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News Archive - May, 2003
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Thursday 1 May 2003
New poll & Poll Results
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week's poll was added a bit silently because I was away and couldn't post about the results... To get back on that: most people expect The Sims 2.0 in the second half of 2004. For a full list of that poll's results, click here. And last week, the poll received a stunning 356 votes - a lot more than normal. The Social and Energy bars are the hardest to keep green according to you, with 111 and 110 votes each (about 31% both). For all the other results, click here. And now on to the new poll: What skill do you find the hardest to improve? Are your Sims crap at cooking, are they too weak to lift a book, too stupid to replace a light bulb, or what? Tell us which you think is the skill you just can't get your Sims to improve. Vote on the right or on this page. More polls are in our archive.
 
SuperStar gone gold
Written at 02:34 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
After months of rumours, news, screenshots and previews (and development, designing and some testing behind the scenes), Superstar is now finished. The CDs are being pressed, packaged and in about 2 weeks they'll be sent off to the stores where you can buy them... If you live in the US anyway. European people will have to wait another extra 10 days. Here's a bit from the press release of Superstar going gold:
"In The Sims Superstar, players can now realize their fantasies of stardom and wealth as they pursue the dream of being a Rock Star, Movie Star, or a Supermodel and live the lifestyle of a celebrity. All new gameplay, new social interactions, and a whole new in-game destination offers players an all access pass to the world of superstardom. Players will even have the opportunity to experience real-life celebrities in the game."
Ok, that's nearly all of it... The rest can be found right here at EA Games. The release date in the US is 13 May, in Europe it's 23 May. It'll cost $29,95 like any other expansion pack, and it's rated "T" for Teens.
 
SimDay
Written at 02:50 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
SimDay this week consists of just 2 items (so far): the news that Superstar has gone gold (You can read the press release at the official site right here, if you prefer that look). Besides that, there's a preview of Superstar at IGN:
"Every morning along with the newspaper, you'll get a new tabloid that shows who's hot and who's not. You can use the tabloid to keep track of the top ten stars in the Sims world and track your own progress up the ladder of fame. The tabloid will also report on the various goings on of Studio Town.

"As a regular non-famous Sim you can visit Studio Town via a convenient tram that runs between the residential neighborhoods and the new studio lots. Famous Sims will instead be picked up by fancy-schmancy limousines. On the surface it works a bit like the extra areas in Hot Date. A new population of Studio people is spawned with your install so no two versions of the game will offer exactly the same characters."
That are just two paragraphs of an interesting read. You should really read the whole thing, as they explain quite well how some things work in the new expansion, and what you can expect. To go there and see the whole review, click here. To see some screenshots added last week too, visit the media page at IGN. That's it for this week's SimDay... but as it's still early some more stuff might be added later (or not of course).
 
New donation files
Written at 02:59 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
To finish off the regulars for now (after the poll results and SimDay), I'll tell you a bit about this month's donation files. The amount of traffic for this site increased with another 10Gb (total per month) in April. If it stays that way, that means we again have some increased costs, unfortunately. We can only afford those costs if you help us by donating. The more people who donate, the more likely we'll survive. We hope this month's file will make you decide to donate, as they are really nice: besides offering the files of the past 2 months (the February files are now put together with the free downloads) if you donate $5 or $10 or more, you can also download a nice garden set by Jen, a NeoClassic Dining and Chair, and a Modlamp by Sumit. Please donate to help us out. If we have money left we'll send off the remainder to the Restricted Growth Association (RGA), so it will never be wasted money, and we will definately not put it in our own pockets. Here's a preview of what you'll get when donating (it's the garden set):

 

Friday 2 May 2003
More Superstar shots
Written at 00:14 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Still looking for more screenshots of SuperStar? Well, the official Thai site of The Sims has some this time. There are 5 shots showing new objects (although nothing we haven't seen before yet), and also a bit of the new personality bar showing the Star status. Have a look at this page for these pieces of eye-candy.
 

Sunday 4 May 2003
New Floor Pack Added
Written at 03:03 by Jendea - 2 comments.
I added some new co-ordinated "basic" floors today: plain and decorative carpets and tiles.
You can check them out HERE
 

Monday 5 May 2003
Superstars known
Written at 01:12 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
There seems to be no end to the stream of screenshots we're receiving of The Sims Superstar. First of all, there is an official site of the Superstar expansion pack (since recently), which you can find at EA Games. On that site there are 3 celebrities that will be seen in Superstar: Christina Aguilera, Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol. Besides all that, SimsZone (the German one) has spotted more screenshots on the official Korean site. Although I have no clue where exactly to look for them, you can find all the shots in the SuperStar section (there called 'Megastar') at SimsZone.
 

Tuesday 6 May 2003
The Sims 2 announced!
Written at 00:31 by ChEeTaH - 5 comments.

EA Games has officially announced The Sims 2! At the website of EA Games there's a press release telling us about the main new features of The Sims 2:
"For the first time, players control their Sims over an entire lifetime. Every choice that is made has a relevant and dramatic effect on the life of a Sim. More life-like Sims, all-new gameplay, and the ground-breaking addition of genetics, with the DNA of Sims passed down through generations gives players a more vivid, realistic, and in-depth Sims experience. All of this takes place in a new amazingly life-like 3-D world."
The Sims 2 will also have a Create-A-Sim feature like The Sims Deluxe and the console editions of The Sims. Your Sim will become older, and if they get children they'll have similar characteristics as their parents. If there will be a feature like the "Get-A-Life" mode like the console versions is not mentioned, but we can hope for that. There will also be more than 2 stories, so you can build higher than ever before in The Sims. The sub-title of The Sims 2 appears to be "The Next Generation", although that's not specifically mentioned. However, every caption in the press release starts with "Next Generation". The Sims 2 will be shown at the E3 at 13 May (the E3 takes place 13-16 May), so we can expect the first big load of screenshots and info then (perhaps we'll see the very first things Thursday between the SimDay events). To read the whole announcement, have a look right here. The Sims 2 is expected early 2004, which means only 14 people (14%) got it right in poll held 3 weeks ago.
 
