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News Archive - May, 2004
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Saturday 1 May 2004
The URBZ Interview, Screenshots, and Video
Written at 05:29 by Stash - 1 comment.
The official chat Thursday brought a lot of new information about the upcoming console game, "The URBZ - Sims in the City". But today we get even more information from our friends over at GameSpot. First there are three new screenshots from the console version of The URBZ. Once shows off the new Create-A-Sim, as well two other shots featuring parts of the city's streets. GameSpot also has posted the first URBZ video! You can now download the First Official Trailer for The Urbz from the site aswell. As if that's not enough, Gamespot also gives us an interview with Sinjin Bain, executive producer of The URBZ. It gives some great information on the new gameplay feature, and game concept. You can read the interview by clicking here. Sinjin Bain promises that there will be a lot more information on The URBZ (and The Sims 2) released during the 2004 E3 convention (May 11-13, 2004). So be sure to check back a lot during that week as the information pours in.
 

Tuesday 4 May 2004
New Sims 2 MP3
Written at 17:08 by ChEeTaH - 5 comments.
Lucy has sent her weekly e-mail (read it below or in the "Read More" part) again, this time all about music. The Sims 2 will have quite a few different styles of music like R&B, metal, salsa, bluegrass, techno, hip-hop and dance. Included was a sample MP3 which contains a little bit of everything in just over a minute. Click here to download the demo.
 
Read More!

BodyShop in Japanese
Written at 17:17 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
Ever wondered what the Sims 2 Body Shop in Japanese looks like? Well, the official Japanese site TheSims.jp has published 2 screenshots of the Body Shop. You can find the images there, but as most visitors of The Sims Zone probably don't understand Japanese I've put them here as well. Just click the thumbnails below for the big versions.

The Sims 2 Body Shop in Japanese (1) The Sims 2 Body Shop in Japanese (2)
 

Thursday 6 May 2004
New Poll
Written at 14:10 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
As usual on thursdays, there's a new poll. Last week we asked you about the smartness of your Sims. Opinions varied, and all results were pretty close. You can see the results on the results page. This week there's a totally different topic in the poll: the death of your Sims. Do your Sims die from illnesses, electrocution, fire, water, lack of food or do they just run away? Or don't your Sims die at all? Let us know, and vote on the right, or on the latest poll page.
 
SimDay [Update]
Written at 21:03 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
This SimDay is, again, pretty small. Besides the MP3 we gave you earlier this week and has been posted on the official site now as well, there's also some information about next week's chat. With the Body Shop coming available later this month (the latest rumours say 10 May, which is next week), Body Shop Producer Darren Futa will be joining the fortnightly chat next week on 13 May. We recently received an interview with him from Maxis, and if you missed that you might want to read it again. The chat next week will be held at the usual time, 3pm PST, 11pm in the UK and Portugal, and midnight in most of Europe. There's nothing else this SimDay which means it doesn't really bring anything new, but that might be different next week. SimDays are getting less again, and if you're interested, you may want to read an old series of editorials by Andy, "Whatever happened to SimDay?" (part 1, part 2 and part 3).

[Update 19:20] It turns out the official site of the URBZ also got a little update. There are now two more descriptions of the "Crew" of the Handheld (GBA) version. You can read all about Darius and Crystal at UrbzSims.com (the Flash site), in the "Crew" section.
 

Friday 7 May 2004
Sims Gigaluxe?
Written at 22:27 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Our affiliate SimsZone.de reports that the EA Spain has put "The Sims Gigaluxe" in their release list. It has a release date of 16 June. Maxis or EA in general hasn't mentioned the title yet though. Considering the name it'll probably a combination of The Sims Deluxe (which is The Sims, Livin' Large, Create A Sim, and some extras) with another expansion pack (or even two). Any actual details are still unknown though, but don't expect something entirely new. As always, we'll keep you up-to-date with the latest news about it, and you'll read the latest news here as we get it.
 

Saturday 8 May 2004
Lucy's Mail: E3 and Body Shop
Written at 15:44 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
We've received Lucy Bradshaw's weekly e-mail again, and unlike usual there is no screenshot, video or music to download. However, that will be compensated for next week during the E3, with an interview with Lucy on IGN, and with Will Wright on GameSpot. As if that's not all, a demo (which is probably a video, not a playable one) will be revealed during the E3 as well, and the Sims 2 team is working hard on making that be the best of the E3. The other part is about the Body Shop. The release day is coming really close now according to Lucy, so we can probably expect it next week. The latest rumours say 10 May, but it could also become SimDay Thursday (13 May). With the E3 in our minds, 10 May could be more likely as Maxis probably won't be doing much besides the E3 during those days. But we'll see what the near future really brings. Either way, the Body Shop is coming out really soon now and the wait is almost over. That's all from Lucy by e-mail this week, but stay tuned for all the latest sim-related news about the E3 happenings later this week. The entire e-mail is in the read more part of this article.
 
Read More!

The Sims Gigaluxe/Triple Deluxe
Written at 16:29 by ChEeTaH - 5 comments.
There's some more information about The Sims Gigaluxe, which seems to be just the Spanish name. The official Swedish Site has posted a box shot of "The Sims Triple Deluxe". On it you can see some images which remind of the Sims Vacation, which makes it seem like Vacation will be included in the pack. It'll probably be in it along with The Sims, Livin' Large, Create A Sim, and possibly House Party (but that's still unclear). We'll keep you updated as usual.

The Sims Triple Deluxe Box
 
Sims 2 Material
Written at 18:01 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
We're getting close to the E3, but even though it hasn't started yet quite a bunch of new screens and a new trailer have been discovered on the net. First the trailer: this is the second trailer since the E3 trailer last year, and has quite a lot of in-game graphics. It starts off with a Sim watching Sims 1 stuff happen on his TV, after which it goes on and tells you some highlights of the game. It can be downloaded exclusively from IGN. Secondly, there are 5 new screenshots available on IGN as well. Showing science, some odd art, a slumber party, kissing and a thief, these 5 screens are worth a look. There are also a couple of old ones from the Swedish site, but they haven't really been discovered until now. The same site has revealed the minimum system requirements for the Body Shop (which are similar to those for The Sims 2 itself):
  • Windows XP/2000/ME/98
  • 600 MHz Intel Pentium III or AMD K6 Processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 450 MB free disk space
  • Graphics card with at least 32 MB
  • DirectX 9.0b
Note that for each of these goes: the more the better. Besides all that, James Magenta has e-mailed me saying the latest issue of GameMaster states 24 September as release date for The Sims 2. This has been unconfirmed and is yet unofficial, but not totally unrealistic with the latest rumours, from EA Europe, saying September 2004. Click the thumbnails below for all the new screenshots from IGN and the Swedish site. Thanks go out to SimsZone for this news.

