Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year! See you next year.
Frohe Weihnachten und friedvolle Feiertage!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sims 3 - Evil Mastermind

A cute new video on The Sims 3 website clues you in on just how evil some sims can be. Check it out!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dragonhawks & Pack Mules

I hope you like dragonhawks and pack mules! MMO Champion reports the Patch 3.0.8 PTR Notes and mentions 3 dragonhawk mounts and a summoned pack mule, which will give you access to bank items for 3 minutes. Follow the link to check out details!

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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Sims 2 & Paysites -- Together at Last?

If you celebrated it, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! And if you didn't (and even if you did), I hope this weekend is great! Here's some The Sims 2 news for you:

Poster Judhudson over at Urban Online Entertainment lets us know that the Maxoids are now defending the Paysites' rights to make money. He quotes a post made by MaxisDrea which forbids linking to PaySitesMustBeDestroyed on the official The Sims 2 Forums. That sounds fair enough, right? Until you hear her reasoning:

"This site often posts content that is either from our TS2 Store or from partner sites which are pay/subscription based. This is considered linking to pirated content." (emphasis mine)
Judhudson argues:
"As I recall, [PSMBD members] don’t post content from your store because it is official created by EA and technically is commercial content (even though it’s my opinion that it’s stupid to charge for such). PaySites Must Be Destroyed was setup to host content from fan-made paysites.

Speaking of which…since when did paysites become “Partner sites”?* Isn’t this breaking your own rules?"
So head on over to the Urban Entertainment Forums via the link above, grab some popcorn, and check out the sources he lists at the bottom. Once again, EA Maxis is providing us with a wild ride.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

24 Spore Parts - Free!

Last week, in honor of the new Creepy & Cute Parts Pack, Maxis released a patch that installs 24 new creature parts into your game. They're "exoskeleton limbs," and they're not available for the Creature Creator Trial Edition. You also have to have the EADM installed. The patch is for both PC and Mac. Enjoy!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Ozzy Osbourne and His Undead Warlock

There are naysayers who insist that Ozzy doesn't actually play World of Warcraft. But I choose to believe! You be the judge.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Horde Goes to War!

So, what was the deal with the frost wyrms in Orgrimmar yesterday? When did Lady Sylvanus decide a move to Durotar was in order? Why was Thrall battling beloved Grom Hellscream's only son, Garrosh? And, most importantly, why will millions of players pay an additional $40 this week to play World of Warcraft? This video, made by one of my guildmates, explains it all.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

EA Teaches Customers How to Pirate Their Software

If I hadn't read it on arstechnica, I wouldn't have believed it. Seems that EA distributed copies of Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 with incomplete CD keys. To correct the problem, they are teaching customers how to guess their CD key.

"There is currently a workaround that may allow you to bypass this issue," the entry reads. "Since you have the first 19 characters of the code already, you can basically try 'guessing' the last character. To do this, simply enter your existing code, and then for the last character, try the letters A-Z, and then the numbers 0-9. You should eventually get the right combination, and be able to play the game. If this does not work, you can follow the instructions below."

Isn't that encouraging--no, teaching--piracy? If so, then why even have a DRM at all?

Update: EA has updated the entry on their website to no longer include the quoted information.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloweeen!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Look Out - EA Forum Blacklisting Gets You Banned From All EA Games

Kotaku points out a new policy at EA games: If you're banned from any EA forum, you're banned from all the EA games you own. It's explained in the quote below made by EA Community Manager Aaron Kaufman (aka APOC).

"Your forum account will be directly tied to your Master EA Account, so if we ban you on the forums, you would be banned from the game as well since the login process is the same. And you'd actually be banned from your other EA games as well since its all tied to your account. So if you have SPORE and Red Alert 3 and you get yourself banned on our forums or in-game, well, your SPORE account would be banned to. It's all one in the same, so I strongly recommend people play nice and act mature."

As with many things EA does, I can't figure out what their end goal is. Drive away customers? Anger as many gamers as possible? Maybe they are helping the average gamer to save money in these hard times by encouraging them not to buy their games.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spore Halloween Wallpapers

There are a couple of new Halloween wallpapers over at the Spore official website. Get them and enjoy your holiday!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

The Sims 3 Screenshots

There's a really nice collection of screenshots over at Urban Online Entertainment's gallery for The Sims 3. Enjoy & have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spore DRM "A Corporate Decision" says Will Wright

Here's a link to an interesting article on ars technica about Will Wright's thoughts on Spore's DRM.

"They had a plan and the parameters, but now we’re allowing more authentications and working with players to de-authenticate... For most players it’s not an issue—it’s a pretty small percentage—but some people do like wiping their hard disk and installing it 20 times, or they want to play it 10 years later."

Follow the link for more.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Sims 3 Collector's Edition Available

From The Sims 3 official website: The Sims 3 Collector's Edition is available for preorder. The Collector's Edition comes with:


...and a bit more. This is the preorder I want to get. Yeah, I can't resist The Sims. I'm such a sucker!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Sims 2 Stuff Pack "Mansion & Garden"

What's the next stuff pack to be released by EA for the Sims 2? Mansion & Garden. The focus seems to be on recreating historical homes with Moroccan, Art Deco, and retro-modern design elements. Looks like the release date is set for Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008, according to the direct download. Follow the link for screenshots and more info!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spore Game Mods

The Facepunch Studios forum has a great thread which lists a collection of mods for your Spore game. It explains how to install, troubleshoot, and disable mods, too. Worth checking out if you love to mod your games! I can't vouch for whether they work or not, though. Use at your own risk.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Spore Expansion Packs Announced

Ars Technica tells us that EA has confirmed two new expansion packs for Spore will be sold, one of them as early as November. The Creepy & Cute Parts Pack will provide players of both Spore and the Creature Creator 100 new parts to their game, while the expansion coming out next spring (Spring 2009) will allow you to leave your spaceship and explore the surfaces of worlds. It will also allow players to build and share customized missions.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

BlizzCon '08 Weekend Live Coverage

Looks like you can watch a live stream of BlizzCon '08 on the Blizzard website. Catch the arena tournaments and other events live there if you--like me--don't have DIRECTV.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to Use the Spore Music Anthem Editor

Yesterday was the weekly Spore day over at, and they celebrated by posting a tutorial video which teaches you how to use the Anthem Editor--the music editor that makes your city tune (I have embedded the video below).
I know I can sure use help with this!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sims 3 Update! New Video and "Create a Style"

On the front page of The Sims 3 website, there's a great new video of some (very attractive) men and women working on The Sims 3. Who knew Ben Bell was such a hottie? Anyway, the video explains features as well as character design and game play. It also shows a lot of crazy people pretending to be sims!

There's also a blog entry today by producer Jennifer Lane about the "Create a Style" feature that will be in The Sims 3.

Check it out!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thorough and Simple Guide to Spore

Happy October 1st!
Yeah so it's not really a holiday or whatever.
Anyway, doyoureadthis on the Spore forums has composed a fairly thorough guide to Spore. Best of all, it's FREE. It's constantly being updated and has lots of decent tips. Check it out!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Class Action Lawsuit Against Spore's DRM

Of course it was inevitable. Joystiq reports a class action lawsuit against EA because Spore installs SecuROM, which, the plaintiffs argue, violates consumer law.

"'[SecuROM is] secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations,' the complaint states."
Follow the link to Joystiq or this one for more details.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Freebie Fridays on Hiatus

I'm sorry to say that I've decided to suspend Freebie Fridays for awhile.

Most people come here for the regular content posts, not the freebies, so I've decided to not do them for now. I have a lot of hobbies and work going on lately, and there just isn't time for everything. If I do make some content for a game, I'll be sure to share it on a Friday in the future. Past content will of course continue to be available at the links on the right column of this page (where it says "Look for Old Freebies at These Sites").