The Add-on Handler: major bug found
Written at 03:25 by ChEeTaH - 13 comments.
I'm sorry to say this, but a bug was found in The Add-on Handler. It involves installing buyable skins. Thanks to Kerry (Tech Mod at Neighborhood 99), I now know TAOH installs buyable skins to the wrong folder. This bug can cause problems when duplicate meshes are installed (one copy in the regular Sims folder, the other copy in the SkinsBuy folder), as it'll crash the game. This problem was reported only shortly ago, so I haven't yet been able to fix the problem. However, I will solve it very soon, and you can expect a new version very soon (within the next few days). That version won't have any new features yet, but it'll just have this bug fixed. Until then I recommend not to install any buyable skins (deselect them in the window you get after dragging the files to TAOH, by double-clicking the following group(s) in Skins/Meshes: Formal Wear, Nightwear, Swimsuits, Winterwear). I apologise for this inconvenience. I've temporarily taken TAOH offline until the problem is fixed. I expect to have the new version ready within 48 hours.
 
Olympic Ave.
Written at 23:17 by Jendea - 3 comments.
A new mid-range home added today - with lots of room and and "Olympic" Pool in the side yard.
You can browse under my section:here or click on the picture to go directly to the house info.

 

Wednesday 7 May 2003
The Add-on Handler 0.1.1b
Written at 00:15 by ChEeTaH - 10 comments.
After being told about a serious bug, I've now released a fixed version of The Add-on Handler, version 0.1.1b. This version will install buyable skins to GameData\Skins instead of ExpansionShared\SkinsBuy (or ExpansionPack3\SkinsBuy if you have only Hot Date). If you have The Add-on Handler 0.1b, it's recommended to upgrade it. You can download the upgrade version (1 Mb) right here. If you don't have the program yet, then you should get it anyway. If you have The Neighborhood Handler, you can download the upgrade version. If you don't, click here to download the full version (2.2 Mb).
 

Thursday 8 May 2003
The Sims 2: First screens
Written at 00:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
The first screenshots of The Sims 2 have appeared, and they look amazing! The interface is quite similar to the version we know with the 'control panel' at the bottom (although none of the screenshots show it when it's open), and the queued actions at the top. However, the rest looks completely different, and: all in 3D. The Sims are in great detail, as are the objects and all the surroundings. You can check them all out right here at ToTheGame.com. Here's one of the 4 shots:

 
New poll
Written at 02:20 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
Like every week we've added another poll this week. With The Sims 2 being announced yesterday, and the E3 Expo coming up very soon, we're wondering if you're interested in that combination: The Sims 2 at the E3. We won't go to LA ourselves, but we'll check out the big gaming sites every day to find any news about The Sims 2 there for you. Anyway, you can vote for the poll on the right or on this page.

Last week's poll was about the toughest skill to train. Apparantly that's the Body skill, with 44% of the 232 votes. Second was Charisma with 22%. Creativity is the easiest to train, which got just 5% of the votes. For all the results, with all the skills listed there too, check out this page. For more results, check out our poll archive.
 
SimDay: Sims 2 and Pet Control Object
Written at 18:44 by ChEeTaH - 5 comments.
This week's SimDay is finally a quite nice one again. First of all, there's a small piece of more info about The Sims 2:
"In The Sims 2, your Sims will be more lifelike, more responsive, and more complex than ever before. You'll be able to control your Sims over their entire lifetimes, taking them from their first steps to their golden years. Guide them through "Life's Big Moments" and build their "Life Score" with every decision you make. And since every Sim will have its own DNA, their appearance and personality will be passed down through the generations.
You can find that piece, along with the 4 screenshots and the announcement right at this place. However, there's more this SimDay...
 
Read More!


Friday 9 May 2003
New The Sims Expansion for the Consoles [Update]
Written at 00:02 by ChEeTaH - 6 comments.
Yes, there's indeed going to be another expansion pack for The Sims. However, unlike the ones we know so far, this one's for the Console edition of the game. It's called "The Sims Bustin' Out". There will be new locations to visit, 40 new characters, 80 new social moves, and 10 new careers. This expansion pack will also be shown at the E3 next week. This is what's said about it in EA's list of E3 games:
"The Sims are returning to the console and this time they're getting out of the house and exploring all-new outrageous locations around town. Players can choose a variety of new paths as they lead their Sims through life's big moments. Along the way, players can unlock and collect hundreds of new objects and social moves exclusive to the console. Play, work, and socialize with a cast of more than 40 new wacky characters and climb through 10 new careers including Mobster, Athlete, Mad Scientist, and Fashion Victim. The Sims Bustin' Out will feature two-player and memory card support, so bring your Sims over to a friend's house. The game is scheduled for release on the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, and the Nintendo GameCube™ in early 2004."
You can read the whole press release right here at EAGames. It's certainly something to look out for if you have The Sims on one of the consoles. This expansion pack is in development for PlayStation 2, GameCube and X-Box simultaneously and will be released early 2004. Quite a wait, but it looks like it's worth it.

[Update 23:30] The official site (of the PC version) has also posted the press release, along with one screenshot, as late SimDay item. We're showing it below. For the press release on the official site, follow this link.

 
EA reveals E3 Lineup
Written at 00:12 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Electronic Arts has announced their lineup for the E3 next week. We'll be following the Sims games and tell you whatever other gaming sites visiting the E3 have to offer. There are 3 Maxis games in the list: The Sims 2 (Release: early 2004), The Sims Bustin' Out (Release: early 2004) and SimCity 4: Rush Hour (SimCity 4 expansion pack, release fall 2003). We'll be focussing on the first two games. The Sims 2 will be shown Tuesday 13 May, but it's unknown when we'll hear more of the Bustin' Out expansion pack for the console version. With the exposition being later than 13 May, there might be more The Sims 2 news after 13 May from the E3. We're looking forward to it, but are you too? You can see EA's complete E3 line up right here. EA has also launched an E3 site at www.ea.com/e3. If you want to see a complete linup of all publishers (which hasn't been updated for the past few days, so it's not up-to-date at this point), follow this link to GameSpot.
 