Science Art-on-a-Stick Slumber Party Street Kiss Where's the Loot? Hot Tubbin' Yoga (1) Yoga (2) Jogging Punching Bag (1) Punching Bag (2) Sim Garden Veronaville Overview
 

Sunday 9 May 2004
The Add-on Handler 0.4.0b [Update]
Written at 15:43 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
It's here, finally! The Add-on Handler version 0.4.0b is finished and it's now available to everybody. This new version adds a few big features, like the "Export List" option, which makes a list of all the downloads you have installed. Using the comment field when installing downloads you can now also easily track down where you got your downloads from. The program has also been translated into several languages (unfortunately not all texts can be translated, but most of them can), with thanks to the translator team. They made it possible that the Add-on Handler is now available in your language as well. See last week's announcement for some more details about what's new. The included readme file also has a more complete list of the exact changes since the last version. You can download the program from this page. If you have version 0.3.0b still installed, or if you have The Neighborhood Handler 4.11 installed, then you can also download the upgrade version, which is a bit smaller. They're both the same, with the only difference being the included DLL files. Enjoy it, and if you need help with it, e-mail me. I'm also still looking for translators of The Add-on Handler in various languages, so e-mail me if you want to help out with that too!

[Update 10 March 15:30] Unfortunately an old .exe file was packed in the original installations, containing one bug on the Serials page: Livin' Large and House Party would show up as not installed, while they were. The proper file has now been packed and uploaded. Download the upgrade version to fix this bug if it occurs in your installation. Note that the version number whatsoever has not changed because of this.
 

Tuesday 11 May 2004
Body Shop Not Today [Update 2]
Written at 01:00 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Although it's appeared on the official Sims 2 site for a very short while, the Body Shop will not be available today. It's coming very soon though, definitely later this week. In a video interview with IGN (which I'm currently downloading, more about that later), Lucy Bradshaw said the Body Shop will be released as "early as the E3". The E3 starts tomorrow, so we may expect it then, although the actual Expo starts on the 12th. Here's a quote from MaxisKitty posted in the BBS at the official site concerning the matter:
"I know you all are excited for Body Shop, we are as well, but I don't want you guys hitting reload all day, taking off from work/school/chores or anything like that to no avail.

"So just a heads up, Body Shop is coming very soon, BUT not today. So hold your finger of the reload button just a wee bit longer if you can."
Note that once it is out, you have to hope you're able to download it right away too. It's going to be a big download, and many people will want to get it at the same time. The server could easily be taken down by that load. Only time will tell though.

[Update 11 May, 2:30] Another page has appeared with some information about the Showcase. Basically it are some instructions on how to use the exchange. Check it out right here. To upload your material, you need to register at EA.com. Oddly enough it says the Showcase is not really an exchange, but that it's "for uploading only". It looks like it's not possible to share your Sims this way.

[Update 11 May, 16:20] Snooty Sims reports that the webmaster of the official Swedish Website has said the Body shop is set to be released today (Tuesday). That means it'll be here in a few hours already. We'll keep you updated about the matter and report any news as soon as possible!
 
Read More!

Lucy Bradshaw Video Interview [Update]
Written at 04:19 by ChEeTaH - 10 comments.
As she already told us, Lucy has been interviewed by IGN. The interview is now available for IGN Insiders. It's a huge download, 300 Mb in Quicktime or almost 150 Mb in Windows Media format, but I've downloaded it. It doesn't give much real new information about the game, though the in-game clips from it are nice to see. You can see some snapshots I've created at the end of this article (in the Read more bit). Most interesting from those videos is that it looks like Maxis has included some Superstar elements, as we can see a lady Sim on the red carpet, with body guards and flashing cameras around her. Other images show the building of the homes, but also Sims jumping on couches, kissing and wrestling. We can also see the creation of a Sim (in-game) for a bit. For more information about what Lucy and Steve Butts, Editor-in-Chief of IGN, had to discuss in those 20 minutes, read on... It's a nice summary of what The Sims 2 is all about again.

[Update 16:20] Some more pictures from the movie, not taken by me, can be found at Snooty Sims. They're posted along with some other shots from recently published movies. You can see them right here.
 
Read More!

Extra Extra! E3 Newsletter
Written at 13:52 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Maxis has sent out a special edition of their Sims Insider's newsletter. In it are a few new, but also some old things. There's some URBZ stuff that has been posted about quite some time ago already. However, there's brand new Sims 2 material. First of all there are the 2 screenshots and the artwork below (click to enlarge). There's also a new video of Veronaville, in which the camera flies through the neighborhood. You need QuickTime to play it, and you can download it using this link (4.8 Mb). It's only a matter of hours to the E3 and the Body Shop now, we'll keep you updated here as much as we can!

Sims 2 E3 Stars Sims outside with Spring weather Veronaville
 
Gigaluxe/Triple Deluxe and Mega Deluxe?
Written at 16:53 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
We already reported The Sims Triple Deluxe a couple of days ago, which would possibly combine The Sims, Livin' Large, Vacation and possibly other expansion packs as well. Now another pack, The Sims Mega Deluxe, can be pre-ordered from GameStop.com. Judging from the box shot it's a different pack than Triple Deluxe. More is known about Mega Deluxe too: it will be a back of The Sims, Livin' Large, House Party and Hot Date. The Create-A-Sim is not mentioned. It's said to be released 25 May, which is already in 2 weeks. See below for the box shot. Thanks to SiMan for the tip.

The Sims Mega Deluxe
 
Triple Deluxe Announced
Written at 18:07 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
EA Germany has announced "The Sims: Super Deluxe XL" today. This is probably the pack known as Triple Deluxe in English. More details have been given about its contents too. Besides the original Sims, it'll contain the expansion packs Livin' Large, House Party and Vacation. Hot Date is not included, but the Sims Creator, which was included in Deluxe and Double Deluxe as well, will be added as well. At the time of writing there's just a German press release. An English press release is expected soon, but is not yet available. At first the Spanish EA site said "The Sims Gigaluxe" would be released 16 June. However, this date hasn't been confirmed elsewhere. Thanks to our affiliate SimsZone for the tip.
 
Official Sims 2 UK site Launched
Written at 21:09 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
EA UK has just launched the official UK site for The Sims 2. It's already quite full of content: you can find info, wallpapers (at the bottom), screenshots and the E3 trailer (QuickTime required, 24 Mb, it's on the "mystery" page), already posted about last Saturday. For discussions, there are also some brand new forums. They're no different from the original forums on the Sims 1 UK site though. You can also download a couple of official movies and media on the download page. Navigation is done using a rotating wheel on the right. Unfortunately the site works with Internet Explorer only (and browsers using the IE engine), not with Mozilla FireFox or other browsers. You can find it at TheSims2.uk.ea.com.
 
Body Shop Available! [Updates - 22:35]
Written at 21:32 by ChEeTaH - 15 comments.
The Body Shop is out! FilePlanet has posted the Body Shop as exclusive download on this site. It's split up in several downloads, but it's big. You must first free up 106 Mb (!) for just the progam. Once you've got that, there is a starters pack for another whopping 95 Mb. Finally there's a pack exclusive to FilePlanet, which is just 2 Mb. You need to have a (basic, free) account at FilePlanet to be able to download the files. There currently is a waiting time of about 30 minutes, and you'll have to be a little bit patient before you can actually download the file. You can find all the download links right here. GameSpot has also published it, except that there it's one download of 206 Mb. You can find that on this page (free registration required there as well, but there's no waiting time). FilePlanet has also posted the 3 screenshots below, which shows some Sims with GameSpy and other outfits in the game. We'll keep you updated with news about the showcase and more!

