Circular Authority & Random Jobs
Let me introduce you to Ismael Crumplebottom, who is the son of Agnes Crumplebottom and Jared Frio. He has only just become a Young Adult and when I first selected him as the Active Household, he was unemployed with a desire to get to the top of the political career track. I moved on and looked at some other households. Tori Kimura was a "Yes Man" and her boss was Holly Alto. The aging Holly Alto was a City Council Member, but her boss was Ismael Crumplebottom. I went back to check up on Isamel a few gamehours later. When I selected him again, he was already a City Council Member and his boss was Greta Donner. So I checked out Greta Donner, who is also a City Council member and her boss is Tori Kimura whose boss is Holly Alto whose boss is ... yes, you've guessed it ... Ismael Crumplebottom.
As another example of circular authority, this is Emily Andrews. Emily is a resident at Sacred Spleen and her boss is River McIrish. River is also a resident there but her boss is Jamie Jolina. Jamie, who we first met back when we were having our first look at Sunset Valley, is also a Resident and her boss is ... do I really need to tell you? Yes, her boss is Emily Andrews.
I am now looking for a blank area of table or a wall to repeatedly bang my head against.
Note - When we first met Jamie Jolina, she was a Trauma Surgeon at Sacred Spleen. She has aged since then but appears to have been demoted. I very much doubt that this is from her own personal ineptitude but more a random feature of the game, which may explain this circular authority where a sim's occupation and career level appears to be somewhat random.
In most cases, time goes by in quite a predictable and steady way. Sims get old, sims die, but also sims can age quite rapidly or not at all.
Elisabeth Ursine is the daughter of Claire Ursine and Jared Frio. Her mother has passed away but her father remains and he lives next door. However, Elisabeth is now only 19 days from becoming an elder herself. When we first met the Ursine Household, Elisabeth had not even been born. Now, she has two children to Leighton Ursine (née Sekemoto). I am quite sure I did not wait 14 game days before Bronwen became pregnant. Therefore, this has happened incredibly quickly as Melody has not even finished her first week of being a young adult.
Whereas time has raced with Elisabeth, time has dragged with Darlene Bunch. When we first met her, she had just become a child. Now, over 30 days on, she has just become a teen. Whatever she has been on, I am sure that a lot of sims would like some of it too.
Time Blips do not really detract but I would have liked to see some consistency here as well.
And when did you last see your father?
Apart from this being a famous painting by William Frederick Yearns, this is a common question I have found with The Sims 3.
Elisabeth Ursine's father is Jared Frio. Jared still lives in the house next door with his brother Connor. There is barely any relationship between them. The same also applies to Ismael Crumplebottom, who is Jared's other child. Also, Elisabeth is married to Leighton but he still lives in the Sekemoto house with Sam, who is his son from his first marriage. Leighton is just an "acquaintance" to his children. The same also applies to Sam's children, who live with their mother Elaina Maldonado.
Even when families do live together, if the parents are not married, the surnames of the children alternate between one parent and the other. In our world, this is rare and unusual, but this is ths simworld. It seems that anything goes.
After looking around all of the families of Sunset Valley, I finally went back to the Miles family. Bronwen now had a job as a Test Subject. However, I would not be surprised if I gave it a sim hour with another family and came back to find that that she had been promoted. I did find that their LHP scores had been kept and there were still some music scores in Bronwen's inventory. However, Melody's fishing books were missing. Also, she no longer had the Collection Finder that Bronwen had passed onto her. Also, all of their fish, fruit and vegetables that they had been stored in their inventories were gone. Any of their high quality vegetables and foodstuffs that had been put in the fridge were also gone. The fridge now contained the default items that all fridges begin with.
This is what I find to be the most disappointing about SMP. The Miles Family have both worked hard on their gardening, fishing and have spent their LHPs wisely. Their personality bonuses are still in place, but to lose the 40,000 point Collection Helper is somewhat crippling. As there is not a cheat that works to give LHPs to help replace it means that a lot of progression is wasted. In a previous family, they bought up shares in various of the businesses around town and had even bought the supermarket. When I changed active families but went back to them, I found their share portfolio had gone.
I can understand that it may be demanding on computer resources to be able to record the quantity and quality of every fish, fruit and vegetable, beetle, seed, gem and rock in every sim's inventory. The same goes for how far they have read a book or newspaper, what other certificates they might accumulated, a car, a guitar plus anything else they have picked up along the way ... Nevertheless, it would still be good if things could be changed. It would open up new angles.
As it stands, nobody has part ownership of any of the town businesses. In a fresh town, it says the Alto Family own half of the town. Let us just say that Nick or Vita have ownership certificates for those businesses. It would be an interesting challenge building a good enough relationship or finding other means to get those certificates off them.
A Different Way to Play
Before I began my research and experimentation into this part of the game, I had only really been playing one family at a time, each with their own savegame and building the town around them. I had some experiences which put me off looking at it more. Through what I found over this past week, I did experience what I had likened to spinning plates and the difficulty in keeping them all up at the same time and not letting AI-controlled sims go out of control. It is not perfect but it is enjoyable and challenging nevertheless.
For those who have a story to tell and it cannot be cheated around or just written in the edit, be careful before changing your active families. This mode might not be for you. Changes have been made in the past four months as to how well the SMP has been tuned but it is still far from perfect at this stage. Also, if a player has no trust in the AI, then I do not recommend that they try this out at all. However, sometimes the AI can pull out a few surprises.
What I would like to See
The first thing I am looking for from The Sims 3 is an improvement to Story Mode Progression to make it work how I want it to work. Firstly, I want those inventories saved and then I would like to be able to change active families just by clicking on an AI-controlled sim and not having to go back to the neighborhood view.
We have seen how TS2 changed over the EPs, I am sure we will see a lot of changes to TS3 in the same way. This is one change I hope to see.
In the next report in this series, we will be finally taking a break from Sunset Valley. We're going to Riverview.
Written at 03:14 on Tuesday 23 June 2009 by
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