Monday, October 29, 2012

A small announcement, a minor correction, and a very large piece of evidence supporting my hopeless nerdiness

First, the announcement: Starting in Week 7, I am going to shorten my rounds to 3-4 days instead of 7. So, the next Kules update will be "Week 7 Part 1.0", covering Monday morning to Friday morning, and then "Week 7 Part 1.5", covering Friday morning to Monday morning.

I could do Monday 8 a.m. to Thursday 8 p.m. if I wanted to be even, but my Sims are often in the middle of birthday parties and such at 8 p.m., whereas at 8 a.m. there is less going on. (I long ago developed the habit of pausing as soon as a lot loads and sending all children to school immediately.)

I am motivated to do this partly because a round takes SO LONG that I get bored and start to forget what happened in the early houses and such; cutting the time spent at each house in half will enable me to cycle through them more quickly and hopefully keep things fresh.

I also did it to keep my neighborhood more in sync; a week is actually a really long time when you're a Sim. It was having a negative impact on friendships among kids from my 'hood; children are only children for a week so it is hard to have a back-and-forth friendship; teens are sometimes teens for only four days. It makes dating really difficult. For example, say you have a child in House #1 who ages up to teen on Tuesday night and thus will be going to college the following Monday morning. All her peers in the other houses on the playlist are children and will remain children as long as I'm playing her house. She will still be a teen after I leave the house (I send them off as soon as I load their house again on Monday morning) but if her intended life-mate grows up to teen on Thursday night in his own house that gives them only one weekend together instead of the two they would have gotten if they had been aging more in sync. (Well, they still would have only gotten the one weekend, but they would have gotten to live it twice over, once in each house.)

That also brings me to college...if Girl Sim grows up on Tuesday night, she will be "17 years old" by my reckoning the following Monday and therefore eligible to go to college. Boy Sim, having grown up Thursday night, will only be 15 and thus will not be eligible for college until a full week later, when he is 22. So Girl Sim and Boy Sim will not be able to marry until a full week after that, when he is 29 and she is 31.

Under the new system, Girl Sim will grow up on Tuesday night and then I will leave her house on Friday morning. Boy Sim will grow up on Thursday night and I will leave his house Friday morning. Then back at Girl Sim's house she will get to spend the whole weekend with her beloved and then he will get to spend the whole weekend with her at his house. She will still leave him behind when she goes to college on Monday (boohoo), but he will leave for college on Friday and join her when she is a junior and he a freshman.

"Wait, what's that about leaving for college on Friday?" you say. "I don't remember you mentioning that!"

That's because I didn't yet. As part of this new system, I will be doing two college "calls." Monday morning, everyone who is at least 16 years old will get packed off to college. I will play them through their first two years. Friday morning, everyone who is at least 16 years old will get packed off to college. They will get played through their first two years and the other batch will get played through to graduation. After one round of this, it will mean that nobody is older than 19 or 20 when they go to college, and a range of 16-20 seems more realistic than a range of 16-22, without having to send every single Sim the year they turn 18 and having chaos.

(They will be between the ages of 23 and 27 when they graduate, which might seem weird, but I decided to do it that way because Sim college always seems like college + grad school to me, what with them graduating and immediately becoming General Practitioners and such.)

This will have the side-effect of eliminating the need for townie placeholders, since there will be a batch going Monday-Monday and a batch going Friday-Friday. Unless I have a baby drought, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

The only negative effect will be on students who want to move out and found new lots. See, if they leave on Friday and graduate a "week" later, it will be Friday for everyone else in the 'hood, but on the new lot it will be Monday. I refuse to allow that sort of discrepancy. So for the time being I am going to say that any Sim who is not permanently moving back with parents or moving in with a significant other has to temporarily move in with a sibling or friend or some such person who has a properly synced lot. 10 days later, they can move out on their own. (10 days and not 3 because part of the challenge rules says that college grads have to stay in their first post-college household for at least 7 days.)

You are probably hopelessly confused, dear reader, so I will give you a pretty picture to make you feel better.

Clicking on that should enlarge it. I made it this morning; it is an index of every playable Sim in the neighborhood, unless I am forgetting somebody. (68 living, 4 dead.) Someday I hope to have all sorts of interesting information in here, but right now it just has names and birthdates.

Right now they are sorted from youngest to oldest, except Ryker who has 0/0/0000 as his birthdate because I couldn't be bothered with giving him a real birthdate. The kids who have birthdates like 0/0/2053 are babies/toddlers and I would have to check in game to know exactly how old they are and then randomly generate a birthday for them. (Actually, with the babies I would have to wait until they become toddlers to know how many days old they are.) I don't have time for that at the moment (too busy making spreadsheets), so they have placeholder birthdates.

Then they are color-coded by when they are going to college. The Pinks are going to college at the beginning of Round 7. Most of them are currently frozen in time with their hands on the telephone waiting to call as soon as I reload their lots. There are 5 of them, which is a nice number, and they even have a good boy/girl ratio. (Their aspirations are respectively Family, Romance, Pleasure, Pleasure, and Popularity, though, so I have a feeling there will be more socializing than studying.)

