Speculation about Sims 4’s upcoming stuff pack swirls feverishly in the Twitterverse.
It wasn’t long after the Sim Gurus dropped a haunting gif of glowing green ghosts and the date January 12th that Simmers gabbed about a possible Happy Haunts pack.
After Nifty Knitting narrowly edged out Happy Haunts as a community-voted stuff pack, many Simmers lamented the choice. Some cited the pack’s suggested content— Ghost Hunting, Seance reading, and Grim Reaper freelancing as a much needed shot of fresh gameplay for the Sims 4. Developers, then, assured disappointed Simmers that anything was possible.
On the eve of the reveal date, SimGuruNinja tweeted the name of a featured, top-hat-wearing Sim ghost.
“Claude Rene DuPlantier Guidry.”
The French name “Guidry” sounds remarkably like “Guédé” the name of a family of loa, or Haitian spirits.
The ghost in question may be a reference to Baron Samedi, the head of the Guédé household. The rich culture of American Louisiana, fused with Haitian, Spanish, and French lore, represents Baron Samedi as a tall, often Black man, who loves cigars and rum. He occupies the space between the living and the dead, often making deals with the living who find themselves in desperate situations... for a price.
What do you think is coming? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!
Skin tone and Makeup Color Sliders Arrive
The highly-anticipated skin tone update arrived early for both PC and console Sims 4 players today, and it’s been a long time coming.
For years, Sims 4’s lack of accurate skin tones, particularly for Sims of color, was a glaring omission that garnered plenty of criticism. Modders like the incredible XMira noticed that not only were the darker-skinned Sims in Sims 4 poorly represented, but even the available custom content skin colors were limited.
Xmira was among the first custom content creators to address this issue with rich, realistic skins of her own. The skins, included in her “melanin pack” were both warm and cool, with red, yellow, and blue undertones. This triumph of a creation was downloaded thousands of times by thousands of Simmers, but it was not until the summer of 2020, when American police brutality against people of color reached a fever pitch after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, that EA stopped turning a blind eye to the issue. They no longer could.
Some of the rich skin tones available in Xmira’s “melanin pack.”
Happily, on December 7th, players received the base game skin tone update that they deserve. Not have Sims 4 devs added hundreds of new skin tones to the game, but they have also introduced sliders that allow players to fine tune the skin color they choose.
The truth is this: not all colors are created equal. A warm pink differs from a “true” pink or a “cooler” pink. In the same manner, people come in these varying hues too. A brown-skinned person might have a rich warm tone, with undertones of red or yellow. Another person may have a “blue” brown, or a “cooler” brown. These hues change the way make-up appears on a certain person’s skin,
Sims 4 players can now choose from “warm,” “neutral”, and “cool” skin tones.
After choosing a color in one of the hue categories, Simmers can now slide a widget to customize their chosen color’s saturation.
If this were not enough, Simmers can also change the saturation, brightness, tint, and darkness of a certain make-up swatch by sliding the new widget to their desired settings. This way, Simmers can create the colors they need that look best on their Sim. Warmer skinned Sims look best in warmer colors, cooler-skinned Sims in cooler colors and so on.
A chart showing which makeup colors look best against certain skin colors.
These changes will help Simmers everywhere better see themselves in the Sims. And that is no small thing.
“Holiday Magic”: The Newest Sims Spark’d Challenge
Not long after the most recent Sims Spark’d Challenge — Creature Creation— a new Sims Spark’d Challenge has gone live to keep creative Simmers styling, building, and storytelling to new creative heights.
This newest Sims Spark’d Challenge, deemed “Holiday Magic,” encourages Simmers to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year through Create-a-Sim, Build Mode, and Storytelling.
As always, interested Simmers will choose one of the aforementioned categories and create something that fits a holiday theme. Entries are judged according to four criteria: creativity, craftsmanship, originality, and aesthetics.
