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Sims 3 Whovian Challenge, Day 1

I call it a "Day 1" challenge, but really this is just what happened in my first day of playing, which encompassed some 5 weeks of Sims 3 time.

Thus far, it's mostly been preliminary setup.  I created Dr. Garius Whom, my "protagonist" sim, with these traits:
  • Unlucky - After all, he's damned by fate to live through several soul mates passing away and mutate to a different life state every time it happens.  Aside from that, being unlucky is mostly done to introduce an element of challenge.  In a way, it makes the game less challenging while better facilitating a marathon with a single sim, since my protagonist can't die by accident because the reaper finds unlucky and loser sims far too amusing to allow to perish from anything other than old age.
  • Genius - As is suited to the good doctor, this fellow has some real sci-fi mojo going on in his cranium.  I've read this trait gives me certain options when painting that I'd otherwise need the artistic trait for.  Though this sim is somewhat a Marty Stu, Sims 3's protrayal of genius mostly involves being more in the vein of book smarts, and I can't say that really suits me.  However, I need some excuse for how this fellow managed to figure out how to cheat death.  Besides, it might be fun to play chess against death in the event any of his soul mates' passing is a result of an accident.
  • Loner - Being a craven introvert myself, it annoys me when my sim seeks constant attention, and I can sure sympathize with enjoying my solitude.  That said, I sort of regret taking this trait, because it's making it far too easy to skill up his Descendant Of Da Vinci skills while simultaneously not getting him outdoors often enough to have found a soul mate yet!
  • Savvy Sculptor - Do I really need any help becoming a better sculptor in order to make his lifetime wish come true?  Not really, but I hear there's certain sculptures you can only get if you have this trait.  Curiosity of what those may be cemented this choice.
  • Friendly - This counteracts some of the adversion my sim has for socializing properly, as apparently the Maxis design team thinks badly of loners and programmed them to only want to give people rude introductions normally.  Hey, there's such a thing as friendly introverts.
At first, I tried moving my sim into Starlight Shores, but the pesky thing locked up on me when I tried to have my sim swim in the ocean, and I was not that impressed with the size of it and variety of things to do (it's pretty much focused on being a venue for aspiring entertainers).

So I instead set up in an empty 39x39 plot of land in Moonlight Falls, conveniently just across the street from the consignment store.   While I was initially annoyed with all the Stephanie Meyer-inspired Vampires and Werewolves, I eventually got used to them running around doing their thing.  (Besides, if they really annoy me, I can just chuck a potent cure elixir at them.)  Moonlight Falls is the most recent officially released (not extra store content) map there is, so is probably the most fully-featured to use.
Thus far, I have not made a whole lot of use of my lot, I even forgot to complete the siding
until several weeks later, but my sim is deliriously happy partly thanks to the free access
to high quality decorations.   The only vestigial thing here is setting up basic necessities and
building a fence around it to deal with paparazzi.  However, I have a cool concept in mind:
I want to take that big window you see in the back and revamp the whole building to be a series
of two-story independant buildings connected on the second floor by short hallways completely
lined with that window.  (Perhaps a mirror on the side facing the street for privacy reasons?)
That said, thank goodness for the "edit town" mode, as it was necessary to make some modifications to the three "supernatural hangouts" in town.  First, I swapped out the juice bars for professional juice bars and removed any means the sims had to feed themselves there.  The Sims 3: Late Night features just make going to these hangouts that much more compellingly interesting, and it's somewhat immersion breaking to go to a venue and have the sims start preparing meals to feed themselves.  Aside from that, I converted Varg's Tavern into a dive bar (so as to meet the criteria for the "visit a dive bar" wish) and made a few minor furniture modifications (mostly making up for missing refrigerators).

Currently, Dr. Whom is about halfway through his "adult" stage, and has mastered the painting and inventing portion of his lifetime achievement.  Using the benefit of the wish enhancing serum when I mastered each, I scored an extra 15,000 lifetime happiness points (for a total of 30,000) just from mastering each of the two skills, plus a bit extra for trying to hammer anything my sim had on his wish list at the time.  The remaining skill, sculpting, is going extremely quickly thanks to his Savvy Sculptor trait.  If I continue to use the wish enhancing serum, I'll likely earn a total of 95,000 lifetime happiness points from completing my 40,000 point lifetime wish and 7,500 point mastery of sculpting wish.

If this was a standard game, it'd be virtually complete, Dr. Whom's lifetime wish completed before he hit the "elder" stage and is ready to shuffle off into retirement.  However, Dr. Whom has no such luck, this is a "challenge" game whose conditions I set out in the last blog entry.  I've already purchased two Fountain Of Youth elixirs, and he'll probably become a young adult immediately upon reaching his final life stage.  I'm tempted to change his life state per return to young adulthood, as that's much more whovian, but the initial conditions have it that I need an urn of a significant other per life state, and Dr. Whom has been so busy pursuing his dreams that he has not had the chance to find one yet.

As many have probably noticed before, it's a bit too easy to go it alone with a single sim, so as far as being "challenge" is concerned, this is not too impressive.  I'm thinking I'll throw in this additional factor to the challenge:
  • After the lifetime wish of his soul mate is completed, she'll immediately dump him, continue living with him, and do everything in her power to make Dr. Whom's life a living hell.
Perhaps the means I'll simulate this is to make sure they have the evil and/or mean-spirited trait, even if this requires using a personality-reversal elixir on them, and then restrict myself from interrupting any social interaction they perform.  It could be quite interesting when Dr. Whom has to deal with the ghosts of several inexplicably cruel ex-soul mates.  If that's not challenging enough, maybe I'll get Dr. Whom a few pets, too.

