June 18th, 2007


Pleasantview - from village to town

At the turn of the millennium, Pleasantview was a small village where everyone knew everyone else, if they were not outright related. Safely outside the city limits of Sim City, the place saw few visitors except a few, mostly singles, who lived along the road from the City. This was the Pleasantview I met when I first moved here.

Over the next years, a few more people moved in. But the real change did not begin until the introduction of medium-distance portal technology. This invention made it possible to connect two neighborhoods with a safe (but not instantaneous) teleportation pad that would move a car between neighborhoods at a fixed speed, the so-called "load time", independent of distance. The first portal in Pleasantview was set up to connect to La Fiesta Tech. Situated in the desert and hooked on technology, it was natural that this place was among the first to adopt portal technology. With the much shorter travel time, higher education suddenly became all the rage among the young people of Pleasantview.

Despite the improved communications, university is in many ways a different world. It is a fact of life that when you see your children off to campus, you never know how many will return. Sometimes they decide to settle down elsewhere and disappear out of your everyday life. Other times a son or daughter may return with a fellow student whose heart is beating in tune with theirs, and Pleasantview has had a couple cases of this as well.

At first, only specially constructed taxi cabs were able to "load", but soon new cars were made portal-ready. Around the same time, a second portal was opened to "Downtown", a more urban neighborhood in Sim City proper. A plethora of new opportunities for nightlife opened. Downtown had its own sims which now mingled with those of Pleasantview, especially when the Pleasantviewers were visiting the many places of entertainment in the city.

Before we had quite got to know all of the Downtowners, a new portal was built in Bluewater, a shopping district outside the city but pretty crowded with shops and their owners and workers. A lot of new faces, and of course they were as likely as we to use the new technology to explore new places and meet new people. It got steadily harder to keep all the new faces apart. Of course, it helped that we often saw them in the shops when we visited there.

And then the bottom just fell out of the new technology. A whole slew of new places were connected, each of them a little different. There was Farmington, a place where people could live in harmony with the seasons. It also holds a small cemetery and adjacent to it the flower shop, "Last Stop Flowers".

A more timeless and distinguished atmosphere marks the neighborhood known as Silvercrown Valley. Some claim that the name comes from the silver hair of the many professors who have retired there. Locals and visitors alike gather at Place de Laplace, the library cafe which (apart from its exceptional coffee) holds chess boards, musical instruments, telescopes and an extensive library.

Further up in the mountains lie the hills of Skylift Heights, where snow often covers the ground even in the middle of summer. The place was settled by people of Scandinavian ancestry, and most of the people there are still blue-eyed blondes who hew timber in the dense forests. But they are also happy to race you in the new indoors ice-skate hall.

About as far away from this as we can come are the tropical Summersun Isles. Known in the past only as Sumur, the islands were mostly known for their export of palm oil, which is good for soap but bad in food. With the coming of portal technology, tourists poured in, changing the life of the Sumurans for better and for worse. The cheap property has attracted some citizens from Pleasantview, but for the most part people only stop by for a while at the Pools and Ponds, where people can fish, bathe and chase fireflies in the tropical night.

It is amazing how one technology can turn our lives around like that, isn't it? Back in the days, when we went to the shop, we knew we would meet Goopy or Ben, Marisa or Komei, or perhaps little Marsha or Orlando. Now, you never know who you'll meet. Sometimes you have to stop and think whether you have met this person before at all. And there seems to be no end to it. As a portal hub, Pleasantview is rapidly becoming a small town. The time when everyone knew everyone else is over forever. But a new and exciting time has begun, with so many lives and so many stories we can barely imagine them all.

[In addition to a few new playables for the new subhoods, I have also used the Townie Tree to generate dozens of random townies, using the improved Face Template mod and the 10 000 names mod. And I have every intention of continuing that way, as I still have less than 600 sims and the neighborhood can handle at least 1500, probably more. This would take decades if I were to breed them naturally. Not that I'm not doing that as well. More about that later, I hope.]