Saturday 10 May 2003
The Add-On Handler 0.1.2b
Written at 01:28 by ChEeTaH - 6 comments.
Another major bug was found in The Add-On Handler (TAOH) a couple of days ago, which occured if you didn't have The Neighborhood Handler (TNHH) installed. TAOH uses some code from The Neighborhood Handler, but I forgot to fix a few things in it making TAOH depend on TNHH. Sounds confusing, but basically it means you needed TNHH if you wanted to be able to install houses and areas. That bug has now been fixed (thanks to Wolfgang for reporting it), and a new version of The Add-on Handler, version 0.1.2b, has now been released. There are also a couple of other minor bugfixes, and some upgraded graphics using a new font. If you have The Add-On Handler installed already and want to upgrade, or if you don't but you do have The Neighborhood Handler, then you should download the upgrade version of TAOH. In all other cases, just download the full version of TAOH. Well, if you want to check it out anyway. Although this new version was released only 3 days after 0.1.1b, and just 10 days after the initial release, the next version probably won't be out for another few weeks. It will probably be June before 0.2b sees the daylight.
 

Sunday 11 May 2003
More Bustin' Out Screenshots
Written at 19:07 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Sterics has submitted the news that there are some new screenshots of The Sims Bustin' Out, the expansion pack for The Sims on the consoles. That pack was announced last week and we'll probably find out many more details from the E3 this upcoming week. It's still a long way to go to its release though, as it's expected only by early 2004. If you're interested in it though, then be sure to check out these new screenshots on Sims Express, a Spanish (?) site about The Sims and SimCity. You can see Sims on a motorbike, near a pool ready to dive, climbing a wall, and finally some Sims on a dance floor.
 

Tuesday 13 May 2003
Another interview with Jonathan Knight
Written at 01:20 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
There have been several interviews with Jonathan Knight, producer of Superstar, already. The game will be released in the US tomorrow, and today, "May XX", GameSpy has posted another interview with Knight. Here's a small bit from it:
"GameSpy: Fame - how is that implemented in the game? Does that have any impact on which objects you can use or get for your home?

"Jonathan Knight: Fame score is a brand new skill, and it works much a like a job level. Sims who sign up with an agent and start down the celebrity path will have five empty stars in their UI panel, which they need to fill in, one half-star at a time. Each new level comes with new requirements, new benefits, and new opportunities. Fame is a lot like a new career path, except you follow your Sim to their job and control their activities. If you're in an existing career, you'll have to drop out of it to pursue your dream of being a star."
Besides that piece of info, there is a lot more to read about gameplay issues. For instance, Jonathan tells that Studio Town works pretty much like Downtown; you go there whenever you like, and you can earn money there. There's no Energy to get there though, so you can't stay there too long. Time at home will be frozen while your Sim is in Studio Town. If you don't go to Studio Town often enough, your agent will drop you and you'll have to look for a new one to get hired again. Besides all that, the obsessed fan, new NPCs (Non-Playable Characters, like the new Butler), new objects and new music are being discussed. You can read the whole thing right here. It certainly is an interesting, and worth those couple of minutes it takes to read it.
 
Bustin' Out E3 Preshow Report @ Gamespot
Written at 02:48 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
GameSpot will be reporting from the E3 like many other gaming sites and magazines the next few days. However, GameSpot is posting preshow reports of several games. One of them, is the upcoming Bustin' Out expansion pack for the consoles (expected early 2004). Here's a bit:
"The Sims took place entirely at home, but Bustin' Out, as the title sort of implies, lets you get out of the house. Seamlessly, even: You'll be able to ride by scooter or car to new locations such as the Club Rubb dance venue (wooo, woooo!), the art gallery, and the Shiny Things Lab. The game will also feature numerous unlockable home objects, appearance-enhancing objects, unlockable missions, and more. Also, enhanced visuals should make this next version of The Sims look better than before."
The article has been released in 3 flavours, one for each console. The PlayStation2 one has the first screenshot with it. Both the GameCube and X-Box editions only have a different colour layout, but both don't have the screenshot. The text, the most important thing, is all the same though. It's up to you what link you click.
 
Superstar released in the US [Update]
Written at 17:21 by ChEeTaH - 6 comments.
Today's the day SuperStar has been released. Some people probably already bought it and aren't reading this, because they're too addicted to the new pack. Unfortunately, this isn't for all the people outside the US, as those still have to wait about 10 days before being able to buy the game. Here's a small part of the press release from EA about this release:
" A new cast of comical characters is also available to assist the Sims in their quest for celebrity. A fabulous fashion designer, a mega-hit record producer and a maniacal movie director are available for career critique. A capable butler, a savvy sushi chef, and a soothing masseuse will be on-call to administer to the every whim of a celebrity Sim. Life in the spotlight would not be complete without the glare of the paparazzi, the adoration of groupies, and the annoyance of an obsessed fan. This is all part of life in the spotlight in The Sims Superstar."
The first reviews will probably appear within the next few days, so we'll be making another review index soon. Stay tuned to The Sims Zone to find out about any reviews we find on the internet. That's especially for those who are still in doubt whether they should buy the game or not. You can read the whole press release right here. If you have Superstar and would like to share your first impressions with us and the visitors of The Sims Zone, then you can post a comment to this newspost. If you have any other comments about Superstar, then you can post your comments too.

[Update 22:00] The official site has now opened up the Superstar exchange as well. If you create a Studio Town area, you can share it with every player in the rest of the world (well, just the US at this point) there. You can find the exchange right here.
 
New Superstar Screenshots
Written at 20:35 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
IGN Seems to have had a first peek at Superstar already. They posted a bunch of new screenshots. Among those there are 4 screenshots, each showing the celebrities that come with the game: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera (not an actual screenshot, but a render), Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. You can also see a shot of a quite busy studio town area. Besides all that, there are a few other shots and a render of a photoshoot. You can all find them right here. You can also find some older screenshots and movies there.
 
