The Sims 2: A post-singularity world

Screenshot Sims 2

Refrigeration and teleportation – The Sims 3 seems to be stuck in the 1990es, but with some fantastical elements. Could that happen in our future?

I have been writing a bit on my Sims 2 fanfic lately. And as usual I use the word “fanfic” very lightly. “Inspired by The Sims 2” may be more correct. But it amuses me that in my fiction worldbuilding, I have explained some of the differences between The Sims 2 and the real world with one single explanation: The technological singularity.

The concept of the technological singularity, or simply “the Singularity” among futurists, was first named by science-fiction writer Vernor Vinge, but has since gained mainstream acceptance not least thanks to Ray Kurzweil (inventor, futurist and eccentric genius, currently working with Google). Kurzweil delivers a credible defense for his hypothesis that the accumulation of information complexity increases exponentially. He sees Moore’s Law as just one phase of a much longer process, starting at the beginning of single-celled life if not before. If we plot this on a graph, we will see a line that is almost flat for billions of years, then rising slowly, then more rapidly, until a few years from now it turns vertical and goes through the roof. This point is the singularity – the time when the accumulation of information is so fast that humans as we know them will not be able to follow it.

There are basically two ideas about how the singularity will come to be: Either we develop artificial intelligences with the ability to improve themselves, and they leave us in the dust; or, we improve ourselves (most likely by merging with computer systems) beyond anything today imaginable as human. One version of the latter was described by Vinge in his novels: Human minds became connected electrotelepathically into superminds where humans (and their machines) were all nodes working seamlessly together.


Now back to my fiction. There, sometime in the 21st century, the Singularity has already come and gone. Steadily more fantastic inventions were made, some of which are still around. The Singularity multi-mind attracted most of the bright, creative and curious people in the world. For a while, more and more people flocked to it, and its power increased exponentially. But at some point the distance became too large: The Singularity was beyond human understanding, a “weakly godlike superintelligence” as the futurists call it, and those who were outside were not the most adventurous souls of mankind. And so the Singularity developed on its own. It fixed the climate, restored extinct species, re-knitted the web of life, reclaimed deserts. From a shining city in orbit, the Singularity looked at its work and presumably saw that it was good.

Then, on the night of Passover, they left. This event is when the new era began: AS, After Singularity. Some call it the Rapture of the Nerds, but technically most of them were already gone before that. Nobody knows what happened. Suddenly, the City in the Sky shone like many suns, and then it was gone. Some think it left for another planet or another solar system or another galaxy. Some think it traveled in time, or to another dimension. Some think it ascended to a higher plane. Some think it will come back one day. Some think it realized that life is meaningless and blew itself to atoms.

The dullards inherited the Earth: The dimwitted, the conformist, the fearful, the unimaginative and uninspired. Homo Sapiens Mundanis has locked itself in an idealized, endless 1990es where progress is both impossible and unwanted. For almost a century, life has repeated itself like this, the remnant of mankind slowly growing back in a world just beyond their comprehension, quietly maintained by vaguely humanoid robots and semi-intelligent machines. But a tiny glimmer of change is beginning: The nano-witchards consider themselves the Heirs of the Ascended, and they intend to change everything, again.

This backstory explains many of the anomalies of The Sims 2 as relics of the Singularity or the time just before it, when technology was indistinguishable from magic. Here are some of the weirdness from The Sims 2 and its expansion packs that fall in this category:

-Robots more intelligent than the sims: These vaguely humanoid robots became plentiful during the last years before the Singularity, and did all the hard work. They can repair themselves, or failing that, each other, and are still good as new generations later. They can also produce the kits needed to create more robots, but seem to have no will to actually produce new robots themselves and take over the world.

-Aliens and saucers. The green aliens with big black eyes are not actually from another planet, although they live there now. They are a faction that parted ways with the Singularity after they had reached near-magic technology but before the final integration into a common mind. They occasionally decide to improve the gene pool of the earthlings by making men pregnant with little green babies. Why men? Nobody knows. It is uncertain whether there are female “aliens”, certainly no one has seen any.

