Yes, the upgrades system is finally ready for public testing! “Silently” debuted during our world emoji day… event… the upgrades system lets you pay additional money to upgrade eligable objects when purchasing them or even afterwards, on the same panel that lets you return objects to inventory. These upgrades can make the object match more expensive versions for motive gain, benefits and even add some extra functionality the object never had before! Our emoji day example was a thinking emoji that spins when you upgrade it, but the real targets are more… practical than that.
Today, we’re debuting the first set of functional object upgrades that aim to free house builders from only using a small slice of the catalog. Soon, it will all be viable. 😌

Continue reading “Introducing Upgrades! (new category each weekend!)”

Hello everyone!

We are happy to announce that the Mentor applications are opening today, and will remain open for the whole of June 2019!

For those of you who missed the Mentor announcement a few weeks ago, a Mentor is a regular player who has been acknowledged by the staff to be trustworthy and capable of assisting the community in some way. Whether this is via generally helping players in the game, answering minor questions in the discord, or even intervening with hostile players and calming a situation. Everyone will be good at something different.

It should be noticed that Mentors will not have any moderator or admin privileges.

As previously stated in our announcement, please note that to be considered for this role you must have a positive behaviour, good attitude and be somewhat thick skinned. This is not a popularity contest; all suitable players will be considered equally, and the role can also be lost if trust with the staff is broken. The Mentor role is also a voluntary position and will not receive any in-game benefits. Mentors will however receive a Discord role and a badge on their in-game profile!

Applications will be reviewed during June and any players who pass will then be offered a 2 week trial in July. Trials must be kept confidential, as we want to see your involvement with the community, not their response to you being on trial for the position.

If you wish to apply to become a Mentor you can do so here ←-clicky clicky. There are some rules to read and accept on the application so please familiarise yourself with them.

Good luck and we look forward to reading your applications. If you have any questions feel free to ask us in the FreeSO Discord or in-game.

Thanks for reading, see you in the crater!

~ The FreeSO Team ~

Hey folks,

Since the neighbourhoods update has been out for over a month and people have become settled in their new town halls, I figured it was about time for an update post on what we’ve been doing… and what we will be! Yes, this post will contain a full roadmap on what we are focusing on bringing to the game before leaving beta. Yes, that is still a thing. Feel free to skim any of the sections and just read headings, as many of them get quite technical.
(If you are still concerned about the contents of the last post, I suggest looking at the post date.)

Continue reading “Updates, Error 23 Obituary, and Current Roadmap”

At FreeSO, we’re always committed to updating the game to match modern expectations for people sim video games. That is the reason we added 3D mode and new lighting, of course, but there are some crucial areas that have been missed when focusing just on engine improvements. One day, I was eating my 3rd McFlurry™ of the day, writing my daily essay about how McDonalds™ has shaped our planet for the better. I was just getting stuck into a scoop with the world renowned McFlurry™ Galaxy™ Caramel Sauce when I was struck with an epiphany. Solutions to modern problems, should come from modern feedback to modern games.

So I started work on FreeSO Battle Royale. That was too much effort, so I instead looked to criticisms of the latest iteration in a similar series, The Sims. I’ve never played The Sims before, so I’m surprised that their series has so much in common with FreeSO, including pools and the Adult life stage. Looking back on complaints that have been made over the past few years about their most recent iteration, it’s clear there as a lot to learn about making a crowd pleasing simulation game.

We couldn’t be bothered making the fancier pools that TS4 has with all the pool rooms, windows etc… so we have found a better way to improve pools and bring some of that modern charm to FreeSO. Introducing – the BALL POOL.

As flat as you need them, the new FreeSO ball pool is just as functional as regular pools in FreeSO, if not more so.

Yes, every pool in every property is now filled with inflatable balls, and the world is better off for it. We’ve been keeping close tabs on the reception ball pools received in modern Sims games, and decided that it was an overwhelming hit with fans and deserved inclusion in our completely original game too. We’ve decided to include two modes for the ball pit pool, which can be triggered by the complex shaders option. Want more 3D balls than you have ever seen in real life? Check that Complex Shaders option. Want the authentic TS4 experience? Turn it off.

