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Customising, Creativity, Exploring and Conclusions
Customise everything & Unleash your creativity

The first one is another incredibly bold claim ... and unfortunately it is not quite true.

Salaynia noticed that fences and gates cannot be customised. There are several different colour choices of the same gate or fence but that "TSZ-blue with SNW-brown polkadots" style that you might have a hankering for cannot be applied to your garden gate. They are as you see them and the colour remains the same.

Despite this small flaw, the Create-A-Style tool (CASt) is incredibly useful. There is a tutorial provided ingame for people who are not familiar with it but people should quickly get the hang of it. If an object has different areas, each area can be customised. Also, there are many ways of choosing what colour you want to use on the specific part of an object. These include a colour wheel or even just keying in the HSL (or RGB?) number code of a colour, just so you can get it exactly right.

CASt has been touted as one of the main changed points of TS3 and everyone who I spoke to yesterday was in awe about it. For instance, Salaynia thought that only four different styles of kitchen counter was immaterial as CASt could style them as she wanted.

As I see it, in the field of inworld design, CASt will indeed be one of the most popular features of this game ranging from furnishings to clothes to makeup. No longer are we complaining that we can't get a chair to match the couch. It makes recolouring and retexturing open to anyone and means the players are not dependant on creators utilising developing tools outside the game to come up with what they want ... as far as I can see, at least.

If the first claim had been changed to "almost everything" or a patch came out allowing gates and fences to be recoloured, then I decide this claim to be definitely true. Also, it certainly allows us to unleash our creativity. I look forward to getting my hands on Create-A-Style very soon.

Thanks to Gamestar for this picture. CASt is incredibly difficult to find pictures of.

Explore New Locations

Sunset Valley is one very beautiful location and a lot of work has gone into its design. There is a great deal to explore and a lot to tell you about.

For a start, the transition between day and night is a lot smoother than in TS2. Shadows move, lighting changes, it is very impressive and reminds me of SimCity Societies in that respect. Also, Salaynia pointed out that the flowers and trees sway in the breeze. I am pleased with the choice of trees in TS3. There are 28 of them and that is before any expansions have come out. This exceeds the amount that there were in TS2, even after all of the EPs.

Property prices are dependant upon the location as well as the size of the lot. The good news is that "motherlode" and "kaching", which are the money cheats from TS2, have made the transition.

Our first sim bought an empty plot of land on the cliffs overlooking the bay but her first plan was to drop in on the next door neighbour, who happened to be Mrs Crumplebottom. She did not appear to be as cranky as she has been in later generations.

Visiting neighbours is something that has been requested for a long time. With TS2, we have only been able to visit neighbours if they still live in the same "apartment block". Now it is here and it looks good.

Added to that, your sims are free to just walk anywhere, no longer confined by the size of the lot or held up waiting while the next lot loads up. This is a big plus.

There were numerous community lots downtown that could be visited, although you did not get to see what was inside. The first sim had a desired option to go to the movie theatre and she rode there from home on her bicycle. The second sim did not have the bike, nor did she have that desired option as her personality traits were different.

Upon visiting a workplace, you have the option to buy shares in it. At the hospital, for example, you could buy part of the practice for ยง30,000. The other option was to get a job there.

There is a grocery store where you can buy different foodstuffs rather than just an ambiguous financial value of food. Your sims can also get a part-time job there.

In order to get around, your sims can walk, get the taxi, ride a bike or drive a car. However, I think if you choose a specific location and are not on foot, the vehicle takes you directly there and it does not look like you get to choose the route. Nevertheless, I did find this to be preferable to be a better transition than watching a blue loading screen.

Although I would have liked to see inside some of the locations, I expect this would happen but we will need to wait for an EP or two before it comes to pass. I know that there are collectibles to find and many places to go but time prevented me from searching.

Yes, I certainly cannot dispute that there are plenty of new locations to explore and as the neighbourhood can be edited, although I did not have the time to find out by how much, it will add another personal touch to each version of Sunset Valley. I just wonder how long it will stay fresh.

Conclusions

Because EA did not provide enough copies of the game, not enough people were able to play and some of those had to share. Many people came there with a lot of dreams of what they wanted to do and those dreams were shattered. That is not the fault of the people on the ground. So, the ones who caused the problems for a lot of the forty need to make it up and do it quickly.

Although I really enjoyed the company of Salaynia and her input, sharing should not have been necessary, she should have had her own installation and we should have both been able to carry out what we had individually planned. As it was, it marred our enjoyment of the afternoon.

I was concerned that the game was played on what I considered to be quite a powerful system on the highest settings. EA have informed us on the website of what the minimum specifications are and it has been noticed that they are not much higher than they were for TS2.

Therefore, although the graphical quality and speed of gameplay was very good on the system I was using, my jury is out on how well it will perform on a system that does not meet the optimum specifications. We will let you know more as soon as we have more news or have had the opportunity to put it to the test more fully.

Despite setbacks and advanced systems, however, The Sims 3 looks like it will be a really great game. I would have liked to have shown you some of my own photos but we have to respect EA's wishes in that regard. As players, we have been spoilt by all of the expansion packs for TS2 and are expecting a lot so it will feel like we are starting again as this is another reinvention of the familiar concept.

The Sims 3 will again be a game that will appeal to all ages and in different ways. It has a lot of new features, goes into more depth with the sims themselves and adding more freedom and choice but for now, I am happy with my second-generation sims. I will be very happy when TS3 arrives and happier if it performs well on my not quite state-of-the-art system. Then I will be reviewing it in great depth for you all giving both praise and criticism where I feel they are due.

I do not believe The Sims 3 to be as groundbreaking as The Sims 2 was but as I did not have time to check over everything, I may change my mind when I start to fully review the game in about 6 weeks time. Yes, I know it comes out in just over 4 weeks but please give me time to play it first before I start reviewing it.

I know that I have not listed everything that I discovered. I do have to let ChEeTaH and Rosana see what they can find out from the EA Community Event that they will be going to in the Netherlands on the 15th.

Until then, I will summarise my feelings about The Sims 3 by quoting Salaynia, my companion-for-the-day, and with who I concur.

"I can wait"

Dag dag!

Written at 05:42 on Wednesday 6 May 2009 by Andy.

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