I used to be able to do anything with computer systems, build them from scratch, repair Harddrives, program… then, like it was overnight, they turned into UFO paraphernalia speaking in languages that may as well have been from Alpha Centauri. Suckers flat ran off and left me perplexed and scratching my head in blank ignorance. Thank goodness our son’s a computer/IT genius, raised him right. LOL 😀

That prior knowledge makes me aware a fantastic system doesn’t guarantee a smooth-running program, software parameters can conflict with the best system builds, a LOT of software’s very picky, in fact. I specifically built a system for TS3, it was that great a game to me, but TS4? Don’t think so until they get rid of some of the most glaring system-breaking bugs and, perhaps even more importantly, build some actual PLAY into the gameplay. Building skills is great, and my first foray into family has been very entertaining, but on their own they’re not enough. The game is screaming for coordination, natural sim interaction/awareness, and continuity of outcome all the way to the culmination of goal realization. All that’s broke, broke, BROKE right now in TS4.

The logic behind the whole gameplay design is nonexistent. Dig up useless Playful dolls? Catch a “treasure chest” with a sage in it? Fish that rot in just a few sim-minutes? Nowhere to store anything? Career rewards that don’t fit the requirements of the career that unlocks them? Basement wall height too high, causing collisions with ground-level, screwing with the terrain? Just a mishmosh of thrown together almosts, poor coding and bad gameplay decisions. VERY frustrating.

If Super Smokey’s kids had not proved to be astonishing, I’d probably have dropped TS4 after I maxed all his skills, and gone back to TS3. That collage of Finn Briar I hunted up to post to the emotions thread brought it all back. I can’t remember a day when I was bored playing TS3. When even my over-developed imagination has to hunt for something entertaining, there’s a bad problem.

As to the TS4 Emotion Engine, TS3 had the subtleties of emotion honed to a fine, natural art that fit seamlessly into gameplay. On top of that, every sim in TS3 (townies included) was aware of all the other sims in the game, and reacted according to their knowledge of the others in their community, something not evident in TS4 even among family members. When TS4 can do any of the following, WITHOUT all the fatal game-destroying bugs, I’ll give it another shot. Here are some TS3 pics to illustrate what I’ve been talking about:

In this pic, every sim KNOWS my sim is a 5-Star celebrity, and reacts accordingly:

Here my sim is on a date and, while at the restaurant, gets a notification of a huge sale at the consignment shop. Not only were the others there immediately aware of his good fortune, they all focused on him, stopped what they were doing and began cheering him:

In this pic, the deep love my fairy husband feels for his wife is evident, he didn’t look at other sims that way, just her. More to the point, they loved each other and were faithful because of it, earning them a “Faithful” reputation among all the other sims in the town. (Which emphasizes the Reputation System of TS3, something TS4 doesn’t have, but should’ve been a requirement, if emotions were the driving force behind the entire game.):

In this pic, the male fairy is head-over-heels for the girl, but she’s not that keen on him. That frustrating emotional situation is displayed on his face:

Here my sims are loving the music and performing in front of other sims who actually PAY ATTENTION to the performers, often coming from all over the immediate area to watch them perform:

In this last, my favorite TS3 sim is shown to be GROWING emotionally as he develops knowledge and celebrity, transforming completely through the workings of the game engine. I did not alter him in any way (besides giving him a new hairstyle), all the physical changes as a result of his personality development were game-generated, as was the transforming personality development itself:

TS4 is all about emotions? Okay, prove it. Build the emotional nuance already a hallmark of TS3 into TS4. Tie all the sims together as members of the same community, aware of the others, at least in their own town, and especially in their own families. You can’t strip emotion from circumstance and have it mean anything, the two are intimately tied. The designers of TS3 KNEW that very important human fact, something the designers of TS4 seem completely ignorant of. Add to that fatal flaw the horrendous bugfest TS4 is and there’s nothing shiny and new outside of CAS and Build TS4 can point to with pride.

It doesn’t have to be a TS3 clone but, within the parameters of its own stated goals, it must function as promised!

To successfully achieve a true Emotion Engine it can’t function in a vacuum, emotions are reactions, especially reactions to the actions of others. The designers of TS4 seem not to know this.

A Reputation System and emotions (the touted driving force behind TS4) are integral, one supporting and depending on the other for proper functioning.

Maybe TS4 is a Frankenstein’s monster, with its game engine from one source, CAS from another and so on, but coordinated, already! The conflicting game-killing bugs generated by mismatched modules should NEVER have gotten out to the public.