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News Archive - January, 2005
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Wednesday 5 January 2005
Just some homecrafter stuff.
Written at 16:32 by Starrats - 0 comments.
Today I added 4 terrain types, 8 floors and 6 walls. I hope you all like them.

Greetz Starrats.
 

Thursday 6 January 2005
TS2U Preview at GameSpot
Written at 05:11 by Stash - 1 comment.
Game Spot has added and updated their TS2U coverage with some new information. They have a The Sims 2 University preview, which you can check out here. And they also have a brand new Developer Interview video, which you can see here. The interview, which is with Tim LeTourneau, talks about the new expansion pack for The Sims 2. Free registration may be required to see it.
 
SimDay
Written at 07:36 by Stash - 0 comments.
Another SimDay has come and gone at TheSims2.com; and this week brings the online community of TheSims2.com some new features, and news of a great community celebration.

TheSims2.com members can now update their avatar with a new Create-An-Avatar tool! This is a great new feature for users of the exchanges and BBS. Also a new MySim theme was released. For anyone who misses the original Sims website, the can add some flavor from the past to their MySim page with The Sims Classic MySim page theme.

Lastly, The Sims Resource, one of the largest and oldest Sims fansites, is celebrating 100,000 custom creations for "The Sims" games. They will have free downloads, a contest, and more; so be sure to surf over and join the celebration.
 

Tuesday 11 January 2005
4 Million Visitors, New Poll
Written at 21:17 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
I'm back again and over the next day or two we'll be catching up with the latest news that was missed during my absence. Although a little late, I of course want to wish everybody - including all Sims - a happy 2005 on behalf of the entire Sims Zone team. First of all, we hit the 4 million visitors milestone shortly after Christmas (and we're well over it now). Thanks to everyone who visited us to reach this milestone, and keep coming so we hit the 5 million soon! On to something completely different: you selected the most important headline of 2004. The news that the Sims 2 was released didn't win - probably due to the somewhat misleading title. Instead, the news of the game being delayed, back in January, got the most votes: 32%. "The Sims 2 Gone Gold" was the runner up, with 27% of the votes. For the rest of the results, check out the results page.

Last thursday a new poll was launched, and as the new year has started it of course had to be about that. We want to know what you'll be doing for your Sims this year. Tell us by voting on the right, or on the latest poll page.
 
University Box Shots and Rating
Written at 21:26 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Several sites have posted box shots of the Sims 2 University over the past two weeks. Although all of them are merely artworks and not (yet) official, it's not unlikely one of them will be the final one. Of course, when more information is revealed by EA, we'll let you know. The shots come from GameStop (shots 1 and 3), the official Czech site (shot 2), and SimsExpress (shot 4). Thanks to these sites for providing the graphics. The last one, which looks the most like an official box (althoguh in Spanish) also shows a European PEGI rating of 12 years and older. It's unsure whether this will be the final rating in Europe, but it's remarkable it's higher than the original game, which was rated 7+.

TS2U Box Shot 1 (GameStop) TS2U Box Shot 2 (EA Czech) TS2U Box Shot 3 (GameStop) TS2U Box Shot 4 (SimsExpress)
 