The Neighborhood Handler 4.10 coming soon!
Written at 22:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Now Superstar has been released, I know you're all waiting for a new version of The Neighborhood Handler. I've been working on that quite a lot, and version 4.10 is nearly ready. However, I won't receive Superstar for another 10 days, which means I can't complete the Superstar compatibility yet at this point. I expect to have it all done in approximately 2-3 weeks. There are two major new functions to look out for. One is for those who have Unleashed and don't want to demolish a building to rezone it. The new "Rezone" function will keep the houses where they are, but it will change the zoning details of any of the 40 areas in the neighborhood. If you have a family in a home that you want to rezone to a community area, then the family will be evicted automatically (otherwise it will cause problems in The Sims). But, there are more great things...
 
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Wednesday 14 May 2003
The Sims 2 E3 Impressions
Written at 13:36 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
GameSpot has posted some first impressions of The Sims 2, from the E3 convention in LA. The exposition starts today, and we're hoping for some more screenshots. Until then, you can read this:
"First of all, The Sims 2 looks really good--at least that's what we thought based on what we've seen. It features a fully 3D engine with realistic lighting, as well as far more detailed character models for the sims themselves, who now can be seen making realistic facial expressions and moving about in an even more lifelike manner. The game's interface appears nearly identical to that of the original, though a few new "motives" (the statistics of your sims that you need to keep track of) have been added. The "social" motive from The Sims has been broken up into "family" and "friends," and a "mind" motive has been added, representing mental stimulation. The gameplay remains fundamentally similar to its predecessor--you can create and control your very own mundane little people, encouraging them to interact with each other and their homes in various ways. You can also build houses for them from the ground up and then fill those houses with all kinds of things you might find in a real home. And some weirder things, too. The Sims 2 isn't trying to mess with success. From what we've seen, the game is squarely trying to extend the original game toward logical conclusions."
It also tells about the six stages of life: from a "wee baby" your Sim will go into his "toddler years" to become a child, teen, adult and finally a "geezer". For those who don't like their Sims to age and die, there's good news too: you can turn off the aging option keeping your Sims the age they started with, like in The Sims 1.0 we know. The whole preview (which in fact tells some other things too), can be read right here. More E3 news will quite likely be seen later today, or else tomorrow or friday.
 
Roofs Pack added
Written at 22:13 by Jendea - 2 comments.
I added some new roofs today, a smooth shake and a ceramic pipe in 5 colors each.
You can browse under my section:Jendea or click on the picture to go directly to the roofs.

 

Thursday 15 May 2003
The Sims for GBA-GameCube coming
Written at 01:49 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Nintendo gamers who are fans of The Sims as well should be happy to hear this: Will Wright announced that The Sims will be coming for the GameBoy Advance at the E3, during the Nintendo press conference. Using a GameCube GameBoy Advance link cable, the two games will be able to exchange Sims from one version to another. It seems that the GameCube version will be re-released, with special options available to link the GBA and GC versions of the game. On the GBA, players can earn money, send those Simoleans to the GameCube and buy special items that normally aren't available. Other ideas will be implemented later. Currently both games (i.e. one GBA edition, and an enhanced GameCube version) are still in heavy development. Although currently no release date is known, Will Wright said that the new GameCube version will be shown at the E3 in the Sims booth. That means we'll probably get more news about this within the next few days. It's also unknown if the Bustin' Out expansion pack contains the 'upgrade' for the GameCube, or if current owners of The Sims on the GameCube will be able to get a refund or exchange their game. Right now things are indeed still very vague about this...
 
New poll: more The Sims 2
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
After asking if you were looking forward to the E3 this week, this week we're asking you to tell us what you think will be the best new feature of The Sims 2. Are you stunned by the 3D graphics, the aging, DNA, the life score, multiple-story homes, Create-A-Sim or just nothing at all? Tell us by voting at the right, or at this page. As for our last poll: most of you apparantly never heard of the E3, the big event that's going on now. Basically it's a convention and exposition (hence Electronic Entertainment Exposition, E3) where the newest video games are shown. 39% (53 votes) said they've never heard of it, but those of them reading this now have. Second in the list are those who are looking forward to it just because The Sims 2 will be shown there, with 37 votes (27%). Following that closely is the option "Yes, but not just for The Sims 2. I want to know more about other games too", with 30 votes (22%). Twelve people (9%) are even going (or went by now) to LA to check it out, and just 2% (3 votes) don't care about The Sims 2 or any other games at the E3. A clear overview of this list can be found at this page, in our archive.
 
The Sims 2: E3 preview and movie
Written at 17:03 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
IGN has had a look at The Sims 2, and are giving us a 2-page preview of the game, straight from the E3. It's a bit humorous, as the editor (I won't mention the name of Ivan Sulic) apparantly had his notes drowned in some "unidentifiable liquid" - he probably had a few drinks too many. Hence, all the quotes are from pretty nameless people. Anyway, the preview discusses the creation of skins, which is as follows: first you select an archetype. That can be a Caucasian, African American, Chinese, Persian, and even an Elf. You can then totally modify the archetype, using various sliders. They also mention the DNA, which is passed on to the Sims' kids, their kids and so forth. When another editor at IGN (PS2) commented raising kids isn't fun, this was Maxis' response:
"Sims producer: It is about domestic chaos. It's a chaos simulator. Children aren't the main focus. It's not made to be tedious. It's made to be a challenge. Kids have been added for fun."
I wonder who said that... Anyway, on the second page the life quality is discussed, and it seems it's determined by what the Sim desires to have, i.e. what he's done in the past. Although they only talk about having a good and happy life, they unfortunately don't mention if a Sim who hates all the goody-goody stuff can have a good life too, without having children, a career, etc. Maxis will also try to keep the system requirements down, but The Sims 2 won't run on low-end systems, mainly because of its detail. Maxis will also make the game as expandable as The Sims 1.0, and they will release tools to make archetypes for instance. If you want to read everything I mentioned here, and a few other things, in detail, then click here. Besides that, GameSpot has posted a direct-feed movie trailer from GameSpot Live. You can check it out from this page. Unfortunately I'm unable to check the movie out myself on the computer I'm at now, but perhaps someone will post their say about it in the comments.
 
