As you read in the previous articles in this special, there are many ways the build and buy mode have been improved. But once we built a home and furnished it, it's time for us to play with our Sims for a bit. But first, it's time to create those Sims. This section will deal with the in-game Create-A-Sim, whereas CaSIE, the separate tool to create new skins and Sims, will be dealt with later on.
Creating Sims can be as easy as you want it to be, and it's up to you how much time you spend on changing your Sims anyway way you want. CAS is called from directly at the neighborhood screen, where you can easily put together complete families. Basically it's a more lightweight version of CaSIE, with a few different options. First of all, this tool is used to make actual Sims, while CaSIE leaves out the name and personality. Another major difference is that the in-game tool doesn't have as many options to customise your Sim as CaSIE.
Creating a Sim is done is 6 easy steps. The first is to select the basics of the Sim. Select your Sims' gender (male or female), and give them a name. Unfortunately there's still no random names function in The Sims for those who aren't as creative with inventing new names, something I personally would like to see in the final version. There are some utilities available to create names for The Sims 1 - which you of course could use in The Sims 2 as well. Having a (customizable!) name database in the game itself though, enabling the users to enter a name with one click on a button, makes it all just a bit easier. Other things you should check are the Sims' age and fitness (or fatness, depending on your taste).
Bring it to life
After selecting the basics of the Sim, you can add some accessories to the face, like hats and glasses. You'll be able to overlap some of these accessories, so your Sim can have both a hat and glasses, but your Sims can't have two glasses. In the current pre-alpha version, there weren't too many options in this stage yet. The next step is to fine-tune the face. You can select the hairdo and colour, to which you off course can add new custom colours whenever you like. You can even adjust the eyebrows to make your Sim look angry, very happy, or something in between. As if that's not enough, you can tune the nose any way you want to. A nice example we saw after this step was an old (grey) Luc Barthelet (see picture) with a French barret and a huge nose.
When we went to step 4, the make-up part, Luc was turned into an always popular mime. Just like accessories, make-up is done in layers. That means you can turn on several things at once, like facial hair and lipstick, but switching on two things on the same area at the same time (e.g. two different types of moustaches) won't work.
Just two steps left: 5 and 6. The first one of those, step 5, is to select the different outfits for your Sim. These include the types we know from The Sims 1: Daily clothes, Formal wear, Swimming wear, Night clothes, Lingerie and Fashion. After choosing those, it's time to adjust the personality. This part has changed a bit since The Sims 1. Although the personality types haven't changed (Neat, Outgoing, Active, Playful, Nice), you no longer are limited to the points. Instead you have smooth sliders, so you can define your Sims' personalities better. There is still a limit, though at the moment the interface was a bit confusing for first-time users. The score you have used and still can use is displayed by a circle above the sliders, which will be filled with blue if you have some score left. However, if you just select a zodiac sign, and you don't see that, you won't immediately see that you've reached the limit. Not if you're not aware of it anyway. Of course, as I just mentioned, you can still just select a zodiac, and leave it as it is.
The final thing to do is - if you want to - define the looks of your Sim in the later stages of life. If you make an old geezer that won't be necessary (Sims don't get younger, unless we're going to get a cheat for that...), but if you make a toddler or child you might want to consider it. Once you're done creating your Sims' personality, it's time to add him or her to the family.
As you see, you can adjust your Sim in many different ways. But it's up to you how long you spend on creating a Sim. You could be ready in just a few minutes, if you don't feel like adjusting many details. But if you like creating your Sims, you can spend all day just creating one perfect (or not) Sim.
If you're lazy, you can also quickly create a baby from 2 parents. Simply using a "Create Baby" tool, the game will mix the parents' looks and personality, i.e. the DNA, to create a new baby. If you don't like it, you can tell the game to try again with just one click on a button. What I saw when I tried it out myself is that there are small differences every time you click the button, so eventually you should get the baby you like. You can only make babies from adult Sims.
So you've finished making your family, and you can see them together in one screen. Instead of just watching their faces as in The Sims 1, you can now see their full bodies as well. Finally, it's time to set the family relations. It did take me a minute or so to find out how it exactly worked, but it comes down to dragging two Sims to a window, and then defining their relation (Parent/Child, Married, Friend, etc.). These relationships will make your Sims aware of who their family is.
This function also enables you to put two (or more) total strangers of each other together in one household. That is another (small) detail that The Sims 2 pays attention to: instead of loading a "family
" as in The Sims 1 when going in a home, you will load a "household
". Keep in mind though that even if you put some total strangers together, they will all share the same last name.
There goes a lot of time and detail in creating a Family, but only if you want it to take much time. Of course if you want to change every little detail, that takes time, but it's completely up to you. You should probably spend most time on changing the looks of Teens and Adults, as those are the stages Sims will live in the longest - if you turn on aging anyway. If in the game two Sims get a child, which is generated using the DNA from the two Sims, and you don't like it, you can always give it away for adoption. Families are finally real families, and Sims have also become more realistic than ever. Sims are now very detailed, which allows you to create very many unique Sims. You will quite likely spend a lot of time creating your Sims once the game is out. You shouldn't forget to play the game though.
Note that a separate downloadable tool to create Sims, CaSIE, will be released in December. That is not the version I discussed above. CaSIE will be discussed later in this special. The above is all in the game itself, and you'll have to wait until next year to be able to use it. However, as CaSIE is used to create custom Sims, which people can download, it also goes in much more detail. But as said, that will be discussed at a later time.
Written at 22:50 on Tuesday 18 November 2003 by