So instead of a freebie, have a look at this adorable new video by Katy Perry for The Sims 2 - Hot N Cold.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Cute Spore Promo Vid

Title says it all.
Happy Monday!

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Walls

Wallpaper Gingham Roses

This Friday, I have two cute wallpapers for your The Sims 2 game.

Both gingham and purple, and both were made with the Home Crafter, so they should be usable in any The Sims 2 game.

Get your gingham wallpapers by clicking here.

Have a great weekend and see you next week!

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Mod Author Hired by Blizzard

A mini game from PopCap called Bejeweled will be including in a patch next Thursday. Mod author Michael Fromwiller had created a version of Bejeweled for Warcraft as a mod players could use to pass the time waiting for raids or auctions. Then Blizzard hired him to make a more polished version.

"[Besharded] was cool and fun, but not very polished, so we reached out to the gamer in question and hired him to do an official version of Bejeweled for WoW," PopCap representative Garth Chouteau said in an e-mail to

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Spore PC Patch Released

Earlier today, Maxis released its first patch for Spore.
Patch notes can be found here and they include:

  • Improved the planets fogging, blooming and lighting
  • Fixed animation issues with tool handling, hand walking and some of the more oddly shaped creatures
  • Added 70 new planet scripts with a low terraform score, especially of the "hot and high atmosphere" type
  • Creature phase: Improved the pacing towards the end of the game, and increased the challenge in Normal and Hard modes.
  • Tribe phase: Increased the challenge in Normal and Hard difficulty modes.
  • Civilization phase: Increased the challenge in Normal and Hard difficulty modes.
  • Creature phase: Improved the way posse members behave during threatening situations and fights.
  • Fixed problems with the "Rolling Thunder" and "Déjà Vu" achievements not being awarded as they should.
  • Fixed an issue where the terraforming score of planet could differ when revisiting a solar system
  • Fixed some issues where the game would freeze when using the Creature Tweaker tool or when capturing a planet in solar view
Check the patch notes to see all changes.

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EA Gives Spore Players Multiple Accounts

Looks like EA is trying to play nice. At least a little. MaxisLucy posted late last night (or early today?) that EA will be giving users the ability to have up to 5 screen names associated with their account.

"We are going to add the ability to have multiple Spore Screen Names for any one Spore Online Account. Here’s how this will work: for each copy of Spore that you have purchased, you will be able to have one Spore Online Account, just as it is now. However, we will be adding the ability to have five Spore Screen Names for that account. When you launch Spore, you will be able to log in with any of those Screen Names."

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spore Pirated to Avoid DRM

Daily Tech has an article up about consumers getting around the DRM by using pirated copies of Spore. It outlines how EA--in true corporate fashion--continues to point out the "good" points of its DRM while simultaneously misunderstanding what is making consumers angry:

"Electronic Arts appear to miss the point as the backlash is occurring over the fact there is any limit at all and not the number of PCs you are limited to."
They also include an interesting statistic:
"On Saturday, Torrentfreak wrote that the game had already been downloaded more than 500,000 times on BitTorrent sites."

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Will Wright on Spore's Low Ratings

Judhudson from Urban Online Entertainment interviewed Will Wright recently and asked questions about Spore's poor ratings, Spornography, Q&A, and other things.

The interview itself can be found here. (See "Interview (englisch) mit Will Wright" on the right.)

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Spore Secret Achievements

On the Spore Official Forums there is a thread about the discovery of secret achievements, which are achievements marked only by a ? in your achievements log. The ones discovered are:

  • Can't Win for Losing: Die once in every stage of Spore
  • General Custer: Lead 30 posse members to their deaths
  • Slugger: Finish the creature stage without legs
  • Cerburus: Evolve a creature with 3 heads
  • Medic: Heal one tribe member back to full health 5 times in a single game
  • Fear of Flying: Finish Civ Stage without buying an aircraft
  • Conclusion: Finish Civ Stage by launcing ICBMS at all remaining cities
  • Oh the Humanity: Destroy Earth
Two are missing. Know of any more?

Update 19 Sept 08:
  • Bad Baby! Have one of your assets banned

Update 26 Sept 08:
  • Pathological Cheater: Get 50 Joker badges.

And that completes the list!

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Black Bear Mount from Blizzard

WoW Insider tells us that Blizzard has added a black bear mount and a new title which you can get via their new achievement system.

"...[P]layers who complete the Achievements For The Horde! and For The Alliance! will be rewarded a Black War Bear. Players who manage to reach the respectable 100,000 Honorable Kill plateau will unlock the 'of the Horde' and 'of the Alliance' titles."

Follow the links to check out the full article.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Counter

What a busy week! I've got a simple but handsome counter for your The Sims 2 game this week.
Maple & Steel Counter for The Sims 2
Its base is the Krampft Industries Value Counter, so look for that one.

You need the CEP Color Enable Package as usual to make this work in your game. Other than that, it should work in any The Sims 2 game.

Download the Maple Counter with Stainless Steel Countertop here.
Hope you have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spore Stinks? Or Just its DRM?

Evolving the Beanie Elephants
Helping Beanie Elephants to Evolve (Click on pics for larger)

If you're a regular reader, you probably noticed that I took a small--unusual, for me--hiatus the last few days (usually, I post daily even though I promise to post only 3-5 times a week. That's because I never expect to have much to write about, but then I do. That's life). Well, I've been playing Spore. And really enjoying it. But I've also been reading forums and browsing through the "Spore protests"--like the almost 2,000 1 star comments on wondering to myself what exactly I should say about this game. I also didn't want to write a book about this subject. But I wanted to address it, because problems need to be brought out into the open.

Like everyone, I want games to deliver what they promise. I want fun with little hassle. Same as the 2,000 Amazon protesters. I've written about SecuROM and Spore before. Yes, EA will be including it in all their products, apparently, whether the box lets you in on it or not. Does EA's DRM (Digital Rights Management) software stop piracy? Not in the case of Spore. It was cracked almost immediately upon release in Australia. There are most likely bureaucratic, political, and economic reasons for this DRM to remain in place which the consumer will never know about without serious investigation (beyond the scope of most of us), leaving her with few choices. It's not like you can get another Spore from another manufacturer like you can underwear. Either you buy Spore or you don't. Will it matter?

Spore Lush Planet
Lush Paradise

Probably not. Realistically, there's over a million people registered with the Spore site, and 12 million creations uploaded proves that someone's playing Spore. 2,000 isn't even 1% of a million. You can probably see where I'm going with this. Do I think people should continue to protest? Of course! EA did listen to the Mass Effect protesters, although some think that perhaps that might have been a bit of a set up--that EA just wanted to see what consumers would swallow. There's no way to know.

Spore Angry Planet 2
Hot World

What about the game itself? Is it fun? Yes...but. For a game made for ten year olds (as the box states), yes, it's fun. Is it the unlimited sandbox that some people feel it was designed to be? Kind of. The editors are amazing, and everything is editable (...that isn't a plant--because only God can make a tree. Okay, that was a terrible and very old joke. I'm sorry). But many interactions and events are scripted, not spontaneously generated by what you do in the game. It's not Fable, which I think was the impression left by the what-you-do-affects-what-you-become mantra that Maxis had been dishing out in large quantities. In fact, you can undo just about any evolutionary path you have taken just by selling all your body parts and slapping on new ones with no penalty. However, I did find myself getting frustrated because I wanted to be an omnivore trader and got saddled with herbivore because my spore was a few floating pieces of hamburger shy, but that petty problem was fixed with a reroll.

Religious Victory in Civ
Bending Them to My Will

Okay, so the odd choices are permanent, but most everything can be changed at whim. Vehicles are designed as you choose, with percentage-based enhancements. If you want a war ship, you balance speed, military power, and health based on the parts you choose. Easy. Yes, little missiles do fire and ray guns shoot. Beams based on the vehicle's power (religious, military, or economic) shower the target to let you know what it's doing. I actually like the RTS (real time strategy) in the civilization stage of the game. It's a weak version of Sid Meier's Civilization 4 which is one of my all-time favorites. What's not to like?

