The Sims™ 3 Community Blog
: May 2013
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Check out what one of The Sims 3 Store World Builders, MDT, has to say about the development of Dragon Valley. The Sims 3 Dragon Valley is available to purchase now at The Sims 3 Store, and will be available in stores worldwide starting August 6, 2013.  

Dragons! We knew that we were going to have dragons before we even knew what kind of world to build. I believe this is the first world that we tailored in order to fit an object, therefore Dragon Valley was really created as a place for dragons to exist. As always with The Sims, we needed to balance gameplay, design and technical limitations and with this world, we started very early with the idea of a valley that was somewhat isolated which, although existing in the modern age, might harbor dragons and a unique population.  

There are so many stories and myths surrounding dragons that we had a lot of material to choose from. We wanted to get a fairly clear story for this world but also wanted to make a world that would not limit the stories that players could tell and discover on their own. To start, we listed out various inspirations that we wanted to incorporate. A Celtic and chivalric influence, some fantasy elements, a town that had been initially built in the middle ages but had developed over time, and dragons across different cultures were all key components. We decided on a rural village feel to the town but still kept elements nearby for gameplay reasons. As the team began to collect reference photos, many of us were enamored with rolling hills covered by stone fences so we opened the deep valley to mirror our initial impressions. We also thought that using images of white cliffs could be used as a way to make this world very different from any one we had already produced but also still appealing and somewhat idyllic.  

I made the terrain for this world, so I must admit that I am more thrilled with the final result in Dragon Valley than I have been for any other world. Although very large portions of the world are quite flat to help make it easier for players to add large lots of their own, it does not feel that way. The largest mountain is well within the gameplay area, and your Sims can actually climb it. It looks to me like it could be the ancient home of a dragon. Although we have striking cliffs, the rivers and ocean are still easily accessible for your Sims to swim in.  Initially the world was very green and white but the team added a reddish hue to both terrain and trees, giving the world a warmer feel. We also added some man-made chalk designs in the terrain to help incorporate our fiction world with the long established history from the Neolithic to the present. There are a few Dark Age ruins added in there too – although it’s possible that the dragons may have destroyed them!

There are a few things done differently in this world that may not be recognizable to most people but we see these small changes giving the world an updated look and feel. For example, the road texture is somewhat more elaborate than usual but it is also very close in value to the terrain; therefore, the roads tend to blend in a bit more than they have in other worlds. We carefully placed trees on roads in waves and tendrils, creating windy roads, glens and fields, all bordered by trees. We also used larger sized trees than we normally do to show how some of these trees have been growing for hundreds of years. The trees also have more contrast, to help show how the natural landscape is more important than the man-made, even if the natural world includes some supernatural pets!

Spending time on the fan forums was critical when it came to making big decisions and we made a few changes based on what you were telling us. One of the key pieces of feedback that players had to share was the idea that users did not love The Sims 3 Ambitions lots automatically appearing in thematic worlds – therefore, most players will be pleased to learn that the lots introduced with The Sims 3 Ambitions will not appear automatically. Some of you may disagree about this design so please note that these lots are something we feel we ought to at least try.  That said, we did equip the world with a number of empty lots, many of them quite large, so players can load this world and start building or importing lots right away. Plus, the highest level plain is a sprawling area that is fully ready for players to build and explore while still being nearby to all the rabbit-holes and gameplay that Dragon Valley has to offer. 
I am really looking forward to seeing how players make this world their own and on behalf of The Sims Store team, we hope Dragon Valley inspires you to tell new stories, befriend a dragon  and play with life!

- MDT 

10:14 PM
Posted by: SimGuruTaterTot

Check out what Designer Alan Copeland has to say about the Baby Dragons he created for The Sims 3 Dragon Valley! For more information about The Sims 3 Dragon Valley, and the Purple Baby Dragon, click here.

Over the past few blog posts I’ve discussed the brazen, fire-breathing Red Baby Dragon and more recently the earth based Green Baby Dragon and its love for all things shiny or harvestable. Today I want to write about what is arguably the most unique of the dragons, a dragon that thrives on joy, humor and happiness. A dragon that is so dang cheery it literally pukes sparkles and rainbows.

This is the Purple Baby Dragon.

