Friday, October 25, 2013

Britt: Welcome to Twinbrook

Welcome back! As stated at the end of the last update, I'm returning to the Medina-Britt household with this update, though I have split the household up as I mentioned I would be doing. I looked into various ways to do it and ended up with a kind of two-fold approach. After saving the game as is a few different ways so I'd have ample backups if something goes badly wrong, I took one of the copies and had the Britts first move to an empty lot in Sunset Valley just to separate their household from the Medinas, then had them move to Twinbrook via the in-game Move > To new Neighborhood command. They did end up with the whole family inventory (most of which I'm going to ignore and pretend it's not there), and I gave them half of the cash the dual household had, but otherwise they took nothing with them.

Since it created a new instance of Twinbrook, I had to choose from existing housing for them, at least to start with. After looking around , I had them purchase a 6 bedroom house called Willow Manor as their first residence in Twinbrook. I hadn't had a chance to look at the house beforehand, but it's really not that bad for a pre-built house, so I'll probably keep them there for now at least and see how it goes. I did do some redecorating and a tiny bit of remodelling, and I may build them something else later if I end up not liking this one for some reason, but for now I think I can work with it ok.

Storywise, I'm going to say that Damien's Insane trait caused him to do something really bad while he was on air (He's a Star News Anchor) and he lost his job in Sunset Valley. He managed to get another anchor position, but it was in the distant, small town of Twinbrook, rather a step down for him and for them, but it was something. Adrianna managed to get an introduction to the local mob there so was able to keep her Criminal career, and I've decided to take steps to extend her life just enough to let her finish her career so I can check it off the list (more on that in a minute). Eugenia is a teenager still, so switching schools wasn't much of an issue for her. Besides the location change, nothing has really changed much for them. Damien and Adrianna have both completed their LTWs already, and Eugenia still hasn't chosen one. One perk of moving the way I did that I hadn't realized is that they were able to keep all of their relationships from Sunset Valley and their family tree is still intact. It has impacted their jobs in that they no longer know their co-workers which will give them a bit of a performance hit for awhile until they meet and befriend them.

As you can see, the family tree is intact, but the ancestors like Byron that aren't showing as ghosts are likely signs of trouble ahead :/
 After getting moved into their new house the family split up to do their own things. Adrianna went upstairs to workout on the weight machine, Damien started work on an article, and Eugenia went to take an Athletics class at the stadium. Once she'd finished there, she went down to the bookstore and got a part time job since she was wanting one. After talking with the manager and getting a schedule, she went out back to go dumpster diving before jogging home. She found a food processor and a table.

The next few days passed in a routine of work and school and starting to meet people around town. Damien made a few trips to the local greenhouse trying to find money tree seeds, but didn't have any luck. Adrianna got a promotion at work, and the purchase of a new sauna gave her the chance of possibly living long enough to reach the top of her career (since she's finished her LTW, she's not allowed to use a deathflower or ambrosia, but I did decide to let her do the rejuvenating mud baths that give her one more day per bath to extend her life a little bit at least).

I'll probably build them a nice sauna building eventually, but for now it's just sitting out in the yard.
On Thursday Eugenia got on the honor roll at her new school, but also kept trying to skip. I sent her in, then saw she was playing on her MultiTab 6000 instead of being in class like she was supposed to. I told her to go to school again, then a little while later she shows up back at the house. I sent her back, and followed her, and saw that there was a big pile up of kids trying to get into the building that was causing her issues. Eventually she did get to go in.

A few odd things have been occurring, and I'm hoping they aren't signs of impending trouble. First, on Wednesday, even though Adrianna's work schedule said she was off, she got the notice about the carpool coming, and when she didn't go in it showed that she was missing work. I sent her in and she worked her shift as usual, then the next day she got her day off as she was supposed to. But then on Thursday I got the notice that Carolyn Britt was getting old and wouldn't live forever. Uh...she's already dead... The notice that she had died came on Friday. So, I dunno. Let's hope things don't go south too badly.

I also got a similar notice about Charles Medina.

On Saturday, Eugenia rolled up The Emperor of Evil as a desired LTW. Not what I was really hoping for in her case (I'd kind of hoped I could do one of the new Ambitions LTWs with her), but I do have the rule about accepting the first unique LTW they roll up, so that's what she got.

