I would have posted this article earlier but Uncle Will and his team have decided to do something about SimDay that is worth mentioning. Another expansion pack to the great game is coming entitled House Party and it is due out at the end of March in North America and Europe which is only 9 weeks away. Great news, but what does this mean to SimDay?
Well, firstly they have already opened another contest for skins of Party Costumes, which was only a week after the Valentine's Day Contest. So, this means there are two contests on the go at once. I found this new contest to be rather ironic considering they have said they are stopping support for SimShow, which was the primary skin checker, and TSCMS (read on to find what that means) is only at Beta and a very flawed Beta at that. They should've fixed that first ... but why is my devious mind now thinking that the fixed version will be a part of House Party?
So what else does House Party mean to Simday?
An online chat with the developers for one (happening tonight) and maybes another one nearer the release. Also, if they follow the form that they did with the first expansion (Living It Up/Living Large), there will be weekly SimDay articles on the new items to be found in the pack and also covering the new themes of which there are three? It figures. So, eight weeks to the release of House Party and there will be the Valentine Winners to put in as well sometime in two to three weeks. I hope I am wrong but I don't think there will be anything new downloads or bugfixes coming before the release of House Party ... but must admit, I will be near the front of the queue to buy it nevertheless.
Let me continue with part of what I would like to see coming up on SimDay (hopefully).
In Part 1, I outlined what SimDays have been and what I found to be good and bad about them.
In this part, I am going to put down my first wish list on what I would like to see on coming SimDays. It would be nice if someone from Maxis read this. Even though I may berate them for various things, I am full of praise for the great addictive game and their work ... but it could be better.
The Official Utility Programs (OUP) have been around a long time now and I have found that they add a lot to the game. Since the game came out, Maxis have added to them for our benefit and sometimes irritation. It is time for them to be improved.
The Sims Character Makeover Studio
This is the most recent OUP and Maxis have said it is to replace SimShow. They admitted TSCMS was a Beta Version with a few bugs. This is an understatement. It has more bugs in it than my untidiest of my Sim Houses and they are infested with cockroaches. There have been other beta versions of Sims Utility Programs out there, especially the excellent EliSims and TSE (The Sims Editor), and these have crashed less on me.
The program needs to be finished very quickly indeed to keep us happy (but with recent revelations and following a similar tack to the downloaded BAT for SC3K and its refined edition as part of SC3K Unlimited, I think TSCMS will have its refined edition in House Party). Assuming these bugs are fixed either before or during House Party, it could be better. If the original version of The Sims itself allows you to change a child into an adult (with all the child's skills) during character creation albeit via a friendly bug, I would like to see Maxis refine this coding to allow a child to grow into an adult at some stage. Cassandra Goth is starting to look one very pissed off kid. After all, in one of my neighborhoods, assuming a day is a month (hence quarterly bills every 3 days), Cassie is just turned twenty and still having to go to school. The ideal TSCMS would allow you to make an adult grow old (or vice versa?) so this would be an appreciated extra feature.
This has been one of my favourite utility programs but I have been disappointed with many of the results finding the head to be either too small or too large. I cannot easily explain "Bloatie Heads" from Bullfrog's Theme Hospital in The Sims or why half my neighbourhood population are victims of a mysterious South American head-shrinking curse. So, in my opinion, Facelift needs a facelift (yes, the pun was intended). I would like to see an upgrade with the option to choose what type of head (adult/child, male/female) you want to create. Alternatively, I would like to be able to preview the skin on a body and scale up or down accordingly to get the head to the desired size.
I would reckon this has been the most commonly used utility program out there. I do not have any real complaints, although I would like an extra feature included in an upgrade. I would like to be able to convert a wall or floor back to a bitmap so it can be revised. I am not a brilliant artist but I have seen a lot of walls out there with the features that I would like to work on and revise. If these walls could be turned back into bitmaps, I would be able to do this. The same would also go for floors.
The Sims Art Studio
This has been a welcome download that has received updates and had most of its bugs sprayed or stomped out. What I would like to see is there to be a further revision that allows more picture types with perhaps an ability to make two-tile pictures. I would also like an option to change the size because some of my pictures take up too much space on the wall.
The biggest complaint regarding utility programs is that there is no official object editor. We know that Bil Simser is working on Blueprint and the Transmogrifier has been out for quite a while but I think it is time for Maxis to give us an official program - the rumoured "Edith"? - to enhance our gaming. Also, it would allow Maxis to use up a couple of SimDays on competitions - open to us Brits as well, please.
I would also like to see an Animation Editor/Creator. I know there are customised animations out there, especially from Killersims (www.killersims.com). Why can't we have something to do this ourselves? Again, Maxis could use up a couple of SimDays for a competition on this.
This is not all I want for SimDays, but my third part in this series is coming soon. Again, if anybody has any further thoughts on what they would like to see, please do not hesitate in contacting me. Also, if the ideas are good, they will be acknowledged.
To be continued ...
Written at 02:25 on Friday 26 January 2001 by