Days of Their Lives

Telling the stories of simulated people, one day at a time.

I’ve been a long-time player of The Sims, and one of things that draws me into the game is watching the lives of my simulated people unfold and being able to share that with others. It’s like having your own personal soap opera that you can interact with and direct.

Past iterations of the game included a story exchange feature, which let you upload your screenshot albums to a central hub for others to browse. But over the years this has been deprecated and the current edition of the game, The Sims 4, doesn’t have one. This doesn’t meant that players can’t share their stories though, as a whole community of “SimLit” (Sims literature) authors has grown over the years, sharing their creations on various blogging and social media platforms.

Almost a year ago, I decided that it was time to take the plunge and join them…

Microblogging

The first thing I needed was to decide on a platform for posting to. I’d already experimented with using Facebook years ago back in the final days of The Sims 2 when EA shut down its Story Exchange website. Even though I planned to post short and sweet updates, I felt that I needed something a little bit more substantial than Facebook.

I reasoned that it would be a good idea to go where the other players are and set up a full blog. Tumlbr was one option – there are quite a few SimLit blogs operating there (so many that I’ve seen people using the term “Simblr” to describe them). But Tumblr is still a mystery to me, so I settled on something familiar – WordPress.

I already use WordPress for my main blog, Self Distract Sequence, and there are plenty of SimLit authors on WordPress that I follow. The tagging and discovery features on WordPress.com should also help people to stumble upon my Sims-related stuff.

Other SimLit blogs seem to post once or twice a week with a substantial chapter of writing interspersed with multiple screenshots. I’d definitely not be able to keep up with writing that level of content though! I figured I’d try something different and go for a more casual microblogging approach, with short updates captioning a single image, posted every day.

Fortunately I wouldn’t have to physically sit there every day posting about my sims – through the magic of scheduled posts I’d be able to spend a day setting up some posts in advance and let them go out automatically.

So with all that decided, back in September 2017, my new blog simvasion.wordpress.com went live!

Randall Wood

Keeping memories

I play The Sims 4 often, and quite a lot of stuff happens to my sims. I try to keep track of it all by taking a bunch of screenshots when something noteworthy happens, but the Screenshot Manager within the game is really rudimentary.

I ended up having so many screenshots that it was hard to scroll through them all and difficult to caption them. There’s absolutely no organisation features and no way to easily search and browse them.

Keeping all these memories organised and making them easier to browse is the primary reason I chose to start this endeavour. Being able to upload my pictures to my blog and being able to organise them into categories and tags is fantastic.

Sharing it all publicly for others to read is a bonus, but I’m primarily writing it all for myself, so that one day I can look back through all my sims’ lives and reminisce.

Steve and June eat wedding cake

Keeping it going

I have to admit that it does take quite a bit of work to keep my sims blog going. Apart from a period back in April to June 2018 when I was busy and the blog went silent, I’ve managed to keep the daily posts going for over 230 days now.

Preparing posts also takes longer than I thought it would. It took me around three days to process around 400 screenshots and mass upload them to the blog. It doesn’t take long for me to retouch them in Photoshop, but I spend hours just idly staring at the screenshot folder wondering what the best order to post them would be. I just take random shots in-game and it takes some mental acrobatics to try to weave them into some sort of coherent story.

Actually writing the captions for the pictures also takes some thought. I don’t create a fictional storyline and have my sims act those out – I play my game more like a reality TV show and let my sims do their own thing and then I document the stuff they do. I’m so far ahead in actual gameplay versus the posting of the screenshots that it takes a while for me to remember what my sims were actually doing in those pictures from two years ago!

Shanaya and Hassan being a patient

For the future, I’d like to try to promote the blog a bit more and try and grow the readership among other players of The Sims 4 and readers of SimLit. As I mentioned before, I created this to enjoy for myself, but it’s nice to get comments from other people who become interested in following the lives of my sims.

Follow the lives of my sims at simvasion.wordpress.com.

Comment on this