Why I waited
I’ve been playing The Sims for many years. I started back with Sims 1, had all the expansion packs and continued forward with The Sims 2. And it’s not just me, my daughters and girlfriends all play. We’ve all been playing for years since I was the first one in and corrupted the others.
A cornerstone of my playing until now has been to live rather large. I didn’t see the point in struggling financially in The Sims. I have enough budget management in my real life. I’ve also been a self-employed Sim long before The Sims 2 actually added gaming mechanics to support player run businesses. Back in the day, I used hacks to modify in game objects that produce small items you could sell back to the game, as a source of income. There were custom skins to turn the canning object into a chef’s stove, flowers into fruits and vegetables, the robot maker into chocolate candy station, etc. I had working farms, cafes, bookstores and the alike – all home based businesses. But the revenue generated wasn’t enough to sustain a household. I had to use money cheats to make ends meet, and that’s how I played Sims for several years. The Sims 2 Open for Business changed all that, allowing me to use native game mechanics to build my home businesses. The Sims 2 Seasons expansion let me drop the game hacks that turned weeds and flowers into produce and I was in Sim heaven.
One of my chief reservations about The Sims 3 was starting up the next generation of the game without the two expansions that crystallized my particular gaming focus. I didn’t feel like delving back into game mods and hacks to have my own business. I’d purchased The Sims 3 (TS3) for myself and my daughters but I hadn’t bothered to install my copy. I figured I’d wait for some of the generation 3 expansions to be released. Discussing this choice with my best friend, she informed me that I could do something small scale from home. She explained that gardening was part of the base game. Additionally, the writing performed on your home computer now translates into a career with aspirations and rewards. Whachoo takin’ ‘bout Willis? Say whaaat? This was the catalyst for me giving TS3 a try now. What would be cuter than to have a novelist career path on my Sim while producing a side income by gardening/farming? In my book, nothing would be cuter and in I went.
Low Budget Lifestyle
Since I started playing MMOs, I haven’t played The Sims nearly as much. In that time, several of my friends have changed how they actually play. Many of them are into playing a Legacy Challenge to keep the game fresh and challenging. I don’t do kids in The Sims, so that’s never been of interest to me. But I wanted to challenge the little bit of playing I was going to do and decided to go minus money hacks. I wanted to design high quality but low budget lifestyle, where my Sims could be self-employed and live in a harmonious and pleasant environment. Well, as harmonious as anything Sims can be.
Inspired by the design tips in the Living Sims magazine articles, I put all of the new TS3 features for content customization and redesign (re-skinning) to use, and employed stylistic decorating and variety, over purchasing expensive high end items for my homes. To that end, I built a low budget community on the outskirts of the town. At the front of the cul-de-sac, I have single story loft-like homes designed for single or couples. Toward the back I have higher end homes – 2 bedrooms/baths that families can grow into. Last, there are two 2-story homes with 3 bedrooms and two baths just in case a family is played long enough to have those sorts of earnings. Overall however, my goal was to design homes that could be purchased completely furnished, using the initial funds allotted to new Sims.
Choosing to Design with Style
Style is very subjective. I personally have an eclectic style that hovers between shabby chic and French romance. Achieving that using the base game items wasn’t possible and I didn’t feel like going on a mega search for custom content. I don’t have time to play TS3 in that manner. I made the decision to do something serene and simplistic employing tips from the LS magazine. I’m really happy with what I achieved without using custom content. I stepped out of my own comfort zone with some of the colors and fabrics to have variety across the homes.
- Enter Design or Build mode.
- Select the Create a Style icon or press R.
- Click the object you want to redesign.
- Two dialog boxes appear. One contains other variations of the object that already exist. Some of these are defaults from the game others will be styles you created previously and saved.
- The dialog on the RIGHT SIDE is the most fun. This is the one where you can completely re-skin objectS. You can change the base material – fabric, paint, stone, etc. Then change the coloring of the material – colors, prints, geo shapes, etc.
- Save the object for future (left side dialog)
- Save the style to apply to other items (right side dialog)
If you’re trying to match colors across objects, switch to the Color Numbers tab and copy the hex code for that color and paste it on to other objects. I did this often when color coordinating rooms. These are essentials skills if you want to design with color palettes that use texture and layering of colors to create a sense of style and sophistication, while using cheap objects.
1K Money Cheat
The only hiccup I had was that after I designed the homes and then created my households, I found out that they’d reduced the starting funds by $2K Simoleans. Not sure why on earth they did that when many players felt like 20K wasn’t enough seed money. I built 18K homes and left 2K slush-funds.
The families having only 18K put a wrinkle in my plan. I had no intention of redesigning the homes, so I decided used the 1K money cheat twice for each house to get them their 20K.
To use the 1K money cheat
- Press SHIFT + CTRL + C
- Type Kaching in the code box
- Press ENTER
- Rinse... Repeat...
to be continued...