PeKing Star

I’ve been very excited for EA’s next game pack for The Sims 4, Dine Out, which was released on 6/7/16.  I wanted to create a modern Asian restaurant, somewhat inspired by the architectural style of P.F. Chang’s.  PeKing Star is the result.  In this build, I focused a great deal on trying to do something interesting with the roof instead of just having the gaping holes that we typically see when using half walls to create the illusion of structural elevation:

I also tried my hand at creating decorative arched bridges, which turned out to be very challenging but fun to do:

I can’t wait for the day when Maxis gives us functional arched/hanging bridges and/or the ability to create them ourselves.  I definitely spent a lot of time pouring over the details on this one.  Here are additional exterior shots.

Front:

Back:

Side:

Playtesting the interior was a ton of fun, and fortunately, I didn’t have to change much in order to make it functional.  As you enter, here is the hosting station, where you can greet your customers:

And a waiting area.  I found in playtesting that sims seem to just stand around until they are taken to their seats.  It’s too bad they won’t actually go sit while they wait, but I can imagine that it would have taken additional programming.

I set up 12 tables plus a bar.  I wanted to have a good amount of dining space available but without feeling cluttered and with appropriate dividers/privacy for at least some of the tables.  Here are various shots of the interior:

Here’s the waiter’s station with art by Leander Belgraves (not CC, but a painting my sim created of it):

And here is the chef’s station as seen from a customer’s viewpoint, followed by shots of the kitchen interior:

The bathrooms are relatively small; I tried to make them cute, but it’s not really worth showing.  You can see the design in the overhead layout shots.

Property:

Interior:

PeKing Star costs $245,295 and is situated on a 40×30 lot (I used Municipal Muses in Willowcreek).  It has been thoroughly play tested, and I found no issues with it.

If you’re interested in taking a look at PeKing Star in game,  click here to download the build from the online Gallery.  Or, if you prefer, you can search for it in the game Gallery by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations.  Please be sure to place the home in build mode, so that lighting colors and intensities are preserved.  I hope you have fun dining in and/or managing it!

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Vivid Art Gallery

This one’s been in the making for quite some time.  I was inspired by the Barneveld Noord railway station designed by NL Architects:

Obviously, there’s no need for a train station in TS4, so I was originally going to create a residence out of it.  I had most of the structure in place when the announcement for Get To Work expansion came out, and I fell in love with the idea of creating an art gallery that could also function as a home business.  I wasn’t sure what to do once the gurus said we wouldn’t be able to run home businesses, but after the expansion was released, people figured out how to do it.  Since then, I’ve worked steadily to complete the build.

I expanded the space but designed it to preserve the structural and aesthetic essence of the original build’s solid blocks over glass by adding a 3rd level that is mostly glass, corresponding to the ground level.  For a lot of the décor, I focused on working with the crystals and other objects that can be found in the debug menu.  Now that most debug objects transfer to the Gallery, it’s an opportunity to really get creative and design some beautiful structures.

If you’d prefer to skip the avalanche of images below and head straight for a video tour, I’ve got one here.  So many of the features are animated, and the static images don’t really do them justice.  I also show some of the Get To Work retail gameplay in the video.

If you’re continuing on with the blog, here are some additional shots of the exterior:

And here is the entrance into the Gallery:

For the artwork, I wanted to make use of the new photography and paint by reference skills in Get To Work, and after experimenting, I decided that I would go with a sort of neon nights theme – lots of images of lights, crystals, and the animated objects in the game (like the Laser Light Show promo object) by night.

The gallery is confined to the ground floor.  Here are my pictures of the pictures!  These images of the interior were taken at night, so that you can really see the glow of the crystals and the vivid nature of the images.

As you can see, there is a good number and selection of photos and paintings to sell, and there is quite a range in prices too (photos are super cheap – too cheap in my opinion).  One annoying thing is that photo frames are not preserved when the lot is transferred to the Gallery, so unfortunately, your sim will need to re-frame them (I hope EA will fix that soon!).

