Free Perks!

It doesn’t take long for the modding community to go into action once a new game pack or expansion pack is released for Sims 4. Dine Out hit the market on Tuesday, June 7, and the following day devilgirl introduced the “Simstopics Free Restaurant Perks” mod. Let’s just say that my ears “perked up” at the sound of this.

It’s available at Mod the Sims and will allow your restaurant owners to cash in on the in-game perks. You must have the Dine Out game pack, of course.

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For me, running a business in any sims game has always proved difficult. I don’t have any restaurant owners yet, but when I do, I’m definitely going to consider this mod to make their life — and mine — much easier.

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First Dinner Date

Have you got Dine Out yet? I downloaded and installed it yesterday and immediately went into the game to check it out.

Yes, of course I was disappointed that we didn’t have a new neighborhood, so I had to delete an existing venue in order to place a restaurant in my game. For now, I used the pre-made from Maxis, but sorry, folks, while I enjoy llama jokes as much as anyone, I don’t need an elegant restaurant with a name like Chez Llama.

I’d planned to name my first restaurant Blossom Hill after a restaurant I included in Sims 2. I changed that plan, though, when I finally placed the new lot. It’s in the Magnolia Promenade area, so I named it Magnolia Blossom. I’m just going to pretend that Blossom Hill was sold, and the new owners changed its name.

Once I had the restaurant open, I headed for the next family on my rotating play list. It was the household of Dalton Vaile. His girlfriend, Janis Melanson, is living with him, and the relationship is about to get very serious — in a good way. I was playing from her point of view, and she was eager to go out to the elegant new restaurant that was having its “grand opening”.

A bit of quick backstory. Dalton Vaile is a starving artist and single father. His ex-wife is now serving time in jail for repeated shoplifting offenses (this all comes from my townie project). Dalton has struggled financially. Most of the time he and Coleman have barely had anything to eat or money enough to pay the utilities. When he met Janis, he knew he had little to offer. She didn’t care. She was happy to move in with him, and that helped ease the financial burden a bit. When tragedy struck and Janis lost both her parents in an accident while they were off on a safari adventure (another bit that comes from the townie project), she received a nice sum of money as an inheritance. Her relationship with Dalton has deepened considerably since. Now, that’s not to say that he only loves her for her money, but it sure does make life easier.

Since Janis could easily afford the cost of dining out at Magnolia Blossom, she and Dalton dressed in their finest and went out to dinner. Her treat.

Dining at Magnolia BlossomAs far as dates go, it was all right. There were, however, a few little problems. When they arrived at the restaurant, one of their first “successful date requirements” was to be seated at a table.

I wasn’t sure how to do it, but I saw what looked to be a hostess or maitre’d and instructed Janis to speak to him. She did. She hurried into the restaurant while Dalton stood out on the street by himself.

Really, EA? This was a date. You know. Two people going out together.

I was relieved that Dalton did join Janis. Now, how were they supposed to order? Somehow I clicked the right place and a menu appeared. Honestly, the whole “ordering process” confused me. I stumbled around with it and finally ordered drinks and salads — the same for both of them — and I intended to order a main course. Oops, the menu disappeared.

Note: I did post a question about this on the Forum – Ordering Food

Apparently we have to order in stages. But it’s a moot point, perhaps. My sims got their drinks, but nothing else. And that’s when the musical chairs began. Instead of spending time with Dalton, lovely Janis was up and about, drink in hand, chatting with diners at other tables. I had a terrible time getting her to sit down and have those deep conversations she and Dalton needed if they wanted this date to be a success.

The “to-do” checklist also told me my sims should “socialize about meal”, but I couldn’t find any options for that, probably because the meal never came…which, of course, was because I never had a chance to order a main course!

Before I knew it, the date was over. Janis and Dalton received flowers as a reward — not sure what date-level that is — and I took them back home. For what it’s worth, they were both in a most romantic mood, and Janis is now expecting a visit from the stork. I’ll probably have them get married, and Dalton is thinking maybe they should get a bigger house. Yes, it’s good to have a little money in the bank when you need it.

