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Field Researcher
Original Poster
#1 Old 17th May 2016 at 6:24 PM Last edited by natboopsie : 25th May 2016 at 5:07 PM.
Default PCSims' parcel service and postbox: Observations and ideas
There isn't much that we have around here about these two interesting objects, which can still be found on the Graveyard (ETA: or see Diovanlestat's post #5 in this thread for another listing, in Russian, of all of PCSims' stuff!), although with almost no documentation---just a few screenshots in the download ZIPs.

I've done some testing on both objects, together with MogH's postal system, so I thought I'd share here everything else I found out, in the hopes of creating something of a manual for them (not to mention in the service of letting people know they are out there and sharing gameplay ideas!).

[ETA: The below information has been reformatted from my original post to make it easier to read while eliminating the need to hide large portions of the text under infobuttons. However, there is only one section in which new information was added, and I have indicated that by using the symbol.]



The (User-Written) User Manual for PCSims' Postbox and Parcel Service

In-game catalog locations
*Postbox: Deco/Sculptures (cloned from a basegame expensive sculpture but has been made much less expensive---about 50 simoleans).
*Parcel service terminal: Electronics in the Community sort (cloned from a cash register).
*Note that the parcel objects themselves (the shells that are filled with whatever object your sim sent) are actually sculptures that you can place for deco without actually receiving any parcels at all. They're also in Deco/Sculptures. But they are automatically generated when your sim receives a parcel, so being able to buy them in the catalog is just a fun bonus, not needed to use the system properly.

EPs required
I do not have solid information on which EPs may be required for the PCSims stuff; I have the UC. My best guess: at least NL and possibly OFB would be required, since inventories are mandatory, plus the ability to change the inventory remotely---that latter probably means OFB is needed.

NPC-creating/game-corrupting potential
*The postbox does not appear to have any moving parts, and it isn't staffed, so I doubt there's any concerns about NPCs there.
*The parcel-service terminal will call one of your teen cashiers to staff it. Similar to what the Maxis juice bars and espresso bars do, it will call for a new NPC to be generated only if you don't have enough cashiers already (for example, your game only has 1 teen cashier but now you have a cash register and a parcel terminal on the lot---the game will make 1 new teen cashier so that both stations can be staffed). This also does not indicate that it creates the kind of NPCs that would cause corruption if you later remove the Parcel Service from your game.

Where/how does sending work?
As with MogH's system, you can successfully send both postbox letters and parcels to sims living in dorms, on vacation (but of course you can't access their inventory there unless they are in a vacation home), in the bin (you'll see them in their inventories when you move them in), in apartments, and in regular houses. But unlike MogH's system, the actual mail-delivery system is not used, so it's just the receiving sim's inventory that is changed---probably more like when they buy something at an OFB shop.

I didn't test whether either the postbox or parcel service could be used on an owned community lot, though I have heard that at least the parcel service was said by PCSims to only be functional when placed on an unowned one.


Sending letters using the postbox

There is no cost to the controlled sim to send or receive letters on the postbox. Both controlled and autonomous sims seem to have all the following options (not yet known whether items sent autonomously actually are ever received by anyone; no choose-recipient dialogue is triggered for autonomous usage):
*Get/Read letter, including Letter from Attorney. These actions seem only to affect mood. The Letter from Attorney is negative.
*Send Letter. When used by a controlled sim, brings up a dialogue (like the phone menu) that allows you to select the recipient. Then adds a mail object to the recipient's inventory.
*Send Prank Letter. When used by a controlled sim, brings up a dialogue (like the phone menu) that allows you to select the recipient. Then adds a bills object to the recipient's inventory. The bills are for $150.

Receiving mail sent using the postbox
*Regular letters can be placed for use as deco or read. Reading such a letter makes it vanish permanently and seems based on the book animation, so they actually do hold the item and read it. But the letter's message is generic and not addressed (nor is the English it's written in very good, if I'm nitpicking). There is no relationship change associated with reading the regular letter; I did not check on what kind of mood change might be involved.
*The Prank Letter bills I didn't experiment with very much, so the list of what I don't know is pretty long (spoilered just below for length and possible boringness, lol). There is no mood change associated with paying the Prank Letter bill; it seems to be like any other bill.



