Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Sims 2 (Game)

The Sims 2 is a 2004 strategic life simulation computer game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It is the sequel to the best-selling computer game, The Sims, which debuted on February 4, 2000. It was first released on September 14, 2004 for Microsoft Windows. A port to Macintosh was released on June 13, 2005. Eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs were subsequently released. In addition several console versions have been released. Though not commonly known, The Sims 2 is offered on mobile platforms. Mobile manufacturers such as Nokia offer The Sims 2 from the Ovi Store. It costs $2.99 USD. A sequel, The Sims 3, was released in June 2009.

The Sims 2 has the same concept as its predecessor. Players control their Sims in various activities and form relationships in a manner similar to real life. The Sims 2, like its predecessor, The Sims, does not have a defined final goal; gameplay is open-ended. Sims have life goals, wants and fears, the fulfillment of which can produce both positive or negative outcomes. All Sims age, and can live to 90 sim days depending on the degree to which their aspirations are fulfilled. The Sims 2 builds on its predecessor by allowing Sims to age through six stages of life and incorporating a 3D graphics engine. Although gameplay is not linear, storylines exist in the game's pre-built neighborhoods. Pleasantview is based 25 years after the town in the original The Sims. Strangetown's storyline is based on the supernatural, and is loosely connected with Pleasantview. Veronaville's characters are based on Shakespearian characters.

The Sims 2 was an instant success, selling a then-record one million copies in its first ten days. As of June 2009, The Sims 2 has sold more than 14 million units worldwide and was the best-selling PC game of 2004. During April 2008, The Sims 2 website announced that 100 million copies of The Sims series had been sold. In addition to its commercial success, The Sims 2 was well received by critics gaining a 90% score from aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings.


Buy and Build mode
From the neighborhood view, the player selects one lot to play, as in The Sims. There are both residential and community lots, but Sims can only live in residential lots. Community lots are where Sims travel to in order to purchase things like clothing and magazines, and to interact with NPCs.
The player can choose between playing a pre-made inhabited lot, moving a household into a built-up lot, or constructing a building on an empty lot. One novelty from The Sims 1 is foundations.
The player switches among the "live" mode (default) to control Sims, the "buy" mode to add, move or delete furniture, or the "build" mode to rebuild the house. Buy and build mode for community lots is locked when player Sims visit the lot but are available from the neighborhood view. It is also possible to import neighborhood terrains from SimCity 4.
The game contains some time-bound social challenges that provide a reward if successful. Sims can throw parties to gain aspiration points or invite the headmaster over for dinner in order to enroll their children in private school. Some expansion packs have new mini-games, like running a Greek house in University or dating in Nightlife. In Nightlife, each day is a challenge to keep both Sims as happy as possible while accumulating aspiration points. Various other expansion packs introduce supernatural characters which Sims can be turned into. This includes Vampires, Werewolves, Plantsims, Zombies, and Witches.

Comparison to The Sims
Graphically, The Sims 2 is more detailed than The Sims and lets players to view its world in full 3D. This is a change from earlier Sim games, such as SimCity 2000, which used dimetric projection and fixed resolutions, as the camera was in The Sims. In The Sims, Sims are 3D meshes, but The Sims 2 introduces far more detail in mesh quality, texture quality, and animation capability. A Sim's facial features are customizable and unique, and Sims can smile, frown, and blink. The player can adjust a Sim's features in the in-game Create-a-Sim tool; for example, noses can be made to be very large or very small. Texturing is achieved through use of raster images, though it appears more lifelike.
The Sims 2 characters' pass through six life stages (seven with University), with eventual death of old age, while babies in The Sims only become children before ceasing to continue aging. The aspiration system (described above) is also new to The Sims 2. Sims can become pregnant and produce babies that take on genetic characteristics of their parents, such as eye color, hair color, facial structure, and personality traits. Genetics play a major role in the game, and as such, dominant and recessive genes play a larger role than they did in the original game. A player can also aspire to have a Sim abducted by aliens. Males then have the chance to become impregnated and produce after three Sim days a half-alien child.
Some of the other additions to gameplay are career rewards, a week cycle, the cleaning skill (which was a hidden skill in The Sims), a variety of meals (depending on time of day), exercise clothing, body shape affected by diet and exercise, and houses built on foundations.

Game Customization
The Sims 2 is an extremely malleable game. Modders alter the game in ways as simple as creating a new floor texture of rocks or as complicated as writing entire patches for the game code to customize its behavior. Such modifications are all loosely referred to as "custom content". Specifically, custom content can be divided into four categories: exporting (creating Sims and lots in-game or using the game's included Body Shop and exporting them to a file), recoloring (creating a new texture for an object), meshing (creating an object or modifying its shape) and hacking (writing code that manipulates game and object behaviors). There are two major ways that custom content is implemented into the game. One is by way of downloading a .Sims2pack file (these are usually items of custom content that were uploaded from the game or Bodyshop, such as Sims or Lots), placing it into the game's download folder, and double-clicking to install. Another way is downloading a file, usually in Rar or Zip format, unzipping it with one of those programs, and placing the resulting .package file into the game downloads folder. The second method is usually used for items, such as hacks or original meshes, that were not created with original game software, but with third-party software. These kinds of downloads are more often available on fan-sites rather than the official site.
It should be noted that players must be fairly advanced in order to properly use hacks, especially in large numbers, as conflicts between hacks can cause game damage. Certain hacks, particularly those that change game behavior in ways that raise the game rating from T to M (for example, teen pregnancy hacks), are not allowed to be discussed on the official forum.
The modding community for The Sims 2 is self-supporting, with more advanced modders writing tools and tutorials to help in creating custom content and modifying the game environment. The "Sims 2 Body Shop" is a program shipped with The Sims 2 that allows users to create custom clothing and body recolors, such as eyes, hair and skin tone. These custom created parts can be imported directly into the game, or can be uploaded onto the official The Sims 2 Exchange for other users to download and implement into their own games. Two elements that propagate customization are the official Sims 2 Exchange and the extensive network of fan sites that distribute custom content. More than 250,000 Sims and lots have been uploaded to the Sims 2 Exchange on the Official Site.
There is an ongoing debate in the Sims 2 Community between paysites (sites that charge money for their custom content downloads) and free sites about whether or not custom content downloads should be free. Opponents of paysites claim that EA owns the rights to certain types of content created with the game, and that sale of this content is inconsistent with EA's intellectual property rights and violates the End User Licensing Agreement. Certain sites have actually given out PayPal details because they thought the users of their site had been giving out the downloads (which they had paid for) for free.