Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fraser: Introduction and Traveling

I've decided to branch out a little with my challenge, largely because I've been eager to play with World Adventures stuff, but the flow of life in the Medina-Britt household is proving too distracting for me to focus on that. Plus, I'm still nervous about glitches and such with traveling, because I still keep hearing rumors that some people have bad things happen still when they let their sims travel. With as much time and effort as I've invested into the Medina-Britts, I'd really hate to lose them at this point to a bug. So, a test sim/family seemed to be the answer. Starting with a single sim will allow me to start trying out the traveling in a way that I won't stand to lose so much if things go wonky. I'll most likely have that sim start a family at some point, both to allow for future generations of this tester family, and because I've never tried taking more than one sim on a vacation, nor have I ever tried traveling and leaving some at home, so I want to see for myself how that works as well.

Therefore, going forward, at least for awhile, I'll have a second family and neighborhood being covered in the blog. How long they'll remain with us will depend on whether or not they fall victim to game glitches or not. So without further ado, meet Anya Fraser, my founding sim for the Riverview branch of my completion challenge. Her traits are Adventurous, Athletic, Brave, Friendly, and Vegetarian. Her favorites are Indie music, Falafel, and the color Green. Her LTW is to become a Great Explorer and fully explore at least 6 tombs in each travel destination. I did hand-pick all of her stats instead of randomizing since I wanted her to be as fit for adventuring as possible. Future generations of Frasers will be randomized most likely, unless I really feel the need for a particular trait on one of them.

I moved Anya into a small two bedroom, one bath house that I built for her in Riverview. It is sparsely furnished at present because I didn't want to spend money on anything more than bare essentials right now so that she'd have money to start traveling as soon as possible. Here are a few shots of the house as it was when she moved in.

Although she did have enough money left over to take a trip to China right away, I decided it might not be a bad thing to let her gain a few skills first, so I had her start working on cooking and fishing. She also rolled a want to learn Athletic skill and to take a class in Athletics, so I let her do that as well. Thus, there's not much to report about her first few days in Riverview since they were largely spent skilling, and trying to pad her bank account at least a little before sending her abroad so she'll have funds to buy some of the things she'll need for tomb exploring. I ended up giving her about 14.5 sim days before I finally sent her to China. Longer than I'd intended to wait, but she made good progress with her skills in that time.

She had six days in China since I'd managed to get her the Prepared Traveler reward, along with the Jetsetter reward to make travel cheaper. She spent most of her time there doing adventures, most of which simply involved collecting things, fishing, talking to people, or otherwise running errands. She did manage to complete one tomb while there though, and got to start exploring a second one, though she ran out of time while inside it. I forgot to take many pictures, but I did get a shot of her entering the second tomb, the Dragon's Maw.

She completed Visa level 1 and came close to finishing Visa level 2. She made several acquaintances, but didn't spend enough time talking to any one person to become friends with them. She also learned a couple of Chinese songs from one of the shopkeepers, and a couple of French songs from one of the visiting adventurers at the Base Camp. While she didn't take time while there to learn Martial Arts, she did buy the study book and the equipment for it so she can start studying it at home. She also acquired some cherries, pomelos and plums to add her garden at home, though she still has to raise her gardening skill before she can plant some of them. All in all, it was a pretty successful first trip. She also managed to pick up the Master Manchu Magical Gnome.

The next few days passed pretty ordinarily, with Anya working in her garden and catching up with her few friends. One night, her good friend Aiden Jones asked her out on a date (despite the fact that he's married) and she accepted. At first they just chatted with one another and kept things casual, but after awhile Anya started to try her hand at flirting with  him and found him to be receptive. She ended up getting her first kiss from him that night. He is also now a romantic interest of hers, which is somewhat unfortunate as there is another guy I was thinking of pairing her up with maybe, one who is single but is also still a teenager.

The next day she went over to Aiden's house and chatted with him for a bit, and also met his wife Hannah. She talked with Hannah for quite awhile, attempting to become friends with her (because she needs another friend to raise Charisma), but didn't quite make it. She went home after that, and the following day ended up taking a trip to the graveyard to collect some rare seeds and any gemstones she could find laying around. While there, she decided to explore the catacombs in the mausoleum. She came out a little worse for wear, but seemed to have a good time.

After reading the martial arts book that she'd bought in China, Anya started practicing on the practice dummy and board block she'd bought. It didn't take her long to progress to her third belt.

Before she knew it, Anya's birthday had arrived. She was a bit dismayed by it when she considered how little she had accomplished on her lifetime dream so far, but knew she had plenty of time left still if she used it wisely. So she decided to celebrate the start of the next chapter in her life and invited a few friends and acquaintances over for a party. After mingling with her guests for a bit, she blew out the candles on her cake and aged up to Adult.

