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Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - Printable Version

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Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - phoebe91 - 13-09-2009 08:33 AM

Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies


Welcome to my next tutorial, on writing and picture tips for stories and legacies. I’m converting this from my Sims 2 version on my site, and I’m also copying some explanation too, since it’s not worth it writing the same thing again. So, here it goes!

Whether it is you are looking to start a legacy/sim story or you just want some tips to improve, I am here to share some of my tips that I recommend doing.

What is a legacy?

A legacy is where one sim family is played over generations, passing on genes, money, and whatever else. The key number of generations is 5-10, although it has been known to get beyond that number. The “official” rules for legacies at located at the official Sims 3 Website, although you obviously don’t have to follow those cheat-free, hack-free (Well, for the most part) rules =D

What is a Sim Story?

A Sim Story is anything you make of it! My take of it is a story, usually told with a set number of sims, where you write a story with pictures from The Sims 2. It’s almost like a children’s book with all of the pictures. Also, YOU tell the story, not your sims like in a legacy. But sometimes, legacies get told in a type of “story” mode, which is perfectly fine also.
No matter what you choose, it is always awesome. However, when your story or legacy gets read by a picky reader, they may not read another update due to the pictures or the writing. So, I am here to share some of my picture and writing tips that will surely get some more readers!

Picture Tips

Pictures could make or break a story or a legacy for some picky people. For some, all of these problems could have them turning away from your good legacy! Now, sometimes I don’t even follow these suggestions (as you can see in my own pictures) so it isn’t like you have to follow any of these. But maybe you will want to take these to heart so they are worth mentioning.

Problem: PlumbBob and Headlines

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/1.jpg[/img]

See those bubble and plumbob? That could be awkward for a story.

The classic PlumbBob. Seeing it can tell us what character we have chosen to play. The speech bubbles give us a general idea of what’s going on. However, the pickiest people have a thing against both of these. In a legacy setting, I really don’t see a problem with it, especially if it isn’t told “story style” However, in a sim story, it may not be welcomed. But if you want to either make your pictures look “better” in a legacy or sim story, you’ll have to get rid of them.

Solution: Use a Cheat

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/2.jpg[/img]

Now that the plumbbob and headlines are gone, its so much nicer, yes? You don't even see the white part that means a bubble!

Well, just like TS2, there’s a cheat to get rid of this little problem. Just do CTRL + SHIFT + C to bring up the cheat menu, and type in hideHeadlineEffects [on/off] (use on to activate). It will get rid of the speech bubbles, plumbobs, and skill meters. However, with this on, it may not bring up announcements telling you about the school bus and carpools, so be careful with it.

Problem: Low Graphics

I don’t know why, but sometimes people would like to see a good story with good, clear pictures, than just a good story.

Solution: …

The way TS3 was built, you can’t just temporarily change the graphics for a single picture, then change them back. So you could *try* to push your computer to get higher graphics for a single play period, and then revert them back to your normal settings once your done taking pictures, but most likely it’ll cause more headaches than solve anything because it’ll crash.

So what I’d do is choose your shots carefully to hopefully not highlight any graphic deficiencies. Like if your grass is just a solid green, try to not point down. Low tree graphics? Avoid trees. Honestly, it’s the best you can do without upgrading your computer.

Problem: Walls

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/3.jpg[/img]

Yikes, what if someone was gardening back there? Not to mention, we can never see through walls in real life.

Those stinking walls! When you play, they get in the way. When you take pictures, they get in the way! But instead of having them down and taking the picture of your family playing foosball and seeing some weird guy going to the bathroom two rooms down or like in the picture, having two people watch TV, and you can see outside, there’s a technique to this.

Solution: Camera Mode

When you press TAB when you play, all of a sudden, all of the things on the bottom go away. There is a trick to using this mode. First, before you hit tab, put the walls up and pause the game to where you want it. When you’re ready, press Tab. Now, you want to get as close to the action as possible! Using the keyboard, move the camera around to get to the right spot to take that perfect picture! Here are the keys:

Q: Move Down
E: Move Up
W: Move Forward
S: Move Back
A: Move Left
D: Move Right
Z: Zoom In
X: Zoom Out

NB: The Q and E key literally brings you up and down, either higher to the ceiling or closer to the floor.

After messing with all of these, you can get right into that kiss, making you feel like you’re there. This mode is also very helpful to get those close up shots on toddlers and other things that are really tiny. The other good thing about this mode is that it makes anything transparent solid so your stairs and ceiling lights won’t be see through. Also the rabbit-hole buildings are solidified as well.

Of course, your angle is never going to be perfect. But the key thing to remember is to be relatively eye level with your sims. Don’t look down on them or up at them, causing some weird angles (Unless if it’s on purpose Tongue). Also, don’t zoom out too much, because that looks weird (again, unless if you do it on purpose for an effect). But sometimes, you might have to, like the bathroom scenes. You make the bathrooms for your sims, not for the room to take pictures, so those angles tend to be odd in the first place.

