Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TS3's Creative Corner

Yesterday I decided to join in with all the TS3 Community at their forums. I had been shy about it so far, just reading some entries and contests. Also, since MMO Forums are not a very friendly place, I did take a while to venture into TS3's forums.

It is NOT like most MMO forums. Or even some other game forums. Things are mostly friendly and on a very sharing mood. People will come drop some words about your work, share theirs, leave tips and make contests about building. I did not go to read the other parts of the forums, keeping to the "Creative Corner", but so far I am glad to say that it is a very positive community.

I'll slowly post my houses over there to help share them, and I'll edit the house posts here to leave a link that goes over there, in case anyone is interested. The house I posted, Sunflower, even had a person sharing a link to a sunflower themed park, which will go perfect nearby the house once I use it on a Sim family. So I'll try and keep all links together so whoever checks here can see those other people's awesome creations also!

The Sims 3 Community: Creative Corner

Monday, September 26, 2011

Franchises and MMOs

I need to start this little entry saying that I am not a big fan of any franchise. I do like the Star Wars movies and the Lord of the Rings books and movies, and I even play LotRO, but I am not the kind of person who’ll buy T-shirts and themed mugs. Still, franchises made it to annoy me this past week when I decided to think about it a bit, and how it is present in a game that I like very much, and how it basically creates other games where the game company won’t hold all the power over its tittle, and it could just vanish if contracts are not renewed. The good part of franchises is that it allows us to live a world that became limited by the lack of new books and movies about such fantasy worlds. It is much easier to imagine further adventures in such worlds by playing a game then by making fanfics, comics and pieces of art, since those require some skills that not all of us have. Playing MMOs is simple enough and a good medium to experience these worlds again. All of this also made me wonder how many MMO players out there actually hold no interest at all about Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and how they might experience the games from these franchises. I thought often about this when I played World of Warcraft. I had played the strategy games and was quite happy to find all the lore spread around a seamless world full of quests and story. And then I’d find players who never played the strategy games and would simply shrug that they had just been in a very important place within the story of Azeroth. I see myself doing that about SWTOR, though I have not played it yet. All I’ve ever seem about the old republic lore is what they’ve shown in the movies, and yet, their website is full of lore to read that I can’t get myself to go and experience. So now it is me shrugging about the story elements that are not appealing to me right now, and given what I’ve read on the game system so far, I am just plain not interested in SWTOR at the moment. My point here is: how many franchise based games end up out of a gamer’s list because of the franchise part of it? Or even the opposite, how many games out there get players because of the franchise, even if the gameplay part of it is not the one the player really enjoys? I have been playing LotRO a lot lately, and I recognize a game system that is not different at all. It is repetitive, with a lot of grindy quests and repeatable actions in order to gain reputation. The very same things I complained about WoW when I left it. But I read the quests and follow the story, and that franchise part of it is keeping me hooked, it seems. I know it might be very difficult to find such person, but I like to wonder how LotRO feels to a person who never read the books or seen the movies. Is the game world enough? Are the movies and books required to make everything bind together? I recall back in WoW visiting Stratholme with a kid who had made up a story of the place. It was very cute, he was a young teen who said that it was a monster city and it was our mission to clear the place. I knew the lore of the place and so I told it to him, but recalling that event makes me wonder if some franchise based games might be leaving a lot of gaps that only those who follow the franchises are able to fill in. Or even if the worlds are more interesting to those who don’t know exactly why a burning city filled with undead is there in the first place. What about you guys? How is your relationship with franchise based MMOs? I am still confused, seeing myself liking a game for the story, even though I am not a big franchise fan.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A small family house, with fenced vegetable garden and surrounded by sunflowers. Warm colors. 2 bed, 1 bath. Originally built at 2450 Pinocle Point (30x20) Sunset Valley. 

The concept was at first to create a very small home, possibly a starter home. But then as I started to pick colors I decided to make it about sunflowers, and use its colors all around the small house.

Sim concepts could be of someone who enjoys gardening, but I didn't think of any other specifics beyond that.

Download this House (The Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album
Shared at the Creative Corner (Sims 3 Official Community)

Sun Haven

This mansion sized home is full of warm colors. Connects with a path that leads to a nearby beach (another lot) if built on original address at 500 Sunnyside Blvd, Sunset Valley. 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath, library, pool.

The concept here was to create a mansion with an awesome view of the sea, and with warm colors. Also, I wanted to use the path that connects the house to a nearby beach lot, and left space there for that (500 Sunnyside Blvd is the original lot I've built it in). Some of the pictures I took from this house were taken from that beach, which could edited to be a more attractive public space if desired.