Those selected as a Top Spark’d Creator are spotlighted on the official Sims Spark’d website at the end of the challenge. “Holiday Magic” will run from November 23rd- December 14th.
Of course, contestants must adhere to rules as they participate, and they are as follows:
Will you participate? Tell us in the comments below!
Weird and Wonderful Winners
Sims Spark’d is a large scale competition in which every day Simmers can compete. After choosing a category — stylist (create-a-Sim), builder (build mode), or storytelling (often videos or comics, Simmers respond to a certain prompt within that caregory.
The latest Spark’d prompt from the Sims team was Halloween. Stylists created brand new creatures “never seen before” in the world of Sims, builders created stunning haunted houses, and storytellers wove terrifying tales.
The winners of this competition were announced November 23rd, 2020.
Check them out here:
Console Simmers Get their Fix
In a patch as massive as the one which preceded the Snowy Escape expansion pack, there are bound to be pesky bugs and persistent glitches, but on November 10th, what many Simmers received in this patch was a game-breaking headache.
Soon after patch release, both PC and console players witnessed their game audio suddenly sputter and their gameplay screech to a halt. For many Simmers, this glitch prevented them from playing at all.
On November 17th, PC Simmers received a patch to correct the rampant crashing, though even this patch wasn’t without issue: some players reported experiencing and endless loading screen afterward. But console players had to wait until the Sony and Microsoft Gods gave their exalted permission before before they could receive the patch.
On November 18th, console player prayers were answered.
Console players should update their games and keep developers in the loop about any more issues.
Stay warm and Sim on, players.
A Troubled Launch
The Snowy Escape pre-patch, released on November 10th, folded highly-anticipated features in-game such as build-mode platforms, a “sentiments” system that enriches Sim relationships, new half-wall heights, and rental lots in every Sims 4 world.
This patch was massive, over 2MB, and had players squirming with glee in their gaming chairs. However, this massive patch caused some, perhaps unexpected set-backs. Almost on cue, Simmers’ joy dissolved into unmitigated frustration as their beloved game- both on PC and console— sputtered and coughed to a grinding start, only to crash unexpectedly mid-game. The game-changing patch had become a game-breaking one, and many Simmers took to Twitter to grumble about it.
Happily, the Sim Gurus both recognized and moved to remedy the crashes. After advising a workaround which involved fiddling with the game’s launch settings, the Sims 4 development team finally rolled out a hot fix patch for PC on November 17th.
After downloading the much needed patch, some players experienced new glitches such as an infinite loading screen. SimGurRuskii quickly intervened.
Players should remove their mods just in case they become incompatible with corrected game code, download the patch through Origin, cross their fingers, and pray.
Many disgruntled Sims 4 players tout a common refrain: the Sims 4 appears to retain its most jaw-dropping, game-changing updates for paid packs. Players who can only afford base game, the version of Sims 4 without expansion packs, may feel that Maxis reserves its best efforts for those who can afford it.
Snowy Escape, the much anticipated Sims 4 expansion pack set to release November 13th, is one that has encouraged ripples of extreme jubilation throughout the Sims community at large. Players look forward to purchasing the pack and enjoying such snow activities such as snowboarding, skiing, hot spring visiting, and mountain climbing.
But this expansion is remarkable not simply for its snowy day additions but also for its base game changes. That is, in the update that drops into Origin November 10th at 10AM PST, all players, regardless of whether they've purchased Snowy Escape or not, will receive a deluge of stunning new features in their games.
What to Expect in Base Game
Base game players can expect the following changes in their games:
YouTuber James Turner demonstrates the new platform ability
What does this all mean?
The new platform ability allows Simmers to build multilevel rooms without pesky foundation hacks. Players will be able to build stages, sink living rooms, create tiered staircases without actually using stairs. The result will be builds that will be more multi-dimensional than ever before.
