Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shi, Round 1 - Promotions Galore

We first met the Shi family in Shi - Introduction and Backstory. I had played through Sue's challenge prior to starting this blog, so this family is now in "free play" mode. They are a nice family, but necessarily all that exciting, and their week was fairly a fairly uneventful run of normal family life this round. So, while I've been trying to start doing these entries in a more storytelling manner, this time it's going to just be a straight "here's what happened" approach again, because no story for them really comes to mind this time. But before we start with what happened for them this week, here's a refresher look at the family:

Thomas had just been born when I stopped playing their lot before, and Tanis and Terrance had only grown up to Child a day or so before.

After playing the Rhodes family, with their somewhat troubled marriage, the first thing I see Sue and Shea doing when I loaded up their house and unpaused it was this:

Clearly, this three-bolt couple isn't having any marital problems. They're actually rather mushy about one another.

After they'd had their fun, I noticed that the garden was needing tended, and some of the plants were ready to harvest, so I sent them outside to work on it. While they were doing so, Shea got his Silver badge, and Sue got her Gold. Yay, now Sue can talk the plants up to thriving before harvesting them.

The next day, Sue went to work and came home with the first of many promotions for the week.

That night, she and Shea helped the twins learn how to do their homework.

The following day brought more promotions, first Shea, and then Sue.

While Sue and Shea were busy chatting up the friends they'd brought home from work, the Games lot guy showed up to give Terrance a membership to the Games secret lot. He'd run out to meet his parents when they got home, and was still caught in the mini-traffic jam of people milling around by the front gate. It took a minute for the games guy to catch up to him.

Before I knew it, it was time for Thomas to transition to Toddler. Shea did the honors in the small nursery room.

He turned out pretty good I think, and thankfully is not a clone of either of his siblings like I've had happen on other lots. I really need to start remembering to roll the dice when I start the game to fend off the firstborn effect. I don't remember if he was born in the same play session that Tanis and Terrance were or not.

With Thomas grown to Toddler now, so began the toddler training drill. Luckily aspiration wasn't much of a problem for Sue or Shea, so Thomas got lots of smart milk to help. First Shea taught him how to talk...

Then Sue got him potty trained...

And finally Sue taught him how to walk. The smart milk glow wore off while they were working on it, so he didn't have it for the picture, but he did have it when they first started.

The next day saw more promotions for Shea and Sue. Sue was really zooming up the career ladder now that she was done having kids. Unfortunately, family life and their careers weren't leaving them much time for keeping in contact with all of their friends.

To round off his toddler skills, Sue sat down with Thomas and taught him a nursery rhyme. I'm not sure if this skill really counts for much besides giving them more toddler animations to do, and I don't always bother with it, but I do when things aren't too hectic on a lot just because I think it's cute. Definitely is my last priority for toddler skills though.

Around this time I finally remembered that I'd been wanting to try out the new solar panels that came with Mansions & Gardens. I'd meant to install some in the Rhodes house, but...then the quads came...and things got rather hectic...and I forgot to. And before that, Uncle Chovie simply didn't have enough money to be able to afford them. But the Shis had plenty of money for them, and things weren't so crazy here, so I finally remembered to find them in the catalog and put some up on the roof. I think I put in 4 of them, and it paid off for them. Will be nice to see the money rolling IN twice a week instead of going out to bills.

The next day brought another promotion for Sue. I'm not sure if there was ever a day this week that she didn't come home with a promotion.

It was also the twins' birthday, but I'd been so wrapped up in something that was going on outside, probably Sue coming home, that I almost missed it. I didn't even realize they were doing the spin until the window popped up asking me to choose Tanis's aspiration. I did manage to kind of catch a shot of them with their "grew up well" icons over their heads in the background of something, so I spliced it in here with the shots of what Tanis and Terrance rolled for their aspirations. Afterward, I also went ahead and rolled secondaries for them. Also, the text for Terrance's LTW was glitched, so I edited in the correct career field for him based on the icon. I forget what the top level job for Gamer is called.