Damien also rolled up an interesting wish on Saturday morning. He told me he wants to have 2 children total (because he's Family Oriented). Hmm. Well, Adrianna's already an elder, so unless he has an affair and gets his mistress pregnant (which I don't really want to do, partly from not wanting to mess with all that and partly because he doesn't strike me as the cheating type), another biological child isn't possible. But there's always adoption, and I may well go that route. It would work well since I've pretty much decided that Eugenia's going to be a lesbian, so she likely won't be having any children of her own. I would have had her adopt eventually, but no reason I can't go ahead and do so now instead. So, I locked in the wish, and had Damien make the call. I chose to have him adopt a male child, so Damien now has a son named Edvin. Edvin's traits are Workaholic, Party Animal, and Easily Impressed, and his favorites are French music, Fruit Parfait, and Hot Pink.

Eugenia spent the morning working out on the treadmill with some pretty remarkable results. If only it was so easy to slim down in real life!

Adrianna's boss had asked her to become friends with Dudley Racket, so she headed over to Dudley's house on Saturday afternoon to get to know him.

Still the notices of the imminent or recent passing of people that were long dead kept coming. The next one was for Byron Medina. There were several others, but after his, I stopped keeping track of them.

To round out the busy Saturday, Adrianna got a promotion at work and then had to choose which branch of the criminal career she wanted to go into. Since Eugenia will be doing the Evil branch, and since Adrianna is a Kleptomaniac anyway, she chose the Thief branch. I should probably note that besides extending her life a bit with the mud baths, I also got her the Entrepreneurial Mindset reward that helps the sim get to the top of their career faster.

On Sunday Edvin made a couple of muffins on the child oven and then went down to the park to have a bake sale. I didn't go overboard having him make stuff for it since my main objective here is to try to have at least one sale so I can count it as completed (the rules don't really specify it, but I'm interpreting it as you need to make at least one sale to count the bake sale as completed).

I missed the actual sale when I was checking in with Damien who was trying to become best friends with someone, but Edvin did make a sale to Harwood Clay, so yay! Not sure I'm going to bother with doing the bake sales in future for they seem like a whole lot more trouble than they're really worth.

On Monday night, Adrianna got arrested as she was getting off work. It certainly wasn't her first trip to jail, but it was rather inconvenient since she was dead tired and just wanted to get home and rest.

Tuesday was Damien's birthday. I'd had him at the park most of the day trying to get interviews with people, and I forgot about it, so he aged up to Elder on his own when he got home. At least Eugenia was there to cheer for him.

The next few days passed without anything much happening outside of the ordinary. On Damien's first day back to work after the leave time he got after adopting Edvin his boss gave him the opportunity to get in better with the local news station if he would travel to France and interview some people there for a human interest story they wanted to run. Damien agreed and looked into travel plans when he got home from work. He found a flight leaving immediately.

Since I'm covering the World Adventures stuff fairly thoroughly with Anya Fraser, I won't go into a lot of detail about any trips or adventuring anyone but she does. I'll just make note of anything of particular interest that happens and skip the tedium of showing different sims doing the same tombs. While I did have Damien get the intro mission for France, the main point of his trip was to meet and interview locals, so I wasn't too worried about doing a lot of adventuring with him. Oddly enough, the opportunity he had to go to France and interview 5 locals completed as soon as he arrived there, and he didn't have the interview interaction available when talking with locals there. I decided I'd proceed as though he still had to interview people anyway since he does need more friends to get the last point of Charisma to be at level 10.

Damien explored one tomb from the mission he'd gotten and earned his level 1 visa for France in the process, but otherwise spent his time making friends. While hanging out at the market one day he proved me wrong about not being the cheating type when he got all flirty with the gal he'd been talking with when I left him to interact on his own for awhile. Among the various things he did, he visited the Nectary and learned how to make nectar, bought a nectar making machine to bring home (though whether or not we'll actually get into doing that here will depend on if any of them roll up wishes to do it), then while picking grapes there one evening he found a little gnome that he was able to collect to take home with him.