[Update 20:35] The official site's showcase has launched too now (with the first user skins already there). From this site you can download the Body Shop (including a mirror on the official site now), the starter pack, the exclusive FilePlanet and GameSpot packs, a tutorial and the manual (in several languages). You can go to the download page here, get help with the body shop on the BodyShop Help page, and get more help with the showcase on the ShowCase Info page.

[Update 21:35] Some screenshots showing the GameSpot Sims have been added as well. Click the thumbnails below for those.

[Update 22:35] It's busy, and Maxis knows it. The official site is struggling to stay online, and even the GameSpot download servers have been down for some time as well (they're back up at the moment though). Several Sims fansites have mirrored the program, but due to limited resources of those sites I won't list them here. The servers are getting "slammed" as obviously the program is very popular. If you're unable to download it now, it's suggested to try again later. Here's what MaxisKitty has to say about the download problems:
"Our servers are getting totally slammed right now. If you are having problems we recommend that you come back later and try again.

"We are working on improving performance - but you might just want to try the FilePlanet or Gamespot pages if you want to try and grab the file right now."
[Last update: 11 May, 22:35]

FilePlanet Screenshot 1 FilePlanet Screenshot 2 FilePlanet Screenshot 3 GameSpot Screenshot 1 GameSpot Screenshot 2 GameSpot Screenshot 3
 

Wednesday 12 May 2004
GameSpot: E3 Material [Update 2]
Written at 13:48 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
The E3 has kicked off, and GameSpot has already posted some first articles and screenshots. The first thing is about the URBZ, and is an article with their pre-show impressions. It came with a couple of screenshots, of which one is new (click the thumbnail to enlarge). Here's a quote:
Create-An-Urb "Gameplay will apparently revolve around a series of minigames, though we didn't get to see any of these in action. Players will have to control their urban sims through a series of trials in order to impress various other characters. For instance, we were told that players may have to spend a night as a sushi chef, trying to cater to the late-night dining crowd."
The whole article can be read here. Furthermore, they've also posted a couple of new screenshots. They may look a little bit familiar, as they're similar to what we saw in the IGN Video Interview. Yet these are of much higher quality and definitely worth a look. Click the thumbnails below to see them all.

[Update 18:00] The links to the images below where dead. They're fixed now. Thanks to Tim for reporting this.

[Update 22:00] GameSpot has posted their Sims 2 impressions as well. They sat down with Lucy Bradshaw a while ago, and the article provides mostly basic information like the IGN Interview. Make sure you click here to read the article.

Getting Personal Mad Scientist Let the Summer begin! Family Fun Feeling Famous?
 
New Sims 2 Video
Written at 17:30 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
IGN has posted a new video again. For some people it may not be entirely new, as it contains mostly in-game footage which was also included in the Lucy Bradshaw interview. This time however, it's also available to those who aren't an IGN insider. It comes in 3 ways: Windows Media Format (15.8 Mb) and QuickTime format (21.1 Mb), both in a 320x240 resolution, or a high resolution (640x480) QuickTime video (53.2 Mb). Only the Windows Media file is available to non-subscribers, IGN Insiders can also download the high quality versions. Depending in your format of choice, you need either Windows Media Player 9 or QuickTime to see it. It has several short in-game clips in which you can see actual Sims in action. You can download it from IGN's video page.
 
E3 Interviews
Written at 17:57 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Two new interviews have popped up last night. One comes from GameSpot, and the other one from GameSpy. The first one is all about the Body Shop, which was released yesterday. Darren Futa, the producer of the program, tells a lot about it, including this:
"In this first version of the tool, players will be able to create new textures but not new models. However, using just the existing models we're providing, there is an incredible amount of unique and compelling fan content that can be created."
That makes it seem as if the program is not yet entirely finished, and creating custom models will be an option for a future version. Make sure you read the entire interview for a lot more.

The other interview is with Neil Young, General Manager of Maxis. In 3 pages GameSpy and Neil discuss the game in general, especially the future of the franchise. Of course there's a lot of talking about the Sims 2, the URBZ there, but there are also bits about SimCity, Will's Next Project and even The Sims Online:
"The ongoing updates to TSO are handled by EA's Online division and there are a group of people who worked on the original game working on maintaining and advancing the product. We remain committed to TSO and, in particular, I think that there's a lot more life left in TSO."
For the entire interview, go to this page. Enjoy the read!
 
Bustin' Out N-Gage Shots
Written at 19:03 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
It's out since yesterday, but much hasn't been told about The Sims Bustin' Out on N-Gage. Nevertheless, it's also shown at the E3, at Nokia's stand, and the Dutch InsideGamer has posted a set of new screenshots on their website. 2 Of these are new, while one of these 2 is again very similar to some earlier screenshots. You can see both below (they're already in their full size). The info site at N-Gage.com has also posted a new wallpaper for you to download, and an interview with Virginia McArthur. That interview is already a month old but never posted about.

Claire Cutterbell Bustin' Out N-Gage Main Menu
 
Body Shop Screenshot
Written at 19:12 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Even though the Body Shop is released already, that doesn't stop the flow of screenshots coming in. A new one has been found at GameSpy, along with an article about the release of the program. If you're still waiting with downloading the program, but want to take another look already, click the thumbnail below for the full size screenshot.

Body Shop in action
 

Thursday 13 May 2004
The Sims 2 set for 17 September?
Written at 00:10 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
A precise release date for The Sims 2 has been given at the E3. A source "close to the game's development" has confirmed that to GameSpot. A September release was already expected, and some sites listed 6 September as possible release date. This, however, seems to come from Maxis or EA, and so 17 September can for now be trusted. EA Representatives told GameSpot that there will be more official information about this soon. For more information check out the GameSpot article.
 
SimDay
Written at 13:22 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
It's Thursday, and even though Maxis is showing off their latest games at the E3, the website has been updated. Of course there's a lot to do about the Body Shop. In the "Thread of the Day" in the official site's BBS, MaxisKitty has asked fans to recreate themselves in the Body Shop. You can read all about it right here. For those who want to see MaxisKitty (without the curly hair she really has), click here. The other part of this SimDay is merely showing some links to articles we previously mentioned. More information about those articles, and more, can be found in our E3 Roundup. The final update has come to the URBZ Website. In the new "Flix" section you can view the trailer of the URBZ. Make sure you choose either Hi-res or Lo-res at the top to select your preferred quality. This trailer has been seen before though. Finally, don't forget the Body Shop chat with Darren Futa tonight on the official site. It starts at 11pm in the UK, midnight in Europe, or 3pm PST.
 