While Green Baby Dragons may have them beat in the tree hugging department, Purple Baby Dragons are the hipster-est of hippies in the Baby Dragon community. They want nothing more than to see everyone around them having a good time. In fact even the grumpiest of Sims can get a steady dose of Fun and Social just by hanging out with a Purple Dragon thanks to the Mark of the Purple Dragon moodlet.

While talking to a Red Dragon can raise your Athletic Skill and talking to a Green Dragon can raise your Gardening Skill, Purple Dragons will cheerfully discuss the particulars of raising your Charisma Skill so you can meet the Sim of your dreams.  

But what happens if your Sim is a bit of a wallflower or doesn’t know where to find the special someone?  No worries, the Purple Baby Dragon has more summoning abilities than any other dragon! Purple Dragons can summon up one of your friends, help throw an amazing party, or introduce you to someone completely new!  

But one of the coolest aspects of owning a Purple Baby Dragon is its Rune Charm ability. Purple Baby Dragons can imbue your Sim (or any Sim you choose) with massive bonuses to their mood, making them happier and more likable for up to twelve hours!

If you’re looking to meet that one in a million Sim, the Purple Baby Dragon will be your ultimate “wingman”.  

I love to hear your ideas and suggestions, so follow me on Twitter @SimGuruCopeland

04:05 AM
Posted by: SimGuruTaterTot

Check out what Designer Alan Copeland has to say about the Baby Dragons that he created for The Sims 3 Dragon Valley! For more information about The Sims 3 Dragon Valley, and the Green Baby Dragon, click here

Last week I introduced you to the Red Baby Dragons of Dragon Valley. They are impulsive, brash and focused on the physical. They are aligned with the element of fire and will happily help you smite your enemies in a Fiery Torment.  

But not all baby dragons in Dragon Valley are as brazen or hotheaded. Some are deep thinkers with an inherent understanding of this land, and the untold riches it can bring forth. They understand that a job is a way of amassing wealth and there are few things that they love more than gathering treasure. They are Green Baby Dragons.

Green Baby Dragons find all of Red’s fire-breathing rather crass and fairly destructive. Green Baby Dragons would rather talk about gardening, which can help your Sim build their skill quite a bit. But if your Sim is getting impatient with their garden, Green Baby Dragons can also summon a harvest for all of the plants on your lot.

Green Baby Dragons are collectors at heart and they love all things shiny. Some has said that being so close to the earth has given them a better understanding than most of the many wonders it holds. Is your Sim a little greedy? Then they should befriend a Green Baby Dragon who can call upon gold and gems from the very earth!

As I mentioned last week, there are benefits just to having a Baby Dragon around. With the Green Baby Dragon your Sim will get the “Mark of the Green Dragon” moodlet which gives them the mental fortitude to control their Hunger and Bladder.

All of the Baby Dragons have the ability to fly and having your Sim take them outside to practice flying is a wonderful bonding experience for them both and a great way to build your Sims Fun and Social.

Next week I’ll be back to discuss a bit more offbeat Baby Dragon, but in the meantime, contact me via Twitter at [url=""]@SimGuruCopeland[/url] with all of your Baby Dragon questions.    

07:05 AM
Posted by: SimGuruTaterTot

Hi Simmers!

How do you plan to play with resorts? One of our main goals when developing resorts was to make sure that it provided plenty of diversity in gameplay and customization. We recently held a development team “play day” and it was really great to see the many creative ways that people played with resorts. We had an engineer who decided to open up a small yet successful family-operated bed and breakfast. Another team member was on the fast track to running two five-star mega hotels in Sunset Valley. For some players, resort management was just a little too stressful and felt that having their Sims stay at a resort was a much more enjoyable experience.

I thought that one of the best ways to talk about resorts is to tell you about the one that I’m currently building. After discovering an uncharted island, I decided that it was the perfect place to break ground on my new resort. Using the blueprint mode, I quickly went from zero to well…bare minimum (at this point I’m fighting the urge to just use the money cheat.)

Tip: Blueprint mode is intended for players who want to get their resort built quickly so that they can jump into gameplay right away. However, if you choose to do so you can use Build and Buy tools to build your resort from scratch. Required objects for resorts are: the frontdesk and at least one resort tower rabbithole. In general, the resort tower is required as a place for guests to fulfill their motives as well as manage resort worker population. A new Buy Mode sort was added to display amenity objects that make the most impact to your resort quality.

