The Sims™ 3 Community Blog
: July 2012
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Some may call this town sleepy and slightly off the map, and tourists may pass through quickly due to the ‘odd’ Sims who call the town home. However, for the residents of Moonlight Falls, their town is unlike any other with its towering falls, foggy hills, and mysteries that lurk around every corner.



Moonlight Falls is a scenic escape filled with great places for exploring and hunting. While the natural surroundings of this town are quite beautiful, those seeking a lively setting will find a number of new venues to venture into to meet the locals and research some of the town’s eerie past. Let’s take a quick tour to see what venues await in Moonlight Falls!


The warm homey atmosphere of The Toadstool makes it a great place to unwind. Grab a rocking chair by the fire or take a seat on the upstairs balcony for a perfect people watching location.



For a howling good time, give Varg’s Tavern a try. This old converted warehouse is now deemed the local ‘supernatural hangout’ and a great place to grab a juice or pick a fight.



While the Red Velvet Lounge might not look like much on the outside, this vampire lounge sits on prime real estate near the river, and is known as one of the more posh locales to enjoy some plasma or get down on the dance floor.



Want to practice a little alchemy, pick up a new elixir recipe or buy that rare ingredient? Aleister’s Elixirs and Sundries, named after the historical Alchemist Aleister Krummly, is the one stop shop for all your elixir needs! This is also the place to put your elixirs up for sale if you want to make some cash with your alchemy skill.



Fae Ray Arboretum is a nature-lover’s paradise. Explore the grounds, read a book in the shade of your favorite tree or listen to the calming sounds of the fountains in this beautiful park. Inside the actual Arboretum you can search for fairies, take a tour or even play fairy games. For the competitive gardener, the Arboretum hosts frequent gardening competitions – enter your best produce and possibly win a prize!



For Sims with more intellectual interests, a visit to the Library of Lore & Vault of Antiquity is sure to satisfy even the greatest thirst for knowledge. Sims looking for ‘unique’ information can bypass the library building and head straight to the Vault of Antiquity. Trivia competitions and alchemy classes are just a few of the things to do in this historical location.



Watch the sun set from Moonlight Point or take a walk along La Shove Beach with your werewolf pals to truly appreciate the beauty nature has to offer.



Now that you’ve seen a few of the fun places to visit, let’s meet a couple of the new neighbors! The families in Moonlight Falls are a colorful cast of characters with rich histories and quirky traits.


Two cornerstone families in Moonlight Falls are the Van Goulds and Wolffs. Due to an unclear point in history, both Ayden Van Gould and Pappy Wolff have been attributed to being the Moonlight Falls’ town founder. This has caused an unfortunate feud between the two families, a feud that the younger generations seem determined to overcome.



The three Crumplebottom sisters are very different in both appearance and attitude. Beatrice is the oldest and very set in her grumpy ways. Belinda is as good natured a person as you could ever meet and often fills the role of family peacekeeper. Meanwhile Bianca is a bit of a spitfire and all about flirting her way through life. These witchy siblings can cast some serious magical mojo; that is when they aren’t squabbling over whose turn it is to wash the dishes!



The Goodfellow family is known as the town pranksters. Flora, Pip and Dahlia just love humans (and pulling some major jokes on their unsuspecting neighbors)! The newest addition to the Goodfellow family, little Fawn, may not have her own wings, but her parents think she’s something super special.



Who is this mysterious trio of ghosts and their human roommate? Could they have ties to any historical Sims families?



Thanks for taking a little tour of Moonlight Falls with me. We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg today as there is tons more to see and discover in The Sims 3 Supernatural. We’re excited for you to see it all so check back soon for more details to be shared about the game!


-Brittany Henry, Associate Producer, The Sims 3 Supernatural





08:50 PM
Posted by: SimGuruBritt

Mike True is a jack of alltrades – sometimes a modeler, sometimes a texture artist, and always a builder.He created the terrain in Lucky Palms as well many of the lots. Mike, can youtell us what it was like to work on the lots in this world and which ones areyour favorites?

I love building modern and mid-century architecture in The Sims 3. The tools really lendthemselves to those architectural styles and enable me to build creativelywhile still appealing to a large number of Sims players. The desert oasis ofLucky Palms was my opportunity to do just that! For Lucky Palms, we created afiction around a town that incorporated some older Spanish Colonial homes and aseries of developments from the mid-20th century, as well as some largecontemporary homes.  It’s difficult forme to pick a favorite house in this world, as I feel I put a lot of effort intoevery one that I built. However, my favorite neighborhood is definitely the drylakebed section. I loved trying to create the illusion of a once moderately successfuland perhaps somewhat speculative town that had fallen on hard times, but wasstill full of character (and characters!). This neighborhood gave me the chanceto build houses out of what had once been a storefront, or a gas station, or ayacht club on the banks of a now dried-up lake. I hope that players will enjoytelling the story of the Sims that live in this neighborhood, whether itcontinues its decline or becomes rehabilitated. Living in this neighborhood gives you the chance to meet somefascinating and eccentric neighbors, like the aging showgirl who lives in theabandoned theater. The option to explore this neighborhood within Lucky Palms allowsyou much more freedom in how you play.