Space Lobster on the Menu
Space Ships Can Be Anything - Even Lobsters

Is the game beautiful? Yes. The planets and views of space are breathtaking. Voice acting? Top notch. Music? Wonderfully sci-fi. You can choose the theme of your people, and it greets you when you see them.

Epic Creature
A Creature as Big (And as Strong) as My Ship

There are some annoyances, though, floating around the message boards, and some of them are big:

  • No auto save.
  • Bugs ranging from "This mission doesn't start for me" to "Game crashes to desktop".
  • Too hard. Everyone keeps attacking me when I start space phase.
  • Too easy. I can bribe/kill/plunder everyone. There is no challenge.
  • Modding looks like it will be difficult.
Myself, I've encountered the game crashing one that happens in the space stage (after leaving a planet) which I hope they fix. It was game-stopping for me, and I decided to create a new race to bide my time and so far, with the new race, space has been fine. At first I thought the "too hard" and "too easy" issues were based on user perspective, but I read a few posts that some missions have been buggy for some players. It's possible that the difficulty problems are not user related, but I have no way to tell.

Do I recommend this game? I would definitely say that if you are the finicky sort, try this game out first before you buy. If you are a hardcore gamer and want a game that pounds you as hard as you pound it, try before buy. But if you like to make space ship models, or creatures, or want to try out basic RTS, or just like the idea of zipping around space crafting planets, this is probably your game. Personally, I love it. Sure, it could be improved, and those improvements could be awesome, but I'm having tons of fun just as it is.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spore Prima Guide Free Sample

Got a tip off that there is a Spore Prima Guide free sample which teaches you about the cell stage of the creature creator in Spore. If you're in North America and a Spore fan, you're probably looking forward to tomorrow as much as I am. Enjoy your Sunday...with Spore!

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - T Shirts

Red & Blu Team T's
Been playing lots of Team Fortress 2 while waiting for Spore, so I decided to make a couple TF2 Ts for my sims. These Ts should work in any The Sims 2 game. No matter which side you choose, it's the best above all else.
Download Red & Blu Team Ts here.
Have a safe and fun weekend!

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Video - Epic Creature Battle

Two epicized creatures battle it out in Spore. (Not my vid.)

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Free Polar Bear Mount for DIRECTV Viewers

Kotaku says you can get the polar bear mount by viewing Blizzcon on DIRECTV October 9th and 10th. It's a long post, but the meat of it is order the DIRECTV BlizzCon 2008 pay-per-view event and get polar bear mount. Visit or call 1-800-728-9375 for details.

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Girl Gamer Article Drives Me to Drink

Any regular readers know that I don't rant in this blog. Yeah, there are things that annoy me, but I usually keep them to myself. So I sincerely apologize for this post. But there's been a slew of really insulting articles lately about women and games--with the worst comments coming from women--that make me feel like the world is rotating backwards or something and we're in the Victorian era again. The article, called "How to Get Your Girlfriend Into Gaming," is a great example. It talks about a panel held at the recent PAX show. Here are some gems for lulz:

"His girlfriend played “Halo” for five minutes and got dizzy."
Really? I mean, seriously? I find it incredible that any person who drives a car or rides a subway on a regular basis would get motion sickness from a game. Maybe she never leaves the house? Maybe she goes everywhere on foot because she's Amish? If she's Amish, why would she be playing a video game? Yes, I'm being lowbrow and picking on the Amish. They'll never read this blog. Trust me.
“Chicks like flattery. If she feels like she’s helping, then you’re making it a positive experience.”
The fact that this was said by a woman makes me want to throw up. Anyone who plays a game & helps their team is "helping." Here's a secret: This is why most men play team games. To help their team and feel like they're helping.
“When I do have free time, I don’t want to be blowing things up,” she said.
Are you sure? Because blowing things up is awesome.

The thing that bothers me about these articles is not that they talk about people who are bad at games. I'm certainly not super awesome at every game, not even most games--heck, not even one game. I don't personally know anyone who is super awesome in any game. But what bothers me is that the women are treated as if they're not even human; as if their outlook on life is twisted into some lollipop land where dirt is icky and thinking is dumb. Every time I read these articles I feel like they're talking about little girls--like 5 year old girls--not adult women. I mean, I like cute things, too. I love kittens and sunshine. I also like to blow things up. Is that wrong?

How do you feel about it?

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Maxis Makes New Spore Site

...that no one can see. hasn't been available to me all day as millions of fans worldwide struggle to peek at the new site's features. I'd like to make a real post about it but I guess it's Team Fortress 2 for me for the next few days until Maxis can figure out how to deal with multitudes of gamers. I have read on the Spore forums, though, that the new site has buddy lists, sporecasts, new buildings and vehicles, and creatures from the cell phase. Just a guess, but maybe the fact that some stores sold it early forced them to set up the site sooner than planned? We may never know.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Will Wright at HMV Oxford Street Tomorrow

Spores Illustrated reminds us that Will Wright will make an appearance tomorrow just after noon at HMV Oxford Street, but only 200 fans are allowed to attend. Follow this link for more details.

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Australia and Netherlands First to Get Spore

If you live in Australia or the Netherlands, according to several internet sources, you might be able to score a copy of Spore. It seems Spore has been released already for them, so go out and get your copy!

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Celebrities Make Spore Creatures

Urban Online Entertainment got wind that the celebrity-made creature site is up and running. Of the list, I only recognize Tay Zonday and Will Wright, but maybe you know some of the others. Take a look if you like.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Wall and Floor

Red and Blu
This Friday I have a new wallpaper & floor combo for your The Sims 2 game. Red and Blu is usable in any The Sims 2 game. Looks great for a game room, kids room, shop--any place where you need a little lift.
Download Red and Blu floor and wall by clicking here.
Have fun with this download and see you next week!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

IGN Uses Mah Wallpaper!

Look! IGN is using my wallpaper.
Browsing around today, I thought I was losing my mind for a bit when I found that IGN used my free Spore wallpaper for an article about the MashON Spore Comic Book Creator! The wallpaper was made from the free stuff I got from the Maxis website, but too bad I didn't get a link back. Frown face here. Also, it was really made in Photoshop. But it does look like it could have been something a comic book artist person made. That's because I'm just such a great designer. Ha, HA! Now someone please give me a job or something because money is so nice and I'm nice, too.
In case it gets taken down or changed: Screenshot or it didn't happen.
You can get this free wallpaper, too! Just by clicking my link on the sidebar, or by clicking here.

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Spore @ PAX & Will Wright in London

The recent Spore Newsletter says that Spore will be at PAX (the Penny Arcade Expo) in Seattle August 29-31 at the EA booth.
And from the Urban Online Entertainment forums, we learn that Will Wright will be in London at an Apple store on September 3rd at 3pm. Click the links for more info.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spore Space Phase Video

Got an email newsletter from EA last night that the Spore website has been updated with a new Space Phase Video. Only 10 days until release!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 Spore Prototypes From EA

Today the Spore official website was updated to include two prototypes, GonzagoGL and Waterboy. GonzagoGL simulates "an environment with predators, prey, shelter and vegetation." while Waterboy is a "a fluid dynamics simulator." Check them out at!

