Note about the pictures:
We already announced
we'd be meeting Tim LeTourneau, and yesterday we did. At a presentation in Amsterdam, exclusive for Sims fans and webmasters, Tim showed off Nightlife. Naturally we took home a lot of brand new info and pictures. About cars, vampires, downtown, content, and more - we got to know quite a lot. If your question hasn't been answered yet, then don't worry. There is one more opportunity for us next week, so if you have any questions ask them by posting them here as a comment, or drop me an e-mail
. Any questions that have already been submitted don't need to be sent again of course. We cannot guarantee we will ask your question, but we'll do our best to get as much info as possible out. Read on for the details and pictures of yesterday's event.
The pictures you see here are taken with a digital camera (and haven't been edited), and so aren't screenshots taken directly. They also show a still fairly early version of Nightlife, so things might change, and some debug options or cheats might be enabled while they'll be disabled in the final version (the 10-sim family for example was cheated, said Tim). I apologise for the sometimes quite fuzzy quality of the images, but I hope that you'll still enjoy them. Note that the pictures might be large (all 1600x1200 resolution, roughly 400Kb each) and may take a while to download on a slow internet connection. Click the thumbnails in this post to see the full size versions of the pictures.
Nightlife doesn't just add a downtown area to existing neighborhoods, there's a lot more than that. As with University, there will be new ploppables (decorational items you place in the hood), but there's also a new button in the interface. That button can toggle the view from day to night and back. Although the night view wasn't functional during the demo, it should work when the game is out. In fact, the game still needs quite a bit of tweaking and tuning before the release, as there are several things that haven't been determined yet (more about that later). What many people will also like, is that there will be more lot sizes to choose from. The entire list of lot sizes now is (first number is the one the road lies on): 3x1, 2x2, 2x3, 3x2, 2x4, 3x3, 5x2, 4x3, 3x4, 5x3, 3x5, 4x4, 5x4, 4x5, 5x5, 5x6 (values have been taken from the pictures I took, and may be incorrect - check the picture to see for yourself). Finally, Downtown isn't just for clubs and pubs, Sims can also settle downtown. One downtown area will ship with the game, but you can create new downtowns as you want them.
While a lot has been loaded, you can see neighbouring lots around it. That's old news, but a new fact is that you can actually click such a house to load it straight away, without having to go through the neighborhood. Similarly, you can invite other sims and choose the lot to go to straight away, without having to load the neighborhood mode. The neighborhood view from a lot is static though - you will not see cars driving around, Sims walking and being simulated and all. Also, it's still not possible to visit other families.
Create a Sim:
In Create A Sim a few things have changed. Of course there are quite a few more options to dress sims up with again. Tim explained that it's a lot harder to make content for the Sims 2 than it was with the Sims 1, and hence they aren't able to deliver as much in a pack as in the previous series of the game. The outfit in the last picture here still showed some glitches (especially around the brests), although they aren't too visible in the picture. As you can see, there are also some new outfits for toddlers, and besides glasses there are some goggles for Sims to wear. Turn ons and turn offs are also set in CAS. Step 6 of creating a Sim used to be just the aspiration and personality traits, but now there are two tabs. In the Aspiration tab you can define the personality, and the Turn on/offs tab is used for the turn ons and offs. You can set two turn ons, and one turn off for each Sim.
As for dating we got to see mostly known stuff, but also a few new things. There are quite a few new interactions of course, and Mrs. Crumplebottom is in the game too. She loves to bowl, so with a bowling alley your Sims might be (a little) less vulnerable to her. In case of a public display of affection (PDA), she'll wait until the interaction between the Sims is over, and then she starts slapping. In case of slowdancing she can be very patient, as shown during the demo. Although currently the action of Mrs Crumplebottom could still be cancelled, it probably won't be in the final version.
