SNAFU (situation normal, all f***ed up)
The beginning- Decisions, roadblocks, and frustrations abound…
A/N- Reading the Building an Apocalypse chapters is entirely optional. They have absolutely no information story-wise. You can easily move from the Without a Compass Epilogue to the SNAFU prologue and happily skip over all of my yammering! There’s a lot of it. There may also be some spoilers. You have been warned!
A few weeks ago I was looking through the list of neighborhoods on Sims 2 when I saw one named Victory. I really have no idea why I forgot about it. I guess I thought I’d lost it. I’ve been so focused on my unfinished Sims 2 stories that a finished one wasn’t even on my radar. So, I went in and looked at the houses and families and community lots and just sat bawling. So many memories! I make no secret of my discontent of being unable to settle on any one thing long enough to complete it. This was something I did complete and one that I’m extremely proud of. Yet the ‘hood is forgotten and the story is pretty much hidden unless you’re flipping through my completed stories menu on my main blog site.
The Sims 2 Apocalypse Challenge… a modified version but difficult nonetheless. Here it is in case you’re bored and want to read it. I never gave it a catchy name but I did originally name the neighborhood Terminus. (I will warn you that it’s missing links to the next chapter on some of them. At some point, I’ll have to go on there and fix them.) So, at first, I was thinking of doing the challenge on Sims 2 again. Nostalgia hit hard. This was one of the reasons I worked so hard to re-write the Build a City Challenge rules for Sims 4. I’d loved building that town from the ground up! So much so that I’d started the Sims 2 BaCC after finishing the Apocalypse one… then my laptop died.
I don’t think I know how to do the long story short thing so bear with me. Ever since Pinstar released the rules for the Sims 4 Apocalypse Challenge I’ve been itching to do it but personally, I feel like an apocalypse with no nuclear winter or zombies is lame. I did at one time attempt the Sims 3 version before Sims 4 came out. Back then, I was very very new to challenges. I didn’t know anything about making a strategy. Surprisingly, I did manage to get through the first generation. In the scraps of chapters that I did write I kept saying over and over again that I didn’t know if I wanted to keep doing it. Seriously, I’d only done a legacy, runaway teen, and part of the 100 baby challenge at that point. I had no idea that it was pretty much the ultimate challenge. The creme de la creme of challenges.
This challenge is so complicated the rules are on a wiki! The Sims 3 Apocalypse Challenge Rules take up over 50 pages! There are 20 clears and several optional clears plus ending requirements. There are handicaps and advantages to choose. There are countless ways to get a higher score. And within each of the 20 clears, there are different options to which way you can clear them. Each of the 20 clears has associated restrictions… hence the strategy. Unlike the first time I attempted it, you can choose which your founder will clear first. If you plan right you can make things much easier moving on… at least that’s my hope. Which is part of what I’ve been doing since finding that Sims 2 ‘hood. Reading and rereading those rules. Trying to get a grasp of them. Trying to decide what it is I can live without longer. Almost an entire notebook full of notes. So many spreadsheet charts and documents listing this thing or that.
Then there was the very long and exhausting search for a ‘hood to play it in. You might have figured out by now I always play in custom ‘hoods. The only EA ‘hood I’ve spent an extended period of time in was Bridgeport… and recently Lunar Lakes with Tessen. So, of course, I searched and searched for custom ‘hoods. I figured there’d be tons of them. Not so. There’s a few by Rflong7 that would have worked… Ice Base and Industrial Island. I trust her builds as her Legacy Island was the ‘hood I’ve played the longest in of any. But, Ice Base is well, icy. In my mind, I picture the landscape slowly reemerging as things are getting better post-apocalypse. Having the nuclear winter continue makes that impossible. Industrial Island was neat but just so flat and tidy. I pictured a community surrounded by mountains hidden there and cowering… I know, I’m so dramatic. There were a few apocalypse worlds that would have been great story-wise but how would I know if they’d even placed spawners? It was obvious they were created solely for story-telling. Then, there was Viper Valley and Rattlesnake Ridge both were built solely for the challenge. I looked at RR first. I really liked it a lot. After seeing it Viper Valley left much to be desired. It was too regimented. Not what I could see as optimal for story-telling purposes. And though I write mostly commentary style… for something like this I do plan to have a bit of a story throughout. The challenge just screams story!