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Patch for the Creature Creator Live

EA Violet tells us that there is a new patch available for download for the Creature Creator, both the free and trial versions. Fixes include:

  • Improved thumbnail resolutions for saved creatures.
  • Added five new animations, recorded when creating animated GIFs in Test Drive Mode.
  • Fixed a randomly occurring system hang.
  • Fixed a crash associated with EADM.
  • Creatures no longer disappear from the Sporepedia when the save flow is interrupted.
  • Corrected the Audio buzzing found on systems with nForce2 integrated audio.
  • Updated Spanish and Polish readme files.
  • Updated the EULA found in the installer.
  • Integrated the newest save creature PNG. NOTE: This allows creatures PNGs made with Spore to be drag-and-dropped into the Spore Creature Creator. Spore Creature Creator players who do not patch will not be able to drag-and-drop PNGs created in patched versions of the Spore Creature Creator or Spore.
  • Improves overall stability.

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Spore Prototype Guides

A very nice reader sent me an email asking about Spore Prototype guides. If you don't know what Spore Prototypes are, they're aspects of Spore broken down into simple games to help the developers test. Spore Prototypes can be found on the official Spore website.
So far, there are 9: Particle Man, Biome, City Maze, Cell Structure, Space, SPUG, Crowd, Gaslight, NetCity...and after today (Tuesday), there may be one more (they update every Tuesday).
Well, anyway, was I able to find any guides?

User KazarSanaga over at the EA forums was kind enough to direct me to this Space Prototype thread and this thread, which lists they keyboard controls for the SPUG Prototype, and also one about Netcity, Gaslight, and Crowd. I also discovered two very good threads for the City Maze Prototype; this one, and this one that explains the controls very well.

Does anyone know of any more guides for these great prototypes?
Please comment below or drop me an email at ansleyasher at gmail dot com.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Spore Community Day Details

It's less than 2 weeks away from Spore's release date of Sept 7th! Spore Universe links us to a really great thread on the Gaming Steve Forums about Spore Community Day. Several fansites got to go to EA to test out Spore for the day. Read their reports on what happened!

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Freebie Friday - World of Warcraft - Addon

Wigglebutt & Me
If you play a hunter in World of Warcraft, Nomnom Pet Feeder by Safari is the addon for you!

"Nomnom saves a list of the foods you want to feed to your pet, lets you know when your pet needs feeding, and lets you feed your pet in one click. Nomnom goes down your list and checks to see which foods you have in your bags and chooses food to use in the order you prefer."
I've been looking for an addon that lets me choose the foods I want to feed my pets easily, and while Feed-O-Matic and King of the Jungle have some good features, I felt like they took a lot of control away from me. I just wanted something simple that did what I wanted it to--put in list, feed pet. That's all I wanted. So I made it.

You can download Nomnom at WowInterface here.

Hope you have a great weekend & see you next week!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Make a Comic, Get a WotLK Beta Key

Looks like is giving away 20 Wrath of the Lich King Beta Keys AND a mini Tyrael pet in a comics contest! All you have to do to enter is draw a comic they can use on their site(s). If it's picked, you win! Follow the links for more information. They explain:

  • "Submission deadline is 11:59pm pacific, Friday, 29 August, 2008.
  • The WoWI staff will pick our favourite 20 over the weekend and post our decision on Monday, 1 September, 2008.
  • Codes for the Beta key and mini Tyrael pet will be sent to the winning members via private message here on the site.
  • All decisions by the staff of WoWI are final."

Hope you win!

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Blizzard Ticket Drawing Begins

The opt-in part of the Blizzard Blizzcon 2008 Ticket Drawing is live. To enter, eligible customers must log in to the Blizzard Account Management system. From the World of Warcraft website:

"The opt-in period will last until 11:59 p.m. PDT on Sunday, August 24. After it ends, we will select 1,500 people from the opt-in pool and offer them a chance to purchase up to two tickets to BlizzCon 2008."
Visit the World of Warcraft website site for details. Good luck!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

1UP Spore Weekly Contest

Somehow I missed this on Friday when it was announced, but looks like 1UP is having a Spore Launch Countdown Contest -- The Sporelympics?! It's a weekly challenge, so head on over and have a look at what they want this week and get it in by Friday 12 p.m. EST.

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Spore Milestone Contest

The folks at Spore have announced a contest "to give cool Spore prizes to the authors of 'milestone' numbered creations all the way up to our 4 Millionth Sporepedia creation." Prizes include:

  • Spore bumper stickers for every 50,000th creation
  • Exclusive Spore t-shirt for every 100,000th creation
  • Grand prize for the 4 Millionth creation - a PC and monitor
Have a glance at their rules to make sure you are eligible, and get crackin'! Remember, timing is everything.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creature Creator Dance Contest Finalists

Spore Universe has a list of the 10 finalists in the Creature Creator Dance Contest.
Hope you're one of them! If not, better luck next time and check out what EA thinks are the best of the best.

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Yet Another Ticket Update

In an attempt to drag things out, Blizzard has listed some details about the lottery on their main page today while still not actually announcing when the ticket lottery is to be held. They even made a FAQ. More to come.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Blizzcon Ticket Update

Nothing's changed yet--the ticket lottery was announced but nothing finalized--but Blue reminds us of a few details of which ticket buyers must be aware:

"[E]ligible Blizzard Account holders who created accounts prior to 9:00 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 will be able to opt in for a chance to purchase up to two tickets to the show... Please note that a Blizzard Account is an account created for the Blizzard Online Store -- as opposed to an account created for a Blizzard game, such as World of Warcraft. If you have any questions regarding Blizzard Accounts, please read our Blizzard Account FAQ."

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Spore Galactic Edition - $60 @ Best Buy

Just got an anonymous tip that Best Buy is selling the Spore Galactic Edition for $60; a pretty good deal considering it sells elsewhere for $80ish.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Tiger Painting

Purple Tiger Picture

I forgot it was Friday until a few hours ago! That's how busy this week has been. But I still have a great Freebie Friday for you.

I saw this beautiful purple tiger in World of Warcraft and just had to turn it into a painting for The Sims 2. This painting will work even in just the base game as long as you have CEP (Color Enable Package) installed. You can get the free download at Mod The Sims.

This painting uses the Rainy Day Main Street painting base, so when you find that painting in your game, just choose this picture instead of the default.

Click here to download the Purple Tiger Painting.

Have a happy and safe weekend!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blizzard Announces Blizzcon Ticket Lottery

Blizzard Entertainment President and co-founder Mike Morhaime has posted a personal statement on the World of Warcrft Forums. After an apology, he announces:

[W]e've reevaluated our convention hall space and come up with some solutions that will allow us to offer 3,000 more tickets for sale. We know this will not be enough to satisfy the very high level of demand for tickets this year, but we want to ensure that BlizzCon remains a great experience for those of you who are able to attend. To avoid the issues many of you faced this week, we'll be selling these 3,000 via a lottery.

Anyone looking for tickets might have an equal chance now. Blizzard will post an update explaining how the lottery is to go down. However, some states don't allow contests you have to pay to participate in (like the World of Warcraft comic contest*) so not everyone may be able to take part in this lottery. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

*Yes, people in some states cannot participate in the monthly comic contest. In those states, because you have to pay to play World of Warcraft, you cannot enter or win a contest Blizzard runs. The comic contest included. Crazy, huh?

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The Sims 3 Website Update

Got an email last night from EA that said The Sims 3 website has been updated. And it has--there's some new screenshots and developer blogs (which don't have much in them yet, but you gotta start somewhere). There's also two wallpapers to download if you signed up for The Sims 3 VIP.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blizzcon Sold Out - Angry Fans Post

Was there a better way for Blizzard to have sold their tickets than through their crashy and clumsy webstore? Thirty-five pages of angry Blizzard customers* would like to know. Now scalpers are selling tickets on websites like Stub Hub for $1500 while fans claim they got only errors and tickets ripped from their shopping carts. "The availability of one or more products in your cart have changed while you were shopping. Your cart is empty," has been repeatedly posted by fans who expected the tickets to still be in their carts at checkout. One writes*:

"I've worked in retail for over 20 years and this entire thing has been enough to give me an aneurysm. I put in my security code no less than 30 times in the last 48 hours, I have screenshots at different stages of progress. How can you have a store where someone puts something in a basket and you make them fill out umpteen fields, and when they're done you say "oops we sold it to someone else" I'd love to watch that in a Walmart or a Sears..."