In this update, Maxis offers an almost ridiculous number of new half-wall sizes to accompany new platforms. Because players can now raise and lower platforms to many wondrous new levels, half-wall sizes, which serve as floor finishing, also had to change. Players will not be able to drag the half-walls up and down the way as with the platform widget; rather, they will have nearly a dozen new wall sizes from which to choose.
Perhaps most notably, Tuesday's patch allows players to build vacation lots in any Sims 4 world. That is, if a player builds or places a beautiful resort or vacation home in Windenburg or Willow Creek or any other available Sims 4 world, they will be able to send Sims to vacation in it. Again, this means Sims are no longer limited to vacationing in Granite Falls, El Selvadorada, or Batuu; all worlds will open as vacation spots.
Sims Information Panel and Sentiments
Along with this update, Simmers will have access to a robust new personality system. Sentiments, or shared experiences, will cause Sims to hold grudges or fond memories of a certain person based on their experiences with that person. Poor interactions will yield poor sentiments, and good interactions will yield warm sentiments. Players can track these sentiments in a brand new info panel available to all players Tuesday.
While this is not the huge overhaul to be expected in December, which will offer brand new skin tone and make-up sliders, Maxis will quietly correct some inconsistencies in Sim appearance with this new update.
YouTuber James Turner shows off the new half-wall selections.
YouTuber IronSeaGull shows off the sentiments and the new base game info panel.
which update are you looking forward to the most? Tell us below in the comments! As always, stay safe, remove all your mods before updating, and happy Simming!
Snowy Escape: An Overview
Simmers salivated for days over the newest Sims 4 expansion pack: Snowy Escape. Slated to release November 13th, this highly-anticipated pack promises new snow day extreme sports, comfortable and cultured Create-a-Sim items, brand new build/buy features, and fresh gameplay to keep gamers engaged.
Snowy Escape naturally comes with a barrage of new winter clothes: thick snowsuits, mountain boots, and fur-lined hooded wear. But the expansion also includes cultural wear, fun street wear, and lovely new hair styles.
Builders everywhere are thrilled to finally have multi-leveled platforms at their disposal, but Snowy Escape is jam-packed with many exciting new build/buy features sure to keep builders busy for a long time.
Players can expect:
Of course, CAS and Build/Buy features do not a Sims game make. Interesting gameplay, what Simmers will experience once in-game, is essential to making a pack unforgettable. Here is what Snowy Escape delivers:
Snowy Escape comes filled with new snow day activities in which Sims may engage: snowboarding, skiing, mountain climbing, and sledding. All of these activities are skills that Sims can improve with time, and there are various slopes at various skill levels around Komorebi.
Sims may also begin a new social event called an “excursion.” This social event is unlike others that came before it. Instead of one progress bar that Simmers must fill to gold or silver, an excursion has four different legs to complete with randomized weather conditions, increasingly difficult climbs, and creepy crawlies that injure any given Sim.
Be careful, get wounded three different times, by falling in icy conditions, being attacked by bats, or squashed by a stubborn vending machine, and your Sim may meet an early death
Festivals are deeply ingrained into Japanese culture. Resplendent with hanging paper lanterns and tiny glowing boats, Japanese festivals often offer the opportunity to don cultural clothes like kimono and yukata, and bond with family members.
The entire city lights up during the Snow Festival.
Children can hunt for voidcritters, ten in all, at the children’s festival.
Onsen: Japanese Bathhouses
Residential Japan is dotted with hot spring bathhouses called Onsen. Touted for their beauty and tranquility, this was one Japanese feature that Sims 4 could not leave out.
Sims can enjoy a special meal together at any kotatsu table called “hot pot.” Coming in a variety of recipes, hot pot is prepared at the table with the Sim’s family gathered around. They socialize together as the meal cooks and then again as they enjoy the meal. An upgraded kotatsu table will even provide cooling services.
Sentiments and Lifestyles
Lifestyles are a new addition to the game which form as a result of a particular Sim’s habits. A Sim who is single and remains single while enjoying the world’s sights in solitude might earn the “single and loving it” lifestyle. If the Sim meets someone new and spends all their time with them, however, this lifestyle will begin to fade, and the Sim may earn the “hungry for love” lifestyle.