IGN Sims 2 & URBZ E3 impressions
Written at 14:32 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
After GameSpot, IGN has now also posted some impressions of The Sims 2 and the URBZ. First the Sims 2: there are two previews. The first is about the problems of monogamy for Sims. Even they can't resist some extras sometimes. It's a nice story to read. However, the actual review has some more interesting information. This is just a little bit, about careers:
"There are ten fairly general career tracks in the sequel and Sims will still simply disappear for a few hours each day as they fulfill their career obligations. There's nothing new there. But rather than just getting better pay and hours as they gain levels in a given career track, Sims will gain cool, new reward objects as they move ahead in their jobs. Military Sims will get a neat obstacle course that they can use to train their body. Sims on the business track can take advantage of an indoor putting green, while those who pursue science as a career will have an in-home biotech station."
Furthermore, it also mentions the ability to turn off Sim death. If the editor means it's possible to turn off just again, or death completely, is a bit unclear. Real new info isn't given, and a lot seems to come from the video interview. Nevertheless, it's worth a read. Click here to do so. Finally, IGN too has confirmed 17 September as shipping date for the game.

The URBZ is also getting much attention, and of course IGN has checked that out as well. First take a look at the pretty long preview of the game:
"Urbz also promises a whole new set of interactions. All interactions are representative of your lifestyle, and directly relate to one of the nine cultures. No real examples will were given, but we believe interactions will be even more over the top than those in last year's Bustin' Out. Also, your interactions are likely to be copied by any Urbz you've influenced."
More can be read on this page. Besides that, a new video with in-game material has been posted. It's not very different from the trailer, but a must-have for the fans. For non-subscribers, only a 12 Mb Windows Media file is available, Insiders can also download the high quality QuickTime versions (17 Mb and 44 Mb) from the Video Page. The same video can also be retrieved from GameSpot. Finally, IGN also reveals in the preview that the URBZ will ship in November. An exact date hasn't been given yet.
 
GameSpy Sims 2 Impressions
Written at 14:49 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
GameSpy has visited the EA stand at the E3 2004, and Sims fanatic Dave Kosak has written and published a preview of the Sims 2. Just like the other impressions, much exclusive new information isn't given. Nevertheless it's interesting to read. Here's a quote:
"Sims 2 will have three basic neighborhoods to settle down in. The first, Pleasantview, is a racy upscale neighborhood that picks up about 25 years after the original game left off. (Fans of the original game can see the familiar Goth family, one generation later.) Strangetown is the second neighborhood, a bizarre desert community next to a mysterious military base. All sorts of unexplainable events - such as the aforementioned alien abductions - happen regularly here. The last town is a riot: Veronaville, with its graceful aqueduct, is the home of two warring families. There, the "Caps" and the "Montys" have been involved in a vicious family feud for generations ... but that won't stop their children from falling in love. Somewhere a little Sim Shakespeare is rolling in his tiny simulated grave."
The whole preview is spread over 2 pages and can be found right here.
 
New Poll
Written at 15:40 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
With the E3 in full action, you'd almost forget our weekly poll. It's changed again last night. Last week, we had quite a deadly poll, as we asked how your Sims usually die. The results are in, and the winner is fire. 38% of the 271 people who voted said their Sims burn to death. Runners-up are the immortal Sims, which got over 25% of the votes. In third place it's the water, about 20% said the Sims can't swim really well. Other results where starvation because Sims were locked up (9%), illness (4%), electrocution (2%) and finally, Sims walking away from home for good after a fight (1%). All the results can be seen on the results page. This week we're on about the Body Shop. If you have something to say about it, vote on the right or at the latest poll page. We're waiting for your answers! Check the archive for a lot more polls from the past.
 
The Sims 2 Release Dates Confirmed [Update]
Written at 19:39 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
The release dates for The Sims 2 have been confirmed by Maxis and EA. For the US, 17 September is the date to look forward to. This was posted by MaxisKitty in the official site's BBS:
"The Sims 2 will ship on September 17, 2004.

"We can't wait for you to get to play the game and appreciate your patience, support and excitement. The game team is thrilled with what they've seen you create with The Body Shop and it's been very inspiring to them as they work on the game.

"Maxis has the best game community out there - thanks for everything!"

-MaxisLucky
For Europe, not everything has been confirmed yet. EA Germany has posted 23 September on the official site. This is probably the most accurate date for most of Europe. However, the webmasters of the UK site have not yet received any confirmation from their boss, EA UK. The UK EA press site currently states 17 September as well. Several other official European websites I checked haven't posted a date yet. Once we received more confirmation about the European date, we'll let you know. Meanwhile, the countdown on the right is updated with the latest information already. The Knowledge Base will follow any minute now.

[Update 14 May, 13:15] EA UK has confirmed 24 September as release date. EA Netherlands had that as well at first, but has changed back to 23 September now. Release dates for other countries are not known by me (yet). We'll be using the UK Date date in our countdown (on the right), because of the amount of visitors from the UK we get :-) Thanks to Hikikomori for the tip.
 
Sims 2 and URBZ GBA screenshots
Written at 20:40 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
A couple of new screenshots have appeared again. There are 3 screenshots of The Sims 2, and another one from the URBZ on GBA. It's simple as usual, just click the thumbnails below to see the large versions.

Knowledge Aspiration Romance Aspiration Knowledge Dreams Place a bet!
 
GameSpy Interviews Will Wright Tonight
Written at 22:48 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Tonight at 3.33pm PST (11.33pm in the UK and Portugal, 12.33am (0.33) in most of Europe), IGN/GameSpy LiveWire will be interviewing Will Wright. In 30 minutes games like The Sims, the URBZ, SimCity and more will be discussed. You'll even be able to ask your questions to Wright using the GameSpy Arcade (Free Basic GameSpy account required). For more information visit the LiveWire page. Click the "Listen Now" link at the top to tune in live to LiveWire. IGN Insider and Founder's Club members will be able to watch live streaming video as well. Click the appropriate links on the LiveWire page for more information. Of course we'll give you all the details of the interview once it's over. For last year's interview with Will Wright (20 Mb), visit the LiveWire E3 Archive.
 

Friday 14 May 2004
Body Shop: The Hidden Stuff [Update]
Written at 02:56 by ChEeTaH - 4 comments.
The Body Shop manual and tutorial do not reveal all. First of all, there are a few useful hotkeys that we found:
  • F6: Stretch the arms of the Sim/mannequin. This does not toggle back though, so once they're stretched you can't 'undo' that unless you change something.
  • F7: Zoom in to the face of the Sim.
  • F8: Zoom out to see the whole body of the Sim.
  • F9: Show/Hide the control panel. Useful for viewing those parts that are just a bit off screen, or for making screenshots
If you have discovered other hotkeys, feel free to e-mail me with the details. Furthermore, a 'hidden' webpage has been discovered. It seems that it'll be used from within the game, as portal to the exchange. However it doesn't have much content whatsoever yet, as the real exchange doesn't exist yet. Click here to get there.

Last but not least: I've made a small utility which allows you to put Body Shop parts (*.package) files into a *.sims2skin file, so they can be installed in a more user-friendly way. Those files can be easily installed by just double clicking them, which is more user-friendly if you're distributing your parts. Unzip the file anywhere to your hard drive and run the Sims2Packer file. All required DLLs are included in the zip file. You can download it from this page (1.3 Mb).

