|Things have been rough for the Haiders. They've always lived in poverty without much hope or opportunity to progress up the social ladder. Will SimVille open up a few doors for them?|
|Lot||The Grey Lofts|
|Game||The Sims 2|
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The Haider family is a family in SimVille.
Original MTS postEdit
So, a little story to tell: Last week I had the week off from my summer job (I mentioned my seasonal job in my post about the Kovax family), so I figured I would get working on my SimVille project again, given the fact that I had so little time to play the game for about an entire month.[n 1]
Well, get this: time flies. I came home on Saturday. Sunday I had church. Monday I had to go downtown for some business. Tuesday and Wednesday I worked on my custom content catalog. I only started to write this on Thursday. Now it's Sunday and I'm finishing this up quickly before I have to go. Man, time sure does fly by...
...and Thursday was a big loss of time as well. I installed the Windows 10 Creators Update onto my laptop, which sucked up 90+ minutes of my day. To my dismay, The Sims 2 wouldn't boot up after the update was finished (This happened with the Anniversary Update as well), but I wasn't keen on rolling back the update, so I tried to uninstall the game... which didn't work because the uninstallers wouldn't even start up. So I had to manually uninstall the whole darn game.[n 2] Then I had to reinstall the entire game, which actually went by smoothly; only problem was that it took a lot of time. Install the patches (installing the University patch is a nightmare that needs GrumpyLoader and Tylenol to get through... thank goodness I have Double Deluxe and BG/NL which are already patched), restore my user data and my custom content from backup, configure my graphics rules settings to get the game's graphics to behave on my laptop, small tweaks here and there, and then testing (with fingers crossed!) the game to see if it worked. It worked, thankfully... but I was spent.
Anyways, enough blathering. Hopefully the SimVille project can continue with...
The Haider Family
Things have been rough for the Haiders. They've always lived in poverty without much hope or opportunity to progress up the social ladder. Will SimVille open up a few doors for them?
Recently SimVille has been flooded with a wave of immigrants from poor backgrounds. While they're not exactly slums, the apartments they live in are small and overcrowded, and the family sizes are often huge, with lots of children placing great burden on the parents, who find it difficult to earn a living while simultaneously caring for them. The Haiders happen to be one of those families, and while they're not necessarily starving, they don't have much to hope for.
Poverty is a theme I have been exploring in The Sims recently, and the Haiders were the first family I created under this theme. I may create some more Sims with this theme someday, which should change SimVille from being thought of as a relatively middle-class-to-wealthy town to one inhabited by poor, large, and financially unstable families. SimVille is going through a change—will the existing residents be able to bounce back, or will they flee the town to escape the influx?
Allan's a hard worker, but he's not particularly specialized in anything. He can do a wide variety of jobs, but hasn't mastered any of them.
Jack of all trades, master of none. That's what describes Allan, who's no stranger of working long, tedious hours for low pay, no benefits, and little hope of ever advancing up the career ladder. That is just part of the reality that Sims living in the dark, almost unseen side of SimNation have to face every single day. Allan is a high school dropout, has virtually nothing of value to show for in his résumé, and has never really had a real job.
Things haven't been all gloom and doom, though; he managed to get a glorious job mixing cement in SimVille, and just recently got promoted to the brick layer position in the Architecture career. It's tedious work, and he's frequently tired, sore, and hungry at just about every hour of the day, but he's happy that his family is seeing some form of progression, no matter how small.
I must warn you, however: I have a little note regarding this Sim inside my little "TS2 notes.txt" file. Someday you'll see what that note says. Someday...
Life has been "work work work" for Alisha since she was born. She's forgotten what it means to be free.
Work can quickly become a prison: it always needs to be done, and you will always lose time from your day doing it. Both Sims and humans in the real world have methods of leaving this prison, whether it be a hobby we like doing, or a group of friends we like to hang out with, or a vacation, or even just quality time with family members. For Alisha, however, finding time to rest and play has always been a challenge. Her mother was fairly strict with her as a child: she, along with her siblings, were up early in the morning and stayed up late at night, either cleaning the house, cooking meals for the family, doing their homework, or washing the clothes. There was virtually no time left over after all their chores for them to have any fun. Alisha finds herself stuck in that same circle again in adulthood... will SimVille be able to change that?
It sort of did. Alisha has a tad bit more free time now than she ever did during her childhood and adolescence, and her neighbours frequently invite her and her family to join them on the roof of the apartment for hamburgers and music. Still, work has been so engrained into Alisha's flesh that her focus is stuck on work from the moment she wakes up to the second before she drifts asleep. Alisha believes that hard work brings wealth, and it does... but if it's the only thing on one's mind, it can also bring poverty in a different form.