As difficult as it is for me to pick a favorite house, I dohave a few that I find particularly special However, I suspect they aren’t theones most people would think. Players tend to like the large, elegant homes,but those are seldom my favorites. I like the Hudson residence because I thinkit resembles an older home that has been modernized by hipsters who have morestyle than cash, which is exactly the case for the Hudsons. It is a fairly nicehouse with a pool and enough room to accommodate more people, should theychoose to add on to the family. Not surprisingly, when I play, my Sims areconstantly remodeling!  Personally, Iwould choose to start out in the small, inexpensive hut near the military base. Although this lot is small, I would findit fun and challenging to improve upon. If I had to choose from among the nicerhouses, it would definitely be tough to turn down the King family’s house, as theyhave pretty much everything. Plus, the free form jungle pool looks like a tonof fun!


Currently, my favorite venue in Lucky Palms is the Sport FishingAquarium. This venue was added later than the others, after we realized that weneed a place for some saltwater fishing. I’m not sure how easy it is to fish atan aquarium in the real world, but your Sims can try it in Lucky Palms. Ienjoyed creating many of the other venues as well; the botanical garden was funand challenging to build, and I really like the state-of-the-art gym in LuckyPalms, where your Sims can relax in a new hot tub.

Alan Copeland is a designer for The Sims 3 who is responsible for manyof the fun gameplay objects featured in the Store, including the Triple RichesSlot Machine and the Hit ‘em Harder Blackjack Table found in The Lucky SimoleonCasino venue. He was also the designer for the Wishing Well, which is exclusiveto Lucky Palms. Alan, can you tell us a little bit about this mystical newobject?


The Sims has been one of my favoritegames for, like… forever.  Long before I became a designer for The Sims, I was casting spells in Makin’Magic.  I opened my first business in TheSims.  Many of my college years were spent playing University.  Ican remember playing a lot of video games, but nothing quite strikes the cordof nostalgia in the same way that TheSims does.  So, you can imagine how exciting (and terrifying) it canbe when we decide to reimagine a classic object like the Wishing Well, as wedid for Lucky Palms!


I love Mrs. Crumblebottom as much as the next Simmer, but wedidn’t want to make a direct port of the Wishing Well from The Sims 2.  We wanted this object to feel new, fresh and fun,in addition to having its own, unique sense of discovery.  The trickypixies that live in the Well rarely answer a wish in a straightforward or predictableway, so watch out for all of the varied outcomes if your self-serving Simdecides to use the Wishing Well and take the fast track to Wealth orPower. 


Aswe designed this object, we thought about the kinds of wishes that appeal toour players. Many Sims wish for love, so we took the opportunity to design forthis wish in a dramatic new way.  We thought about the classic story ofkissing a frog and it turning into Prince (or Princess) Charming, a story that lendsitself to many fun and humorous potential outcomes in The Sims. Perhaps your Sim has the “Commitment Issues” or “Loner”trait but wants to have a child.  Wishing for a bundle joy is a wonderfulnew way to grow your household  (and it gets even more exciting if youhave The Sims 3 Pets!).  Need a little pick-me-up?  The pixies arealmost always willing to share some Happiness with your Sim.  We reallytried to have a little something for every Sim, including those evil Sims who attemptto steal coins from the Wishing Well. 


Even after your Sim has done all of its wishing, there’s morefun to be had. Have you ever fished from an enchanted, pixie-infested wellbefore?  You’ll be amazed at some of the things you might be able to catch,regardless of your fishing skill level. The Wishing Well is one of my favoriteobjects that I’ve designed for The Sims 3and I hope that it turns out to be all that you could have ever wishedfor!   


01:41 AM
Posted by: SimGuruTaterTot
Categories: Special Guest 

Rebecca Shearin is the LeadArtist for the World Building team and our expert on modeling trees using theSpeedTree program. Lucky Palms is the first world from The Sims 3 Store to shipwith new trees. Rebecca, can you tell us about crafting the iconic desert florafound in Lucky Palms?

Trees! We love making trees! All of the trees we create forThe Sims 3 worlds are made using SpeedTree software, with just a few exceptions.Working within the limitations of the software and our game code presents manychallenges. Building assets for run-time games is no picnic. Vert counts, drawcalls, and texture size are the main areas of concern.  