So, I was decided on Rattlesnake Ridge. But, I was very confused by several unfinished lots. Why were they there? It took so much searching. Finding anything for Sims 3 is like pulling teeth it’s all old and buried and the links are almost always wrong. First, I found a forum thread announcing that it was complete. It mentioned some tombs but had no further explanation. At that time I thought perhaps the creator wasn’t English-speaking and tombs were another word for lots. I see odd translations all the time that I have to figure out replacement words for so it’s not so far-fetched. The thought never occurred to me that they literally meant tombs… like world adventure ones. I was set on the decision and went into the world again looking around more and trying to decide where to place my challenge lot and network. (The network is lots I can visit from the beginning.) But the empty lots gnawed at me. What on earth was going on there? So, I went back to my search. Finally, I found the thread that was written as they were building the world. The vision for this world was fantastic! Putting it into play… not so easy. I read the entire thread eating up all of the plans that were made. Indeed there were to be tombs. The tombs would be followed in a pattern to tell a story. Almost all of the spawners were hidden within tombs. Are you getting the gist? It went into the beta stage and it seems like the tombs weren’t working and some people who were supposed to help build and test didn’t. You could see that the creator was caught between wanting to finish and sheer exhaustion. Pets came out and it seemed like nobody was interested. Then, it just ended. It was supposed to go into a second beta and instead the next thread was announcing it’s release with a list of the tombs that weren’t actually in the world. So, I dutifully downloaded all of the tombs… but there were a few I couldn’t even find. Did this mean that the story would be incomplete? Were there spawners I’d need and can’t get because the tombs containing them weren’t there? So many questions. But I loved the ‘hood and decided to take the risk. I loaded it up and tried to place the first tomb. Tried. Every time I attempted it the game froze! So, it was back to the drawing board yet again.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this search for a ‘hood to use took almost a week. I searched and searched but in the end, I just didn’t feel like I could trust this to a custom world. What if they had been lax in one of the spawners I might need? What if there were some terrible routing issues? So, the research began on the EA worlds. You might find it ironic that I own the store worlds. I got them solely for the premium content to use in the custom worlds. The search continued as I read reviews on which ones had routing issues and the like. Then there was the issue that this would need to be a world post-apocalypse. The highest reviewed ‘hoods were lush and green. There was Lucky Palms but it was obvious it had always been a desert land. There was no way I could build a story around it being changed to a desert environment by the apocalypse but it was the only one I thought would work. Then, I was looking for a video to watch, maybe one of the tournament players did a video? I’ll get to the lack of info and why I was searching next. Anyway, I found a video of someone starting the challenge in Midnight Hollow. I scoffed. It has grass and trees! But, when it loaded I saw that the grass looks dead, the trees look dead, and there’s this strange ethereal glow! I went into the game and looked around and quickly found several spots my founder could start! Bingo! We have a winner. Finally.
On to my disgruntlement on information. Yes, the site is huge with sooo much to read. But there are things I didn’t understand. Some I still don’t. I searched and searched but everything leads back to a freaking Facebook group! I will not get into a long explanation of my loathing for Facebook. Suffice it to say just the thought of getting on my personal account that’s been disabled for over a year gives me hives. So, I thought okay I’ll make Rainy an account… whatever. I need answers. I went ahead and did so and instantly started getting friend suggestions for those people that I’m avoiding on my personal account! What the heck? So, if I was getting them they would be as well. But, I was determined. Go to the Facebook group page and look around. Try to find answers! But, it’s a closed group. You have to apply for an invite. They won’t accept people using gamer names. It has to be a personal account. What the hell? I’ve been Rainy Dayz in one form or another just as long as I’ve been married! 20 years! Anyway, enough of that. The search for answers continued. I’ve tried and tried. I can’t find any source of up to date information. No forum threads, nothing. The last one was I think from a tournament in 2015 and even then they kept trying to send everyone with questions to the freaking Facebook group! I have this same problem on a much lesser scale with the Post-Apocalyptic Murkland Challenge. To me, it feels like exclusive groups I’m banned from due to my anxiety issues relating to one social media site.
Hopefully, this will be the last you hear of this but I did want to explain why if for some reason during my playthrough of this extremely complicated challenge I have to make spur of the moment decisions myself instead of checking with the creators. I’ve only found one blog by a tournament player and scraps of outdated information here and there. But, I feel like I have a solid plan. There are a couple places that I am bending the rules but not enough that I personally feel like I’m cheating. I suppose if I was indeed participating in a tournament it would be. But I’m not. And even if there was one happening soon the Facebook issue prevents me from ever doing so.
But, I’m not here to complain. Just explain what on earth it is I’ve been doing for weeks instead of playing! Why it is that I only have 4 pre-written chapters left to publish before I’ve run out! I was weeks ahead. *sigh* Onward and upward. My next decision. Who would be my founder? There are supernatural options and at first, I was taken with the idea of having a sort of fairie legacy. They’re so pretty… not very apocalyptic though. And in the beginning, they have no real advantage. And so on, I made plans and discarded them just as quickly. I couldn’t settle for anything. I couldn’t think of a story even! Frustrated and wanting a break I went back to playing my Without a Compass save. The final chapter before the epilogue in fact. At the end of that chapter, you’ll see the many issues I had. There were more. I won’t go into the mirid of things I’d done wrong in Evansdale County. I did list a few at the end of that chapter. The thought of moving them again and trying to find some reasoning for it exhausted me. I’d already felt like I was losing inspiration for them. I’d even played a different household I made for a few days.
I can’t tell you what the lightbulb moment was. It would spoil all the fun! Finally, inspiration struck! But, I hesitated. I took a couple of days to mull it over… read the rules more and think. This would put a very abrupt end to Without a Compass. Was I okay with that? In the end, I decided that I was. I love them all but I’ve been bored. It just didn’t feel right. Especially where Tessen’s life was going after her cool beginnings. It felt like Jade’s “change the future” story would take generations to tell and with no real goals for any of them I was lost. Until the thought of using one of the kids as the founder hit me! Hence the cheaty part. The founder won’t be made in CAS as the rules state. Too bad so sad. This is a story darn it! I can score the challenge for myself and myself alone. Anyway! I’m not going to say who the founder is yet. Hopefully, you’ll be surprised. You’ll see soon enough. There’s going to be a time jump from the Without a Compass epilogue to the SNAFU prologue.
Some of you might wonder why on earth I’ve shared all of this with you. One, I wanted you to see how determined I am to do this. Two, I wanted to explain in case there’s a lack of chapters while I’m setting up… which isn’t complete at the time of this being written. And three, I really felt the need to vent my frustrations. Sorry about that. I’ll keep a handle on it as best as I can from here on out.
If you’re wondering where on earth SNAFU came from. I did a bit of research on the different lingo that doomsday preppers use. They have an uncanny love for acronyms! After spending way too long looking at them I decided on SNAFU. Although it’s used nowadays for practically any little slip up it was used originally by the military when someone was asked for a progress report on a bad situation. For whatever reason I find this title highly entertaining.