Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fallview Farm. Or: "Hey Look! I Got Supernatural!"

Yay!  Supernatural's here!  Since my tastes run toward the gothic and mystic, the new build toys had me like a kid in a candy store.

Here is this thing I made.

It's a fancy, expensive horse property with oodles of pasture space for the sim who likes to keep a herd.  And true to many of my builds, the house itself emphasizes quality over quantity - a 2 bedroom, 2 bath farm house in the Gothic Revival style that's just perfect for a family of 3 or 4 whose tastes run toward darkness and magic.

Here's the bullet list.

  • Sits on a 64 x 64 lot.
  • 2 bedrooms, furnished for a couple and 2 children.  The play area includes a crib and could be walled off to create a third bedroom if needed.
  • 2 full baths.  One on each floor.
  • A basement with nectar cellar and magical laboratory, the stairs to which are concealed behind a bookcase in the library.
  • Outer buildings include a large greenhouse bursting with exotic (and dangerous) flora, a run-in barn with hay loft, and old potting shed converted into a sauna.
  • Parking for 2 cars.
  • Fenced-off garden space with kitchen harvestables, mushrooms, beehive, and fairy house.
  • Pea-shooter zombie defense system.
  • Final price tag: $195k after playtesting.

As always, NO CC was used on this lot.  Store and Expansion items, however, were used willy-nilly.

Exchange Download

Mediafire Download

Full picture set below the cut:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Trouble in Paradise - Chapter 1, Part 2

"And that, Miss Downing, was the last time I opened a sarcophagus without knocking first.”

Mary laughed, mostly politely, while simon slipped in beside Hammad with a platter of wine glasses.  The evening, so far, was going perfectly.  The sun setting behind the hills took the edge off the brutal heat, and the four of them traded stories over dinner (really more a case of everyone else listening to Hammad as he rambled) on the rooftop like old friends.

The next thing Hammad knew, his plate disappeared and a glass of wine appeared in its place.  His amusement at his own punchline turned to delight.

“I like this manservant of yours, Miss Downing.  I may have to get one for myself.”

“Well, if I have anything to do with it, soon you may be wealthy enough for a dozen of him.”  Mary accepted her own glass from Simon, lifting it toward her guests.

“Oh yes, that’s right,” Karida interjected before her husband could begin another story.  “We had business to discuss tonight, didn’t we?”

Mary shrugged, “Eventually.  But I think it’s good for any prospective partners to spend some time getting to know each other.”

“Speaking of, I can’t say we know too much about our mysterious hostess.  Tell me, Miss Downing, how did you come to hear about our operation if you are not in the business of relic collecting.”

“Ah”  Mary looked thoughtfully down at her glass and took a sip.  She knew she’d have to word this reply carefully.

“Some years ago, I was involved with a certain organization whose many branches included a company called OCC Imports.”

“OCC?”  The good cheer immediately left the faces of her guests.  For a moment, they both found the surface of the table very interesting before Karida spoke up first.  “I see.  We used to supply them.  Some years ago, as you say.  The way they severed their contracts so abruptly left a bitter taste, for both of us.”

“Oh, many changes happened in that company several years ago that I do not approve of.  I can tell you they’re no friends of mine anymore either.” The sharpening of Mary’s deliberately polite tone, and the way she glanced out over her rooftop and toward the sea, betrayed the depth of her understatement.  “But, since you asked, that is where I came to hear about you.  And to know that you were always reliable in your work.”

“Then, perhaps we are still potential good friends after all.”  The smile cautiously returned to Karida’s face, and she lifted her wine glass in Mary’s direction.

“I take it you work for another company now, then, Miss Downing?” Hammad spoke up as he looked up, his interest returning.

“I have founded my own organization, yes.  We call ourselves Pacific Sun.”

“Pacific Sun?”  Karida is not a fool.  She knew fully well that any group that referred to itself as an organization and called itself something was most likely a front.  OCC Imports was a front.  They’d figured that out not long into their dealing with them.  But, at the same time, she also knew that any less-than-legitimate company with the resources to make an offer under such plush circumstances could potentially be quite lucrative.

She glanced to her husband beside her, who gave her a look that said he had exactly the same thoughts.

