Posted in Gaming, Sims 4, Uncategorized

Story Progression for Sims 4 (Mod)

I spent some time cleaning out old, outdated mods for my Sims 4 game last night, and updating the ones that needed updating. A few of them were completely retired, and in the midst of looking for replacements, I discovered the MC Command Center mod.

Now, I use a number of mods, and while I keep track of them on my Sims blog, I don’t usually write a post about them. But this is different due to the sheer scope of functionality.

It brings story progression to Sims 4.

Story Progression

Story progression was a bit of a controversy when it was first released in Sims 3. The idea was that the world around your current household was a living thing, and those sims would go out, get married, have kids, change jobs, move houses all on their own.

This was a shock to Sims players who, up until then, always had complete control over what every sim in their neighborhood could do. The fact that these sims were going off and making their own choices often mucked up the player’s overall plans for certain families.

I think the biggest problem wasn’t so much that story progression existed, but that in the beginning, there was no way to turn it off. I guess that the designers though story progression was so awesome that no one would ever want the option to disable it.

Once that option was available, players were a lot happier. I remembered there were some neighborhoods I’d turn it off, and some I’d let the sims run rampant.

There’s an amazing set of Sims 3 mods known as Master Controller that became essential for me to keep track of everything that was going on, especially in a larger neighborhood. Those were good times.

MC Command Center

So when Sims 4 came along, the first thing I immediately missed was the option to have story progression. My neighborhood had lots of houses… but no one was moving into them. I had lots of neighbors… but they would just grow old and die without children unless I manually created family for them.

I thought that this was going to just be the way it was… until this brilliant mod crossed my monitor last night. Why didn’t I know about this before? Not only does it return a semblance of story progression, but just about every part offers options to the player.

Suddenly, in my City Living game, homeless sims were moving into houses, getting married, and having families! This is so, so much better than them all sitting in a bin while all the houses in my neighborhoods sat empty.

The best thing is that you can set the options to only effect households you’ve not manually played. This means that even if you leave a family for a little while, they’re not going to have a couple of unexpected kids when you get back to playing them.

Everything is controlled directly from the in-game computer. I found it easy to use, and the options well-documented, so I always had a good idea what my options were going to effect.

Huge props to the modder for his work! This has made my game so much better.

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon, Sims 4

November Goals in Review

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is slowly coming to a close. But before we jump feet-first into December, I wanted to take a look back at what I accomplished over November. My goals for this month were pretty loose — mostly focusing on playing other new games that just came out.

So how did I do?

Games to Explore 

  • Civ 6 ✓
  • Skyrim ✓
  • Pokemon Sun ✓
  • Sims 4 City Life Expansion ✓

On the new games front, I did pretty good! Steam says that I put 17.6 hours into Civ 6 and 9.3 hours into Skyrim. I really need to pick up Skyrim again because it’s been weeks since I’ve played, and this is pretty close to the point I left off with the game before. I don’t want it to be a replay.

I know that I got at least 20 hours into the new Sims 4 Expansion, and I still want to continue with the family I started. But Pokemon Sun really won the month considering it came out so late, and I’ve put in over 40 hours on the game already. Granted, most of that has been breeding and training Pokemon, but I’ve certainly had a fun time.

FFXIV

  • Level Scholar to 60 ✓
  • Gear up Dragoon ✓
  • Get PotD Kinna Bard Bow or Scholar Book
  • Work on Relic Weapon ✓
  • Do job quests ✓
  • Gain reputation with Sahagin

FFXIV has really been a case of autopilot for me right now. I log in mostly to do an Expert run and some Beast Tribe quests in hopes to cap Scripture Tomes for the week. I should have stored enough up to purchase the Dragoon pants for Zuri today, which is the last large-ticket item. From there, just the head, belt and feet are left. So, I’ve made good progress on gearing her up.

I have been working on Relic, but no where as much as I really should be. I’m just more annoyed with the Umbrite step than anything else.

