Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rules for the Utopia House Challenge

Inspired by the stupid and hilarious--and now cancelled--ABC-TV show, this challenge will (1) make you appreciate what S4 Sims can do on their own, and (2) cure you of micro-management. And it's short--2 Sim weeks max. In addition, at the end of probably less than two Sim weeks, you will have 8 Sims who already have Skills relevant to their future careers, several Friends needed for their future careers, and maybe even spouses. And so you will be able to blog/tell good stories/enjoy your game without drudgery....


Create 8 Young Adult Sims with different Aspirations, keeping in mind said Sims' future careers. (None of your Sims may be employed during the challenge.)

Make a house with 4 (or fewer, it's up to you) double beds. There may not be any single beds, but there may also be chairs, loveseats, sofas, and outdoor benches (esp. if you want to avoid that "butt up in the air" sleeping pose).

Move the 8 Sims into the Utopia House, and reduce household funds to $100 (or lower)--the cheat is: "money 100"--without the quotation marks (and you need to have done Ctrl-C to open the cheat window, and then typed testingcheats true). Someone needs to start cooking Party-sized meals so the household doesn't starve and, if you have a Painter, he needs to buy a canvas for his first artwork, and if you have a Woodworker who needs to build Handiness, he needs to buy wood. (You can do it with NO $--the cheat is "money 0"--if your Sims immediately start Collecting and selling the fish, frogs, and troll dolls and other crapola they find; plants will not be available for harvest on Day One.)

The ONLY direction you may EVER give your Sims (until Goal #1 is complete) is to make them pursue their "Relevant Skills". (Details below.) You may never direct them to attend to a Need (bladder, hunger, sleep, whatever), and you may never give them a direction that cancels a Need they are already attending to by themselves. (So, if the kitchen sink breaks while your one "Handy" Sim is asleep, and makes everyone else miserable, too bad.) You may not (until Goal #1 is complete) direct them to undertake a Social interaction, and you may never cancel or override any Social interaction they have started themselves. (So, if "Handy" guy has decided to chat up a cute girl and the kitchen sink breaks and spews water endlessly, making everyone else miserable, too bad.)

"Watching" a musician does not count as social; "Drinking" does not count as satisfying hunger (so both of those can be nuked).

Pay no attention to "Whims". Pay no attention to the Aspiration tab (the first one in the tray on bottom right, with the "star" icon, that is brought up by keyboard command "G"). Do not redeem whatever Aspiration Rewards your Sims may inadvertently earn (until they leave the Utopia House).  AND YOU MAY NOT HIT THE "PAUSE" KEY!!! (Except if you've got to go to the bathroom yourself, or eat, or sleep, or go to work, or take a picture if you're blogging the challenge.  Dresser interactions such as "Plan Outfit" are okay, as is going into Build/Buy mode to sell artwork, woodworking, etc.)

You may stop any Sim from playing video games (except the future Tech Guru, if you have one), or using a computer for anything unrelated to his Relevant Skills. (E.g., a painter should be allowed to "Browse Art" if he's started that autonomously, but not to "Play Sims Forever".) You may direct any future Chef or Mixologist to put the Cooking Channel on any TV, even if Sims are watching some other channel. (Your other Sims will develop Cooking skill quickly just because this channel is on.)

The only Sim(s) whom you may direct to leave the house are those who do "Collecting" (fishing, digging, finding frogs, harvesting plants) and anyone who will need Fitness for his future career (you may send him "Jogging"). You may assign the Collecting duties to a Sim who needs to develop the Fitness Skill, or you may split up the Collecting duties among several Sims.

NO MIRRORS--your Sims must develop Charisma naturally by interaction. NO BOOKSHELVES--your Sims must develop their Skills by "doing".

You yourself may drag unfinished meals into the fridge to keep them from spoiling, but you may not drag dirty dishes into the sink/trashcan, and you may never direct any Sim to clean dishes or take out the trash, or clean a sink or bathtub, etc.

"RELEVANT SKILLS": You may direct your Sims to do the following, EXCEPT (1) if they have any Need in yellow or lower, in which case you can't give them any direction whatsoever, or (2) if they are involved in any Social interaction, in which case you can't give them any direction that would nuke the Social interaction, but it's okay if they can do what you want while still socializing:

If you have a:

Future Tech Guru--you may direct him to do any interaction on the computer that is under the "Program" menu; this is also the only Sim who is allowed to play video games if he does it by himself.

Future Astronaut--you may direct him to play chess or go jogging.

