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WORKING THE SIM LIFE - The Basics
Writer's Note

I apologise for the delay with the posting of this 6th part of our indepth coverage. This has been due to a family health issue whereby my younger daughter has been in hospital for a scheduled operation. She is now out and recovering incredibly well so normal service will hopefully be resumed. Thankyou for your patience and understanding.

Previously

Jonah and Bronwen have both found work, met some people, fulfilling some wishes and starting learning some skills to help them in work and everyday life. In this sixth part, we look at working in a regular job in TS3 and see how Jonah and Bronwen survived following their first few days, whatever opportunities they may be presented with and how things otherwise progressed.

Employment Basics

Previously, our sims had relatively little influence on how their work day went. All we did was make sure they had the right skills, the right amount of friends and tried to max their moods before they left the house. Making sure the garden or yard was tidy was essential. Our sim's career prospects could be radically influenced by an upturned rubbish bin (trans. trash can) in the garden or a hole dug by the neighbour's dog rather than whether the sim had at least enough skill for the job. Once they had got off to work, that was it. We did not see where they went. We just assumed it was somewhere in SimCity, Simtropolis, Sim Francisco, Simsimatti, you get the idea. We did not have any say about what they did at work apart from make decisions on the odd chance card that came up.

Things are now different. We know where our sims work, either on a fulltime or part time basis. We know what time they leave the house and what mood they are in when they do. We know what time they get to work and what time their shift is supposed to end. We also know who their boss is and in time may get to know who the co-workers are. We could even get them off work early, although this is not always adviseable.

Instead of just running on Speed 3 and waiting at home, we can now watch their workplace and see other workers come and go. There is nothing stopping us having a look around town while we are waiting for them to get off work. We cannot get inside the workplace but this is also something I am not too upset about.

As the lowest level military job is Latrine Cleaner, do you really want to spend your time watching a sim cleaning toilets all day? Instead of seeing our sims as they work, we get to set the tone of how they work from a list of options.

Setting the Tone

On the left and right respectively, we see Bronwen and Jonah's work tone options.

Business As Usual is common to both of them and is basically as it says. Working normally.

Work Hard means the sim is pushing themselves. The drawback is that if they keep working hard for a long time, they can become very stressed and unhappy.

Take It Easy or Slack Off In Locker Rooms means they are putting in the minimum effort. If they are not pushing for promotion, then it sometimes pays off. If the sim has gone into work feeling below the weather, this has the least negative effect on their well being.

Meet Musicians or Meet Team Members is effectively the same. Getting to know who your co-workers are is the pre-requisite for the following option.

Chill with Musicians or Hang with Team Members is where your sims are getting to know the co-workers who they have already identified. Being on good terms with your co-workers can be a factor affecting job performance.

Study Music Theory or Work Out In Gym allows the sim to also learn more of the critical skills to helping them further their career.

To say again, the choices change depending upon the job and the career. Later in the athletic career, a sim will have the choice to prepare for the coming match or in the music career, a sim will have the choice to do performances of their repertoire.

Bronwen had chosen to work hard for most of it and paid the price. She was stressed and tense when she finished. You could see it on her face. To perk herself up, she chose to play the guitar for a while outside the theatre. After that, she chose to go for a meal on her own at the diner. Comparing her mood meters, we see how things have improved for her. This served to cheer her up and make her feel a lot better.

Note - Moodlets pop up from many different things and are especially important in keeping in place while a sim is working or having finished work.

Skills in Employment

The old hard and fast rule about needing skills at a specific level in order to advance has gone. However, jobs tend to rely on one or more certain skills. For instance, Jonah needs some athletic skill in order to advance in Professional Sports.

In the image on the left, we see his existing skills after a few days. The range of 1-3 in Athletic is highlighted to show this is the recommended range for the job level he is in. The higher the skill he has, the better his job performance should be. Clicking the button to the right of the skill level - or pressing "J" - opens the skill journal.

The skill journal gives a detailed report about how they are doing with that skill. When this image was taken, Jonah had done almost 5 hours of Cardio Workouts and over 6 hours of Strength Workouts. He had just reached the required skill level to go jogging but had not tried it out. At the bottom are three challenges. A sim does not have to pass these but it does give bonuses if they do. If he does Cardio Workouts for 75 hours, he becomes a Fitness Nut and is never fatigued after doing a cardio workout. He becomes a Marathon Runner if he runs 500km and that guarantees him a longer sim life. He becomes a Body Builder if he does strength workouts for 60 hours.

Once a sim has got at least one point in a skill, they will have a page in their skill journal for it. Every page is different, every skill has its own achievements and challenges. We will look more skill journals in a future part.

Written at 03:14 on Tuesday 23 June 2009 by Andy.

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