While dating you can see the attraction meter, which shows the quality of the date (which is different than the arrow shown during the E3 demo, as it's now a bar that fills up, and is probably clearer). Also, when a Sim is really attracted to another one, you'll see small lightning bolts over the Sim's icon in the relationship panel. Another little gadget in the interface (more or less), is that - as with Hot Date - dates will get a blue plumb bob over their heads. You can invite multiple Sims to go downtown, and in the phone you'll get the option to group Sims. So instead of having to select them individually, you can make groups and invite the entire group in one go.
Dancing is also somewhat special. There is a dancing skill which tells how well your Sim can dance. But Sims don't have to dance alone. They can form a group, and dance as synchronous as they can. Depending on their skills, they'll all do well, or they might lose track and go their own way. They actually look at each other to see what moves to do.
One of the most important new objects in the game, for many fans anyway, are cars. Rather than just being able to clean them, Sims can drive them. Not too much - just on and off the lot really, but cars can do more than that. Two sims can sit down in a car, and socialise. Even Woohoo-ing is possible (in the photo booth as well). The car won't really stay still on its spot when that happens... Unfortunately I wasn't able to take a good picture of that, but you'll get to see it someday, definitely if you buy the expansion and try it out. There is no cinematic cut-scene for woohoo-ing in cars - not yet anyway, it's unsure if there really will be one. There are five types of cars, all in several colours. Besides socialising, cars have more options. They can be used instead of carpool or the schoolbus, they have a radio that can be turned on and off, and the lights will be functional too. A car, bought from the catalog as all other objects, is owned by one Sim of the household, but you can change the owner at any time. The owner will use the car instead of the carpool to go to work. Any Sim who is a teen or older can own and drive a car. Being a perfect world, they don't need to earn a driver's license before they're allowed to drive.
Of course cars need to be parked, so you can build driveways on your lot. They are in several sections, and you have to put them from the road to the garage, or wherever you want the car to be parked. There are no ramps, so garages cannot be built on foundations. A garage door is placed on top of the driveway, and you can build walls around the rest of the garage. Downtown there isn't a garage for your car, but instead it'll be park on the side of the road (a little bit like Bustin' Out). I'm not sure if driveways are possible downtown, but there won't be other cars driving around.
We've had aliens and zombies, and as of Nightlife there will also be vampires. There's one grand vampire, an NPC who lives downtown. Hook up with him, and if your relationship is good enough the "Kiss of the Vampire
" will allow your Sims to become vampires as well. To ignore these creatures, simply avoid getting a good relationship with them. Vampires look quite pale. Their skins are made extra pale, but they keep their original skin colour. So it's a bit of a layered effect. A bite can be given to teens and older Sims, anyone younger will not be able to become a vampire. It's not yet determined if vampires will age like normal Sims - Maxis is still deciding on that. Other than that, as they're quite much like regular Sims, they can die if their motives are too low, and maybe old age too, depending on what Maxis decides. One thing that is quite different from other Sims, is that vampires have no reflection in mirrors.
Vampires don't live of the blood of other Sims, but they eat whatever they want from the fridge. They're almost normal Sims. Just like others, they can sleep in a coffin. However, the "Peek
" and "Dare to Peek
" interactions for other Sims only appear if a vampire is sleeping in the coffin. It might just be that the Sim who peeks in is scared and wets himself or even dies (if motives are low), because the vampire scares the Sim.
Vampires live at night, and while it seemed possible for them to walk inside the house during the day, don't put them outside. They'll start to burn, and smoke actually comes off the vampire sim as his motives decay like crazy. If they have a day job, you have to get him off the lot quickly enough to make sure he doesn't die while going to work.
One other thing that Vampires can do, is turning into bats. The new "Fly Here
" option does all that. The vampire turns into a bat, flies wherever you told him to, and then turns back to "normal". They can fly over objects and obstacles, but they can't scare Sims by flying into their hairs or so. Also, you can't really control them as a bat, there's just the fly here option and no option of making them stay a bat for a while. If you've had enough of a Sim being a vampire, a Gypsy match maker downtown can change them back to regular Sims, who can't fly.