After her guests had left, Anya practiced with the board breaking blocks some more and managed to earn her next belt.

The day after her birthday, Anya tended to things around the house to get everything in order, and then called for a shuttle to take her to the airport so she could return to China. Once there, the first thing she did was to go to the Martial Arts Academy to find a sparring partner to try out her new skills with. She found someone willing to spar with her right away, and they had a good match but sadly Anya lost in the end.

After the match, she got cleaned up and then headed over to the Dragon's Maw to continue her exploration there, since she'd had to cut it short to catch her plane last time. Now that she was able to take her time in exploring it, the tomb wasn't that difficult to navigate, though she quickly grew tired. She went to one of the large rooms that seemed pretty safe and pitched her tent to spend the night.

When she awoke, she finished making her way through the tomb, collecting plenty of loot along the way. After finding what she'd been sent in for, she returned to the person that had sent her, though took some time to collect various metals and gems she saw along the way, as well as to do a bit of excavating at a spot that caught her eye. She'd been able to convert them into several thousand simoleans last time, and she knew she'd need the income they could provide to keep funding her travels.

She spent the next few days talking with the locals and doing various tasks for them, hoping to be given an assignment to explore another tomb for someone. Finally she met a guy who was raving about some tool that would smash boulders, and after a little investigation and a bit more errand running for him and another man, she finally was given a key to enter the Temple of Heaven to search for Pangu's Axe. After hours spent threading her way through the maze like tunnels and stairs, and finding and disarming several traps, Anya finally found the axe and claimed it.

She was able to put it to use almost right away as she made her way back to a large boulder she'd seen earlier while exploring. She used the axe to smash it to see what lie beyond and found more treasure she could plunder.

She explored as much of the tomb as she could, but fatigue was starting to get the better of her again by then, and it was coming upon the time she'd have to dash to catch her flight. She took a look down one last set of stairs and found an area she hadn't explored yet, but time was up, so regretfully she had to leave. She promised herself she'd come back again and finish exploring to see if she could get into the few areas she hadn't figured out how to access. She returned home having completed Visa level 2, and was 53% toward getting her Visa level 3 for China.

One of the first things I had her do was go and find Aiden and "break up" with him. They weren't actually going steady or anything since he is married, but they are tagged as romantic interests, so I had her do the "ask to just be friends" interaction to remove that flag so that when I set her up with somebody else she won't be cheating (yes, I know she'll likely still have taken a reputation hit over it, but couldn't be helped). After that she went home to fall into bed exhausted.

(Thought I had a shot of her and Aiden, but I guess I don't.)

I mentioned earlier I'd had my eye on another guy for her. The other guy is Maximus McDermott, and he's now a Young Adult who seems perfect for her in that he has red hair and has a Scottish sounding name that goes with hers. The next evening she invited him over and lost no time making her interest in him clear. Within a few hours they'd not only had their first kiss, but they were engaged.

One thing led to another, and before long they were woohooing in her bed. It wasn't necessarily all she might have desired though...

Despite that, the next morning she asked Maximus to move in with her, and he readily accepted.

Maximus McDermott
Traits: Bookworm, Green Thumb, Athletic, Lucky, Angler
Favorites: Indie music, Tri-tip Steak, Spice Brown
LTW: Become a Superstar Athlete

The next couple days passed fairly uneventfully. Maximus got a job in the sports career to start working on his LTW, both he and Anya went around town looking for rare and special seeds, and Anya went fishing in the dead of night and caught a few deathfish. She also picked up a copy of the Ambrosia recipe when the bookstore was running a sale. In short, I'm planning ahead to her needing to use ambrosia to have enough time as an adult to do her adventuring and have children, because I don't really want to complicate things for her with a child until she's made at least considerable progress toward her LTW. Anya gained another level in martial arts and got a new belt.

And that's where I'm going to leave them for now. Anya and Maximus have both spun up wishes to get married, so that will probably happen first thing or near to it next time. Then I plan to have them travel together as though it were a honeymoon, probably to Egypt next, but I might still decide to just go back to China again first. Whichever I choose, I'm going to have to pick up the pace with the travels, and not spend so much time with her in the neighborhood in between each time or it'll take her forever to finish her LTW. I do plan to Ambrosia her to give her lots more time, but hoping I don't have to do that more than once.