Wednesday 12 January 2005
Sims 2 University Presentations
Written at 00:13 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Tim LeTourneau is currently travelling through Europe to hold presentations about the first expansion for the Sims 2, University. He's shown it to members of the press, including webmasters of several fansites who attended the presentations, and some community members who were lucky enough to be invited by EA. A lot of pictures were taken during the presentations, and they've been posted on those fansites. But of course there was also some new info from these presentations. With thanks to SP Zone and SimsNetwork, which went to the presentation in Amsterdam last week, the following new information is now available (in pretty random order):
  • Every neighborhood has a campus. You can choose to create a new one, or use one of the two pre-made areas.
  • You can use buildings multiple times. After placing a building from the bin into an area, it will remain in the bin to be built again. It's unsure if this is for just university buildings or all buildings.
  • There will be a new cheat, with which you can make buildings as tall as you want. This is done through a cheat as it doesn't make the game any faster.
  • You can let up to 8 sims go to university. You can control these characters and they'll function more or less like a family. You can even choose to send townies (NPC sims) to college, so they can grow up and perhaps marry your own sims.
  • There are four semesters (stages) during college time: Freshman, sophomore, junior and then senior. Each of these takes 2 or 3 days, and the clock starts ticking as soon as you select a Sim. In itself, the entire life stage takes about 20 days.
  • Build-mode is disabled while you're playing on the university campus.
  • Going to lectures etc. is similar to work in the original game: you won't follow your Sim.
  • Sucking up to teachers or professors works. Woohoo-ing with them will guarantee good grades, according to Tim.
  • There's a new "Influence" bar, indicating the influence on other Sims you have. It will be placed on the left of the aspiration bar, and the higher it is the more Sims will do what you tell them to do. It is filled by fulfilling new wants, which are marked with a blue border.
  • There will now be 5 or even 6 wants instead of 4. You have to unlock those two though. You can now also lock 2 instead of 1 wants and/or fears.
  • Sims can now watch sports on tv.
  • Sport-Parties take a little longer than usual. During those parties Sims can watch the sports channel.
  • There's a new "DIY Plastic Surgery Set" career object, which allows you to change the face of your Sim completely. This can be bought in the Show Business career track. It can go wrong too...
  • The "Cow Plant" is given in the Ecology track. The Art track allows you to buy a Camera. The cow plant likes to eat, and if you don't feed it well enough it'll start eating Sims. After that it'll start producing special milk which other Sims can drink though. The result is the same as the Elixir of Life: the Sim gets younger.
  • Sims can be revived or brought back as zombie by bribing the Grim Reaper using an object in the Paranormal track. Zombies can be controlled like any other Sim but they can't make babies. On the other hand, they do have eternal life without using cheats.
  • You can have multiple families in one home, without marrying them or having them fall in love.
  • Time continues when visitng a community area from university. Such a visit can influence the mood of your Sim.
  • The computer has many more options, including entering a majors.
  • There will be pranks.
  • Some of the new objects include fitness-machines, common showers, the bubble blower from the Sims 1, a "juice-machine" which can do odd things to your Sim, a mini-fridge, a fire to roast marshmellows in, a fire sprinkler installation to extinguish fires without calling the fire department, cellphones, gameboys and MP3-players, the pool table and some objects in special themes like Classic, hip, and others.
  • You can build a bar, or a Lounge-area where a band can play.
  • There will be both two-floor and three-floor columns.
  • There are 11 majors, including history, biology, political economy and (plastic) surgery.
  • The Body Shop will be updated when you install University.
  • The Sims won't go online as previously stated. This is because "other players will disturb the planning of your Sims' lives. This destroys the entire Sims idea" (from GameVillage).
Furthermore, SP Zone reveals that pets will definitely return to the Sims 2, as well as bunk beds and spiral stairs. However, these will not be in University but in future expansion packs. We can expect one expansion approximately every 6 months. The original game as well as things in earlier expansions will also be fixed and improved in the new expansions. Of course I want to thank SP Zone (specifically JVtje, read her entire report on SP Zone's forum) for all the info. In the Read More part you can find a ton of pictures during the presentation, from SP Zone, SimsNetwork, LeeRoyNR09 (forum member on official Dutch site), GameVillage, and Gry (which went to Warsaw for the presentation). They are in fairly low quality as they're taken with cameras and aren't direct screenshots.

Furthermore, Fragland has interviewed Tim LeTourneau about the first expansion pack. In that interview he reveals you can hack the "mainframe computer system" to get some good grades. You have to get into the secret society for that though. The interview also mentions that sports are hard to put in the game - it's all about adding a bit of gameplay, which isn't easily done. Read the entire interview for the details.
 
Read More!

The Sims 2 Articles
Written at 20:08 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Continuing the news coverage of the past two weeks today, we start with two articles that were posted. The first is from ITWorld.com. It's all about how the Sims was born, after a fire destroyed the house of Will Wright. It also talks about the development of the game, and the struggle to keep it supported by EA. For the history, see the article.

On another site, Buffalo News, there's an article concerning the artificial intelligence in the Sims 2. Will Wrightand Matt Brown talk about the Sims 2 in this article, and how the Sims became more intelligent during its development. See the entire entire article for all the details.

Finally, there's another article which allows schools to make teaching a language just a bit more fun. Using the Sims 1, some tools, and so modifying the game, teaching for instance German using a custom version of the game has become fun. Screenshots are also posted to illustrate how the game was modified. See the paper for all about this, and some other customised tools to learn a language.

Thanks to WorldSims, SP Zone and SimsZone for the links.
 
The Sims 2 Game of the Year
Written at 20:24 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
At the end of last year, The Sims 2 showed again it's been a succesful game in 2004. IGN gave the game an award for the best Management Simulation (runner up: RollerCoaster Tycoon 3). The Sims 2 won because it's not so much economic, as many other simulation games, but also because of its level of detail. See the Awards list for more winners and details. On GameSpy The Sims 2 also won something: the "Best Strategy Game" award for PC games. See the PC Genre Awards for that one. In the overall PC games list, the game got to a fourth place. Finally, in the Gamer's Choice awards for PC Strategy games the Sims 2 also got to a fourth place, with 11% of the votes. Congratulations to Maxis for achieving these.
 
Fake Tool: Automatic Faces
Written at 20:32 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
During my holidays there's been some strange news from SimsExpress. They mentioned a tool called "Automatic Faces" to be included with the Sims 2 University. However, since 28 December is in Spain a day similar to April Fool's day, it ended up being fake news. The program was said to allow you to easily create faces in the Sims 2 using pictures, making it easy for you to create realistic copies of existing people. A screenshot was included (click the thumbnail for a larger version), but remember it's all fake!

Automatic Faces, a Fake Sims 2 Tool
 
Screenshots and Art
Written at 21:08 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
There are several new screenshots from the Sims 2 University posted over the past few weeks. The first comes from the French site, then there are four from the German site and one from the Italian site. The last four are rather small, and come from the Spanish site. Some might look familiar but are taken from a slightly different angle. Besides that, there have been several artworks on the German site, kindly put together by our affiliates SimsZone, whose picture you can see below. The other small artworks have been extracted from the official site's information page. They are posted here in their full size already.