IMPORTANT NOTE: This tool is not supported by Maxis or EA. ChEeTaH and/or The Sims Zone are not responsible for any damage done by this tool. Support can not be provided, but suggestions are welcome. Using this tool is entirely at your own risk. Feel free to redistribute this program, but don't make any modifications to any of the files, which includes the zip file itself.

[Update 1:50] I accidently missed out 2 DLL files in the initial downloads. The file is now available again, redownload it if you were having problems. I've also posted a version without the DLLs (for if you have The Add-on Handler 0.3.0b or later, or the Neighborhood Handler 4.11 or later) at this page (23 Kb).
 
Will Wright LiveWire Interview [Update]
Written at 05:40 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
Will joined IGN/GameSpy's LiveWire show from the E3 again this year, like he did a year ago. For about 25 minutes a few IGN/GameSpy editors, mainly David Lawrence who hosted the show, talked with the man behind the Sims and SimCity, and they discussed things like Sims 2, the URBZ, TSO, SimCity and more. The audio will be made available later at FilePlanet. Read more for details about what was said...

[Update 15 May, 16:00] The interview seems to be available at FilePlanet now. It's at the moment for paying members only though.
 
Read More!

Chat Transcript
Written at 05:58 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
A couple of hours ago, a chat was held on the official site about the Body Shop. Darren Futa (Producer) and Bruce Wilkie (Programmer) joined the chat and answered many (interesting) questions. Here are a couple of highlights:
calichica: "when will we be able to download from "showcase"?"
MaxisLucky: "We will be adding that functionality later. For now you can save out your Sims to your own server and share them."

kcstanton: "how many packs are there going to be?"

MaxisDarren: "The plan is to release more packs before The Sims 2 comes out, but we don't have a firm date yet. Right now everyone on the team is definitely focusing on getting the game as great as possible."

ananse: "There only seems to be one ear slider. The only way to get pointy ears is to pick the pre-fab face. Are there going to be updates with better ear sliders?"

MaxisBruce: "Currently, the modifiers you see in the BodyShop are all the modifiers we've created. However, it's possible for us to release more modifiers at some point, just a matter of time / getting them done."

emperorjess: "The preview of body shop only has a limited number of clothes and accessories (ie. make up, glasses, etc.) How many possible outfits, beards, cosmetics, etc. will there be when it is released with Sims 2?"

MaxisDarren: "I haven't counted recently, but there are many, many times more choices in the game. Body Shop is just a taste of the content goodness waiting for you in the game."

Twoyys4me: "When we buy Sims2, if we've already downloaded the Sim2Bodyshop, (who hasn't?!) will we need to delete that from our systems before loading Sims2?"

MaxisBruce: "After you install Sims2, and try to run the old BodyShop, you'll get a message telling you about the newer version, so while you don't *need* to delete it, you won't be using it any longer. The newer version included with the game will be the one to use."

Sims2_BodyMod2004: "Are there plans to allow users to modify/add to sim meshes in the future, including importing custom-made 3D models? If so, what 3D packages are planned to be supported?"

MaxisDarren: "The plan is to add mesh export/import capabilities, but that's in the future. When we do that, we're going to do our best to make them in a universal 3D file format, so it will be tool independent."

theevilwriter: "It seems that we can't make baby skins with bodyshop. Does that mean they'll all wear the same skin like in TS1? And if so, can we still make that skin custom like TS1 too?"

MaxisDarren: "Actually, when you export a Skin Tone, you'll notice that a baby skin is included. Change that skin, and when you bring that custom skin into The Sims 2, he/she will have it."

celtickitty89: "if i want an adult sim to have a beard, why does his teen self have to have one also?"

MaxisDarren: "Good question. When you're creating a Sim, the way you save them is how they will go into the game, so you really only have to worry about what the Sim looks like when you save them. There will be a way, though, to add something like a beard later on in life, if you decided not to give one to your Teen."

Deckmaster: "Why are the clothing files so large? 3mb each that's takes a lot of space on the hard disks.Can't you make them smaller??"

MaxisBruce: "Some are bigger than others - it all depends on what's inside. Things like custom skintones or hairtones have many textures - other things, like makeup, have only one, so they are smaller."
For even more, read the entire transcript of the chat.
 
WorldSims E3 Impressions
Written at 15:31 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
Besides the entire press of the games industry, our affiliate WorldSims has also visited the E3 yesterday. They bring some news, for instance that The Sims 2 has been nominated for the "Best Simulation Game of the Year" award. But there's also some more information about those cars:
"What about Cars? Well they are nothing more but decoration folks, according to Tim. You can acquire them when you gain a significant level of wealth, however, well they don't serve much of a purpose other than decoration. "Maybe in a future expansion pack, who knows" Tim told me. On another note, our famous Riverside is now called "Pleasantville." I saw four neighborhoods at E3: Pleasantville, Waterside, StrangeCity and Veronaville. The house tools are really impressive. I was awed at this one house that was built in StrangeCity. It was just a house built with glass and columns, and stairs. It was really impressive and I MUST show you guys a picture. However the above aren't really what's important. What's important is the game has a new twist."
There are some other details about things people have been wanting. Weather, for instance, is definitely out of the game. As for basements, these will be possible, but it will count as one of the max. 3 floors. Basically how it's done is editing the terrain in such a way, that there's a floor underground. The length of all stages of a Sim's life are still being tuned, but Maxis is aiming for about 20 human hours for an entire lifetime. There's some more information in the complete article. You can also submit your last minute questions to WorldSims now, and they may be answered personally by a Maxoid.
 
Sims2 Packer Updated [Important Update]
Written at 19:34 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Last night I published a first version of the Sims2 Packer, which puts *.package files into a *.sims2skin file. These files are easier to install, since you can just double click them. I've just updated this (unsupported) tool, with two major new features:
  • Pack multiple *.package files into 1 *.sims2skin file
  • Choose your own name for the *.sims2skin file, without having to manually rename it
  • Change the resulting names of *.package files in the *.sims2skin file
I've also added some usage instructions to the readme, and added a text file which explains the structure of the Sims2Skin file format. If you got the old version before now, or if you have The Add-on Handler 0.3.0b or later, or The Neighborhood Handler 4.11 installed, then get the No DLL version (28 Kb). Otherwise, you need the DLLs which are in the DLL version (1.30 Mb now).

[Update 15 May 15:25] DLLs are always a pain, and again there were some problems with DLLs being asked for. This has been solved, and no extra DLLs should be required (no more than in the first version anyway). If you have DLL problems, please redownload the No DLL version to solve them. I apologise for the inconvenience.
 

Saturday 15 May 2004
URBZ Artwork
Written at 00:50 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
GameSpy has posted a new artwork of the URBZ. It's all GameSpy has about the URBZ from the E3 though, there's no hands on preview whatsoever. Nevertheless, check it out by clicking the thumbnail below.

A Sushi Girl
 
Sims 2 Graphics
Written at 14:36 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
With the launch of the official UK Sims 2 site, several new wallpapers were published. Fansite Snooty Sims has published an artwork from these wallpapers (except the group picture). You can get all these wallpapers, and the artwork, now by clicking the thumbnails below. Note that the wallpapers are in 1280x1024 resolution (not 1600x1200 as stated on the official site). For lower resolutions, visit the Sims 2 UK site.