I did finish leveling my Scholar/Summoner to 60. I went back and completed the Scholar job quests, but have not started to catch up on Summoner stuff. I’m concerned that my Summoner gear is so sub-par that it’ll be hard to do. So, I’ve been scrounging drops from Expert Roulette to try and make that a little better.

Sadly, I still haven’t seen Floor 100 of PotD, nor have I earned my upgrade for the first Kinna weapon. I also didn’t work on the rep gain with Sahagin at all. I know I could have had both done by now, but meh. Trading in Pokemon is more fun for me. 🙂

Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4: Really Enjoying City Living

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I didn’t expect to become so attached to my little random Sim family when I started playing Sims 4: City Living. But I’ve put in a lot of game time with them, and have been honestly taking it pretty slow. They got married at the Romance Festival and have been living the good life in Akira’s slightly upgraded apartment.

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Because I really want to explore all the skills (like singing) and scenarios and things I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to in the past, I’ve been playing Amanda and Akira without aging on. This has given me time to learn the ins-and-outs of their professions, especially the new Social Media job that Amanda is working.

The working at home bit is pretty neat. But actually progressing in the field is a bit more complex. Getting a promotion is based not just on your skills but how many followers you can earn. I learned that I really needed to max out Amanda’s Gaming and Charisma skills before she could earn anywhere near as many followers as were required. But once I did that, it unlocked some nifty new social media interactions (Share Viral Video) that really pushed my follower count up.

Now, if only it was that easy to do in real life.

Everything was going well in the Hippie Gamers club, too. Once all singing skills were leveled, I installed a hot tub and made socializing in a hot tub one of the club activities. That seemed to go over well.

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The couple was happy with life as it was, working on career tracks and completing aspirations. They didn’t ask for a family or kids, but I decided I was curious what their kid would be like. So, once Akira finished his Computer Whiz aspiration, I gave them both the Successful Lineage aspiration and set about expanding their family with baby Alexa.

11-13-16_1-10-49-amAkira actually makes a really good father!

Because Arun, who remains a close family friend, has a young son, I did everything I could to ensure their child would be a daughter. Amanda may not have been able to pursue her first love, but perhaps the families could come together with their children.

With Amanda working from home, taking care of the new addition was too bad.

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But I was still eager to get the baby stage over with so I could see who Alexa would become.

And she turned out… adorable!

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You know how sometimes Sims kids turn out disappointing? Like, where did the genes go wrong? Alexa seems like a perfect blend of her parents.

In fact, one of the first things she did was go to the karaoke machine to learn to sing!

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Not only that, but when her parents call club get togethers with the Hippie Gamers, she gets along just fine with the rest of the crowd.

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She’s already met Arun’s son and is forming a friendship with the kid. Things are looking bright for the two families!

Posted in Gaming, Sims 4

Sims 4 Expansion: A Young Woman in City Living

While I’m still in the middle of a new game of Civ 6, and I started a new game of Skyrim for the new Special Edition release, I did break down and pick up the new expansion for Sims 4 – City Living. This is exactly what I knew was going to happen, but oh well. Hopefully I can rotate between games and still cap Tomes in FFXIV in my spare gaming time!

For this expansion, I decided to create a brand new Sim. I wanted the feeling of being a struggling newcomer to city life, and the only way I was going to get that was to start with limited funds and work my way up.

So here’s my new random Sim, Amanda Westfall.

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Apartment Life

I looked around the new city map that came with the City Living expansion, San Myshuno, and chose my Sim’s first apartment from one of the lower end complexes in the Spice Market. It’s all she could really afford. This took me a bit more time than I expected due to the new Lot Trait feature that was patched in free to all players.

I really like the idea of Lot Traits. It gives places more personality. For example, if you can now have a true haunted house by giving a lot the Haunted trait. Or if you live in a lot that’s on the Quake Zone, you can experience occasional tremors…

The low end apartments had the more undesirable traits, of course, like haunted, cursed, or gremlins. I almost went with the haunted/cursed lot, but after reading about it, I’m glad I didn’t. Instead, I chose one that Needs TLC… which warned me that it would raise my Sim’s handiness skills.

Oh boy, did it.