When building a tree, we first do research to see what kindsof plants are appropriate for the world we are making. We then gather photo referencesto use as a guide throughout the process. This is my favorite task! Whileresearching, you learn about flora from different regions and climate zones andsometimes the discoveries made during the research phase end up influencing andeven changing our earlier choices.  

Because SpeedTrees come rigged for animation, all trees mustbegin from one of the many library files provided by SpeedTree. We don’t want ourtrees to look exactly like those from the library, so we alter both the modeland the textures to make them more unique and similar to the tree that we arereferencing from the photos we gathered. Some of the trees end up lookingnothing like the library model we began with, such as the fantasy trees andplants made for Lunar Lakes, which were loads of fun to concept and create!

The Joshua Tree proved to be the most challenging tree Imade for Lucky Palms, but it also turned out to be my favorite. Keeping thevert count within limits and getting the branches to ‘behave’ were the mostdifficult tasks for this particular tree. Here’s an image of the SpeedTree Joshua tree (left) and what it lookedlike after modifications (right):



Altering the model is more challenging than changing thetextures. It is not a simple matter of pulling verts around or deleting oradding a polygon or two (neither of which can be done directly). 

Before we get too far into modifying the library tree, thebottom of the trunk must be rounded off to avoid the appearance of a hole inthe bottom of the tree or a flat root base that protrudes awkwardly when a treeis placed on a slope.

After making some of our modifications, we look at the treein the world environment and make any necessary adjustments.  In addition to assessing hue and value, weexamine the tree’s overall scale and assign it a variation parameter  to determine the difference in size betweenthe small and large versions. Players can select their size in order tofacilitate placement.  

Trees and plants play a big part in creating uniqueenvironments. They help set a mood and provide opportunity to add depth andcolor. Trees help tell the story.  That’swhy, despite the time and effort, we love making trees!









01:29 AM
Posted by: SimGuruTaterTot
Categories: Special Guest 

Mike True is a jack of alltrades – sometimes a modeler, sometimes a texture artist and always a builder.He created The Lucky Simoleon Casino, a new venue in the world of Lucky Palms.Mike, can you tell us what it was like to build this awesome venue?

It is always an exciting challenge to build a venue for The Sims 3 Store and The Lucky SimoleonCasino was no exception. Fortunately, I was given some really great objects towork with for this lot and that made my job much easier. Unique assets such as thecasino tower sign, multi-story column, fountain and window really dictated theretro theme and helped to inspire me as I built the venue.

My favorite asset was the column, which was really thetaking-off point for the whole lot design. It also presented challenges, as thecolumns are available in three varying heights. This meant that I needed tocreate at least a three-level building. Observant players will notice I had thesame challenge on the Gothique Library venue. I made a somewhat controversialdecision right off the bat by opting to build a sprawling casino on a largelot. I wanted the player to imagine a slightly updated version of a classic casinothat had once hosted Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack! I tried to give a hint ofpossible stories players could tell in the venue, ranging from a familyvacation to a sizzling romance or even the perfect heist.  Whether players build their own amazingcasinos with these assets or alter this one to fit their style of gameplay, I hopethat they will place the casino and start playing in it right away.

A large and flashy asset like The Lucky Simoleon Casino Signis something that I had a lot of fun implementing.  When building with this asset, you can certainlyplace it on the corner of your lot and be done with it, but I wanted to suggestthat it can be used in other ways as well. I actually used it twice –once on anelevated platform and once anchored into the ground, incorporated into thebuilding itself. This placement started to dictate the size and shape of thebuilding. I typically try to avoid building cavernous spaces, but casinos inreality are huge and often crowded.  Iput a lot of thought into the size of the casino floor and made sure to includeenough slot machines and gaming tables so that Sims would have many choices forentertainment.

When I build, I usually sketch out the play areas withflooring and go back and forth from building the interior and exterior so thatboth are interesting as well as believable. Once I have a good concept of the floorplan and exterior, I start placing objects and filling out the interior space.I will add some colors and textures as ideas hit me, then complete the exteriorwith walls, fences, columns and other features, adjusting my choices until I amsatisfied. I follow this with a second pass on the interior. Landscaping isoften my favorite part, as I see the venue start to come together at thispoint.  My final step is to checklighting for the interior and exterior during day and night.  I like to step away from building the venueat this stage and return to it a bit later, tweaking my choices until I am satisfied.The team will then review it and make a few changes before it is tested forrouting, performance and gameplay, and edited accordingly. 

I am excited about The Lucky Simoleon Casino venue. I thinkthat players will enjoy it and I hope that it inspires them to build a casinoof their own!




12:09 AM
Posted by: SimGuruTaterTot
Categories: Special Guest