Orange and Yellow would have all gone to college at the beginning of Week 8 according to the old system. There are FOURTEEN Sims in those two color categories. FOURTEEN. That is way too many to have in college at all, but if I stagger them at least I will only have to deal with 14 students for half a round rather than a full round...though before and after I will have 12 students total (Pink and Orange together, and then Yellow and Green together.) 

Blue and Purple are both more modest and will probably remain so, though if Joan Pons can convince her husband to adopt 3 more children (to meet her impossible want of 10) there might be 1 or 2 more Blues and 1 or 2 more Purples. I also have a pregnant Sim who has been eating cheesecake like it's going out of style, so I anticipate another set of twins in 2054 (just in time for the Purples). 

A couple of quick notes, and then I have to go cook dinner like a normal person:

1. Age is calculated for Sims kind of like it is for Thoroughbred horses: They "age up" on January 1. So, for example, Emmy Whitfill's random meaningless birthday is December 20, 2042. This means that on January 1, 2043, she was considered to be "1 year old." She is only about 6 weeks older than Landon and Ginny Whitfill, but they will always be listed as 1 year apart in age. Fortunately, Emmy will be "eighteen" years old when she goes to college, which makes her 17 1/2. The youngest Sim to attend college for the forseeable future will be Charles Riedmayer, who will turn 16 in September 2057, right around when he leaves for college. (I imagine them going to college sometime between July and September, depending on if they call the taxi before or after school.)

2. I realized when making this spreadsheet that I grossly miscalculated Caitlin and Patrick Seifert's birthdays, originally listed as being in 2033 and 2036. I calculated it out and realized I probably meant to write 2043 and 2046, so birthdates have been updated accordingly in the spreadsheet and in their family's update


  1. Wow - you put in a lot of thought into that! In New Maximiliania, things are far less complex. Each household is played for one Sim-week, no matter what that means for friendships and love interests, and each Sim-teen is sent to college only at the very end of their teenage "years", and then played at college for one "year". Exception: When one of their parents has the lifetime want of graduating three children from college, I may send them sooner, so that the parent has a chance to live long enough to see that wish come true. And a few Sims were not sent to college at all, for instance if their lifetime want was raising 20 puppies or kittens.

    I don't keep a spreadsheet but a set of cards, one card for each Sim, where I note down their name, lifetime want, aspiration, born in-game or not, steps of career, marriage or move-in with another Sim, cause of death, age of death and so on. Without those cards, I'd be hopeless in remembering the 230+ Sims currently living in my 'hood!

  2. I probably make it more complex than it has to be just because I like organizing stuff. :) It is entirely possible I like sorting and analyzing my Sims even more than I like playing them.

    I don't play teenagers the full time partly because it doesn't make sense to me that they go to college at 26 "years" old (by the way I calculate aging) and partly because I find teenagers incredibly boring. I know most Simmers don't, and maybe someday I'll figure out what makes them interesting, but they're so difficult to keep happy and don't have time to do anything between school and an after-school job. (Putting all my kids into private school has helped; so has discovering Red Hands. My teens all get a Red Hands Buddy assigned to them so they can get their fun up quickly in the hour or two between when they get back from school and when their carpool comes, so they are happy enough to actually get promoted.) Kids are easier because they usually roll "get A+" and "do homework" every day, which I'm going to force them to do anyway.

    I send all my teens to college regardless of lifetime want because I get more points for that. Though by the time I finish the Prosperity Challenge (Generation 5 has to die, and in my game Generation 4 is not even born yet), nobody will care but me. Plus I like the extra want panels and things.

    I don't use notecards first because I would lose them and second because my handwriting is really bad. I write very slowly and even more slowly if I want it to be legible. On the other hand, when I type it is much easier to keep up with the pace of my thoughts and it looks pretty no matter how fast I go. :)

    This comment is unnecessarily long (you could just read the first sentence), but maybe it is interesting so I will leave it.

    1. It certainly IS interesting to me, I find it fascinating how different our approach to the same game is in some ways, and how similar in others! I have never thought of calculating my Sims' ages, for instance; I simply go with what the game tells me. Like you, I like Sim kids and am not overly keen on the teenagers. Unlike you, none of my teenagers has an after-school job; usually, there is enough money in the household without that, and if their LTW is career-related, they have plenty of time for that once they grow up.
      I've never played any other challenge than the NPC Challenge, which I created in 2004, but have stopped playing when I started on New Maximiliania in 2008, where the only challenge is to at least try and give every Sim the chance of reaching their LTW.

    2. Nowadays none of my teens need after school jobs for the money either, but often parents will have a want for So-and-So to become an overacheiver, which means A+ grades and Level 3 in the teen career, if memory serves. (I know Family Sims often roll this want; I think Fortune Sims might also roll it. When they have 2 or 3 teenage children, it clogs up the panel very quickly!) Plus, most of my Sims are first-generation wealthy at this point. For example, Darius Kules knows what it is like to live in a tiny two-room shack, so even though he's now the richest man in Prosperity Plains I like to imagine that he wants to teach his children the value of money and how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps if necessary, rather than letting them rely totally on handouts from Daddy. I also feel like they "have" to get the Young Entrepreneur's Grant for college, even though they don't need the money. It is hard to adjust to them not being poor. :)