Monday, 6 July 2009

Changes to Sullivan's calendar

As I mentioned in my last post, Round 19 in Sullivan will mark the debut of the new calendar system. It is based largely on the system used over at Lakeside Heights and at Riverdale but I've modified it a tiny bit to suit my own purposes.

One "round" will now be 2 years Sim-time (Rounds 1-18 were 5 years Sim-time), so Sims will now age 2 years each round. I will be tracking my hood by seasons, rather than by months. I've got my order of play all mapped out and as I have fewer than 24 households, it made more sense to me to track it by seasons.

A big catalyst for me switching to this system was the possibility for Sims to finally have pregnancies of a realistic length. With my system, they were pregnant for three years. Because I usually give my Sims at least a day's recuperation before getting them pregnant again, this meant most siblings were at least 5 years apart. A 5 year difference is fine but it's not realistic for me to have all my families have such a large gap in ages. My own sister is less than 3 years younger than me and I know of families where the kids are less than 2 years apart or even closer. So I'm looking forward to being able to replicate that in my hood.

Another major reason I'm switching is university. University lasts 4 years but I had to do a lot of fudging to avoid mentioning that *5* years passed while my Sims were away at university. This system will allow the University Sims to age right along with the rest of the hood, on the same "calendar".

Instead of visiting the college kids once at the end of every round, I will now visit them twice a round. This will take place each Autumn (university here generally starts in March, which is our autumn). It also means I can now send the kids when they're 18 and not at the end of whatever round it is when they happen to turn 18. I'm really happy that I'll now be able to have Sims at various stages of their education at college at the same time, rather than just freshmen and juniors.

What I'm most pleased about is the fact that for a whole play session, my Sims will be the same age. This system is going to eliminate a lot of little annoyances I'd run into when I was writing. I'd often find myself referring to something that happened "last night" and then realise that with my system, "last night" was actually also "last year"! I used to have to use a lot of vague language when referring to the passage of time and this won't be necessary any more.

I hope most of you are familiar enough with this sort of system from reading other blogs, so I'm not going to go into a technical explanation of exactly what I'm doing here. This post is more to explain my reasons than to provide an in-depth tutorial.

If I've confused any of you (entirely possible!), there's no need to worry. I will note the Sims' ages and what season and year we're in at the beginning of each post and the profiles will continue to be updated as always.


  1. This system sounds really great. I haven't noticed any vague language... or maybe it's because I use it too so I'm so used to it LOL

    The fact that pregnancies go on for years is one of my biggest annoyances too.

  2. You're going to love this new rotational play. It's sooooo much easier and it removes a lot of headaches as well.

    I'm soo glad I switched and you will be too! Thanks Laural for coming up with this version of play. Yay!

  3. CissieMae, I use it way more than I ever realised. When I wrote the Kirby update last night (the one that was released today), I watched my language really carefully because I found myself slipping into old habits! I'm rertraining myself!

    Riverdale, I'm already happy to have switched. I like that my Sims won't go from early 20s to late 20s so quickly, realistic pregnancy lengths, the fact that I won't be stuck in the one season for the whole round. I can't think of a single thing I don't like about this method. I'm so grateful to Laura for giving us the framework to work with. It all makes so much sense!

  4. Thank you :) And yay, I'm glad you're on board! You're going to have a lot of fun with this :)

    My biggest motivation for playing this way was seeing the seasons change more often. Since my rounds take so freaking long to get through, I used to be stuck in one single season for months at a time. I just love getting to feel the flow of an actual year through the neighborhood. Fun! :)

  5. Seasonal play is definitely going to be more varied and realistic with this system, so I'm looking forward to it.

    I was having an issue with the seasons when I played the Kirby house. It was winter last round and I started them in summer but the temperature never seemed to go up to regular summer temps. They were putting their outerwear on to go outside. I might try using the aspiration reward to change the seasons instead of a hack. Perhaps that's why it's not quite taking.

  6. I think I am the only person not annoyed by pregnancies and age differences, LOL! but I'm not a big numbers person, either. If it's in my head, that's the way it is, numbers be damned. When I start over thinking and planning, I get bored. I'm very fickle-minded!

    Definitely looking forward to seeing how this new system works out for you!