The game was warning me that Sue only had a day or two left before she'd become an Elder, and while I try to resist the urge to keep the sims I like young, there is a rather large age gap between her and Shea, and the kids are all still fairly young, so I had her go over to the genie lamp that was sitting unused in the living room and wish for a long life. It gave her an extra 5 days as an adult. Not sure if I'll extend her life more next time or not.

The next day Sue came home with her final promotion of the week, and the one that put her at the top of the Law career and fulfilled her LTW. Her new LTW is to Become General (Top of Military career), though I didn't get a chance as yet to switch her to that career field.

Tanis also came home with a promotion. I don't usually have my teens get jobs, but since she's a Fortune sim I figured I'd let her have one so she'd be making money to keep her happy, and hopefully get the Overachiever memory too.

Terrance doesn't have a job yet, and not sure if I'll make him get one or not. I just might, if only so he'll get the Overachiever memory to match his twin's (since I'm pretty sure that Tanis will manage to get it).

The last thing of any note that happened this week was that Thomas transitioned well to Child. I had sent Shea out to buy more clothes for the kids prior to all the birthdays, and while I had Tanis and Terrance change into the new ones, I decided that I liked Thomas's outfit well enough that I think I'll just stay with it.

I think Thomas's birthday came in the early evening on the last full day of the week I was playing them for, but nothing else of any note happened the rest of the night before I left the lot early the following morning. Here's a look at how the family looked at the end of the week:

So...sorry this update probably wasn't that exciting, but, well, some sim weeks/lots just aren't :p Maybe Terrance's secondary aspiration of Romance will help spice things up for them more next week. Or maybe one of the others will start doing something interesting. We'll see I guess.

Before I wrap this update up, I wanted to add a few notes about a few changes in approach I've done with this neighborhood, which mostly involves all of the "townie" families....not the true townies, but the Maxis lots in Bluewater and the University that are playable, as well as the Maxis sims that were in the sim bin. Awhile back, I'd added a second "shopping district" subhood that I called Townie Valley and installed all of the sim bin sims in houses there. When I did so, I'd not really intended to play them at all...I just wanted to get them installed in houses with phones so they'd be callable since some of the sims in my main hood were bringing some of them home from work or meeting them on community lots and such. Beyond that I intended to just treat them like townies and only pay attention to them if they happened to hook up with one of the sims from the main 'hood. Now though, I've changed my mind, and have decided that I'd like to keep those families aging and progressing along with the ones in the main 'hood. It will also give me a chance to experiment and try out some things in the game that I haven't really done before, without having to worry so much if I bork things up with beginner's mistakes :p So...I'll be playing through all of them in the various subhoods in between rounds at the main houses. I won't be doing full blown blog entries for each family though, and probably won't be taking a lot of pictures like I do for my main families, but I will post brief summaries about them with at least portrait type pictures and maybe other ones as well if something particularly interesting happens, to at least be providing something of a backstory for them as I go along in case any of them end up joining one of the main families in some fashion. So...with this plan in mind, I've already begun playing the Maxis lots at University, so the next update will be about them. Currently there's the two Maxis Greek houses, the Bright house, and a dorm I dubbed "Townie Dorm" where all the kids in the sim bin got housed. Given how little time for playing the game I've had lately, it may well take me a few weeks to get through them all and get them graduated. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rhodes, Round 1 - How Many Are in There?

The Rhodes are basically a new family to Challengeville in so far as I hadn't really played them yet in this neighborhood, though I did post a short introduction to them along with a few pics of when I actually did their challenge here. As a refresher, here's the members of the household, shown here with pictures extracted with SimPE before I gave them all makeovers.

Before, I had to have Dusty have a miserable childhood. This time I wanted to give him a good one to make up for it. With this basic thought in mind, and expecting to have a quiet week of normal sim family life, I loaded up the lot and started playing them. They had a few surprises in store for me though. Read on to see the tale of their week, which turned out to be a rather busy one...