More of The Sims on GBA
Written at 20:40 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
After hearing about The Sims coming to GameBoy Advance that can be linked to the GameCube, IGN has posted a little hands-on preview of the game. They say the game looks slightly similar to the PC version, with the camera on an isometric perspective. Within 2 weeks Maxis will officially announce this title, and apparantly Bustin' Out for the GameCube will add the support to link up the GBA version of the game to the GameCube. The game is still in very early development, and there wasn't much to see yet. The press release with the announcement, as expected soon, will reveal more gameplay items. The whole hands-on preview can be found at this page. For the first two screenshots, check out at the mediapage.
 

Friday 16 May 2003
Bustin' Out Preview @ IGN
Written at 01:04 by ChEeTaH - 8 comments.
I must admit this news is probably a bit late, as I should've been writing this a week ago. Anyway, IGN has posted a preview of Bustin' Out, but there aren't many new facts in it. Still it's nice to read it, especially the part where IGN says they will give us a hands-on preview from the E3. That means we should be knowing more of this title tomorrow, as the E3 will end then. Hopefully we'll be getting some screenshots of both Bustin' Out and maybe The Sims 2 then too. So far the amount of information from the E3 is probably smaller than expected, but it's possible that these Sims titles, and The Sims on GBA, haven't been shown in the exposition yet. If not, then we should see more tomorrow. Back to the Bustin' Out preview:
"Along with the slew of new locations, Maxis is packing the game full of more, more, and more of our favorite Sims objects. Now we can track down and earn groovy collectibles such as the Laser Light Show, DJ Booth, Climbing Wall (for those athletically inclined Sims), and High Dive. Maxis never disappoints with the many wacky and creative additions to its Sims universe, and Bustin' Out looks no different. Players can now customize their characters with things such do-rags and piercings, in addition to teaching them new moves like the crowd-favorite French Kiss, hilarious Towel Snap, and funky fresh Moon Walk. Afraid of what your parents will say to a full body tattoo? Save your money and get one in the Sims instead."
It occurs more often that sites post one review of the same game on different platforms in different flavours. The same has happened here, and IGN has posted the review 3 times. Twice with the first screenshot (GameCube and PlayStation 2 editions), and once without it (X-Box). Have fun reading!
 
Sims 2 and Bustin' Out movies
Written at 15:59 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
I already briefly mentioned the movie of The Sims 2 yesterday, but now I've been able to check it out myself too. IGN Insiders can also enjoy a movie, most likely the same one, but split up in one The Sims 2 clip, and another Bustin' Out trailer. Basically, the whole gamespot thing are those two trailers joined together. To be honest, these official trailers are pretty neat. The Sims 2 trailer, GameSpot starts with this one, you can first see a few Sims dancing to some music, while two others are at the couch playing a video game (on a console). It follows with the first steps of a baby, with the dancing Sims in the background. As Sims like to eat, you can also see two of them grabbing a slice of pizza, followed by some chatting. After some playing in the hot tub and some working out, it's the end of this trailer. It all looks somewhat similar to The Sims 1.0, only much smoother and nice in 3D. The Bustin' Out trailer starts off with making a Sim with a green Afro haircut. Two Sims on a motorbike show us some climbing in a hall. Then there's some swimming and working out going on. Time for a party then, and we can see a disco with DJ, a dance floor with some Sims on it, and a complete light show going on. That's the end of it all. In total there's over 3 minutes of footage: 80 seconds of The Sims 2, and 2 minutes of Bustin' Out. For those who want to check it out: you need at least a free GameSpot Basic account. You can then find the videos (two-in-one) at this page. GameSpot Complete members can download the clip in high-res QuickTime (40 Mb) or low-res MPEG (26 Mb) formats. If you're not so lucky and don't have GameSpot complete, then just sign up as GameSpot Basic member and watch it using streaming video (Windows Media Player or Real required).
 
Sims 2 Preview
Written at 16:07 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
GameMarshal has been at the E3 watching The Sims 2 as well, and they got to see the movie - apparantly in extended form as they see a few things not seen in the GameSpot clip. Perhaps IGN Insiders are able to see everything, but I can't tell that for sure. As it's an official trailer, the whole thing will probably be made available as download by Maxis or EA themselves. Besides telling about watching the video, GameMarshal also went to talk with Charles London, creative director of Maxis. The main feature talked about is the DNA, which is quite life-like: "Dominant and recessive features such as eye or skin color are also decided based on the DNA of the parents and passed onto the baby". They also talk a bit about how much you can change the looks of your Sim. They also mention a thing that's new to us:
"The Sims 2 will include new animation styles, facial expression based on the situation along with mouth movements when Sims talk. There will be weekdays and weekends, and your Sims will establish a work schedule. So while mom or dad could be working on Saturday or Sunday, the kids will stay home since there is no school on the weekend."
Finally parents can take some days off without the danger of being sacked, and kids can stay at home to play with their friends, without being sent to military school. Nice indeed. You can check the whole preview out right here.
 

Saturday 17 May 2003
E3: Bustin' Out Preview @ GameSpy
Written at 00:14 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Like so many other sites, GameSpy is at the E3 and they've also visited Maxis' The Sims stand. Along with some screenshots we found days ago, which are from the trailer, they also posted a preview of the Bustin' Out Expansion pack for the consoles. Apparantly the graphics engine will be updated a bit too:
"Graphically the game is shaping up to be pretty cool, but on the show floor, there were some significant framerate hits. This will certainly be addressed and ironed out as the project progresses. New lighting techniques lit up The Sims Bustin' Out to a very satisfactory level, and with a few more graphical bells and whistles still to be added, I expect something pretty special from the final version of the game."
You can read the whole preview right here. To check out those screenshots again, click here.
 
Search functionality improved
Written at 02:20 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
I've just improved the searching facilities here at The Sims Zone. If you look at the left, you'll see 3 places where you can enter some text (under News, Community News, and Files). To search the specific section of this site for something, simply enter the text and press enter (or click the >> link). You will immediately see the items matching your query. Another improvement is that it no longer will look for the entire word, but you can now also enter parts of a words. For instance, if you want to search the news for Superstar, you can type 'Supersta' and it will find everything matching that, which includes 'Superstar'. Besides that, from now on the authors of the item will be included in the search, so you can find everything from me by typing ChEeTaH somewhere. For files, the name of the filesection will be included as well, so searching for skins will display all files in the Skins file section, as well as the other sections matching 'Skins'. We hope these improvements will make it easier for you to find what you're looking for here at TSZ. Don't leave it unused!
 