In terms of play schedule for the two different households/neighborhoods, I plan to stick with the Fraser household for a little while longer at least to keep exploring WA content and trying out some of the different travel options to make sure they don't blow up the neighborhood before I try to have any of the Medinas or Britts travel. Once I'm comfortable with it, I plan to start alternating between the two households/neighborhoods for updates. I doubt I'll make any attempt to play each for an equal amount of time, however, but will just play each for however long feels right for an update each time. Looking ahead to when I install other expansions, I'm thinking I'll probably create a new family in a different neighborhood to try out the new stuff with, at least if there's enough new stuff such as LTWs and the like to warrant creating a family to focus on it. We'll see how that pans out when the time comes, however.

Until next time, cheers!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

World Adventures Sneaks In With Birthdays Galore

This entry sees the installation of the first game expansion, World Adventures. I have played with this expansion some in the past, though not as much as I might have wanted to, and things were severely buggy last time I played it. I *think* most of the bugs with traveling have been resolved now from what I've read, but we shall see. I've also installed the High End Loft Stuff pack. After giving it some thought, I decided that when I install an expansion I'll also install any of the stuff packs that came out after it but before the next expansion. Installing these two packs hasn't had any immediate impact on the Medina-Britt household, but hopefully it will start to figure in soon.

Returning to the story, the day after Carolyn's death passed fairly uneventfully. Damien had the day off for some reason (His work schedule said he was supposed to work, and I got a notice about the carpool, but it never showed up and when I clicked the "go to work" button it told me he doesn't work for 2 days yet), so I had him working on his writing skill. Charles tended the garden with a little help from Carina (forgot to send her out to help until he was almost done) then spent most of the rest of the day crying about his sister's death. Dylan worked on his current novel some more, and when the laptop broke, I had Jeanna fix it (she still didn't get zapped). Adrianna went to her first day of work and ended up working late, and Carina spent most of the day out socializing after going to the bistro to turn in an opportunity (i.e., I sent her out then left her to her own devices). Benito finished one painting, sold it, then puttered around the house most of the day doing little. He had just started working on another one when Grim came for him around 6PM. He died having contributed 3 points to the challenge.

Benito Britt's Achievements
  • Traits - Brave
  • LTW - Chess Legend
  • Skills - Logic: Grand Master

Damien consoled himself about his father's death by making love with his wife Adrianna. The next morning, she wasn't feeling so well, but she went to work anyway. The day passed fairly routinely with Dylan and Damien both working on writing novels. Damien had the day off again and apparently this is some new "personal time" feature because around the time he would have gotten off I got a message that he'd received his pay for personal time off. Jeanna passed the time on the treadmill then later coached Charles on it.

When Adrianna got home that evening she headed out to the hot tub to relax for awhile. She sat out there for a few hours until a sudden odd feeling in her stomach made her get out. Once she had, her belly popped out and she realized she was pregnant.

Another ho hum day after that. This family is really pretty boring right now. There was this awkward moment though when Adrianna went up to talk to Charles right after he and Jeanna had been making love. She just walked right in before he'd had a chance to get dressed again and he just stood there in the nude talking with her like it didn't bother him at all.

The following evening, Adrianna went into labor. She and Damien rushed to the hospital, and she gave birth a baby girl they named Eugenia. She got the traits Absent-Minded and Athletic, the hidden trait Makes No Messes (daughter of a maid), and her favorites are Chinese music, Vegetarian Lobster Thermidor, and Black.

Chatting with Charles must have made an impression on Adrianna, for after she got home with Eugenia and put her in the crib, she flirted with him a bit while Damien was getting something to eat. Jeanna was nearby, and wasn't pleased about it, but the incident didn't cause any major strife and it only took a little bit of Charles talking with her before they were on very good terms with one another again. The next day, however, I discovered that for some reason Dylan is pretty put out with Adrianna. No idea what that's about, but when she tried to talk to him he really gave her some attitude.

I think they're sending each other some mixed signals here...

When Eugenia was born, Adrianna decided that she wanted to quit work. Since her LTW is finished, I let her. As soon as she'd made the call to quit her job in Law Enforcement, she rolled a wish to join the Criminal career. Since I found that amusing, she'll be taking that job. Damien also rolled a wish to quit his job, but since his job is part of his LTW he won't be allowed to quit.

That same day, while she was working out in the garden, Carina realized that she was pregnant. This came as a bit of surprise to me as well, because while I did have her and Dylan have risky woohoo a few times, I hadn't heard any chimes and didn't realize it "took". I could well have missed it in the midst of other things going on though.

Adrianna started her new job in the Criminal field the next day and ended up getting herself arrested on her first day on the job.