I kind of regret moving The Sims 3 off the SSD drive.  It does a ton of loading, to the point where I could probably type out half this blog entry in the time it takes me to go from the main menu to the game proper (but then, I am a pretty fast typist).  Unfortunately, I didn't have a whole lot of choice, as I also wanted Mass Effect 2 + 3 installed, and the Origin distributor does not give me a choice of where to install each individual app.  I'm considering getting myself set up with a RAID 1+0.

Update: Day 1 1/2, Day 1 Cont'd

4 hours real life time later, I had completed Dr. Whom's lifetime wish to the exact 95,000 of lifetime happiness cash-in I was expecting.   It was just a matter of getting my hands on the wish enhancing serum and using it right before sculpting hit level 10.  I finished off a few more multi-thousand point wishes before the serum wore off, and was now sitting pretty at just under 150,000 overall lifetime happiness points.
A secondary 15,000 happiness point explosion immediately after the primary
80,000 for completing Dr. Whom's lifetime wish while under the influence
of wish enhancing serum.  Having the "opportunst" lifetime reward helps, too.
Too bad there was no lifetime rewards left I really cared about buying... ah what the heck, I picked up Never Dull and Perceptive so I could plumb my perspective soul mates' brains better before choosing one and being stuck with whatever lifetime wish they had.  So far, Dr. Whom was mostly being hit upon by taken women.  Dr. Whom is a man of principles, he doesn't date married women... well, except that one time, but it was really more of a friendly outing in execution.

As far as money was concerned, I had earned 10k from performing an opportunity and had another 10k mostly from consignment sales, so it was time to take another step towards making Whom Mansion a reality.  The existing structure was moved closer to the entrance and re-sized a bit, a second floor was added, and a second "pod" was added on the right, with plans to eventually make a ring of 8 of them with a yard in the middle.  The second story bridge between them worked marvelously, Sims 3's pathing is quite good.

The rooms were to each have unique style and function.  I opted for a Chinese theme of Dr. Whom's new bedroom, but otherwise the "main" pod was mostly standard contemporary living, with a downstairs kitchen and a place reserved for what would eventually be a living room.   In the second pod, the second story was the art studio while the first story (inaccessible from ground level by design) hosted the invention work bench and a blacklight that was literally the shape of a giant bedsheet-wearing ghost.

You might notice that there's a whole lot of empty space visible... yeah, I had blown through my 20k simoleans before I knew it, leaving much lacking detail, including any actual siding on the second "pod."  Somehow, I had managed to create a house net worth of about 70k simoleans while having barely more functionality than a starter home.  Perhaps all the paintings and sculptures I kept about were a factor.

Winter came.  A burglar robbed Dr. Whom of an eisel and trash compactor before making a clean getaway... right, time to buy a burglar alarm.  Dr. Whom invited in a paparazzi and they played rock paper scissors and built a snowman; lifetime wish completed, I was just screwing with Sims 3 at this point.  Dr. Whom began work on an ice sculpture of the paparazzi, but then he received a call from his agent to go get a drink at the Velvet Lounge.  While Dr. Whom was gone, the paparazzi built himself an igloo and finally left, the nosy prick.  
Dr. Whom's modified house... lost to time.
While at the Velvet Lounge, Dr. Whom turned into an elder at last, so it looks like his lifetime wish was achieved just in time!  I now had some decisions to make regarding whether I would go for a different life state when he drinks a "fountain of youth" elixir, regardless of not having had a soul mate this time around - perhaps I should give him plastic surgery or maybe even a new set of traits?  That would certainly suit the "newly reincarnated Doctor Who" idea.

I was still mulling that over when disaster struck.  Dr. Whom returned home to complete his paparazzi sculpture, but I noticed that the chainsaw he was using to mold the block of ice wasn't making the proper sound effects (I was just hearing the ice being impacted and not the chainsaw) so I opted to save the game.  Big mistake: Windows 7 immediately informed me that Sims 3 was no longer responding.  

An educated guess tells me that the reason why the sound effects weren't playing properly was probably due to some kind of process leak in the background, but who knows?  What I do know is this: when I reloaded the saved game, I found that I had lost about 2-4 real life hours of progress.  I'm now looking at the home in the first screenshot of this blog entry again, some time after achieving Dr. Whom's lifetime wish.  It's now early morning, 2 days before aging up. 

That's pretty frustrating, but I should have saved a lot more recently.  I looked for an autosave option so as to prevent this from happening again in the future, there is none.  Of course, having the game crash at all is pretty hard to forgive.  Damn it, EA Maxis, I've said it before and I'll say it again: you're making a bundle off this game, so spend a little of that to fix what's broke!  Yes, what Sims 3 achieves is pretty incredible, and after as many expansions as it has had the code is probably mighty spaghetti-like, but still...

Ah well, if there's one thing I learned about data loss as a lifelong computer user, it's always take this as an opportunity to do it even better the second time.  I think I had too much space per "pod" of Dr. Whom's new house structure: 10x or 11x was too much and was driving up the value of the property without my really having a use for all that space.  So, for the redo, I think I'll try reducing each pod in size enough to have a 6-space long tube between them instead of just a 3-space long tube (the transparent windows are 3-spaces long so it must be a factor of that) with a goal of preserving a lot more lawn space for gardening, sculpted statues, and whatever else.
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