Damien returned home from France after spending 6 days there and life resumed for the family. Unfortunately there's weirdness going on and I don't think the game file is very  healthy. Besides all the death notices about already dead people earlier on, I experienced a few glitches while he was in France, and after he returned, Eugenia and Edvin suddenly disappeared from the portrait panel for the household while they were at work/school. They still existed somewhere, because Damien still had them on his relationship panel, and still had a wish regarding Edvin locked in, but they weren't showing as part of the household anymore. I was able to recover them by resetting the lot, but it wiped everything that had been in their inventory, including homework, and wiped their saved wishes and opportunities as well. I've saved the family to the library, so I may well try putting them into a fresh game file of Twinbrook before I play them next. They'll lose their relationships, which will suck a bit for job performance, but that can be dealt with easily enough. If anyone has any advice, feel free to leave a comment below.

And on that note I'm going to wrap up this entry. Next time we'll be checking in with Dylan Medina and his family. Hopefully they'll be unaffected by the split since they haven't moved anywhere. Until then, cheers!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Introducing the Baker Family and Ambitions

Welcome back everyone. Last time I indicated we'd be going back to the Medina-Britt household after installing Ambitions, but I ended up with a bit of a change of plans. I did install Ambitions as planned, but then I got to thinking about what I want to do with the Medinas and Britts, and decided that I really want to split them up into their own households partly so each family has more room to grow and expand, and partly so I won't have to deal with so many sims at once. I'm still pondering how exactly I want to do that, however, along with researching the different options and possible consequences. I also decided to try out Twallan's Story Progression mod so to see if I like it or not I started messing around in a new version of Sunset Valley with one of the pre-made families in the sim bin so I wouldn't put my established families at risk while I test. The family I chose, somewhat at random, was the Bakers (this shot was taken after I'd been playing them for a sim week or so).

I originally wasn't intending to make them part of this blog, because I thought I was just going to play around with them to test a few things out then be done, but as I was doing so I got interested in them and decided that I want to keep playing the family. I thought about just having them on the side, then decided that if I'm going to be playing them then I might as well include them in the challenge and the blog as well so I can count the things they do toward completion. This does mean that I don't have any pictures of them from what I've played so far, but I'll try to recap a bit. First, let's meet them (I should note they've all gotten makeovers from how I found them in the bin to start with).

Svetlana Baker

Age: Elder
Traits: Flirty, Family-Oriented, Good, Charismatic, Ambitious
Favorites: Pop, Fruit Parfait, Spiceberry
LTW: Super Popular (Be friends with 20 sims)

Heathcliff Baker

Age: Elder
Traits: Workaholic, Natural Cook, Perfectionist, Good, Computer Whiz
Favorites: Kids, Key Lime Pie, Irish Green
LTW: Presenting the Perfect Private Aquarium (Have 13 different perfect fish in fishbowls)

Becky Baker

Age: Young Adult
Traits: Hopeless Romantic, Mooch, Athletic, Heavy Sleeper, Lucky
Favorites: Pop, Cobbler, Yellow
LTW: Golden Tongue, Golden Fingers (Max Charisma and Guitar)

Topher Baker

Age: Child (started as a toddler)
Traits: Light Sleeper, Friendly, Neat (acquired when he aged up)
Favorites: Classical, Dim Sum, Spiceberry
LTW: None yet

I will be focusing first on Svetlana and Heathcliff to try to get their LTWs done. I don't know that they'll have enough time left to complete them and they won't have access to deathflowers or the like to extend their time, but challenge rules say I have to at least attempt to, so I'll be giving it the ol' college try as they say and we'll see if I can manage it. Becky and Topher will be getting attention as well, but I don't anticipate any problems with Becky's LTW since she has loads of time still, and Topher's still really young (just turned Child). I might try to steer Topher into one of the Ambitions careers, but we'll see what he shows an interest in as he gets older.

A lot of my play so far with this family was geared around toddler training for Topher. I did pretty well with him and he learned all his skills as well as had all of the skill books read to him and he maxed out on the xylophone and peg box. Since the family doesn't have much money for buying books (or much of anything else) right now, I had Heathcliff take him down to the library to read to him, and I think that's what I'll be doing from now on if I can manage it because it went really fast doing it that way. It only took them two afternoons to get through all 9 books, really more just an afternoon and a half since they didn't get down there until late on the first day.

Becky has been focused on her career and working on her guitar skill so far and didn't take much part in raising Topher through his toddlerhood. She did interact with him, and frequently had wishes to Snuggle, Toss in Air, Pick up, etc., I just felt her time was mostly better spent doing her stuff since I had the two elders there to take care of Topher and teach him everything he needed. This also means that the elders didn't get much of a chance to work on their skills or wishes much, but that's ok. Since I didn't see them having much of a realistic chance at finishing their LTWs anyway I wasn't too worried about it.

