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A Quick Guide to SimLit - Sims Story FAQ



  • IvyEvalineIvyEvaline Posts: 17 Member
    Thank you for sharing your guide. I learned a lot. I have always wanted to write stories using the Sims to spice up my game and be creative. Unfortunately the first few simlits I read were plot driven stories with lots of cc, mods. I tried to write those kinds of stories... but somehow I got frustrated with not "playing" the game. Recently I found a couple game driven/ mix stories... and I was really inspired. I really like their commentaries about their interactions with the game in the stories.

    I've written quite a bit now. Hopefully, I'll be able to reach member status to share my updates. Thank you again for your guide :)
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,693 Member
    You're welcome @IvyEvaline glad the guide was helpful to you :) game-driven/mixed stories are great if that's the style for you I'm really glad you found out about it! Plot driven stories can definitely be intimidating to attempt.
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    edited April 2021
    Hi! Thanks for this really helpful guide. It got me started a while back and I am currently working on a scripted/plot driven story. At the moment I am only sharing it with friends and family, but if I like how it turns out, I may eventually share it online. I have referred back to this thread a few times as I've looked at what platform I might want to use to do that.

    Right now, though, I need some help with finding a way to do a specific thing I need for the story. I tried asking for help over on the mods section of the forum, and I was able to get questions answered about the mod I was considering, but I'm still not sure if that is the approach I want to take, because I think it doesn't do quite what I want.

    I'm hoping maybe other simlit writers who do scripted simlit (which often involves working around restrictions of the game to get the effect you want) will understand better what I need, and might be able to give me some advice or help me brainstorm how to solve this problem.

    Is this a good place to ask questions about things like this, or is there a different thread that would be better?

    EDIT - Reworded second paragraph for clarity.
  • ThePlumbobThePlumbob Posts: 4,971 Member
    edited April 2021
    @GlacierSnow You can always give the Writers' Lounge a go if you haven't already! The thread is pretty active and gets a lot of lurkers too, so someone may be able to help. I'll try to help if I can :) Of course, the con is that you don't want to spoil your story, so make sure not to give too much away if it's something crucial!
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    edited April 2021
    @ThePlumbob Thanks for replying! I actually have tried participating on the the Writer's Lounge in the past, but for me that thread jumps too fast from one thing to another because of all the chatter and banter. Actual questions seem to get buried under a landslide of other posts there really quickly because of that. I was hoping to find a quieter spot for more focused discussion.

    My problem is that I am looking for a way to pause a sim's pregnancy so that it does not progress to the next trimester until I am ready for it to do so. The reason I need that is so that I can complete all the screenshooting that needs to happen before the pregnancy moves to the next stage or ends. And specifically, this will be a male pregnancy by alien abduction (I mention this just in case some solution would only work for a normal female pregnancy).

    My story involves multiple points of view, so I am switching households a lot and often re-setting the season and weather back to match previous sim-days (using UI cheats extension mod) so I can get footage of what looks like the same day. And it is a partially comic-book style format so I take tons and tons of screen shots to get all the visual footage I need. Plus, as I am putting together the written story, sometimes I find the screenshots I took don't work well for the dialogue or I change my mind about how I want a scene to go, so I go back and re-shoot the same scene to get more images. Because of this, simply using mods like MCCC that can make the pregnancy longer aren't ideal, because it might still progress to the next stage before I have gotten all the footage I need. There is no way for me to predict how many sim days it will take for me to get all my scenes shot.

    Some time ago, I remember seeing a cheat code that simply makes the sim appear pregnant without actually being pregnant, and I thought I might be able to make use of this by having him give birth to the alien baby in the normal three day time span and then stash the baby with another family while using the cheat to make him appear pregnant for as long as I needed for getting screenshots. But maybe I dreamed that cheat because I can't seem to find the place I saw it referenced no matter how I search for it and weirdly I do not appear to have bookmarked it in my web browser.

    I've also considered the possibility of making a second copy of the same save, and then have him get pregnant in one copy and not in the other. Using a pregnancy lengthening mod I can hopefully get all the scenes he's actually in shot before time runs out. And then use the other save to shoot all the scenes he's not in. If I can't come up with a better solution, this is probably what I'll do.

    I was just hoping that writers who do scripted SimLit might have already dealt with this type of problem and have some advice or tips on what worked for them.


