Monday, January 23, 2012

News and new

Been a while since I have had the urge to create. I credit my new found desire (read: kick in the pants)  to an article that Sandy at ATS3 scanned for (and translated too! Muy gracias mucho! [did I mention I can't speak another language??]) me from a French Magazine that named my site as Site of the Month. Humbling honestly, as I have this sort of fear that while I hear good things about my creations, it's the amazing lack of downloads that keeps my paranoia that 'none of it is good enough' or 'everyone is just being nice' active.

Bau's creations, born artist
Layed out as a blog, B5Studio is one of the good URLs of the Web. Its content is diversified, from rugs to lightings, paintings. If it's one of the reference sites, it's because of its realism and diversity of creations that visitors can download. From the smallest decorative item to the massive pieces of furniture, Bau, the blog administrator, does his best to create a content that is and useful and original. You find your Sims' living-room a bit empty? Download the rug "Back to basics", then choose one of the many available textures, and your room will be as new. You're looking for accessories for a photograph studio? Choose then the set Mementoes and become the most famous photographer of the town. B5Studio offers as well many industrial items, that will fit anyone who wants to decorate an artist workshop or mad scientist... To visit without waiting!"
Well, it was just enough of a kick in the panties to get me started again . . . well - a week later, but I started. Oddly, almost every creator that I am in contact with has lost the urge to create. Some, for personal reasons, needed to back away and some of us lost interest or desire to actually sit and mesh. It's curious. There are a few things I think that attributed to my lack of interest - of course - needing a break being one of them, but I am honestly a bit angry with the franchise at the moment.

[If you want to bypass the rant, jump ahead two paragraphs] After the Pets fiasco (where every slot was broken), it wore me out - I had been looking forward to that EP for such a long time and when it arrived and everything 'broke' - the community pulled together to fix everything - but I think it also destroyed a lot. I don't think it was EAs role to 'fix' everything - but it would have been nice to have been prepared for this RIG change (the root of the broken slots). It wasn't the fact that things broke or it was a lot of work to fix everything - but it is sort of a root problem. No one knew this was going to happen. I think this says a lot about the people who make the game and their parent company. I've been slowly building up steam about many things with the franchise. Over the summer they released Town Living - basically a handful of buildings. It seemed kind of small and honestly - boring, but okay - it's just an SP. Well, then they released the Goth Library with exclusive content. Another $$. Oh and a new world. $$$. The SP was $20. That's a lot of $$$$ for items that should have been (if not all, in part) in the SP. Then they give the SP away with pre-order of the next EP. Then you have the Sim Store. They keep releasing stuff only a blind child might have interest in. Then they have the nerve to charge $34 for a compilation set. What's more insulting? They then say "You asked for it!" Who asked for it?? Where is this person and why has no one knocked the crack pipe out of their hand? Intervention!! Worse - that set you just paid full price for? Free on facebook or 75% off on the Daily Discount. Lesson? Don't buy it - they'll eventually give it away. EA: Reward those who paid first.

The final straw that made me even stop reading forums was the announced release of Showtime. Not only am I completely uninterested in the expansion - I am insulted that they are trying to pull in social networking: Facebook. I abhor Facebook. I liken it to the worlds largest security risk. Before this turns into a tirade about that big mess, suffice it to say - while it is an optional feature - that the company insists that "You asked for it!" - seeing 'social networking' as about 15th on a list of 'wants' from the community doesn't strike me as a high priority. I also filled out a survey for the company and it's clear they have no idea what their fans want and why people buy this game. Task oriented worlds? While it might be fun to have a post apocalyptic Sunset Valley, my sims are still going to need to eat and be happy and well adjusted. This simply does not change the basic premise of the game . . . . they don't react to their surroundings, they don't take joy from building their home brick by brick. They can't even tell what the wallpaper is like on their walls. Perhaps it is me that is having this disconnect - I never did understand why people would want a Silent Hill, Anime, or Alice in Wonderland type world/game - the premise of the game is always the same. Fill their basic needs. I can turn off their age so even watching them get old is not a factor. How is the world going to change this basic programming? Even going to Egypt/China/France - they just get cranky if you don't meet these needs - tasks are a massive chore if they haven't eaten/slept/bathed.

Anyway - I could ramble on for hours about this sort of thing. We all make of this game what we want - whether that is adding in MODS to allow us to go to college or sell things in shops OR simply opening the game to decorate a room or style a sim. I think that is the beauty of the game IN SPITE of the greed and cluelessness of EA. 