Alien Wallpaper Donut Wallpaper Kung-Fu Wallpaper Lovers Wallpaper Group Wallpaper Snooty Sims Artwork
 

Sunday 16 May 2004
Another Will Interview
Written at 02:13 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Will was at the E3, and gave an interview at LiveWire. The next day, GameSpy had breakfast with him. The result is a quite casual interview, not entirely about his games (for a change). His new project is mentioned shortly, but nothing is said about it. TSO is also brought up:
GameSpy: "The Sims Online … how big is the subscription base now?"

Wright: "I honestly don't know. (Author's Note: It is my experience that when Will Wright says he does not know something, it is because he is genuinely unaware of it. Wright is far more concerned about the mechanics of creating new games than following the sales information on old ones.)

"I'm not actually sure, but it hasn't grown. I think it is holding steady."
If you want to read more about uncollecting, Russian space hardware, robotics and more, read the entire interview.
 
Bustin' Out N-Gage E3 Graphics
Written at 02:33 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
It was shown at the E3, but much hasn't been heard from The Sims Bustin' Out on the N-Gage. There were some screenshots before, but we've also discovered some new artworks and the box shot which belong to this game. There isn't much to say about it - just click the thumbnails below for bigger versions.

Nice Plant Spin it, DJ! Party Time! Bustin' Out N-Gage Box
 
Regular Press about The Sims 2
Written at 03:00 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Not only the gaming press, but also the regular press visits the E3 in Los Angeles. The Associated Press has written 2 articles about The Sims 2. They've been published on some other sites. First, there's one on RedNova, titled "Some Upcoming Video Games Focus on 'Love'". Here's a bit from that article:
"Jonathon Knight, a producer with Electronic Arts games, showcased a family he created: Sarah, the wife who wants to spend wholesome quality time with her family; Don, her fun-loving, overly amorous husband; and their son Alex, who just wants to make the transition from childhood to adolescence (Sims characters in this version can age.)"
The entire article is on this page. The other one, "'Halo 2,' 'The Sims 2' cause stir at video game convention", is found at this page. In both cases not the entire article is about The Sims 2, but they're nice to read. The pictures below also show you a bit what it was like near the Sims at the E3 (click to enlarge).

The Sims 2 @ E3 2004 (1) The Sims 2 @ E3 2004 (2)
 
More Sims 2 E3 Impressions
Written at 15:26 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
We've spotted two more previews of The Sims 2, from the E3. First there's one from gaming site 1Up. It's quite extensive, but we've really received all the new information earlier this E3 already. Nevertheless, here's a bit from the preview:
"What you can't change about the neighborhood is what your neighbors do. To make it feel less like your Sim is living in isolation, there'll be a whole fabric of relationships between your family and the neighbors, and if they see or hear about anything interesting in your family – news of a baby on the way, or Dad getting caught with his mistress in a public place – and soon everyone will know. Whatever happens to the family, for good or ill, will show up on the family tree, which you can open from a menu and take a broad view of."
If you want to read more, read the entire preview. The other E3 Hands-on preview is posted at Gamers Pulse. The same goes for this preview: there's nothing really new in it. Just read it if you're interested though.
 

Monday 17 May 2004
Body Shop Eye Tutorial
Written at 00:52 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
We have just posted a Body Shop tutorial. CherryIcee tells you all about how to create new eye colors for use in the Body Shop. If you don't really know how to create those eyes yet, just get the tutorial. It's in Acrobat PDF format, complete with images. If you know another place where another tutorial is available, or if you've written your own tutorial, please e-mail me and I'll add it to the list in the notice.
 

Thursday 20 May 2004
New Poll: How was your E3?
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
A new week, a new poll. The E3 is over, and there have been many updates with new screens, movies, interviews and info about The Sims 2, The URBZ and Bustin' Out on the N-Gage. If you followed the news on this site, we're wondering how much you liked all the new content. Tell us whether you followed the E3 news, and what you thought of it, by voting on the right or at the latest poll page. As for last week, we asked you about the Body Shop. With 28% loving it, and 42% of the 167 people who voted saying they think it's a cool tool to play with until the game is out, it seems to be quite a success. 21% Didn't have a clue what it was all about, while 7% doesn't really like the tool, and just 2% absolutely hates it. You can get a nice list of the results on the results page.
 
SimDay [Update]
Written at 15:05 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
It's SimDay again, but not a huge one. First of all, the E3 trailer is now also available as download from the official site. You can grab it from the Videos page. If you haven't seen it before yet, make sure you get it. There is something fresh on the Sims 2 site though: a new Body Shop tutorial. If you need some help with making new clothes using the Body Shop - it really isn't too hard according to Maxis - you should check out the 6-page tutorial. It goes through the basics of editing the textures and alpha layers. Very useful for those beginners. The clothing made in the tutorial isn't available for download (yet), so you'll really have to make it yourself. Just go through the tutorial to make it yourself. For more links to tutorials, check out our BodyShop Round-Up.

[Update 21 May, 0:00] SimDay came a little late for the URBZ. On the official site a new Blog section has been opened. Every week, if possible, a member of the URBZ team will post a bit about the happenings at Maxis. This week it's Scot Amos, Senior Producer of the game, who talks about last week's E3 a bit. It can all be read at the official site.
 
The Sims 2 one of Best of E3
Written at 17:55 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
GameSpy has awarded 20 games and pieces of hardware that were shown on the E3 with a "Best of E3: Editor's Choice" award. A massive amount of games, literally hundreds, were shown at the E3 last week, and the Sims 2 is one of the 20 picks by GameSpy editors:
"It's not hyperbole when we say that the original The Sims was a worldwide phenomenon. The tricky part to making a sequel to a well-loved, massive success is how to keep it fresh without ruining what made the original a classic. From what we've seen at the show, it looks like Maxis and EA have managed to do just that."
You can get the entire list of winners at the first page of the list. The Sims 2 can be found on page 2 (#19). You might also be interested in reading Fargo's Blog, in which he mentions The Sims 2 briefly.
 

Friday 21 May 2004
The Sims Prom Fashion Show
Written at 20:32 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
With summer being close ahead, and the school year being almost over already, Maxis is having another show. Similar to the Spring Garden Show, you can now create a Prom photo album with two Sims on the exchange, and submit it to Maxis. If you're lucky your prom family will be highlighted in the Prom Fashion Show which will be held next Thursday (27 May). But hurry! You only have until midnight PST Sunday 23 May (that's 8am in the morning in the UK/Portugal, and 9am in most of Europe). For more information check out the information page.
 
Gamers Temple Previews the URBZ
Written at 23:50 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
The E3 2004 has finished a week ago, but articles are still popping up. The Gamers Temple proves that, with a fresh preview of the URBZ that's up. They've watched the demo at the E3, and are sharing their thoughts. The conclusion is that so far it doesn't look like it's much more than a funky version of The Sims, "where being cool is far more important than advancing along a career track and making regular bathroom stops." If you want a description of the demo as it was shown on the E3, in text, read the preview.
 

