Sims 3: my guilty pleasure

Interior, luxury cabin in Hidden Springs

Interior, luxury cabin in Hidden Springs

Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, together with other like-minded philosophers and scientists, concludes that there is a good chance that we are living in a computer simulation. 

Already you have people building these virtual worlds in computer games, and the more realistic they can make them the happier they are. You could have people pursuing virtual historical tourism, or people who want to do this just because it could be done. So I think it’s safe to say that people today, had they the capabilities, would do it, but perhaps with a certain level of technological maturity people may lose interest in this for one reason or another.’ http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/were-underestimating-the-risk-of-human-extinction/253821/

So I am playing Sims 3 – that’s my guilty pleasure. Everyone has to have a guilty pleasure don’t they? And I don’t like chocolate much, or spending all day in bed reading, or watching reality TV. Wait, yes I watch reality TV too. But I haven’t yet gained the technological maturity to lose interest in playing Sims.

My justification for engaging in such a lowbrow activity is:

1. the ontological possibilities
2. the creative space Sims 3 affords
3. play is good for the brain, and perhaps even the soul

So here are some snaps of my favourite Sim bits at the moment.

I have been creating customised patterns in the Create a pattern tool. Simple and fun to paint, draw or steal images and then layer them into customised fabric, wood, metal or masonry patterns and textures. These can be applied to virtually every object and surface within the Sims world. Note the ‘Fishy’ sofa featuring a great photograph by my good friend Peter.

Sofa in Sim 3 pattern tool

Sims 3 ‘Grass’ sofa

Sofa in Sim 3 pattern tool

Sims 3 ‘Fishy’ sofa

Sofa in Sim 3 pattern tool

Sims 3 ‘Tulle’ sofa

I have been making Sims who aspire to creative careers—photographers, painters, sculptors, inventors, singers. The snapshot below is of ‘Nirvana’ who has succeeded in her lifetime wish to be a descendant of Da Vinci (top levels of painting, sculpting and inventing). And she did it without money cheats! She is also a super gardener and used the proceeds of her quality produce, and placing her work on consignment, to make a lot of money. She now owns property in Twinbrook, Shang Simla and Al Simhara.

Sims 3 Nirvana in her studio

Nirvana in her studio: making a metal sculpture – also two of her own paintings on the wall

I have also been building houses. This is quite a challenge and I’m still learning. My aim is to build bespoke but affordable accommodation—looking luxurious, but within the reach of my first home buyer Sims. My ‘cabins’ in Hidden Springs are just a little out of reach at the moment but I am working on getting the cost down by building on increasingly smaller plots of land and using the vertical space effectively. The views from these cabins are to die for!

Building 'cabins' in Hidden Springs

Building ‘cabins’ in Hidden Springs

If my Sims are virtually ‘real’, or really ‘virtual’ … I hope to be a benevolent creator.

When I first started playing Sims I was trying to level up as quickly as possible, gain money and other resources even if it meant cheating, and avoid any negative aspects of virtual life, like ageing. Now I care more about the particulars of the journey of each Sim, and am starting to get interested in a Sim’s relationship with others in the community.

Strangely, the achievements of my artist Sims spur me on in my own work! Back to the studio …

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