Program Coordinator: Miracle Maynard
Journal Entry: 1.2
Project Goal: Orientation/Consensus Building
Daily Summary: Orientation went well, with participants raising important questions and creating openings for further conversations about essential topics like rotation schedule, aging and life span, selection of traits and aspirations for youth, and culling. The first steps for community-building and open dialogues were established.
Next Steps: Determine which of the households will be featured as chronicled families. Each featured household selects a recorder to file the reports and keep private journals. The private journal is not intended to be shared with the program but instead provides participants with an avenue for self-expression and self-discovery throughout their involvement with the program.
Personal Journal: Instead of a formal “town meeting” in some impersonal and drafty hall, I decided we’d meet here, in my home, with a little impromptu house party. No reason that we can’t have fun while we’re covering business!
Clearly, some of the participants felt awkward initially: we only just met each other yesterday, and not everyone feels immediately at ease with relative strangers.
As we began to get to know each other and enjoy the comforts of home-cooked mac and cheese, everyone began to relax. I opened the conversation during our informal dinner.
“Tell us the plans for rotations,” said Demetrius Quintanilla.
“That’s flexible,” I replied. “We’re hoping that rotation schedule is something that we determine together, based on what’s happening with your life.”
“But what about aging? There’s a birthday cake on the table. Are you aging up somebody already?”
The cake was largely symbolic, there to help us remember the significance of birthdays, especially for younger participants, who will still be gaining traits.
“We’ll remove the candles tonight,” I said, “before we serve the cake.”
I continued, “The plan is that aging will only be on for the active household, and that we’ll set it to normal life span. We want this to be a generational program.”
“What about traits and aspirations for our children? You won’t be rollling for them, will you?”
“Likely not. We’ve been thinking about letting the game assign them. Having one big birthday party when it’s time for kids to age up, then having them age when they’re not being played, so as to allow the game to assign the traits.”
“I like that,” Demetrius said. “After all, the game gave us our traits, and we’re all happy with them. At least I am.”
“We can revisit any of these issues, if we’re not happy with the way they’re working out,” I reminded them.
“And our mortality?” asked Breana Xian.
“As you gain aspiration points, you’ll all have youth potion in your inventory, so you will have the option to drink it at any time, should you choose to. And, of course, with the current plan, only played households will have aging on. We can adjust this, if there is a consensus to do so, as we go along.”
“I got nothing against coming face-to-face with Grim down the road,” said Chastity Keith, “as long as I’ve had a good life getting there.”
“That’s my baby,” said her husband Branson. I thought it was cute that they both wore cowboy hats to the party.
“What about the Ausmerzung?” asked Giancarlo Christianson.
“The Ausmerzung?” I asked.
“He means the culling,” said Branson.
“Ok,” I said. “Here’s where we are with culling: we have a possible game-play strategy that will reduce it. It centers around the filling all the needed slots, then avoiding any activities that result in generating additional Sims, with the idea of limiting the overall population that way.”
“Sounds sound,” said Branson with a chuckle.
“It won’t work,” said Giancarlo. “The recent patch notes reveal the developers’ bias towards performance over preservation.”
“Not entirely,” I said. “Performance is always an issue. You don’t want to spend your lives in limbo on the way to the fridge. But the patch notes also state that there’s a group dedicated to the issues of culling and performance. With the recent patch, there’s now more flexibility in filling roles and the over-generation of aliens has been limited. Both of these result in helping to maintain sustainable world populations. Several resource issues have also been addressed.”
“You mean it’s possible that we’ve found a way to achieve sustainability?” asked Britta Bertrand.
“It’s possible,” I said. “I guess the take-away is that it’s something that the program is looking at and working to find strategies for, and it’s something that the dedicated group of developers are looking at, so, I guess our overall feeling is that it’s hopeful.”
We talked about a few more issues: career choices, fulfilling whims, choosing lifestyles.
“It’s your lives,” I said. “The program is here to give you chance to live it.”
The conversation wound down, and everyone sat quietly for a while, just thinking. I find it pleasant to be with a group of people that can be quiet together. For me, that’s as important a part of community building as the conversations that we have.
I checked in with Alonso Bowden, one of the youngest community members.
“This is really good food,” Alonso said. “I’m happy to be part of anything that lets me eat good food like this!”
As I was cleaning up the dishes, after all the guests had left, I listened to the quiet in the house. I still felt a buzz inside from the conversations: all these important issues we talked about. All the points that need to be brought into the open were brought into the open. And everyone is still on board. It’s a good project, I feel, and I’m happy to be the one to coordinate it.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to JulyVee94 of Julyvee’s Sims Stories for sharing the German term for culling, “Ausmerzung.” A literal translation of “Ausmerzung” is “excision.”