The Sims 2 University - French site Screen The Sims 2 University - German site Screen 1 The Sims 2 University - German site Screen 2 The Sims 2 University - German site Screen 3 The Sims 2 University - German site Screen 4 The Sims 2 University - Italian site Screen The Sims 2 University - Spanish site small Screen 1 The Sims 2 University - Spanish site small Screen 2 The Sims 2 University - Spanish site small Screen 3 The Sims 2 University - Spanish site small Screen 4 The Sims 2 University - Artworks Combined by SimsZone.de The Sims 2 University - Small Artwork (1) The Sims 2 University - Small Artwork (2) The Sims 2 University - Small Artwork (3) The Sims 2 University - Small Artwork (4) The Sims 2 University - Small Artwork (5) The Sims 2 University - Small Artwork (6)
 
Sims 2 Hacks spreading through Exchange
Written at 21:21 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Since the community found out how to hack objects and other game content, hacks have been spreading through the exchange "like viruses." Website SecurityFocus has posted an article about this problem, and how the community is also trying to solve it. In it, EA says they were surprised that hacks spreaded through the exchange by loads, unwillingly. Despite an added warning shield, some hackers had already come up with a tool to identify and remove installed hacks. Read the complete article for more.
 
Modding Sims 2 Meshes
Written at 21:31 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
The central place for the Sims 2 modding community, ModTheSims2.com, has launched a new closed beta test for a special tool. The program can change the meshes of objects. In result, this will mean completely new objects, in different shape and (as seen before) behaviour than the default objects. Besides that, there's also a Milkshape plugin to edit meshes. For now a few objects with changed meshes have already been released, namely a Bio-Hazard sculpture and a Shower kit. It probably won't be very long until we'll see more objects like these on the net.
 
TS2U Release Date
Written at 21:39 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Recently there has been a bit of confusion concerning the release date of the Sims 2 University. The official UK site has reported the game will be released there on 11 March. However, SimsExpress reported the official Spanish site stated 4 March earlier. Nevertheless, several other European sites have confirmed the date of 10 or 11 March, which makes the last the most likely for the UK (as that's a friday). In the US the game might be expected the tuesday before that, but that's not officially confirmed yet. Of course we'll keep you updated of any changes that occur to this release date.
 
T-Mail 3
Written at 21:52 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
The newsflow continues as we catch up with the news of the past two weeks. As you might have read, Tim LeTourneau, Senior Producer of the Sims 2 University, is travelling across Europe to show off the first expansion. After going to Amsterdam, Brussels and Warsaw he sent out an e-mail to the community telling a bit about the presentations and the game itself. No real new info is given, but Tim does clear up the difference between "objects" and "items":
"As I'm demoing the game, it's becoming clear to me that we need to make everyone aware of how we describe the content we make for each expansion pack. As you know, The Sims 2 introduced many new types of content, for example Neighborhood ploppables and ground textures. We often use the terms Objects and Items and I want to make sure you are all clear on the difference so that when it comes up as a topic you can make sure players understand what each word means."
With the Cow-plant being one of the most favourite objects in the new expansion, Tim also sent out a movie showing how that works. You can download that at the cost of approximately 14 Mb. Besides that the two screenshots below were also included. Click the thumbnails to see larger versions, and read on for the complete e-mail.

Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2
 
Read More!

EA Supports Asia Victims
Written at 21:59 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Electronic Arts has made a financial donation of $250,000 to the UNICEF South Asian Tsunami Relief fund to support the victims of the tsunami disaster at the end of last year. Employees donating to UNICEF or the Red Cross before 31 March will see their money donated on a 2-to-1 ratio by EA. Electronic Arts is not the only games company to pledge money to charities for the disaster, CCP in Ireland has also donated some money, and gamers at the Big Screen Game Tournament in London 8-9 January also raised nearly $2,000. See the article at GameSpot for more information.
 
TS2U trailer
Written at 22:04 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Games website GameSpot has posted a brand new trailer of the Sims 2 University. The video, which comes in a download of 6.7 Mb or in streamed format, shows some students playing a game of pool. The winner gets the girl. The video is fairly short and can be downloaded or viewed from the media page. Free registration is required.
 
New Sims 2 Patch
Written at 22:08 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
We've catched up with all the news again, but there's still one more thing to tell. Maxis has unexpectedly released a new patch for the Sims 2 today. It fixes two bugs, namely the custom content browser for Asian territories, and some bugs related to downloadable objects. It's not available as separate small patch, but there's only one big patch (which includes the original one) available. You can download it for almost 17 Mb of hard disk space, from the Update page.
 

Thursday 13 January 2005
Free Will in new TSO city [Update]
Written at 21:43 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Today EA opened up a new city in the Sims Online, called Betaville. This is a city that's more Sims 1 like, as jobs are existing, Sims get personality and even a free will. It seems Maxis is trying to make the Sims 1 go online, as many fans might have expected it to be in the first place. It's still a prototype city and the features may not be complete. Players can create a family of up to four Sims using a free will button in the Select a Sim screen. This family can then be placed in Betaville. See this post at Stratics for more information.

