With the new year already having flown by, we are rapidly approaching the second anniversary of FreeSO’s launch! And with that, the Annual FreeSO Awards (AFA) ceremony is making its second debut (it is annual after all). So for anyone who missed out on lasts years event, you are definitely in for a treat!

The AFA lets you nominate your fellow sims in a variety of categories, and the most voted for sim wins their very own trophy to display on their lot. This year has some new categories, but there are still a total of 31 awards up for grabs. An example of some of the sim categories are Most Iconic Sim, The World Is Your Toilet and Best Roomie Award!

You can place your votes by logging in with your FreeSO account here – https://awards.freeso.org/ – you may only vote for each category once per account and per real life household (so if your family members also play, perhaps discuss your nomination choices as a team)

The ceremony will be taking place on the 10th of February at 20:00 UTC at the Sunrise Crater Town Hall. The lot will fit 128 players, so if you want a seat, the early bird gets the worm! The event will also be streamed for those who are unable to squeeze into the lot.

In other news..

A new role has been added to the FreeSO Staff Team! This role, which is known as C.O.U.S.I.N, stands for Community Outreach, Upkeep, & Sim Integration Network. These players help out the team by taking the lead with larger events such as the recent Halloween and Christmas events, and are now preparing for the AFA.

The Neighbourhood name/description submissions have now been closed. Thank you so much for participating and fingers crossed you will see some of your creativite works added to the game very soon!

Lastly, it looks like the weather forecast is predicting the temperature will finally begin rising above freezing, so make the most of the snow whilst you can.

We have plenty planned over the next few months and we look forward to sharing it all with you.

Merry Christmas everyone! You’ve noticed the snowstorms, but you probably haven’t noticed the Christmas Tree in your inventory! Place it on your lot to celebrate!

Each day you’ll be able to open a present from the tree – since it isn’t close to christmas yet you’ll be getting a variant of a “common” present, but in the 6 days leading up to christmas you’ll get some rare objects you can’t get anywhere else!

“But my tree only starts with 2 presents!” you say. Well, rumor has it that your tree has a designated delivery man who comes every night, really likes cookies and doesn’t like to be seen by other sims, because he’s ashamed of his facial hair or something. Your tree can hold up to 4 presents, though even if it’s full he’s likely to show up for the cookies anyways. You can find cookies in the “miscellaneous” section of the catalog.

I’d recommend setting out some cookies next to a fireplace (preferably off… but that won’t stop him) and letting him do his job in peace. Christmas is effort enough without all these early deliveries to worry about!

However, that’s not all we’ve got in store… we have new catalog items and a crafting event powered by CC created by the community!

Crafting Event

On Tuesday morning, the Mountaintop DADDI & MOMI Hospital System (MDMHS) issued a public health alert:

For reasons unknown, an epidemic of “the giggles” has been aggressively moving through the communities of Santa’s elves, rendering them all but paralyzed with laughter in a time when they are accustomed to keeping those tiny little noses to the grindstones for the final 11th hour push to finish their gifts before Christmas day. MDMHS is working around the clock to monitor the symptoms and attempt to provide remedy to the unknown ailment as soon as possible. These include holding one’s breath, thinking about something sad, drinking a giant glass of water, and so forth. We will provide further information as we progress toward a cure—or at least any success toward curbing the symptoms.

In a rare public statement, Governor Burglar Cop has responded to the halt of Christmas gift creation, and issued a plea to the citizens of Sunrise Crater: “We need every able citizen and nimble pair of hands to get themselves down to the Winter Workshop of Wonders to help with the work stoppage. We must finish the work in time for Santa to deliver the gifts to every household in Sunrise Crater. Drop in regularly to receive the new shipments of materials and build, build, build! I will not go down in history as the first governor of Sunrise Crater to have failed Santa Claus!!”

When asked about the growing pressure he’s received as of late to break each neighborhood into its own governing body, led by locally elected mayors, Governor Cop responded with “tf” and left the press conference.