On a side note, it's always interesting to me how the scalpers manage to get through and buy tickets when customers can't. Some customers claim to have gotten charged though they got no tickets*, and some got charged for (and got) extra tickets*. To add insult to injury, Blue posts, "DIRECTV will be broadcasting BlizzCon,"* as if that's some kind of solution. But it seems no one wants to take the bait of paying for Direct TV just to watch other nerds have fun (unless they're masochistic).

I've debated about posting this on my blog. I want my blog to be positive. But, just like The Sims 2 Store distaster, I don't think pretending there's a not a major problem with the way something was done will make the problem fix itself. I'd also thought about trying to make (the difficult and expensive) plans to go to Blizzcon, but I think instead I'll just buy the bear on eBay. ;)

* (WARNING: the Blizzard forum contains bad language and descriptions of what angry customers would like to do to Blizzard. Please be aware when following the link.)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Blizzcon Tickets On Sale Now

Blizzcon tickets are now on sale! If you're planning on going this October, now's the time to get them. Check their website for more information.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Kid's Sofa

Spore Kid's Room Sofa
Today I have a sofa I made to help complete the sim kids Spore decorated rooms!
This is a recolor of the Durable Value Sofa and should be playable in any The Sims 2 game that has the CEP Color Enable Package installed.

Cute little sporelings dance across the blue field of space on this overstuffed sofa. Great for napping, playing, or just sitting around.

Download the Spore Kid's Sofa here.
See you Monday!

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Special Olympic Tabard & Pet from Blizzard

This has been quite a World of Warcraft week for this blog, and the fun doesn't stop today. Maybe tomorrow. But certainly not today.

MMO Champion reports that--between now, August 8th and August 25th--you can get an Olympic tabard and a special Olympic pet. From MMO Champion:

  • "To get the new tabard, you only have to play one battleground. Winning or losing doesn't matter, if you stay for the duration of the battle you will be mailed a Competitor's Tabard.
  • To get the new pet, you must defeat your rivals in any of the Battlegrounds. With every victory, there is a chance that a Gold Medallion will be mailed to you."

No matter how you feel about the tabard & pet, you have to admit it's nice to be able to get some fluff items in game anymore for doing game stuff, since the trend with all games seems to be to make players pay real money for virtual geegaws.

But I won't ever make you pay for a Freebie Friday! I'll be posting it later on today as usual. See you then!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Zhevra Mount in World of Warcraft

MMO-Champion is covering the details of Blizzard's new recruit-a-friend program: get a friend to join and get a new zhevra mount. Some additional perks are:

  • While adventuring with your linked friend/family member, you will each gain triple experience.
  • For every two levels the new player earns, the new player can grant one free level-up to a lower-level character played by the veteran player.

Yes, people have been calling it the "multiboxer's special". Though, either way, the mount is kind of pretty. Blizzard explains how to get it:
"For each person you refer who upgrades to a retail version of World of Warcraft and purchases two months of game time, you will be able to give a character on the account you sent the invitation from an exclusive in-game zhevra mount. This unique mount can be claimed through the website, is only available to Recruit-A-Friend participants, and can only be applied to a single character."

Okay, Blizzard, sure, an extra two months of membership from a new player is great, but--where's the reward for us long-time players who have been giving you money from the start? You know, we fools who have never stopped our subscriptions? I'll be waiting for a reply...a long time, probably! ;)

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blizzcon Goody Bag Stuffed With Bears & Murlocs

Blizzard tells Blizzcon-goers what to look forward to:

"And of course, a new BlizzCon brings with it a lovable murloc to welcome into your heart--but murlocs don't always come alone. This one has developed a taste for speed, and sits astride an exclusive polar bear mount, waving a BlizzCon flag. It's the perfect way to cruise Northrend in style."

Blizzcon will be October 10-11 in Anaheim, California this year, and tickets are going on sale August 11th.

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Christmas in Northrend

According to this article at, Blizzard's Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft will be coming out in time for Christmas 2008:

"WOW players will definitely be exploring Northrend's snowy wastes this Christmas."

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - WotLK Fan Poster

Wrath of the Lich King Fan Poster

I liked the posters I made last week so much, I made another! This time, it's for Wrath of the Lich King, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion made with material from their fansite kit (which you can get for yourself here).

This download should work in any The Sims 2 game that has the CEP Color Enable Package installed.

You can download the wotlk poster here.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Series of Spore Vids from Gamereactor

Gamereactor has some sweet Spore presentation videos that show awesome details from the tribal and civ stages of the game. Click the following links to see Spore Gameplay Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3. Looks like there will be a part 4 if you come back another day. Enjoy!

Update: Here's a link to video #4!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WOTLK Beta Keys for Addon Authors is giving away free Wrath of the Lich King beta keys to their active addon authors. Check it out & see if you qualify!

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World of Warcraft Death Knight PVP

Here's a little change-of-pace: a death knight pvp video from the Wrath of the Lich King beta.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Video: Will Wright at Comic-Con 2008

A very kind Spore-adorer posted up a video of Will Wright at Comic-Con on YouTube. It's a little muffled, but it's chock full of space stage footage, and an educational talk about humankind's very own first trips into space. Be warned, it's full of "sporelers" (spoilers, lawl)!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Posters

Spore Kids Posters
Two super cute posters for your The Sims 2 kids rooms!

Made from the Spore Fansite Kit, these two awesome looking posters are sure to please any child sim. Click on the picture to go to Flickr and see a larger sized image.

The poster on the left (the short one) is made from the "Engineered Angst" Full Color Poster, and the one on the right (the tall one) is from "Civic Idol" by Adora Wall Arts wall hanging. Look for those two posters under decorative items in your game after you put these package files in your downloads folder. You should be able to choose these pictures instead of the originals.

You will need the CEP Color Enable Package for these items to appear in your game, but they should work in any The Sims 2 game.

You can download the Spore Kids Posters by clicking here.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Sims 3 First Look

Urban Online Entertainment was invited to a The Sims 3 fanday event, and one of their admins has posted about the experience online. Take a look! There's lots of cool info, such as:

"[Executive Producer] Ben Bell demonstrated to us a Sim he freshly created...and how his Sim could interact with its environment. As an example, he took his sim fishing. Ben noted that as your Sim gets better at fishing you could take them home, and place them into an aquarium and give them a name."

Here's also a great 1UP interview with Ben Bell where the 1UP community asks such pressing questions as, "Will sims finally get out of each other's way?" and "Can we still remove pool ladders to kill them?" Fun stuff!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Apartment Life Trailer

Here's a new video trailer for The Sims 2: Apartment Life. Lots of new animations and interactions are featured, as well as new lots and items. Enjoy!

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Spore Prototype: "Biome"

Another Spore prototype has been released by the Spore team; this one is called, "Biome."

"BIOME is a programmable cellular automata simulator that allows users to develop simple "SimCity-like" grid simulations."

All I did with my copy is make some pretty pictures. Maybe you can do more.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Spore E3 Review from Shacknews

In an effort to catch up with all the great reviews from E3, here's one from Shacknews:

"It was somewhere between ordering my army of blue-blooded Max Rebo soldiers to crush an enemy civilization, and conquering the galaxy from the comfort of a spaceship that resembled a four post bed, when I realized they had pulled it off. Spore is great."

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Spore Q & A

Joystiq has a lengthy Q & A about Spore that answers some questions from the cell phase up to the space phase. It's got such gems of info as this:

"Songs can be attached to specific cities and heard when you are near them."