[Update 21:30] It seems there are some problems with the city. Although the information at Stratics says it should be possible to create a family even if you have three Sims in other cities already, people with three sims don't seem to be able to create the family:
"NOTE: We are aware of the current problem preventing people from creating Sims if they already have Sims in three other cities. We are working on this issue and hope to have it resolved very soon. Please refrain from reporting this problem so the bug board does not get too cluttered."
 
TS2U Designer Diary 2
Written at 22:08 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
The second part of the Designer Diary of the Sims 2 University has been posted at GameSpot. This time college jobs are described. Jamming with a band, being a personal trainer at the gym, or being a tutor in the library can help your students earn a little extra cash. It's also said this money can be spent again at the pool table, by placing a bet. Some other jobs include serving at a bar or at the espresso shop. New decoration styles are also present in the expansion, one of which being the frat style. That features "torn leather couches, ratty chairs, beat-up fridges, and dingy linoleum to really give you a chance to re-create the authentic frat basement, complete with Greek letters." The groovy collection takes your Sims back to the '60s and '70s. Included are a few new screenshots, which you can see below. Read the designer diary for more precise information about the jobs and earning money.

Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2 Screenshot 3
 
SimDay: Object and Release Date [Update 2]
Written at 22:15 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
This week's SimDay comes with just an object so far. There's also a reminder of the new beginnings contest that ends in two weeks. Besides that, there's also a new object called the "Divide and Conquer Room Divider." This screen allows your Sims to redoracte and divide their office space up a bit. To download it, check out the exchange.

[Update: 23:50] The site has had a slight new update, with a confirmed shipping date of 1 March, and release date of 3 March for University. That means that as of 3 March 2005 you'll be able to find the expansion in the stores. The trailer and screenshots from the designer diary we mentioned here earlier have also been posted on the official site now.

[Update 14 January, 23:10] What I forgot to mention is that there's also a new University video available. This trailer (7 Mb in High quality, 1.8 in Low) sums up the most important features of the expansion, and it also shows a few new objects in action. You can find it on the videos page.
 

Friday 14 January 2005
New Poll
Written at 00:51 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Due to the catch up we had to do, the weekly poll was delayed by a day. Nevertheless we've posted a new one now, all about the new patch that came out earlier this week. Let us know what you think of it, and vote on the right or on the latest poll page. Last week we asked you what 2005 will bring your Sims. 42% said they'd give them a university degree, followed by lots of fun at 21%. Fire, death and destruction got 19% of the votes and "a new home" 14%. The plain answer "nothing" got 4% of the 225 votes. See the poll archive for the exact results, and the results of all previous polls.
 

Saturday 15 January 2005
German University Special
Written at 12:52 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Besides Amsterdam, Tim LeTourneau also paid a visit to Frankfurt, Germany last week to tell about the Sims 2 University. The German official site has posted a special about the event containing an article with impressions and an interview with Tim. Both bring a bit of new information...
 
Read More!

University Screenshots
Written at 13:03 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Sims Express comes with some screenshots from the official Spanish site. There are three shots and an artwork all in the University theme, but not really from any new scenes. The fourth screenshot (fifth picture) is one I missed from the official site, last Simday. Other information Sims Express tells is that the expansion will be packed on a single CD-Rom. Click the thumbnails below for the large versions of the graphics.

Screenshot Spain 1 Screenshot Spain 2 Screenshot Spain 3 Artwork from Spain Simday Screenshot
 
University Article
Written at 13:18 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
GamesRadar has posted a new article about the Sims 2 University. It's more or less an overview of the features that have been mentioned before. Nothing new is mentioned, nevertheless you might want to check it out.

The Sims 2 University, and its Prima Official Strategy Guide (which used to be called "The Sims 2: Episode 2") can now also be bought from our shop.
 
Possibly Sims TV Show
Written at 16:50 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Electronic Arts (Europe) has contacted several TV show production companies to create an interactive show based on the Sims. The idea is that people worldwide can watch and control the show. It might involve viewers voting on the actions the Sims should take. It's still in early planning stages, and not definite yet. Jan Bolz, vide president of EA Europe has given these few details, but not much more than this. It's unsure if and when the show will air. For more information, check out the Reuters article. Thanks to Hikikomori for the link.
 

Monday 17 January 2005
"Urbz" to Mobiles
Written at 22:53 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
A game that will be similar to the Urbz, will be released on mobile phones. Gameloft has announced the game "New York Nights: Success in the City" for mobile phones in December. Website Midlet Review gives some more information about the game. Your task is to get a dream job, make lots of friends and fall in love, all in 40 days or less. There are several screenshots available as well as an artwork, all of which you can see below in their full size. It's doesn't seem EA is involved in this project, because there's no "Sims" or "Urbz" in the name, and previous handheld Sims games were previously developed by Griptonite. The game is set to be released this spring in the US, a European release date has not yet been confirmed.

