Prosperity Issue #1: Aging

Playing Prosperity style in TS3 really isn’t that complicated.  In fact, if you don’t mind loading screens (or if you have the correct mods), it’s pretty effortless.  It’s all gravy until you’re confronted with one thing–aging.

Aging is perpetual in TS3.  It continues to happen to the sims surrounding you even if you’re completely ignoring them.  Gone are the days of going, “I’m bored of this family, I’ll play another and come back to them later and they’ll be the same as they were when I left.”  Not in Ts3.  Everyone ages… even the freakin’ NPCs.  I’ve seen so many maid NPCs in my legacy house that I’m pretty sure they just walk through a revolving door of silly hats and weird hairstyle choices.  They’re not born, they’re plopped down unceremoniously into my hood like encroaching locusts ready to storm the trenches of uncleanliness.  As much as non-aging NPCs were disconcerting, aging NPCs make it worse because you see way more change in them than your own sims.  Don’t even get me started on how EA dropped the ball on properly aging them.

So, therein lies my first–and likely biggest–issue of all.  How am I going to handle aging?  I’ve been thinking about this for a long while and every time I try to come to a decision, I’m not happy.  I’m also not the best at math and this requires some degree of mathematical ability… which is why, after work tonight, I will be bouncing this off my husband while he plays Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning.  I’m pretty sure he wishes I’d just use the calculator on my computer, but NO!  I demand a human.

HOWEVER, as helpful as his genius mind will be… I need help from people who actually play this prosperity stuff.  That’s you guys.  Huddle in here, this is going to be some deep work.

My biggest concerns are two: the aging of ‘townies’ (read: not played by me, ever) and the aging of the rotational families (read: those played by me in rotation).

Aging of Townies… basically, these buggers are going to age if I have aging on at all.  Which means they will not age to scale with my rotational families.  Which means, should I get desperate and need someone for the gene pool, I get to play the “what age are they” lottery and cross my fingers, hoping that stupid adult to elder instant bug doesn’t happen.  I hate that.

The big thing here is the scaling.  I would, ideally, like a child townie to be able to meet all current rotational children.  Unfortunately, that would not happen because by the time I got to say, the third family (depending on play time), that townie child would be a teen while all his rotational child friends would still be… children.  Ugh.  What good is background if it refuses to follow the same rules as the foreground?

The logical solution is… turn aging off.  But then, they don’t age at all.  If I want them to age, I have to manually age them.  This goes for everyone, even the ones that EA plops into my lap, I will have to either let them drink the fountains of eternal youth or grasp destiny by the… um… hands (yes, hands, right) and force them into the next stage myself.  This, my friends, would be daunting.  I want to play a game, not plan a wedding.  For those curious… wedding planning is not a fun thing.  This also means the townies babies/toddlers/etc would not age up on their own and would forever be a useless void of DNA until I manually aged them up.

Another solution would be to simply bang out the aging scale to the point of epic ridiculousness and find a mathematical way to make the range fit my needs.  Unfortunately, as my households increased, this would require constant tweaking of the systems.  This would also cause more issue because… we still have the rotational families.

Aging of Rotational Families… these guys are the ones I actually care about.  I want to be there for every life moment and milestone.  I don’t want them running off and getting married, having babies, or any of that without me playing them.  This is simple, turn off their story progression individually with a mod.  What isn’t simple is how to handle the aging of the families I am not currently playing during a rotation.

Again, I can turn off aging.  This means I keep track of how many days I play and age them accordingly.  This requires ‘some’ paperwork, but it’s doable.  I can keep up with that.  Unfortunately, that means I would have to do the same for the townies.  Which would suck.  Also, see the ‘useless void of DNA’ above for more on why this would be problematic.

And again, I can choose to turn on aging.  I can try to find a mathematical solution to scaling the ages so they appropriate the amount of playable houses in a rotation.  Unfortunately, this would also mean changing it anytime a new household is introduced and that’s hoping the aging slider goes to infinity… because my sims like to breed.  Sigh.

