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News Archive - October, 2007
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Monday 1 October 2007
The Sims 2 Bon Voyage - Wish You Were Here or Holiday from Hell? - Part 7
Written at 07:56 by Andy - 1 comment.

We're back reviewing "Bon Voyage" with a new traveller who takes his vacation in the Orient. We find out about how this place appears in comparison to Three Lakes and see some of the attractions that it has to offer.

Our review continues here, or if you are a new starter, it commences here.

 
Read More!


Tuesday 2 October 2007
MySims Released
Written at 01:25 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Sims fans with a Nintendo Wii or DS have a new game to add to their collection: MySims. The Sims title with its own twist is now available in stores worldwide. The game is about entering a rundown town and to make it thrive again. All through customizing objects and buildings, as well as - of course - your very own Sim. The game contains 60 characters to meet and do jobs for, and make good use of the unique controls on both platforms. More details can be found in the press release and MySims.ea.com where you can also play some mini games. More Sims on consoles (Wii and DS again, as well as PS2 and PSP) is coming in the form of The Sims Castaway later this month or next month (PSP).
 
Fashion Runway Contest Winner
Written at 01:32 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
After several weeks of voting the final winner of the H&M Stuff Fashion Runway Contest has been announced. The top design that will be made and eventually sold in H&M stores has been designed by adriennerp1978 from Michigan, USA. Besides this fan-voted design H&M will pick another design to be produced and sold in real life as well. A short video clip with the top design on the catwalk can be found on the contest website, where you can also still view other entries.
 

Wednesday 3 October 2007
New Community Showcase: Halloween
Written at 23:13 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Over at the official site a new community showcase has been announced. Fans of the Sims 2 can create items and upload them to the official exchange using the game. The principle was introduced roughly a year ago, until it came to an abrupt end after the May Mother's Day showcase - not counting the H&M Fashion Runway showcase. This month you can create a Halloween themed lot, sim or story and submit it with "Halloween Showcase 2007" in the description. Post it before 21 October and there's a chance your creation makes it to the showcase which will be published in the week after - just in time for Halloween. More information is in the BBS thread. Previous showcases are on the Showcases page.
 

Saturday 6 October 2007
SecuROM Problems Denied by Maxis [Update]
Written at 02:16 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Since Bon Voyage a new controversy has appeared in Sims community forums, regarding the new copy protection used with the expansion pack. Although it was already used with H&M Stuff and The Sims 2 Deluxe, it may not have been used so far due to later expansion packs being installed, all of which used SafeDisc for piracy protection. Now SecuROM version 7 is being used, developed by Sony, to prevent copies of the game from running. This version installs a local service (invisible background program) on the computer, which people claim to cause lag or have memory leaks. In general, the copy protection is troublesome, even with other games, causing random lock-ups, failure to recognize legal discs, and more. The service will not be removed if you uninstall the game, nor does the end user license agreement (EULA) seem to mention that this software is installed. The UAService that is being installed remains and is used to make SecuROM protection available to accounts without administrator privileges in Windows. Sony, producer of the SecuROM tool, was accused of installing rootkits with their music CDs in 2005 as well.

EA pretty much denies there are problems with the copy protection, and claims it is not causing any problems with the Sims - ignoring the fact and controversy in previously released games from other vendors. A post by Sam Player asks for some help, whereas MaxoidVanquish denies any problems with the protection. Until now the controversy remains.

[Update 6 October, 23:07] A new blog post by MaxoidViolet with more details about what programs SecuROM detects and blocks, and how to solve some basic issues. More advanced problems can also be solved through EA Customer Support, and instructions are in the same (two part) blog post. There's also a dedicated BBS forum for SecuROM problems now.
 
BV Patch Delayed
Written at 02:23 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
The Bon Voyage patch was first expected earlier this week, but the patch will need more work as some more latency issues will now also be included in the patch. Instead it will be released later this month, according to the new community manager MaxoidVanquish in a BBS post. A preliminary list of issues that have been solved has been published, and includes the widespread NPC Spawning bug, which creates a new Unsavory Charlatan every time you enter a community, business or vacation lot that has NPCs. Instead of using an existing NPC it will create a new one, cluttering your neighborhoods, potentially to an unplayable state because too many characters are created. Other fixes include crashes, latency and annoying snowball or waterballoon fights. The list of fixes is as follows:
  • Sims will no longer have the option to call vacation service NPCs after acquiring the business perk “Head for Numbers” which was causing a crash.
  • Sims will no longer have the option to "Call Taxi" using their cell phones if they have driven to the community lot with an ownable vehicle which was causing a crash.
  • Vacation shuttles will no longer return to a vacation lot without the Sim at the end of the vacation if the Sim misses the shuttle (was causing the game to hang).
  • Game will no longer create new vacation NPCs each time a lot is visited which was causing many issues due to character file overload.
  • Periodic Events Controller will no longer loop twice per hour through each neighbor which was causing extreme lag on certain machines.
  • Autonomous water-balloon and snowball fights have been tuned so the interaction will occur less frequently.
Naturally we'll let you know when the patch arrives.
 
