Monday, March 15, 2010

Education in Apple Valley, Part 5

What and Why
I decided to do a series on how education in Apple Valley works, especially with the forthcoming changes. We will explore education from elementary school to obtaining an advanced degree. I wanted to move away from excessive skilling in my game and focus more on character development. This serves two purposes, one, it allows me to hone in on each sim's individual personality and preferences, two, it prevents excessive success. Right now, most sims are able to obtain a level 7 job without any trouble aside from making friends. This leaves very little room for variety in the game and most sims are financially well off. To ensure that I stay focused on this, I have now decided to try and do away with most toddler skills-instead focusing on teaching them how to walk, talk, etc.

The primary ways of educating the sims in all levels of education are skills, hobbies and interests. I often refer to skills as scores on "skill exams" (the number of skill points they have in a certain skill) or "core skill evaluation"-CSE (the number of total skills they have). Hobbies and interests will also be referred to in a similar manner. Now that the background is out of the way, let's move on.

Advanced Degree
Today, we're discussing obtaining an advanced degree, a terminal degree. I wanted there to be some variety in education levels of the sims. Either you went to college or you didn't, according to MAXIS. Even if you didn't go to college, you could be a, how about no.

Some sims do not attend university, graduate from university, or simply obtain an associate's degree in thier life.  Now, some sims are content with that and their goal isn't to be a surgeon, so being a nurse or EMT is great for them. Other sims want to excel in their careers a bit more, ok a lot more.

Any resident of Apple Valley with a bachelors degree may undertake an advanced correspondence course with Pierce University at any time. Tuition is $15,000 for the entire degree program and students must have at least a score of 20 on their entrance exam (Score on Core Skills Evaluation + #simyears work experience).

To complete their degree, students must graduate with at least a score of 35 on their CSE. Assuming the lowest possible CSE score of 20 from graduation from university, the student will be required to earn 15 skill points throughout their coursework.

Students are able to chose one of seven advanced degrees. A student's degree choice determines which skill, interest and hobby they will focus on maxing.

Advanced Degree in Fine Arts: creativity/Culture, Entertainment, Fashion/Arts & Craft, Film & Literature, Music & Dance

Advanced Degree in Culinary Arts: cooking/Food/ Cuisine

Advanced Degree in Business Administration: charisma/Money, Work /Film & Literature

Advanced Degree in Technology: mechanical/Weather/Tinkering, Science

Advanced Degree in Applied Science: logic/Animals, Environment, Paranormal / Science, Nature

Advanced Degree in General Studies: cleaning/School, Sci-Fi, Toys, Travel / Cuisine, Fitness, Games

Advanced Degree in Public Service: body/Crime, Health, Politics, Sports /Fitness, Sports

In level one, students must score a 10 on their skill exam correlated to their major and a 35 on their CSE (ie, a student focused on the Advanced Degree in Culinary Arts must have at least 10 cooking skills and at least 35 skill points total).

In level two, students focus on refining their studies. Students must earn at least a 10 on their CIE in their focused skill. Using the example above, our Culinary Arts student must have 10 interest points in food. If multiple interests are listed, students chose one interest to focus on. Students will use magazines and sharing interest conversations to earn interests.

In level three, students continue to focus on refining their studies. Students must earn at least a 10 on their CHE in their focused skill. Using the example above, our Culinary Arts student must have 10 points in cuisine hobby. If multiple hobbies are listed, students chose one hobby to focus on. Students will use any means available to develop their hobby.

In level four, students focus on perfecting their studies and finishing their thesis. Students will use Monique's computer to write 3 research papers on their core skill (3 different articles on the their focus skill). After completing their research papers, students must write their thesis. Students will use the computer to write a novel, this novel is their thesis. Upon completing of thier thesis , students graduate with an Advanced Degree and a dandy little diploma to hang on their walls. Their options have now opened to the darkest green sections on the career table.

In summary,

Advanced Degree
-35+ CSE graduation
-degree focus skills via computer
-skill max in 1+ skill
-interest max in field
-hobby max in field
-3 research papers


  1. I really like how you use the interests in your game (and I may steal some of your ideas!). They are close to useless the way Maxis had designed them. The magazines are there but there's not a whole lot of point in using them. This gives them more of a purpose.

  2. -Carla, thanks. I wanted to use some of the tools MAXIS gave us for something. I barely think about interests until my sims have bad conversations, but you can build relationships and not have similar interests so it still doesn't make much sense.

  3. Wow, I just read your education notes back to back just now and I'm impressed. I'll definitely will have Laurel Crossing's Education director contact your city for ideas on curriculum (she's currently developing the curriculum). I have a similar career table on my blog, in case you haven't already seen it. It's pretty close. As far as degrees go, I was planning to count each semester as one year. So for Associates, students do two semesters, for Bachelors four semesters, for Masters additional two semesters and Doctorates/PHDs, additional two semesters. So if a student wanted to be a doctor, they would go for eight semesters (8 years).

    I also have an entrance exam like the SATs called CARE (College Aptitude & Reasoning Exam). There are three parts (sections): GPA score, random score, and third I can't remember right now. The random score depends on your GPA, so those that usually average an A will have the higher probability of earning a high score than those that average a D. But there is still a chance that an A student will have performance anxiety and get a low score.

  4. P.S. what hacks or CC do you use? I use the hack from SimSlice that looks like an assignment. Once they finish it, they will graduate and still have the extra hours to "tie loose strings". The only downside is that they graduate with a 4.0 gpa. I usually fix it thru SimPe or the Counterfit diploma from MTS2 to change the gpa. I used to just use the diploma but they would have the uneducated or college dropout memory.

    How can your students do internships? I would probably not set the semester timer and have them get an adult job, maybe?

    Using interest points blew me away. It would make total sense that someone in the show business or entertainment industry would have high interest in fashion and culture.

    Okay I'm done with my essay. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. -Latoya, don't worry about the "essay" I do that too, making sure to get all my questions in ^_^

    I have seen your career table, I like how you have that a sim must start out no higher than certain levels for certain careers. I like your entrance test and the random score.

    Far as hacks, I use the college timer and that's pretty much it. I had planned on giving students a decor diploma (maybe even color coded simlish diplomas).

    Internships are done various ways, but it's not like a MAXIS job. S'Ahmisa Warwick just completed an internship with Simmington Hills so you could read about how that went:


  6. **cross posted on LC**

    I use the "College Cheat Sheet" from SimSlice (check out the booty). Once they finish the assignment, they graduate with a 4.0 and get the educated memory. I change the gpa to reflect their actual gpa either thru SimPe or use the counterfeit diploma from ChristianLov (sp?) from MTS2. The cheat sheet also gives the extra hours after "graduation".

    For your correspondence students, you can use the counterfeit diploma. You can set the gpa and the major (only maxis major though) and they get the educated memory and a diploma in their inventory. I'm been using this hack since University.

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this series. I like how much detail you put into this and I'm really inspired by having the associate, bachelor and advanced degrees. I just might have to incorporate something like that into the careers in HC

  9. -Heredon Cove, glad you enjoyed it


Thanks for reading and commenting!


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