Saturday 22 May 2004
Lucy's Mail: E3 and Aspirations
Written at 15:05 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
Lucy's weekly e-mail has arrived again, and of course it's mostly about last week's E3. There are many new pictures from it. First of all, five new screenshots taken from the E3 demo of the game that Maxis showed. They tell the happenings at the Baxters, when Don's old flame visits the birthday party of Don's son. Now you must know that Don is a romantic type of guy - Maxis-style. Sarah's family aspirations don't really match that. What happens exactly can be read in the Read more bit, where Lucy's entire e-mail is quoted, but also in the "Misadventures in Monogamy" article by IGN during the E3. Click the thumbnails to see the screenshots in full.

Happy Birthday! Hello there ;-) Love is in the... couch What's going on?! Where's Jerry when you need him?

Furthermore, there are four brand new pictures from the E3 booth. If you want to know what it looked like at the E3, just click the thumbnails.

Sims Madness! (1) Sims Madness! (2) Watching the Sims 2 Demo Lucy Bradshaw talking about TS2
 
Read More!

IGN: Sims 2 Best of E3
Written at 19:44 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
IGN has awarded The Sims 2 with the award for "Best PC Simulation of the Show" on the E3. Runner-up was the game The Movies, by Lionhead Studios (Peter Molyneux). "After seeing it working at the show, we're believers," says IGN. The URBZ hasn't won any awards, though it did become runner-up for "Best Strategy Game" for the PlayStation 2. For a bit about the Sims 2's award, read page 3 of the awards list. Another note for IGN Insiders: you can now download the Will Wright LiveWire interview, with video, from IGN Insider.
 

Sunday 23 May 2004
Sims 2 Best Strategy of E3 2004
Written at 14:35 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Besides GameSpy and IGN, GameSpot too has awarded The Sims 2. The game wins the "Best Strategy Game" award, and was also nominated for "Best PC Game". According to GameSpot "The Sims 2 has tremendous potential and that the sequel might just make good on its many lofty promises." Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell won the Best PC Game award, but The Sims 2 beat games like Lord of The Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth, The Movies, Rome: Total War and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War in the race for Best Strategy Game. Read the Strategy award page for some more about The Sims 2, or just go through the entire Best of E3 Feature.
 

Monday 24 May 2004
New Sims 2 Shot
Written at 23:30 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Besides the big sites, some smaller ones have also visited the E3. That includes Real Life - The Online Comic. In an article which describes the experience of The Online Comic at the E3. Besides a small bit about The Sims 2 (and some other games and hardware), there's also the screenshot below. You can see some new items in the interface here as well, for instance the friends list. You can also see that the looks of the screen when the game's paused is similar to that of SimCity 4, with a red border around the rest. The picture isn't too big, but here it is anyway:

The Sims 2 @ E3
 

Tuesday 25 May 2004
TS2 EU Release Date Changed
Written at 12:58 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Although it was already officially confirmed, the release date for The Sims 2 in Europe has changed. Instead of a delay, it's coming sooner. The Official UK site has posted 17 September as release date for the UK, while EA Netherlands has posted thursday 16 September (the usual release day in the Netherlands is a thursday) as release date. This probably means the game will be released almost simultaneously worldwide. If the game will be released on a tuesday (14 September) in the US, as usual, is not yet confirmed. We'll of course keep you updated.
 
The Sims Mega Deluxe Released [Update]
Written at 17:27 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
EA Announced today that they've shipped The Sims Megadeluxe. With The Sims, Livin' Large, House Party, Hot Date and the Sims Creator being packed together, this is the biggest collection of Sims-games ever released. Some special content is included too, which will be posted as download on the official site as well:
"Rounding off this must-have collection, players can furnish their homes with additional content ranging from decorative Japanese outdoor fountains to exotic African masks. This bonus material also will be available for download from http://www.thesims.com. Access to this content requires players to own The Sims Mega Deluxe Edition, The Sims Double Deluxe Edition, The Sims Deluxe Edition or The Sims plus any one of the following expansion packs, The Sims Vacation, The Sims Unleashed, or The Sims Superstar. Please visit the site for further information."
Makin' Magic can probably be added to the expansion pack list. If this content is the same as for The Sims Double Deluxe isn't entirely clear. Mega Deluxe has never been officially announced, and only consisted of rumours. Another pack, The Sims Triple Deluxe, which would contain The Sims, Livin' Large, House Party, Vacation and the Creator. Read our earlier news about it for more information. Currently a release date of that pack is unknown, but it's rumoured to be released in June (in Europe). A European release date for Mega Deluxe is unknown, and so is an American release date for the Triple Deluxe pack.

[Update 26 May, 20:20] The extra content from Mega Deluxe was already included in Double Deluxe, and is already available on the official site. There's still no word about a European release date for Mega Deluxe, or a US release date of Triple Deluxe.
 

Wednesday 26 May 2004
TS2 Bodyshop - Our Review
Written at 00:22 by Andy - 1 comment.


The Bodyshop is out. Do you want to know what we think?

Check it out!
 
Wright Interview from E3
Written at 16:04 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer has visited the E3 too, and they've posted an interview with Will Wright, creator of The Sims and SimCity. There's some talk about one of Will's hobbies, uncollecting, and of course The Sims 2 and SimCity. A new version of SimCity is mentioned briefly:
"Wright is already turning his attention to other projects. A new version of 'SimCity' is in early planning stages. 'We're about to come out with a new direction for it.'

"When asked what direction that might be, Wright said, 'We haven't figured out what it is.'"
Nothing new of The Sims 2 is revealed in the interview, but you can find out a bit more about what Will does in his spare time (in case you didn't know already). You can read it completely by clicking here.
 
Maxis Fansite Hosting Cancelled
Written at 22:18 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Today, Maxis announced they're not going to offer hosting plans for fansites of the Maxis games anymore. However, they will try other ways for sites to host their content. MaxisKitty, community manager of Maxis, has stated the following (to a group of fansite webmasters):
"We are not going to be offering the Hosting service. After reviewing it and understanding it better we determined that we can't offer it.

"We are looking at other ways in which users will be able to use our storage space to host content, but we won't be acting as an ISP."
Of course as soon as details about any other plans are revealed, we'll let you know about it.
 
Game Critics Awards Nominations
Written at 22:41 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Every year shortly after the E3, the Game Critics Awards are held. The nominations have been published, and The Sims 2 is nominated twice. It can win the award for Best PC Game, and Best Simulation game. The Urbz is also nominated for Best Simulation, which means Maxis has a chance of 2 out of 5 to win that award. 35 Leading media outlets (that cover games of course) nominate the games and judge the winners. Oddly enough, it's mentioned that hands-on play time must have been available for the nominated games, while there wasn't much of a sign that the URBZ was playable (though it could've been). The winners will be announced on 8 June. See the GCA Website for more information.
 