Uh oh! Looks like Alex has outgrown her roots, and now there isn't enough room in the family for her! How will she fare as the oldest sibling in the house?
Nobody ever said it was easy being the oldest sibling. Alex had always been tasked with the responsibility of caring for her younger brothers and sisters once they started popping out of the oven. Rumour has it that Allan and Alisha want a fifth child, so that's going to be even more work! But having another sibling is the least of Alex's worries, for the apartment is simply getting way too crowded for all of them to live in. The kids already have to sleep on couches and recliners, and if the new baby comes out, someone's gonna be sleeping in the corridor. With Alex being the eldest and the most experienced, chances are her parents will expect her to willingly sacrifice her spot on the couch for the new arrival. Unsurprisingly, she's not very happy with any of that. But then again, she's old enough to live on her own, isn't she?! She's a teen now, not a baby anymore. She can go find her own place if she wanted to!
Alex has a fairly lukewarm relationship with her family members except for her mother, even though she's still angry at her for even thinking about having another baby. While Allan's a family Sim and would rather have Alex stay (Maybe they'll take turns sleeping[n 3]), Alisha might decide it would be better if Alex really did find her own place, not just because there would be one less mouth to feed, but also because the apartment really is too crowded for all of them to live in. Alex needs space, she figures, and if she's able to save enough on her own to rent her own apartment, then let her go.
Robby has big dreams but small opportunities. He's a huge hip-hop enthusiast, but it would seem that much of SimNation's hip-hop scene is located underground.
Hip hop's been very influential throughout the years, and Robby sure has been influenced by it. He longs for an opportunity to build up his creativity skill, get noticed, get signed to a label, and start pursuing his dreams of being a hip-hop artist. While SimNation has tolerated the presence of hip-hop, what with countless radio stations pumping out the genre into the airwaves around the country, it has also seen its share of suppressing the culture and the art, the communities that spring up because of it. These days, hip-hop music is generally discouraged more than banned or forbidden; Robby's friends at school all love hip-hop, and while they don't get in trouble for it, they can certainly sense their principal's disapproval over the beats and the breakings[n 4] that draw crowds during recess.
Hip-hop also has a pretty bad vibe in general among the wealthy in SimNation. Many rich Sims view hip-hop as an "invention of the poor" and don't affiliate themselves with the culture at all. While it's not illegal, police are often asked by the wealthy to chase hip-hop artists and dancers off the streets. Hip-hop programs for youth are in exceedingly short supply, and most artists and enthusiasts practice underground, often inside private homes. This has made it very difficult for Robby to chase his dreams. Combined with the fact that he's poor and that his family has no voice, he has virtually no avenues of pursuing change in the country.
Crystal dreams of being the head chef of a five-star restaurant someday. For now, the most she can do is be assistant chef in mom's kitchen.
Alisha needs a hand in the kitchen, and what better helping hand is there than someone who wants to be a chef themselves? While the most Alex and Robby can make are grilled cheese sandwiches, Crystal has her eyes on the prize—head chef of an exquisite restaurant! Like Robby, however, the fact that she's poor automatically excludes her from the road to the top, as many cooking classes charge an exorbitant sum for enrollment. Still, every time her parents make mac and cheese or lunch meat sandwiches or tuna casserole or just plain old breakfast cereal, the gears in her head get turning about how she could make mealtimes far more interesting. Would maple syrup go well with buttered noodles? What about chocolate sprinkles on meat loaf? Pineapples and mashed potatoes? Can you use avocados in soup? A chef lives within her, and she needs an opportunity to hone her skills... alas, there's none.
Paddy's not very sociable, but in his mind, he wishes that he could break out of his shell more easily.
Paddy's the shiest face in the family, but whenever he misses an opportunity to hang out with a friend, he kicks himself in the chin. Paddy wants to be more sociable like his siblings, but at the last minute he finds it more comfortable to slink back and let his family do the talking. When he's not lamenting about his social skills (or lack thereof), he's wishing he had an easel to paint with. Ever since he saw Amar's "paintography"[n 5], he's been wanting to try his hand at painting. Paddy's predestined hobby is Arts and Crafts, and like his siblings, he wants an opportunity to engage himself in an art and skill! Unfortunately, like his siblings, those opportunities are out of reach... at least, if he wanted to go to art school. FreeTime Recreation Center has some easels he can paint with, but his family's new here, so they still don't know much about the opportunities they do have. Still, the schools in SimNation could use a serious boost in funding... and a drastic change in their philosophy about "inner city kids".
Even without arts and crafts, though, Paddy is comfortable with what he has already—his siblings.
The Haiders live in The Grey Lofts apartments, a slightly modified version of the City Center Lofts apartment that shipped with Apartment Life. It's a pretty cheap lot, but it does offer a home for its tenants.
