affordable.

My students always seem pretty well off. I rarely have a teen who doesn't get straight As at school (I am so cruel to my simkids) so they always have 1000 from that. Those that get smart milk almost always get to charisma lv 8 (750) as toddlers. Most get to creativity/logic 8 by using painting/chess to fulfil their fun motive. In their 2nd week of teendom, my teens usually get a job, and usually get to the top of the career track (another 1000).

As a result my average student arrives at uni with 2 skills at lv 8, a carreer and a grades, giving them a scholarship fund of 4000.

When doing my uni build though, I tend to work at a safer level of 2-3000 per student, in the hope that this will be more affordable for simmers less knowledge driven than myself!
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Projects - New State University

Date Posted: 7th Oct 2007 at 4:48 PM

So when I started my new 'hood, I originally decided that I didn't want to make a new uni campus to go with it (as I had done before) basically because I was building a neighbourhood (around 20 households plus community lots) from scratch, and it all felt like a bit much when my first teens got to uni age all too soon. So I sent some sims to one of the ingame unis. TBH I couldn't believe how rubbish it was. Maybe it's me, I just don't like the aesthetics, and I don't like not knowing which lot to visit to, for example, gain some logic skill. So I decided I could do better.

Now my previous uni had been homely, but modern, and I really wanted something properly old school, towers and stone buildings and all that. The problem was that the in game walls etc, are all too clean, very few of them work on old buildings, and that didn't give me much scope. So I came up with a new concept.

New State University is just that, NEW. But that doesn't mean it has to look new, there's a lot of RL architecture out there nowadays that mimics old buildings, new builds trying to look like conversions of old buildings, and in a way, they have their own charm. So that was my starting point for NSU.

So the way I am working is to make buldings that are shaped and finished like old academic buildings (or non academic buildings), that have quirky shaped rooms, grand hallways, stained glass windows, but are still clean and fresh, and fitted out like a modern building.

So it's no coincidence that the library looks a bit like an old church, or that the Gatehouse dorm isn't sited at the gateway to anything in particular - this is a campus that has a facade of history, while the sim students relish making real history!

I'll be working on this project for a good while, I've done 2 dorms, a library, a house and half a greek house (a lot of work has been done on that, and there is a lot more to come!). I still need to do a Student's Union, a shopping area, a gym, a good few private residences, and of course, a secret society. I'm taking it pretty slowly though, because I need to have an idea or a theme for each one, and there is no point me starting out when I don't have it clear in my head, I just end up getting frustrated and undoing and redoing forever.

The gatehouse idea came to me a stupid o clock this morning, as in my semi-consciousness I deliberated the problem of wanting a smaller dorm, and what kind of old fashioned building could a smaller dorm be made from.

So I shall just have to sleep on it and see what happens. :P
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Projects - Little lots

Date Posted: 7th Oct 2007 at 4:29 PM

The Little Lots project sprung up after the CC purge, when I discovered that I could move between lots remarkably quickly again, so it was ok for sims to leave the house regularly, or hop from lot to lot as they go.

The rules on Little Lots are as follows:
Lots are no larger than 2x3, usually 2x2.
The lots serve a single purpose.

These are my rules and I will break them if I want to!

I like making LLs for these reasons:
They are really fast to make which means 1) I can make a lot of them, 2) I don't get fed up with adding loads of little details to a large lot, I can make them detailed, but faster, 3) They keep me creative, like when artists speed paint, and it doesn't matter if I finish one and don't like it, I havn't spent days on them so I can just scrap it and start again (or not).
They load fast and don't slow the game down, not that this is an issue to me anymore, but it's good to know.
They make good OFB businesses, although that said, I don't use OFB businesses all that much anymore - the novelty wore off

I've made a ton of LLs already, but I'm sure there are more in the pipeline, to date there has been:
A pub
A florist
A cornershop
A coffeeshop
A petshop
A takeaway
A restaurant
A beach bar
A backstreet lot, with several boutiques (breaking rule 2)

I have made but not yet uploaded a diner,

I have made and deleted or decided not to share, an amusement arcade and a bridal shop. I will have another go at the bridal shop soon.

Any more ideas/requests, give me a shout.
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