Why would we add ball pools without a special class of sim to sit in them? Yes, you read the title right, toddlers are coming to FreeSO. Due to excessive fan requests, we have decided to add toddlers without adding any other life stages whatsoever. This means that we have spent as much time as possible on the toddler life stage, making it a more polished experience. There is also no aging, as that is not the story we want to tell (and with how long you play this game you’d end up dead pretty fast).

“how did you add toddlers so quickly?” I hear you say? “wouldn’t it take hundreds of hours making new models, textures, and creating new animations for the new skeleton?”. Simply load the game, to find out.

We’re also giving out a free, never before seen object, TODAY ONLY! To go with our update focusing on pools, what better object to roll with than a Pool Filter.
Pool filters are used around the world to keep your pool water from becoming dirty. What? Pools don’t have any water now that they’re filled with balls? I hope nothing bad happens when you try to pump plastic balls through a pool filter…

Log in today to receive your new Pool Filter!

That’s all for today, folks. I hope you enjoy your day. April 1st is truly the real start of spring, as things do really start to heat up around this time of year.

Rhys.

Hey everyone! A few days ago, I pushed out the first major feature update in 5 months. We’ve worked out most of the issues introduced by the first build, so it’s about time I made a blog post about it.

The new update has loads of general improvements, such as an all new MSDF font renderer that is beautiful at any size, new roof rendering, new smoother routing, new contact hardened shadows, simulation optimisations and many other improvements. However, the one that is most worth talking about is our new Neighborhoods feature, which has been teased on this blog all throughout the last few months.

If you want a full changelog, check out the list posted on http://tsomania.net. The rest of this post will focus on neighborhoods, though I might post about new things like the font rendering and SimAntics JIT/AOT at some other time.

Neighborhoods

As explained on the previous post: http://freeso.org/help-us-name-sunrise-craters-neighbourhoods/ , neighborhoods in FreeSO are very different from those in TSO. The neighborhood you are part of is directly linked to the position of your property – which means your neighbors are in your… you get the picture. This means that when placing a lot, you can’t just completely ignore the location! To get the most out of the neighborhoods features, you can choose to live next to your friends or a community you want to be part of. Perhaps you might also choose to live somewhere just to start a campaign and take over next month?

The neighborhood page

Each neighborhood has a unique name and description, taken or inspired by suggestions from the community made over the last through months. They are centered around specific landmarks on the city, giving each neighborhood its own distinctive feature that lets you spot it from city view rather easily.

The top neighborhoods in the city have election cycles, where a Mayor is elected to create and manage that neighborhood’s Town Hall for a term lasting a month. Each neighborhood has its own page which details all of that, including the top 10 properties (overall, per category) and sims (activity) over the last few days. Each neighborhood also has a Bulletin Board, which lets residents post public messages about anything they wish, and contains updates on neighborhood activities like elections and achievements. If you live in a neighborhood with a mayor, you can even submit anonymous ratings for them, which are shown on the page and any future elections that sim participates in.

Bulletin Boards

Rather empty, but for how long?

Need to pull your neighbors together for an event? Want to know what’s going on in a neighborhood? Bulletin boards are new public forums that each neighborhood has for helping residents organize events, start discussions or look for assistance. There are three sections in each bulletin board – Mayor, System and Community.

  • Mayor posts are messages written or promoted by the elected Mayor of this neighborhood, and will appear larger than most other posts.
  • System posts are made automatically as various events occur in the neighborhood, such as elections or notable individual achievements. Achievements are currently not listed, but will be in the future. (eg. residents reaching the top level of a career, etc.)
  • Community posts can be made by anyone, and can be about anything! If you live in this neighborhood, you can freely post in the community section, and even link a lot to your post! If the Mayor appreciates your post, they can promote it to the Mayor section for the most visibility.