TSZ 1.5 years old, newspost #1000
Written at 20:37 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
It's taken us a long time, but this is exactly number thousand of all the newsposts we've written during the existence of The Sims Zone (exactly 18 months today too!). Although not all of them are available anymore (some were deleted, some were to test our software - there are still 925 articles in our database), we have actually written 1000 posts now (including this one) - that does not include the old articles from TheSimsFusion, which we were known as until April 2001. It's a nice milestone to achieve. We're ready for the next 1000 newsposts, and the next 18 months... And after that? We'll try to double it again then :-) Oh, and if you're wondering what our first newspost over here was: follow this link.
 
GameSpy E3: Sims 2 Preview and Audio interview
Written at 20:48 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
GameSpy has been quite busy at the E3 (which is now over) as well. On the last day they visited Maxis to check out their latest games: The Sims 2 and Bustin' Out. We already told you about Bustin' Out yesterday, but The Sims 2 was posted a bit later. And yet again, this preview reveals a new feature of The Sims 2: weather. Here's a bit:
"During the demo, we witnessed another new effect. It started to rain. The lighting of the scene changed as the dreary clouds moved in, and the Sims themselves all reacted with dismay as the raindrops came down. (The unfortunate Sim who opted to remain in the hot tub was in for a shock when the lightning struck...)"
Poor sim. They also discuss the building in the new game, in which will be able to curve stairs. As you could also see in the background of one of the screenshots (the one with the family on the couch, which you can see right here), doors and windows can now also be placed on diagonal walls. GameSpy also reveals that Maxis plans to release tools to create new items even before the game will be released. The conclusion is that "If it all comes together, Sims 2 should be ten times as addictive as the first. And that scares me". Along with the preview they also posted an audio interview with the god of gods Will Wright. Fargo, the writer of the preview, told us some of the audio is garbled but there are still quite some interesting things in it. Unfortunately I can't check that myself yet (there's a 45 minute wait at FilePlanet), but for those who just want to listen: click here (it's a 20Mb file!). As soon as I've been able to get the interview I'll update this newspost. Anyway, for those who want to read the interesting preview: click here. It's worth your time!
 

Sunday 18 May 2003
Some Bustin' Impressions
Written at 02:20 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
The E3 is over now, but sites are still posting articles of several games. One site is GameSpot, which has now posted an article with their impressions of Bustin' Out:
"The Sims: Bustin' out will also put more emphasis on multiplayer play. The original game let you play through the live mode cooperatively with another player, or compete with another player in a series of simple minigames. Bustin' Out will expand on the multiplayer game by letting you play through the entire "get a life" single-player mission mode cooperatively. The game will be released early next year."
There are a few other things in it too, but nothing that's really too new. Except perhaps the fact that Sims will have gain popularity (and get some money) to get that limousine with hot tub in the back rather than that motorbike they start off with. Although it's not too interesting to read, I guess you can't read enough about the game to get enough (and the most accurate) info. So, to read this article too - it isn't very long - go here.
 
18 months and 1000 times News
Written at 17:58 by ChEeTaH - 6 comments.
If you read this post you'll know we have posted over 1000 news posts here at The Sims Zone now. We reached that milestone exactly on the day The Sims Zone turned 1 and a half years old (that was pure coincidence). Because you probably don't remember everything that's happened the past 18 months anymore, I've been browsing through the news archive here at The Sims Zone, and wrote an article with the most important and the biggest events that we posted some news about. So if you're ready to go back into time a bit, click here to read the article.
 

Monday 19 May 2003
The Sims 2 Interview
Written at 00:20 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
There's still some stuff appearing from the E3 last week. There was already a 20-minute interview with Will Wright at GameSpy earlier, and now GameSpot has posted another interview with Will Wright. Although it's much shorter (just about 97 seconds) and less interesting, this interview has a nice thing for the fans: it's a video. So if you've always wanted to know what Will really looks like (instead of as a Sim), it's worth to check it out from this page. In the interview Will talks briefly about The Sims 2 and its new features, like this: "If they have a screwed up childhood, they'll be a screwed up adult. They might have to go to therapy". Sims will be much more responsive and aware of the environment around them, according to Will (we'll take his word for it). Although the simulation will be more complicated, they want to keep the interface as simple as The Sims 1. Will also says the console verison is somewhere in between The Sims 1 and The Sims 2. There isn't anything real news in the interview, unfortunately.
 

Tuesday 20 May 2003
The Sims 2 News
Written at 02:14 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
A while ago, a Spanish site called SimsExpress showed some new Bustin' Out screenshots earlier than others. And they did it again: they posted 10 brand new screenshots of The Sims 2, all very nice ones. You can get to see a sim being electrocuted in the hot tub, some Sims selection screens, and much more. These are probably all from the E3 movie Maxis showed there. I'm sure you want to see them, go here to check it out. Another site, Gamers Pulse, has posted a preview from the E3 of The Sims 2. It doesn't give any news really, so I'll just give you this link to read it. Besides all that, Maxis is getting www.thesims2.com ready, and that official site will probably launch soon. We'll keep you updated.
 

Wednesday 21 May 2003
Will Wright Interviews: Talk about SimUniverse? [Updated]
Written at 01:06 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
GameSpy has posted an interesting interview with Will Wright. It's not to much about The Sims, but more about the man himself. Besides telling how much he worked with Sid Meier on SimGolf, The Sims on GBA and the collaboration with Nintendo's Miyamoto on that. But there's also a bit about a secret project:
GameSpy: "I don't suppose you want to talk about the secret project."

Will Wright: "Not yet. The problem is that when I work on a game it takes about four years. If I start talking about it now, people will have heard about it for three years when it comes out. They'll be sick of hearing about it. I need to be kind of careful. I think that the optimum is that your game goes to E3 once, not twice or three times. I wish I could do a game in two years."
Now if we go back into our news archive, our visitors who came here over a year ago might remember the name of SimUniverse. Although we haven't heard anything about that for a long time, it might still be true. Check out this newspost and this one for what we posted about SimUniverse last year. Oh, and to read the GameSpy interview: click here.