-Werewolves, vampires, bigfoot and plantsims: Results of genetic experiments in the run-up to the Singularity. With the possible exception of Bigfoot, they are the result of highly advanced viruses that can transform humans into alternate forms. The reason for this added diversity is lost with the Singularity Exodus, but a mechanism was put in place to make the mutations reversible.

-Djinns: Djinns are holograms, created by the artificial intelligence inside the lamps. They fulfill wishes, but only three in the same area, then they need to be moved. These lamps are examples of nanotechnology, indistinguishable from magic. The resurrect-o-tron is another example, which can return a dead person to life, but not always perfectly. The djinn can also do this, and the two artifacts are probably from the same time, the last year of the Old Era.

-The Gypsies: The people known as the Gypsies are ordinary humans but are following instructions from the Singularity and are provided for by the nanomagic they serve. They distribute the lamps and use another relic from the end of the Old Era, the crystal balls that are interfaces to an information technology far superior to any that has existed before or since.

-Witches: The final gift of the Singularity was the Wand, the Cauldron and the Spellbook. A nanotechnology truly indistinguishable from magic, witchery can perform a wide range of functions, including creating copies of the artifacts themselves. Witches / wizards (known in my story collectively as witchards) do not actually understand the “magic” they use, but are convinced that by spreading the use of it, they will usher in a golden age where humans will once again regain their former intellect and creativity.

So there you have The Sims 2. Electric equipment that doesn’t need cables, toilets that don’t need plumbing, houses that raise themselves, the occasional robot, witch or vampire; but nobody realizes that the real 1990es weren’t like that, because nobody remembers that time anymore except from old TV series.

If we were sims…

See the old man in the background? This is right before the end, before his life flashes before his eyes. He has a lot of memories that are unlike mine, such as marrying and raising kids. And throwing eggs and stink bombs. Well, I think I got the better deal… but actually I hope it is a bit early to sum up yet.

As you can see from my personal journal, my health challenges are not over yet. Of course there are others who are worse off than me, but they are not me, and that makes a difference from my perspective. And my friends and relatives generally don’t blog or write a journal, which one can understand since they know about mine. You know, it is possible to write something less embarrassing than this if you want. -_-

Some time ago I wrote about the YouTube trailer for The Sims 3 Generations. The part that really got to me was the ending, where the camera zooms in on the old man in the park and we see his life pass before his eyes in a jumble, and then stop at one particular moment of his life. I am in no hurry at all to test the whole “life flashes before your eyes” part, I assure you. But if that movie had been about me, what would those pictures have been and what would that final picture be? I believe that unlike him, my pictures would mostly have been of me alone or more rarely with groups of people, although Supergirl (or Superwoman as she wanted me to write) would probably also have featured in some of them, and probably a couple other girls. But mostly me and a computer, or me and a book, I guess. And I think the last one might have been of me in my grandfather’s rocking chair the day I read the tract by Elias Aslaksen about the way to react, and realized that I had free will, regardless of what people did around me. But I don’t know for sure, and I am in no hurry to test it.

If we were sims – I would have wanted to be played by someone like me. That may be a very small thing indeed to boast of in recounting my life, but I generally treat my sims the way I would have wanted to be treated if someone up there played me. Well, I guess I might have wanted a little more freedom… but my sims get to play if their fun motive is low, eat if they are hungry (and frequently their favorite food, at that) while at the same time I nudge them to work toward their long-term goals when the opportunity exists. They live long, happy lives and generally achieve permaplat (in Sims 2), roughly corresponding to an unshakable mind in this world, well before they pass on.