So, the apartment had worn down furniture, and the landlord had the Evil personality trait (for whatever that means). Also, somewhat often, Amanda would have her daily life interrupted by a roach infestation, or a mouse in the walls, noisy neighbors, leaky pipes, bad smells and the occasional ooze seeping up from the vents.

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Yeah, that’s probably not good.

Also, from time to time, the circuit breaker would go on the fritz and if it wasn’t attended, Amanda would lose power to the apartment. I did hit a bug where even after this was fixed, the apartment remained without power, no matter how I logged out or traveled to other lots. The only fix I found was to delete the old lights and install brand new ones.

You can either have your sim handle the incident, or complain to the (evil) landlord, who will come and usually fix it for you. Also, in the case of loud neighbors, who will actually prevent your sim from sleeping and spark them in a flame of anger, your sim can go and beat on the door to tell them to cut it out.

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Amanda’s neighbors were the overly annoying type. They were always knocking on the door asking for food or wanting to hang out while she needed to be doing her work. Speaking of which…

New Careers

Amanda handled this in stride being a young adult with a promising new career in social media. I have to say I really enjoy the new jobs that give a halfway point between traditional careers and the Get to Work babysitting. You can send your Sim to the office to work like normal, or you can choose to work at home. Working at home assigns a few goals to achieve, and doing those give a bonus on top of your daily pay.

It’s fun helping Amanda with her struggles to earn followers, start that perfect meme, or livestream gaming sessions. Especially since she doesn’t really have a geek personality. In fact, I made her a more social sim, with goals around leading a fun club… since I still haven’t experimented with clubs from Get Together at all.

Amanda founded a successful club called Hippie Gamers who play video games, practice yoga and hug people.

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Open Neighborhoods and City Festivals

New festivals are another feature of City Living, made possible by creating a more open and social base for each neighborhood. Because all the housing is contained within the apartment buildings, that leaves the rest of the neighborhood as an open area for activities. It’s sorta like a neighborhood square where festivals are held and you can go down and socialize anytime you like.

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These areas tend to always have food vendors and plenty of other sims to associate with, even if there isn’t a festival going on. I see this as an experiment in trying a more open design, since that is one of the big complaints players have when moving from Sims 3 to Sims 4. There’s still a lot of restrictions, but it gives the illusion of freedom.

Festivals are pretty easy to attend. You’ll get a pop-up notification that lets you know something is going on. If it’s in your neighborhood, you can just walk down and have fun. If it’s somewhere else, clicking a button gets you to the hosting neighborhood quickly. You can also bring friends… or sometimes they invite your Sim to come.

Lessons in Love

That’s what happened when the Romance Festival came around. Arun Bheeda, a nice guy who came to welcome Amanda when she first moved in, invited her to the festival.

He was also a member of Hippie Gamers, has a key to Amanda’s apartment, and they had a strong friendship developing. I wasn’t in a rush to get Amanda hooked up in this play through, but since they were both in the mood at the festival, I thought this might be her chance to make some moves on Arun.

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It was all actually going really well and they were hitting it off in the romance department… until I realized Amanda had never asked him if he was currently involved with someone else. Come to find out, not only was Arun married, but he had a newborn son.

Oooops! Failtime.

Arun, man, you needed to make your intentions clear!

Amanda is not a home breaker, and let that catch get away. Arun, however, remained a close friend and gaming buddy, even as the romance bar began to fade with time.

Though her prospects were low for a while as she met other guys in the city who didn’t mesh well, she finally found the one – Akira Kibo. He was also a member of the Hippie Gamers, worked as a level 1 Tech Support, and has a singing voice like a dream. They gamed together for a while, then she gave him her apartment key.

Akira is a bit of a romantic with a jealous streak, but that only made it easier for him to fall for Amanda. In fact, he was the one calling her on dates. Like this one… to a haunted location.

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Thankfully, Arun and Akira get along well, and when Amanda finally proposed to Akira, Arun was the first to congratulate her. That’s true friendship.