    EDIT: The sim in question is not actually pregnant yet. I plan to force this to happen using a combination of MCCC (chance of alien baby set to 100%) and the cheat code that forces an abduction to happen to a specific sim. But I haven't actually done it yet because I want to figure out how to handle screenshooting while he's pregnant first.
  • ThePlumbobThePlumbob Posts: 4,971 Member
    @GlacierSnow I think I did have an instance a bit like that! Only affected a couple of chapters for me though, so I think I just used a combination of multiple saves and not saving once my got my screenshots. I rely on UI cheats extension to get the exact lighting I need all the time, so I feel your pain!

    Here's a few things you could try:

    The pregnancy in game technically just relies on the pregnant sim having the correct buff, so you could try the cheats mentioned in this reddit post. However, I know that adding and removing buffs is a bit hit and miss - sometimes these cheats don't work right after an update, but worth a try!

    I've also found this pregnancy mod that looks ideal for your purposes, it claims to let you pause a pregnancy at any stage. I haven't personally used the mod though, so no guarantees.

    I would definitely recommend making multiple saves of any key time periods, like at the start of the pregnancy, just in case you ever need to go back - you could always have a "default" save where the pregnancy is at the beginning and just fast track to the desired pregnancy stage you need for the screenshots you're doing. Generally I think it's a good idea to keep extra saves of different time periods in a story - comes in handy for flashbacks and such.

    I hope that helps! :)
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    @ThePlumbob Thanks! These look like really promising ideas. I'll try them out in a test save to see if they work for what I want.

    I also like your suggestion of having multiple saves at different stages in the story. That could save me a lot of trouble sometimes! Lol. I do have a second save for doing backstory/memory scenes, gag shots, set-up scenes for custom pictures on wall decor, and other detailed non-main plot related stuff that I just need more room for, but I don't have any extra versions of the main save (other than my regular backup to flash-drive for safe keeping). So that's a good idea.

    Thank you so much for your help!
  • miss_eulenaugemiss_eulenauge Posts: 250 Member
    edited June 2021
    @GlacierSnow since you mentioned UI cheats, I assume you also have MC Command Center, which allows to pause pregnancies as well as changing the trimester. Select your Sim, and choose the MC Command Center menu.
    Then: MC Pregnancy -> Pregnancy Phase -> Pause/Resume Pregnancy.
    There, you should also find the menu to change the trimester in case you need it.

    I haven't been able to see if this works for males too, but that's because I don't have Get to Work :smiley:
    (Edit: Whoops, I assume you solved the problem already - I only saw the fairly recent posting date and didn't bother to think any more :#
    Still leaving this here in case anyone has the same problem :) )
    | Amelia Britton - A Lifetime of Sims || Louise Aldrich - A Year-Long Challenge |
    time zone: Berlin, Germany - EA Gallery ID: Noctuara
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    @miss_eulenauge No worries about the late post. I actually haven't gotten around to trying any of the things people have suggested yet because of "real life" getting in my way. Lol. I actually was originally looking at MCCC pregnancy mod to solve this problem but got nervous about using it because it seemed like the main thing it does is make it possible for npc sims to get pregnant. This is something I absolutely don't want and don't want to risk happening.

    I got confused while reading the mod documentation, about whether or not I could completely and confidently turn that feature off, and also about what exactly the "pause" feature does (not sure why I'm having so much trouble understanding it, but I feel overwhelmed every time I go look at the MCCC information so, actually, I still don't use that mod). So I started trying to find a different solution to my problem instead.

    But I'm probably just overly-anxious and should just try the MCCC pregnancy module in a test save to see what it does.
  • miss_eulenaugemiss_eulenauge Posts: 250 Member
    edited June 2021
    @GlacierSnow The good thing about MCC is that it can be configured, and that you can e.g. leave some parts out and all that. You need the MCC main module, and all the others are optional (though I love MC Tuner too 'cause it enables e.g. random repairing and multiple BFFs, and disallows the monster under the bed, random flirting, etc)
    Honestly, I'm not exactly proficient with it myself... I usually take an afternoon to click myself through every setting to make sure I miss nothing ;)
    The main things that seem important for you are MC Population and MC Pregnancy. I'd recommend whenever it asks for "bypassing played households" to do that, to make absolutely sure nothing happens to your families.
    Even more important: "Days to run checks" (found under "Pregnant Sim selection" and "Marriage Sim selection") means that you have to specify on which in-game days MCC will roll for random NPC pregnancies and NPC marriages. Select no days -> no pregnancies will happen. :) Most of the other settings are for specifying what kinds of random pregnancies are allowed, so you can probably ignore these. Still I'd recommend looking at every setting, just to be sure.