Credits

This year’s holiday event would not have been possible without the fabulous work of:

  • @Andrew (AOG / Sir Andrew) (3D and 2D art)
  • @S.Q.U.A.S.H. Miha (3D and 2D art)
  • @˙ʎɹɔ oʇ ʇɟǝl sɹɐǝʇ ou (3D and 2D art)
  • @B.A.B.I. BrandonSJ ((3D and 2D art)
  • @jwofles (3D and 2D art)
  • @D.A.D.D.I. S1ndle (3D and 2D art, Putting it all together)
  • @M.O.M.I. Raeven (Putting it all together, Event planning)
  • @D.U.C.K.I. Fawn (Catalog strings, Lot design, Lot description/name, Event planning)
  • @D.A.D.D.I. dotequals (Lot design, testing, Event planning)
  • @rip in peri peri:santa::cloud_snow: )

I’m excited to announce that after months of development, we are finally ready to reveal our next core feature, Neighbourhoods! ..but not like you might have expected! There is still a little while before we can release the feature fully, but we are revealing it early because we need your input!

Neighbourhoods in the original TSO were very simple – any property could subscribe to any neighbourhood regardless of location, and they didn’t have any gameplay effect. While this allowed a lot of freedom, you often had neighbours whose lots were all in different neighbourhoods. There wasn’t even a way to list all houses in a neighbourhood – they were simply an afterthought to add a slither of community interaction to the original’s rather uninteresting city view.

I’ve built a system entirely from the ground up that aims to bring living, active neighbourhoods to FreeSO, while adding new community elements, a lot more interactivity, and new competitive goals for sims to strive for.

Our new Neighbourhood Page is just the start – a great many elements and gameplay features will be added with the neighbourhoods update.

FreeSO’s neighbourhoods are fixed regions in city view that have a name and description that lets people know what that neighbourhood is all about. They’re centered on key features of the city’s landscape, giving each neighbourhood a unique identity. Interaction with neighbourhoods starts when you’re choosing the location for your lot – move next to your friends, in a community that you like, or just because you like the view. Neighbourhoods show up in far zoom when you hover them – clicking zooms in on them and opens their page, which highlights the top 10 properties and sims in that area among other things.

In popular neighbourhoods, resident Sims can compete in monthly elections to become its Mayor! Currently, Mayors are rewarded with three special powers that normal sims only dream of. Mayors have control over an additional lot over their normal residence – they can place and build the Town Hall lot for that neighbourhood without having to move out of their existing property! The Mayor’s ability to add objects and architecture to the Town Hall can also be shared with Sims they trust, by adding up to 100 “donators”. They also get priority on that neighbourhood’s bulletin board, and a special badge whenever they visit a lot in that neighbourhood. More details on these features will come on release!

Name our Neighbourhoods!

We’re posting this now because we need your help – we need names and descriptions for the neighborhoods in Sunrise Crater! This will be a lot less formal than the object descriptions – there will be no voting, we will be taking the best suggestions, and encourage you to work together with the people who live in that region (or want to) to pick the best.

For more information, see this section on the forums:
http://forum.freeso.org/forums/neighbourhood-suggestions.41/

You can either post in the main stickied thread for small suggestions, or post your own thread for larger ones or co-ordinated efforts. These suggestions will define the state of Sunrise Crater for many years to come, so please give it a shot!

The feature is still under heavy development, and since it has a large number of new systems it requires a lot of indepth private testing before we can introduce it on the public servers. You might not even see it this month, since its progress relies entirely on when I can work on it. But I guarantee it will be worth the wait!

Note that because of our rather low playerbase and the scale of this feature, only the two most popular neighbourhoods will have elections and a Town Hall on the first month. This feature is designed for a large number of players in each city – I’m hoping we will see its full potential when we finally launch. If you want to be the first mayor of a Neighbourhood, consider moving where the most activity is!

I hope you guys are as excited as I am about this feature – I’ll keep developing it over the weeks to come! In the mean time, get to suggesting!

It works! Mostly.

– Rhys

Easy-Peasy

Almost 9 months ago a simple idea for our very first custom content object brought S1ndle, Raeven, and I into a light-hearted but mutually motivating partnership that has evolved into a monster production line of creativity, ingenuity, and tenacity…

Oh how wrong I was…it would not be easy, but would take almost 9 months!

Of course at the time, little did I know that this “blackjack” object had absolutely NOTHING done to it and that even creating BlackjackEOD would essentially be like creating custom content from scratch. But that would be a pleasant surprise for me later when I finally got around to opening the blackjack.iff and blackjacksemiglobal.iff in Volcanic…Nonetheless, this relatively new master remesher S1ndle guy delivered some amazing artwork faster than I could have imagined.

S1ndle literally turns it around in a week and a half…

That artwork would remain untouched for months, since after finishing the massive effort of RouletteEOD I would discover that the blackjack object resembled that roulette object quite a lot. Way too much…wow in fact it was just roulette.iff copied over with a few graphical and string/subroutine name changes. Crap.

