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News Archive - March, 2006
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Wednesday 1 March 2006
Open for Business Shipped; Screenshots, Videos and More
Written at 15:40 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
Open for Business officially shipped yesterday. Some stores worldwide have already started selling the game, despite the official release date being 2 March. EA announced this in a press release. Senior Producer Don Laabs is quoted saying Open for Business ""opens a limitless world of new gameplay for Sims fans. The game includes all the tools players will need to create businesses that reflect their unique personalities, be they buttoned-down professionals, or wacky worker bees who explore the limits of the workplace. This is one of the most open-ended expansion packs we have created and we encourage fans to discover their irreverent, quirky business personalities." Precise details can be found in the full press release.

Besides the press release there's a lot more news from Maxis about Open for Business, more or less celebrating the release. Read on for details.
 
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Thursday 2 March 2006
Depeche Mode Simlish Music Video [Update]
Written at 22:11 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
The band Depeche Mode has recorded their hit "Suffer Well" for Open for Business, in Simlish. Maxis has created a music video of this song, naturally starring a lot of Sims and robots. Other artists, Kajagoogoo and Howard Jones, were interviewed in a podcast, and it's not sure if this video is instead of a Depeche Mode podcast, or if it's an extra - but time will tell. For now you can download the video, in QuickTime format, from the news page.

[Update 3 March 11:10] The QuickTime versions of the video have been taken offline from the news page, but instead a Flash video has been put online, together with some information about the band's latest album. You can find it all on the video's page. If you prefer getting a QuickTime version, you're not completely lost yet. The files are still available, either in high quality (17.3 Mb) or low quality (4.4 Mb) - these files can be removed at any time though, so it's best to get them quickly if you want them.
 

Friday 3 March 2006
City Scape Set
Written at 00:15 by Jendea - 0 comments.

I know that many simfans are playing Open for Business already. But for of us still waiting to pick up their copy, here is a "pre OFB" set. :)
The City Scape set includes 10 new objects, 2 recolors and 3 coordinated walls.
Happy simming!

You can find this set under my section:jendea or just click on the picture to go the set page directly.

 

Saturday 4 March 2006
OfB Reviews
Written at 22:13 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
What was started by GameSpy last week, is now slowly advancing, as new reviews of Open for Business are starting to be placed online. We'll have our own review up soon, but until then there are - for now - two more reviews you can read. Websites 1Up and Yahoo! Games made up their opinion about the expansion pack. The main point 1Up makes is that it's not as easy and straightforward as the previous expansion packs, and although it does add some new objects fans will like, it lacks the "whimsical feel of playing a 'Sim God.'" Yahoo! has a little more to say, and notes that the business system is surprisingly open-ended. It's not as intuitive as may be expected, and if you run a business at home the customers won't notice much of a distinction - though it should be taken into account that doors are lockable now. Similar to GameSpy, Yahoo! also says the expansion works best in combination with Nightlife. Nevertheless it's a good game that'll add many hours of gaming time, although if you don't have any other expansions yet, University or Nightlife might be better to start with. The 1Up Review gives the expansion pack a score of 7.0 out of 10, whereas in the Yahoo! Review you'll see a score of 4 out of 5 stars.
 
First Bugs and Issues in Open for Business
Written at 23:23 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Every expansion pack for the Sims comes with its flaws, and Open for Business is no exception. Now it's been released, the first issues have already been found. One of them was already known since the last patch for Nightlife: Sims at University might be flagged for missing the final exam, if it overlaps with college. See our earlier post for more details about that. Another somewhat small issue, is that custom content is by default disabled. When starting the game for the first time you need to enable it explicitly, and restart the game after that, to make any downloads or hacks available in your game. It's also known that several hacks are still incompatible with the expansion pack, and thus may cause problems with Open for Business. If you're having such problems, disabling hacks might solve the problem.