German Sims Magazine with Free Downloads
Written at 02:33 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
After France it's now Germany's turn to get an exclusive official Sims magazine. Starting 28 November a new issue will be available every two months. A first special issue was given away at the GamesConvention in Leipzig, Germany, in August. At the magazine's website 12 exclusive Sims downloads can be found, which were also available in the special issue. Free registration is required, the downloads do not need any expansion packs. Just register ("Registrieren") at the site, and go to the Downloads section to download the files.
 

Monday 8 October 2007
The Sims 2 Bon Voyage - Wish You Were Here or Holiday from Hell? - Part 8
Written at 03:12 by Andy - 0 comments.

We continue our review of Bon Voyage as Toshiro becomes familiar with the game of Mahjongg, has an unusual experience while meditating and a boat trip does not quite go as well as he would have liked.

Our review continues here, or if you are a new starter, it commences here.

 

Wednesday 10 October 2007
MySims Chat Tomorrow
Written at 00:19 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) EA will organize a chat about MySims. Not on the usual Thursday, and not at the common starting time of 3pm PST either. Instead it will start an hour later, 4 pm PST (midnight in Britain, 1 am in most of Europe). The game team of MySims will be in the chat room to answer anybody's questions. The duration of the chat has not been announced. Head on over to the chat room tomorrow to attend the chat.
 
The Sims 2 Bon Voyage - Wish You Were Here or Holiday from Hell? - Part 9
Written at 01:14 by Andy - 1 comment.

Toshiro has three quests he wishes to complete before he must return home. One of the quests leads him here while the other parts lead him all around the resort. Find out what he got up to on his last days and find out what he did when he got home to treasure his memories.

Our review continues here, or if you are a new starter, it commences here.

 
Bon Voyage Patch Released
Written at 05:09 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
The first patch for the latest expansion pack for the Sims 2, Bon Voyage, has been released. The list of fixes is still small, and if history repeats itself a bigger patch will be out later - probably a number of weeks or months. The six problems that have been solved are as follows:
  • Sims will no longer have the option to call vacation service NPCs after acquiring the business perk "Head for Numbers" which was causing a crash.
  • Sims will no longer have the option to "Call Taxi" using their cell phones if they have driven to the community lot with an own-able vehicle which was causing a crash.
  • If the Sim misses the shuttle, it will no longer return to a vacation lot without the Sim at the end of the vacation. Sometimes, this caused the vacation lot to become unusable.
  • Game will no longer create new vacation NPCs each time a lot is visited which was causing many issues due to character file overload. Any existing extra NPCs will be unlinked and their character files greatly reduced in size.
  • Periodic Events Controller will no longer loop twice per hour through each neighbor which was causing extreme lag on certain machines.
  • Autonomous water-balloon and snowball fights have been tuned so the interaction will occur less frequently.
Unlike previous patches, there is one patch for the CD, DVD and download versions of the game. Head on over to the Bon Voyage Patch page to download the patch at the cost of 15.9 Mb of bandwidth and hard disk space. Just run the file as any other program to install the patch.
 

Tuesday 16 October 2007
SecuROM Follow-Up - Official Statement
Written at 23:23 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Following up on all the SecuROM discussions that have started since the release of Bon Voyage, EA has issued a few statements about it. One is from MaxoidDrea in which it is more or less denied that the problem is a significant one. Another thread started by MaxoidSam has thus far received a lot of response from fans with problems, ranging from disabled drives to other games, like SimCity 4, not starting up anymore. Also, EA claims SecuROM is an integral part of the game, and is therefore not in the EULA, despite the software installing its own third-party service if the game is run as non-administrator. Instructions on how to properly remove (and prevent reinstallation of) SecuROM are in a thread at MoreAwesomeThanYou (MATY). A common theme in the responses is that EA (together with Sony, creator of SecuROM) has lost all trust from several fans, as the legitimate customers are having trouble with the copy protection and are requested to send encrypted files to EA/Sony without knowing its exact contents. Despite all of that, the game was cracked within a day after the release.
 
