For something completely different- TS3 on the DS

I need to talk about this, but I have no where to talk about it.

The Sims on consoles have been overwhelmingly disappointing. The first round, they gave it a good try with TS2 on the PS2, but it was lacking something. The play was very goal oriented because for some reason anything that comes out to the consoles absolutely must fit into some neat little box. You can't have an actually open sandbox type game without putting missions or goals as part of the game.

Playing on consoles is boring anyway. Unless you're new to the Sims or you don't have a working PC, there's no point in playing on the console.

(I will add here that the only fun version of Sims on the console I have ever played is Castaway on the Wii. Goal oriented, yes, but it was also really fun and well done and I actually liked it better than Castaway for the PC.)

So I really can't see a reason for playing Sims on a console. Until TS3 on the DS which promised to be closer to the real thing. I wouldn't have bothered personally because I had my doubts, but Mom got it as her free game at a Best Buy sale and handed it over to me.

I have to say that I'm impressed! They have managed to keep all the best elements of TS3 and give me pretty much what I've always wanted.

Being on the DS, the graphics are just so-so of course. But game play does manage to capture the best elements of the DS as well. Like you can use the touch screen to customize your sim.

This is Chris, my shy klepto with a want to be a master thief. I know, not much to look at, but you don't really have to see their faces all that often. The experiment with her was to see how open the game really was. Could I create a sim that didn't live at home?

Yes, it turns out you can. I've hardly had her stopping off at her lot at all. She only has the basic necessities at home- a bed, toilet, fridge. Nothing else.

It's actually an open neighborhood. She can take showers at the gym and eat hot dogs on the grill at the park and then nap on park benches.

Here she is taking a jog through town. She's much too stylish for sleep on park benches though. So she has a number of boyfriends around town. Once you've got a boyfriend, you get free use of their house any time, even when they aren't home apparently.

Since she's a klepto, I had hoped originally we could steal items for her home, but it doesn't work that way. She can only rifle through drawers and steal money. That's kinda lame. I'm hoping making her a master thief will give her some extra ability and she can steal properly.

The building tools are also awesome. It's a touch screen, so they give you the ability to draw walls and add onto houses. You are limited though to one floor and by the number of objects you can put in a house.

A different house with a married couple. (Interestingly to note that thanks to the open neighborhood they were married by the town light house on the look out point.) This house is close to the object limit. I guess 'cause there's a lot of deco objects throughout the house?

My favorite room in the house is the study.

The painting is Olivia's. I'm having her be a stay at home sim working on alternate ways to earn money. (I'm having way too much fun with their story.) Apparently, you can take paintings and then use them to decorate walls. I haven't given it a try yet, but she has the option to sell or take the paintings and there's a family inventory, so I'm assuming she can then hang them up.

Down sides: No woohoo (so all they get for being the klepto's boyfriend is some lost money and an occupied bathtub), no way to switch characters in the same save file, the save files are also not connected so my shy klepto will never meet my over worked prince and his stay at home wife, and no way to switch homes that I can see.

Oh, and you know, no same sex flirtations. I won't even go there, but that's really annoying and limiting.

Also, loading screens. But the upside is that you can spin the plumbbob. That's kinda fun!

I don't know if sims can die. I starved one guy once and he was zapped over to the hospital. Also, I don't know if I can kick sims out or not. I'm working on the drama, and I'll see. That would be a way to keep things fresh in a save file. Let a relationship deteriorate, and then kick out the old sim and play with the new one.

Anyway, I'm impressed. I wouldn't really sit and play this at home, but I do get a lot of playing done at work.

TS3 lighting

So I thought that I was already using a lighting mod in my game, but apparently I was not. Laura reminded me about it, and then Tamo brought it up again in her blog post.

So I thought I would update my mod and found I didn't have one. Oops! Let me tell ya, the mods actually make all the difference.

Take for instance the chapter from the week before last. Night time and fire, what could go wrong? But it seemed too bright to me.

This is the original shot.

Here is what it would've looked like if I'd had the lighting mod in.

Makes me want to retake those pictures!

I'm using the darker version of the mod. I want my nights pitch black. In the Wildlands, even though there are buildings, there really aren't many lights except for fires from pits, bonfires and oil lamps. Probably a few other ingenious inventions floating around.

This doesn't affect the indoor lights too much. But the windows do appear darker which makes a big difference. Before I was desperately trying to hide that the rabbit holes I was using for decoration actually have lights. Now it's really not noticeable except for the marquee on the movie theater.

Also, this mod affects the light at sunset, the fog, over cast and stormy. This will either be really awesome or a pain to work with. Generally, it' nice to have consistency from picture to picture. If it starts out sunny, I'd like it to stay sunny. I'm pretty sure the Relativity mod will prevent things from changing at all when I don't want them to though.

Also, I added a new default hi-res moon which is gorgeous. It probably won't be seen very often, but still, I like knowing it's there looming over us.