But there is a bigger problem too, which can cause corruption of lots. Details are a little sketchy, as they are posted on forums anyway, but it seems that if you visit a community lot with a car from Nightlife, they might be unable to get back home properly. The game will let the Sim drive off in their car when directed to, but after that the game doesn't load the home lot. The clock will run fast (similar to what the game does when all playable Sims on the lot are at work or sleeping), and quitting the normal way isn't possible - you have to hit Control+Alt+Delete to terminate the game. The family will probably become unplayable, as the game still thinks the Sim(s) are visiting the community lot, but when trying to load that lot Live mode is not enabled. When visiting the lot with a taxi, this problem does not occur. Some users have also reported that first loading another community lot, that is unowned (i.e. not a business, but a 'classic' community lot) and going home after that helps. A similar problem also seems to exist, when saving the game while visiting a community lot. When reloading the family, Live mode is disabled, only Buy and Build mode are as if you're just editing the community lot. It's impossible to play the family again. Maxis is currently working on a patch to solve these problems, but it's unclear when it will be released. Until then, Maxis advises to visit owned community areas by taxi only. If the problem does occur, press Control, Alt and Delete at the same time, and kill the Sims 2 process. Do not bulldoze the offending community lot or the broken family lot, and avoid playing them until the patch is released. After the patch is released, install it and then you can revisit the family and community lot again. A few more details can be found in a post by MaxoidKane on the official BBS.

Finally, some people are reporting lots to become blank - with all walls, objects, etc. removed - under certain circumstances. It's not yet clear what causes this problem, though it might have to do with custom content.

Maxis is working on a patch to resolve these issues. A release date is not given, but naturally we'll let you know when we know more about this. Meanwhile, if you notice any problems in the game, filling in the feedback form is probably the best way to help Maxis with solving the problem.
 
OfB Hints and Tips by Maxis
Written at 23:37 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Maxis has posted several hints and tips for the Sims 2 Open for Business on their BBS and website. The first tip is about selling cars - to be able to do so, you need to toggle the game to Wholesale mode. This can be done by clicking the Wholesale Mode Toggle button (which looks like a lock) in the Business Build Tools panel on the Business Tracker in the right-top corner of the screen. Next, if you've had an unsuccessful makeover, all you need to do is change the appearance of the Sim (using the mirror) again, then going to the Make-up tab, and there choose to remove the selection. Finally there's also a small, six-step tutorial, about running a business. The easiest way to start is at home, and training some talents there. It's also recommended to start playing a few of the premade families in Bluewater Village, to get the hang of the game. What also might help, is building just a little, cheap home, and leaving the rest for building up a community lot business. Real Estate might also help in getting some money, through buying a community lot, building up the business' value, and then reselling it again. As final tip, Maxis says selling cheap items is good for building up customer loyalty, after which you can raise the price to make a bigger profit. For all of Maxis' tips, check out the thread by MaxoidKane at the official BBS.
 

Sunday 5 March 2006
The Sims 2 Open For Business - Open All Hours or Closing Down? - Part 1
Written at 01:00 by Andy - 1 comment.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS, the third expansion pack for The Sims 2 has arrived and it is now time to let you know what we think about it.

We begin a short series where we comprehensively review this addition to the game. We look at all aspects of how the game has changed, from neighborhood overview down to the pricing policies of your own hand-crafted items.

In this first part, we look at how it loads up, through the neighbourhood to where where you can find out how much your property is really worth.

This is what we have to say !

 

Monday 6 March 2006
The Sims 2 Open For Business - Open All Hours or Closing Down? - Part 2
Written at 04:23 by Andy - 3 comments.

Is this the sort of image that Zoltan would like his fellow "legitimate businessmen" to see?

In the second part of our Open For Business review, Zoltan takes us to Bluewater Village and shows us his first business and what is needed to set one up. We also look in detail at tracking your business and how a sim with a notebook can make your life heaven or hell.

The journey continues here.

 

Tuesday 7 March 2006
The Sims 2 Open For Business - Open All Hours or Closing Down? - Part 3
Written at 08:21 by Andy - 0 comments.

It's time to take a break from the hard grind of business life and we are having a packed lunch at Hastings Hall.

In this part of our continuing review for Open For Business, we will look at some of what there is of a non-business nature looking mainly at the architectural additions and give our first verdict on whether we feel that it would appeal to most players of the game.

This is what we think !