As for other updates and items of note: Becky is currently at level 4 of the Music career, level 5 Guitar skill and level 3 Charisma skill; Svetlana has 3/20 friends needed for her LTW and is 85 days old so only about 5 sim days left guaranteed - if she hits it hard with the friend making she might have a chance, but it's a slim one; Heathcliff has level 3 in Fishing skill so hasn't caught that many different kinds of fish yet, and hasn't gotten any perfect ones so far and he's 83 days old, so has about 7 days left guaranteed - chances of finishing his LTW are slim as well. As I said at the start, they're currently in Sunset Valley (a different one from the one the Medina-Britts are in) and on the same lot that the Medinas started on (it's my favorite starter lot in SV), but I'll probably move them to another town after a bit. I have a few different worlds I've gotten from the store that I've never used, so would like to try them out. Available options are: Hidden Springs, Lucky Palms, Monte Vista, and Dragon Valley - if anyone has any recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below :) I'll probably be moving the Britts to Twinbrook, so I don't really want to take the Bakers there. A move likely won't happen until after the elders die, or at least until Svetlana goes because I don't want to sever what relationships she has going so far and damage her chances of finishing her LTW even further.

That pretty well catches things up to where this family is at now. They really haven't done a lot so far that would have been really worth taking pictures of aside from the toddler stuff with Topher, so we haven't really missed a lot in terms of blogging their story. Certainly far less than I'd missed recording with Alesha Medina when I decided to start this blog with her. Anyway, on with the show!

We pick up the tale on Wednesday morning. Topher headed off to school and Svetlana called up Nancy Landgraab to work on a friendship with her. Heathcliff went to the park to work on his fishing, and Becky went to perform for tips. She had the day off from work, so hoped to get her skill up as well as make a bit of cash since they need the money and she's the only one bringing any in.

Heathcliff managed to catch a perfect Minnow, so that's one down, 12 to go. He started working on Goldfish next. Topher had to stay after school to help clean some bug cages but then he came over to the park and hung out for awhile to do his homework. Meanwhile, Svetlana joined her family at the park once she'd become friends with Nancy over the phone. Once there she started chatting up Victoria Andrews and later Dorie Hart.

By the time they were all too tired and hungry to stay any longer, Becky had made §353 in tips from her playing and raised her Guitar skill to level 6. Heathcliff caught a perfect Goldfish so he now had 2 of the 13 he needed, and Svetlana had become friends with Victoria and good acquaintances with Dorie.

The next day everyone except Topher slept in since they'd been up late the night before. Svetlana spent most of the day on the phone with Dorie and became friends with her. She also called a few of her other friends and started talking with another acquaintance before it got too late to make any more phone calls. Heathcliff tended the small garden he'd started then went back to the park to fish, but didn't have any luck getting another perfect fish. Topher had another after school activity then had a friend over. Becky went to the library for awhile before she had to go to work. All in all it was a pretty ordinary day with not much progress made on needed things.

On Friday, Svetlana made another friend on the phone and Heathcliff caught a perfect Rainbow Trout at the park. Becky worked on her Guitar skill a little bit before work, but didn't get very far with it. As evening fell, the house next door developed a ghost problem that a local ghosthunter came to take care of (so far I'm thinking I could do without that addition because the music that plays when there's a ghost infestation gets very annoying very quickly).

Later in the evening when Heathcliff was still at the park, Cornelia Goth passed away while he was nearby to witness it.

On Saturday, Topher worked on making some baked goods to try to do a bake sale, while Heathcliff headed to the salon to see about a tatoo. When he got there, he encountered Pauline Wan, who was going into labor.

It was late afternoon before Topher made it to the park to try selling his muffins, but he did make it and set up his table. Interestingly enough, Pauline Wan and Hank Goddard were there having a picnic - the same Pauline that had just been in labor earlier at the salon. They did not have a baby with them, so it's unclear what happened with it. Sadly, Topher didn't have any luck with his sale and hadn't sold a single thing by the time it was late enough he had to pack up and go home.