Also on the ground floor is a public bathroom where I wanted to play a bit with shapes and colors.  I wanted to sort of cut off the two sinks as if in a mirror image.  It was fun how the new Get To Work mirror actually reversed its own colors in the main mirror too:

When they’re done checking out the exhibits (and using the bathroom), sims can exit the ground floor to find a relaxing outdoor area with a crystal themed water feature.  A static image doesn’t really do it justice; you’ve really got to see it in action.

Here are some overhead shots so that you can get a better feel for the ground level.  First, the entire property:

A closer look at the gallery:

Layout of the bathroom:

Moving upstairs, the 2nd level provides a photography studio, lounge, painting area, gym, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms.  Let’s start with the landing:

I was playing a lot with primary colors on this level as well as creating my own sculptural elements.  When sims arrive, they can head left to a room with a view that has been designated as a painter’s haven:

I deliberately chose the loud rugs with swirls of color you see here, as they reminded me of actual brush strokes.  There is also space in the room for guests to relax, have a drink, and enjoy the artist(s) at work:

Turning right from the stairs, there is a lounge for sims that are waiting for their shot in the photography studio.  It features a vanity and dresser so that they can get their primping and prepping done just outside the studio.

The two slatted doors lead to the photography studio itself.  All of the shots in here are of sims I have created, and most are in keeping with the neon nights theme.

Across from the studio are two bedrooms, the first themed for adults:

The second, themed for children/teens:

Down the hall is a full bathroom:

And a gym:

And last but not least, an extremely spacious master suite with attached full bathroom.  I really tried to make this space special in a lot of ways, especially with my own sculptures, styling effects, and a modern, animated fireplace (inspired by CrazyMattSims wonderful Amsterdam Modern room in which he used crystals to simulate the flames).  Here are some images of the space:

Static images of the fireplace don’t really do it justice, as it is actually animated.  Take a look at the video tour or check it out in game, and I think you’ll like it!

The room features an extra large walk-in closet as well as an attached master bath.  Since the bathroom is open to the bedroom, I kept some of its color by sticking with the turquoise, but switched to yellow as a complimentary color (I’ve got a little yellow running elsewhere through the level too, so it ties together).  Bonus points if you recognize something familiar in the shot above. 🙂  Here is a closer look at the bathroom:

And that’s it for the 2nd level.  Let’s take a look at the overall layout via the overhead shots:

Closer look at the studio and surrounding areas:

Closer look at the two neighboring bedrooms:

Closer look at the master bedroom and bath with a bit of the gym showing up (in the lower left):

Moving on up to the third and final level, you’ll find open plan living, lounging, kitchen, and dining as well as another full bathroom.  Here, I’ve brought it back to a cooler color palette and more of the neon theme.  First, let’s look at the landing:

The clock is a nod to the original Barneveld Noord’s clock.  You can glimpse a bit of the living room around the corner.

I had fun with height adjustments in this area in order to create a unique, stretched coffee table, and of course there is an assortment of crystals to embrace the overall theme.  You may not be able to tell by these shots, but the painting on the wall is a paint by reference my sim created of lighting art on a lot that I love, Manga Girl House by CobayanBBQ.

I always have to throw a little mirror play into my builds somewhere, and that was the case surrounding this fireplace.  Heading left from the living room, there is a fun, colorful reading nook:

And moving on from there, on either side of building, there are bars with seating at the windows for an awesome view:

Continue from the bars to the kitchen area, divided on both sides, with the sink and refrigerator on one side:

And the stove and trash can on the other.  You can see that a counter along the perpendicular wall bridges the two spaces:

Proceed beyond the kitchen to the large, open dining area.  I threw some orange in here as I felt it helped to differentiate the space a bit and add some new interest:

And finally on this level, is another full bathroom, done in a similar style to the ground floor bathroom, again sort of carving up the space and making a bold color statement:

Here are the overheads for this final level:

Closer look at the bathroom layout:

And because this is a night themed gallery, it wouldn’t do to leave you without shots of the exterior at night:

This concludes our tour; I hope you enjoyed it!  Vivid Art Gallery can be placed on a 40×30 lot (I built it on Municipal Muses in Willow Creek).  Now you might want to sit down, because it costs a whopping $509,871 simoleans to purchase!  It’s definitely not a starter business, but from my play testing, once you can afford it, it will earn you some good money.  In the meantime, you could always just place it in your world and do a little shopping for home décor.  Click here to download the build from the online Gallery.  Or, if you prefer, you can search for it in the game Gallery by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations.