[Update 23:30] In the "Read more" bit (or below if you can see that already) you can read more about the audio interview posted a couple of days ago.
 
Read More!


Thursday 22 May 2003
New poll
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week there was a poll about the new features of The Sims 2. You voted a lot, and the best new feature turns out to be the aging of Sims with 42% of the votes. Second came the multi-story homes option (50 votes, 17%), third are the 3D graphics (49 votes, about 17% too). For the rest of the results, go here. This week's poll is about Superstar: we wonder how good you think it is... if you got it anyway. You can vote on the right, or on this page. For more polls, go into our poll archive.
 
SimDay: a way old link this time...
Written at 21:36 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week there was no SimDay, probably because of the E3. This week, however, there's a slightly interesting SimDay this week (but not too interesting, don't expect too much). First of all, you can download the Superstar TV commercial now from the official site. It's 8.15 Mb, and you can find it on this page between the other Superstar videos. Besides that, there's a link to a very small preview of Bustin' Out at Gamers.Com. It's just 2 paragraphs. It hasn't anything new in it, just go to this page if you want to read it. Furthermore there's a link to the interview with Will Wright at GameSpy, which I posted about a few days ago. You can go to the interview directly by clicking right here. And finally: the way old link. Although the official Dutch site already exists for over 6 months(!) (since November 2002 - it was announced in October), Maxis posted a link to it as a "new Sims website". For those who know Dutch and didn't know about this site yet: it's at thesims.eagames.nl. That link was definately posted quickly, Maxis!
 

Saturday 24 May 2003
Members: Please read!!
Written at 22:45 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Yesterday (Friday 23 May), something pretty bad happened. An error in our database went unnoticed until then. When making a back-up of the database on my own computer, I accidentally clicked the wrong button, which caused all our member's details to be deleted. Unfortunately this error in the database has been in all the back-ups I made since we changed our layout in March. That means everybody who registered after 15 March 2003, is not registered anymore. Also, everybody who changed their profile after that date, will have to change their details again because those changes are lost too. Although I'm able to re-register everybody maually with the initial details, I'm not going to do that as that would cost me a very long time (over 1000 members registered since then), and I'd have to disable registration for new members until all that data was put back. Also, that could cause some other problems, as many people registered but never activated their accounts. I've decided to recover some accounts, to keep other parts of The Sims Zone working. These are the accounts that were actually used (note you don't need to be logged in to be able to download files). That means that people who registered with their (Sims) site's details in the profile, those who posted comments, and those who posted a site update, are still able to log in using their initial password that was sent to them after registering. If you belong to those people, you'll soon receive an e-mail from me explaining the situation, and what to do. If you registered after 15 March 2003, and your account has not been restored, then you must re-register at this page. I sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by this and I take my responsibility for this. I know it's partially my fault too, but I hope you understand that I (of course) never intended to cause these problems. Thank you for your understanding.

So, if you registered after 15 March 2003, and your account has NOT been restored: Click here to register again. You can use the same username as before if you want.
If you registered after 15 March 2003, and your account has been restored: Please follow the instructions in the e-mail you'll get from me soon. The e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you registered with.
If you changed your password or profile after 15 March 2003, but registered earlier: You need to make the same changes again. You might have to login using an old password. If you don't know what your password is, then you can get it back using the password recovery feature. You can change the password and profile on this page.

Again, I apologise for these problems. I hope you don't mind re-registering if necessary. If you have any questions about what you have to do, or anything else about these problems, please contact me here.
 
The Sims 2 Best simulation game at E3
Written at 23:58 by ChEeTaH - 6 comments.
The Sims 2 has won its first award. The website IGN PC has given The Sims 2 the award for Best Simulation Game shown at the E3 a week ago. This is what they say about it:
"This is the game you'll want to know about if you're at all interested in titles where the domination and control and development of other people is the main premise. It's the same Sims you know and love with a new look, a load of new features and even more depth."
There's a bit more. You can check out at this page. All the other PC awards are there too. Runners-up for best simulation game were Century of Flight, Train Simulator 2 and Lock-On.
 

Tuesday 27 May 2003
Sims 2 Preview in the Temple
Written at 00:08 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
On April Fools' day, the Gamers Temple posted a fake preview of The Sims 2 (read this). Now, they've posted a real preview. They checked out the game at the E3, and now we can read what they have to say about it. There's some nice new info in it. The first new bit is the (bad) news Sims and homes from The Sims 1.0 can't be imported to The Sims 2. They also say a lot about the DNA. Apparantly Maxis showed making a lot of children from 2 Sims at the E3. All these children were unique and grew up to become unique adults, but they were obviously the offspring of their parents. Another little bit of news is that "you'll now be able to capture AVI files of your sims for inclusion in your album". So no longer you'll be limited to stills, but you can record a whole day of your family... or even several days. A bit like the creature in Black & White (for those who are familiar with that game), a Sims' looks can change. If your Sim works out a lot, you'll see they get broad shoulders and a trim waist line. This paragraph is also interesting:
"While The Sims 2 will bring many changes, more than likely one of them won't be the ability to follow your sims to work. Maxis toyed with the idea, but could not come up with a way to make all of the career tracks as interesting to play. As for community areas like Downtown, the jury is still out. Community areas will be a part of The Sims 2 at some point, but the question is whether they will be included in the game or as part of an expansion (yes, they're already thinking about expansions)."
That's about all the interesting things that we didn't know yet. To read everything, click here.
 
Colorful CritterHouse
Written at 00:23 by Sumit - 2 comments.
A bit of magic for animal lovers. Today I introduce a colorific critterhouse which really knows what colors todays animals do love. Who cares if their colorblind, makes us happy ole sims know whose boss!