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Will Wright at Comic-Con 2008

Looks like Will Wright will be at Comic-Con on Thursday, July 24 from 11:30-12:30. From the Comic-Con schedule page:

Will Wright will be making his first-ever appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con, where he will be talking about one of the most anticipated games of 2008 – Spore. He’ll also highlight the MashON SPORE Comic Book Creator, a unique interactive tool which makes it easy to bring your SPORE creature to life in a comic book story.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Spore Space Phase Predictions?

From Joystiq comes the knowledge that the space phase alone will probably take about 20 hours to finish and that it has one ending:

"No matter how your species lives its existence, it always ends the same way as you make your way to the center of the universe."
So, what's at the center of the universe?

Well, first of all, I thought we were going to the center of the galaxy in the game, not the center of the universe...but, ok, I guess since Spore has only 1 galaxy in it, it's supposed to be the same thing.

Here's a list of things me and my hubby put together of what's likely to be there:

Will Wright's head.
This one is my idea. Since, if you spin the galaxy in the Creature Creator, a giant Will Wright's head zooms out at you.

A bunch of bacteria. Spore starts with a little microbe or something falling to the home planet in a meteor. They came from somewhere, right? This is the one, I can feel it. Again, my idea.

A single atom. My SO says, "I figure it'll show the galaxy as a single atom and zoom out until it's another meteor splashing down on a planet like the way the game starts." In other words, it's an unending cycle of tiny to big--our galaxy was just an atom in a bigger creature in a bigger galaxy. He is a member of the M. Night Shyamalan school of twist endings, where they teach you to take the most evident ending, use it, and call it a twist. No frills, no chills. Following that train of thought, we come to...

Everyone in the galaxy is dead but you. This is my idea. Not one to lay a method aside that is making somebody tons of money, I've thunk up this. It's like the plot of The Sixth Sense, but only after flipping it on its head. I bet no one will see this one coming. "They blew it up, darn them!"--E for everyone, remember--"Darn them all to heck!" And the discovery will be a galactic-scale Statue of Liberty.

What do you think will be in the center of the galaxy/universe/game?

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blog Update

Here's just a little post about blog-related stuff.

A big thank you to anyone who bought anything through the blog ads I used to show! My cat, Medicine Man, is doing a lot better and he's only on two meds now. The tip jar feels more simple and meaningful to me, so I put that up instead. Check it out if you like.

Smooth-Move almost has 300 pop! Thanks to everyone who visits Smooth-Move.

Monday, I'll continue to post more sim game blog entries. See you tomorrow!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Spore Bedding

Brawby & Ifly Spore Bedding

Only 50 days left until Spore is released!

To celebrate, I've made bedding for The Sims 2 which features two of my favorite creatures from my own Sporepedia, Ifly & Brawby!

Works in any game that has the CEP Color Enable Package installed.

Download Brawby and Ifly Bedding here. You can also download Ifly and Brawby from my Sporepedia to use in your Creature Creator.

See you next week!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spore at SETI Family Science Faire

From the Spore News Bulletin on the main page, Spore will be at the SETI Institute (San Fransisco Bay area) on Saturday, July 19, 2008, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. It's the Family Science Faire for kids aged 8-15 and it's full of "interactive activities"--stuff you get to touch and make work yourself!

Click this link for more info.

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Want More Spore Vids From E3?

Spore Screenshot lists many demos, trailers, and developer walkthroughs from E3 for Spore! September will be here before you know it--check out the videos so you're ready to play.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spore E3 Gameplay Video

From GameSpot, we get a great glimpse of Spore demoed at E3!

It's got previously unseen footage of Spore, and the gameplay is explained in more detail. Spore keeps track of the activities you've done, and you earn traits at different stages in the game in the form of super powers! Watch it just to see the little creature clothes in tribal stage.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spore E3 Trailer

On YouTube there is a brand new video from E3 this year for Spore. I think it pretty much sums up the whole game.

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Screenshots & Video for The Sims 3

The Sims 3 - Artist
The Sims 3 website has new screenshots on the Create-a-Sim page and the screenshot page up for us to check out! Unless my eyes are tricking me, looks like we'll be able to fish and drive cars right off the bat. What other things can you pick out from them?

There's also a new video on the main page, featuring bunny slippers, crabby neighbors, jogging sims, and The Sims 3 neighborhood! Wow!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

The Sims 3 Preview - Toilet Slaves No More

Via Urban Online Entertainment forums comes wind of this giant, 4 page preview of The Sims 3 from 1UP. From the article:

"Sims still need to bathe, sleep, and eat, but the gauge presenting liters of urine versus free bladder space is hidden behind the curtain. 'We've added one-off mechanics like the buffs in World of WarCraft,' says Brown. 'Of course, you don't get poisoned by spiders, and you don't have armor or spells. In our case, if [your Sim's] out in the rain, he would have a debuff -- we call them moodlets -- that would just say that he's soaked now and he's miserable.'"

My hubby longs for a (to put it nicely) "recently pooped" buff in World of Warcraft--where, uh, toilets...get placed in the world and, well, you have to uh...poop to get a buff. Maybe I should stop explaining it. Anyway, looks like he might get such a thing in The Sims 3! Maybe he'll play it.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Autumn Fire Bedding

Autumn Fire Bedding

I know it's not autumn in the US. But I had this pretty screenshot from Lord of the Rings Online, so I made it into bedding! It should work in any version of The Sims 2 as long as the Color Enable Package is, well, enabled.

Download Autumn Fire bedding here.

Enjoy the weekend!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ParticleMan Prototype Download

Yesterday, the Spore Team released a fun prototype game for you to download! They explained that complex games like Spore are made by using prototypes that simulate small parts of the whole game. Because the Spore Team wanted to recreate gravity in Spore, ParticleMan was made to study how gravity works.

"ParticleMan simulates gravitational attraction between particles in a cloud. This system was used to study such gravitational dynamics as orbits, nebula formation, star formation and particle streams from sources like pulsars and black holes."
Follow this link for more information and to download. Try it and tell me if you like it!

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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Sims 2 Store Disaster

The Sims 2 Store launched last week, and you get 6 free items for registering. Most of the items in the store are from stuff packs & expansions. You'll need the EA Download Manager (so you need XP installed) to use the store, and if you don't have the new FreeTime patch installed that allows you to use the store, it will download & install it for you in the form of The Sims 2 Store Edition. For some people, having SecuROM sneakily installed like this (all The Sims 2 patches now have it) is upsetting. Not to mention that many simmers object to 3rd party pay sites, and feel as if Maxis is just going along with the pay site business plan. But it gets better.

500 SimPoints (would have been cuter if we were buying simoleons, right?) is $5, and that's the smallest amount you can buy. Most items are 100 SimPoints, so here's where the fun begins. An eager simmer added up everything in the store--to the tune of $1322.75. The irony is that the huge pay sites only charge $5-10 a month and give you access to thousands of NEW items--items NOT from any previously released stuff pack.

The new The Sims 2 Store content alone comes to $80. Some people have actually paid $80 for all the new content (about 80 items) and are having problems with the download and installation. Some of the new objects don't seem to be properly made. It also appears that you can't recolor the new objects. And will the objects be made available now (for money, in this case) and then be included in future stuff packs, as has happened before? Will we no longer get free items from Maxis? Check out this thread for more unanswered questions about the store.

Tip: If you really want these items, you can save hundreds of dollars just by buying the stuff packs they come in.

I'm afraid (really afraid) that micro-transactions like The Sims 2 Store are here to stay. But, personally, when things like this happen, so far removed from what actual players want from their games, it makes me feel as if EA decision makers don't even play their games or become members of their own communities--and don't even care. The store has a feedback link (shown only after you log in), so if you have any strong feelings about the store, you can make them known.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Stars-N-Stripes Bedding

Are you ready to have a great weekend? I sure am!
No matter what you choose to do this weekend, your sims can be sleeping in style in this patriotic-themed bedding!