Mary watched the gears spinning in the heads of her guests, before both of them turned to her, intrigued.

“And what business, exactly, does Pacific Sun have with an excavator of ancient relics?  That is, according to what you said earlier, not the relics themselves?”

Mary glanced over her shoulder at Simon, hovering quietly out of sight.  “Simon, dear, could you bring me the metal box sitting on my dresser?”

As Simon turned and slipped down the stairs, Mary returned her attention to her guests.  “When excavating ancient burial sites, as you both well know, one has a tendency to uncover more than just art pieces and grave goods.  There are ancient texts, often containing knowledge dead and forgotten for centuries.  The remains of the dead themselves.  Items rumored to be imbued with mystic powers...”

Wordlessly, Simon stepped up behind Mary and set the box down in front of her.  She produced a small key from inside her jacket and opened it.

“.. And this.”

The green crystal glowed with a sickly radiance.  Hammad and Karida reeled back as if she’d just dropped a live cobra on the table.

“Tiberium!  Do you have any idea what.. that rock can do to a man?!”

Mary remained calm, unfazed even as crystal emitted a small burst of glowing green sparks, which bounced on the table’s surface before winking out in tiny puffs of black smoke.  “Keenly aware, Mr. And Mrs. Sahrawi.  I am also aware that with proper handling, it is extremely useful - indeed, essential - for a variety of highly specialized applications.”

“Which is why it can only be purchased by specially licensed companies.”  Hammad clarified.

“Generally with the endorsement of a major world government.”  Karida felt compelled to add.

Mary half-shrugged.  “You’re right in that.  But the truth is, the number of government-endorsed buyers for Tiberium has declined significantly in the past decade.  And in the meantime, it still keeps turning up these ancient sites regardless.  The paperwork for its disposal is much easier to come by.  Which is what you two have been doing with it all along, yes?”  She closed the box in front of her, watching her guests with that same conspirational look Hammad recognized from their tour of the storehouse.

“That’s right, Miss Downing.  We have a Tiberium disposal site some miles outside of town.”  Hammad answered, still staring at the metal box as Mary locked it again.

Part of Hammad and Karida both wanted to get up and leave the table.  But, at the same time, something about the look on Mary’s face told them they would be passing up a great opportunity if they did.

“Such a shame to let such a valuable mineral go to waste.”  Mary passed the box back to Simon, who quietly carried it away, much to her guests’ relief.  “I mean, it’s so unstable.  Without proper long-term storage under specialized conditions, it loses potency and becomes nothing more than a pile of old quartz after just a couple years.  Which is what any disposal site hopes it’ll do, yes?”

“That, too, is right.  If we can do anything to avoid having a big pile of hazardous material laying around, we will.”  Hammad did his best to follow along, curious where Mary’s line of reasoning would take them.

Karida did not have the same confidence, however.  “You know I’m surprised you don’t just work directly with the disposal site, if that’s all you’re after.” she nearly snapped.

The remark earned her a sharp look from her husband, but Mary accepted it with good grace.

“I considered it, initially.  But I like to be a little more proactive than that.  Why scoop up the discarded scraps of other peoples’ work when I could, instead, be creating an opportunity that would grow with time?  Both for myself, and for the people I worked with.”  Mary leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table as she smiled at her guests.  Her potential suppliers.

“Excuse us a moment, would you?”

Mary waved one hand “Take your time.”

Hammad and Karida stepped away from the table, finding a far corner to debate quietly between themselves.  In the meantime, Simon leaned in beside Mary and whispered, “They seem a bit more reluctant than we thought they'd be.”

“If they aren’t willing to work with me, I have some other options in mind.”  Mary sighed, watching her guests as their discussion moved to a very quiet argument.  “The question is whether or not I’ll let them leave if they say no.”

“I’m not sure if I like this idea of..” Karida hunted for the words “Smuggling Tiberium.  Or enabling the smuggling of tiberium.”

“You didn’t mind selling relics to OCC.”  Hammad pointed out.

“Those were just relics!” she protested.

“Ancient texts.  Fragments of murals depicting old rituals.  And shady about it the whole way.  They were up to something too and we both knew it.”

Karida opened her mouth, but no words came out.  That she could not protest.  She took a few seconds to collect her thoughts.  “I guess it was easier to not think about it then.  With them.  This is... different.”

