September 2007 Archives
September 27, 2007
Yes the rumors are true, I am still alive and well. And more importantly, so is the site (believe it not). People have been asking for an update for quite some time but to be honest I didn't have anything new or encouraging to post so there was nothing to update. But these last few days have been a flurry of activity and I finally have an update on the future of the site -- and it's good news.
So what the heck has been going on? Well let's go back around a year when I first put the call out for new contributors to the site, and oh so many of you responded. The plan was to update the site software with something robust enough to handle multiple authors as well as many other custom features I had planned. Once this new system was in place I would be able to manage the site while having multiple authors contribute on a regular basis. Things were going well, I contracted and paid for a company to implement an industrial strength blogging software package custom designed specifically for this site and things were moving along. That was, until it wasn't and things just started to slowly fall apart. Very long story short is that the software package was never delivered and I wasn't able to find a software package which would perform the work I needed.
However that all changed a few days ago when Movable Type 4.01 (the software I use for this site) was released and it was the answer to my prayers and so much more. Everything I have ever wanted for this site to do I can finally do and as of today the site is now running on this platform. And the administration tools are a dream, all the original content was imported into the site seamlessly and it appears that I can finally run this as I have always wanted.
So the plan for the next few days is as follows: First I'm in testing the site and making sure all of the code has transfered correctly. Already I have found a few bugs which needed to be quashed, but the site seems to be running better than ever. Next I have a new design all ready to go which will bring the site up to the "Web 2.0" standard. This design will take a few days to implement, but the design is pretty much complete so hopefully that will go smoothly. There are also plans to tie the extremely active forums directly into the front-end of the site (which will require some custom programming) but this has been well thought out and should be pretty straightforward to implement. And then ... well, the site will finally be ready for the big new reveal!
As for my ability to continue to contribute and do a podcast I plan do just that. How often I will be able to do this I still to be determined as I am as busy as ever. Which brings me back to where I started this post ... the plan to have other people contribute to the site as well. This way the site can continue to thrive and I can contribute as time allows as it would be terrible to let the site simply fade away.
So once again I put out the call, if you are interested in contributing to the site contact me and we'll take it from there. But watch this space soon for some exciting new changes, they'll be coming faster than you think!
September 19, 2007
EA games held its first Blogger’s Day Event and I was one of the lucky 7 who got to attend. We all gathered at the headquarters in Redwood City, CA to get a preview of the new MySims game and meet the game developers ... a Sims game unlike any other.
Our day started with a tour of the EA campus and soon we found ourselves in a conference room surrounded by a new breed of Sims. Unlike other versions of The Sims, MySims was created exclusively for the Nintendo platform for release on both the Wii and the DS. With that in mind, the Sims was recreated to appeal to the Nintendo audience while holding on to the hallmark appeal of the original Sims game.
Like other Sims games you start the game playing one Sim which is customizable within the create-a-sim menu. The main head shape stays the same but you can change other unique features to make your Sim all your own. You can change their hair, skin tone, clothing, and even the voice from one of six different options. These little Sims are gender neutral so you can get really crazy with their look. And unlike other Sims games these Sims are cute ... really cute ... like a puppy sitting in a flowerbed holding a rubber toy in its mouth cute.
Of course there are options for additional personal items, such as eye glasses and facial marks. My Sim ended up in a skirt with a beard, a monocle and a spider tattoo on its cheek. There are more than enough options so that you can make your little Sim a mini-version of yourself which was a main goal of the development team (which, of course, they made several versions of themselves and their family members.)
Once your Sim is complete you begin the game within to a rundown town with your main goal to bring the town back to life and earn a "five star "status. You can improve the town by talking to other Sims and completing tasks for them, such as finding items, building things, giving them gifts, and so forth. The happier the Sims the more the town improves and more options become available to you.
As the town improves new Sims will show up (with new tasks for you, of course!). The game supports a total of 80 Sims but you can only have 27 Sims to your town at once so you need to plan your tasks accordingly as well as find and unlock the other Sims.
As for those of you out there who like to kill or torture their Sims, well, you can’t do that. They also don’t Woo Hoo or make babies but you still can mess with them and make them unhappy if you really want. You have four main interactions -- talk, be nice, be mean and give stuff. Each Sim has two likes and one dislike, so using these interactions and some creative responses you can make your Sims quite happy, or very upset. The choice is yours.
But there is so much more which you can do in this game besides making other Sims happy. You can fish, plant trees and prospect for cool new items. You can also unlock assets such clothing and blueprints by making friends with the Town Sims. Next to your house you have a workshop where you use your blueprints to build furniture and other objects. With a blueprint you can create a base object and then mix and match other pieces to create a uniquely different object. The more you play, the more building pieces you will unlock. Of course once you’ve made your creation, you can paint it with various colors and textures to truly make it your own.
There are no "simoleans" currency in version of The Sims but instead uses something called “Essenses”. There are six main Essences -- Cute, Geeky, Studious, Spooky, Tasty and Fun. All the objects are related to one of these essences and they are used to create furniture, paint walls and floors. Part of the fun is mixing and matching essences when creating new objects.
There are small differences between the Wii and DS versions, such as the DS version takes place at a seaside resort. Hence, the game plays slightly differently on each platform. At the resort you get to explore, meet and help the guests, design clothes and furniture and play mini games to earn money. One of the 10 mini games can be downloaded to a friend’s DS so they can play it without having the Sim game but it’s only playable while your DS is running.
The game was a lot of fun to play and all of us were laughing at the creations we made. Though it’s not a multiplayer game, it’s still fun to play with other people around to share the experience. It’s as much fun to watch as it is to play. The music was very pleasant and each location had its own unique tune so you could tell where you were just by listening to the song. Plus there is a ton of unlockable items, including new playable areas including a desert and a forest.
The game shipped today and although MySims is unlike other Sims creations it has enough "Sims flavor" to interest the diehard Sims fan. Hours of fun for the whole family.