Sentiments are shared memories that affect the way a Sim feels about and reacts to other Sims. Below, dad has a “festering grudge” against Shigeru. Thus, in the man’s presence, be becomes tense and angry. He may stare down or cut his eyes in the other man’s direction. With time, unless fueled, sentiments can fade, however. The “festering grudge” in the below example has almost disappeared.
Sentiments can also affect Sims indirectly. Sims with strong, loving bonds may experience sadness when a loved one is sad, for example.
Both Sentiments and the new Sim profile panel are free updates coming to base game!
What are you most looking forward to in this upcoming pack? Tell us below in the comments, and happy Simming!
Japanese Bathhouses: A Cultural Staple
Simmers everywhere are thrilled to experience Snowy Escape’s Japan-inspired world of Komorebi on November 13th. Maxis has decked out this new expansion pack in many Japanese-esque traditions: cultural festivals, genken entryways, kimonos, and onsen. This has many western Simmers scratching their collective heads however. Just what is an onsen?
For many westerners, bathing in public is unthinkable. However, in Japan, public bathing is a tradition not only deeply acceptable but also incredibly spiritual. It is one thing to bathe at home, in a a veritable puddle of a tub, but quite another to sink into the steaming, soothing waters of a hot spring in the awe-inspiring shadow of Mount Fuji.
There are two kinds of bathhouses in Japan: sento and onsen. A sento is a kind of public bathhouse that became popular during the Japanese population boom of the 1960s. It’s essentially a place to purchase hot water and relax.
Onsen, on the other hand, are deeply associated with regional Japan. Japan’s countryside is famously dotted with natural
hot springs, geothermal heated pools of water. The water here reaches through cracks in the Earth’s crust and heats up. Some hot springs grow hot enough to boil an egg!
The Japanese tout the medicinal, healing, and relaxing properties of both the soothing hot spring water and the time-honored tradition of public bathing. In fact, the Japanese have been enjoying their hot springs for over one thousand years.
Maxis partnered with Deligracy to build Snowy Escape’s in-game onsen. Deligracy’s build is a stunning marriage of minimalist modern furnishings with traditional Japanese furnishings.
But maybe you want to build your own onsen once you’re able to play this expansion! Here are a few helpful tips and tricks.
1) Make your Onsen More than a Bathhouse
Deligracy’s build uses only base game and Snowy Escape build items. In addition to the hot spring and shower area, she’s included comfortable sitting areas and dining areas to boot.
To make this idea your own, consider this: travelers from all over the world congregate at Japanese bathhouses for a complete, relaxing experience. Many modern bathhouses offer spa services, steam rooms, hot stone massages, and even hair salons!
The Spa Day pack is a lovely choice for adding relaxing items to your onsen. Consider adding massage tables and chairs, a little Japanese restaurant nearby, and anything else that would soothe the weary traveler.
To keep your build authentic-looking, use tatami mats, sliding doors, and keep furnishings minimal.
The Nagomi no Yu spa in Tokyo offers onsen experience, sauna, and massages.
2) Keep or Ditch Gender Separation
Deligracy included gender-neutral doors in her build, a subtle and necessary nod to the changing times.
Traditionally, bathhouses still separate their bathing rooms in a bi-gender manner. When one enters a bathhouse, they’ll usually see two colored curtains indicating which gender should use which bathhouse entrance. Men use the blue-curtained door. Women use the red-curtained door. This is because women bathe with women while the men, in a separate bath, bathe with other men.
To make this idea your own, you may want to include the red and blue curtains for a more traditional set-up.
Of course, the Sims is a game well-equipped to throw away old-hat gender norms, so the choice belongs solely to the player!
Blue and red curtains with the kanji “men” and “women.”