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Akira also has a much nicer apartment, which he shared with two roommates. It has a balcony and a lovely view of the Fashion District…. though it does have a trait of being on a quake line…

Seeing that I’d played about 10 or so hours in a leaky, smelly, infested apartment, I decided it was time for Amanda to move on up. So she married Akira, moved in with him, and I moved his two roommates into the open apartment next door.

Happy times are coming for the karaoke geeks!

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Sims 4

Weekend Gaming: FFXIV, Sims 4 & 7D2D

Farewell Zero Fortune, my first racing chocobo!
Farewell Zero Fortune, my first racing chocobo!

This weekend was a mish-mash of gaming, which was actually quite a nice, relaxing blend. Despite piddling around in various games, I even knocked out some of my FFXIV goals.

Sims 4

One of the things I wanted to get done before it vanished for good was this year’s Sims 4 Spring challenge. Like last year, there are Easter eggs to find from gathering and harvesting. Two new ones are added to the collection this time, and new colors to the bunny plushie you get for completing the set.

Cute new bunny plush colors!
Cute new bunny plush colors!

There’s also a new Growfruit Challenge that rewards two new gardening planters. I fired up the game and focused on playing a family that has the Sim with the highest gardening skill I could remember, and got right on that. The first planter is rewarded for growing 20 Growfruit and turning them into the NPC. The second was much more involved and required you to evolve the Growfruit trees to Perfect quality and turn in one Perfect Growfruit.

New Spring Challenge planters obtained!
New Spring Challenge planters obtained!

I did complete them both, but it took a number of game hours to finally evolve the tree in the end. So, I got a good bit of Sims 4 time in.

7D2D

Last week 7D2D released Alpha 14, so the Zombie Hunting Crew has been testing and playing that quite a bit. They’ve had some trouble with the build that’s caused some CTDs, but we’ve found some work-arounds for it through installing the 32 bit version on those PCs.

I found a creepy floating graveyard, complete with raining zombies and floating coffins.
I found a creepy floating graveyard, complete with raining zombies and floating coffins.

Overall, the game’s introduction has improved a lot, and the beginning experience is much smoother and kinder to a new player. We’ve been building up a new fort and having a lot of fun fending off the hordes. I wish I had more pictures to share – like of our base and how incredibly real the skybox in the game looks now – but it seems the screenshot key is on the fritz, too, since the last few patches.

FFXIV

Though I haven’t made FFXIV my focus this weekend, I still got a good bit done in the game. First, I finished my first goal of leveling my Culinarian to 60, which pretty much entailed me making massive numbers of Ishgardian Muffins. I suddenly realized that this means I only have 3 crafting jobs left to level to 60. That’s pretty crazy!

The FC has also been running the Crystal Tower raids over and over this week, due to the fact that the queue times are much better now that there’s a relic item reward for finishing the weekly quest. We helped some newer folks through for their first time, and other FC members are practicing new level 50 classes in the raids, just like we used to do when CT was all the rage.

I’m using it to practice my monk rotation and level the job some. The experience isn’t overwhelming, but it’s there. I hit level 52 without doing much else, so my goal of leveling monk past 50 is well underway.

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Chocobo breeding for the first time!

My sister and I spent some time trying out the newly revamped Chocobo Racing in the Gold Saucer as well. I originally raced a bit when the Gold Saucer first came out, but the whole racing/training/breeding thing was so expensive that I gave up before I ever retired my first chocobo. Now that racing is much more profitable and the cost of training/breeding is more reasonable, we dove into learning about the whole system and raced into the early morning hours, a lot like we used to play old Mario Kart games.

It was good times!

I finally raced my first chocobo, Zero Fortune, to rank 40, retired him, and bred him for my first tier 2 chocobo to produce my newest chocobo, Ghost Odyssee. I also won my first chocobo challenge race, which had a really nice payout in the end. I’m enjoying these new changes and was happy to find a racing buddy who was enjoying them too! 🙂

Coming in first and second in the races.
Coming in first and second in the races.

The rest of this week I’m going to focus on getting my writing for Camp NaNoWriMo done. I’m sure I’ll be gaming some, but blogging might be a bit more sparse this month, or at least, a bit shorter. We’ll see!