*Update* – Blog post removed from official site and added into their VIP section use access code “48982”!  Also, check out the new picture that came with the blog!

A new blog update has appeared on the official Sims 3 website!  Fresh from the presses, click here to read it or catch the whole article below (in case they remove it from the site, as they’re good at doing that):

Hello Sims Fans!

My name is Eric Holmberg-Weidler and I am one of the designers on The Sims 3. With the new game we’ve added a plethora of items to grow, catch, and create that translate into skills for your Sims. Two examples of this are in the gardening skill and fishing skill. There are over twenty varieties of fish to catch, scattered across various beaches and lakes around town. Some of the rarest fish can only be found in special locations around the neighborhood, or only at specific times. An example is the experimental robot fish, which can only be caught behind the science facility. Once caught, fish can be used for many purposes. Two of my favorites are purely for collecting: you can mount any fish you catch on the wall, or if you prefer to keep your fish alive, you can put them in fish bowls and display them around your house.

The gardening skill also has many different fruits and vegetables to discover and grow. This includes old favorites like the money tree, and many new types of plants including a special sort that will allow you to grow almost anything from eggs (not your normal type of eggplant!) to steak, as well as much more. Some of these rarer plants can only be obtained after completing special opportunities, exploring out of the way parts of town, or even by fishing them up.

I have to say my favorite types of collection in The Sims 3 aren’t tied to skills at all. These include the ability to collect all sorts of insects, butterflies, and beetles, as well as space rocks, minerals, and even gems. We’ve tucked these all around the neighborhood for you to find and collect as you play. Once you’ve found something cool, you usually have several options with what you want to do with it. It can be quite lucrative to find gems and sell them, or if you like the way they look, you can put them on display. Raw gems can be sent out to get cut into one of many different shapes of polished gemstone. Space rocks can be displayed in their raw form, although they won’t all conveniently fit in your house, as some are bigger than your Sim! Insects can be named and kept around the house as pets in terrariums, and minerals can even be smelted into bars. Want a treasure room stacked with gold bars? Go ahead!

When these collectables are put on display in your house, they can make a big difference in how happy your Sims are when nearby.

Recently, while playing the game, I created myself as a Sim and set out to explore the neighborhood and do a little collecting.

My Sim self had been looking forward to going on a fishing trip all week. He’d recently moved to Sunset Valley, and had heard there was a lake in the woods near his house where he could do some killer fishing. He woke up early Saturday morning, took a quick shower, and was off at 5am, hoping to get to the lake by six. The fish are always the most enthusiastic in the morning.

My Sim ran across the street and was quickly in the woods, walking down a somber forest path. Lost in his own thoughts and enjoying the great outdoors, it wasn’t long before a sparkle in the periphery of his vision caught his eye. A few quick steps brought him closer and crouching down he found a strange rock. As he picked up it and examined it, it sparkled at odd angles, bending the light in bizarre ways. While my Sim was by no means a rock collector, he had seen his share of geology, and this was like nothing he’d witnessed before. Pocketing it for later, he continued on his way, still eager to get to his fishing destination.

Climbing over a small boulder in the path and topping a hill, the lake spread out before my Sim, shimmering in the sun. Expecting calm waters, he was surprised to see the surface covered in ripples. Everywhere he looked, fish were breaking the surface, some completely leaving the water, fighting for food or a touch of morning air. Without a moment to lose, my Sim pulled out his trusty fishing rod, baited it, and cast into the middle of one of the liveliest areas.

Some hours later he’d caught a half dozen fish of several common varieties. A few were perfect enough specimens to be considered for mounting on the wall. My Sim was on his last cast of the day, when he made the catch of a lifetime! He reeled in what felt like an unusually small fish. Grabbing it out of the water, he stared into the malevolent, blood-red eyes of an almost pitch-black fish. Tiny fangs protruded from either side of its mouth. A chill ran through my Sim, whether from fear, or from the prospect of adding this prize to his collection of fish he did not know.

Satisfied with my story, I quickly saved my game and shut down the computer.

There is a ton more to find and collect in The Sims 3 that I would love to tell you about, but since I am running out of space I will have to leave you to discover them for yourself. Happy hunting and thanks for reading!

– Eric Holmberg-Weidler