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The Sims 3
is out for PC!

The latest version of the popular game already has me hooked. I’ve loved the sims since they first came out, and have way more expansions and stuff packs for the sims 2 than is healthy. Now that the new version is out, I’m happily exploring all the new content and the graphics/AI updates.

So far, it’s great. The town is newer, bigger and seamless. I love being able to send my sim somewhere and not have to wait through the loading screen. The sim creator has had a complete overhaul. The possibilities seem endless for customizing the sim just the way you want them. Even the alien look is included with this game.

The sim AI seems to be greatly improved. No longer do my sims go into a panic because they can’t decide if they should pee or fix dinner. They seem to interact better with each other now too. The only odd thing I’ve seen so far is when they first arrive home after being out for any period of time. They stand facing a wall for a second or two…as if the AI needs to load household actions. Not a big deal, but odd for sure. I love the new wish system, and the ability to choose which ones to accept and work on at any given time. I like this a lot better than having to constantly worry about fears, and then having wants randomized each morning if they weren’t locked.

The relationship meter displayed for every interaction with other sims is great. It’s so much easier to tell if they are hitting it off, or just irritating each other – long before they start screaming at each other! It shows the progression from first interest to friendship and on to deeper connections too, which is great. You still have the relationship window in the UI that shows where you are with each person you know, but the real time meter is very useful.

And now for my very favorite aspect of the Sims. Houses. Building them, decorating them and forcing my sims to live in them. I’ve always loved the build/buy modes the best. I can honestly say I’ve probably spent at least twice as much time in those modes than actually playing in live mode with the sims themselves. In the sims3 everything has been greatly improved. I’m still not quite used to the new item menus, but the increased inventory is great! I absolutely love the ability to customize colors for everything, and the angled, and even off grid placement ability. Placement was a big irritation for me with sims2, I was forever looking for work arounds and giving my poor sims fits because items weren’t placed the way they wanted them…but it looked better that way! Now I can have both.

Even when I set out to build something simple – I seem to end up with large houses, the most expensive items and a generally “similar” look. Now with the ability to customize colors and patterns, that problem is fixed. Well, the look part anyway, I still can’t seem to build a small house.

There are a couple things I miss from the expansions for sims2. I miss pets. And surprisingly, gardens and seasons. I wasn’t expecting that to be such a big deal, but I’m really hoping those are in the works to be expansions for sims3. Vacations were fun, as was owning a business. But there seems to be an option to buy into a business in sims3 – I’ll need to explore that and figure out how that works. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

The only con I have so far is that you still can’t watch your sim work, and have to either busy yourself with decorating, or just wait for time to pass while they are at work. I personally would like to watch them I think – it shouldn’t be that different from the business expansion where everyone went about their jobs. The challenges and activities too should be visible. Especially things like tours through the museum – I’d like to see the inside of those buildings too!

Overall I’m happy with the latest addition to the Sims family of games from EA. I look forward to many hours of building and playing with this latest addiction. Maybe I’ll use the time my sim is at work to do my laundry or blog…

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My poor computer must really feel neglected. I haven’t spent much time inside in the last couple of days. The weather has been great, not too hot, but warm enough for squirt guns and car washing, picnics and icecream. Ok, it’s always icecream weather…but now it’s warm enough to eat it outside shall we say. 🙂

One of our favorite local destinations is Bridges Pet, Gift and Water Gardens. As the name suggests it is a pet store with a large gift section and plenty of cool water features for ponds and yards. My kids love it. There are always kittens and puppies to look at, a fish room with music and lots of stuffed animals and pretty things to ask mom for. The boys have been there three times this week (all in the last two days) and they are already plotting to go back.

We have also been to the nearby walking trail, it’s so beautiful with all the trees in full leaf, the flowers and grass all bright and fresh and plenty of shade from the surrounding trees. It’s a really nice trail that passes through the quiet outskirts of Snohomish, far enough away from roads and houses to let the kids stretch their legs. We have to dodge the random bikes, rollerblades, dogs, other strollers and horses, but it’s generally quiet and not too busy.

