Working on my Townie Project has been an interesting experience, and I’ve enjoyed sharing it with fellow simmers.
Today, it’s time to wrap it all up.
In the end, my Townie Project proved to be much more involved than I’d initially thought it would be. That’s because as the project continued, I discovered new ways to “use” my townies, came up with more ideas for their backstories, and ultimately got more “personally involved” in the lives and loves of those folks in my household management bin. Even though they’re marked “unplayed”, I’d come to know them almost as well as I know many of my active CAS sims and “born-in-game” sims.
Story progression is a very sore subject for me. I wasn’t able to play Sims 3 because of its “story progression” mechanics that changed the lives of my sims while I was playing different households. Theoretically, I like the idea of story progression — for townies. Not for the households I create and play in my rotation. In a perfect game — which will never exist — I’d be able to play my sims without worrying about them changing jobs, getting fired, or making other significant life changes during the rotation process, and then, once each rotation I could “turn on” a story progression toggle that would quickly and efficiently update the lives of my townies. Some single sims would marry. Some married sims would divorce. Babies would be born. Elders would pass away.
The current system, of course, is far from perfect. Culling makes it all but impossible for the game to utilize any story progression system since townies are “here today, gone tomorrow” with no logical reason.
So, I did what I usually do when I want something the game doesn’t provide. I used my imagination and improvised a way to make it happen — in so far as I could.
Now, my townies’ lives do change. They marry. They divorce. They have families. The process of implementing my own story progression is a tricky one, but I’m finding ways to manage it.
At the start of every rotation — which is January in my game — I do a quick “marital status” check. I roll a die and if it comes up “6”, that means big trouble for the couple. I go to CAS, divorce them, and set them up in separate households. Later, one or both might get culled, and that might be all right. I’ll still have them in my “extra” bin — my library — so I can decide whether or not I’ll let one move on in life and make a new beginning elsewhere.
In June of my rotation — a suitable time for love and marriage — I go through the single sims on my townie register. If I can find a suitable match for a single sim, wedding bells ring in CAS. I join them together in holy sim matrimony, edit them to be husband and wife, and after saving the new household to my library, I wish them well as they begin living happily ever after together.
Each in-game month, I also check to see which sims — if any — need to be aged up, and I roll a die for young adult female sims who are of child-bearing age. And, I’ll be honest here. Even though I don’t use any “in-teen” mods in my game, I do have a couple of teenaged townies who are promiscuous. I roll a die for them, too. If it comes up “6”, they’re in big trouble. So far, those girls have been lucky. No babies yet.
The sims who do “conceive” and temporarily placed in the game. I have a house furnished with the bare necessities. I move the procreating couple in, have them try for baby, check the results, and then move them back to the bin. If the sim doesn’t conceive, that’s fine, too. They tried. I do keep a computer in the house, so in the rare event that the two sims aren’t getting along well or don’t want to woo-hoo for some reason, I have them use the computer to quickly adopt a baby. Any baby who comes along is added to the register, assigned a future occupation and personality style.
Whew! Yes, it’s a lot to keep track of. In addition to putting my own sort of story progression into play, I also have to check the household management bin each in-game month. I note which townies have been culled, decide if I want to declare them “deceased” or not, and I add newly-minted townies to my spreadsheet.
Is it worth it? Is all my time and trouble really making the game more enjoyable for me? The answer is unequivocally a resounding “Yes”. Do I wish there were an easier way. Again, “Yes”. For my game, my love of sim-storytelling, and my need for creative expression, I love having neighborhoods filled with people who have real lives, real families, real problems, and real drama going on. Many of the sims who come and go will probably never be important to the game, but those who are — such as Sergio Romero, Dr. London and his not-so-lovely wife — are adding immeasurable pleasure to my simming experience.
Thanks for sharing The Townie Project with me.