There is a lot of space in this house, but I didn't have any Sim concepts this time, just a house big enough for a family and guests,

Download this House (The Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album
Shared at the Creative Corner (Sims 3 Official Community)

Soft Pink Starter Home

Priced for a starter home (15.147), this home has very soft tones of pink. Originally built at 55 Water Lily Lane (20x30), Sunset Valley - 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. 

This is the first starter home I've updated to the Exchange. It is a fun kind of project, and I'll try to make more of them pretty soon, on a different theme and color set. For this one, I wanted something soft and delicate, that could look pretty without being pricey.

Download this House (The Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album
Shared at the Creative Corner (Sims 3 Official Community)

Gourmet's Summer Home

2 bedrooms (3 if you remake the office), 3 bathrooms. Outside cookout area and vegetable garden. Only cheat used was the one to add the vegetable plants. 

The concept while making this house was to create a place for an already successful and rich cook, by the sea and with plenty of space for parties. It was one of my first "big houses", back when I just hated to create a second floor. The reason? I don't like stairs in my houses, I like to see the whole house and what the Sims are doing at a glance. That changed though, and I've been making some beautiful buildings with stairs and cellars now, which will be uploaded in time. 

The Sim I had in mind for this place would be a natural cook, with a lot of social skills and possibly a family. It would also be a Sim that travels a lot, which is why I placed some stands and an office, to organize all that involves travelling. It is a darker place from what I usually decorate my places, and I like the contrast present in the outside area, which is very bright.

Download this House (The Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nectar Maker's Retreat

A gloomy decorated house, without technology and ready for a nectar maker. Nectar maker machine and plants added with cheats, but you can delete them if you don't want to use them -- Originally built on 365 Oak Grove Road (30x30) Sunset Valley. 1 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom. Cellar. 

I made this house with a Sim concept in mind: a technophobe with a love for making nectar, with commitment issues, but yet sociable and who adores having people over to compliment his nectar making skills.

There is more then enough space for growing your own grapes, and the cellar is in the smaller house in the back, with space to invite people over. I've already placed the nectar making machine down there with codes, but if you want to do it without codes at all, you just need to delete it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sea Sprite

A modern house by the sea, with beautiful view from the main area and outside deck. Gardening space by the side. Just a few paces from the sea. --- Originally built in 477 Sunnysude Blvd (30x30), Sunset Valley. 2 bedrooms, 3 bath.

"Modern" looking houses are a bit mode difficult for me to make, I am not sure why. I wanted to make a house close to the sea, and the original lot of this one makes it so that a Sim can walk out of its backyard and already be by the sea. If not interested in the space for the vegetable garden, it can be 
easily converted into a playground area.

Download this House (Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The end of Moria, for now...

After many months without sunlight and fresh air, my elf hunter finally emerged from the depths of Moria. Since I did write about my first impressions, I’d like to share my “middle” impressions, since I did not go too much into grouped content and dungeons to call it a full review.

Exploring remained as the top most fun activity within Moria. Yes, there is a map, but some places are so tight and complicated that the map is simply a joke. You actually have to memorize your way into certain areas, and clear your way in between such areas, not to mention that the cliffs and falls are not decoration, so you can die of “misadventure” quite often while running in the dark holding scissors. While exploring, you’ll be rewarded with exploration deeds and a few side quests that won’t really start anywhere but by interacting with an object in the scenario, or some quests where there are no pointers, just clues. There are at least two riddle quests you have to think for yourself, and while they are not too complicated, it is refreshing to think instead of following arrows for a change. Just once I had to actually google one of the exploration deeds, as I could not find a certain place to complete it. Even with directions it was quite a bit of exploring.