“So Miss Downing is just more honest about what she’s up to.  I think I like that about her, actually.”  Hammad tried his best to be reassuring.  He knew what Tiberium was worth, and the more he thought about it, the more the money tempted him.

So did Karida.  She glanced back at Mary and Simon as they had their own conversation.  “Fine.  But I want some assurance from her that we aren’t going to be getting caught.  It would be hard to escape suspicion if we’re digging up the desert but not selling anything.”

“You’re right, my dear.”  Hammad nodded slowly, the wheels turning in his head.  “You know, I think we might be able to make this deal one step better for us.  If she really does want our tiberium, that is.”

As the pair headed back to the table, Mary looked back up at them with her conspiring smile, but perhaps a little more predatory than before.  They tried not to let it put them off.

“Well, we talked it over.”

“And?” Mary did her best to look hopeful and encouraging.

“We would love to help you, Miss Downing.  But there’s just not much business in excavating relics around here anymore.  It’d be hard, given the present circumstances, to find a legitimate reason to scale up operations again enough to meet any significant tiberium demand on the side.”  Hammad trailed off, intentionally leaving his statement open for interpretation.  Or suggestion.

Karida backed up her husband’s story by putting on her best quietly forlorn look.  Which in truth, she was.

Not a yes.  Not a no.  Mary hmmed to herself, rising from her seat and stepping over to the railing.  She looked out over the landscape beyond her hilltop home as she considered their answer.

Far in the distance, through the last shimmers of heat from the sand, alabaster statues of ancient gods lurked among the pillars of their crumbling temples.  And the pyramids, monolithic graves to forgotten kings, stood guard over the fortunes concealed in their walls.  Directly below her, a turquoise river wound its way through the barren dunes.

The answer came to her. One so simple, she almost laughed at it.  “Oh, the mystique of this land will never die.  After all, everything the ancient people built here was aimed at finding immortality.  The interest is out there.  It’s just not aimed here, in this specific valley.  All it would take is making the right connections.”

Karida’s answer came from behind her, softly encouraging.  “Miss Downing, you strike me as something of an expert in making connections.”

Mary smiled.  “Indeed I am,” and spun around to face them both.  “In fact, I may have just the person in mind already.  I think you’ll be hearing from one of my associates very soon, Mr. and Mrs. Sahrawi.”

“We will be looking forward to it.”


After bidding goodbyes and seeing Hammad and Karida to the door, Simon returned to the rooftop, where he found Mary still watching the landscape, ponderous.

“So, I have to know,” he interrupted cautiously.  “Is Tiberium really that dangerous?”

“Yes.” she answered simply.

Glancing back at Simon and noting the confusion on his face, she elaborated.  “Tiberium is essentially quartz crystal, irradiated by thanatonic energy.  Which is why you only find it in places, well, filled with death.  Tomb complexes, charnel houses, the sites of massive battles that nobody fully cleaned up after.  Or anywhere else large numbers of people were laid to rest.  And it does a real number on living tissue.  A person subjected to prolonged exposure will literally begin to rot away while still alive.  And they tend to lose their minds in the worst possible way in the process.”

“Oh wow.”  Simon blinked.  “No wonder it’s illegal to trade in.”

Mary laughed softly.  Half a cackle.  “Oh you have no idea.  You get your hands on enough of that crystal, you can build all sorts of interesting devices.  Teleporters.  Weaponry.  Certain types of aetheric manipulators that can give you control over the dead, as well as the living.  And those are just the currently-known, legal uses.  I mean we are talking about the raw essence of death, after all.”

“So what are you planning for it?”

The question came out with more curiosity than caution.  Simon was not an evil man, really, but every now and then in the face of his mistress’s plots, he couldn’t help but be intrigued.

Mary took one of her servant-plaything’s hands, and gave him a peck on the cheek.  “Simon, my dear, while you are my favorite traveling companion and one of my most trusted minions, I’m afraid that would be telling.”

Then she leaned in close and whispered in his ear.

“I’ll just say it’s something terrible, that the world has never seen before.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Trouble In Paradise - Chapter 1, Part 1

Another day just watching the heat lift off the dunes, thought Karida to herself.