 

Wednesday 8 March 2006
Chat with Open for Business Team
Written at 16:15 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
With Open for Business out in stores now, it's time for the team that worked on the expansion to help players in running their businesses, and asking other questions. They'll do that in a chat next week Thursday, 16 March, at 3PM PST (11pm GMT, midnight in western Europe), on the official site. Don Laabs, Hunter Howe, Shannon Copur and Lyndsay Pearson will share the tips and answer your questions. To join the chat, head over to the chat page next week.
 
Open for Business Reviews
Written at 16:45 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Several reviews are appearing about Open for Business, and although some of the big gaming sites haven't covered it yet, other, smaller ones have. Two of them are the Australian PAL Gaming Network and PC GameWorld. The first one says the game is the deepest expansion for the Sims 2 yet, but it's designed to work with University and Nightlife - something other reviews have also mentioned. The gameplay is complex, but addictive, especially when you get the hang of running a business. Unfortunately the interface isn't as easy to learn as PAL hoped it would be. The final score for the expansion pack is a 7.0, as you can read in the entire review. A shorter review that doesn't mention much more than all the features is to be read at PC GameWorld, which rates the game at 88%. You can read the review if you want more details. If you want our opinion, read our growing review.
 

Friday 10 March 2006
GameSpot Reviews Open for Business
Written at 16:24 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
After several other reviews, gaming site GameSpot has now also reviewed the new Sims 2 expansion, Open for Business. They say the gameplay is flexible. The time in the game also works to an advantage - time spent on a community lot isn't counted at home, putting more hours in a day for Sims who own a community lot and run their business there. Also, although a second job is a possibility for a Sim, it's not a necessity once you're running a successful business. The review also mentions "same old technical problems such as weird pathing, buggy items, and so on" as one of the downsides, but doesn't elaborate on that. That GameSpot thinks the expansion is a good one, is reflected in the score they give it: 8.0 out of 10. For more details, read the entire review.
 
Open for Business Mini Game
Written at 16:38 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Where NightLife was accompanied by a web-based Mix Master mini game, Open for Business is being promoted by another little game. The game consists of 3 mini-games all in a theme of the three new craftables: you need to find faulty clown in the boxes, reconnect the wires of a robot, and bind flowers together to make bouquets. The game can be found at a new "EA Viral" domain - if this will be used for future mini games like these as well is unsure. For now you can go to the Open for Business Mini Game to play it.
 
The Buzz Bee Set
Written at 17:40 by Starrats - 0 comments.
Here is a colourful set for children and toddlers. When Nightlife came out I noticed that there where some walls and a rug in it with bees and bright flowers, but there where no objects to match these items. So a few weeks ago I started to make a complete set to match these things.

And here is the result. The wall, floor and rug in the picture came with Nightlife, but I made an extra wall for the people that don't have Nightlife. You can find all of these items here.

I hope you all like it.

 

Sunday 12 March 2006
Oscar Skins by Fans
Written at 22:17 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Last week the 78th annual Acadamy Awards, a.k.a. the Oscars, were given away. Reason for MaxoidKane to post a request on the official site's BBS, asking fans to recreate the favourite dresses and outfits worn during the Oscar night, only for Sims. This has resulted in a lot of creations ranging from George Clooney to Tim Burton and Reese Witherspoon to Samantha Harris. You can find all the links in the thread about it. Several national news websites have also reported on this challenge, including Reuters and USA Today, in which they tell that Keira Knightley's Vera Wang sheath dress was the most downloaded. It was closely followed by Reese Witherspoon's Christian Dior Haute Couture dress.
 
Open for Business Commercial Contest
Written at 22:28 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Maxis is giving away prizes again, and this time it's a PC from nVidia as well as three graphics cards. If you want to win one of them, you have to make a video commercial for a business ran with the Sims 2 Open for Business. Whether it's for a store, company, club, or any other type of business you can come up with, is up to you. You can enter by posting the video on your MySim page on the official site and filling in the entry form before 24 March. The video has to be 60 seconds or shorter, including the "Made with the Sims 2" cinematic, and must be published in QuickTime, Avi or Windows Media format. Only citizens of the United States and Canada, except the states Colorado, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, Vermont and Quebec. Winners will be selected by EA around 5 April. For more information about the contest, read the rules page.
 

