11 November 2014

Mini Gherkin?

I can't be arsed voting but, if the Sims Teams should be trawling the interwebs in search of clues, here's my favourite "tacky holiday sweater".  My very favourite reindeer jumper in fact.  Just the perfect thing to wear to a turkey curry buffet!  

BTW I really like the way the reindeer and Mr Darcy have almost the same look in their eyes in this shot.  Poor Bridget ... doubly scorned. 

23 September 2014


I feel like I've been playing a lot of Viral Roulette lately.  Almost every week it's been a new set of symptoms, a day or so off work then feeling better by the end of the week, just to start all over again. Lucky I went for the free flu vac from work or I'd have really been in trouble.  Ah, the joys of late Winter and the change in seasons.  But, yay, now Spring has sprung!  Ah-choo!

Spent a lot of time playing Civilization V and Banished for the low key gameplay and the achievement hunting.  A teeny bit of building in The Sims 3 and a revisit of Skyrim.  Checking in with my hirelings and some crafting in Elder Scrolls Online.  Also, downloaded but haven't tried the CAS demo for The Sims 4.  Waiting for the next Civilization and Borderlands games out next month then Dragon Age and Pokemon in November.

Surprisingly, I find myself even less interested in The Sims 4 now that it has been released.  Mostly I think it's the EA porky-pie factor and the less than stellar handling of the whole thing so I'm going to give it a bit longer to settle in.  Anyway, I assume that, if sales had met or exceeded EA's expectations, we would've heard by now.

I don't normally enjoy watching other people play video games but this one is definitely worth the time (more for the commentary than for how the game plays since that's pretty much as you'd expect).  Also, go and check out NerdCubed plays... The Stanley Parable  when you get a chance.  

Lastly... 20,000!

29 August 2014

Caveat Emptor

You may have somehow missed all the palaver and still be considering getting Sims 4 next week.  All I can suggest is that you take some time to read a few blog posts or forum discussions (and that means at least 5 to 10 places to try to get a balanced view) before you hand over your cash.  The official site doesn't count (and neither does anywhere that is just a cut-and-paste of official press releases).  I could point out a few places but, meh, I'm over it.

28 June 2014

Who's Game?

Games can be expensive here, mostly due to the "Australia tax", so you often have to pick and choose what you pre-order or buy on release so you don't end up paying a lot for something that ends up gathering dust on the pile of shame.  

Since buying Sims 3, I've paid around the same price for a few base games, including Skyrim and Civilization V, that provided a complete experience in themselves and were nowhere near as high maintenance.  I didn't have to hang out for expansions to make the base game more interesting.  Mods enhanced gameplay and provided additional content, they weren't there primarily to fix the game.

It's not that I don't enjoy playing Sims 3.  I suspect I'll be playing for a long while now that modders have fixed most of the problems and my game is running surprisingly smoothly, even with almost all extra content added (aside from KPST and a few bits of store content).  I still have a lot more to try out in the game now that I can travel without it crashing or losing all of my Sim's friends or inventory.

But, looking back, I have to admit that Sims 3 was a lot of money for an almost empty box that needed a whole lot more spending to fill it up and make it a complete experience.  I feel reasonably comfortable with how much I spent on it but I can see Sims 4 being yet another cash cow for EA. I'm not at all keen to do it all over again.

Sims 4 is currently around AU$90 for the Limited Edition.  They seem to have left out some pretty key features from Sims 3 without adding anything to encourage me to take a chance on it.  And they seem to be rushing things just to get it out there, which in itself is enough to make me hold off on buying it.

So, I'll be spending my money elsewhere, at least until Sims 4 presents a better value proposition (ie. it works, is interesting, is about something more than EMOTIONS and costs a whole lot less).  I might even give SimCity a spin now that they've enabled offline play.  Anyway, this is my current big ticket shopping list:
  • Dragon Age - Inquisition (Oct 2014).
  • Borderlands - The Pre-Sequel (Oct 1014). 
  • Pokemon - Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire (Nov 2014).
  • Sid Meier's Civilization - Beyond Earth (2014).
  • The Witcher - Wild Hunt (Feb 2015).
  • Batman - Arkham Knight (2015).
  • Uncharted 4 - A Thief's End (2015). 

26 June 2014

La la la la la la la la la!

You've probably noticed a few objections around the place just lately about the lack of toddlers and pools in the Sims 4 base game.  Anybody read Azure's response... 

... and just know she meant this ...

Ever since my last post, I've had the Fugees "Ready or Not" stuck in my head so it's time for a new earworm.  This little number is dedicated to the Sims 4 team (because they love us so much)...

13 June 2014

Coming ... Ready or Not?

So it seems that the Sims team fronted up to E3 with a few Sims 4 animations and no actual gameplay preview.  Just under three months to go to release and it's looking like the gaming equivalent of a baby-cino... all froth and no substance.  Plenty of other games had actual gameplay on show (and a lot of those aren't out until next year).

I get the feeling they have really dumbed down simplified the coding this time.  Sims 3 was pretty ambitious I guess, with its open world and its customisation options (including CASt).  Probably too ambitious, since the Sims team didn't seem to be able to do anything to it without messing something else up.  Nothing ever seemed to work as intended.