3) Get Your Public Shower or Bath right
Before entering the hot spring, all patrons must shower first. This isn’t the quick rinse before jumping into a western pool, however. In Japan, people are expected to thoroughly bathe before entering the hot spring. Deligracy’s build includes a shower area with the traditional bathing stools and basins.
It’s considered rude to stand and shower in these bathhouses, so for more traditional gameplay, allow your Sims to sit down a while in the shower room. Sims with long hair should pin it up; it’s also considered rude for hair to touch the water.
To make this yours, be certain to use the special
shower provided in the pack, but consider including stations with complimentary hair accessories, blow dryers, soaps, shampoos, and other bathing accoutrements. After all, travelers need little more than a towel at these onsen; the rest is provided, often for free. Remove the partitions for a more traditional look. You might also include bathtubs or kake-yu, which are also common at traditional onsen.
The Japanese shower while sitting. They also use the basin for shaving.
Kake-yu: the bath before the bath.
4) The Hot Spring
Deligracy’s build features a snow-surrounded hot spring outside. Relaxing Sims may bathe, center themselves, and enjoy the view.
To make this look your own, consider building more than one spring, especially if you decide to separate your Sims by gender.
Traditionally, the Japanese do not wear towels in the spring. It’s considered rude to allow the towel to touch the water. Hopefully, this new expansion pack allows Sims to fold their towels on their heads the way the Japanese do:
Surround your hot spring with mountains, trees, and flowers. Include low-lighting for a rustic and peaceful atmosphere.
Modernize your onsen with concrete and clean, geometric lines:
There are many onsen from which a hopeful player may draw inspiration. Will you use Deligracy’s onsen? Will you renovate it? Will you build your own? Tell us in the comments!
Stay warm, and happy Simming.
The Sims 4 Development Team Drops a Snowy Trailer
Today, the Sims 4 development team dropped the gameplay trailer for Snowy Escape, their newest expansion pack. In doing so, Sims 4 solidified their commitment to diversity in a few, wonderful ways.
Gameplay trailers are immensely significant for players because, after viewing in-game footage, they can differentiate between actual gameplay experience and glossy, render fluff. That is, in animated official trailers, developers can sometimes include gameplay features that are not actually in-game. In-game trailers, however, only show what is actually in game. They are real portrayals of what gamers can expect in a given expansion pack.
October 28th, Simmers feasted their eyes on the stunning, frosted world of Komorebi.
As most players suspected, Komorebi is a Japanese-inspired winter wonderland which exists at the foot of the massive Mt. Komorebi.
Dappled with pink cherry blossom trees, ancient-looking curved bridges, lovely flower strewn boulevards, and scintillating slopes, Komorebi shines with culture both new and old. The Japanese-esque appearance of Komorebi is a deep departure from the currently, largely Euro-centric worlds available in Sims 4. Komorebi is filled with hot springs and temples, threaded with ski-routes and snowboarders, and brimming with both modern and ancient buildings. Players should expect a marriage of old with the new, both paper lanterns and vending machines, tatami mats and modern hibachi stoves.
There are are several neighborhoods in Komorebi, boasting fourteen lots, each offering unique experiences.
Wakaba rests at the foot of Mt. Komorebi. Stuffed to the brim with waterfalls and gardens, genkan entryways and giggling children. Wakaba offers players their first brush with the Festival of Youth and such time-honored traditions as bowing respectfully and removing shoes inside. Players will quickly realize that, while enjoying the new foods Wakaba offers, that they can choose the utensil they'd prefer: forks or chopsticks?
At the Festival of Youth, kids will meet Yamachan, the town mascot. They can also take part in Voidcritter hunts.
NEW SIM DEATH: DEATH BY VENDING MACHINE
When attempting to retrieve a snack from a festival vending machine, the desired item may get stuck, killing the hapless Sim determined to dislodge their chosen snack.
These vending machines will also offer "Simmies," collectables for which a Sim can scour the new world. There are twelve Simmies in all, with ultra-rare golden variations.
