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Micro-blogging Sims3 Experiment

May 20th, 2010 · No Comments · Gaming

Ajinn GaiidenSo when I decided to get back into The Sims 3, I wondered how I would go about chronicling the life of my Sim and his future descendants. The Sims is the kind of game where you put a lot of work and effort into developing your various Sim avatars, and build an actual unique history for your Sim. Why would you not want to record that? The problem I have always had was how. When I was playing The Sims (1) back in the day, there was no easy way to do this. I remember making a few journal entries to the online forum that hosted my “blog”, but those were lost with a DB crash. The only remaining legacy from my early Sim days is this page (and I’m glad I still have it cause I still think it’s pretty funny).

When I first got the game, when it first came out last year, I simply took lots of photos and wrote down notes of my Sim’s activities in a text file (that I just looked for and have no idea where I put it, or what it was called). My plan was to blog here every so often with a general write-up of what my Sim had been up to. Yea, never got around to doing that because to do that I would have to take a chunk of time (at least 30 minutes) out of the game to dedicate to blogging about it. That never felt right to me. Eventually my interest waned in general.

Coming back to the game half a year later, I still didn’t want to put any time into creating my Sim while relegating his exploits to obscurity. But in that half year I had grown much more comfortable with twitter as a form of micro-blogging and using flickr to upload images fast and easily. So I thought – why not combine the two? This probably still would not have worked if I didn’t have my laptop to do the blogging with, since I would have to task-switch away from the game to do my updates.

So my first step was to birth a twitter account for my Sim. I could have gone with one similar to his name (Ajinn Gaiiden) but decided to play off my real twitter account dsikora and name my Sim’s account dsimkora. It really was too good to pass up, especially when I tried and found the name was available. Win! After setting up the account I created a new set on my flickr page to handle the screenshots I would be taking and uploading.

My tools are TweetDeck and Uploadr. TweetDeck easily lets me switch over to my @dsimkora account from my other two (@dsikora and @gdevnet) when I want to post a twitter update, and auto-shortens my URLs to conserve tweet space when I add a photo. Uploadr is a flickr tool that lets me easily caption, title and upload one or many screenshots to my flickr set.

Now, savvy readers may be asking themselves – “wait, how does he upload images taken on his desktop from his laptop?” I’m sure you tech-savvy readers have already figured that one out, though. My laptop is simply pulling up the images straight off the folder they are stored in on my desktop through Windows file sharing.

The net result is that I can tweet and upload images in less than 2-3 minutes after taking the photo, which is good cause 2-3 minutes in Sims time equates to 2-3 hours 😛 Even if I do need to pause the game to focus on my tweeting, the time spent during a normal play session maybe adds up to about 10-15 minutes over a span of 2-3 hours of game play. I can handle that. And most of the time I can allow the game to continue to run as my Sim studies a book or plays computer games, since that is what we do too, play games as The Sims or Overwatch, although we also go online sometimes and visit boosting sites as

So far I think I’m doing what I set out to do. Going through my flickr album and tweet stream I can definitely see the progression my Sim has gone through to get where he is now. I haven’t pick up many followers yet, but that wasn’t really the goal of the whole endeavor (though that would be cool). What I would like to see are more people tweeting their Sim’s lives so I can tweet back to them as a Sim. I think that would be some cool role playing. I think though that one of the reasons people wouldn’t want to follow Sim twitter accounts in their regular tweet stream is because Sims update a lot within a short period of time (when the person is playing the game). Remember, minutes are hours in Sim world. One of the things I’ve had to get accustomed to is recognizing what cool stuff is worth tweeting about.

One last thing to mention before I wrap up is that I hopped on Backupify when they were offering free continued service during a sign-up window. I can download my entire tweet stream in a PDF to search and browse through. There are other ways to backup a tweet stream, and I suggest you use them from the start because the archiving on sucks.

This idea is working out well enough for me that I might carry it over into SimCity4. I feel it could use a bit more refinement, so I’m going to keep at it a bit longer before trying it with another game. SC4 is also a game that evolves a unique history I would want to record. I’ve tried to keep up with blogging my iSimCity cities, but that hasn’t worked very well in the long-term. The desire to write a long blog post is always beaten by the desire to just play a little longer. But micro-blogging seems to work well so far. The experiment continues!

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