Killing your way to different places is also a good way to complete slayer deeds, collect extra reputation items and legendary weapon drops. I started Moria with the store “unhealthy” goat, which means it is not a very good mount to just run through the mob and reach the other side without getting dismounted. Since I’d only play the game when I had plenty of time and patience to actually shoot my way through, that wasn’t a problem, and actually a good way to gather reputation items.
The two reputations of Moria grow slowly through quests, the epic quest, and by exchanging rep items. The Miners will give you traveling advantages, and the Guards combat advantages, which translates into one giving you a return to Moria spell and mount, and the other a class skill, among other gear that you can purchase. By the time I left Moria, with a lot of group quest not completed yet, I am done with the Guard’s reptutation and half way through Ally with the Miners, so I don’t need much to reach maximum level with them. I never bought reputation items, so I believe that overall the speed was good, though it must suck if you’d like to get Moria’s goat to actually use it inside Moria, given you take a long time to gather enough reputation to buy it. What my husband, who is almost 50 and ready to get into Moria did, was to grind some Thorin’s Hall reputation and get their goat, which has decent health and doesn’t cost Turbine Points.
While you’ve already learned by now that you’ll always have orcs to kill anywhere in Middle-Earth, Moria takes it much more seriously. They are everywhere, in different colors and “classes”, with irritating self healing spells at certain points, and completing the deed to kill hundreds of them will simply happen without you even thinking about it. It is that many! I particularly prefer goblins, which are present too, since they make funny combat sounds. The quests are mostly interesting, showing stories you could only imagine after the little details about Moria present in the trilogy books. I haven’t read books other then the trilogy and “The Hobbit”, so I am not sure how much details the others give on Moria. The whole place is designed to make some sense into it being a giant mining city, with water systems, a complex mirror based light system and areas you can see that were made to live in, rather then to mine. I also love all the “useless” corridors and details, they are a reward for a person that likes to explore beyond the quest requests, and make the word feel much more unique. The epic quest takes you through all of Moria, and I can confirm that the tip to follow it in order to know which areas to quest first within Moria is a good one. Just like Volume I, Volume II is better done in parts and different days, taking breaks to complete the other quests in the area. The story is also good, and while you’ll travel a lot within Moria, it won’t be as far and weird like you had to do back in Volume I. Also, by doing the epic quests you’ll unlock 3 skirmishes, which is a very nice addition if you are not VIP. Two of the epic quests will also have puzzles, which were entertaining and again, a good break from mindless arrow following. 

What I left behind were group quests and many of the dungeons. While I completed some with my guild, I didn’t feel like looking for a random group, and saving the group quests to do once my husband reaches them also. We’ve been doing that with Angmar, and it is funny how even 10 levels above the mobs, we still have a difficult time on some quests. Overall Moria was a very fun adventure. It felt dangerous but not impossible, and the whole unique environment was like nothing I had ever seen in a game yet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blue and Brown

A perfect house for two people with very different personalities. Modern objects meet country style, blue meets brown. Originally made for a challenge from the community, but never submited. --- Originally built on 99 Landgraab Ave (30x30), Sunset Valley. 2 bedrooms, 2 bath.

Yet another small house! This one I would never have come up with the colors myself, but I actually enjoy the final composition. It is based on a challenge by the The Sims 3 Community. I never had time to finish it in time for the challenge, but I decided to go ahead and finish it anyway. 

The challenge asked for a house fit for two friends who had different tastes: a guy who enjoyed country style things and the color brown, and a woman who enjoyed blue and a more rock and roll style. I might one day make those Sims and see how the story goes.

Download this House (Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Red Bricks Home

A simple 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. Warm colors and lots of red. Some outside area unused to expand the garden. Originally built at 2350 Pinochle Point, Sunset Valley, 30x30.

Another small house project. This time I wanted to make something with bricks, and warm, flashy colors. I also wanted it to look family friendly, so there are lots of empty space around the house for kid's toys and running around, or to build a little vegetable garden.

Download this House (Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album

Sims 3 Studio: Little Pink Palace

This small house is full of elegance. Rich in pink and details, it is the perfect setting for a Sim who appreciates the looks of luxury, or just your plain spoiled princess daughter Sim needing a "starter" house up to her standards. --- Originally build at 18 Maywood Lane (20x30) at Sunset Valley , 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bath (1 bath, the second has laundry space), 1 office.

My favorite kind of project in The Sims 3 is to make small houses. I guess the limitation of space inspires my creativity more then to have a huge canvas. With this little house, I wanted to make something as fancy as a mansion or palace, but within a small house. I really like the result, and it is the house with the most downloads so far.

I imagined this place could fit well for creative Sims, art lovers and architects. The second bedroom could fit a roommate with the same tastes, a child's bedroom, or a big studio. The pool area with enough space to throw parties made me imagine the house as a good "starter house" for a rich Sim girl, living away from her parents for the first time. Let me know which kinds of stories you came up with :) 

Download this House (Sims 3 Exchange)
Detailed Pictures Album

The Sims 3 Houses Reorganized

I'll be making a blog post about each of the houses, so that in case someone wishes to leave a comment, there will be space for it. I'll leave a link to each post at the Sims 3 Studio page also, along with the links for the albums with extra pictures.

Age of Wonders III

This month I decided to play through the Age of Wonders campaigns again while waiting on Sim City. Progress was going well and I was having ...