Senbamachi: Thousand Leaves Town
A more traditional area surrounded by serene nature, Senbamachi is the place where players will experience hiking, picturesque bridges, cave exploring, electric bugs, and the festival of lights.
Yukimatsu: Vacation spot
Yukimatsu, cloaked in snow, offers what players will most likely salivate over for many weeks to come. Here, players may create rentals for their Sims, and this ability extends to other worlds such as Sulani. This means that Sims will be able to vacation in any world, not just Granite Falls, Batuu, or El Selvadorada.
Yukimatsu offers a stunning variety of snow sports such as: skiing, snowboarding, sledding (for one or two Sims), rock climbing, and cave exploring. Yukimatsu also houses the onsen, a hot springs bath house, to relax in the steaming, therapeutic waters of Komorebi.
Near the onsen, Komorebi citizens hold the Festival of Snow, a celebration filled with fireworks and fantastic sculptures.
NEW WOO-HOO SPOT
Get down and dirty while you get relaxed and squeaky clean in the brand new hot spring locations.
Players will be able to trek either in groups (tours begin at the onsen) or alone to the top of Mt. Komorebi. Much like Jungle Adventure excursions, a player's Sim will need the right skills and pack the right snacks in order to survive this dangerous journey that is often disturbed by the new thunder snowstorms. There are caves along the way available for both exploring and woo-hoo, and as a player's Sim climbs, the weather worsens, increasing the possibility for a new Sim death.
NEW WOOHOO SPOT: ICE CAVES
During their trek up the slopes, any given Sim may find the intriguing ice caves. If conditions are just right, Sims can climb inside to enjoy each other's ahem... body warmth.
NEW SIM DEATH: DEATH BY FALLING
If weather conditions are too icy or a Sim's climbing skill isn't quite up to par, then that Sim runs the risk of falling during their scenic climb, plummeting to a painful death.
The Sims 4 ensured this newest trailer was filled with Sims of many ethnicities. The trailer's narrator is, of course, Asian, but Sims 4 included Sims of other ethnicities too. Players quickly noted the new textured hairstyles and unique CAS items. Players also got their first look at the Lifestyles function, a new addition to Sims gameplay that will have an even bigger impact on Sim behavior than even traits.
"Lifestyles are an expression of a Sim's behaviors and habits over time," the trailer overlay explains. "A Sim can only work towards or against a lifestyle so much in a given day."
That is, a Sim's unique lifestyle is unlocked by their own daily habits. Participating in a lot of extreme snow sports may earn a Sim the "energetic" lifestyle, for example. But if a Sim is already committed to a lifestyle, then that lifestyle can fade if the Sim doesn't continue practicing their way of life. For example, a "sedentary Sim' won't be considered that any more if he suddenly takes up skiing and rock-climbing.
The lifestyles currently available are:
The new expansion also comes with two new aspirations.
The "Extreme Sports Enthusiast" aspiration will motivate Sims to rock climb, to explore the most death-defying reaches of Mt. Komorebi, and to snowboard to their heart's content!
The "sight-seer" aspiration will encourage Sims to eat at every town festival, to meet Yamachan, and to explore the various Komorebi sights.
Sentiments, a fresh feature, deeply affect Sim behavior and moodlets. When Sims share experiences with one another, they form memories that affect how they feel away from that Sim and in that Sim's presence. Did a Sim's friend let them forget their bug spray at home, as suggested by the gameplay trailer? That Sim can now hold a mean grudge against the negligent Sim, gaining angry moodlets in when that Sim is around.
Most heartwarmingly, the narrator of the latest gameplay trailer reveals that she met the female love of her life at Mt. Komorebi! This nod to LGBTQi+ inclusion only solidifies Sims 4's commitment to representing people of all walks of life: all cultures, all sexual orientations, all ethnicities.
Bravo, Sims 4 devs. Bravo.
What are you most excited about from the game play trailer? Tell us on Twitter!