Life had fallen into a routine for the Rhodes family. Sunny and Rainee, though seemingly happy and content with their lives, often wondered why had gotten married since neither felt any particular attraction to the other. But they both very much wanted a family, so once Dusty had arrived, they'd settled into being parents and pursuing their careers, and hadn't really given their marriage much more thought. They would eat dinner as a family when they could, but it was often a quiet affair, with one or the other of them talking with Dusty but not much with each other.

Woody had recently decided to leave his career in business to pursue his dream of teaching, and eventually becoming the Minister of Education. He wanted to be close to his son, so when Dusty started elementary school, he took time out in the evening to help him with his homework.

And the help was paying off, for Dusty started getting good grades almost right away. As a reward, his parents let him get a womrat, and as he put the little creature in it's cage the first time, he discovered that he was really interested in Nature.

Playing with Pooky, the name he'd given his womrat, made him happy, though it quickly became apparent he wouldn't be able to keep the cage in his room since the sound of Pooky running on his wheel would keep Dusty awake at night.

Meanwhile, Rainee had been working hard at her security guard job, and finally earned a promotion and the chance to attend the Police Academy. She was excited, for it brought her one step closer to her dream of becoming Captain Hero.

Despite their occassional daytime troubles, in the bedroom things had still been going fine between Sunny and Rainee, and shortly after coming home with her promotion, Rainee discovered that she was pregnant again. She was somewhat disappointed that she wouldn't be able to start at the Academy right away now, but happy about having another child.

Sunny had also been working hard after making the change to the Education field, and quickly began earning promotions as well.

He continued helping Dusty with his homework at night, and it wasn't long before Dusty had become an A+ student. He was very excited the day he brought home his first A+ report card, and ran in to show it to his mother, but she was too busy talking with one of her friends on the phone to pay much attention to him.

The days flew by, and before she knew it or was quite ready, Rainee went into labor just as she was getting ready to go to bed.

Though she had done this before with Dusty, she was totally unprepared for the long ordeal that she was about to go through, or for how many more children she would have when it was all over.

She and Sunny quickly arranged to have more cribs delivered to the house to accomodate the quads, and together they spent the rest of the night taking care of them. Sunny had to go to work the next morning, but Rainee opted to use one of the extra vacation days she'd been given to stay home with the babies. She did, however, have Dusty call and hire a butler to come help them before he left for school. She was simply too busy feeding babies and changing diapers to be able to make the call herself. That afternoon, Sunny came home with another promotion.

He was thrilled about being able to teach at Dusty's school now, though he knew Rainee would be glad that he'd be off the next few days now since it was the weekend. Rainee was glad, for despite having some help from the new butler, her day had been really hectic taking care of 4 newborns. She laid down to finally take a nap when Sunny got home, deciding that it was his turn to look after them for awhile. When she awoke later that night, she did what many women do when they're stressed...she went shopping. First she went by the bookstore and bought cell phones for herself and Sunny, and also one for Dusty since she knew it wouldn't be long before he'd be a teenager and wanting a phone of his own.

While she was there, she met Jan Tellerman, and proudly told her about the new additions to her family.

Then she headed over to Nerissa's Clothing Store where she bought herself a new outfit and gave herself a bit of a makeover in the bathroom there. She decided that wearing her hair down would likely be easier for now, since she wouldn't likely have much time for styling it in an elegant french roll like she had been doing.

Then she headed over to the BV General Store, where she got some groceries, tried some Pineapple Surprise at the Polynesian food stand there, and hung out for awhile to play some pinball.

She struck up a conversation with one of the men there that she found herself quite attracted to. Much more attracted than she really was to Sunny at least.

She simply chatted with him for awhile before saying goodbye, for she knew that now was not the time to be endangering her marriage. She had four new infants who needed their parents to look after them. Finally she headed home, for it was getting rather late now, and she was beginning to feel guilty about leaving Sunny all alone with the quads for so long while she had fun.

