A Christmas Eve Story 01

December 13th, 2006


I took the pictures for this chapter in record time (for me anyway) but I still managed to capture a few interesting outtakes.

Nathan shows me the bottom of his feet…kind of creepy, huh?

Tory was having a lot of fun bouncing on the bed. I think the twins would have kept it up all day if I hadn't stopped them.

Since the boys aren't needed again until the second part of this story, I had them work on their skills while they wait. Tory is studying cooking and Nathan, as you can see, is painting his most recent masterpiece.

Saena: "Creepy kid! It's going to take all my skill to act like I'm sleeping peacefully while she's watching me."

I just thought Saena looked really cute here. She's deceptively innocent looking.

Jason: "Here, let me fix your belt. It's twisted."

He was actually doing an idle animation. My characters seemed to burst into idle animations at the most inopportune times during this photo session. It resulted in a funny picture this time though.

Nathan finished his painting. Isn't it cute? Since it matched their room I decided to keep it. Also notice how his outfit matches his room? I didn't plan on that, I swear.

Now he's off to work on his cooking skill.

A little "behind-the-scenes" for you: this was actually an accidental screenshot—I had no idea I'd taken it until I was looking through my screenshots today. But it demonstrates my struggle with my characters. See those steam trails in front of Brandee? (The steam trails didn't move with the pancakes. It would respawn over the plate each time I unpaused the game.) I kept moving her away from the counters as I was trying to get her to set the plate of pancakes on a particular countertop, but she kept resisting me. I eventually got sick of fighting her and ended up taking a different picture.

Author's Note:

When I first announced that I would be writing a Christmas story, I did so with the full intention that it should be a heartwarming holiday tale. However, these characters insisted on me writing a completely different story, and that's why you now have the beginnings of a Christmas angst-fest before you.

I also want to thank Decorgal for her nifty Talk/Conversation Hack. This was the first time I had the chance to extensively use it and it made shooting this chapter considerably easier than previous ones.


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21 Responses to “A Christmas Eve Story 01”

  1. Mao says:

    An excellent start, Kara! Holy crap you blow me away with all these mad skills. I don't know what you do to your screens, but they come out extremely crisp and flawless looking.

    I love this kind of story–does that make me an awful person? Tension in stories is aces. Especially when they involve smokin' hot pixels like Jason!

    Glad to see your writing juices are flowing again. :D

  2. Alicia says:

    Wow, I am *very* impressed! Not that I wasn't before, but seriously, the pictures and the way your writing flows..it's amazing! I'm in love with your graphics card, haha. Hopefully someday I'll be able to upgrade my computer. (My graphics card isn't bad, but sometimes it randomly blurs things and it gets tedious.)

    I can't wait for the rest!

  3. Dektora says:

    When you talked about having the Ramseys host a christmas party, I only imagined a photo shoot, maybe with a couple commentaries. I wasn't expecting an actual story, with marital drama and everything. This is so much better!
    Also, I love how you put so many details in your sets, like frost on the boys' window, and christmas tiny objects all around the house. It add realism to your story. And Saena is gorgeous. It was so nice to finally "meet" her. ;)
    Now I'll sit still and wait for part 2. How many chapters have you planned?

  4. Kara says:

    Mao: Thank you! I didn't really do too much to the pictures. I just brightened them (used "clarify" in PSP) a little—they are always a little dark straight from the game as I use the Radiance Lighting Mod.

    Anyway, I like this sort of story too. It's fun to put my characters through the emotional wringer. Oh, yes. I'm evil. :twisted:

    Alicia: Thank you! I got a little blurring of my graphics card this time around too. But I'm pretty sure it was because at one point in the shoot I increased the viewing distance from my lot to "extra large" (or whatever the measurement is). After I reduced the viewing distance to "small" and restarted the game I didn't have any further problems. Usually, I can run my game at "medium" or "large" viewing distance (depending on the lot and the surrounding neighborhood, but this lot is fairly big and I have a ton of knick-knacks in the cabin.

    Dektora: hehe Yeah, I wasn't planning on having this big of a story. I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. There are a total of four parts. I initially had five but one of them didn't make the cut. I probably should have cut out sections of the second part, but then Alec would have ended up on the cutting floor. I guess Alec is my gratuitous male this time around, but that's okay his part in the story is really fun and it does give a little depth to Saena's character. Oh, I hope I didn't say too much. ;)

  5. amalinaball says:

    OMG! That was so utterly fantastic that now I can't wait for the next chapter. I really love what you have done with their house, and I think the decor is lovely too. I can't wait for this next Holiday Expansion…only 11 more days to go!
    And the twins are gorgeous, I love them already! :D Shame on Jason, leaving the family on Christmas Eve. Can't wait to see how this ends out.

  6. Mao says:

    Holy cats, I tried out that Radiance mod you mentioned… and it's AMAZING! My overly expensive graphic card actually acts like one in The Sims 2 now. Thanks so much… why didn't I get this earlier?? It's tempting to re-take all the pictures for my backlog… but I think I'll hold off.

  7. Jenny says:

    Loved it! as always….you are my inspiration for my own story at sc2……thanks so much, sorry, hope that didn't sound cheesy………..anyway, the lumpy snow? where is it from?? thanks again, I look forward to chapter 2.