So on to the new items. I have spoken with Heidi and we were on a bit of the same wavelength for our upcoming sets (not sure how long either of us will actually BE mind you) - sort of a mix and match. I wasn't interested in just doing a bedroom or living room. I wanted certain items that I was inspired by when I go to the design blogs I follow on Google Reader. Truth be told a lot of sets start out this way - no real direction but there is a sort of theme that comes together (like the Reflections set) but I can't see one right now for what I am interested in meshing.

This all started with a bed. After the whole pets thing where we all needed to either wait for a fix or fix it ourselves - I decided - who needs all those beds anyway? - reduced my clutter and fixed the remaining on my own - regardless of whether the creator released their own. It allowed me to reset the patterns to ones I would use anyway - fix the tiling for a lot of the beds (you'd be surprised how many were off when using a checkerboard pattern). That took away my fear of beds - Heidi also helped quell that 'I could NEVER do one of THOSE!' fear that I was irrationally having. Beds are not especially interesting to me - you enjoy them with your eyes closed in real life and my own bed is nothing exciting - well anymore. I used to have a beautiful antique bed but now I have a queen size and for those not in the know - Queen/King are modern sizes. Full was the largest bed for a while and if you're really in the know - they you are familiar with what is called a 3/4 - the size between twin and full. My mother is also an antique collector and she owns on of these in her guest room. I guess it is a relatively recent thing that we like to sleep with someone - just not near to them. The idea of space and heat are 'new' when you consider the history of the world. So getting back to the bed - I loved this bed when I saw it and while it seems painfully simple - it was a fun project to get myself back into the swing of things.

Not entirely sure what the real one is called. I remember it being from Japan and I thought it was hysterical. I love bentwood chairs and this was just a really interesting take on one. Chris is drawn to (I jokingly refer to it as his spirit animal) the rabbit - in image - not in real life (he thought it was odd to have a rabbit as a household pet). Can't be any old rabbit - but still - when I see rabbit stuff (like I think of him. Often modern can appear cold and chilly - this was a warmed up approach to an often utilitarian object.

I am a big admirer of Phillipe Starck and while I was inspired by this stool (the ghost chair has been done by a number of people) I am aware of the limitations of attempting to accurately make it. While I have not been able to get in game to examine this, I am pleased with the shape. Glass anything in game is tricky - you can't just arbitrarily make things glass and expect them to look right. With the Reflections set, I was able to learn a lot about how to make it appear more real for the game, but every object holds it's own set of rules - we'll see if this needs alterations.

I don't have any new photos of Jaxon and Laika - I did post a couple of quick movies at YouTube sort of demonstrating Laika the speed freak vs. Jaxon the reserved and how to play with a ball. Jaxon is really starting to fit in - there are milestone moments such as after his first bath Laika stopped attacking him every time he tried to get on the couch (we use a particular shampoo called Stinky Hippie that smells like lavender/patchouli and I think she recognized him as 'ours' when he smelled like her) - his first day at the dog park - his first trip to doggy daycare. Each time there is a noticeable difference in his personality as if he's realizing he is finally 'home' which really is nice. Even at bedtime he's found his space on the bed (this took surprisingly long to do) so now I am flanked by each on either side of me effectively trapping me in the bed. I no longer clutch to the edge of the bed when they both were on one side of me.

He can't wear that harness anymore (Laika is a dragger so she must wear it) because it's causing bald spots on him. While we were told that this harness would prevent her from pulling us everywhere - she is one strong little girl and has figured out how to position her body so she still has the upper hand. She also knows to get the leash on either side of her depending on what side she's walking so she has even greater control. Jaxon needs to be walked - otherwise he won't 'go' and walk time can be very frustrating with the amount of squirrels and (you'd be surprised how piggy people are) chicken bones left by the curb by clumsy/lazy neighbors on trash day. This small bone of contention aside, they're an absolute joy.  We are giving them supplements to assist in digestion and their immune system - I knew they were working well on Laika and Kaite, but it was a very rapid change for Jaxon - his coat went from a dull brown to an almost iridescent shine. He also had a strong doggy odor and bad breath and that subsided too. He's still the stronger smelling of the two of them - I think his coat is just completely different (hence the worn spots from the harness) but they're all happy and healthy!

I'll have more as I mesh it . . . working on a chicken mirror today - while I love the look from the front - the edge is proving to be a drag to smooth correctly using smoothing groups mostly due to the irregular shape.

[EDIT] - Just a quick update - the chicken mirror is edited together but I am seeing a small texture problem that is showing up only in workshop at the moment. I need to check it in game to see if it translates to the complete file.


  1. I see good feedback about your work everywhere....funny how sometimes we don't see what's so clearly there..... You are the most respected designer for this kind of thing out there.

  2. It probably makes you cringe every time you hear it but you are worth every little word of praise you get!