Pic of the day: A very random neighborhood.
Sims2 Prosperity Challenge
For the most part I have played The Sims 2 in the form of legacies or family stories, where I follow a household through a number of generations until something else catches my fancy. But I also sometimes have different such families in the same neighborhood, most notably my "Greater Pleasantview" which is expanded from a starting neighborhood that comes with the game. And in one neighborhood, there was a generation with many children, and most of these moved out and got their own homes, which I played in turn, making sure the grandchildren aged up at the same speed.
From there, it is a short step to the "Family Dynamics" and "Prosperity" challenges, in which the whole point is to have more than one family and play them for the same amount of time. The Prosperity Challenge in particular seems to have a good number of eager fans. As the name implies, the point is to build a prosperous neighborhood from a bunch of random sims. I play by my own rules that make it much harder for sims to make money, so obviously I don't play it for the prosperity, at least not in an economic sense. But seeing a thriving community arise from humble beginnings is still great fun, even if they won't live in mansions for the first few generations at the very least, if ever. As with people, I see the true riches to be in the people rather than their belongings.
By challenge, we simmers mean any family or neighborhood where we have extra rules in addition to those enforced by the game. The most important rule in the Prosperity challenge is to roll your families with a common, 6-sided die. The first roll determines how many families you start with. Then for each family you roll again for the number of family members. For each family member you then have rolls for age, gender, aspiration and star sign (personality). You are allowed to choose the names of your sims and how they look, although some people also randomize these. (I used names from my spam folder, but I made sure there was family resemblance within each family and the skin colors worked well with the surnames.)
Even after you start playing, you cannot quite pack away your dice. You won't need them often, but you use one to choose the aspiration (knowledge, family, romance, fortune, popularity or pleasure) when a child grows into a teen. You can also re-roll in college, but you still have to use the die roll, so that's more of a desperate measure. I consider it if I get someone with a lifetime want I find repugnant or impossible, like "woohoo with 20 sims" or "raise 20 puppies or kittens".
That's it. You play as usual, but make sure you give all families equal time. The longest stretch is one week of sim time, but some play for one season (five days) or three days or even one. I started with a week, but found that children in one family grew up while others remained children, and then suddenly they caught up much later. This made for strange relationships. Worse, people could fall in love on Friday and marry the preceding Monday, or go visiting on Thursday after dying on Tuesday. So I switched to playing one day at a time. Others claim that three is a good compromise - there is no life phase that is shorter than that. A newborn is baby for three days and then toddler for three days, so people who are born the same day/year will at least stay together in the same life stage.
As you may expect, dice make for dysfunctional families. Certainly most of mine were like that: An elder with two teenagers, two old men with one adult man three kids, a single teenager all alone, and so on. There were no typical nuclear families with mom, dad, and a kid. So I gave them this backstory: A disastrous hurricane had ravaged coastal communities, and a bunch of survivors migrated inland to a new residential zone that the government had set aside. But apart from roads, water etc, there was no further support. All of them had lost not only loved ones, but also all they owned except the clothes they wore. Broke, unemployed, bereaved and surrounded by strangers, they started a new life.
The original Prosperity challenge requires that you play without hacks. I don't do that, I follow my Near Future rules. This allows hacks that make sims behave more intelligently, such as macros, but not hacks that make money out of nothing or suddenly raises everyone's moods. My hack save time and wrist for me, not for my sims. They still have to work for their pleasures. In fact, they may have to work more, for under my Near Future rules, money is harder to come by. There are no 20K handouts when you buy a house, you have to take out a mortgage if you don't have the cash. College education costs 40K, and without it you can only get stray jobs. Also, you have to start at the bottom of your career, even if you have college education and a computer. No jumping right into a well-paid job.
I intend to tell you more about my neighborhood if I live long enough and don't have anything else exciting to tell. But if you want to try your own, you can find the rules and other useful info here.
I have also joined the corresponding Yahoo community.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.