In the past four parts of this series of articles, I have looked at several of the different ways that people play and some of the different aids and accessories that have made a player's experience of the game more enjoyable.
The Creating Style
Will Wright and a lot of the other people at Maxis put the success of "The Sims" down to the community and are hoping for the same success with "The Sims 2" and says it will be even easier to customise. We have already looked at the Story Writer in the last part. This part is dedicated to those who make those stories more interesting and go beyond what Maxis gave us.
In the same way that not every player uses one style of play, not every creator is tied to one field. At TSZ, we've had very gifted creators who have made contributions in many different fields.
The Architect is a creator who spends his time designing lots for people to enjoy. He has a blank landscape and works from there to build whatever his imagination and the ingame constraints allow him.
Now "The Sims" has come to the end of its cycle of expansions, the architect has so many areas where he or she can work. From the houses
of Sim Lane and the neighbouring streets, we also have the community lots of Old Town, the shops and restaurants of Downtown
, the hotels and tourist attractions on Vacation Island
, the studios and spas of Studio Town
and the mysterious stalls and rides of Magic Town.
Before the "Unleashed" expansion, if you wanted to go and build a house, you had to create a family and move in. "Unleashed" added more lots and the ability to go in and build a house without having to buy it. This enabled the architects to fill their communities with buildings without even having to live in them.
Once you've got your building, you might find that the existing walls and floors are not enough. The Decorator creates the wall
coverings that are not otherwise there.
was one of the first pieces of software that came from Maxis to allow people to add their own touch to the game. It has allowed players to transfer their own creations into the game as wall or floor coverings. These have ranged from rolls of carpet tiles and rolls of wallpaper to massive murals.
The Designer creates objects
that do not come with the game and the existing expansions. As you've already got the building with new walls and floors, you may as well have some new furniture to go with it.
From simple recolours to completely new objects, this is the domain of the designers and a lot of brilliance has come out of the unsung heroes of the community.
One area that almost anyone can do is create paintings
with The Sims Art Studio
. It has its limitations to only 1-tile pictures, but it does allow you to quickly add something of your own to the game.
The Pixel Surgeon
The Pixel Surgeon is a skinner
who deals primarily with faces. From his own grandma to the stars of the screen, either using The Sims Creator or doing a hand-made skin with his paint program of choice, he has the task of creating a fair likeness of a true person. The Pixel Surgeon fills your fully furnished and decorated building with the people who you want to live there.
was another piece of software from Maxis to create faces but had its limitations. The Sims Creator that is part of "The Sims Deluxe Edition" does allow you to put whoever you want in your simworld although on close inspection, the skins do look somewhat shoddy. Yes, you can put your own grandma into the game or any one of your family or friends.
The Costumier is a skinner
who looks at outfits. From an "itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini" to a luxurious ballgown or the native dress of the inhabitants of the planet Deneb 6, the Costumiers are at work
No matter who you have brought into your game, you'll want them to dress the part. There might not be what you want for them in the existing wardrobe. Therefore, you need something new for them to wear.
Again, The Sims Creator allows you a quick and simple way to create your own clothes. It is so simple, anyone can use it. However, like the Pixel Surgeon, some costumiers prefer to go into their favourite paint program and work from there.
The Editor is someone who thinks the game can be more and in their own way has created a utility or program to help it become closer to their dream.
Apart from utilities I have mentioned in previous articles, here are a few more.
ChEeTaH's The Add-On Handler
enables players to automatically install all downloads in the proper folders. For those people downloading houses with custom objects and textures, this is ideal.
allows skinners to show off their latest creations and pose them however they like from the different pose libraries already available. With a bit of practice, people can even create their own.
Don Hopkin's Transmogrifier
is an essential tool for all designers allowing them to tweak and adapt the raw components of existing files to create something new.
Paladin's SimMetamorphoser allows players to change their sex, name, bodily and facial appearance and Simwardrobe allows you to change their clothes, sleepwear and other default outfits without even having to go downtown and buy them. These utilities and others can be downloaded from his site
There are utilities out there that will help you do almost anything you want with your game. You can even edit careers and create completely new ones, become enemies with someone who is your best friend without the effort of going through the motions. You can even get the career you want without having to wait for the right one to come up on the computer or in the newspaper.
The Writer is someone in the community who helps us to understand the game better and what we can do with it. From news reports on what is going on to articles on how to create a better dining room. From tutorials on creating parties that will be a success through to the fine points of mesh tweaking and transparency modifications. There might even be a series of articles on how different people play the sims. The different fansites are full of articles from different writers who have been there and done that and are sharing their knowledge with the community.
All of these materials are found on websites and nothing sets off a design better than a well-designed website from a webmaster who knows the ins-and-outs of The Sims and what is on offer. The Sims Zone is a classic example of a well-designed site that I am proud to work for and has an excellent range of creations for you to look through.
Once you've finished reading, why not have a browse through our newly revamped files section
? I'm sure there is something in there that will appeal to you.
With some of the official utilities
and one that is part of The Sims Deluxe Edition, almost anyone could create something to add to their own world.
Without the different types of creators out there, "The Sims" would not be the vibrant and exciting world it is. Already, people are working on new content for "The Sims 2"
, writing tutorials on Bodyshop and at TSZ, we have the Sims2 Packer
to help pack up new custom content for a game that has not yet been released.
And Finally ...
In the past few months, you have read five articles on different ways that I see people playing "The Sims". At times, I have played them all and have found that a variety in gameplay makes the game live for me. I hope it may help it live for you ...
... at least until "The Sims 2" comes out
Written at 03:22 on Wednesday 25 August 2004 by