I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the passage of time in Ayre. More specifically, how long of an age span feels right. The balance that’s needed is to have time to play sims’ lives while also getting the sense that sims are aging and time is passing.
In the past, playing a modern prosperity style neighborhood, I’ve opted for life spans much longer than the Sims 2 default. The life spans were modified to reflect a more realistic proportion and length of age spans. In the past, that is what I have preferred. As the neighborhood population grew, I did not play every household every round, and, I had the freedom to play a household for any length of time for their round. Aging was off and I went by a chart to determine when it was time to age sims up. So time could continue to pass in a way that felt satisfactory.
However, I am realizing that this medieval charter challenge feels different. According to the MCC rules, I play every household for a strict five days each season, so a “year” takes 5 days x number of households x 4 seasons. Using a realistic life span in number of “years”, it would take eight and a half rounds for a toddler to grow up, 48 rounds for a child to grow up, and 88 rounds for an adult to become an elder. It took me about three months of real life time to get through the first round, which is no doubt, the fastest. That means it would take twelve real life years for the Berry children to become teens, even if I maintained the pace of the first round.
Using Hat’s Gestational Based Aging, which I have been, meant a shorter span that the above “realistic” for younger sims, but with her mod it would still take 48 game days, or sixteen rounds, for an infant to age to teen. In real life that would probably take approximately three years of real time.
So I made a chart to compare some options, and reflect on what feels like the best approach for me.
Any approach is going to have a trade-off of one of the factors of sim aging. Some of those factors are
- proportion to passage of seasons
- proportion to other age spans (for example, pregnancy and infancy to any other stage etc)
- degree of subjective sense of realism
- sense of passage of time (gratification of aging sims up and gratification of generations passing)
In my past neighborhoods, I have been content to err on the side of proportion, and forego the gratification of generations passing.
For Ayre, the purpose of the Medieval Charter Challenge is to build up a neighborhood that has an integrated middle ages economy and population needed to represent or sustain it. It can be a springboard to a more detailed challenge or to further freestyle play, but for me, seeing sims grow up, take on a profession, start a family, and their children benefit from the growth of the settlement, is a key part of the challenge’s reward.
For that reason, I have decided to suspend disbelief in the area of proportion to seasons and proportion to other age spans. I don’t think I’ve played with Sims 2 default age spans since 2009, but that’s what I’ve decided on for Ayre, at this time.
With the default age span, myself, and readers, will get to see babies age to toddler within the first round they are born, and, probably four to six real life months later, age to child. Within about eight to fifteen real life months, they will age to teen and be on the cusp of being able to have their own children. That seems like a much more enjoyable pace for a challenge whose purpose is to see the growth of the population and economy. The adult life span may be a little long, but Random Occurrence Scenarios will probably impact that over time.
Before starting the Porter household, I plan to take out Hat’s Gestational Aging (which I have left this long because it is so awesome!) and use Chris Hatch’s Neighborhood Age Correct. I also have several mods that slow down skilling and aspirational gains, that go along with longer life spans, which I will remove.
The instructions file for Neighborhood Age Correct is empty, so here’s a note from MTS on how to use it. You put the file in your downloads folder, start the game, and then after a while you’ll get a message that sims ages have been corrected. Then you save, exit, and remove it from your downloads folder. I’ll update here after trying it. I’ve used it once before in Simdale Valley, but that time I was going to a longer age span, not shorter.
Update: After backing up my game file, I removed Hat’s aging mod and the other related mods I had to make skilling and aspirational gains more difficult. Then I added Chris Hatch’s Neighborhood Age Correct to my downloads folder and started the game. Everything seemed to work perfectly, and I checked a few households, saved and exited.
The Berry children and Fiona here will age up in 2 days, so next time we play their households! It looks like our founding teens will age up in 10 days, so end of winter or beginning of spring, in two rounds. Fiona’s father, an adult who has lived through one round, has 23 days left, or almost five more rounds.
I am excited about all the aging and progress the neighborhood will experience in the next Ayre “year!”
So neat to learn all the planning that goes into this !