Future Chef and/or Future Mixologist--you may direct him (1) to Clean Out Spoiled Food from a fridge, and then (2) to make a Party size of the highest-quality meal he is capable of making (if "Make Gourmet Meal" is available, do that; if not, and "Make Special Meal" is available, do that--hey, if the household ends up with plate after plate of "Flirty Cookies", that could be a fun development!) and, if there are enough meals available in the fridge (you can check by having anyone click on the fridge and select "Open"), after that (3) to "Make Drinks". (You will need to start both of these future career-track folks on "Make Drinks", but eventually they will start making drinks autonomously.)

Future Painter: (1) Sell artwork if necessary for the household to pay bills, (2) create more artwork. You will have to sell the artwork yourself, as painters will not do this autonomously.  (Once a Painter is able to "Sell to Art Gallery" you should direct him to do that yourself, since you have the option only to "Sell to Collector", which yields less money.)

Future Musician: Practice (note: his first attempts will drive everyone crazy and make them "Tense", affecting food, paintings, etc., negatively--LOL; perhaps consider starting with either a guitar or a violin and placing it outdoors or in a far-off bathroom).  Once Goal #1 has been met, if you send your Sim out to play for tips, you may pick something other than "Practice" (because he won't get many tips from that).

Future Criminal: Play chess, go jogging or do something under the computer option "Program" (note that the Criminal branch lets you do either Fitness or Programming to advance)

Future Comedian: Keep telling jokes and doing other Funny interactions; not much else your Sim can do.

Future Secret Agent: Go jogging and do anything under the computer's "Program" menu.

Any Writer: anything under the computer's "Write" menu, publishing when possible.

Future "not real jobs"--if you've created a gardener Sim, have him buy seeds from the computer and plant them in a garden bed (only 1 bed is recommended, because gardening is agonizingly slow and boring), then tend them, then Write (and amuse yourself by titling books "Why I Hate Plants", etc.); if you've created a handyman Sim, have him (1) Repair anything broken and Scavenge for Parts and Mop and Throw Away, (2) craft the highest-value item possible on the Woodworking Table, which item you will then have to go into the household inventory and sell.

Any Sim may be directed outside for Collecting within the neighborhood--that is, he should not go to another neighborhood or community lot (until Phase Two).

GOAL #1: Your Sims actually manage to pay the weekly bill while being unemployed (and, in a house big enough for 8 Sims, this can be $5,000 - $7,000 or more--that's a big nut to make in one week, but it can be done!). Write down the amount of the first bill.

GOAL #2: After paying the first bill they were able to pay, once your Sims have saved household funds equal to what the first bill was, move on to Phase Two:


You may direct Social interactions to create the couples you want, and all Sims may be directed outside the house (e.g., comedians, mixologists, and musicians may head out to make $ on community lots).

GOAL #3: Once your couples are set, divvy up the Utopia House's items into your Sims' inventories, sell the Utopia House, and send your couples off to start their own married/coupled lives, get actual Careers, have babies, whatever. This can easily happen in less than 2 Sim weeks from the beginning of the challenge.  Each couple may start with $40,000 plus their share of household funds (divvied up however you wish).


Don't put the skilling items in separate rooms--have a big open space with the kitchen, the computers, the chess table, the woodworking table, a couple TVs, the guitar, the easel, the bar, whatever else you've decided to put in your house.

No exercise equipment--it leads to too much wasted time by Sims who don't need Fitness for their future careers.

No more computers than you need for the # of Sims who need a computer to develop their Relevant Skills.

You should give at least half your Sims the Neat trait, so your Utopia House doesn't end up being a hellhole of toxic waste.

You probably need 2 Sims developing the Cooking skill to keep the rest from starving. Maybe both a Future Chef and a Future Mixologist.

Build your Utopia House next to some sort of park--your Sims will autonomously go there, meet people, dispose of trash, etc., and it's easier to find Collectibles than if they have to travel to a separate lot.  So, plunk your Utopia House in a good spot.

Dedicate one Sim to developing Handiness on the Woodworking Table in the off moments when something isn't freakin' broken....

When you build your Utopia House, install unbreakable toilets, fridge, and stove. There are no unbreakable sinks or showers, and there will be enough needed maintenance on those that whatever Sims you want to learn Handiness will be very busy....

And, just make up your own rules when you need to. And please let me know what you did, so I can revise these rules!

So, what's the challenge, in essence? It's in designing your group of 8 self-supporting Sims. And it's in designing the house, with whatever skilling items you've chosen. You may have to start the challenge more than once....

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