Outside the walls of her market stall, past the archways inviting any passers-by to slip in and enjoy a little shade while they browse, the locals milled past on their way to shop for other things, for day-to-day supplies, for a bite to eat, but not for the relics that lined her shelves.  When looking for a fancy ancient nicknack to decorate one’s home with, people seldom pick from those dug up in their own town.

This fact was not lost on Karida as she brushed a bit of windswept sand out of the ears of an Anubis staring her down from the other end of the counter.  She thought back to the days not too long ago when, thanks to a foreign interest she never quite trusted but blessed with deep pockets, business was brisk.  The shop at the time stood merely as a decoration to keep the small trickle of adventurous tourists amused with whatever baubles she had left over after making the real sales.  That interest dried up overnight a few years ago, though.  New management, they said.  A shift in company focus.  Now that small trickle of tourists made the whole of her business, and in her little decoration of a shop the dozens of little decorative statues looked as bored as she felt.

So when one of the figures milling past in the market square paused, regarded her, and stepped inside, she almost forgot to contain her look of surprise.

“Is this Simhara Antiques and Curios?”  The sharply-dressed foreign woman greeted her with a smile.

“It is” Karida offered her hand across the counter, flashing her best saleswoman’s grin.  “You must be well-travelled indeed, madam to know us by name.  Welcome.  What can I interest you in today?”

“I’m looking for a couple by the name of Hammad and Karida Sahrawi.  They owned this place once.”

Karida brightened.  “Well then you’re in luck!  We still do, and I am Mrs. Sahrawi.  And who is it I have the pleasure of meeting today?”

“Mary Downing.  And the pleasure is all mine, I assure you.”  Mary took a moment to scan the shelves around her.  A few of the trinkets had the look of the real thing, but overshadowing them were gilded statues and gem-encrusted amulets not quite scuffed and crumbling enough for the age they claimed.  A realization she decided against pointing out.

“I’ve heard the two of you are best source for all things ancient and mysterious this side of Setra."

“A flattering claim, though I would not dispute it.” Karida replied with well-feigned modesty.  But she did not fail to notice Mary’s tactful indifference as she browsed the wares around them.  Clearly, her new customer was no mere foolish tourist.  “And if it’s rare relics you are after, we have an extensive collection.  Much moreso than we can display in this small space.”

“Actually...” Mary considered her answer a moment.  “I would love to see what you have to offer.  As you seem to have gathered already, I’m not your everyday collector.  I’m here after something very specific and special.”

“Then you’ve come to the right place, madam.  My husband is upstairs.  Let me fetch him and he’ll be happy to show you the rest of our collection.  I am sure we can find exactly what you’re looking for.”


“It may not look like much from the outside, but this building is where we keep some of our finest merchandise.”  Hammad led Mary through a heavy set of wooden doors.  Rows of lights hummed to life, but the thick veil of dust in the air and sand on the old stone floor muffled their footsteps as Hammad led his guest on a tour.  Rows of shelves covered in ancient bits of stoneware and trinkets slowly gathered dust, while sarcophagi and more substantial statues lurked in out-of-the-way corners and at the ends of each hall.

Mary browsed them all with a critical eye while Hammad hovered quietly beside her.  While most of the items in their shop had the mark of fakes to an educated buyer (and indeed, a work table tucked in a far corner gave away their likely source), the contents of the storehouse shelves were all quite genuine.  She half expected to find a mummy waiting in some of the sarcophagi wedged into shadowy corners.  She made a point to take her time inspecting the wares, though, letting the silence settle in between herself and Hammad.  Giving him time to really begin to wonder what she was looking for.

As his expression gradually transitioned from pride to hopeful curiosity, she finally spoke up.  “Your collection is impressive.  It’s good to see you’re still in the business of serious excavation, because it’s that which I really after.”

“Oh!  You are looking for not one specific relic but, ah, a supplier then?” She could almost see the stacks of money filling Hammad’s imagination as he turned around smiled broadly at her.

She turned her attention away from a shelf of gold figurines and could not help but give him a conspiring look.  “Oh, not of the relics themselves, but something far more valuable that’s out there in the sand alongside them.  It should be right up your alley, though.”