Along with getting attached to my sims and enjoying building, this part of managing my sims game, keeps me engaged. I’m glad you found it interesting! I recorded it here because I know some readers are interested in how and why sims age at the rate they do in the neighborhoods they read about, and also just for my own records, too. I’m really excited about all the aging and corresponding plot development that will be coming to Ayre in the next few rounds, with these changes. Thanks for reading and commenting, Cathytea!
I like that you showed the reasons why you decided to settle for this method 🙂 I’ve been (as you saw on Tumblr) toying with the idea of trying the MCC (or, use it as a template if nothing else) and one of the things I couldn’t quite decide on was how I would go about aging anyone..
I think I found something that could work for me, but I’m not 100% sure yet so I’ve got to tinker with it a bit more in Excel before I tune my age mods and the fertility in ACR (if I can still remember how that is).
I’m not sure I have it in me to go back to original aging, so I’m impressed that you are!
Hi Valneanne! I have customized an age mod in SimPE before but I don’t know how to tinker with ACR. It will be really interesting to see what you decide if you do go ahead with an MCC, or whatever type of historical ‘hood you decide on.
When I started thinking about this I thought I would end up plugging in different numbers for my age mod. I’ve always liked to make the early life stages more proportional to the teen and adult stage with a mod. But then I decided on a whim to compare the default numbers, and I realized, one of the big differences in this challenge (for me) is that playing toddlers (and even kids) for a while is not a priority. That was a big surprise because normally that’s a key factor to me! I think it is because from the sociological history I’ve read, there wasn’t as much appreciation for toddlers and kids development and they were seen as miniature adults. In Ayre, there aren’t so many things for a toddler or kid to do, except for kids to help with work, and since I see them as children about town during other households too, I still get a sense of seeing them as kids for a while. It really surprised me and we’ll see if I ultimately decide to lengthen the toddler and child phase, but I think this might be just right for me.
Thanks for commenting, and I look forward to seeing your historical game develop!
Yeah, I have some textbooks from my days as a Cultural History student that deal specifically with childhood, or the lack thereof I guess, because as you say children were seen as miniature adults. In part due to high infant and childhood mortality which pretty much meant you had to make as much out of time as you could because there were so many things that could come in the way and because a lot of people had a lot of children (for all sorts of reasons from said infant mortality, to the lack of proper preventative measures and more) they often had to send them away simply because they couldn’t provide enough food etc. for them.¨
Add to that sudden wars, crops failing, plagues of disease (not to mention THE plague and it’s repetitive waves) and time is a thing that is felt differently then than now.
Anyhow, sorry for the tangent, I sometimes miss my studies 😛 But yeah, I wasn’t planning on making my sims ages too proportional because I don’t want children to be children for 32 days, that’s just too long for me. But I do want my aging slightly longer than the original Maxis version because I’m afraid I’ll miss my sims if I go back to that and it’ll all just go by too quickly.
I genuinely had no idea there were so many aging mods out there! I haven’t heard of either of these.
I’ve got into a groove with Sullivan, 10 years on, and am happy with the way my aging is set up (though I’d like to be able to play more frequently and hence get through it all faster). Even though I’m past the stage of thinking about this, I always enjoy reading how other people figure out what works for them and their own hoods. 🙂
I remember tinkering with ACR at one point, though I don’t remember how I did it now. I do remember it wasn’t difficult, if you already have a little bit of experience playing around in SimPE.
Carla, Sullivan runs so smoothly! It is pretty amazing how well the sense of time passing works with Sullivan, because you are so consistent.
It’s interesting seeing how you are coming up with the passage of time. There is a lot to think about in a medieval game, especially so the families have time to earn their keep plus different lifespans for this period of time. Like Carla, I haven’t thought about this much in years. I manually age all my sims, and my biggest change has been changing teens from 11-18 to 12-18.
True, lifespan was different, childhood was not really the same (children were largely regarded as miniature adults) and girls married young especially in the upper classes.
I liked manually aging sims in Falls Bridge and having flexibility with the number of days I played a family, so playing the challenge and playing an exact five days per season per family is very different. So far I’m really happy with the faster aging. Thanks for commenting, Maisie!
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