The Townie Project – Part 3: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

Part 1:First Thoughts
Part 2: Who is Sergio Romero?

Once I realized how useful townies could be, it was time to put them to work — literally. I wanted my townies to have job. Real jobs. I wanted more than the limited in-game choices. It was time to find gainful employment for my townies.

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

I’ve never been satisfied with the career choices available in The Sims. Even from the original game, I was looking for something more than what was offered. There have always been too few careers to suit me, especially considering that I play with multiple households. To remedy the problem, I’ve always turned to a bit of imagination, custom content, or both.

With the original game, I found a “career creation” program that allowed me to “edit” existing careers, deciding on what text would be included at each stage, and setting a few requirements for friends or skills. I couldn’t add more careers. I could only replace ones already in the game. It was a start, and I happily created a librarian career, and dabbled with a few others. Ultimately, it became easier to simply imagine my sims in a particular career than to go through the tedious process of editing every level of a career. Besides, replacing one career with another still didn’t solve the real problem. There just weren’t enough different types of jobs available.

With Sims 2, I resolved the issue by “expanding” various career paths that were open to my sims. Not every sim who entered the Sports career, for example, went through the standard career levels. In fact, I doubt that any of them did. The various levels weren’t realistic, in my opinion, and hey, it was my game, so I felt free to mentally change whatever didn’t work for me. So, among my athletes, I had baseball players, professional bowlers, tennis professionals, and even a gal who did roller-derby.

I approached the medical profession with the same expansive attitude. Some of my Medical career sims became doctors; others became dentists. I had nurses, surgeons, and optometrists. For each of these “home-made careers”, I simply made a list of ten achievement levels, so as my sims gained promotions, I knew where they were in the career I’d chosen for them.

Skipping over Sims 3 — which was incompatible with my playing style — I found myself again “making up” careers for my sims in Sims 4. I’ve used the athletic career as the basis for a “modeling” career, and for a young woman who’s playing the circuit of the SLGA — Simerian Ladies’ Golf Association.

So, from the start, I knew I wanted my townies to have a variety of jobs from numerous fields. Doing this, of course, requires a great deal of pretense. I can’t go into the game and make any sim an actual lawyer or accountant, for example. What I can do, if I choose to, is to use an existing career as a substitute, and allow myself to go on pretending. It’s fairly simple. The business career can include a lot of ground — accounting, banking, the legal profession, and many more. As pointed out above, the athletic career can substitute for a lot of imaginary jobs, as can the medical career.

But, I wasn’t going to put each townie into the game to give him or her an actual career. I wish we could assign careers while in CAS, but that’s not a feature of the game. So, giving a townie a career really means simply assigning a job to that sim. Later, if that sim should become important to a story and join one of my active families, then I can finish the process by putting that sim to work in an appropriate field.

This idea of expanding career choices through imagination and pretense opens the job world up and allows unlimited possibilities. I had only to make a reference list of careers I wanted to include, and I was on my way. To help create my initial list, I turned to Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph. D. The book includes an entire chapter of “Career Traits” and lists forty-two specific careers. That was my starting point.

Truck driver Kevin Pease discusses his job with Edmund.
Truck driver Kevin Pease discusses his job with Edmund.

I listed the forty-two careers, put them in alphabetical order, then made a list of all the townies from my “household management” screen. Yes, it required a little time, but I consider it time well spent. Now, when townie Kevin Pease comes around, a quick glance at my Townie Project list fills me in on who he is. He’s a truck driver with a local delivery route. I can even tell you the name of the company he’s working for. It’s Warren & Sons Delivery.

Sure, I just made it up. That’s the fun of it. I made up accounting firms, business corporations, hospitals, and martial arts academies. I made up banks and technology firms and restaurants.

In doing so, I could feel my towns — and the townies — coming to life. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to get back to my game to see these townies strolling down the streets.

I wanted to point to them and say, “Oh, there goes Arthur Jimenez, you know, the retired lawyer. And over there, it’s Dr. London, the psychiatrist.” And the next time I caught one of my “goofballs” wandering around town in her hot-dog costume, I knew just what to do. I called Dr. London, arranged for Olanda to join his “Therapy Group”, and saw my game taking on whole new dimensions.

But that was only the beginning.

Oh, remember Sergio Romero, that awful townie that Stefanie Caldwell’s parents threw such a fit about? They were sure he was only after the Caldwell money. They’d marked him as a loser without even getting to know a thing about him. Well, I know about him now. Looks like Stefanie might have missed out on a very good thing. Sergio Romero, it turns out, just signed a major league contract with the Oasis Blues baseball team. He’ll be playing first base.

More to come!

The Townie Project – Part 4: What’s Your Style?

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