New York Nights: Screen 1 New York Nights: Screen 2 New York Nights: Screen 3 New York Nights: Screen 4 New York Nights: Screen 5 New York Nights: Artwork
 
EA wants to be biggest in Entertainment
Written at 23:16 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Electronic Arts, publisher of the Sims series, wants to become the biggest company in the entertainment industry. It wants to compete with companies like Disney. To achieve that goal, the company wants to create more games which target a mass audience. The next generation consoles might help that, as they will be superior when it comes to graphics. According to EA, the games industry is already bigger than the music industry now. The Sims TV-show is also briefly mentioned, and it's said this show will let video games play a more central role in popular culture. Besides that, EA is planning an internation awards show "similar to the Oscars and the Grammys" which would combine video games, music and movies. Game companies will also have to work more closely with celebrities, so players can play with their heroes. See this article at BBC News for more information.
 
EA and SEE break up
Written at 23:32 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
SEE, the advertising company which has created TV commercials for many EA games including the Sims 2, will no longer make any more ads for EA after March 31. Electronic Arts has announced they will not be renewing the contract after it expires. EA and SEE have worked together for over 10 years, and the advertising company has helped a lot in "growing EA's brands and businesses into what they are today," says Carolyn Feinstein, Vice President of Marketing Communications at Electronic Arts. EA will announce a new agency they will cooperate with in a few weeks.
 

Tuesday 18 January 2005
The Sims Is Educational!
Written at 17:37 by Neil - 2 comments.
An article paraphrased from BBC News:

God games in which players must control virtual people and societies could be educational, says research. A US researcher has suggested that games such as The Sims could be a good way to teach languages.

Learning via something like The Sims may mean students do not feel like they are studying at all. This was because The Sims does not rely solely on words to get information across to players. Instead the actions of its computer controlled people and how they interact with their world often makes clear what is going on.

In a version of The Sims adapted to teach German, if a player misunderstood what was meant by the word "energie" the actions of a tired Sim, stumbling then falling asleep, would illustrate the meaning.

Read Full Article at BBC News Online.

 
TSR Talks to Tim
Written at 23:26 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
TheSimsResource, one of the biggest Sims fansites, has met Tim LeTourneau last Sunday and spoke to him about the Sims 2 University. Some new information is given, including the reason to pick University as first EP. This was done with future packs in mind. It would be harder to add the "Young Adult" age group afterwards, and blend it in well enough with other expansions. Besides that, expansions bring new objects, like the music objects and the pool table, that add more general gameplay rather than - in this case - the typical university life. Besides that information, there are of course also some old and new details regarding the first expansion:
  • It's again confirmed there will be a cheat to make buildings as high as you want, where the sky is the limit. It's said though, that a Sim on the 19th floor, may take 5 real-time minutes to walk down missing his carpool.
  • There will be a cheat to redecorate dorms, in case you're desperate. Normally though, build mode is disabled there.
  • Sims can move out of one family, and into another. This also allows multiple families to live in one household, as it was during the development of the Sims 2 (see our Sims 2 University special, which despite the name has nothing to do with this expansion).
  • The US terms for things, like majors, GPs, etc., are also discussed, and specifically localization of these names. In the end the idea is simple: Sims learn, get grades, and passes or fails. That's it.
  • Contrary to what was said before, each Semester lasts 3 simdays.
  • Failing 2 semesters in a row means the Sim's booted off university, back to the family they came from.
  • You can feed NPCs and even teachers to the famous Cow plant.
  • What I previously translated as "DIY Plastic Surgery Set" is actually called the "Home Plastic Surgery Kit."
  • The object to resurrect Sims with (by bribing the Grim Reaper), is called the "Resurrect-anamonotron." Spelling may be incorrect.
  • There's a new radio station, the "College Rock" station. Songs on it are recorded by real-life "up and coming" bands, that helped Maxis by making Simlish versions of their songs.
  • Maxis will release a new tool to create new swatches, i.e. object textures. A tool to edit their shapes will most likely not be released though.
  • Maxis is already developing expansion 2, and the details will be revealed sooner rather than later. Nevertheless it's still a close guarded secret.
  • A full-time butler or maid will not be in "this expansion pack."
  • Sims in college can visit their parents at home, and then also go to the regular community lots.
  • The police can bust up frat parties.
  • Sims cannot enter a dorm room without the owner of the room present.
  • No cheating at university!
  • Togas aren't fireproof... Watch out with those bonfires!
  • There won't be too many new food types in University, though there probably will be in future expansions.
  • The basketball hoop might return in a future expansion pack.
Read the entire article for the rest.
 
Pets and Weather in TS2 Information
Written at 23:30 by ChEeTaH - 2 comments.
Although not in University, it has been confirmed that pets will definitively make a return in the Sims 2. Weather however, has caused technical problems in the past, and while Maxis still tries to get the problems solved, they can't promise anything. So while that too might appear in one of the future expansion packs, there are no final plans yet until Maxis has tackled the problems. This is stated by the official German site, which has answered user's questions on their forums when Tim LeTourneau paid a visit to Germany last week. To read the thread (in German), click here (log in with your EA.com account).
 