    Also, your thought to test the settings in a non-important save seems like a good idea.
    Warning: Once you have MCC enabled it'll be active in each of your save files. So be aware of that when you open your "real" save while testing the settings. This can be changed using the MCC profiler, but I have no experience with it myself.

    Hope this helps! :)
    | Amelia Britton - A Lifetime of Sims || Louise Aldrich - A Year-Long Challenge |
    time zone: Berlin, Germany - EA Gallery ID: Noctuara
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    Thank you @miss_eulenauge ! This is very helpful.
  • miss_eulenaugemiss_eulenauge Posts: 250 Member
    @GlacierSnow Glad I was helpful.

    As for your other question: "Pause" does just that - literally "freeze" the Sim's pregnancy. E.g. one of my Sims is pregnant right now and has the moodlet for "2nd trimester in three hours". I think, if I paused her pregnancy, she'd keep this moodlet like it is until I unpause it. Whether or not the moodlet stays, she would stay in the first trimester until I unpause, at which point the remaining three hours of her first trimester would start.

    In school we played a "pause" game once, where as soon as the teacher yelled "pause" we had to stand very still and not move at all until they yelled "unpause". Essentially, that's what MCC does when it pauses the pregnancy. The pregnancy gets frozen in time and nothing about it changes until you unpause / unfreeze. (I know this probably doesn't make much sense, but yeah...)
    | Amelia Britton - A Lifetime of Sims || Louise Aldrich - A Year-Long Challenge |
    time zone: Berlin, Germany - EA Gallery ID: Noctuara
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    @miss_eulenauge Do you happen to know if the paused pregnancy will stay paused even if you switch households? Or, does it revert to normal progression if you switch to another household? This is part of my dilemma in the SimLit story I am writing since it has multiple POVs.
  • miss_eulenaugemiss_eulenauge Posts: 250 Member
    @GlacierSnow It stays paused as far as I know. Would be a good thing to test though since you'd want to be 110% sure. ;)
    | Amelia Britton - A Lifetime of Sims || Louise Aldrich - A Year-Long Challenge |
    time zone: Berlin, Germany - EA Gallery ID: Noctuara
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,429 Member
    @miss_eulenauge I'll do that. :smile: Thanks for your help!
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,022 Member
    edited May 14
    I understand that this thread has not been interacted with in a long time, but considering it's an FAQ and a place for questions, advice and discussion I figure I can post here without it being considered a necropost. If people take issue with me posting this here, tell me and I'll delete it. Anyhow...

    Since people looking on this thread are likely here for ideas on where to start, I've been making some guides to my own SimLit process that I think might be helpful to other people. I figured given the point of this thread, I ought to maybe share them here:

    . Screenshot Editing Guide - A guide on how I achieve particular effects on my screenshots, mostly using the free program GIMP. It also covers simple things like brightness/contrast and colour overlays, lowering file size, batch-editing and such. It was originally designed for players who have no access to ReShade or mods (there is a small section involving useful CC or mods now), and designed for those who don't have much experience with art processing programs. ReShade is not covered here, since plenty of other Simmers have covered it in much better detail than I can.

    . SimLit writing guide - A guide for both new and experienced writers on various approaches to SimLit. This is designed for all kinds of writers, whether you write challenges, commentary-style or narrative-style (or a combination). It covers creating characters, ways to build on or develop storylines, things to think about when starting out, various bits of advice and a few useful programs as well. It also covers more in-depth topics, like my world-building process. Much like the 2016 FAQ at the start of this thread, it's designed to cover all different approaches to writing SimLit. Instead of telling you what to do and how to do it, it gives you things to think about and various approaches.

    . I am in the process of writing a huge page of 'questions to ask your character' as an aid in developing them for a story; I'll add that here once I'm finished with it.
    'Since I have no idea what part of my life will be the middle, I've decided to have an ongoing crisis.'
    - she/her or they/them -
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