Hammad raised one eyebrow, his mind spinning with the possibilities.  The desert hid many treasures, of which the fragments left behind by ancient civilizations were simply among the prettiest.  He had no idea what business Mary was interested in, but he knew the look of ulterior motives when he saw it, and he also knew that the sort of lucrative deals that often come with ulterior motives are rarely discussed over a desk in the main office.  “I must admit, I am intrigued.  Perhaps Karida and I can both meet with you sometime soon to discuss the matter further.  After market hours?”

“My thoughts exactly.  Would you and your wife like to join me for dinner tonight?”  Mary’s conspiring look grew into a grin.  Hammad had given her exactly the answer she wanted.

“We would be delighted, Miss Downing.”

“It will be a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Sahrawi.”


By the time Mary made it back up the winding road to her hilltop villa, it was nearly noon, and the sun beat down with a vengeance.  A brisk breeze blew down from the mountain and offered no relief, only blasting hot sand into her face and doing its best to try and sour her mood before she made it to the front door.

“A curse on whoever decided on a modest dress code inside this oven.” she muttered to herself once safely indoors, unbuttoning her jacket and draping it over the back of the nearest available chair.

“I think whoever it was must’ve known how good you looked in a suit.”  A nonchalant voice replied from the kitchen.

Mary turned around and took a moment to admire the view of the fair-haired man standing with his back to her, busily chopping vegetables.  Immediately, she forgot all about the roasting desert sun and the mood it’d gotten her in.  “Speaking of looking good,” she purred, stepping up behind him and winding her fingers in the weave of his fishnet shirt, “is this for me?”

Simon looked up from the chopping block, glancing back at Mary out of the corner of his eye with the smallest flirtatious smile while gesturing toward his cooking.  “And so is this.  I think I’ve figured out how to get it perfect with a home kitchen.”

Mary stood up on tiptoe and looked down over Simon’s shoulder.  “Fishnet and Shawarma?  Oh, you tempting creature.”

Simon played coy, returning to his prep work as Mary rolled away to lean against the counter beside him.  “I take it things went well with the Sahrawis?”

“So far?  Just as planned.  I’ve got Mr. And Mrs. Sahrawi coming over for dinner tonight to discuss my little proposal.  They’re about as honest as I expected them to be, so I imagine they’ll be up for it.”  Mary casually swiped a sliver of cucumber to nibble off Simon’s cutting board.  “But it can’t hurt to butter them up a bit first.  I picked up a nice-looking bottle of pomegranate wine while I was out.  Maybe you could make something to pair with it tonight?”

“Oh, I do like a challenge.  I think...” he mused on it a moment.  “Yes, I know just the thing!  The three of you are going to love it.  Promise.”

“And that’s why I bring you with me whenever I leave the island.  Always up for anything, and full of surprises.”  Mary’s tone softened, and she leaned over to plant a kiss on the man’s mesh-covered shoulder, lingering there a moment to enjoy his scent.  “Well, I’ll leave that up to your expertise.  After a morning of getting sandblasted and cooked alive, I am in need of a shower.”

Simon watched Mary walk away, letting her get halfway to the stairs before casually suggesting, “Need any help with the hard-to-reach places?”

Mary paused mid-step and turned around, mulling over the possibilities while a growing smile got the best of her and she beckoned Simon toward her with one finger. “I think lunch can wait.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Lady Ann and Her Family

Here's a first for me - offering both a house and the family I built to go with the house.  Handy if you're looking for townies to fill an empty town with!  The two are separate downloads, though, in case you just want the house all to yourself.

This is a large family house - already furnished for a family of 2 adults, 5 children, a baby, and several pets.

It's a little weathered on the outside and a little old-fashioned on the inside, but it's comfortable and full of things to do around every corner.  Send the kids to play hopscotch out on the porch while you entertain guests with music and drinks, but you'll find the place notably lacking in newfangled technological gizmos.  It's also a perfect living space for Eco-Friendly sims, with bicycle parking, recycle bins, a kitchen garden, and energy-efficient appliances.

The household that I built to go with it is, as expected, both large and earth-loving.  A pair of earth-mamas and their menagerie of adopted children and pets.  And for their portrait, I embraced the fact that sims always wiggle a bit for their photo-shoot:

The plant is part of the family too!  His name is George and you are to treat him with respect!