Sending parcels using the parcel system
[ The list of items that can be sent using each parcel size is now complete, including every option available in game.]
*Parcels come in two sizes. The contents can only be chosen from a limited menu at the time you send the parcel. The two sizes have different options for which items they can send, but large is not more expensive than regular size in every case. All shippable items are from the Maxis catalog, and most are basegame; however, the parcel objects themselves are custom and must be installed in your game as part of the rest of the set (they are included in the PCSims download). Your sim will be charged the Maxis catalog price for the object, plus a $5 shipping fee at the time that they place the order. Note that n my tests, sometimes only the $5 fee was charged, not the catalog price as well. This seemed to happen inconsistently.
*Regular-size parcels: food (basket of groceries, cannot choose how much the basket contains); cellphone; basegame birthday cake; single book; remote-controlled car; table phone; small stereo.
*Large parcels: "flowers" (always sent as the bonsai tree in my tests), toasting set, basegame wedding cake, and both the basegame computers (Moneywell and Little Sister).

Receiving parcels
*All parcels "arrive" (instantly in the recipient's inventory after shipping) as the appropriate size of box object.
*Take the box out of the recipient's inventory normally and place on the ground or floor to unpack, then use any selectable sim (does not have to be the sim in whose inventory it appeared) and click "Open" on the parcel itself.
*Parcel lid flips up to reveal the item, sim does "Oh, goody" animation, rubbing hands with pleasure and looking at you as if you'd just commanded them to do a favorite activity.
*You may have to change the camera angle to look down into the box in order to view/grab smaller items.
*Use the hand tool in Buy or Inventory mode to place the item normally (or to place it in inventory).
*Once the shipped item is removed, the box remains, now empty. Click on box with a controlled sim to Dispose (which will cause them to take it out to the curbside trash) or Close the box, which I guess lets you use it as decor.

Additional observations about received parcels/boxes
*The animation to take the empty box out to the trash basically has the sim wearing it around their waist, so good for a laugh.
*You can leave the parcel in inventory and then regift it to another sim, if you have Give Gift available. When I tried this a few times, it transferred just fine, including retaining what the object inside was supposed to be. *You can just manually take the unopened parcel out of inventory and put it in someone else's; still works when opened. So anyone should be able to open it properly after it was received, not just the original recipient.



Some Gameplay Ideas I Have for the Parcel System and Postbox

So far, the postbox letters are kind of fun but of limited use to me. I think MogH's greeting cards are far more versatile and interesting, plus they are addressed to and from specific sims, so you always know where they came from. Mog's cards don't disappear when you read them, either, so they can be kept forever. Plus, with all the custom cards already out there for the MogH system, you have a lot more options there too.

To me, the parcel system offers the most in terms of potential gameplay, because at least the objects involved can be seriously useful to the receiving sim.

The Education Minister can send the current schoolmaster (I use the Simlogical school system for most high schoolers) a few computers, for example. Or, because I use No Free Food (by a controversial modder; I have had no problems, but please exercise the usual due diligence for your game) to ensure that all my new fridges are generated empty, parcels of groceries will be a nice housewarming gift to sims changing residences---there it's especially handy that they can receive parcels even while in the bin!

Parents of new college students can send them computers or even books, if they're really in desperate straits (does everyone know that one book can take the place of a bookshelf? if it's never put away---and how can it be, if they own no bookshelf---the one book can be used to study everything as usual, especially since it never wears out), or a cell phone if they're a bit more pampered.

In my game, I also plan to start a system where some weddings are events that require more advance planning and coordination. Thanks to FreeTime, I'll establish a rule that my cc wedding gowns and tuxes can only be sewn by a playable, then either bought from the playable or gotten from them as a gift. There's certainly no option to put custom clothes in parcels, but since you can "ship" the wedding cake and toasting set through the parcel service, other family members can chip in for a wedding by sending those. A loving uncle or aunt can send the birthday cake for those parties as well. Heck, the parcel with the cake can even be opened as part of the birthday! (And of course, there are Paladin's openable gifts [tragically, his site is closed as I write, though I hope not forever Thanks to Prah for the reminder here that I needed to update my link, now that we do know where to find Paladin's work!], plus recolors, like these, to add fun to occasions. )

One idea for modding the parcel service to be more useful
I've been wondering whether it would be possible to mod in/out object options for the parcels. That is, could you send other things too? I can't think of anything offhand that I would want (maybe the wedding arch, but I see that that would not fit in one of the standard parcels), but I was thinking that if HugeLunatic could do it for Dig for Treasure outcomes , maybe something like that principle would apply to modding this set. Nothing I could even remotely think of attempting, but just a thought.

