Infiltrating Jorgenfist III

Photo 2014-06-30, 15 42 13

Crushed! Like my players’ dreams!

Chapter 4 continued. Session date: Friday 27 June 2014. Continued from previous journal entry

Our heroes took a few minutes to plan their next move after returning to Jorgenfist. Their hasty action the previous day had nasty consequences; they did not want to lose another party member. Ciaran turned Cecil invisible so that he could scout out the entire level.

What Cecil found was a bit disconcerting: no sign of the stone giant who had slain him, and although there were a few patrols guarding the caverns, the armoury was strangely empty of the weapons that had been there yesterday.

Armed with information on their foes’ movements, Oparal used her magic to create a silent zone where they could dispatch the guards without alerting the other enemies in the area.

After dispatching a couple of patrols of stone giants, and the trolls guarding the entrance to the next level, our heroes descended into darkness, finding themselves in a strange chamber which seemed to stretch into infinity in their peripheral vision. So extreme were the disorienting effects of this room that Nu and Cecil found themselves reduced to the size of halflings! Ciaran and Cecil found themselves unable to act when two lumbering giants entered the room and attacked.

Oparal’s quick thinking and unusual use of her moonlight bridge oracle power offered some protection while Nu took on the giants. Despite his newly reduced stature, he was quick enough to dispatch the monsters.

Stone Golem

The next room posed a different challenge to our heroes. A mighty cauldron stood in the centre of the room, spewing noxious smoke that sickened the good-aligned heroes. The cauldron was guarded by a mighty stone golem, who was impervious to the mages’ magic. Ciaran did manage to topple the cauldron with a well-placed resilient sphere beneath it, preventing further smoke from being produced, but burning Nu and Cecil with its boiling contents.

Still, this was enough to allow the heroes to defeat the golem. Their victory was short-lived, as a terrifying creature with what looked like a furnace burning in its stomach stepped through a wall and attacked Nu. The creature withdrew after its initial attack, but the heroes were left knowing that the monster could be back at any time.

Next chapter: Infiltrating Jorgenfist IV

Sims 4: Of Pools and Toddlers

3_TS4_Blog_Neighborhoods_size

Chances are that you’ve already heard the surprising news that The Sims 4 base game won’t include some features that players take for granted: pools and the toddler life stage. This was recently announced in an official blog post. I thought I would add my two cents about some of the points brought up in the post.

First and foremost, you the player have complete control over your Sims – and now their emotions.

They’re really pushing this emotion thing, and I’m intrigued to see how it actually works. I remember the first time I played The Sims 3, how impressed I was by the way Sims behaved – it was a huge improvement over The Sims 2. I’m hoping the same will be true when I load up The Sims 4.

Build Mode truly is the most powerful, and fun, Build Mode we’ve ever created. While it’s not possible for us to include every single feature and piece of content we added to The Sims 3 over the last 5 years, we’ve added features that you’ve asked for and that offer a whole new intuitive and fun way to build. These are features like Wall Height Adjustment, Dynamic Foundation Sizing, and Smart Windows! And though pool building won’t be available in September, we do have a new Fountain Tool so you can create sophisticated landscapes.

From the few videos they’ve shown of Build Mode, I must say I’m looking forward to it. Of course they can’t include everything from five years’ worth of Sims 3 expansion packs, but it does sound like they’ve made some improvements to make it easier to build houses. This sounds like good news for me, as I’m a very lazy builder!

The decision to exclude pools from the base game is an interesting one. They’ve been part of the Sims franchise from the very beginning, both for recreational purposes and as tools of murder. However, their usefulness for a quick and easy death for Sims was greatly reduced by the Island Paradise expansion, which is when (I think) Sims became capable of climbing out of pools even without ladders. Still, I think it’s a weird thing to leave out.

When it comes to connecting with other players online – The Sims 4 is the game you want it to be. You can browse other players’ creations or share your own directly from the game to the all new Gallery, or you can turn it off with a click of a button.

I’m glad that EA/Maxis have learnt something from the SimCity disaster. Making single player games online-only is just asking for trouble. I must admit I’m totally indifferent to the online features of The Sims 3. If only it didn’t add a minute or two to my game load time, I’d like it a whole lot more.

As for ages, we have babies, children, teens, young adults, adults and elders.

This has got a lot of people upset. Toddlers have been a part of The Sims 3 from the beginning, and they are certainly more interesting than babies, who do nothing at all. That being said, in a normal Sims 3 game, I generally turn the baby and toddler life stage lengths to the minimum as I find both to be rather dull. Plus I’ve found that there have been very few toddler and child options in most of the Sims 3 expansion and stuff packs. So if removing toddlers is going to allow the team to focus more on the other life stages, and perhaps make children more interesting, then I’m all for it.

Neighborhoods and Worlds will be separated by a short load screen, but for the first time you’ll be able to live in one world and work (or play) in another!

A short load screen? In a Sims game? I’m pretty sceptical about this, as all the Sims games have always had excessively long load times (this is the reason why my Sims never go anywhere, like university or on holiday… I can’t bear the load screens!). The ability to travel between worlds and neighbourhoods sounds great, but the actual load times will determine how much I use this feature.

All in all, it sounds like there are some cool things coming in The Sims 4. The adjustment of going from a game with 10+ expansion packs and tons of DLC etc. to a plain base game is always painful, but hopefully The Sims 4 base game can deliver enough to tide us over until the expansion packs start coming out.