Stars-N-Stripes Bedding

Good for single or double beds in any The Sims 2 game.
Download Stars-n-stripes bedding here.
Have a safe & happy 4th!

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Best Spore Creature Challenge

Browsing around, I found this really cool site called It's like but with creatures, not kittens. Two creatures are shown side by side and you choose the best one. The creatures get rated based on how many times they "win."

Looks like a lot of fun! I don't have any creatures up there, but maybe I'll see if I can submit some.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blizzard's "Authenticator" to Protect World of Warcraft Accounts

Looks like Blizzard is selling an "Authenticator" to keep bad guys from logging your keys! Well, not really. It doesn't actually stop keyloggers from getting onto your computer, however, it just provides another level of security in the form of a second random password.

The Authenticator is a keyfob which generates random digits when its button is pressed. Once the Authenticator is linked to your account, you log in by entering this number along with your password, and you'll press the button for a new number every time you log in. The Authenticator is tied to the account permanently, and must be used every time. It seems kind of excessive to me, but then again, I play at home and am the only user of my computer. I can see how it can be useful to some people.

If you don't want to go the Authenticator route, what are some things you can do to keep your account secure?

  1. Don't share accounts. With anyone.
  2. Don't give out your password. If you must share an account with a relative or friend, type in the password yourself.
  3. Change or rotate your passwords frequently (once a week).
  4. If you use addons, don't accept addon files from your friends. Download them directly from the source.
  5. Scan your computer regularly for viruses. Don't be passive in your virus protection. Firewalls are great and so is virus protection software, but scan your computer regularly using software like Ad Aware or Trend Micro's online virus scanner HouseCall. They're free and they work well.
  6. Surf the web with a program like NoScript installed in your browser. NoScript will block Javascript and Flash from websites as you browse. You can easily allow sites which have Flash movies you want to view or Javascript that needs to run.
If you think you already have a keylogger, might be able to help you.

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Project "Hydra" For Reals?

Some time ago, I brought up Project "Hydra", Blizzard's code name for their (rumored) super-secret new project. Turns out that the rumors are true--Shacknews reports that, during Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational:

"[Blizzard VP Rob] Pardo affirmed that Blizzard's recent job listings for an 'unannounced next-gen MMO' were not related to Diablo III. The company had previously stated that the project was not a World of Warcraft expansion either."

So, what is it? Who knows. But at least we know it's real.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Videos of Will Wright at the San Fran Apple Event

Will Wright spoke at an Apple Store in San Francisco a couple of Saturdays ago, and two YouTubers were kind enough to record what they could of the event. Check out this video and this one for a glimpse of what we'll get to play in September.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

New PVP Maps in World of Warcraft

Yes, it bothers me that raiders in World of Warcraft get new content every few months while pvpers get new content every few years. An admin of the MMO Champion BBS made a post yesterday about panels hosted by Blizzard staff at the World of Warcraft Invitational. Seems that there will be a new map with lots of siege engines (no word on whether or not they're engineers only), and it looks like the shredder will be back, as well as active versions of the inactive decorative ones we see scattered around the game world.

If they're going back to day-long battlegrounds, why don't they restore Alterac Valley to its former glory? If it doesn't take a day to play this new map (the ONLY new map in 2 years), how much time will players actually have to get and use these new toys? Will it be worth it to get them, or is it easier/faster to win the battle without them?

A long, detailed list of developer notes (the blue section) is included in the BBS thread, so go have a look-see. It covers not just the new battleground but also arenas and some general questions.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Freebie Friday Music

I'm going to do something a little different this Freebie Friday--variety being the spice of life and such. Here's some video game music that was made freely available to me at one time or another, mostly from demos or as downloads from the developers. I don't think video game music is appreciated very much on its own, but good music is good music no matter the source. So, yeah, this week, I'm not sharing something I made, but something I really like that I want to share with you. I'll only be keeping this download available this week, so grab it while you can.

You can download this week's Freebie part 1 here THIS WEEK ONLY! And part 2 here.

Peace out!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

$80 Spore Galactic Edition from Gamestop

Via Ars Technica and Shack News, Gamestop will feature a special Galactic Edition of Spore for $80 that comes with the following additional material:


  • 'Making of Spore' DVD video
  • 'How to Build a Better Being' DVD video, by National Geographic Channel
  • 'The Art of Spore' hardback mini-book
  • Fold-out Spore poster
  • Premium 100-page Galactic Handbook
Personally, I am more worried about getting the game as soon as it's available. That means within a day of release. For certain games, for me, it's important I have them right away or I feel like everyone else is having fun but me.

I ordered Spore Creature Creator (CC) through Amazon and it's not going to arrive until Friday. It got delayed (by Maxis, if I understand it right) and now it's sitting in the delivery hub. Waiting. Biding it's time. Plotting unspeakable evil. I'm not going to order anything important through Amazon again.

I ended up getting the CC from the direct download with EA. I don't think saving the $5 on the actual game is worth it at this point. Not only is it taking forever to get to me, but a gallon of gas is $5. I'm saving a lot of gas in shipping or driving out searching for it just by using the direct download. Is the $80 Galactic Edition worth it? You tell me.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

A Hero Is Gone

RIP George Carlin. As versatile as they come, George even hosted Shining Time Station (Thomas the Train Engine in the US) in the 80's, as you can see here.

You're right, George. We don't need anyone to tell us who our heroes are. But you were one of mine.

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Spore Creature Creator Tips

I hope everyone is having fun making creatures with the Spore Creature Creator! Even if you can't/won't get the priced one, the free one is very worthwhile. You'll have hours of fun, I guarantee it. Be aware that it contains SecuROM, however.

To help with building complex creatures, I'd like to link you to a great creature creation tips forum--the Spore Hints and Strategy Forum at the EA BBS! It's given me some great advice and taught me a few things, and may be able to help you, too.

Update: There's also an advance video on You Tube by Theresa Duringer of the Spore Team.

I'm posting up an excerpt from the CC read me file in case someone lost theirs or can't find it. It's got great information on how to build amazing creatures. Keep building some wonderful creatures! Post links to them if you feel like it.

Readme for SPORE™ Creature Creator
©2008 Electronic Arts Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MAXIS™ 6/01/08
Version 1.0
Controls and Shortcuts

- Editing -

Left Click to select and move parts.

Left Click to move the arrow-shaped handles on the currently
selected part, which changes its shape.

Left Click and drag parts off the creature to sell them back.

Mouse over a part or a spine segment and use the mousewheel to
scale the size. Or, select the part, and use the up and down
arrow keys.

Hold Alt while clicking and dragging a part to copy it. On
Mac systems, use Option instead of Alt.

Left Click and drag directly on the spine to change the spine
shape. Use the arrows to length or shorten the spine.

Left Click on the torso skin (not the spine) to move it.

Hold Control while dragging a limb segment to attach it to
another limb.

Hold Tab when a part is selected to reveal additional rotation

- Camera -

Left Click on the background moves the camera around.

In test drive, mousewheel zooms the camera in and out.

In build and paint modes, shift and mousewheel zooms the
camera in and out.

<> Rotates the camera
+ and - Zooms in or out

- General -

Control-N Start New Creature
Control-Y Redo
Control-Z Undo
Control-S Save Creature
Control-H Toggle whether the UI is hidden
H or ? Bring up or close the Spore Guide
B Bring up the Sporepedia™

Mac OS X:
This game contains features that require a right mouse button.
If you have an Apple Mighty Mouse, you can enable the Right Mouse Button
in System Preferences->Keyboard and Mouse. Change the
"Right Click" drop down to Secondary Button.

As well, most PC USB mice are supported on the Macintosh.
The Left and Right mouse buttons are detected and work
correctly on these mice when first plugged in.

