Friday, April 15, 2011

Education in Apple Valley, Part 4.5

What and Why
A while back, I decided to do a series on how education in Apple Valley works, especially with the forthcoming changes. I explored education from elementary school to obtaining an advanced degree as I wanted to move away from excessive skilling in my game and focus more on character development. The changes served two purposes, one, it allowed me to hone in on each sim's individual personality and preferences, two, it prevented excessive success. Right now, most sims are able to obtain a level 7 job without any trouble aside from making friends. This left very little room for variety in the game and most sims were financially well off. To ensure that I stayed focused on this, I 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.

Master's Degree
Today, we're discussing obtaining a master's degree. In the original series, I didn't include a master's degree as I didn't want to have too many levels to keep up with. However looking at Heredon Cove's notes and the careers, I noticed that some careers needed more than a bachelor's, but significantly less than an advanced degree (modeled after a PhD).

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.

Any resident of Apple Valley with a bachelors degree may undertake master's correspondence course with Pierce University at any time. Tuition is $10,000 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 27 on their CSE. Assuming the lowest possible CSE score of 20 from graduation from university, the student will be required to earn 7 skill points throughout their coursework.

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

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

Master's Degree in Culinary Arts: cooking/Food/ Cuisine

Master's Degree in Business Administration: charisma/Money, Work /Film & Literature

Master's Degree in Technology: mechanical/Weather/Tinkering, Science

Master's Degree in Applied Science: logic/Animals, Environment, Paranormal / Science, Nature

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

Master's Degree in Public Service: body/Crime, Health, Politics, Sports /Fitness, Sports

In level one, students must score a 8 on their skill exam correlated to their major and a 27 on their CSE (ie, a student focused on the Advanced Degree in Culinary Arts must have at least 8 cooking skills and at least 27 skill points total).

In level two, students focus on refining their studies. Students must earn at least a 8 on their CIE in their focused skill. Using the example above, our Culinary Arts student must have 8 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 4 on their CHE in their focused skill. Using the example above, our Culinary Arts student must have 4 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 the computer to write a novel, this novel is their thesis. Upon completing of thier thesis , students graduate with a Master's Degree and a dandy little diploma to hang on their walls. Their options have now opened to the purple sections on the career table.

In summary,

Master's Degree
-27+ CSE graduation
-degree focus skills via computer
-CSE score of 8 in focused skill
-CIE score of 8 in focused interest
-CHE score of 4 in focused hobby


  1. As usual, you have given me plenty of food for thought for my own game! I really like your system of Master's degrees. Mine is career-based, rather than skill-based but this is interesting.

  2. -Carla, thanks. I didn't think about making the degrees career based, that makes more sense especially for the architecture career.

  3. Great read, Starr. I made up my own advanced degree system a few months ago (I clumped all masters and doctorate degrees together as “advanced”) by taking a little info from you, Carla, Laurel Crossing, and probably others, plus some info from research. Which reminds me that I was supposed to do a post on it.

    Anyway, mine is pretty similar to yours and based on skill but also career specific. For example, I have a Master of Architecture degree, business administration, master of laws (for law and political careers), master of biological sciences (for natural science and oceanography) and master of international relations for the intelligence career. I should do one for the arts. hmm...

  4. -Danielle, you should definately do a post about your system soon, I might have to tweak mine with the information I steal, I mean, liberally borrow from you :P


Thanks for reading and commenting!


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