Thursday 20 January 2005
New Poll
Written at 19:53 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
As you may have seen already, we've added a new poll again last night. This time, we ask you about the (in)famous cowplant, that will join sim-students in the Sims 2 University. If you have an opinion about it, let us know on the right or the latest poll page.

Last week we asked you about the second Sims 2 patch, and the results are in. The biggest group of the 165 people who voted are those who hadn't heard about it or at least didn't give it a go. They were with 44% of everybody. With less than half of that, are the options "It's good they fixed things, but I don't see too many changes" (31 votes, 19%) and "I don't see any difference really" (30 votes, 18%). 15% said the patch makes things work even better, and the final 4% hate the patch, because it just breaks the game. See the exact results for more precise percentages, and our archive for more polls.
 
TS2U High-Res Logos
Written at 20:03 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
EA has made the high-resolution logos for the Sims 2 University available. Although these have been seen before, this makes it very likely the logos are final. You can see them below, by clicking the thumbnails, in one third of the size - the originals are a bit too big to view properly on a screen. It's unsure if there will be a fansite pack from Maxis in the future containing these logos.

Vertical logo Horizontal logo
 
University Artwork and Info
Written at 20:30 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Fansite Sims Express brings some new info about the Sims 2 University, from the official Spanish site. Tim LeTourneau has also visited Spain on his tour through Europe, and according to Sims Express there is the following to tell:
  • There's just one type of university - no public or private universities.
  • To get a scolarship, which will help your Sim pay for college, your Sim will need to get good grades during their child or teen stages. Good grades at University might also earn your sim a scolarship.
  • When creating a young adult, it's not necessary to add an Adult to the family.
  • You can create a family of young adults to play with at University.
Besides that, two artworks are also revealed. You can see them below, and by clicking the thumbnails you'll see them in their full size.

Artwork 1 Artwork 2
 
SimDay
Written at 20:45 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
So far this week's SimDay is fairly small. What you might notice at first is another new intro on the official site showing the Sims 2 University. But more interesting is the news that The Sims 2 became the best simulation game of the year 2004, according to GameZone. Like many other gaming sites, they've awarded many games with several "Game of the Year" awards and in this case the Sims 2 won the award for best Simulation game. There's a small article about the award as well. And finally, so far anyway, there is a link to the second designer diary by Charles London. We already mentioned it early this year, but if you haven't read it yet you can still do so.
 

Friday 21 January 2005
First objects by me
Written at 23:02 by Starrats - 0 comments.
My first object set is online, enjoy.

 

Sunday 23 January 2005
Sims Conference in Paris
Written at 00:09 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
There is a special conference in Paris this weekend. Tomorrow at the Centre Pompidou an art conference about the Sims will be held. At this conference psychologists, sociologists, specialists in computer science, artists and art critics (and more) will be dicussing the game as form of art, but also as a cultural phenomenon. Two short films, "Name, age, skill…" by Alain Della Negra and Kaori Kinoshita and "Enfants joueurs, l’expérience des SIMS" by Angela Romboni will be shown during the conference. Chloé Delaume will be performing as well. The conference will be held tomorrow from 3pm to 8pm local time, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Visit this site for more (French) information. Thanks to SP Zone for the info.
 
The Urbz 2: 2005/2006
Written at 00:17 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
A few days ago EA Netherlands held a special event, announcing several games that will be released in their next fiscal year (March 2005 - March 2006). Besides titles like Batman Begins, The Godfather, SSX4, Black, Burnout 4 and other games, there is also "The Urbz 2" in the list. It's said the game will be released late 2005 or early 2006. Remarkable as well is that EA is quite certainthat the X-Box 2 will be released within this period of time. And besides developing for the PlayStation 2, GameCube and X-Box, many of the games mentioned including the Urbz 2, will be released on X-Box 2 as well. Any other details regarding the game have not yet been revealed. More confirmation might follow Tuesday, when EA in the US will release their results over the third quarter of fiscal 2005.
 

Monday 24 January 2005
Murdoch Interested in EA
Written at 23:37 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
GamesIndustry brings a story that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is interested in entering the games industry. Murdoch already owns a News Corporation, which owns TV networks like Fox and Sky, but also big British newspapers The Sun and the Times, as well as book publisher Harper Collins. Now Murdoch wants to set foot in the games industry, and not by starting a new small publisher. Instead he's shown interest in acquiring either Electronic Arts, publisher of the Sims and many other games, and Activision, a big Californian publisher. Costs: $19 billion for EA, or $3 billion for Activision. It's still unsure which games company - that could be either of these two, or a completely different company - Murdoch's News Corporation will buy, as no details regarding the investment the company is willing to make are mentioned. The article also says other media companies are looking into investing in the games industry. For example, Viacom chairman Summer Redstone has acquired a majority shareholding in developer Midway earlier. Read the complete article for more information. Thanks to Hikikomori for the tip.
 