Smith Legacy–Chapter Thirteen

Smith13-01

With four working adults in the family now, the Smiths were seeing a proper income for the first time in their lives. Magenta celebrated by building a proper greenhouse. The process of transferring all her plants to their new homes would be a long one.

Smith13-02

The twins decided it was time for new looks. [Awesome custom hairstyles found on The Sims Resource.]

Smith13-03

After her failure to obtain an heir from both Kearney and Kenya, Elizabeth turned to Mindy, the purple dragon, who summoned Sean Kelly to meet Elizabeth.

Smith13-04

Sean and Elizabeth hit it off at once, and things escalated rather quickly…

Smith13-05

Meanwhile, Alexandra was also trying her hand at socialising. She went to an acquaintance’s party to meet some new people. However, the sudden expiration of one of the other party goers really put a damper on the festivities.

Smith Legacy–Chapter Twelve

Smith12-01

Soren found himself climbing up the ranks in the military, but he was had several skills to hone before he could achieve true greatness there. Repairing and tinkering with household appliances also helped him take out his frustration with not being named heir.

Smith12-02

He even tried dating a few times. Jennifer Pleasant turned out to be not so pleasant after all, and she rejected his advances, despite having been the one to initiate the date. The fact that she was already married hadn’t seemed to bother her when she called to ask Soren out. Soren also had a sneaking suspicion that she was a vampire. Perhaps she was just looking for a free meal?

Smith12-03

This guy materialised in the washing machine one day, and has been appearing around the house ever since.

Smith12-04

After the werewolf incident, Elizabeth decided to try her dating luck elsewhere. When Kenya Gage asked her out, she couldn’t resist. They built a snowman outside before retiring into the public library (Kenya’s idea..) for a romantic evening.

Smith12-05

It was only the next day that Elizabeth realised why Kenya had seemed so familiar… he was the maid! Needless to say, Kenya was not too impressed to find Elizabeth on a date with Kearney while he, Kenya, was cleaning the house…

[I’ve been doing some calculations, and realised I would never be able to finish posting about this legacy challenge before Sims 4 came out if I only posted once a week. Smith legacy posts will now be every Wednesday and Friday.]

Help Me Get Lego; Help YOU Get Lego

There are some great Lego sets out there, but today I’d like to mention two that caught my eye recently.

First up, the Back to the Future Delorean set. The car can be customised to look like the variants used in each of the three films, and the set includes minifigs of Doc Brown and Marty McFly.
Lego-Delorean
I usually get my Lego from Blox Universe, but as they are a small seller, they don’t carry all the stock available in shops. When ordering sets not currently in stock, they need to get enough interest to buy a box. In the case of the Back to the Future set, a box contains 6 sets. That means I need to find five more people who want to buy this set so that I can get one! To help people afford these sets, the are giving discounts when buying a whole box.
The BTTF set retails for R599, but Blox Universe are offering them at R550. As an added bonus, if you reference me (Abigail Holden or TriangularRoom), you get free standard postage (with a tracking number) anywhere in SA.
If you are interested in getting this Back to the Future set from Blox Universe, drop them an email, or leave a note on their Facebook page, or even comment here. Please remember to use me as a reference (Abigail Holden or TriangularRoom) if you do decide to order through them to get free postage.
Delorean_Back
MinecraftBlox Universe is also currently selling the Minecraft sets. There are several sets in this series, and Blox Universe has offered me a similar deal. This means if you really want to build with blocks while away from your PC, we should make a plan to get enough people together to get these sets. Seriously, one of the sets has a PIG! They have limited stock currently available on the Minecraft “The Forest” set (shown right), retail is R399, reference me and you can get one for R360 including postage.
Me? I want these sets. I need them. Please don’t make me explain to my husband why I bought six Deloreans. He might just go back in time to stop me.
  Minecraft_theendMinecraft_villageMinecraft_nether

Smith Legacy–Chapter Eleven

Smith11-01

The twins were finally able to say goodbye to their teenage years with their graduation ceremony. Elizabeth was voted prom queen and ‘most likely to save the world’. Alexandra was class valedictorian and voted ‘most likely to burn down her own house’! Elizabeth celebrated with some dancing at home. Despite her regular bouts of instability, she reckoned she was going to be heir to the Smith family legacy.

Smith11-02

Magenta repeatedly sent Elizabeth to the alchemy store in search of a certain potion, though she never said what ‘Potent Cure’ was used for.

Smith11-03

Soren and Elizabeth spent some time together at the autumn festival, where they tried their luck in an apple bobbing contest. Despite their best efforts, neither Smith took the prize.

Smith11-04

Elizabeth then spent some time exploring the festival grounds. She came across some cute animals that she attempted to befriend. Animals were definitely not her strong suit, however.

Smith11-05

With the ever-present pressure of finding a suitable husband and carrying on the Smith line, Elizabeth started a series of romances. The first was Kearney O’Shea. He was a little older than Elizabeth, but that wasn’t the most unsettling thing about him. Needless to say, their first kiss was awkwardly interrupted by Kearney’s transformation into a werewolf…

Smith Legacy–Outtakes

[These are just a few screenshots that don’t quite fit into the story but were too good not to share.]

Smith01

Magenta was visiting the alchemy store one day, when her medical knowledge kicked in and she felt the urge to examine the store clerk more closely.

Smith02

After a thorough examination with her advanced medical scanner, Magenta knew just what the clerk needed.

Smith03

“I have just the thing!”

Smith04

“I know it’s here somewhere…”

Smith05

“Just try this totally safe experimental treatment and you’ll be right as rain!”

[Sims make the best facial expressions sometimes.]