Of course the pack also comes with a large set of new objects. The Electro Dance Sphere has been shown before, and at the DJ Booth Sims can work to earn some money, similar to the cafeteria in University. You'll also be able to make restaurants, but your Sims won't be able to work as cook there or anything. Those are NPCs. There's also a karaoke machine, where Sims can sing to words of House Party music (and other Simlish music as well, probably) either solo or with another sim. Children and older Sims will be able to do that. Other than that there's a poker table, which has a special feature in build mode. You can place whatever chairs you want next to it. Then if you move the poker table, the chairs will be attached to it, and move along. You can always move the chairs away from the table too though. While this may be useful for regular tables too, it doesn't work for those.
Some other special objects are all the disco objects. There's a dance floor, which you can configure to quite a great extent. You can set the color of each tile, but also the pattern in which it should all light up. The same goes for some blocks. The fun thing with those blocks is that they are stackable. You can place up to seven of them on top of each other. Of course there are also disco lights, which too have colours and patterns you can set. Several wall lights are now also coloured, and shine a coloured light in the room. Yes, you can sort of make your own red light district using that.
As if that's not enough, there are also sectional sofas and dining booths. You can take one segment at a time, and put it down. If there's a piece next to it the game will connect the two, and so you can make various shapes of the sofas. You can make a snake, or just a square with one of the new plants in the middle. Bars can be made in a similar way, and chairs can be put anywhere next to it. Sims will also be able to eat or sit at the corner of a bar. All these items can be given a number of colours using design mode.
Rugs are also new, and they can be placed under any object you like. Rugs too are stackable, so you can put multiple rugs over each other and create something unique. The rugs come in various shapes and patterns, some matching new walls and floor sets. Generally, Maxis hopes that they have made some more sets that match better. As in the Sims 1, rugs can catch on fire too. All the new downtown looks have been inspired by pictures from European nightclubs. People of EA throughout Europe took pictures and sent them to Maxis, so Maxis didn't actually go there themselves. Nevertheless it is possible to make things look a little more European in Nightlife. Also, there will be more stuff for kids to get too. People have also complained about the lack of paintings, signs and other similar things, so in Nightlife there will be a bunch of those again.
One other popular feature of the Sims 1 was the inventory, with which Sims were able to bring home presents, awards, and other things. But this time it's a lot better. Rather than just allowing a few things in there, you can put any object - including gravestones, awards, rewards and more - in the inventory and drag it along. You can have your Sims move house, and they'll carry everything with you. This way you can save aspiration and career rewards, for example, and take them to your new home. The inventory is as big as you want, and you can put a whole bunch of objects in there.
Finally, a few things that don't fit anywhere else. One of them is that there will be a new cheat that those who use the money cheat will love. Unfortunately Tim couldn't tell what it would be. A new option in the game is to show a Custom Content dialog at startup. Although Tim didn't show that, he told that it will be possible to disable specific custom content when starting up the game this way. As with University, there will be quite a bit of new music in this pack. Not by Mark Mothersbaugh, who has made the Sims 2 theme tune and several others, but Lemon Jelly has remixed some of Motherbaugh's work. This gives almost completely new songs. Finally, Tim said there won't be a patch for the Sims 2 University, simply because it's too hard to do. Testing such a thing is a pain because the game is very open, and you have to test almost an endless number of features to release a patch. However, things that were noted as bugs will be fixed in future expansion packs.
After big discussions on the official BBS, about Maxis not making a patch for TS2U, Maxis has decided to make a patch for the Sims 2 University after all. See a more recent newspost
for more information.
The game isn't done yet, and still needs some tuning in the next few months. The Maxoids are excited about it though, and almost all attendees are now looking forward to September very much. That's when the pack will be released, according to EA.
The Sims Zone wasn't the only one to attend the presentation (and the bowling afterwards). A few other sites already have their reports, with pictures, online. See the following links for those. Note that sites may be in Dutch, but reports give more or less the same info as above. Those who have attended and have put a report up can email me
with a link, and I'll add it. Thanks to EA and of course Tim LeTourneau for allowing us in at the presentation!