ETA: It might also be nice to remove the remote-controlled car as an option to send at all, because it creates an NPC when moving, which is just one more thing that can go wrong on a lot. (Personally I delete RC objects if my Greek house sims bring them home, for example, as well as have deleted them from any Maxis lots on which they appear---but perhaps I am too careful.)

What else do you know about these items, and how might you/do you use them in your game?

ETA: Special thanks to jo for inspiring me to want to collect info about these two items in the first place! Please see her first post in the thread, and my response to her, for details.

Edited further to add: I would love for us to collect (at least links to) whatever we know about these objects in one place. I tried to make the thread title one that should be easily searchable, so hopefully anyone who goes looking for/about them in the future can get their questions answered through the resources we're collecting here.
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Mad Poster
#2 Old 17th May 2016 at 11:06 PM
I did talk about them on my business thread. Post Office items page 3 http://www.modthesims.info/show...25#startcomment post #52

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#3 Old 18th May 2016 at 6:04 PM
You did, jo, and I am glad you posted so that I can credit you, because the few pics of the system you put in that thread, plus the few sentences you wrote about it, were the only documentation that I found of the two downloads anywhere, other than what I've written above (and the screenshots that are still included in each download's zip on the Graveyard).

I remember thinking to myself how it looked like such an interesting system and might have potential in game for lots of different storylines and hood setups. And indeed, it totally does.

I'm hoping that by writing up all my test results on it and cobbling together as good a manual as I could, I've provided something that supports your pics well. They did launch my whole endeavor.
Mad Poster
#4 Old 18th May 2016 at 10:37 PM
If you go over to the Jessa Chanel from about two years ago had a sims 2 series. On one of her videos she shows the postal service. She was the one who made an upload of pcsim items and I got them off her. I know she uploaded the lot of them on November 2014. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv...DulC5lezqd9n8uA it would take some digging through her videos to find it.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Field Researcher
#5 Old 18th May 2016 at 11:10 PM
There's also this link (shared by Michelle) to a comprehensive list of PCSim's stuff. Unfortunately it's in Russian so translation is needed. http://www.mixei.ru/threads/68511-P...s-sajta-pc-sims
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#6 Old 19th May 2016 at 12:01 AM Last edited by natboopsie : 21st May 2016 at 4:44 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joandsarah77
If you go over to the Jessa Chanel from about two years ago had a sims 2 series. On one of her videos she shows the postal service. She was the one who made an upload of pcsim items and I got them off her. I know she uploaded the lot of them on November 2014. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv...DulC5lezqd9n8uA it would take some digging through her videos to find it.


Thanks, jo! I always forget about "Let's Play" videos---I think because I'm not a video person. So to me that made the lack of written documentation even more glaring. But you are absolutely right; if she's got a pretty comprehensive one, that would really be a help for play tips and ideas for those who enjoy or prefer videos.

ETA: If anyone does find those specific "Let's Play" episodes that jo mentions, it would be great if you would post a link in this thread.
Edited further to say: yay, Jo! (See post 8.)
Field Researcher
#7 Old 20th May 2016 at 11:16 PM
Just wanted to add in that SimWardrobe is not down! However, the link used is this one http://www.paladins-place.org/main.htm instead of the old simwardrobe.com
Mad Poster
#8 Old 20th May 2016 at 11:34 PM
lalala... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BgaGskIPRU Google fu. :D

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#9 Old 21st May 2016 at 4:44 AM
Nice going, jo! Heh, when you said it might take some digging, I figured I might as well not be the one to search, since I've never looked at any Let's Plays at all. Thank you for taking the time to get that done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prah
Just wanted to add in that SimWardrobe is not down! However, the link used is this one http://www.paladins-place.org/main.htm instead of the old simwardrobe.com


Yes, indeed, and you'd think I'd have thought to change it, since I also reported it over here, including the corrected link. Totally forgot I'd even placed the bad link in this thread, so I appreciate you pointing it out! Now changed.
Mad Poster
#10 Old 21st May 2016 at 5:28 AM
I simply put 'The Jessa Channel Post Office' into Google and it was the first hit. Of course knowing it was on Jessa's channel helped a lot.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Theorist
#11 Old 21st May 2016 at 10:00 AM
I like the sound of the parcel service. I have several sims who supply businesses by crafting, rather than (or in addition to) having the business owner craft items themselves, and it's always a pain to summon the business owner, have them transfer inventory and funds manually.