Continue reading “So You Want to Make an EOD?”

Hey everyone! While I’ve been busy working on a large feature myself, the rest of the team (mainly The Architect, S1ndle and Raeven) added two large features without my input at all – and they are absolutely wonderful! I didn’t want to delay these features, so they have been slowly been developed and refined in our GitHub repository on top of the last master build and thus can be released before I’m finished my own work, which still might take a while! Fawn has also partially joined the team to help with writing ingame dialogs, news posts, blog posts and is also helping out over on http://tsomania.net. Check out her new guide on building a successful house!

The second large feature we’re adding this patch is really the start of something new: Group Skilling Objects. While earning money in The Sims Online has always given players a choice in how active or passive they want to make cash, skilling has always been passive regardless. While veteran players, many newer players interested in group money or jobs were forced to skill passively, when they wanted a more active game experience more of the time.

With Group Skilling Objects, we’re offering the same passive/active choice that money has had since the start of FreeSO – with a twist giving it a key use in the late game for players with high skill, but wanting to reach their maximum payout potential. This should finally bridge this gap that more active players have been looking for, while allowing players who enjoy single money and skill to continue doing as they do. Everyone wins!
The first of these objects is none other than Maze, which has been converted from a money object for important reasons we’ll go into later in this post.
Gaining skills from completing a maze. Both players gain a 0.02 point bonus for their efforts, on top of the normal skill increase based on the number of other skillers on the lot.
Group skills work as follows:
  • A base level skill speed that works identically to normal skill objects. Skill speed is shared between group and single sims doing the same skill. (so single objects contribute to group, and vice versa)
  • Motives decay much faster, but each “win” will reward your motives back.
  • Success will give you a constant skill bonus of around .02 skill. At lower levels this doesn’t mean much, but at high skill levels .02 could take 10 minutes to obtain normally. This is on top of the base skill level, so you’ll always gain at least as much as a normal skill object, even if you fail or lose to the other player (eg. in wargame).
These benefits are an upgrade over single player skilling objects, but similar to group money, they are not a replacement. The decision is up to the player – a more active, focused experience for a quicker skilling path for more active players, or a more passive experience for players who just want to gain skills while chatting, working in the background or hanging out.
We’re launching group skill with two objects:
  • Maze 1.0. This follows the old maze rules from the tso money object, but with random mazes and a better distribution of path lengths. Skills Logic/Charisma.
  • Wargame. This object now follows our group skill rules and skills Creativity/Creativity. This was always a group skill object, but it didn’t have the thought put into it that our new system does.
Lost? Architect has outdone himself this time – the new implentation of maze features some quality of life changes to make the board easier to process.

Where’s money object maze?

Due to one of the many technical developments since 2003 (screenshots being easy to share, which does not make the game any easier but can make it essentially 1 player), Maze’s original game design can be broken even easier than is was back then, where they used preset mazes that could be macro’d. Our maze implementation generates entirely random mazes every time, with the exit a guaranteed and known distance range away from the start point. While our changes to maze to generate random mazes mitigate some of these issues, the original maze design is still too breakable to award something as permanent as money.
However, we’re a re-implementation project, and the original maze didn’t deserve to die any more than TSO did. Due to skill and motive decay making the benefits of group skill objects transient, a group money object awarding these benefits sits a lot better than one that could be abused for a permanent advantage. While the abuse might be minimal due to maze still being as difficult, it’s more a factor of its affect on player morale more than anything.

Further Plans

A variant of maze will be introduced in future with the Gameplay rethought to be more resilient against modern tech, as I have stated in the past. We’ve dubbed this “Maze 2.0”, and will be revealing more details in the future. The money group object rectangle will be complete!
Additionally, for Maze and our next feature, you will be able to toggle their new and old behaviour on a server level some time in the future. If someone capable were to take the game in a different direction, and even just go full vanilla, they should be able to do that by the time we launch. This is a re-implementation project first and foremost, after all. This distinction will let us go our own way with game changes, as we have been, to freshen things up and try our new ideas that TSO/EA Land never would had the chance to.

I think I’ve spoiled enough about what I’m still working on, so I’m going to leave you hanging there. I will end with two extra announcements: the first is that we will be moving the server software to .NET Core rather than Mono, which should provide more reliable memory usage and performance in line with what we test on our Windows development machines.

The second announcement is that you can now choose your reaction to player interactions before they occur. Now you can finally hot kiss 100 times without even pausing for a moment.

– Rhys