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Buying
Introduction
No home is complete without furniture and what creates a happy life. With the starting capital of §20,000 to build your house and furnish it, there are limits to what you can buy, but in time you'll afford that hot tub, the plasma tv and the state-of-the-art PC.

Like many of the people who I would hazard a guess are reading this review, we veterans of TS1 have been spoilt for choice with what has been given to us from the expansions.

Some items from the expansions have been included, but some items from the original TS1 are conspicuous by their absence.

Let us continue to see what is in the game and what is no longer here and may be unlikely to appear.
Quality & Detail
The objects are so detailed, it is hard to describe how good they are. Clocks keep time, TVs show movies instead of just still pictures, people play proper chess moves, even the flies and the roaches look realistic. If the option is turned on, you can even see your reflection in the mirror.

Don't take my word for it. Hopefully these illustrations will give you a better idea.

Interactions
The crux of TS1 involves interacting with objects or people. TS2 is just the same. Only this time, there is more to interact with. You can even interact with the ground and stargaze or watch the clouds go by.
As well as sitting and napping on couches, you can also lounge on them. You can also relax on your bed where you can read a book or just daydream. You can even watch TV ... if you've got one conveniently located.


Also, which may appeal to those of a more amorous nature, double beds have more interactions too. You can cuddle the person of your dreams, kiss them, make out with them, have "Woohoo" with them and even "Try for a baby". There is no need for highly expensive beds anymore for your adults and elders (ewww) to have fun. Sorry, teens, the best you can do is make out.
For the couch potatoes, you can watch the Yummy channel and improve your cooking.

For the more physically inclined, you can tune into a workout program on the TV or work out to the hi-fi.

Thankfully, it isn't Jade's workout program.


With computers, you can send emails or chat to people. It even tells you who has come online for you to talk to. Also, you can play SSX3 (coincidentally another EA game) and other games (all EA again) you can buy in the community area ... but more about shopping in another section.

Before in TS1, if you did a painting, all you could do was sell it. Now, you can hang them on the wall. Also, if your skill is good enough, you can paint still life of something on your lot or a life study. With some clever manipulation, you can actually paint whatever you want. You could even do your own Jack Vettriano prints or any other suitable picture that catches your eye. Again, that will be looked into at a later date.
Design Tool
In Build Mode, we mentioned that many objects had different options of colouring and style. This also applies to as many, if not more, of the objects. If you click on the Design Tool, which can be found in Buy and Build modes, any object that can be modified will lighten up as the mouse pointer goes over it.

It costs §15 per change, which may add up if you are completely renovating a room, but this is a lot cheaper than buying new windows, doors or a new expensive sofa. This way, when you change the nursery to a granny flat, you can refurbish your furniture instead of buying new. In this case, a teenage boy has done a serious revamp on his bedroom.
Categorising
All objects are placed into categories and sorted in two different ways.

Sort by Function divides objects according to Comfort, Surfaces, Decorative, Plumbing, Appliances, Electronics, Lighting, Hobbies and Miscellaneous. There are subcategories under each.

Sort by Room divides objects according to what Maxis feels should be in your Living Room, Dining Room, Bedroom, Study, Outside, Kitchen, Kids and Bathroom. So if you want a computer in your bathroom, you probably won't find it classified there. There are subcategories under each as well.

Collections
We looked briefly at collections in Build Mode. Collections also can include objects from Buy Mode. The purpose of this is so you have something to work from if you have one of the collection themes in mind. For those on a tight budget, there is a collection called "Value" including economy-priced furniture and furnishings. We will be looking at Collections in detail at a later date.

Reward Objects
There are two classes of reward objects.

One class of objects comes from achieving a lot of wants without too many accomplished fears affecting things. These range from a money tree to the elixir of life. Be warned. Some of these items have limited use so your sims have to keep achieving. There is more about wants and fears in a later part.


The second class of objects comes from reaching mid-range of the career. These help a sim quickly learn skill points and in certain cases teach children skills they could not otherwise learn. If you buy one, it is non-refundable. As it didn't cost you anything financially, you've lost nothing but can't get it back again unless someone else in the house reaches the required level.


You will find a lot of these in both categories in Strangetown. The Grunts have the assault course, which quickly gives you body points, but the Beaker house is full of them.
Out with the Old, In with the New?
With this being a new game, I see some new stuff fulfilling old skills and have noticed what might otherwise have done it is no longer there.

IN come the career reward objects which help you gain skills at an accelerated rate and in some case make money.
OUT (or not here) seem to be some of the "old faithfuls" from expansions from TS1. I doubt we will be seeing gnoming benches, potion tables or be making preserves in the future as the career reward objects appear to replace and augment them.

IN comes the at-home dartboard for raising your fun and social simultaneously.
OUT (or not here) is the pool table. I suppose it might have been quite taxing on the computer's graphics but I for one miss it. I hope it appears at a later date, either on a simday or with the next expansion.

I cannot complain for long as I do like a lot of the new objects and the interactions that are enabled.
Summary
I am very impressed with the quality of the objects in TS2 and with different varieties of covering and texture on many of them. Despite certain things have been conspicuous by their absence, things I would have liked to have seen in both residential and community areas, I am neverthelessp pleased with what I have been given to tinker with.

Now you know how to build and what can go in it, it's time to get down to creating a family to live in it.

It's time to meet the Sims.

Written at 02:43 on Wednesday 29 September 2004 by Andy.

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