Funds were low so I had to start small. It was a good thing that my Sim family was up to the task because keeping employees on the payroll can get quite expensive for an upstart business like mine. Daily tasks included making sure that the front desk was always covered and resort guests were treated to delicious drinks at the bar. I decided that since my Sim does not have a fulltime job, he’s going to have to cover both day and night shifts. There’s never a dull moment when running your own resort. Just like residential lots,things can get dirty or break. I’m just glad that my resort is small enough to where I can get the job done on my own. All looks well so far!

Tip: We wanted to make sure that players can run resorts by using only their active Sim family if they elect to do so. This allows you to choose your level of involvement with resorts. Simply disable shifts on the front desk, bar, or food stand and the amenity will remain un-manned for that specified time period. You might have noticed from the screen shot below that my Sim is operating a professional bar. If you have Late Night and Island Paradise installed you will be able to place professional bars on your resort and have it count as an amenity. You will be able to operate or hire employees for these bars as you would other amenities on your resort.

As my resort grows in popularity so does the maintenance required to keep things running. I’ve slacked off a bit and now things have gotten completely out of control. Trash is everywhere and now I’m told that we have a full blown roach infestation. Resort guests are starting to vomit from the sight of this filth. What a mess! The next morning I checked my resort’s star rating and it’s gone down one full star. I might be in trouble here.

Tip: Poor upkeep can tank your resort’s quality rating that in turn can result in fewer customers. Each piece of garbage or broken appliance will be reflected negatively in the resort reviews panel. And yes, roaches. When I queried the team and asked what best represented a poorly maintained hotel, the unanimous answer was “roaches”.

I really needed to clean this place up fast if I want to continue to stay  in business. I hired a few maintenance workers to help me tidy up. I also took advantage of my Sim’s handy skill and upgraded a few of my toilets to not break.

Tip: Maintenance workers are the key to keeping your resort clean and presentable to the public. You have the choice of hiring up to three low, medium or high quality workers. Low quality workers are cheaper but have a greater chance of slacking off whereas high quality workers will always use their time wisely but come at a price.

Resort quality is finally restored and business is good. With a little money on the side, it’s finally time to class things up. The first thing I decided to add was some private VIP rooms for my guests. Blueprint Mode was perfect for this as I’m able to stamp down multiple rooms at once. After going back to Live Mode, I immediately assigned door locks to the rooms to allow the resort system to assign them to guests.

Tip: VIP door locks are exclusive to resorts. Resort owners can select any build/buy door and assign it a unique key number.If a guest chooses to check into a VIP room they will be handed a key that corresponds to the number that is assigned to a door. If there are no VIP door locks set on the resort, guests will be sent to the rabbithole to sleep and freshen up.

Resort owners are automatically checked into resort tower rabbitholes but will still need to check into VIP rooms in order to reserve the space.

What’s a resort without a place to eat? I decided to plop down some resort buffet tables and a food stand to add even more amenities to satisfy my guests. I sent my Sim over to the food stand to get a nice refreshing drink.

Tip: The resort buffet table is exclusive to resorts in that your staff will be responsible for maintaining the food. As an owner, you will be given the option to choose what type of food to serve and the quality. Higher quality food will require a higher upkeep cost but will better satisfy your guest. Check the reviews panel regularly as they can clue you in on what type of food your guests are craving. Sims with high relationship to one another will often choose to dine together at the buffet.

The resort food stand serves up new food such as fried plantains and drinks in pineapple or coconut cups.

I’ll put the final touches on my resort by customizing uniforms for my staff. I wanted to go with a beach casual look so selecting one of the available presets will work for me. However, we thought it would be fun to open up the customization even further. You will actually be able to go into Create-A-Sim and customize uniforms (hair, makeup, and clothing) for each one of your employees. All installed content from EPs, SPs and The Sims 3 Store that are valid for career uniforms and can be used to outfit your Sim.

My resort is definitely on the right path to success. I’m not really sure where to go from here. Perhaps I’ll find the next great location and do it all over again. Maybe take my family to someone else’s resort and check out what they have to offer.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy playing with resorts this June when The Sims 3 Island Paradise becomes available. 

- Mike Zamora (@SimGuruMike), Assistant Producer for The Sims 3Island Paradise

03:55 PM
Posted by: SimGuruMike