  7. I think unless you start trying to pin real-life ages on your Sims, using the aging system as Maxis intended is not terribly bothersome. I was moderately content with it for years before I started Sullivan.

  8. Ack, just had to say you brought up a great point about "last night" actually being "last year". Ugh! I didn't even think of that. I know I've done it in my few updates. I really have to keep that in my head that even though they keep track of the days of the week, it's really year. Maybe I'll try to adapt to something like this a little sooner.

  9. Let me know if you need help figuring something out. I have some thoughts on how you could do this in a small hood but I don't want to write a novel length comment unless you're actually interested!

  10. Oh yea I'll definitely take some tips, please! You can post it here or send me a PM over at N99. Doesn't matter. Thanks :)

  11. I might as well put it here, seeing there might be someone else wondering the same thing one day!

    What you could do is set up your calendar so that you spend one "month" with each family and once you're through those months, that's the end of the round. Your rounds wouldn't always be the same length but the aging would definitely work.

    So for example:

    ROUND 1
    Jan '10 - Smith
    Feb '10 - Jones
    Mar '10 - Jackson
    Apr '10 - Klein
    May '10 - Wong
    Jun '10 - Sawyer
    Jul '10 - West

    Because you only have 7 families, that'd be the end of your round.

    So then for Round 2, you might go:

    Aug '10 - Sawyer
    Sep '10 - West
    Oct '10 - Klein
    Nov '10 - Smith
    Dec '10 - Jones
    Jan '11 - Wong
    Feb '11 - Jackson

    Jan '11 would be the beginning of the new year and you could have your birthdays then, when everyone ages up a year (and into a new life stage, if applicable).

    If Mrs Smith got pregnant in Jan '11, when you played her family, you'd note that she'd be due to move into her second trimester in Mar '10, the third in Jun '10 and then have her baby in Sep '10, near the beginning of what would be the second round.

    Clear as mud? LOL. I think it's the kind of thing that once you sit down and map it all out with your own families and really get into playing, it all makes more sense. But let me know if you need clarification on anything and I'd be happy to help further.

  12. That was clearer than mud lol. Thank you for the suggestions. I think this is very doable and I'm looking forward to trying it out. So basically I can play a house for as long as I want with aging off and just add 1 day to all of them in "January". About how many sim days do you play each household? I know you have a lot more households to get through than I do, so it's most likely fewer days unless you have a special event, I'm guessing. Currently, I play for 5 days so they have almost a whole week to build relationships/skill/make babies etc. And I like that now I'll be able to play the different seasons more often. You've already seen that I'm in winter right now and I 'll have to get 5 more houses through winter before I'll see spring. It doesn't make sense that a sim spends 5 "years" of their life stuck in 1 season.

    It might take me a week or 2 to get through the rest of the households using my current system but I'll definitely let you know how it works out for me when I try it out :)

  13. Oh good, I'm glad it makes sense. I think Maisie over at Millwood does her rounds this way but she hasn't got an explanation post up, so I wasn't sure if this would be clear or not!

    Anyway, yes. If you turn aging off, you can play a house as long as you like and then just age them up in the new year.

    I have 25 playable households right now and I don't play them for any set period of time. It usually ends up being about 3 or 4 days. I once played a family for 6 days but I was getting caught up in some MAJOR Abigail-related drama so that was special circumstances.

    Special events I do a bit differently now. I think I changed it in Round 20, or maybe the end of Round 19. Weddings usually get their own posts, away from the regular family update, as do deaths. I used to find it hard to work death into the story, so I write them as obits now and deal with the aftermath of the death next time I visit that family.

    Example: I'm in Winter right now and my play schedule looks like this (I've removed first names so I don't spoil anything):

    Winter 2023:
    Elder death (obit)
    Moretti 1
    Draper 1
    Kirby 1

    Spring 2024:
    Taxes (I do these every other Spring)
    Sim enters second trimester.
    Elder death.
    Sitko 1
    Carmody 1
    High School
    Moretti 2

    It works really well for me now and I can't see making any huge changes again. Once you start playing with it, you might end up finding ways to make it work better for you. I look forward to hearing how you go with it!

  14. Rawr, that should say Spring 2023, not Spring 2024 - getting ahead of myself!