So, this leaves me with an issue.  I’m going to pull Shana’s post into here and say that her solution was this:

All other households that I don’t play get to have their options left alone (except for the celebrity one). I don’t care if the townies and NPCs age. I’d actually like for them to so that their genetics can carry on through a few generations and provide new people for my families to interact with. The only time I change this is if a certain non-playable becomes important to a playable’s storyline. Like, for instance, if one my Sims is dating a non-playable, I will go and turn aging off for that household so they won’t die of old age while my playable is still a young adult.

This is a pretty effortless fix to an otherwise grandiose kind of problem.  I could simply allow aging, but once a townie or its family becomes integral, freeze their aging so that they can appropriately interact.  Unfortunately, that does not solve the issues of the younger generations… unless…

I could possibly have the aging slider set to double what I need for those age groups and simply age up my younger generations manually whilst allowing the townies to age up according to the slider.  This seriously just came to me as I was tying.  It comes with its own set of issues, though… like the fact that the scaling would be off (minor detail) and the bigger fact that again, as I added more households into the mix, I would have to adjust the scaling even more.

Blah, I hate this issue.  I hate it because it’s way more complex and annoying than anything in a Sims game should ever be and that different mods do different things.  This means that I have to choose a mod to appropriate my means.  Sigh.

All right, that’s about as much rambling typing that I can handle.  I just figured I’d throw this out there for those interested in the process.  If you all have any suggestions or way that you currently tackle the problem, let me know!  Ideas and suggestions are welcome, just remember that I’m a control-freak so switching random families or allowing my playables to “do their own things” is so out of the question, haha!

6 comments to Prosperity Issue #1: Aging

  • Aging is one of the gameplay update posts I need to make. I’m still doing the frozen aging on my Sims at the moment, but I’m planning to change that soon. I’m going to do what Laura did and customize an aging mod for my gameplay. I’ve already gotten my age lengths and all the math figured out, I just need to actually customize the mod and then put it into my game. Then I’ll have to go around and tweak all of my Sims to the correct ages. But once it’s all done, I can turn aging back on for my households and both my Sims and the townies will age at the same rate, which is what I really want. It’s all based on my “4 Sim days = 1 month” method of gameplay, so 1 year in my game is 48 Sim days. (My range used to be 5 days = 1 month, but I’ve bumped it down to 4 instead because I very rarely ever play a household 5 days.) Then I used my breakdown of the ages to age groups on my gameplay post to figure out how many Sim days each age group lasts, and then Laura’s examples to figure out the math part. My brain still aches from all the thinking! ;) I originally thought that maybe the ability to modify the age groups with Generations would work for me, but no I need longer ages. I figured out that a typical lifespan I need in my game is 3840 days, which would be equal to an average lifespan of 80 years.

    It still leaves the problem of hoping that a townie your sim meets isn’t about to age transition, but I figured that I can always pop in on the particular townie and adjust their age as needed if I want my Sim to have a romance or close friendship with them.

    I think a customized aging mod could work even if you don’t plan to play with actual months. You’d just need to figure out how many days would equal an average year in your game and then work from there. Or once I have the mod customized for my game, I’d be happy to send it to you to use if you’re interested.

    • Mao

      Thanks for the link to Laura’s post! That’s definitely informative. I may throw that over to my husband and make him do it. He’s the programmer between us, he loves it. I love web programming but anything else and I am like “meh”. Not to mention all that math would kill me. He loves that crap, so he can do it for me. ;)

      The only issue I have with a set mod is that as I added houses/families to the rotation, I’d have to continually tweak them (if I’m understanding you correctly). If you have aging on and utilize the mod, your sims are still aging as you progress through the rotation, so anytime that number of houses in the rotation changes, you’d have to change your math to accommodate it, right? I am not really good at understanding math AT ALL (I do NOT have the brain for it, period), so I’ve probably just misunderstood something. But yeah, that’s where I get stuck with this custom mod business or even aging in general, is that no matter what (sans turning it off), I am constantly going to have to go back and change it and that’s just waaay too much math for this gal.