Livejournal: simsfreq.livejournal.com
Tumblr: simsfreq.tumblr.com

Co sleeper for babies/toddlers, and teen career overhaul (also custom schools): Here at simbology
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#12 Old 21st May 2016 at 1:56 PM Last edited by natboopsie : 25th May 2016 at 7:49 AM.
Yes, I do that too, simsfreq, and also find it a bit of a pain. One reason I wanted to create kind of a manual (first infobutton see under bold heading "The (User-Written) User Manual..." in my OP for this thread) based on all my testing of the parcel service (and postbox) was that I was wondering what sort of things can be shipped.

Sadly, as you'll see from my makeshift manual, the system for now only sends the specific items its creator set it up to do. Though as I mentioned in my gameplay ideas for it (second infobutton see final bold heading, "Some Gameplay Ideas I Have..." in my OP for the thread), I am wondering whether that can be modded---although I do think that the creator made pretty good choices, if they were only going to make about a dozen objects shippable.

Meanwhile, for exchanging craftables, I use the Inventory Transfer Vase. It has the slight oddity of being able to be used autonomously as well (there were a few posts about that here), but other than that (which is easily worked around, as per that other short discussion), it works really well when you want to put all someone's craftables in another sim's inventory instead. Come to think of it, I also use it in gardening households, so an entire family may help with the harvest but then only one of them needs to be sent to stock the fridge or juicer. Quicker than Give Gift's dialogue, as long as all craftables in the sim's inventory can go (and if one or two aren't meant to be transferred, I'll take them out of the transferring sim's inventory before I do the vase transfer---or take them out of the other sim's inventory after).
Mad Poster
#13 Old 21st May 2016 at 1:59 PM
I bet other items could be added to the list of what it sends. Someone who knows modding would have to take a look. If it was easy a tutorial could be written so people could add what they want.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#14 Old 21st May 2016 at 2:03 PM Last edited by natboopsie : 25th May 2016 at 7:43 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joandsarah77
I bet other items could be added to the list of what it sends. Someone who knows modding would have to take a look. If it was easy a tutorial could be written so people could add what they want.


Yes, I mentioned under the infobutton section about my gameplay ideas that HugeLunatic did an interesting mod that might have been made on a useful principle that a prospective modder of the parcel system could use (though since I'm not a modder, I've no idea whether that's true!).
Test Subject
#15 Old Yesterday at 2:26 AM
Thank you for this @natboopsie! I have the parcel system and the postcards in my game but I've never had a chance to test them out. I was reading your posts at work today and they helped me determine how I'm going to use them in the future.

Lurking since 10/2/07 ~ Call me Cheezy. ;)
Tumblr: http://mmmcheezy.tumblr.com/
Mad Poster
#16 Old Yesterday at 2:47 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by natboopsie
Yes, I mentioned under the infobutton section about my gameplay ideas that HugeLunatic did an interesting mod that might have been made on a useful principle that a prospective modder of the parcel system could use (though since I'm not a modder, I've no idea whether that's true!).


That was adding items to BV treasure digging. I didn't understand her instructions though. :/ Again i need a much more step by step tutorial for things.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#17 Old Yesterday at 11:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezypuff121P
Thank you for this @natboopsie! I have the parcel system and the postcards in my game but I've never had a chance to test them out. I was reading your posts at work today and they helped me determine how I'm going to use them in the future.


You are so welcome, cheezypuff! And thank you so much for sharing that---this was exactly my hope in starting both this thread and that other about the MogH postcards (did you see the other thread as well, which is more focused on gameplay ideas for Mog's postcards?). I couldn't be more thrilled to hear that they've helped someone else decide about their use! There's just so much cool and useful stuff that's been made for the game by modders, and I think part of the reason much of it is underappreciated is only that there's been no easy way to find out how it works, whether it works, that sort of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joandsarah77
That was adding items to BV treasure digging.

Yes, I know, jo. It's my understanding that modders often find it useful to have someone else's work to draw from that's done something similar, so that was the closest thing I could remember having seen. I prefer to err on the side of giving more information than less, so I tossed it in.

HL's mod isn't in my game yet, but eventually I plan to add it, partly because her directions work well for me in that I believe I could make the changes myself in SimPE. That's another reason I mentioned it: I thought her model could be a nicely flexible way for a modder to approach the PCSims set, making it so anyone could change their own shippables for their game. But it was never my intention to suggest that HL's mod shows exactly how to change/add shippable items in the PCSims set. As someone who's written no mods, as I said in my original post, I would not be able to give anyone those sorts of directions either!

It's a good reminder, though, that a method one thinks is straightforward will not be for another. I suppose anyone who does (knock on wood) eventually mod the PCSims parcel shippables will need to weigh all that.
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