University Chat this Thursday
Written at 23:42 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Next Thursday, 27 January, Maxis will be holding a developer chat about the Sims 2 University. Special guests are Tim LeTourneau, Kevin Hogan, Charles London, and Hunter Howe, who will answer your questions about the first expansion pack during the chat. New items and gameplay included in the expansion will be discussed. As usual, the chat starts at 3PM PST, which is 11pm GMT or midnight CET, and the chatroom will open approximately 10 minutes before the start. A transcript will be posted after the chat, for those who can't make it.
 

Wednesday 26 January 2005
TS2U European Pack Shot and Rating
Written at 00:42 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
EA UK has released a European pack shot of the Sims 2 University that will cover the cds in (at least) Britain. Remarkable is the rating shown on it. As noticed earlier, this is 12+ contrary to previous Sims games, all of which (except the Urbz) were rated at 7+. Although no information is shown on the PEGI Website yet, it's quite definitively the final rating. The US rating has not yet officially been confirmed yet, though it's most likely going to be T (Teen, 13+) again as with all other Sims games. The official European pack shot is shown below, and it's most likely the definitive version as well.

 
Life at Uni through the Eyes of a Sim
Written at 00:59 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
GameSpy has started a new series of articles, which will describe the life at Universities in SimCity. They're written from a Sim's point of view using the Sims 2 University expansion pack. The articles are in the form of letters to home. This first edition is a compilation of several of those letters from an anonymous sim. She (considering it's a female from the included screenshots shown below) writes about her arrival, a scolarship, dorms, Fraternities and Sororities, the library, partying and Grubs. Although most of the information given is old, there are a few small details. For instance, the school mascot is (or at least can be) a giant Llama. And it was already known you could get up to two extra "wants" slots for finishing years successfully, being kicked out of University means you'll get an extra "fear" slot. It's also said that you can start your own Fraternity and move into a bigger building, with all the build options open to you. For all the letters, check Part I of the series. Click the thumbnails below for bigger versions of the screenshots.

Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2 Screenshot 3 Screenshot 4
 
Sims Franchise Strong in 2004
Written at 01:27 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
EA has released their quarterly results of the third quarter of financial 2005 for EA. The Sims has been the most successful franchise for EA in calendar year 2004. In total, the games sold over 16 million copies during calendar year 2004. The Sims 2 has been number one in both the United States and Europe. The Urbz sold over 2 million copies during the last quarter, which means it's reached platinum status. The Sims 2 sold more than 1 million units in the same quarter. In Europe, both the Urbz and the Sims 2 sold over a million units.

EA thinks the current generation consoles is still strong, and will continue developing games for it during the next year, despite the next generation consoles (X-Box 2, PlayStation 3) to make their entrance in 2005 or 2006. However, premium prices for premium games on those new consoles are expected to be higher than current prices, at least at first. As EA will continue to develop games on multiple platforms, it's quite likely the Urbz 2, mentioned earlier, will be released on both current generation and next generation platforms. EA hopes to be the main player on the market for the next generation consoles as well. The Urbz 2 was not mentioned anymore - not in the press release or the conference call - but the earlier announcement by EA Netherlands doesn't make it unlikely the game is in development anyway.
 

Thursday 27 January 2005
New Poll
Written at 01:00 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
A week ago we asked you what you think of the Cowplant that will be introduced in the Sims 2 University. The plant gives Elixir of Life, but only when it's been fed a Sim. The results of the poll are in, and 172 people voted in total. 38 of them (22%) would've liked to see people they don't like go down thanks to the plant, but unfortunately it only eats Sims. 18.6% didn't really seem to like the question, and 16.9% says it's the perfect punishment for students with bad grades. 15.1% Thinks the plant is unethical and should be stopped, whereas 12.8% is alright with it if it ate them. Finally, 13 people (7.6%) would like some more Elixir, and 12 people (7%) wonder if it comes in a goat-shape as well. To see the exact results, head over to the results page or our poll archive.

This week, the Llama is in the spotlight. Where do you think it went? We have several options for you, and they're all on the right and on the latest poll page. Share your thoughts with us!
 
TS2U Screens and Artworks
Written at 20:14 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
EA has again published several screenshots of the Sims 2 University. Two of them as well as two artworks come from EA Spain, and have been sent to us by our affiliate SimsExtremos. They show the fraternity life and some pooling action. The other two shots are from the monthly scoop newsletter. You can see a zombie there, and some money-printing. Click the thumbnails below for bigger versions of the screens.

Artwork 1 Artwork 2 Spanish Screenshot 1 Spanish Screenshot 2 Scoop Screenshot 1 Scoop Screenshot 2
 
Interview with LeTourneau
Written at 20:23 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Tim LeTourneau has recently been interviewed again, this time by the official UK site. There's little new info in it, but a few things are worth mentioning. The first thing is that, contrary to earlier statements, the game will have two CDs. Just like the Sims 1, the CD of the Sims 2 University will become your "play" cd. And as for the length of the new lifestage, it's finally been cleared up: young adulthood takes 24 days, split up in 4 years. Each half year at school takes 3 days. And when talking about gadgets, Tim says there will be cellphones, hand-held systems and MP3 players for Sims to buy. Read the complete interview for more information. And you can now already submit more questions, this time to Will Wright. The questions will be asked to Will this friday, so get asking for info.
 