From what I've seen, this new Sims 4 model with its "districts" and limited customisation should actually make the game more reliable (and, you'd think, easier to get right).  So, why can't they show us?  Shouldn't it be almost ready to release, with just some finishing touches to go? 

16 May 2014

Sims 4 CAS

This image has been hanging around in my draft posts for quite a while, waiting for me to find something positive to say about it.  Now that they've finally released another Sims 4 trailer (and things don't seem to have progressed much further), it seemed like a good time to mention the new and improved CAS as demonstrated by SimGuru Ryan and some random Sim that was unlucky enough to stand too close to him...

At least now you know that, no matter how bad you are at creating Sims that look like real people, you can't do worse than the team that have had way more practice than you.  That's a positive, right?

With all those push-pull controls, it looks like they forgot to add the right ones to create pointy-headed, manically grinning Sims.  Maybe all bald guys really do look the same and I just didn't realise it?

06 April 2014

AWOL in Tamriel

Just taking a break from stumbling about in Elder Scrolls Online.  I missed out on beta access so this has been my first chance to try things out.  I had early access but, between work and the servers being down for maintenance, I only managed a couple of hours playing time.  Access around launch time was actually easier than I expected so I've managed some decent play in the past couple of days.  Guess there have to be some advantages to being in this part of the world!  

I'm getting there, slowly, fumbling about with the keyboard controls (no controller like I had for Skyrim).   At least I have a few others over at Simpletons to help me out, though I think they must've known we were coming ... 

15 March 2014

Freeze or Starve?

For the past few weeks I've been playing Banished, a city-building strategy game developed by the one-man Shining Rock Software.  It's taken quite a few restarts but I'm almost to the point of keeping everyone alive through every winter with the occasional one dying during childbirth or trampled by a boar and the rest dying of old age.  Heath and happiness are up but disaster may be just around the corner. 

I finally got one village to over 300 citizens when the nomads I accepted brought typhoid with them and wiped out a third of the town.  I couldn't build cemeteries fast enough!  Then there was the game where all the food producers kept starving and all the woodcutters kept freezing to death.  I can only conclude that the children steal all the food and firewood (and pick a pocket or two as well) while the adults are at work.

I've checked out a few wikis and forums but the more tips I followed from other players, the worse things seemed to go.  No one solution works for every game so it's a case of finding what works best for the game you are in.  And sometimes it's so elusive ... like if you'd only done the right thing an hour ago then things wouldn't have taken a dive.  

As Leo says, "First they were banished.  Now they're dying, thanks to me".  

18 January 2014

Azure Heights Pool 2.0

I've updated the pool complex surrounded by loft houses in Sunset Valley with the pool slide, diving boards and pool bar that have been added to the game with updates and expansions.  The only store content is the outdoor shower that came with the Serenity Spa venue in Sunlit Tides.  The small square pool with fountain is a toddler pool. 

Isn't it amazing how much difference a couple of years makes to this lot.  The original version only had pool ladders because that was all that came with the base game.  The pool slide or diving board, preferably both, should've been in the base game from the start.  The diving board was added with the patch for Seasons (technically making it base game I suppose) and the pool slide came with Island Paradise.  No surprises now, of course, since we've learned that's just the way they do business.  

Download Azure Heights Pool 2.0

17 January 2014


Pageviews, that is.  At least according to Blogger.  I doubt it's a reliable figure since the highest number of visitors was in June 2009 (over 1,100 that month).  Full marks for spotting that I started this blog in February 2011.

So what else does Blogger have to say?  Most visitors are from the USA, UK or Australia and come here via Vidkid20's Sim Lair using Firefox or Chrome.  Next largest group are the visitors from Russia that arrived here via porn sites.  Plenty of people are still searching for Skyrim tickling and someone was after an online feet tickling game.

A few people looking for my builds (thank you), especially the new Plumbob Pictures backlot.  I'm working on some new lots and some updates to the old ones for the new content.  Progress has been slow, mostly due to not having a lot of time to test everything out.

I feel like I spent more time getting Sims 3 working last year than actually playing.  And it's been a challenge to find time and energy with my son being ill for most of the year, though things are looking up since he had his tonsils out a couple of months ago.

With (probably) the last official game update released and a lot of winding up happening around the simmerverse, I feel I should at least mention the future.  As I've posted before, I won't be getting Sims 4 in a hurry (if at all).  I will continue to play around with builds in Sims 3 and trying out all of the gameplay I haven't got to yet.  I may cover more non-Sims 3 topics than in the past, but I won't be abandoning this blog just yet.

06 January 2014

Thank you, Twallan!

We had a teesny-weensy earthquake here this morning.  I thought it was a heavily-laden truck speeding too close to the house ... except for there being no actual truck and no way for one to gain the required speed either.  Apparently that's what passes for an earthquake here.  

But it was nothing compared to the rumbles caused by Twallan's announcement that he will no longer be modding for Sims 3.  I can only think of all the times his work has saved my game from EA's game-breaking patches and premium content.  And all the fun and life his mods have added to my gameplay.   

So, thank you, Twallan, for all you have done for Simmers everywhere.  Without your hard work, many of us - especially me - would not have stuck with it so long!