      One thing I am currently considering is combining both Nraas Story Progression and Awesomemod. Then, when a townie family becomes relevant to one of my sims, “freezing” them and manually transitioning them as is appropriate. If they become irrelevant, I will unfreeze them and return them to the life stream.

      I’d definitely love to see your post on this, though!

  • I honestly have no clue what to suggest since I’m not playing TS2-style. I tend to play with a pretty long lifespan so I can play one week with each family and not have them age very quickly. Of course, they still age and they still do things without me. So that doesn’t solve your problem at all. :/

    I like Shana’s idea of downloading an aging mod and customizing it so that your sims barely age in between household switching. I know you don’t like Twallan’s pop up menus, but MasterController can make townies and playables “younger” by increasing the amount of days they have left before the next age transition. And of course, there’s also the traditional option of cheating and using testingcheats to age an Adult townie to a YA.

    Oh, and have you used Twallan’s SP to set your town’s progression to “Stasis”? This turns off progression entirely so your households aren’t doing anything without you. Last time I checked, Twallan’s SP can be used in conjunction with Awesomemod.

    • Mao

      I actually have used Nraas Story Progression waaay more than I’ve ever used Awesomemod, so I’m a lot more familiar with it. The reason I never wanted to use them together is the possibility of bugs (and not being able to isolate the issue without exploding your hood) and just the mishmash of options. I may have to, though. Which isn’t that bad, I just have a LOT of issues with the game and I am always troubleshooting it, lol.

      I love Master Controller and haven’t played without it since I found it! I’m an addict. I love the ability to mess with days. I guess I am just OCD in that I can never change just one thing, everything has to be consistent. So, if I have a child townie, I don’t want to mess with just their age and mess up their synchronicity to their parents/siblings/family in general. I could solve that by freezing the entire family and manually transitioning them as is appropriate or if they become irrelevant to the sims, I return them to life as normal.

      I’ll figure something out, I’m sure, especially with these ideas you guys are throwing at me. The math is what gets me, though. I am just so terrible at comprehending and executing anything involving it. I hated my programming classes, lol. The only math I’m good at is financial stuff.

  • I think I ever do this, I will have to play with aging off and do my aging manually. I do all my aging manually in TS2 anyway, so it wouldn’t be a huge change for me.

    Do you really care much about the townies? Or at least, care so much that you’d worry about how to age them? I know with Twallan’s mods (Master Controller? Not sure), you can roll a townie’s age backwards or forwards anyway. I’ve even changed their age stage with Edit in CAS. I don’t know if you can do that with AM (that hasn’t worked for me since WA) but it’s a thought.

    And I would definitely be following Shana’s tips about turning off any “events” that I don’t want my Sims to experience without me. Unless you’re playing legacy style, I don’t know get why you’d (general you, not you specifically!) want to miss all that stuff anyway. I’m glad we’ve got mods that can improve that situation a little.

    • Mao

      Yeah, aging off and manual aging is sounding better and better with all this darn math being thrown around! Still, I know I’d get aggravated with it by the time my hood got large.

      I care about the townies only because they are the only background my sims will have. I’m so used to TS2 and having people that exist for the sole purpose of making the world look populated that I want to keep that feeling. I don’t care WHAT they do, I just want them to have a chance to interact and make the lives of my younger sims more interesting… especially since they are kind of already boring to play!

      I love Master Controller and never play without it, but I don’t do a whole lot of CAS editing with it because it’s caused me issues. I have a lot of issues with my game in general, though. I’ve reinstalled so many times, sigh. It’s revenge for never having these problems in TS2, I’m sure.

      Ugh, I don’t get that at all. What is the point of playing a game if it plays itself? The fun part is WATCHING sims do crazy things, not getting a pop-up about it. Even worse, the memory system is atrocious, so you can’t even really look back on what your sim has done. Sigh.

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