SimDay
Written at 20:32 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
This week's SimDay there are really just a few things. The first is a multi-functional snowman object, with which your Sims can play in the snow. The snow doesn't melt as it's fake:
"Have a ball building your own snowman! Each of the pieces of this versatile set are stackable, and can add up to a snowman or anything else you can imagine. The snowman base and middle sections can be used alone as unique coffee tables, or stacked to reach greater heights. Made out of non-melting snow substitute for indoor or outdoor use year-round."
Furthermore there's a link to the GameSpy article we mentioned Tuesday. And of course there's the Sims 2 University developer chat tonight, which was announced last Monday.
 

Friday 28 January 2005
Chat Transcripts Posted
Written at 23:57 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Maxis has posted the transcripts from the chat last night, and there are a few new things in there regarding the Sims 2 University. Besides many new features and items, there will for example also be new "Life's Big Moments," the cutscenes that occur at for example a first kiss. The famous cowplant is actually called the "Laganaphyllis Simnavorii" and the "Ressurectonomitron will become available by reaching level 6 in the paranormal career, and allows you to change the looks of Townies too. Of course there's also a bunch of new socials (group conversations for example) and self interactions (including streaking), pranks (Water Balloon, Suds in the Fountain, Setting off the Sprinklers) and characters like punky cheerleaders, evil mascots, pushy coaches, lecherous professors, and even a cafeteria lady. But that's far from everything mentioned in the chat...
 
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Saturday 29 January 2005
Sims 2 @ Game Developers Conference
Written at 17:47 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Every year game developers from around the world gather at several conferences. And from 7 to 11 March there will be another one: the annual Game Developers Conference will take place in the Moscone West Convention Center in San Fransisco. During those few days, there will be conferences, speeches, and an expo of the latest games. At the end of the 3 days, the 2005 Game Developers Choice Awards will be presented by IGDA as well. Of course EA and Maxis will be part of the whole event.

On the first day, March 9, there will be a Game Design Challenge, which Will Wright won last year. Last year the group had to design a game with a love story, this time they have to base one off the poetry of Emily Dickinson. On the conference itself, the ideas from Will Wright (Maxis), Peter Molyneux (Lionhead Studios) and Clint Hocking (Ubisoft) will present their final result of the challenge. Of course we'll let you know if Wright wins.

But there's more to check out there. Jake Simpson, Simulation Engineer at Maxis, will hold a 60-minute lecture about SimAntics, the scripting language objects and Sims in the Sims (and other Sim-games, including the Sims 2) are coded in. Will Wright will also hold another lecture titled "The Future of Content," in which Wright will tell more about his thoughts about the future of content in the gaming industry. More information about the entire conference can be found on www.gdconf.com.
 
Aspyr needs Beta Testers for Sims 2
Written at 17:55 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
If you own a Mac computer and would like to try the Sims 2 before it's out on that platform, there now is a chance for you to do so. Aspyr, developer and publisher of the Mac version, is looking for beta testers. Your system must meet the minimum requirements, and you must submit these along with some personal details to Maxis. More information about the game can be found on this site, and details of where to send your application to can be found in this thread in the TheSimsResource forums.
 
More Details after Chat
Written at 18:05 by ChEeTaH - 1 comment.
Although last Thursday's chat brought in quite some new information about the Sims 2 University, there were a few people disappointed that their questions didn't get answered. MaxoidHunter has answered a few more questions in the official BBS. Here's what he said:
  • "There are career reward objects around campus, you just need to know where to find them. :)
  • "No locks on rooms other than dorm doors, but we know you guys want them.
  • "You can only associate one of each college with each home neighborhood. There's no limit, though to the number of different neighborhoods you can associate a college with.
  • "You can invite non-family members to visit you in college.
  • "Some majors you might not know about: "Drama, Art, Biology, Literature, Mathematics...." There are more, though. ;)"
As History, Political Economy and (Plastic) Surgery were already known, we now know 8 of the 11 majors that will be included in the game. The names of the known ones might, due to translations, differ a bit though. See this thread for the new post by MaxoidHunter, with thanks to SimsZone for the link.
 
T-Mail 4: New Fansite Kit
Written at 18:40 by ChEeTaH - 0 comments.
Tim LeTourneau, Senior producer of the Sims 2 University, has sent another e-mail to the Sims community. He doesn't have too much to say this time except that he's back from his Euro-trip, but there is a new fansite pack to be downloaded. It's about 40 Mb in size so it might take a while. It contains the US box arts (shown below as well), some known artworks - but this time with the logo over it, high-res logos (also familiar), 2 known videos (the cow plant video and the official trailer) and a bunch of screenshots. 2 Of those screenshots are new, and can be seen below as well. To download the fansite pack, click here, for the new images click the thumbnails below (they're pretty big!), and for Tim's complete mail read more.

The US Box (front) The US Box (left) The US Box (right) Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2
 
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