But, back to Dine Out. So far, I’m not wildly enthusiastic about the game pack, but neither do I totally hate it. Based solely on my experience — with one household and one restaurant — here are my likes and dislikes:

Likes

  • Getting a table was fairly simple.
  • We can set “dress codes” for a restaurant.
  • The drinks my sims ordered arrived promptly.
  • The restaurant had lots of other sims dining — in different age groups.
  • Family sims did sit together.
  • We can choose the name for our restaurant.
  • We have customization options for the staff and for the menu.
  • Dining out is reflected in the “checklist” for a date.
  • Paying for the meal is convenient.

Dislikes

  • We have limited choices for restaurant type.
  • Ordering food is confusing and/or not working as it should.
  • Sims are socializing more than dining.
  • No new neighborhood included in the pack.

That’s my quick assessment, but that’s based on a very limited play experience. Later today I’ll go into the game again and “dine out”.

For me, the biggest problem is the lack of a new neighborhood. I’d love to have a diner or two, and a seafood restaurant would be nice — that’s one of the choices we have. But I have nowhere to build any additional restaurants. For my sims, the new Magnolia Blossom restaurant is their only dine-out option. That’s a disappointment.

What have your experiences been? Are you enjoying the new game pack? What are you likes and dislikes? Found any bugs in the food?

 

 

 

Dinner Music

Have you ever been to an elegant restaurant and been serenaded by a musician? Well, in my game, I definitely want to treat my diners to the full dining experience, complete with violin. In fact, I think I know a violinst who might be interested in performing. This sounds like a perfect job for Jonathan Evans, don’t you think?

In honor of today’s forthcoming release of Dine Out, I’m sharing a little dinner music. Enjoy!

Dining Out

Only two days remain before the release of the next Sims 4 game pack, Dine Out.

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We’ll be able to build restaurants for our food-loving sims and actually run them as businesses. Families will have opportunities to dine out, celebrate birthdays and special occasions, and young sims in love can add dining out as another date-night activity.

At least, I think we’ll be doing all those things. To be honest, I’m always a bit skeptical until I get my hands on a new game pack or expansion pack. I need to see for myself what we can and can’t do. Sometimes, I’ve found, EA’s promotions and promises aren’t quite all they seem.

That said, let’s look at the reasons why EA says we should be excited for this new addition to the game.

Experimental Food

Oh, boy. I’m not sure how I feel about this one.  A “Jungle Moss Egg with Lavender Wisps”? OK, if you say so. Honestly, I’d rather have a game that lets me create my own experimental foods or add my own recipes, but some of these dishes could be fun. They’re “photo-worthy” according to Grant Rodiek, and our sims will be able to take pictures and hang on the walls. Great, I guess. Not something I do in real life, but this is a game, after all. What bothers me, though, is the note about “collecting” all these dishes — another achievement to be earned by having a sim try out every experimental food item. I’m not a fan of this style of gameplay. But we’re also promised new moodlets and new social options. Experimental foods will be interesting, to say the least.

Dining Experiences

Grant also assures us that we’ll have “varied dining experiences”, and that would be a definite plus — especially for a simmer like me who plays multiple families. I need variety in the experiences the game provides for my many sims. In addition to the new moodlets introduced in the game pack, there will also be new activities for kids. I don’t know if these will be available only in restaurants, or if any of these activities will carry over to other venues. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Customizable Restaurants

Now, this aspect of the game pack has definitely piqued my interest. What I love most about simming is the opportunity to put my creativity to work…er, that is, to put it to play. For me, The Sims has always been a creative outlet, and I love the idea of making restaurants my own. We can choose names, choose the sort of ambience we want, dress the staff as we choose, and set our own menus. It sounds great, and now I’m wondering how many perverted fellows out there will be designed restaurants with naked servers. Hey, it’s possible!

