Thanks to some advice from someone on a Sims site, I've completely redone Chapter 1 - I've added 36 more photos and a whole load more plot. There is now delicious, chewy angst! I think the entire plot is a bit teenage girly, but it is a college story, so maybe that's acceptable. Constructive criticism welcome, though you don't need to tell me that all the outside shots are a bit dark. Believe me, I know! I spent ages fiddling with the lighting, trying to adjust it for each shot to light up the sims' faces while keeping the lights themselves out of shot. As it is, I think there are a few continuity errors - but you can probably ignore them? My new rule is "Never have a party outside in the dark". But the house these sims lived in at college wasn't big enough for the party to just be inside, and I didn't want to have to reshoot the entire story in another house. (In retrospect, it would've been easier if I had. Oh well).
A sneak preview of Chapter 2 is here. See if you can guess what's going to happen. All the photos are done (I think), I just need to string them into order and write some text to go round them.
These photos are entirely done within The Sims 2 - no Photoshop or similar programs have been used. Just the Sims 2 cameraman mode :) There's a lot of flexibility in it once you hit TAB - you can move the shot forward & backwards & left & right using the cursor keys, up & down with Q and E (whose stupid idea was it to use Q? HOW many times have I accidentally quit the game now?!), and zoom in and out with + and -. Practice can get you some amazing screenshots.
However, not all these photographs are genuine gameplay shots. I've used the advice of experienced storytellers and made liberal use of the boolprop Testing Cheats (built into the game as a programmers' tool), a hacked object called Merola's Mind Control Mirror that lets you control non-family members for a short time, and Paul's Reaction Tester to set up certain facial expressions. Even then, there's a certain amount of luck to getting 3 or 4 sims to all be doing what they're supposed to be doing at the same time.
The story itself is nowhere near perfect. I've run through that party scene more than 10 times to try to get the best shots (Poor Mitch had to faint 6 times before I'd got a complete set of pictures!). Actually, the photos you see here aren't necessarily the best individual shots, but they're the most coherent set. I could've put in better photos if I didn't care about continuity, but I do :) I'm really annoyed that I missed Max & Peyton's kiss - you can tell this by my comment on photo 17. What happened was that I took a lovely shot of them kissing with Mitch running across ready to slap, then managed to delete it with the stupid trashcan thing in TS2 that doesn't delete the right photos half the time. Argh. Having done it 10 times already, my actors and I were all too frustrated to try that any more.
I also managed to delete a beautiful shot of Mitch playing the guitar behind his back that was just perfect. Nothing to do with the story, but it was a great shot - he was looking at me and pouting so prettily, and I managed to get the camera angle just right and zoom all the way in. All you spiky-haired-boy-lovers would've drooled - I know I did. But then the stupid trashcan deleted it, and I hadn't yet copied all these photos over to my backup Storytelling folder. Gah. Have to try to set that up again, except it won't be the same...
Seriously, if you notice any continuity errors or if there're any bits that could've been said better, tell me. I have Max speaking in American phrasing because his college jock clothing says that to me - so there's a "gotten" in there! (It just seemed natural for him to be to saying "gotten" rather than "got" the first time, although I managed to suppress it the second time - should I change that?). Mitch I'm unsure about - I don't think he's any nationality in particular. Payton speaks in British slang, hence his use of "snog", which is very English. My sims don't live in the real world, so they don't "come" from a particular country - and even if they did, there's no reason they have to come from the same country?
Hmm, well - bed now.