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Addition To Play

In this part of the review, we take a break from our new furry friends and take a look at some of the other stuff that is there for the builders, designers and those sims who are not too bothered with having a pooch or kitty in the house. We start with collections.

There are three collections that make up the buy and build mode items that come with this expansion pack.

The "Pets" collection does not just include items for the pets. It also includes a window, which happen to be paw-shaped, a new range of wall paintings, which happen to be of animals; wall coverings, many of which are of animal prints, and floor coverings. Need I say more?

The "Atomic" collection is hard to classify. Retro-futuristic you could say. Either way, the items in this set would look at very much at home if you were thrown back to the 1970s. With 34 buy-mode objects, 2 columns, 2 doorways, an archway and 3 windows, it is finished off with 47 wall and floor coverings.

The "Atomic Kids" collection takes your sim children to simfinity and beyond. I know it's a terrible pun but I couldn't resist it. This "retro-futuristic" collection has a couple of objects from the "Atomic" collection but is otherwise completely unique to the "Atomic" amounting to 14 buy-mode objects, 4 floor coverings and 3 wall coverings.

While on the subject of collections, there is the ability now for players to be able to reorganise their collections, moving their favourite ones to the front where they can find them the quickest and moving their lesser-used ones to the back.

Custom Paintings

This is new feature that many in the community have been looking forward to. Although we have been able to paint custom pictures from the beginning, with a bit of tinkering and Alt-Tabbing and file overwriting, now it is so much easier. The requirement to be able paint custom pictures is the same as being able to paint still lifes and portraits, which is a Creativity Skill Level of 6. It now shows up as an option.

There is a new folder found in your own installation files named "Paintings". You can add and take away from this folder at any time, even when you are playing the game. There is a refresh button that allows you to update what your sims have to paint. Maxis have kindly provided six photographs in this folder of pets that your sims can paint. You can add whatever you wish. The picture can be cropped, made to fill the canvas or just made to fit it. I'm yet to find the difference on the last two, however.

This is what Arnie had to say about this new feature.

"I found it so simple to use. It is a lot easier than when I had to paint Alyssa in the Simbruderhaus. I now click on 'Custom Painting' and it shows me a choice of paintings that I can paint. As I did not want to paint the cute little puppies and kittens that Maxis had put there, I added one of my own. I saved the JPEG in 'Paintings', I clicked on the refresh icon and there it was. All so simple."

Down on the Ground

This new feature allows you to level your terrain to that of the front sidewalk. Instead of having to select the "level terrain" icon and drag the mouse across the lot, one click of this new button and it's done.

Rotating Floors

This new feature should be a blessing for custom floor makers. You can now rotate floor tiles.

In this illustration, we see four rooms of a house all covered with the same floor tile. In Room 1, the flooring is at the Left-Right facing, Room 2 has it at the Top-Bottom facing and Room 3 has it at the Right-Left facing. Room 4 is made up of tiles facing all four different possible orientations.

Instead of having to do patterned tiles in North, South, East and West directions, a custom tile maker only has to now do it for one direction. I can really clean a lot of my downloads out because of this.

With tiles that already form patterns, especially those that are only seen completely if you have 2x2 to 4x4 tiles laid out, especially some of the concrete floors, this new feature does not really work but in general, this change really will be a blessing.

Written at 20:55 on Sunday 29 October 2006 by Andy.

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