If you have an Apple legacy single button mouse, or a Mac Book Pro
with only a Track Pad, you can emulate a right mouse button by
holding down the Command key while clicking the Mouse Button.


To enter cheats in the game, first open the command console by
simultaneously pressing ctrl-shift-c. Press the enter button
to close the command console. Some of the cheats that can be
used here are as follows:

help: lists all the cheats in the game.
help [cheatname]: displays specific information about the cheat.
quit: quit game.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Freebie Friday - Spore

Today I have 28 freebies for you! Though you probably won't be able to use them fully for a few months. Since the whole point of the Freebie Friday is to share with you what I use in my own game, here's what I've been working on off-and-on all week--my Sporepedia!

I hope you find something you like. Summer's getting underway, so whatever you do this weekend, spend some time outside! See you next week.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spore Creature Dance Contest

The YouTube Spore channel announced a dance contest for your creature to enter! You can register until August 1st, and voting on the finalists ends August 18th. Check out this video for details. The prizes look awesome. Best of luck!

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Meet and Greet Will Wright in San Francisco

If you're in the San Francisco area, tells us that Will Wright will be there at 7pm on June 21 visiting the Apple store at One Stockton Street. Check out this page on the Apple Retail Store site for more information.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Contest for UK Spore Fans

The European Spore site announces a special contest to play Spore early!

"We are offering one lucky winner the chance to receive the Harvey Ross Experience! One winner will be picked to demo Spore some time in August before release and at no cost."

Go to the UK Spore Forum to enter! Good luck!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spore Creature Creator Full Version Delayed

I'm sure you all know by now, but since I've had my head in the sand making creatures on the free version, I didn't get to post about it. But from Kotaku (and other places) comes the news that the creature creator full version will be delayed by at least a day. I guess the Maxis email was right after all!

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Spore Creature Creator Released

Today's the big day! Go to and download your free Creature Creator! Don't forget to register once you open the game to share your creatures.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Download the Spore Creature Creator (free)!

Hooked on Spore reports that the Creature Creator (free version) is already available for download! You can beat the rush and get it at Filefront (which I myself am using right now!), Worthplaying, and Internode.

Maxis sent out some crazy email this weekend that confused a lot of people, but the Creature Creator will be shipped on time (Amazon still hasn't shipped mine yet). I'm just going to use the free download until the full version arrives.


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Friday, June 13, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - Painting

It's been a crazy week! So here's a short-but-sweet recolor I did this week that I've been wanting to make for my game for a long time.
The Sim and the Sea
This is a recolor of Rainy Day Main Street, so if you have that picture and the CEP installed in your game, you can select this picture instead of the Maxis one. Just choose the picture as you normally would but select this design instead of Rainy Day Main Street.

Download The Sim and the Sea here.
See you next week!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spore, SimCity Societies, & LOTRO Free Deals

There's a few freebies floating around the internet I thought you might like to know about, as well as a great interview with Lucy Bradshaw, one of the developers of Spore.


"EA’s UK PR manager, Jonathan Goddard, was at hand to inform us that the cost of the Creature Creator will be taken off the full retail price of the Spore game, due in September.

This incentive offer is only for UK customers and only those that made the initial pre-order for Spore, at selected incentive stores."
Lord of the Rings Online
  • Turbine updated the LOTRO download manager so players can download the LOTRO soundtrack for free! I've already done it, and have really enjoyed the music. My favorites are probably "East of the Sea" and "Far Ahead the Road Has Gone," which is the song that plays when you create your character.
  • Of course, they still offer their 14 day free trial which gives you something fun to do while you wait for the Creature Creator to arrive.
SimCity Societies
  • I don't blog about SimCity Societies because I don't play it. But I found out through Urban Online Entertainment that there is now a free demo of SimCity Societies. I was reluctant to buy SimCity Societies because I've read mixed reviews. I'll be sure to play the demo and see what it's like.
Some jokes to get you through the rest of the week

What can a shadow priest add to your raid? This video shows you!

'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'(Note: The Onion website is for those over 18.)

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King Achievement System in Beta

Make no mistake, developers of MMOs have a habit of copying each other. Ars Technica reports that Blizzard is taking a page from Lord of the Rings Online for the upcoming expansion Wrath of the Lich King:

"A beta-tester for WotLK has uncovered a new achievement system currently in testing. Much like the system in Lord of the Rings Online, it appears that players will be able to complete specific in-game objectives, including rudimentary accomplishments, like getting a certain number of kills in PVP or getting to level 15 without dying."

Not sure if the rewards will be retroactive or not. My level 70s have been past level 15 for years now and I'm not sure how often they died, but I've no doubt someone on my server will find a way to mock me for my game acheivements (or lack of them)! Please forgive me, dear readers, it's hard to keep the snark monster at bay all the time. Anyway, browsing through the content at has proven very interesting. Have a look for yourself and see what you think!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spore Tutorials on You Tube

The official channel for Spore on You Tube is brimming with new videos!
Learn how to build your creature.
Learn how to paint your creature.
Take your creature for a test drive!

There's also a new Inner Feelings From Outer Space, though my favorites are probably Pro-Floaty and Speed of Cake.

The Creature Creator will be out in less than 7 days! Remember that there will also be a free one available, but it will not have all of the content of the priced one. I'll try to get a link up to the free one as soon as it's available. Looks like you'll be able to download it at on June 17, 2008. How exciting!

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Will Wright Video - The Science Behind Spore

Will Wright covers the science in Spore in a new video on

"That's really the story of Spore: What does a lifeless galaxy look like? Then you drop life in. What does that life do within the galaxy?"
Lots of great new footage of gameplay in this video. Every time I see new videos of Spore, I see things that I never expected to see, like the pens of animals for the alien farmers (Of course, I guess they're not really aliens if they're on their own planet). I don't know why I expect the game to be less complex than it is. I guess I just don't want to be disappointed, so I expect less. Anyone else do that? Anyway, enjoy this recent video!

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

New The Sims 3 Screenshots

The Sims 3 Screenshot

I saw a couple of new screenshots while browsing around yesterday.

The Sims 3 Screenshot

The graphics really look great. Up close, some of the sims look a bit "plasticy," but from a distance like the picnic shot, they look eerily real.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Freebie Friday - The Sims 2 - 1 Little Doggie Trail Country Style Home

1 Little Doggie Trail
Good day, simadores!

I'm in a hurry today because it's another vet trip day. Please think of Mister Kitty (aka Medicine Man) today because he really needs to get better.

Anyway, today I've got a starter home lot for you with so much potential, furnished and ready-to-go.
1 Little Doggie Trail (1st floor inside)

1 Little Doggie Trail (2nd floor inside)

Use it as a vacation home lot for Eira Summit or Three Lakes. Or as a quaint shop with an apartment above for Open For Business. Or as an elderly couple's home, as I did.
1 Little Doggie Trail

These kind folks in my game--where everyone has everything they need and sims live forever!--take care of some neighborhood strays. See how nice it looks with just a little yard and a couple of trees? You'll be able to add on or decorate WONDERFULLY once your new sims get a little cash together.
1 Little Doggie Trail

This lot will work with just the base game installed. You DO NOT need any expansions for this lot! But, you will need the CEP Color Enable Package installed for some of the recolors to work. The recolors included are:

  • sofarecolor

  • WhiteMarbletopCounterTOP

  • WhiteMarbletopCounterBASE

  • StainlessSteelStove

  • Purple Roses and Gingham with Molding

  • Berry Roses and Gingham with Molding

  • Cezanne-apples

  • Maxis Pine Flooring

  • Highlands Flooring

These are all recolors I did and are included free, as usual!
Get the 1 Little Doggie Trail download here.

This lot ends the Eira Summit Vacation Destination series that I created. May your sims create cherished memories at Eira Summit!

Special thanks to everyone who dropped me a note about my kitty and I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

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