Ownable Restaurants

Now, here’s the one I’m not too wild about. Oh, it’s not that I don’t like the idea of my sims becoming restaurateurs — I love that idea — it’s just that I’m not sure I’ll like EA’s ways of implementing it. Electronic Arts tells us that we can hire, train, and inspire the staff, and even compensate customers for bad service. They then go on to compare owning a restaurant to careers from Get to Work — which is not a favorite of mine. The retail system in Sims 4 leaves a lot to be desired. My personal feeling is that owning and operating a restaurant in the game will most likely be very frustrating. I want my sims to enjoy owning a restaurant. I want to be able to enjoy it, too.

New Objects

This game pack will provide us with a lot of new decorative content, and that’s always fun. I haven’t yet seen a list of items, but I’m hoping they’ll be available for use not only in restaurant venues, but also in home settings. If not, of course, I’m guessing there will be cheats to make them buyable for every location.

Pre-Made Restaurants

We’ll have six pre-made restaurants we can add to our game, and this is great for those of us who aren’t good builders. I’m sure I’ll make use of these lots. Of course, the talented builders from our simming community will have lots of great restaurant lots on the exchange. It will be exciting to see them. I’ll be showcasing restaurants from time to time. I know there will be some great ones.

So, it sounds interesting, but there are a lot of questions in my mind. Will we have a new neighborhood? If not, where are we going to put these new restaurants? Will using fresh vegetables and herbs increase the quality of food served? Will we have new NPCs — such as the “restaurant critic” some have suggested? Will we be able to use restaurants for “club activities” in Get Together? Will different types of restaurants generate a different type of “townie clientele”? Will restaurants have “dress codes”?

Each time a new game pack or expansion pack is released, the simmers in EA’s forum go wild with speculation, imagining this, that, and everything else in the upcoming pack. Usually the reality falls far short of their expectations. Over the years, I’ve learned to pay little attention to EA’s hype and to avoid thinking too much about what I’ll do in the game until it actually arrives and I can see for myself what the new pack includes.

Still, I am excited for the release of Dine Out. How about you? Will you be getting the game pack on release day? Or will you wait to read the reviews from other players before you spend your hard-earned dollars?

 

Fresh Strawberries

Just had to write this post so I could show off a few of the beautiful berries we’ve been picking from our strawberry patch!

Berries

We’ve been picking — and enjoying — dozens of these strawberries every day. We’re definitely having our best crop of berries ever!

I do enjoy gardening, and I’m glad it’s a skill that my sims can learn, too. Not every family in my game has a garden, but many do. Some of my sims are actually quite passionate about the fruits and flowers and vegetables. I even have sims who make a living from their gardening abilities.

Strawberries in the game are, unfortunately, an uncommon fruit — which means that they’re a little more difficult to find. You can’t purchase seeds in starter packs, so if you want fresh berries, you’ll have to go out looking for them. According to Carl’s Guide to Gardening, you should be able to find strawberries growing in Willow Springs on the “Garden Essence” lot.

Gardening was first introduced to The Sims with the Unleashed expansion pack, and it’s been part of each game since. Personally, I think the gardening skill in Sims 4 is the best it’s ever been. And just as in real life, gardening skills and cooking skills can go hand in hand.

Your sims can use fresh strawberries to make lots of delicious dishes:

  • Strawberry pancakes
  • French toast with strawberries
  • Strawberry cobbler
  • Strawberry and yogurt parfait
  • Strawberry cheesecake
  • Monte Christo sandwiches with strawberries
  • Strawberry baked Alaska

I make many of these dishes in my kitchen, and with fresh fruit, they are delicious!

If your sims haven’t been having fun in the garden, why not get started today? My one frustration is that children can’t learn gardening skills, but the rest of the family can enjoy the activity and gain health and happiness benefits from eating the fresh produce.

And don’t forget about the new Dine Out Game Pack which will be released on June 7. Happy eating!

Dine Out