You can get to the bulletin board using the button on the left of each neighborhood page, and also from the bulletin board object present on that neighborhood’s Town Hall property.

Note that neighborhood features and the bulletin board have their own set of rules, specifically forbidding harassment, election bribery and spamming. For more information see http://freeso.org/nhoodrules/ .

Mayors

By far the most interesting and complex feature that neighborhoods have added – Mayors are sims that have been elected to be in charge of a particular Neighborhood in the city.

Elections happen on the last week of every month – Nominations open on Monday, Elections then happen on Friday, and the final tally is performed on Sunday night. During the nomination phase, members of an eligible neighborhood can nominate any other member of their neighborhood as a candidate for becoming a mayor. When a sim receives three nominations, they will be asked if they want to run for mayor, and to provide a campaign message if they do. The 5 candidates who receive the most nominations will be chosen for the final election, where voters must choose their mayor from just the selected candidates.

When a mayor is elected, they gain a few powers (these are by no means final, but they are what is available right now):

  • They appear in the neighborhood page’s Mayor tab, and can have their performance rated by residents of the neighborhood.
  • They gain control of the neighborhood’s Town Hall – from this same mayor tab mayors can create or move the town hall property within the neighborhood. They can also build/buy on it and enlist donators – see below for more information.
  • They gain control of the Mayor section of the bulletin board. This means posts with more visibility, less chance of getting pushed off the board by newer posts, and the ability to promote regular community posts to appear in this section too.
  • A top hat icon will appear on their person thumbnail when they are on a lot in their neighborhood. Your presence will be felt throughout the property.

    Elections mean making tough decisions, but each candidate is allowed to state their case on the ballot.

As there are 34 neighborhoods, you can imagine that 34 simultaneous elections might become quite confusing for players to keep track of. Because of this, only the neighborhoods with top activity levels can have a Mayor elected. Because we are still testing these new features, only the top two neighborhoods will have elections this month, but following election cycles will see more neighborhoods become eligible.

There is no term limit, and each month there will be another election to enter. The only thing keeping you in office is your die-hard fans!

Town Halls

There weren’t any spaces in D.A.M.N. so this is the best screenshot you’re getting.

They don’t HAVE to be a town hall – the name simply implies that the location is that neighborhood’s designated public gathering spot, and that it is always open to everyone. Town halls, parks, law enforcement buildings or even prisons – lots of this type are the center of the neighborhood, and reflect the most eccentric nature of its inhabitants. This special lot type can be opened by anyone, and has a max sim limit of 128, and be built on by a maximum of 100 whitelisted donator sims. They are ideal for get-togethers like competitions, weddings and other celebrations! There are also exclusive objects you can only find on community lots, mainly to do with voting and the bulletin board. However, lots with this type cannot be given a lot category, so it’s not much good at money or skills!

Each neighborhood has one community lot owned by its Mayor, who has been nominated and elected by its residents. The mayor has complete control over the property, though they can enlist help via object ‘donations’ from whitelisted sims.

Donators list, complete with censor to protect the identities of those who died testing this feature and the bug that was present in the screenshot.

In a town hall, there are two ways you can place objects:

‘Normal’ placement behaves similarly to placing objects on player owned properties – you can freely move objects between the property and your inventory, and the objects will return when you move out.

‘Donate’ placement has a much higher object limit, but these objects can NEVER RETURN TO YOU and cannot be refunded. When you donate an object to a community lot, it is destined to become a long term fixture that belongs to the neighborhood as a whole, and may persist as the lot changes hands between different mayors. A reminder will appear each time you open your inventory, just in case you have plans to put any rare objects down.

There’s a huge benefit though – when you buy objects out of the catalog to be donated, they cost 1/3rd of the price! This makes it a lot easier to get started or do renovations worrying less about your contributions disappearing in future.

When you donate an object, you cannot sell it or return it to inventory. At least everyone will know you put it there!

Conclusion

Phew – that’s all for now! Updates on the first elections, the other new features and future updates will likely come in another blog post, so stay tuned!

Rhys