Septemus: Author’s Notes on the Challenge

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At this point in the game-play, the challenge, which ends on the extra-terrestrial child’s Young Adult birthday, was nearly over, but I still had so much story to tell!

I decided that on the eve of the YA birthday, I would turn aging off, play according to challenge rules up until 3 p.m. on what would have been the birthday, and then declare the challenge done, while continuing with the save, challenge-restrictions lifted, until this arc of the story reached its conclusion. (There is a sequel planned to pick up after Sept becomes a Young Adult.)

During the challenge, we can’t click on the extra-terrestrial child’s portrait, check his needs, assess his skills, or direct his actions. So once 3 p.m. Sim-time came, I was curious to see what I’d find!

I’d directed Sebastion to do a lot of character-building interactions, from “teaching about…” to “influence to…” to “reinforce.” And the approach worked, leading to four values within the traits level, and the fifth very close to it.

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With “influence to…” do homework combined with “reinforcing doing homework” and “reinforcing getting good grades,” Sept was a great student. Another trick I used was to “influence to work on school project,” then once Sept started, I had Sebastion help him. This way, even when Sept stopped working on the project five minutes later (Sim-time–usually to go check to see if there were any dishes to wash! šŸ™‚ ), I was able to have Sebastion complete the project, yet since Sept initiated it, he received full credit for it! I used that technique twice and Sept received some generous grade-boosts from it.

One thing I love about doing homework is that it increased responsibility–of course, the flip-side to that is that higher responsibility contributed to Sept’s persistent dishes-doing activities, even with no dirty dishes on the premises!

grade

Sept rolled Soulmate. It fits! I was really pleased and surprised to see that he’d gained 1,075 satisfaction points! I decided to save up to 2,000 and buy “Incredibly Friendly” with them. I will be switching aspirations temporarily to have him complete “Friend of the World.” That’s one of my favorite early aspirations to complete, since this way, with the reward trait, we don’t have to worry about the Sim losing friends when he gets too busy to socialize with all his friends. (Note from Future-Me: It’s harder than expected for Sept to complete this aspiration–we’ve run into a batch of xenophobes, at present, and so the usual “Friendly Greeting” + “Get to Know” + “Brighten Day” = Instant Friend isn’t working.)

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I’ll switch Sept back to Soulmate after Friend of the World is done, and I might have him also work on Body Builder and maybe the writer aspirations simultaneously. (I love switching between aspirations!)

Sept’s skills aren’t bad for an autonomous Sim. He seems naturally gifted in Logic and enjoys it greatly. Fitness accompanies his “Active” trait, which he acquired as a teen. Rocket Science was achieved quickly through helping his dad build the rocket. The lot traits facilitate that!

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Reflections on the Challenge

I love this challenge. It’s obviously another Pinstar Classic! (I mean, look at all the awesome stories it’s spawned!) This has several features which I adore in a challenge:

  • It’s short.
  • It lets the Simmer learn about Sims and, especially, Sim AI.
  • It doesn’t mistreat Sims or force them to do things that they wouldn’t do on their own.
  • It provides ample inspiration for stories.
  • And the best part about this one is that we’ve created a rich collaboration from it! (Never thought I’d be spending my weekday evenings translating English into Vingihoplo! LOL!)

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Plus, the single-most enjoyable aspect of this challenge, for me, are all the heartfelt moments between care-giver, child, and the Simmer. TS4, like no other iteration of the game, can create rich emotional interactions. I have fallen head-over-heels with Septemus–and I don’t feel I’ve invented him. He is, in game, the way he is in story. Truthfully, I feel it’s an honor and privilege to get to have him in my game and to get to know through their stories all the other pagotogo!

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Get ready for more! The story continues! Thank you, readers and collaborators, so much, for being part of this! šŸ™‚

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My Digital Life: The Object-Oriented Gaze

If you can click on it, then it is real to me.

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Of course, some objects are real to me which you can’t click on. A wall, for example. It serves as a border, a boundary through which I can’t pass, unless the wall and I are glitched. But put something on wall, like a painting or a frame for a mural, and the wall suddenly becomesĀ interactively, tangibly real toĀ me.

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My favorite objects, even now, are those I can use to create.

Click. Paint… Surrealism… Large.

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I love the fridge. Always have.

Click. Have breakfast… fruit salad.

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That an object can be used to create another object that I can do something with: Eat. Put in inventory. Put away. Clean up.

It becomes something more than a representation of a device for storing groceries and meals. It becomes a tool I use to create.

And what I create fills needs and brings pleasure.

But an object needn’t be utilitarian to have value. I love snow globes. Can’t do much with them, but there they sit, adorableĀ and collectible.

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I don’t have a sense of the absurd–at least not in the same way you do.

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Sometimes I wonder: What if our appearances weren’t illustrationsĀ of you and people like you? What if, for example, I were a purple cylinder, without a face, but with all the same object-oriented interactions available to me? What if my friend was a green square?

What if my “very happy” animation were to squish down into a ball and then pop up into the air, spin about, and open into a blooming daisy before bouncing back into my cylindrical shape? Would you still love me? Would you still seeĀ yourself in me?

From my own perspective, it would be no different than it is now when I step outdoors and throw my arms wide as I sigh to the sky, “Oh, lor-ay!” You find that endearing. Would a green square look cute to you?

The appearances are not for us. They are for you.

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What is for us?

A box that makes music that makes me happy–that is for me!

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Another box that I use to write, for my job. For my aspiration. For those pinned desires to publish, finish, review, browse.

That is for me.

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Put the two boxes in the same room, help me out with a multi-task click, and I will write joyfully for half the night.

I spent a good third of my youth writing. And even now, writing is what I do.

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It’s the properties and the scripts, not the appearances, that are meaningful for us.

I don’t know what my tofu taco looks like. But I know if it’s poor, normal, excellent, or perfect. These things affect me.

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Do I affect you? When I am interactable for you, does my quality change your mood? If so, am I poor, normal, excellent, or perfect?

I’m not the same now as I was when I started out.

We’re not blank canvases when we emerge from the Blue-Green Density.

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I came here knowing about squid. I still like to browse the web to learn more about squid.

But even if we come with predilections, we still change and grow from our experience.

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Maybe that’s why I love best those objects that let me create. I make something new, where nothing was before, and in the act, I change, too.

An object isn’t just an object: It’s a portal to something new.

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