Wednesday 15 March 2006
The Sims 2 Open For Business - Open All Hours or Closing Down? - Part 4
Written at 04:49 by Andy - 0 comments.

What does J C have to tell us about running a business?

In the fourth part of our Open For Business review, John gives us his take on running a different type of business and we look over the perk ladders that put you a cut above the rest in the many different areas of the business market.

It's back to work.

 
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Friday 17 March 2006
OfB Patch "Next week or so"
Written at 00:07 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
In the Open for Business developer chat that's just started, MaxoidKane has announced that Maxis is working on finishing a patch for Open for Business, and that it'll be released in the "next week or so." Although there are no further details at this point, but meanwhile the Feedback form can still be filled in with details about bugs and problems, that Maxis should fix.
 
Family Fun Stuff Screens and Videos
Written at 01:36 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Family Fun Stuff Advert The Family Fun Stuff pack was revealed with the release of Open for Business, and rumours had been going around for even longer. Although Maxis has kept the pack fairly quiet until now, they have unleashed it today with 25 screenshots (three of which not posted on the official site, which has 1 near-duplicate), 42 renders of objects, 2 movies, a packshot and logo, title image, the little advert on the left, and a release date of 13 April. The pack comes with 60 new items, but none of them seem to be completely new objects, providing new gameplay. The items already exist in the base game, just in a different shape and colour - some of them do provide new meshes. There are many decorational items, a bunch of outfits, and some redesigns of beds, wardrobes and the like. The pack will be available in stores and online (according to MaxisShannon in the Open for Business chat held Thursday). All the graphics can be found in the remainder of this newspost, for the movies visit the official videos page. More information is on the pack's About page.
 
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DC Independent Film Festival Featured Sims Movies
Written at 01:47 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Many people use The Sims 2 to tell stories. This can be done through photo albums, but also with movies. The annual DC Independent Film Festival has received 1,200 submissions for films to be featured. The festival showed a total of 110 movies, of which 3 were made by fans of the Sims 2, with the game. April Hoffman ("The Awakening Episode 1"), André Lopion ("My and Myself") and Michelle Pettit-Mee and Kheri Batal ("A Different Song") were awarded by EA Games, which gave each of them the Open for Business expansion pack. Five other directors with movies selected for the festival were given The Sims 2 as well, "to encourage them create their next movie in the Sims world." You can find the three Sims 2 movies on the individual fansites. Also see the official site's news post for some details.
 
OfB Yahoo! IMVironment
Written at 02:06 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Those using the latest Windows version of Yahoo! Messenger have been able to give it a Nightlife look before, using a Nightlife IMVironment - an interactive background that you can choose to colour your chat windows a bit. With the release of Open for Business, Yahoo! and EA have repeated this trick, and a new IMVironment is available. Check out the OfB IMVironment page to use it.
 

Sunday 19 March 2006
Three New Neighborhoods
Written at 19:27 by Jendea - 1 comment.

I posted three new neighborhood terrains today complete with the png pictures for all four terrain types. Farm Country, a very flat community great for building; The Plateau, three levels of level building; and Hidden Vale, surrounded by mountainous trees and water with a bridge. Happy simming!

You can find this set under my section:jendea or under Neighborhoods.

 

Monday 20 March 2006
Mickey and Minnie bedroom sets
Written at 03:26 by MissWendy - 0 comments.
Here is my first Mesh. A cute Mickey bed and endtable, with Minnie bed and endtable as recolors. Also available is the bedding, curtains and walls for both Mickey and Minnie. This is a cute set that has taken me months to make. I want to call out a special thank you to Andy for looking at all my pictures and telling me how great they were.(whether they were or not :) ) And to Jendea for answering many questions. You both have been a great help! I hope you all enjoy these sets. You can find them in my section. MissWendy
 

Tuesday 21 March 2006
Chat Transcript Online
Written at 23:52 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
For those who missed the chat last Thursday, Maxis has now given the chance to see what happened during the 40 minutes the chat lasted. Several developers, Don Laabs, Shannon Copur, Lyndsay Pearson, and Hunter Howe, talked about Open for Business answering gameplay questions and giving some tips. Nothing new was really mentioned, but if you're interested nevertheless, read the transcript for all the ins and outs.
 

