A couple of days ago, I asked friends for suggestions on decent neighbourhoods that I could download and install, because I was/am bored with Sunset Valley, Riverview and Twinbrooks. Fashionista125 came up with a couple of decent ideas, one of which was Neverglade by Pyro. I found out as much about it as possible before installing it, then spent a couple of days investigating it with the camera. I never played it, though I did build one little starter home for it - Lavender Cottage (see image above).
I uninstalled Neverglade this morning. It was massive, too large for me ever to enjoy playing it, and the dark and brooding atmophere was making me suicidal. Though all that being said, it was exceptionally well made and appeared to have all the elements that EA made neighbourhoods have - it just wasn't to my taste. I wanted something a little smaller.
Webbymom had started raving - around about the same time as I started asking... about Galaad - a brand new, hours old neighbourhood that Sims Design Avenue had just... just uploaded. So I downloaded and installed it... and am completely head over heels in love.
I'm not one to accept anything at face value as being perfect, so I've spent hours prodding and poking.. and yes - I have found fault, but only as far as my own personal taste is concerned. There are several different areas to the Island, each with it's own unique flavour. There's the Lighthouse, the Village Centre, a Business Park, Woods etc, and they've very cleverly used maybe three/four houses repeatedly throughout the island, but have furnished and built (as such) them very individually. There are also a couple of grand houses for the more affluent sim.
I have actually had a shot at playing this island already. I did discover, upon creating a paler version of Sonia Mayberry to play with, that there were absolutely no starter homes whatsoever. A bit of a sore point if you're expecting to get straight in there and play. I solved this by using the *wandhere* cheat that comes as a part of Awesomemod, on maybe four/five of the houses. This reduced their worth to their *used* price... however, I still had to demolish windows and doors and remove furnishings before I managed to bring them in under the 16,500 simoleons that single sims created in CAS - enter the world with.
Above is the business park, I think it's called Traiding Posts (their spelling error, not mine). It has three hidden gems... a Loft Apartment, and two empty buildings. It's the two empty buildings that I was most piddlin' my pants to find. They're perfect to utilise as Ambitions Lots - junkyard/tattoo parlour/fashion house/Private Detectives/Laundry/Consignment Store - there may be more but they slip my mind.
The Village Centre (Galaad) caused me a bit of bother when I took Sonia Mayberry (yes, I dragged her out of her student digs and bought her with me) to the park to play chess and meet the locals. There were sooo many HUGE trees in just this one location, that I lost Sonia! Completely! I'd taken the Map Tags off and her little red head disappeared amongst the flora and fauna and I had to hit the *find sim* button to.. well... find my sim! A quick jaunt into *edit world* and *edit town* enabled the exchange of the large trees for their smaller brothers and sisters, so if my neighbourhood shots looks slightly less bushy than others, it's because of that. I've yet to play test without so much foliage in the way, but I imagine it'll suit me better.
Sonia grabbed five minutes to hone her cooking skills whilst I was out investigating. Her home is styled in patterns in differing tones of blue. Very nice, and perfect to just move in and play. All the smaller houses tend to stick to one or two colours throughout. Ideal if you just want to move a miriad of sims in and start playing... but it'll do my nut after a while though, so I reckon a few colour changes here and there but that's all. They're furnished beautifully, and very well laid out.
They've been very, very clever with the lighthouse, and placed an elongated park from the base of the light house to the base of the hill. In it, they've built steps to lead you upwards. Ingenious.
There are a variety of park style community lots, three of which are tombs (that I could find)! The Old Hut, The Stones of Kavan and The Pond Dragon - I'm wondering if Sonia is going to find the Holy Grail! They've marked up but left a piece of land for a church. I imagine they'll be offering it as a separate download some time in the near future... it might even have another tomb.
Lastly (for now) the island has an all ecompassing shore line. There's plenty of room to place lots using the *edit world* tool (if you have Ambitions - I'm not sure if it's available through a patch or not). There are some lots already situated beside the numerous beaches, both built on and left for the downloader to build on themselves. I'm hoping that there are plenty of spawnable items throughout this island, as that's all part of the fun of this game - collecting rocks and seeds et al. The only thing that seems a bit sparse on the ground are fruit trees - but it might just be me that likes to be able to direct the likes of Sonia to an apple rather than a BBQ.
One final piece of advice - it's very difficult to play this game (at all... and I mean Sims 3, NOT Galaad) without having more than one house populated. Your sim cannot meet friends at work, smooth talk the boss or visit the neighbours... if he/she is the only one at work, and the only one living in the neighbourhood. So populate these new worlds before you play them, it'll make it much more fun (Though I have a feeling that this may be down to the fact that I use the Awesomemod Story Progression - it's still an idea to populate your new worlds through means other than woohoo).
I hope this personal review of Galaad has persuaded any of you who pass by, to give it a shot. I'd love to know others opinions on this Island. We'll all experience something different. I should add that I'm not on the pay roll at Sims Design Avenue, and they have no idea that I even exist - I just thought I'd share my newest love.