Note that in order to retain the lighting colors and intensities, you should add the home to your lot in build mode rather than via Manage Worlds.

If you experience any oddities during placement or play, I do apologize.  I tested this build to the best of my ability, both from a play testing perspective  and in placing it from my Library (several times!).

Thank you for your interest in my creations!

 

To Sims 4 or Not To Sims4…

That has definitely been the question on my mind for the past few months!  I was really hoping for some revolutionary changes with the next version of The Sims, and as news about TS4 started filtering out, it was disappointing.  The graphics had not evolved the way I’d hoped, and features that we’ve come to take for granted were not being implemented.  Thus, I was on the fence and leaning pretty heavily toward staying on The Sims 3 side of it.  There are still builds and stories I have in progress in TS3, but truthfully, I haven’t done much with the game for many months, so I hadn’t written off TS4 completely.  Then, finally, the TS4 CAS demo became available, and I have to admit I’ve been having a good deal of fun with it.

I definitely miss CAST functionality.  It’s hard to comprehend that we aren’t even given a color wheel for at least a minimum of customization beyond the template colors available.  Also, when it comes to the templates, a lot of the colors are way more garish than I care for where others are more muted.  It makes it tough to set up a good matching outfit sometimes, and the hair and particularly eye color choices are poor if you prefer more natural, realistic colors.  The hairs are very blocky, which seems like something of a step backwards.  However, I think there is a pretty good selection of hairstyles and clothing for a new base game, and I’ve heard that there will be more that we’re not seeing in the demo.

The real star of the demo is the ability to more intuitively shape your sim’s face and body with push/pull techniques as opposed to the prior format of presets and sliders.  However, there are still limits to what you can do as you must still select (or accept) a preset for each feature that can be morphed from there to a certain extent.  It isn’t always easy to know exactly what you’re manipulating when you grab part of a feature; you might think you’re going to tilt the nose up, but instead you make the tip larger, things like that.  With trial and error, you get used to it.  It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely a step up from sim creation in TS3.

I’ve been working on creating some of the cast from the Veronica Mars TV show.  I just finished watching the series and movie, so the characters are fresh on my mind, and I thought it would be fun to set up my own “Neptune.”  I feel like I’m definitely putting CAS through its paces as I try to generate sims that can be easily recognized as their celebrity counterparts.  It’s definitely a challenge, although some come easier than others.  My Weevil practically sprang to life from the random generator.  Here’s what he looks like – it’s not perfect, but I think it’s probably as close as I’m going to get:

Francis Capra aka Eli “Weevil” Navarro

Simified

 

Lilly and Dick are coming along nicely too:

Amanda Seyfried aka Lilly Kane

Simified

Ryan Hansen aka Richard “Dick” Casablancas

Simified

I am having a really tough time with Logan and Veronica.  It’s weird, but it seems like even though I can approximate their features, they’re missing something that would make for a strong resemblance.  I may just need to get more extreme; it seems like you almost have to draw a caricature to make it work.  I’ve also got Mac, Wallace, and Duncan in progress.  Hope to have them all finished and uploaded by go live!  You’ll be able to find them in the gallery by searching for hashtag #bryscreations or my Origin ID, BryonyRae.

Looking beyond CAS and the sims themselves, I am still concerned about building.  From what I understand, we are restricted to completely flat lots, no split levels, no CFE or MOO cheats, only 3 story structures, etc.  From an advanced building perspective, it seems like much is lost.  However, I didn’t originally get into the Sims to build; that evolved in the Sims 3 and in no small part due to the wooden nature of the sims, which made it difficult for me to enjoy the gameplay that much.  I am hoping that gameplay itself will have more staying power in TS4.  I will also give building a try, but if it fails to hold my interest, oh well.  I will take The Sims 4 as a brand-new game and try to judge it on its own merits (but they do need to add toddlers and pools ASAP!).