Thursday 27 May 2004
New Sims 2 Video and video Interview
Written at 00:36 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
A couple of new videos have appeared on the net, all from the E3 held 2 weeks ago. First of all, there's a trailer at ITavisen.no. It's been recorded with a video camera from a big screen, so the quality isn't great. The trailer shows some scenes of several aspiration tracks. You can get it from this page. Two other videos made during the E3 are from GameSpot Live. The first is a booth tour of the EA booth. More interesting is the video interview with Will Wright. In about 13 minutes, Will talks about The Sims 2, but nothing new is really mentioned. The main game features like genetics, aspirations, recording movies etc. are discussed. When it comes to memories, Will gives an example of a child seeing his parents die in a fire. That kid will have a fear for fire, even when someone's just cooking, for the rest of his life. Also, the length of the life of a Sim is mentioned, and Will says it'll be about 100 Simdays, with approximately 4 days per hour (which as stated before comes down to 20-25 real-life hours). The expansion packs for The Sims 1 were helpful to The Sims 2 in a way that they taught Maxis what the fans want. Will's amazed by what the community has created for the games. The design process of The Sims is also mentioned, as well as how important it is to make the game very accessible. GameSpot Complete members can download the videos in high quality, but GameSpot Basic members (which requires free registration) can watch it in streaming format. Get both the EA booth tour and Will's interview from GameSpot's Media Page.
 
New Poll / Nobody Hated E3 2004
Written at 02:00 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Last week we asked you about the material that was published from the E3 2004, held 2 weeks ago. The results are in, and of the 108 people who voted, nobody at all answered "Nope, I totally hated it" to the question "Did you enjoy the E3 material?" Winning option was "It was cool, but I want more!" with 31 votes (29%), closely followed by "It's the best! I can't wait for the upcoming Sims games!" (29 votes, 27%). 19 people (18%) didn't know what the E3 is, while 17 people (16%) didn't follow it. 7 people (6%) prefer the regular batches of screenshots and info, and 5 (5%) said they liked it but could've done without. This week we're having another poll: what aspiration track of The Sims 2 do you like the most? Five have been revealed already, Maxis said there would be more but they haven't mentioned them yet. Nevertheless we want to know from you which you think will be the nicest. Vote on the right or the Latest poll page.
 
SimDay
Written at 20:32 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
It's another SimDay today, and a rather busy one. First of all, there's the press release about The Sims Mega Deluxe which shipped tuesday. As announced, the Prom Fashion Show was held, and the results are in. 10 couples have been picked and are showcased on the Prom Fashion Show page.

When it comes to The Sims 2, there are 3 new screenshots (click thumbnails to enlarge). You can see the E3 trailer as well (again), on the videos page.
Fly baby, fly! Ramance all over Fight
The URBZ also has SimDay, and a new blog has been posted. Alex Hutchinson, Lead designer of the game, talks about the design decisions they make while creating the game. The blog and a new (gameplay) movie of the GBA version can be found at the URBZ website.
 
Sims 2 Preview with Videos
Written at 22:51 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
The E3 has ended 2 weeks ago, but there are still previews and media coming from the show. NextLevel Gaming has posted another preview of The Sims 2. As almost all other previews, it discusses the main new features. Think of Sims growing up, the genetics, and aspirations. More interesting are two movies that are included with the preview. They're recorded from a tv screen at the show, and the quality isn't great (especially the colors). Both show the happenings of Don, Sarah and their son during his birthday party. You can view them on the preview page.
 

Friday 28 May 2004
Bustin' Out (N-Gage) Review
Written at 00:04 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Although the game does not seem to be very popular, some gaming sites write about Bustin' Out on the N-Gage. It was released about 2 weeks ago, and All about N-Gage has posted a review. With a score of 83% they're positive about the game. It's "the best N-Gage game yet", and very addictive.
"It's almost like an Adventure Game – but one for 7 year olds. “Now go find the chickens” says wizened old Uncle. So you find a chicken and press “5." Or you meet someone by looking up where they are on a map. Now none of this is stunning stuff. In fact, it's pretty mundane, especially given you have a 'toilet' gauge and 'watching TV' gauge. That gives you the kind of idillic life the developers were aiming for. And all the time remembering you need to go to the toilet twice a day, and clean the shower once a week."
If you're interested, make sure to read the entire review.
 
The Sims 2 Skin
Written at 18:33 by Sumit - 1 comment.
Well Body Shop has been out for a while, but now you can decorate your sims with great joy! You can now have this lovely "Got Yak?" shirt. Its green and has a Yak on the back. This is your "in your face" outlook upon this world. Tell those sims you love Yak products. Check it all out here!

 
New Sims 2 Screens
Written at 23:37 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
The scoop newsletter is out again as June comes close. There isn't much news in it though. It starts with some links to the SimDay screenshots and movie. It ends with a link to the BodyShop Showcase. The middle part is more interesting though: there are 4 new screens of the party at the Baxter's. I.e., more Don, Sarah, their son and of course Dina, Don's old flame. For those who still don't know the story, it's here in short (from the newsletter). Click the thumbnails below for the full size screenshots.
"Don's life aspiration is Romance, whereas his wife Sarah's goal is Family. Don's old flame Dina is at Don's son's birthday party, and ol' Don just wants to talk, flirt and more with his old heartthrob. The party gets sticky when Sarah's sister catches Don "cozying up" to Dina back in the quiet cabana. Sarah's sister dutifully defends her honor and that's when things get really fun."
Happy Birthday! 'Romance' is all Don wants Getting Cozy Catfight!
 

Saturday 29 May 2004
New Mail, New Screens
Written at 14:57 by ChEeTaH - 3 comments.
We've received another e-mail from Lucy, as usual every week. It's all about aspirations again. Lucy tells us that her aspiration is for us to buy the game, and tell others about how great it is. Then those others should buy the game and tell their friends about it again, and so on until everybody's playing the game. This doesn't necessarily mean there will be a "World Domination" aspiration track in the game too though... Anyway, here are four screenshots included with the mail. They are of 4 of 5 known aspiration tracks (there should be 10 in total, according to the E3 news), the "Fortune" track isn't included. Enjoy them, and read the "Read more" bit for Lucy's complete email.

Romantic Sims Let's be famous! All-important Family Knowledge for Smart Sims
 
Read More!

Another E3 Article
Written at 14:57 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
The London Free Press has recently posted an article about the E3. They share their experience from the LA Convention Center, and included was a little bit about The Sims 2. It's not much though, just one paragraph:
"Although I love the Sims, I had little hope that EA Games would be able to do much to improve upon the formula with The Sims 2 (PC). Oh my, was I wrong. Not only can you play as successive generations of a family, passing genetic traits from parents to offspring, but the ways in which the Sims can interact in the game's beautiful new 3-D world has been greatly expanded. In a short but hilarious demo of the game, we watched a horny husband get busted by his wife when he hooked up with an old flame... at their son's birthday party. Bet he slept in the Sim-doghouse that night."
If you're interested in what they have to say about other games as well, read the article.
 

Monday 31 May 2004
E3 Sims 2 Photos
Written at 01:16 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Snooty Sims has posted a few pictures of The Sims 2 in action taken at the E3. They were taken from a TV/video screen, and the quality isn't great. That's no reason to keep them from you though - just click the thumbnails for slightly bigger versions.

Party Time Fortune Scary