Heh.  Anyway.

So here's the bullet list for the house:

  • Sits on a 20 x 30, facing the short side.  Would look great on a 30 x 30 as well.
  • 4 bedrooms.  Presently furnished for a couple, 5 children, and a baby
  • Pet items included for both cats and large-breed dogs.
  • 3 full baths
  • Yard and wrap-around porch are full of outdoor play equipment for the kids, as well as a garden fenced safely away from interloping wildlife.
  • Common areas have an autumn-themed color scheme, and reflect a general dislike of technology.
  • Parking for 2 bicycles, and no cars.
  • No CC.  Was aiming for free store items only but a single lamp managed to sneak in.  Stupid lamp.
  • Final pricetag: $97k

And for the family:

  • The older of the two moms is Autumn Gail.  She's an early Adult, employed as a Trauma Surgeon, with the Lifetime Wish to reach the top of the medical field.  Traits are:  Friendly, Green Thumb, Eco-Friendly, Frugal, Technophobe
  • And then there's her wife, Heather.  She's a late Young Adult, employed as an Ingredient Taster, with the Lifetime Wish to become a Five-Star Chef.   Traits are: Natural Cook, Good, Eco-Friendly, Family Oriented, Easily Impressed
  • The oldest of the three kids is Teen son Marcus.  Traits: Good Sense of Humor, Loves the Outdoors, Flirty, Dog Person
  • Then comes daughter Shauna.  Traits: Excitable, Bookworm, Ambitious
  • And finally the younger boy Mateo.  Traits: Neat, Artistic, Over-Emotional
  • But wait!  There's more!  A trio of pets:  Astro the dog (Neat, Loyal, Likes Swimming), Cinder the floofy white cat (Genius, Proud, Noisy), and Dandelion the marbled tabby (Adventurous, Indepedent, Hyper)
  • Nobody uses any CC or Store content.

Download Links.

Full picture set after the cut.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tiny Empire

My downloads list on this blog has been woefully neglected.  I'd been in the habit of posting threads on the Official forums, but to be honest, their creative section is now overrun with the myriad threads of various "request teams".  Meh.  So I'm resolving now to post all my downloads here first from now on.  So today and tomorrow, I'll be adding some new goodies to my Downloads page.

First houses' first:  This very tiniest of Victorian homes.  Space for a family of 3 (4, if you have a baby in the crib) on a 10 x 10 lot.  Just the thing for your mini-towns, or if you want something fast-loading and low lag.

Here's the bullet list:

- Sits on a 10 x 10 lot (didn't I just say that?)
- 2 bedrooms, furnished for parents, 1 child, and one baby.
- 1 full bath
- A small computer den on the first floor.
- An unfurnished cellar for any space-consuming hobbies your sims may have.
- A parking space in the attic.  Why not?
- No CC.  No Store content.  You will need WA/AMB/OLS and Generations.
- Budget-friendly price tag:  $30,300

The lot has been play-tested with a family of 3, and run through CUSTARD to be safe.

Download Links here:


More pictures after the cut.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Trouble in Paradise - Prologue

My name is not Mary Downing, but it will do for now.

Five years ago, I would never have imagined I would be where I am today.  But isn’t that the case with most young women out finding their place in the world?  One day, we’re laying out a predictable progression toward our life’s dreams.  Then, without warning, the Fates change their tune and it all burns to the ground.

The woman I was before is dead.  But thankfully, I know who struck the match that ended her life.

Now, I am a woman on a mission.  Two missions, in fact.  First, a mission of revenge - for my home, my family, and my life as I knew it.  I will stop at nothing to accomplish this goal.

But as they say, there’s no revenge like unparalleled success.  Which is my second mission - to become the greatest, and most feared force in in the underworld.  It’s all I ever really wanted anyway - power, wealth, and a glamorous life of what most would call villainy.  To have an empire at my feet with which I can bring the Powers That Be among mankind to heel.

I know if I accomplish this, I will surely have had my revenge as just deserts, so it is on this goal I focus now.

I have a long way to go, but the sky is bright, and I have plans.  If I play my cards just so, the world won’t ever know what hit them.