Dusty meanwhile was finding ways to keep himself occupied while his parents' attention was consumed with his new brothers and sister. He would play on the monkey bars and slide in the back yard a lot, but had also started trying to paint using the old easel that they had upstairs. One night, a strange blonde lady came into their house and gave him a membership card for a secret artist's lot. He wasn't sure if he'd get to use it for awhile, since he knew his parents would be much to busy to take him there, but maybe once he'd gotten older he could.

As any parent can tell you, babys grow up far too quickly, and in what seemed like no time at all, it was time for the quads to become toddlers. Nightfall on the evening of their birthday found Sunny as the one "on duty", so one by one he helped his babies to make the transition.

And so began the next phase of their parenting life, one that proved to be even more hectic as they set about trying to teach their children the skills they would need in life. They had gotten some smart milk to help them learn, but it didn't take long before their stress levels rose so much that they found it was all they could do to manage to get them regular bottles from the fridge, and so most of the special milk went unused. The first to learn a skill was Delana, who had been one to have the advantage of one of the bottle of smart milk early on, and so learned how to use the potty by herself much faster than her siblings.

Next to master the skill was Dalton, who had also gotten some of the smart milk early on.

In the midst of all the commotion of trying to teach the toddlers their skills, Dusty's birthday went largely unnoticed by his parents. Taking it in stride, however, Dusty made the transition on his own and grew up well due to attention they had given him before his siblings were born.

He decided to devote his life to knowledge and the arts, deciding that he wanted to join the Sim City Ballet company eventually.

When they weren't being taught a skill, the quads would play with the various toys that Sunny and Rainee had bought them. Delana became particularly interested in the little xylophone.

When Sunny had to go back to work on Monday, Rainee decided to try something a little less physically demanding and sat down with Darren to teach him how to talk.

That day, Sunny earned yet another promotion. He was amazed at how quickly he was managing to climb the career ladder, and though he was pretty tired and stressed from helping take care of the quads, he was still happy about it, especially since it meant he could now get special bookcase for his family that would help his children learn all of their skills faster as they continued to grow.

Now that Dusty was a teenager, he really began to notice how hard his parents were having to work trying to teach his brothers and sister all of their skills. So he decided to help them out some, and sat down with Delana after school and taught her how to talk while Rainee helped Darren on the potty.

It wasn't long after Delana spoke her first words with Dusty's help that Darren finally learned how to use the potty on his own.

Later that evening, Damien finally mastered the skill as well.

Due to the constant attention they received from their parents, and from the butler, the quads were by and large happy and healthy children. They got along well with one another, and from time to time a couple of them would pull themselves up on wobbly legs and huggle one another.

Though they didn't know if they'd manage to teach all four of the children all of their skills before they became children and figured things out on their own, Sunny and Rainee were giving it their best shot, and as they frequently took time to tickle and snuggle the babes, they felt fairly confident that they would all grow up well at least. But only time could tell.


Author's notes: I initially wasn't all that excited about playing this family next, since I really expected it to a rather boring routine of eating/sleeping/skilling/etc. for them. And it did start out that way for the most part, though with the birth of the quads, things definitely got interesting in a hurry. And with as much trouble as I was having keeping up with all of them all the time, I'm sure I'd fail miserably at the Toddlermania challenge. I'm sure many of you reading that have done that challenge are familiar with inhabitant bars that look like this:

That's a lot of dirty diapers.

Also, you'd think that a day after having quads, the last thing Rainee would want would be to have more babies. But nope, this is what she rolled as one of her wants almost right away after the birth. Sunny started rolling the same want as well a day or two later. I haven't yet decided if I'll let them go for it or not...maybe I will eventually, but not until the quads are a bit older and don't require so much attention from the adults.

Though despite the want, they certainly don't look happy about having all the babies on the lot loading screen.

I forgot to take note of the toddlers' personalities, but I'll be sure to include their stats when I make it back here for their round 2. Finally, here's a look at what they all looked like at the end of the week after I left their lot:

Thanks for reading. Next up is the Shi residence, with Sue and Shea Shi (say that 5 times fast).