Dear fellow Sim addicts, I'm having lots of fun building and playing off the grid but we all know that it isn't working as intended (yet) -or that it works in a way that is dissimilar from how we are used to play our Sims.
I want to share and hopefully hear from other players how they deal with the challenge of this special gameplay. Feel free to post your observations and tips, I will add it to the list!
Explanation for those who haven't tried that playstyle: Off The Grid (lot trait!):
no electricity, no conventional plumbing/running water:
What it means: nothing in the buy catalogue that depends on above amenities will work and there's an extra note under the item descriptions, mainly in the appliances, electronics and lighting categories, that tell the player what 'works off the grid'
Note: some items aren't labeled correctly and a lot of activities items (some obvious, some less obvious), depend on the grid!
List of items that should work but don't
(but hopefully will be fixed):
+ Washtub for clothes from the Laundry Day gamepack (you can use it once, then the water is dirty and you can't change it. Which I count as NOT working). Until this is resolved it is better to play without producing dirty clothes.
+ Various oil lamps and some of the candles, especially in the ceiling category.
Items that work but in an unusual/puzzling way:
Well, most of them!
+ The stoves
that do work aren't working like they would on a regular lot, there are restrictions. Stoves run on gas or wood but the baking part of the item is non functional and the food is poor quality.
There are only two stove meal options: grilled cheese and eggs with toast.
The grill offers eight (!) options.
There is (according to the bug report forum and my own experiences) a known bug that can occur with Herbalism
: it is an option, not greyed out; the Sim will start to cook, it's on the stove and uses the ingredients but they do not finish and whenever the Sim is commanded to resume the remedy the action discontinues and only throwing it away works to get rid of the pot and free the stove.
Edit to stoves:
the stoves won't work without a refrigerator to supply the ingredients. None of the refridgerators are labled to work OTG - found out the trial and error way that the 'ICEBox Vintage Refrigerator' does work - they forgot to add that helpful little hint in the descirption. @CelSims
added that ALL fridges should work - probably another bug. It's an infestation^^
Handiness skill is key! If your sim has the skill or you have them learn (level 4 is required for most of the needed upgrades), they can update the item which will improve the quality of the food and keep the item clean(er); additionally the oven does not break as often if you take the third option as well.
+ Some of the (mostly cheap) showers, sinks and toilets
work but require extra steps to operate like flushing them with as little water as possible and they get subsequently (less water -> less cleanly) dirty - and can't be cleaned! Again, this can be solved/lessened by updating the item with handiness skill.
+ Your cell phones
(and why are they working at all long term, how do the sims reload them without electricity?) while they have the basic talk/messsage options - they lack a connection to the internet!
You can't buy the parts you need for handiness as a result.
You cannot apply for a job.
You cannot update your social status and related actions.
Solution: Visit a library for a computer or a community lot to mooch off the web! BUT: tuning/electronic/plumbing parts and other order options like the crackers are still not available - They appear on your own business lot again.
+ Dirty dishes can't be cleaned in the sink. It seems to be a feature that emphasises the lack of available water. The Sim has to be asked to throw them away, otherwise they litter the house. Which.... hm, creates lots of trash instead, doesn't it? Instead of reusing - not environment frienly at all.
Update: (Thank you @CelSims
for the info): "You can wash dishes in the sinks labelled as off the grid. If you cannot there are two reasons. One, the sink is dirty. Two, there is a bug that lots with the trait dont recognize there is a sink available. I got this bug on one lot but not on others."
Gameplay strategies, tricks and work arounds
Main strategy: It's unavailable - search for it somewhere else in the SimWorld! Some of these kind of solutions feel natural -like visiting a regular lot for services you don't get on the home lot. It's a little bit like visiting the public pool because you can't afford or have the space to build one on your own lot. How often this happens is a question of play style authenticity. It might look riddiculous to travel somewhere else every evening before Simbedtime because your Sim wants to soak in a tub, hm? Unless your Sim is a professional mooch^^
Or, buy a business and use that lot on the grid for everything your home lot lacks. This is a strategy that may feel like cheating because it goes against either the ingame story financial restrictions of the philosophical lifestyle of the character you play.
+The appliance related restricted meal options cause trouble with fullfilling holiday requirements BUT: Info by @LadyKyn
: the BBQ pit makes it possible to create feasts and they count!
: very helpful but a lot more difficult to accomplish than on a regular lot. Learning by reading the handiness books is easy and don't forget the woodworking table (@plainevil
pointed it out). You can't order parts on your OTG lot and it is not available on a community lot on laptops there either. It is on your own business lot, but that requires simleons your sim might not possess or might not want to spend for soleily the purpose of getting plumbing parts. Buying and taking apart items to gain needed repairparts is equaly iffy and time consuming. Other sources for parts are rummaging in rubish and 'stealing' via demolishing on community and business lots.
There are a lot of roleplay options to get around this restrictions: for example: move in a new houehold member temporarily who has stockpiled the needed parts before the move and play it like they are a hired handiman or a friend visiting and delivering asked for resources and placing them in a chest. Or have your Sim plan ahead with a pitstop on a regular lot before moving on to his OTG destination.
Or (thank you @Plainevil)
you might remmeber that your laptops are portable and carry them to a community lot, where it will work perfectly!
Generally this sort of playstyle requires more patience and forces you to plan ahead. It takes more time out of the Simday to accomplish goals than usually. It is great for immersion but can be frustrating because sometimes the restrictions hit out of the left field and it is harder to keep the character satisfied.
Items that are very handy on a second look:
+The cooler boxes aren't refrigerators but they look appropriate if you go for the survivalist and/or poor look and they provide some nourishment like yoghurt.
+The vendor table from the Jungle Adventure Pack works as storage for everything - and as someone who has done the fleamarket routine in real life, I know that a tiny cooler box can fit underneath easily. The tables are fairly big items, but feel more appropriate than stuffing meals & produce into a wood chest. They also keep the meals and fish fresh - instead of hours it will take days for them to spoil.
Wish list and ideas for the Gurus and Devs:
1)Updated/correctly labeled off-the-grid items in the buy catalogue
2)A search function for all items with the off the grid label
3)Laundry Day items working like they logically should! Or give us the tools to create laundry saloons with the ability to carry the dirty clothes to a community lot.
4)Add baking, maybe as an additional handiness update; I have baked with a wood/gas oven, it is possible.
Items that would either look great with the theme or even might provide some additional/restricted functionality (maybe these can be added in form of a stuff pack, pretty please?)
1) solar panels
2) functioning wells
4) handheld juice maker
5) nektar making! It would fit the theme perfectly.
6) free standing bike to create a little bit of electricity additionally to fitness
Purely cosmetic touches/inspirations/ideas
+Add a well to create the illusion of Sims being able to collect clean water.
+We can build our own water reservois! The new elevation option for individual (free standing and not connected to other buildings) allows us to create convincing ones (more or less ^^). Add some pipes and you can create the illusion of rainwater being used.
Pic of the lot I'm playing atm:
Separate list of bugs that interfer a lot, especially with OTG gameplay, that might occur:
+Sinks: no washing the dishes option (seems to vary from lot to lot).
+Sinks: get dirty and subsequently unable to be cleaned despite selfcleaning update.
+Stoves: herbalism may not be working correctly, the Sim starts to brew but does not finish and can't resume the task.
I'm looking forward to other players' experiences and ideas!