Customization in TS3


PLEASE pardon me while I geek out here. Jay started to laugh at me when I told him how awesome this was. "You only get this way for nerdy things," he told me. I know! I'm a nerd!

It has taken a very long time to get used to TS3. And now that I have, I'm convinced more and more of its awesomeness, and less and less convinced that they set out to mess shit up.

For instance- it is as simple as pressing down the "alt" button to move stuff around off grid including at angles other than 45 degrees. This includes sims when used with the move objects cheat.

Not only can you color pretty much everything, but you can freakin' color pretty much everything. I rather enjoy giving sims who are of age a little gray without having to go outside of the game. Or giving my elders a little color or different shades of gray or letting them completely color their hair.

Now with the release of Create a World, we can build our own worlds from the ground up, including terrain paints and the sounds and road textures (and multiple road textures in the same world too). The sounds that are included are amazing and include the sound of low water, knee deep water, broken glass, concrete, different dirt and sands, grass and dry grass, and more. I am huge on sounds like footsteps for some reason.

But that isn't all. It is SO much easier now to actually mess with the INI files and make yourself a world with custom water color at different times of the day, change the size of the sun and the moon, and when it rises. A tutorial is here. And you can mess with the INI files while the game is running to see the effects.


We have the normal water shipped with the game. It's like a murky blue. Then there is the water color that I made for Ruin.

For Ruin, I wanted the water to have a different tinge to it. It's almost purple at its base color. It almost look iridescent to me.

The color of the water can be changed for every state and for different times of the day. And best of all, you can do this while the game is running. As soon as I save, the color of the water changes.

I can change it for the world alone once I'm done, but I find that there is a plus side to swapping out the INI files. If I wanted, I could keep the sea looking like a separate color from the lakes in town. Changing the INI files changes both.

But I haven't really decided yet.

Okay, so random playing with it here is my finding. GAH! It is so awesome!

So I was playing around last night, just testing the color capabilities. Right now I'm just playing with the water.

As the sun began to set, I wanted the water to move into a slightly more redish tint. It was close to 6pm, and in Sims 2, that means sun set to me. With the lighting mod, I loved that redish glow everything got, so that's probably what I'm thinking about when I wanted this tint.

This was the moment that I found out that the sea color is a blending of the two values that sit at different times.

Wait, does that make sense? Here's what I mean.

Ok, in my Sky_ClearSea ini text, this is what I have. At 1600 (4:00), the sea is more lavender in color. At 1800 (6:00) I tinted the sea to be more redish. Originally, I thought this meant that the sea would be those colors until it hit that time of day. (Did I really picture it suddenly changing color as soon as 6:00 hit? Yes, yes I swear I did.)

But no, that isn't what it does. It moves from lavender-ish in color to redish in color. So when I was messing around with the coloring at 5:30, messing with one block or the other actually affected the coloring of the sea because it was using both values to calculate the color of the sea.

That is not all. It also does the exact same thing over two files when the sky is changing. There are files for each state of the sky. There's partly cloudy, stormy, overcast, and clear.

While my sims were sleeping, I was wanting to mess with the sea color at night. I wanted to make it pitch black. But I kept having a redish tint to it.

It's kinda hard to tell in this picture, but you can sort of see it. If you looked at it overhead, you'd definitely see it. I was very confused.

So I looked up at the sky. It turns out that it was moving into a partly cloudy cycle, so the two values I needed to mess with were in the Sky_ClearSea file and the Sky_PartlyCloudySea file. And of course, I then had to think about the extra values that the sea was heading towards. You know, what color it would be at 4:00am.

There's more that can be customized, including the lunar cycle, and cloud color, and stuff with the sun and the moon, supposedly reflection colors too. It's pretty amazing. I'm thinking my next building will have to be a proper scientific building, or maybe I'll just set one up in one of the apartments over the market, and we'll have to make a point of watching the moon and the sun.