  8. Alimah Kali says:

    Saena's a flirty little thang! Now I'm worried for Hale. LOL! This story is gonna be Mm Mm Good! As always, I'll be eagerly awaiting what happens next.

  9. Jade says:

    Kara, your genius never ceases to amaze me. Truly.

  10. eva says:

    Wow, when you said Christmas story, I was thinking more along the lines of lovey dovey niceness. But whoa was I wrong. I like it though, it makes sense. Boy would I love to have a Playstation. But probably not at the expense of a happy mom. But then again, they are kids. But they would want a happy mom of course. Saena is very pretty. And I can't wait to see the visitors. Maybe one of them..hopefully not Tahlvin, will get with Saena. But maybe she already has a boyfriend in Japan.

  11. eva says:

    Oh, and where did you get the stuff to decorate the cabin? Is it from an expansion pack or is it downloadable? Thanks

  12. Kara says:

    Amalinaball: I love the twins too. I actually fixed them up a bit in Body Shop. I gave them Jason's skin (because I thought they looked better with it), and touched up their faces ever so slightly (the children's faces anyway, when they become adults, they'll be back to their original faces). I only tweaked their faces because they had really thin lips and recessive chins…Sim genetics is weird sometimes. I aged them to adults to see if they looked as freaky there, but luckily they are both adorable adults and they aren't as identical as I first thought either.

    Mao: Awesome! I'm glad I could turn you on to it. There are a few things that I don't like about it (e.g. the shadows are weird outside and the outside lighting is a bit bright), but on the whole I think it's one of my favorite mods for the game.

    Jenny: Thank you! I'm honored. :D As for the snow, do you mean how it looks like it's in drifts? I actually just raised the terrain unevenly here and there to get that effect. For the snowy look, I used scarletqueenkat's snow neighborhood, but you can also use a snowy terrain paint. I hope that helped!

    Alimah Kali: Hale has new hairstyle since you last saw him—it's a bit shorter now—but he still looks mighty sexy. I hope you like it! ;) And, yes, Saena is a "flirty little thang." hehe You pegged her right away.

    Jade: *big wave* Yay! Hi, Jade! And, thank you! You're so sweet. :mrgreen:

    Eva: Oh, I'm sure Saena does have a boyfriend (or two…or three…or four…hehe…just kidding) back in Japan, but it's been a while since she's been around American guys. ;) And, yes, most of the Christmas decorations are from the Holiday Stuff pack, but I also got some of them from the Featured Artists' Happy Holidays section at TSR. I really had too much fun decorating the house. I went all out. You probably won't even get to see all the rooms I decorated. haha

  13. Azrielle says:

    Saena is so pretty! I love her hair too. Is that a futon she was sleeping on? Great story! Can't wait to see what happens next.

  14. Kara says:

    Azrielle: Saena thanks you! ;) And, she's sleeping on a sofa bed. I got it from TSR (almost all the way down the page). It matches one of the in-game loveseats so that if you switch it out, you can pretend that your sim pulled out the bed for the night. I decided to do that because Saena is actually staying in the den; it can be converted into a guest room via the sofa bed. :)

  15. Choco says:

    I can't wait to see more of the story, Kara. I'm completely intrigued already. And what would the holidays be without some family angst? =P

  16. Alimah Kali says:

    Ok, ok… Just looked at Hale and Tahlvin's profile s again for good measure and I'm happy to say that I no longer feel afraid for Hale when he meets Saena. Tahlvin, on the other hand, may just meet his match in the "Sexy Flirt" department. I don't know how this story will unfold, but for now I feel much better. :P

    As for Hale with shorter hair… Hmm… As much as I love a long-haired man, I don't think it'll be a huge deal if his hair got a bit shorter. I'll just have to wait and see. ;D

  17. Decorgal says:

    What's a good story without some drama- Christmas or otherwise? ;) This was a great start and I'm glad you're doing something for the season- it's a nice treat. And thank you for your kind word of thanks for my hack. I'm so glad it's working well for you (and thanks for using my outfit- I get giddy as a school girl when I see my stuff get actually used in movies and stories *chuckle*).

  18. Kara says:

    Choco: Family angst around the holidays is very fun to write. mwahahaha!

    Amilah Kali: Hale likes someone, but I'm not going to reveal it until it comes up in the main storyline. ;)

    Decorgal: I'm totally in love with your hack. I've found that I'm using it more than all the other hacks I have for the game. And, now that you've released your sitting conversation hack I can write scenes where my characters are actually sitting down. haha And your outfits are so wonderful. They are something that I'd actually wear in real life and are perfect for Brandee, my sister's sim and my self-Sim as they aren't as outrageous as my other characters.

  19. Jen says:

    Gorgeous pics, as always! I am totally drooling over them. And the story is great, too! By the way, thanks for sharing with us your tricks of the trade — I really need to download Decorgal's conversation hack! That would come in sooo handy. I'm off to read Part 2!

  20. Abbie says:

    Great story! Can't wait to hear the rest of it.

  21. CATiEBUG says:

    This was a great story. You are really good at it. Question. Where did you get the cell phone?


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