The Haiders live on the first floor up from the ground. Their apartment is pretty small, too small for all of them to fit in. There is only one bedroom, a bathroom, a closet, and a small living room/kitchen combo. The Haiders have a computer, but there's no room for a TV.
The roof of the building has a bar which, thanks to the Apartments and Shopping, on the same Lot! mod, is staffed by a bartender 24/7. Sims are welcome to order a drink, poured or blended, right here at home. There's a stereo that serves as a great breaking, slap dancing, and hula dancing spot. There are a few tables and chairs and a grill for hamburgers and hot dogs. In short, it's not too bad up here—if you like your neighbours.
The ground floor is very sparse, but at least there's a playground here.
A brief glimpse of life in the Haider family
There's only one bed, which is reserved for the breadwinners of the household. The kids sleep on couches and recliners, like the Days. Fortunately there's enough for everyone, so nobody has to take turns sleeping.
Alisha and Allan are the first ones up. Since the kids sleep in the living room/kitchen area, alarm clocks aren't necessary for waking them up; all the parents have to do is start making breakfast, and the kids are up in a flash.
There's no dining table in the apartment, so the Haiders eat off their laps.
Today's a Tuesday, and Allan needs to be at work by 8AM. His body is still sore from working all day yesterday, and he's still hungry from the light cereal, which was never enough to fill his stomach adequately. Work means money, however, and even though he gets paid peanuts for his job, it's still enough to make ends meet.
At 8AM, the school bus arrives. The Haider kids aren't honour roll students, and while they do their best in school to learn, the fact that they sleep on recliners and couches means that they don't have an incredible lot of energy during the day. School grades in SimNation, as do school grades in the real world, are not an accurate representation of how much a kid learns, and don't take into account factors outside of the school (which I think schools should totally do). Still, with the help of cheats I make sure they're never low enough for the social worker to pay the family a visit.
Alisha doesn't work until 5PM... but that doesn't mean she can just sit around.
She does stop for lunch, though. Leftover cereal, anyone? Like the Torres, the Haiders save up every little bit of food they make and eat it for later. It sometimes results in different family members eating different foods at mealtimes, but hey, as long as they're getting fed, it's all good.
Alex gets home by one. Alisha slips out to buy some groceries. Alex blows off some steam by gaming on the computer for a bit.
If Alex's gonna move out, she's gonna have to find a job first! Unfortunately there aren't any suitable job offerings today.
Robby, Crystal, and Paddy get home by 3. The roundabout is a favourite of the children, and they'll ride it until they throw up. Who needs roller coasters when you have this dizzying ride that you can hop on for free?
Allan's also home by 3, and he is spent! Laying bricks all day has him covered in dirt and dust, so he fancies a hot shower first.
Alisha works from 5 to 9 as a Drive Through Clerk in the Culinary career. Teen pranks, hungry commuters, and timers that all seem to go off simultaneously await her.
Allan prepares a meal for the kids to eat.
Couches and recliners don't offer much energy, so any time lost from sleep is valuable time wasted.
Allan goes to bed too.
Alisha's home by 9, smelling like burgers and fries. She takes a well-deserved shower from all that hard work.
The Haiders are a family that's locked into a cycle of work, work, and more work, with no sense of progression. Allan and Alisha don't make much during the day, Alex has difficulty finding a job, and the landlord takes most of their earnings in the form of rent every week. Whatever's left over is spent on groceries and any other expenses they may incur during the week. By the looks of it, the Haider kids are probably going to be stuck doing what their parents did once they grow up. And their kids. And the kids of their kids. It's that or a life of crime, and with no way out, the latter seems almost appealing to the one desperate for freedom. It doesn't have to be this way, but as long as the stigma and the budget cuts and the flawed philosophy is there, no permanent change will ever happen.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more!
The following images were processed but cut from the final version of the forum post.
- ↑ Okay, it was usually because I was too tired. I work as a summer day camp counsellor, and I'm surrounded by children for most of the day. While I'm fine with kids, they sure do tire me out by the end of the day.
- ↑ I followed http://simswiki.info/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Uninstall and https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:1pr8nOl0MJoJ:https://help.origin.com/da-dk/help/the-sims/the-sims-2/manual-uninstall-for-sims-2-expansion-and-stuff-packs+&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca to do this. It involves deleting all of the game's files and folders manually, as well as deleting the registry keys manually (which was brutal as I could not make a mistake!).
- ↑ The boys in the Day family do that already... as do some overcrowded prisons.
- ↑ Most people call it "breakdancing", but "b-boying" and "breaking" are the terms preferred by pioneers and practitioners.
- ↑ Click here if you don't know about Amar's "paintography" yet.