 

Wednesday 28 May 2003
First Superstar Review
Written at 00:40 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
It's taken a while, probably because of the E3, for the first review of Superstar to show up. Although GameSpot probably isn't the very first, they have the first published review that I found. Here's a bit they say about the game's stability, which has yet again gotten worse:
"It almost seems pointless by now to mention that The Sims: Superstar, like all the other expansion packs, doesn't bother to address the annoying problems that have plagued The Sims ever since 2000. The game's scrolling camera is as sluggish as ever, the pathfinding is still unreliable. And as usual, your sims will still occasionally "forget" the instructions you give them. This can be especially frustrating when another celebrity sim tries to speak to you to increase your fame while you're in the middle of something else. In these instances, the celebrities will seemingly "forget" to speak with you the instant your sim becomes available. And unfortunately, Superstar shipped with a few bizarre crash problems. At least some of them can be fixed by adjusting your AGP graphics settings or running the game in a window, though hopefully Maxis will release a patch for the expansion."
Besides the technical issues, they find it a good expansion pack that's worthwhile. It adds a lot of nice new gameplay. The 8 out of 10 the game got is definately not bad. You can read the whole review here. This review also means the opening of a new review index, which you can find right here.
 
Another interview with Will Wright
Written at 00:45 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Besides GameSpy, Boomtown has also taken the time to sit down with Will Wright, designer of The Sims, for about an hour. Besides talking about The Sims 2, gaming, other games, and a few other things, he talks about the origin of The Sims:
"The Sims came about from two sources. Firstly there was Sim Ant, which I was pleased with because of the behavioural models of the ants. I wondered whether it was possible to assign similar behaviours to a human being in a video game. Also at the time I was reading a lot of architectural books that ended up sparking the idea of customising your house."
It's all quite nice to read, but you won't find too much new stuff in it. You can read everything about it right here.
 

Thursday 29 May 2003
Small SimDay addition
Written at 01:32 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last week's SimDay wasn't only on thursday, but apparantly they added a bit on friday too: a Superstar Media Player. With that media player, you can check out some screenshots of Superstar, or some (flash) movies. It's quite nice, especially if you want to check out that Superstar media. The decoration is like that of a cinema. It's all done pretty nicely, and if you want to check it out, click here. Note that the actual 'player' will open up in a new popup window, so you might have to turn off your popup blocker if you have one installed.
 
GameSpy reviews Superstar
Written at 01:44 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
After GameSpot posted one yesterday, it's now GameSpy which has posted a Superstar review:
"Many of the new objects are designed to help your rich and famous sim relax. You can use steam or mud baths, or hire a masseuse to ease muscles aching after a long day on the set. You can now shop for high fashions, scuba dive, or watch satellite TV which has four more channels than basic television. Most of the new objects are available both at home and at Studio Town. You can meet any need while you're in Studio Town, except for energy, which is a bit of a disappointment as the needs bars seem to fall faster while there than at home. As with all expansions, you can build or modify your own Studio Town any way you'd like, so if you want your sim to stay on the job as long as possible, you'll want to setup the most perfect working conditions."
They also complain about the technical issues of the game (bad scrolling, long loading times). According to GameSpy Superstar is probably the best expansion yet. To read what they think in detail, click here. If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest news every day, bookmark our review index.
 
New poll
Written at 03:40 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
Last week we asked you about Superstar: do you or do you not like the game. Most people gave it 5 out of 5 'stars': 105 of the 294 votes. Those who gave it just 4 out of 5 were with far fewer: just 37 votes, while the 3 out of 5 got 34 votes. 88 People said they didn't have it yet, but would soon. 21 people won't get it at all, and finally there are the 2 out of 5 and 1 out of 5 options, which both got just 5 votes. Looks like Maxis made a good expansion pack this time. This week, we wonder which old Sim-games you've ever played in the past. Due to a small problem, the voting didn't work properly during the first hour and so the poll has been reset some minutes ago. You can now vote again (and this time it will work) on the right or on this page. More polls are in our archive.
 
SimDay Report: One new staircase
Written at 04:02 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
This week Maxis has provided us with a nice new download: the "12 Steps in Stone" staircase, made of (drumroll please): stone. It has a nice curve in it, and it works with every expansion pack including Superstar (unlike most downloads at the official site, including the ones not included with Superstar). It's a 864 Kb download, and you can get it from Get Cool Stuff. Besides that there are some links to reviews of Superstar, including 3 new ones at GameBiz, GameNikki and Video Game City. You can read more about those in our review index. That's it again for this week's SimDay.
 

Friday 30 May 2003
The Sims 2 Preview
Written at 00:39 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
ActionTrip has posted a preview of The Sims 2. They got a look at it at the E3, and tell us what they saw. Because we've seen several previews on other sites recently, it doesn't really give much news anymore. Here's a snippet:
"Carefully tending to your children in The Sims 2 often brings about diverse interesting consequences. Each Sim needs to think about his or her future. Good reputation, manners, and a well-founded career create an ideal profile for getting your Sim a good mate - male or female. Let's face it - no female Sim wants to date a drunken slob with no job. (Take it from me - I know! - Ed) Therefore, the old recipe "behave, stay clean, and study" should work very effectively in the game (hell, if you've failed to achieve these standards in real life, like me, this will be your ideal opportunity to make amends). Still, that doesn't mean you cannot fix things if you happen to screw up somewhere along the road. If your sim gets to be fat and sluggish, you can improve his constitution and habits by buying a weight machine for instance - after that you can start pumping iron at will and just watch those muscles beefing up (hear that Six?) (Silence, Infidel! It's not a beer belly! It's my Gas Tank for LOVE! - Six) (No, it's a beer belly! Do some sit-ups, you FREAK! - 2Lions)."
If you're interested in the rest, click here.
 

Saturday 31 May 2003
Expansion #7: Spellbound
Written at 00:11 by ChEeTaH - 19 comments.
Both SimsZone and The Sim's Stash have already reported about being able to pre-order another expansion pack for The Sims. Rumours about it started in April, and now we also know the name, an estimated release date (15 October, probably the US date), but nothing else. If you want to pre-order it, visit this page at Amazon (the price is the same as any other expansion pack so far). When you get there you might notice that EA Sports is listed as developer, rather than EA Games. It's probably nothing more than a little mistake, unless this expansion will focus on sports... But I personally doubt that. If you have any idea what this expansion pack could be about, then please post a comment (members only). Whenever there are more details, we'll tell you about it.