I squeezed in my curves workout early this morning, before they closed for lunch, knowing that it was going to get hot this afternoon. I’m glad I did…by the usual time for my workout, I was totally worn out!

We managed to wash and vacuum the car, clean the driveway, have a squirt gun fight and let the dog out on the leash for a walk all before Hubby came home. I used the garden hose, so as not to be outgunned. It was a wise move, as I was able to drench in retaliation the sneaky little imp who came up behind me and squirted water down my shorts.

On top of all that, we went out for dinner and ice cream once Hubby got home, and enjoyed the remaining daylight. I somehow managed to miss my own body with the sunscreen…so Mommy’s arms and neck rival the the brightest lobster while the boys managed to show only a burnt ear and little bit of pink on the neck between them. I guess that counts as a success, I’ll be the only one peeling.

Whew…what a couple of days! And the weekend hasn’t even officially started yet. I think I am going to tuck myself in with a movie and rest up for whatever tomorrow holds.

Now that the beta is over, I’m free to talk about my latest online game addiction.

Free Realms is classified as a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) or MMO for short. Two races are available for play, Human and Pixie. Both have male and female options, with customization of hair, eye and skin color, different outfits and hairstyles.

I’ve chosen a human female, and named her “Lyric Rainsong.”

From Free Realms

Free Realms does not have a class system, instead it offers a job system. Each player can choose to do any (or all) of the available jobs, switching from job to job depending on what they are working on at the moment with just a simple change of outfit.

From Free Realms

So far I’m impressed with the graphic quality of the game, everything is clear and bright, just right for a world full of pixies, adorable goblins and cartoony humans. The user interface is simple to use and easy to figure out. I’m convinced that the developers have done their homework and incorporated some of the best elements of other available games (such as World of Warcraft) to make this game fun and easy to learn.

The job system, quests and minigames are well developed. I am looking forward to the addition of other features like player housing and clubs (guilds) which have been mentioned as “on the list” by the devs.

As the name suggests, Free Realms IS free to play. It also allows quite a bit of freedom in game play – which the devs insist is the true meaning of the name. Membership is available for a small monthly fee, and buying “Station Cash” allows players to purchase exclusive items such as pets and select accessories. A few of the jobs are limited to members only as well, but from what I can tell playing for free still offers quite a variety of fun and games to young and casual players.

I’ve started a web gallery for my screenshots, and I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I explore each of the various jobs and games.

Gallery: My Free Realms Pics
Link: Free Realms

Today promises to be a beautiful spring day, the kind that makes you want to pull up a lawn chair and just drink it all in. The view from the back deck is just stunning, clear blue skies with a view of the water and the mountains beyond.

Dakota is happy to be rid of his winter coat, (I spent yesterday morning brushing him out) and he’s now sprawled out in the sunshine. The cats have each found a patch of sun to lay in – the same one, of course. I have pointed out that there are other windows, and other warm patches, but they just look at me as if to say they know, but this is the patch they must have.

My tea order from Adagio arrived yesterday! The little tea pot is the cutest thing, and it holds exactly two mugs worth of tea – exactly what I needed. The sample teas all smell so good, even the “Aquarius” blend I got for free with my order. I’ve only tried the vanilla green sample so far, but it was very good – I’m sure I’ll be ordering it again soon.

I have nearly finished Alex’s blanket. Perfect timing mom…right when it’s warm enough that a crocheted blanket is the last thing anyone needs! However, he’ll use it this fall, and it will look good on his bed, so it’s best to finish it now. I let Josh pick out the colors for his, now I’ve got some bright blue and yellow and green to work with. He wants a wave pattern, something I’ve been wanting to do again anyway, so that should be fun.

I need to get my computer upgraded and reinstalled…the parts are all sitting on my shelf. Then I can setup my gallery again and post pictures of all my projects, perhaps it’ll get done this weekend.

Welcome May! Bring on the sunny days!

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