MySims Fun Pack
Written at 23:28 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
EA Netherlands has released a so-called Fun Pack of MySims, which contains avatars, wallpapers and signatures themed after the latest Sims title on the Wii and DS. The pack also contains the (unofficial) Sims font from SML Designs (commonly known as SimsLLHP). The pack is a 14 Mb zip file and can be downloaded from ElectronicArts.nl.
 
Next Expansion called "Free Time" or "Weekend Fun"?
Written at 23:42 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Those who purchased Bon Voyage may have seen a flyer inside advertising the next expansion as one that's all about hobbies. Last week SnootySims reported that retailer GameStop had dubbed the pack "Free Time." By now the name has changed once again, this time to "Weekend Fun." Altogether the final name of the pack is yet to be revealed, and while it may be either one of these two (or just "Hobbies"), a different name might also be chosen in the end. It seems that none of the names in an August survey are actual candidates. The pack is expected in February, but will definitely get a name before then.
 
MySims Chat Transcript Posted
Written at 23:50 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
After last week's chat about MySims, in which several team members answered burning questions from fans, the transcripts have been posted. As common for a post-release chat, nothing much that's really new has been revealed. The transcript is up for all those who missed the chat or want to relive it again.
 

Wednesday 17 October 2007
Castaway Videos
Written at 00:21 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
It's not new that before the release of a Sims game EA publishes producer walkthrough videos. The Sims 2 Castaway is no exception, as videos have been posted for the Wii and DS versions. In the first, senior producer Ben Bell guides you through the basics of the game, in which a group of Sims gets shipwrecked on a deserted island. You start off by creating your crew of Sims. A tropical storm will separate the Sims, without anything available. As you reunite your crew, all Sims will become playable. The crafting system allows you to create anything necessary to build up your Sims' settlement. You'll also notice that the island has exotic wildlife living on it, which can help Sims in gathering resources and more. The video also gives some hints to some of the world-changing secrets on the island. In fact, it may be possible to leave the island, or stay where you are. As repeated many times in the movie, it's you who decides about how the story goes.

The DS walkthrough, again with Ben Bell and many of the same words. The game has three islands to discover, exploring its fauna, and in the end returning to civilization. The time of day will change, and there's weather as well. Interacting is done with just tapping the screen with the pen. You'll need to gather food from the sea or bugs from under rocks, through mini games. The fishing game is discussed more in-depth. Trading items with other castaways is also a possibility. Much like the Sims 2 on DS, you can paint or make music again as well, using the touch screen and the microphone. A hidden pirate ship, which you can find through hidden pieces of a map on the islands, will eventually lead you to escape. All Castaway games, excluding Castaway Stories, will be released this fall. The Castaway videos page has both videos in high and low quality.
 
Castaway Chat in one hour!
Written at 01:08 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
The official Sims 2 site will be the host of another developer chat again. This week the topic will be the Sims 2 Castaway, which will be out on Wii, PS2, DS and PSP this month. The chat starts today(!) at 1 Pm PST (midnight in Britain, 1 Am in large parts of Europe) - less than one hour from the time of writing! Members of the game team will be in the chat room to answer your questions about the upcoming games. Head over to the chatroom for the chat, or - later on - the transcripts.
 

Friday 26 October 2007
The Sims 2 Bon Voyage - Wish You Were Here or Holiday from Hell? - Part 10
Written at 04:19 by Andy - 1 comment.

We get back to our indepth review of "Bon Voyage" and meet the Greshams as they prepare to go on vacation to Twikkii Island. We find the complications from having to leave a dog behind but go with the family as they enjoy an eventful daytrip and see whether they can encounter the ghost of the infamous Captain Dregg.

Our review continues here, or if you are a new starter, it commences here.

 

Monday 29 October 2007
The Sims 2 Bon Voyage - Wish You Were Here or Holiday from Hell? - Part 11
Written at 03:10 by Andy - 0 comments.

In the eleventh part of our continuing indepth review of "Bon Voyage", we stay two days with the Greshams, watching them as they visit the Boardwalk and have a day on the beach followed by a trip to visit a mysterious man who has a mysterious present for the one who can help him.

Our review continues here, or if you are a new starter, it commences here.