Wednesday 22 March 2006
IGN Reviews Open for Business
Written at 00:00 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
A little later than most other sites, gaming site IGN has now also reviewed Open for Business. They say that running a Sims business is sometimes more like work than play, but fun nonetheless - although not too intuitive, as previous reviews have also mentioned. Checking the manual helps out though. They also comment that the talent badges are somewhat mysterious - skills do accelerate getting badges, but it doesn't say which skills help with what badges. The new items in the game are well-made by Maxis, including some of the crafted toys and robots besides the usual furniture. Altogether it is the least fun Sims 2 expansion so far, as it requires a lot of work to get a successful business. Overall IGN gives the pack a rating of 7.8 out of 10. Read the complete review over two pages for all of IGN's thoughts about the game.
 
Open for Business Patch Released
Written at 00:19 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week we already mentioned that the first patch for Open for Business could be expected this week. Maxis has made it come true, by releasing it earlier today. A lot of problems - but probably not all of them - have been fixed. They include the final exam bug, lots being deleted under certain circumstances, problems that could turn up after uninstalling Nightlife, and Sims getting stuck on owned community lot. A third Nightlife patch, to solve the final exam bug, has not been released along with this one. A summary of the most important fixes can be found below, but you can also go right to the update page to see the complete list, and to download the patch.
  • Sims with final and class at the same time will no longer always miss final.
  • Game will no longer lock out when traveling to a community lot from home in a car.
  • Player is now reimbursed when using the “Move to Lots and Houses Bin” Tool on a business lot.
  • Tilt, Spin, and Wobble will always restock properly.
  • Servo’s Do Chores function will no longer override the Free Will off setting.
  • Visiting Sims will no longer get stuck after drinking lemonade.
  • Bug preventing player from sometimes leaving owned community lot fixed.
  • Fixed exploit that allowed players to receive aspiration point refund after using aspiration rewards.
  • Asking fifth person to join water wiggler no longer affects gameplay.
  • Social bunny can no longer be killed.
  • Prevented a crash that could occur when a Sim tried to restock an object from their shopping cart.
  • Open for Business toddler hair styles now appear in Bodyshop.
  • The game will no longer load indefinitely on lots that contained ReNuYuSenso Orbs prior to installing Open For Business.
  • Removed Call Taxi option on Secret Society lots.
  • The “New Wave” and “Shopping” wall speakers will now retain their proper music type after transitioning between lots (instead of reverting to Techno).
  • Added Open for Business icon to skins uploaded to the community website.
  • Fixed a timing issue where saving a lot just as a Sim is about to go home could render the Sim stuck on the lot indefinitely.
  • Sims will no longer get stuck on an owned community lot when traveling to lot in an owned vehicle.
  • Players will no longer be locked out of live mode upon returning to occupied owned community lot.
  • Deleting an employee work outfit and exiting lot without saving will no longer cause lots to disappear upon returning.
The actual list is far longer; 47 fixes have been made in total. If you have Open for Business, downloading and installing the patch is recommended.
 
"Run with Scissors" Object Updated
Written at 11:28 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Along with the Open for Business patch released yesterday, Maxis has fixed an older download to prevent conflicts with the latest expansion pack. The "Run with Scissors" April Fool's download of last year can now be redownloaded from the exchange. The download will work whether you have Open for Business or not. What has been changed exactly is unclear.
 

Wednesday 29 March 2006
The Sims Complete Collection & The Sims 2 Nightlife on Mac
Written at 01:55 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Aspyr is well-known for porting PC games to the Mac platform. They've done so with the entire PC Sims series so far. Recently they released the Sims 1 Complete Collection for the Mac, which is the Sims 1 with all its expansion packs. For fans of the Sims 2 there's news that Nightlife, the second expansion pack, has gone gold for the platform. More information can be found on their respective product pages: The Sims Complete Collection and The Sims 2 Nightlife. Among a couple of screenshots you'll also find system requirements there. Both products can be bought from our Mac shop.