Sunday was another park day for most of the family. Topher set up his bake sale table again, but didn't have any better luck than before. Becky set up nearby to play for tips and made around §200 in a couple different sessions. Heathcliff fished and managed to get a perfect Black Goldfish, bringing his total to 5/13 perfect fish needed. Svetlana stayed home and worked on friendships over the phone, but unfortunately lost one friend from not talking to her in too long.

The next day went by fairly normally, but that evening was Topher's birthday. Becky had to work, so she wasn't able to be there when he blew out his candles, but Svetlana and Heathcliff were there and cheered him on. He grew up well and picked up the Savvy Sculptor trait.

That same night, Becky got a promotion and was faced with a choice of which direction she wanted to go with her music career. She choose to pursue a career in Rock music as it fit her style better than the Symphonic did. The next day she was off, but she did a performance at the theater in the afternoon. When she got home that evening, she had her birthday to Adult.

Heathcliff went down to the beach to try fishing as he'd only had moderate luck the day before at one of the lakes. He managed to catch a perfect anchovy and then a perfect jellyfish in a reasonable amount of time bringing his tally to 8/13 perfect fish. While he was still doing that, Topher asked Becky to help him with his homework since she was actually home in the evening for a change (she's been working most evenings and is rarely home when Topher is). Becky hadn't had a chance to do much with him in a long while, so she readily agreed.

Sadly, while Becky and Topher were doing his homework, Svetlana passed away while checking on the broken shower in the bathroom. She had made it to 11/20 friends I think, possibly 12/20, so she did better than I thought she might, though as predicted she didn't finish, so none of her points count (it would have only been 1 or 2 points at most anyway).

Svetlana wasn't ready to go :(
As if losing his wife wasn't bad enough, Heathcliff also had a setback that night when two of the fish in his aquariums died, the Red Herring and the Black Goldfish. Thankfully he had another perfect Red Herring in his inventory, so the loss only took him down to 7/13.

It's kind of hard to see, but there's green stink clouds over the middle two bowls that have the dead fish
Everyone in the household was really depressed the next few days of course. Topher had school, and spent time with his best friend Donnel over afterwards. Becky had the first day off, but she performed at the theater in the afternoon then played in the park for tips afterwards. The second day she tried to squeeze in another concert before she had to be at work and ended up being late, but it worked out ok. Heathcliff spent most of his time fishing at the park was able to replace the Black Goldfish and added a perfect Siamese Catfish to his collection. A perfect salmon proved rather elusive though.

Heathcliff finally caught a perfect Salmon on Saturday, bringing his count to 10/13. At this point I'm just crossing my fingers he'll hang in there until he can get the last 3, but he's on borrowed time now. Topher spent Saturday doing stuff around the house, while Becky had to work that evening. Sunday Heathcliff got a perfect Alley Catfish and a perfect Angelfish, so he only needed one more to complete his LTW. Becky hung out in front of the theater for awhile playing for tips before her performace at 3PM.

Finally, and amazingly, on Sunday evening Heathcliff at long last caught a perfect Shark. This completed his LTW just as soon as I got it into a bowl for him. It won't be much I'm sure, but his points will now count toward the challenge.

The next few days fell into a routine of Topher working on schoolwork and occupying himself best he could to keep his fun up outside of school. Becky worked on her guitar skill, learning new songs, playing for tips when she could, and doing performances at work and on her days off. Heathcliff kept fishing and eventually had caught all of the fish available in Sunset Valley save for the Deathfish and finished the Amateur Ichthyologist challenge. He stayed up late one night, resorting to taking a nap on one of the stone benches at the cemetery, then tried for that last one. It didn't take him very long to get one.

There's not a lot to tell in the several days following. Topher got a part-time job as a Spa Receptionist because he got an opportunity at school that asked him to get a part-time job. Becky continued to work on her Guitar and Charisma, doing performances and playing for tips as much as possible. Heathcliff tended the garden and otherwise tried to occupy his time with watching the Yummy Channel or reading. He's 100 days old and I'm largely just waiting for him to die at this point, though I am considering taking him to China to fish to see if he can get the Commercial Fisherman challenge done as well. I could just do that in town, but I don't want him to end up dying all alone out at some remote lake. Will see what I decide to do when I play them again.

I think I'm finally ready to get back to the Medina-Britt family, so the next update will probably be about them, but I reserve the right to change my mind. ;) I'll be splitting them up and likely moving the Britt family to Twinbrook. Here's how my score stands currently:

Until next time!