If I do this right, I could probably mimic seasons and just swap out the INI files. Since I can do this while playing, it's much less of a hassle than using a package file.

Anyway, whoops. I let the inner geek out. Well, I suppose we all know that's a risk when we get talking about Sims. I still have a game play update coming up, and I have to do some testing because there are some things I am not satisfied with in the village and I need to go back to CAW.

Village Tour

Now that the village part is over and done with in Ruin, I thought I'd finally give a tour of the village.

A little background info (you can skip over this part if you want): I created the village for the story in Ruin. The world of Ruin is basically one land mass, most of which is in a dark age where people are struggling to survive. (Cheery, I know.)

The village I made is located in the very south of this map deep in the Southlands area which is very much like the beginning of a kingdom. They live pretty comfortably compared to some of the others. Before the Revolution, it was a self sufficient city with the village as support, so it just needed some adjustment after the Revolution to remain self sufficient while being protected.

(Click to enlarge)

Not too impressive from overhead, but you can see the layout of the town and the land from here. It's very simple.

This is along the road that the tribals would walk on to get to the village. On the outskirts of town, we have a couple of run down structures (Sheila's Decay and One Day Later). Two are houses and one is actually a community lot which is the criminal warehouse (Behind the Junkyard).

I imagine that there are people living on the outskirts of town, strays who are barely managing to make it. They can't join the tribe, and the village, with its limited resources that it doesn't want to share, won't accept hem as fully fledged towns people. So they have to live off the land, hunting and gathering and living off the good will of anyone kind enough to possibly share with them.

Game-wise, these are just sims that I don't play. I pretty much stick them there and let them figure it out.

Of course, also on the outskirts is a farm (French Country Farm). I'm sure they need to keep an eye out for those people outside of town who aren't towns people.

Game-wise, Angel and Mitchell are living here. Spawners here include lady bugs (I thought that was particularly clever of me-- they're in the crops), and common seeds.

Forest over here that includes a lot with a swimming hole inside a lake (The Wilderness Pools). I'm sure there are more spawners over here.

This is the meadow. I have it set up as a community lot. I found out a while ago that sims cannot have picnics just anywhere, it has to be a lot. So I put this random lot out so that sims can go and have nice picnics with their families.

The graveyard which includes a small church. Trying to harken back to the middle ages a bit with the villages and stuff in Ruin.

These two are the guardians of the underworld. I'm working out a story about it that is said to have taken place before the two brothers destroyed the world. The male is always looking to the female. The two statues would never be placed in any other way or it would be bad luck.

Interesting to note that these two can also be found in Neutral justice/judgment rooms like the one we find Paula at in chapter 1 of her story.

Pat's place, still technically on the outskirts of town. Pat's father built it with his bare hands and friends a couple years after the Revolution. (Story wise, for those who don't know, Pat's Place is a bar run by Patrice Sherman.)

This is where Gloria, the village leader lives. They don't really have a proper form of government after the Revolution, though they probably did before the Revolution. Gloria wasn't exactly elected, though she was kinda. She pretty much stepped up and was willing to deal with Henri Smith (leader of the Southland's tribe) as she knew him from the Revolution. And everyone agreed that she handled him best. (Because you definitely need to know how to handle him.)

Her residence is huge, but only because she takes in people. Gloria cares for her towns people. If someone were tragically orphaned, she'd still consider them one of her own and would take them in until they could stand on their own.

The market includes a book store and grocery store and the junk shop. Above I pretend are apartments.

Yes, that's a day spa and the corporate tower. They're mostly place holders for now until I stop being lazy and build my own or find some.

Old building from before the Revolution. The Southlands ran like a city, and the village was an important part of it. (Mostly, the upper class/those in power lived in the city out of gorgeous homes.)

The ring of pink blooming trees is said to bring good luck to those who stand inside it and profess their love for one another. Weddings can be held here. Sometimes couples enjoy just relaxing and having a picnic.

