April 21, 2015

The Sims 3 Reveals My Strengths and Flaws

Playing the Sims 3 reveals both my biggest strength and one of my biggest weaknesses: My obsessive focus.  I was only going to play for a few minutes today, but then got side tracked because my family bought the town art museum.  When I got it, it looked like this … a perfectly nice building:

Original Art Museum Sims 3 Ambitions

I think I’ll add some topiary and statues.

Statues for Art Gallery Beginning

I always loved the Italian Cypress trees when used as a backdrop for fountains and statues so I think a row of those would make a perfect block to the line of site.

Italian Cypress Trees

But … still, that building won’t accommodate the treasures I find.  I want great works of art; sculptures; cut gems.  I decide to tear down the building.  I change the grass, and build a basic template.

Tear Down the Art Gallery

Why not some Roman gardens?

Roman Gardens

At this point, with the animations on, this is how the place is looking … the water flowing sounds nice, things are starting to finally shape into a form I can appreciate.

Then it hits me.  I want an all-glass Seattle-style mixture to offset the Roman gardens.  It will have three floors – art on the bottom, sculpture on the second, and a working library and facilities on the third.

Kennon Art Gallery Building

Then, I think, “Why stop here?  I need pathways” … and more hedges, roses, and statues …

But is that acceptable? Clearly not! I need lights so the statues are illuminated at night, so I start installing them …

Then, I figure why not put in botanical walking trails and an outdoor sculpture gallery?

Kennon Gardens and Walking Trails

I then go back and start putting together the art museum itself …

Third Floor Art Museum

Now, it is finally all starting to come together …

The Art Gallery Coming Together Kennon

By the time I am finished, hours in the real world have passed and it is winter in the game.  I have built a full estate, with walking gardens …

Kennon Art Gallery in Winter

This is how my entire life goes.  I wake up and start reading, or doing something, or looking around, and suddenly I get obsessed.  I can’t help it.  It’s like the whole world stops.  It’s how we launched our first businesses; it’s how I bought my first stocks; everything goes back to my personality basically forcing the world around me to comply so I can shape it into how I want because I like to play and create.

I should have done this in the real world instead of in a game.  It would have had more utility to people.  Maybe I will someday.

  • http://ianhfrancis.blogspot.com/ Ian Francis

    Meanwhile… Back at home, your other sim cheats on their spouse and never tells them, except for taking pictures and putting them in the photo album.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      The free will thing is just bizarre because sometimes, these characters don’t seem to be consistent. I figured out you can adjust the level of free will in the settings to reduce cases like this, though I can’t bring myself to do it, despite being a game, for the sake of some moral sense of wrongness about limiting the freedom of others (apparently, even non-conscious computer algorithms).

      The surprises just keep coming, though. I found out from the scrapbook the other day one of the characters in my primary household was mugged in a park during the night. Why the hell was he 1.) in the park, 2.) there at night, 3.) unable to fly away or dematerialize given his powers?

      My Sims live secret lives, Ian. I feel like I have no idea what is going on when I run over to a different part of town. At this point, they very well might be selling drugs and I wouldn’t find out until the police came.

      • http://ianhfrancis.blogspot.com/ Ian Francis

        I have never run into this problem. Why? Because I have issues. When I play Sims, it takes FOREVER because I cannot let my sims do their own thing. I will pause the game, queue up each sims’ tasks (I think 8 is the max), then run. I then obsessively check each sims’ progress through their tasks, and if they start to move through them faster than I can add more, I pause and refill all their queues. I get upset, actually upset, if my sims go and do their own thing. It’s a serious problem.

        • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

          HAHAHAHA. Oh, you made me laugh outloud because I can so see you doing this.

  • Marc KS

    I would suggest never trying Dota 2 – I could see you liking it, but it’s a game that I’ve logged 1,500 hours or so into with probably double or triple that in the original.

    I’m only decent at the game.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      The moment I read “Dota 2″, knowing I had never seen those words before, I actually began singing this song outloud at my desk. I must research …

      • Marc KS

        I’m actually a little surprised you’ve never heard of it

        It’s basically Valve’s crown jewel at the moment – Something like 300,000 average concurrent users (5X growth in the last year despite being a “beta” with limited access)

        They’ve held a 1.6 million dollar prize pool tournament in August since they opened the Beta – This year they added an option for players to buy a digital compendium that provides a little more fan involvement (Dota has a significant E-Sports community) in the tournament. Part of the that digital was that Valve increased the tournament prize pool by 2.50$ from each 10$ compendium that was purchased – The prize pool is currently at 2.53 million and the tournament isn’t for another month and a half…

        The free to play – Pay to watch tournaments/have pretty hats model that Valve has doubled down on is looking so crazy lucrative its crazy…

  • Alec Dibble

    This blog post from James Altucher describes exactly the same thing you are talking about: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2013/07/how-to-win-at-monopoly-every-time

    Love and Immersion.

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      “You can only immerse yourself in something you love. Else you won’t be able to get good. The 10,000 hour rule will fail.”

      I could not agree more! And I love the reference. That book was so good my brother borrowed my copy, marked it up, and showed up with a new one because he had so thoroughly consumed and destroyed the original.

  • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

    Can it be, though, if in 30 years I’ve never had anything but it? It’s my natural resting rate. It’s my default. It’s my entire life, going back to kindergarten. It is, for me, what “normal” is.

    • Gilvus

      I was mostly referring to the intense, obsessive nature with which you do things – often at the expense of sleep. Some of the other criteria, like the hypersexuality, didn’t seem to fit you too well.

      …probably, anyway. Information asymmetry is king.

  • Bill

    No parking lot? O.O

    • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

      There is a Tardus-like teleportation booth that opens next to the fountain that connects the entire town since it is made up of ghosts, wizards, werewolves, vampires, etc.

      • Bill

        *Starts humming the Stargate SG1 theme song*

        So I read about Sim City 5’s epic flop and all, and I’ve read your posts on, if I remember right, Civilization. Now reading this tid bit on Sims 3… Out of these “build a financial empire” type games, what do you hold dearest to your heart? I haven’t played any of the titles mentioned yet. You got me to try out Fable 2 and I really enjoyed it – though it lacked a bit of depth. Some of the stuff (like above) that you’ve posted about Sims 3 looks like something I could really enjoy. Could you give a fellow gamer a short shakedown of each game you’ve played in this style in the last couple years and what you thought of each?

      • http://ianhfrancis.blogspot.com/ Ian Francis

        TARDIS – Time and Relative Dimension in Space… Your sister would be disappointed.

        • http://www.joshuakennon.com/ Joshua Kennon

          No, no, no … Tard-us. It’s a teleportation network run by the Internet’s most famous cat, Tard (aka Grumpy Cat), and his sister Pokey. They bring all the joy of discount airline travel to teleporting from one phone booth to another. Just look at the customer service you get to experience.

          “You wanted to be in the library and ended up in the Bajoran wormhole instead? I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do.”