The next day was Eugenia's birthday, and Charles called around to invite people over for a birthday party. Maybe I shouldn't have had him do so because about the same time Carina came home from the library and went into labor. I also got a notification that Adrianna had been arrested again. Carina left for the hospital about the time the first guest was arriving. For some reason Dylan didn't go with her. She gave birth to a baby boy she named Eldred. He got the traits Easily Impressed and Evil, the hidden trait Can Catch Burglars (passed down from his great-great-grandfather Hank Goddard), and his favorites are Egyptian music, Crepes, and Black. Amusingly, Damien threw a wish to interview him when he was born.

The party went on, though judging by what the guests were doing you'd have thought it was a much different sort of party than a baby's birthday party.

These folks were just one of at least three couples that tried out the beds during Eugenia's party.

It was getting late by the time I finally managed to have Damien take Eugenia to her cake, and most of the guests had left by then, but we got it done. She aged up to Toddler and, I was happy to see, she has her grandmother's red hair. I was afraid the red hair would be lost from the family with all of the black haired people in this last generation.

The next day things were largely back to normal. In the afternoon, Charles spun up a want to visit the graveyard, and that prompted me to have him take Morganna and Beau's graves over there, something I'd been planning to do for a bit. His visit there was uneventful, and he headed home shortly after completing his task.

The next day was Carina's birthday, and though she did get a cake, it was just a small affair with the family present. While the family generally loved throwing parties, Carina decided to be a bit more low key with this birthday.

The birthdays kept coming, with Eldred and Damien both having birthdays the following day, Damien to Adult, and Eldred to Toddler. Charles arranged a party for the two of them and they each took their turn blowing out candles in the back yard.

While cleaning up from the party, Carina realized that she was pregnant again.

Still the birthdays weren't finished here. The following day was Adrianna's birthday. She had the day off and slept for much of the day since she'd been up most of the night taking care of Eugenia and Eldred. Then she spent some time working on her Athletic skill for her job. By evening, it had almost been forgotten, but they quickly got a cake and set it up out back so that she at least got to blow out candles with her family around her while she transitioned to Elder.

The next day started out fairly ordinary, but by evening became quite eventful indeed. The evening was going along normally, Carina had woken Eldred up from a nap and fed him some mushed up waffles, then was teaching him how to walk when she went into labor. She left for the hospital, and shortly afterwards Dylan followed her there. While Carina was at the hospital giving birth, Grim came for Jeanna finally. Charles was devastated as they had been practically inseparable since she'd retired. She died having contributed 5 points to the challenge.

Jeanna (Whitmore) Medina's Achievements
  • Traits - Athletic, Lucky, Mooch, Party Animal
  • LTW - Become a Superstar Athlete

Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Carina gave birth to a baby girl she named Edita. She got the traits Clumsy and Hates the Outdoors, the hidden trait Can Catch Burglars, and her favorites are French music, Stir Fry, and Yellow.

The next day passed uneventfully, then the day after that was another double birthday day. This time it was Dylan aging up to Adult, and Eugenia aging up to Child. Eugenia went first, her great-uncle Charles taking her to the cake and helping her blow out the candles. She transitioned to Child and picked up the Computer Whiz trait.

Once everyone had a chance to enjoy some of Eugenia's cake, Dylan blew out the candles on his cake. His transition was less dramatic, but everyone still cheered him on.

Another birthday the following day, this time for baby Edita. Since they'd just done a big party the day before, we opted to keep it small and just do a cake in the backyard with the immediate household. It took a bit of doing to convince someone to take her out to the cake, but eventually Charles paid attention to me and took her out and she transitioned up to Toddler. Sadly, without red hair.

And that's where this entry will end. I'd been intending to play a bit more to add on to this post, but that hasn't happened, so I decided to just get this up for now. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more play time in with this family soon. What lies ahead for them? Well, I expect Charles to die any sim day now (I'm surprised he's lasted this long frankly). Dylan is closing in on his LTW I think - he's maxed writing already and is more than halfway through painting. Damien is making slow but steady progress toward his LTW, though I forget how far he has to go offhand. There will also likely be a lot more birthdays and toddler training and all of the kids deciding what they want to do with their lives as well. And who knows, we might even get more kids if risky woohoo hates me decides we need more.

Besides all of the family events to come, I have a new house built for them that I'll hopefully get them moved into before to much longer. I would have moved them in the course of this update, but I got lazy about it. I'm also considering borrowing ASimWen's idea and splitting the two families up and sending the Britt family to live in another neighborhood. With so many sims in one household I find I get so caught up with just keeping everyone healthy and happy that I forget to have them work on completion challenge items a lot, especially the elders which end up being left to their own devices most of the time except when I need them to train a toddler in something or some other such task. I think splitting them up into smaller family units would help me focus on challenge progress more and less on simply trying to keep up with everyone.

So, lots of things ahead still for the Medina and Britt families. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll continue to follow along with them.