To give you an idea of what the angles would be like, here are some pictures:

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/4.jpg[/img]
[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/5.jpg[/img]

Both of these pictures are unnatural. If there was a story attached to this, we wouldn't feel a part of this. The only reason to use one of these angles would be for a specific effect on a story, but normally it isn't recommended.

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/6.jpg[/img]

This is a good zoomed-in view. We can see that the character is looking at the homework, and we can see that he has huge eyes. He's probably dreading it. This would bring us into the story

Also, you don’t have to play with the walls up. Just remember to put them up for a picture.

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/7.jpg[/img]

Ah, now it looks normal.

See, if I had just put the walls up in the first picture, it would make it look more real, and realism is usually the key in stories.

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/8.jpg[/img]

Also another zoomed in photo, as well as the stairs being solid.

And in this picture, if we were just close to it, the stairs would be transparent, but since I was in camera mode, they were solid.

Problem: Lighting

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/9.jpg[/img]

Can she even see what's going on?

This is actually more of a problem in TS3 than it was in the previous game. If you are playing full screen, the whole thing might be dark in the pictures. Also, if you don’t have enough windows in a room, it tends to be darker than you need it, so it is pretty much makes lights a requirement. But in stories, and even legacies, it’s nice to see a nice, lighted shot… unless if it’s supposed to be dark.

Solution: Add Lights, Windows, and play in Windowed Mode

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/10.jpg[/img]

Oooh, there's the little ball!

The most basic solution is to add windows. If that doesn’t help, add lights. Ceiling lights are more likely to light up the whole room while wall, floor, and table lights will only light up a portion.

If your sims can’t afford it, well then it also has a symbolic message: That they are broke. And don’t forget that you can always move the lights around for just a couple of shots! You can also just buy lights to put in the background to create a different mood in the room.

[img width=600 height=504]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/11.jpg[/img]

That'll be hard on anyone's eyes. It was Print Screened since my ingame camera took normal pictures.

If you take pictures, and no matter how you take them, they come out dark, it’s because you are in full screen mode. I don’t know WHY, but its how EAxis screwed it up. So the only way is to go under your options and play in windowed mode. Sometimes this only happens when you Print Screen your window though, and then you should check your Lighting and Shadows settings.

Problem: Small Pictures

[Image: 12.jpg]

I can't see anything!

Honestly, unless if you upload to TS3 website (and even then they aren’t that small), this isn’t much of a problem anymore. The pictures are like, screen size xD However, I have seen some people resize them WAAAY too much.

Solution: Don’t resize so much

[img width=600 height=450]http://dreamy-stars.com/sims/tuts/sims3/pictips/13.jpg[/img]

Much Better!

On SimsForums, it resizes it for you. So don’t even bother! But if you upload elsewhere, resizing it to 600x450px is a good size, and the size that SimsForums uses. Anything around there is good too. But the point is to not resize to the point we can barely see the image and we need a magnify glass to see it.

Writing Tips

Now, I know for a fact that writing can annoy a lot of people very quickly. Now, I won’t tell you how to write, because I’m not a professional about it either. But I will give you little tips to help the writing part.

Chat speak

What two wonderful words. You find that you are always loling on your phone and the forums, perhaps you’ll brb? Or maybe you know 133k or whatever it was again. Well, if your English teachers won’t let you use it in a paper, you shouldn’t use it in a legacy or a story. While no one will hassle you for using the occasional chat speak in regular legacies, a whole story in it could get annoying. But it is always better to spell out words than to abbreviate them. But of course, if your character literally says LOL, well, then of course it’s okay!

Spelling and Grammar

No one is perfect at either, I even stink at it! But spell check and grammar check could be your best friend! On Firefox, there’s even a spell check built into it! But you could always copy what you are writing into a program that has it, or just write it on there.

Capitalization and Punctuation

Always, always, always obey those capitalization and punctuation rules! If someone sees someone not following the rules too many times, they may just turn their heads. Of course, accidents happen, but don’t make a habit of it. People will take you more serious if you follow the rules in the real world, so why not just carry that thought over?


With all of these tips, your head must be spinning! Now, while I’m not as picky as others (I will read anyone’s story or legacy, I just may not comment on it), I know there are some that are extremely picky. But with all of these tips, I’m sure you can at least take some and at least try them out for yourself. I know I could also follow some of these!

Please leave any comments or suggestions! As said before, I'd love to improve these tutorials.

Re: Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - saminsim - 13-09-2009 10:40 AM

Phoebe, you are on fire for tutorials.  Wink

Thankyou so much for this. It will be so much help for when I start my legacy.

You deserve this. Karma.

Re: Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - phoebe91 - 13-09-2009 07:27 PM

Aw, I'm glad it will help you! Thank you for the karma!

And thanks for whoever gave this its stickeh status xD

Re: Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - Majick - 14-09-2009 09:07 AM

Your tutorials are awesome, Phoebe Smile  And, it was me x3  Hehe.  I thought it deserved to be Sticky'd since it would be so helpful Smile

Re: Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - phoebe91 - 14-09-2009 10:07 AM

Aw, thanks! You should stickeh the custom content one as well *wink wink*

Re: Writing and Picture Tips for Stories and Legacies - Majick - 14-09-2009 10:08 AM

I wonder ... x3