Artists come and paint here in front of the lake. I have an eisle set up so that sims can paint outdoors. It works really well. When a sim is done painting, they can choose to take the painting home with them.

They have no words for this, but we call it a beach. It's said that the world was destroyed by two brothers and that they now sleep under the sea unaware that people live above them.

There is a fence before you get to the beach of course because pre-revolution, people from the Neutral Territory lived here. They originally had access to the beach blocked off because of the old story. It makes them nervous. Still, even though people now go down to the beach and watch the sea, they are solomn and respectful. They don't swim or fish.

(Game-wise, they can fish. I have a mix of common and rare spawners.)

Phew, if you made it all the way through then here's a reward:

Pat & Brandon

First year (5187), seven months in, Brandon and Pat take a little vacation to France. Pat was the one who wanted to go. Her dream is to have a cellar full of wines worth $10,000.

So of course one of their first stops was the nectary.

As far as Pat is concerned, there really isn't anything more romantic than sharing a good drink with a good friend. Especially if that friend is Brandon. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and it's pretty much true for Brandon. But he can cook already, much better than her. So the next best thing is a drink that warms the belly and lowers what few inhibitions Brandon has.

Pat's pretty sure there's a reason there seems to be no couches at the nectary.

As they sit there, sipping at the sweet cheap wine, they remember their quick adventure at the museum chuckling as quietly as possible, still worried some official might find out. There would have to be some fine, maybe even jail time.

Or maybe not, because there wasn't anything inside. Pat's pretty convinced that it's only a replica.

Brandon's convinced (even more so now) that Pat's a little crazy.

That night they stay at the Nectary in a beautiful old hotel room with a fireplace.

Pat knows exactly where this is heading. She's not surprised when she sees Brandon lighting the fire in the fireplace before coming to bed.

It is a little early for bed, but they aren't really planning on sleeping.

That night, she scoots up to him, laying a cheek on one of his shoulders. In his half sleep, he pulls her arm over his side and holds her there with one large forearm practically pinning her to his side. Not that she really minds.

The next morning, they get up early. The sun isn't even up when they head into town to get some crepes. They take a seat on a bench in the town square and watch the sun rise.

Brandon does surprise her a little when he scoots over and puts an arm around her shoulders.

They've only spent a day there, and yet somehow, it seems more than enough. They both decide to go home early knowing there is a little someone waiting for them who will be wondering what they brought home for her and why they even had to go anywhere. Somehow, without her, there is definitely something missing now.

The take home:
An expensive bottle of wine for Pat's collection
A cheap bottle of wine for their next picnic (or personal play date)
A couple of new grapes for Pat's garden
A disposable camera
And a new dress for Pat that Brandon doesn't know about yet

Ah these two. I figure it's okay, I'm not spoiling anything you weren't really aware of after reading the story. In this alternate reality, they are living in the same house with Melissa, but they're not married. They're not even going steady. So I sent them to France because Pat wanted to go, and I hoped Brandon might roll a want for her.

Other than wanting to friendly hug her, he didn't really. But that's okay, I enjoy toying with these two.

What were they really thinking about when Pat snuggled up to him? Pat was thinking about Gardening, and Brandon had the right idea, but I can't guarantee he was thinking about Pat.

Soon-ish I'll put up a little game play post with my little findings. I've been having fun surprisingly, though clearly I'm not playing very quickly. Time is passing though. Pretty much, I'm just going to do write ups when a story pops into my head while playing.

Details about these two:

Brandon - Age 23 (Birthday: 2/5188)
childish, daredevil, flirty, friendly, good
LTW: Heart Breaker
Political Lvl: 3 (He got this job on his own, and he's been doing great at it.)

Pat Age 24 (Birthday: 6/5188)
good sense of humor, green thumb, never nude, perfectionist, vegetarian
LTW: Bottomless Nectar Cellar (Collect of nectar bottles worth 10,000)