There is no mention in the Holy Scriptures of treating our Sims the way we want to be treated, so I don’t know how much it matters. But I think it does, if we play games like that at all. And they are indeed a way to wisdom, if you don’t lose yourself in them. In the higher speed of time in these simpler worlds, the consequences of choices play out much faster than in our world. And some of us also consider the possibility that there are levels of reality higher than this one, higher dimensions not made of the same elements, from which greater minds than ours may watch us but we may not watch them. But it is probably not quite the same.

There are scientists who say that this world, which we consider 3-dimensional, may actually be a hologram. Others again say that it seems not to be divisible endlessly, but that there are minimum measures of everything, such as the Planck length and perhaps even a Planck time, similar to the clock ticks of a computer… But then, each era has cast the universe in the perceptions of its own age. Perhaps if we begin to understand the universe, it will change again … like a new expansion … or perhaps it is our minds that need to expand?

Not enough Sims 2!

When sims have permanent platinum mood – an unshakable mind – growing older is a cause for happiness. They will spend their elder years calmly and eventually pass on without fear.

It would seem a safe bet that people won’t regret on their deathbed that they have played too little The Sims 2. But once again it seems I am the exception to the rule. Although it is a bit early to say, I hope! But I already regret, and repent, not having played The Sims 2 as much as I should.

Well, not the game in general, but a particular project that takes up a large part of my separate Sims game journal. “Micropolis” (not to be confused with the game of the same name, which I heard of quite a bit later) is a simulated neighborhood in which I act as the guardian angel, inspiring my little computer people to achieve their goals and help each other create a Utopia by building their own inner strength and the ties of love and friendship.

Starting in the near future (sometime between now and 2050) six families come to a deserted farming village in the foothills of a mountain chain. All of them have lost loved ones and everything they owned in the great hurricane that destroyed their hometown. Starting from nothing, with a modest amount of borrowed money, they begin to create a new life for themselves and their children. This is the start of the story of Micropolis.

I play with stricter rules than those that are built into the game. The Near Future is seen as a time in which the economy in particular is harsh: It is hard to get any job without college education, which costs quite a bit of money. Houses are expensive and there are no subsidies, interest rates are high, and property taxes are increased fourfold. For people without jobs, without skills and without friends, the challenge seems almost insurmountable.

Over more than 50 years, we follow the small band of refugees through snapshots of their lives and their conversations with their guardian angel. Together they seek to combine their immediate needs and wants with their long-term aspirations and the greater plans for the whole society. They fish their own fish, grow their own vegetables, and gradually acquire useful skills and begin to climb out of debt. They raise children who eventually go to college, sometimes taking childhood friends or high school sweethearts with them. The children come home and get jobs or start shops. The small cluster of tiny homes becomes a village. Later large apartment buildings begin to appear, and the nearest neighborhoods also take part in the growth. They face new challengers: Climate chaos and mutating viruses. But through it all they continue to thrive under the constant guidance of their guardian angel.

More than money, the true wealth of Micropolis is its people, their skills and generosity, their friendships and love, their families and hospitality. It is these that makes Micropolis a small Utopia, a place anyone except the hardcore liberal would love to live.

I wish I had continued to write it, because it expresses my view of life very well and in a manner I think most people can understand if they have the spare time (it is a very long story). But I got distracted by other shiny things. And most of all, my laziness caused me to give it up. Writing the story itself was not so onerous, but due to the length of the story it became necessary to provide background summaries for all the families and eventually all of the sims. Keeping these info pages up to date was quite a bit of work compared to what you see of them, so I got fed up. I regret that now.

Many people these days (and probably in the past as well) do not understand well the concept of guardian and guiding spirits. The independent thoughts from their subconscious torture them, mock them or drive them to do reckless or outright damaging things.  That is not how it should be. I hope that my fiction can illustrate the kind of world I live in, which is basically the exact opposite. Long may it last.

Simulated angel


OK, this is going to be a bit weird.   Then again, so am I.

Regular readers will know that I have played the Sims games from the start in 2000, upgrading to Sims 2 in 2005 and until I got Sims 3 this summer.  Over time I developed a special way of playing, where I was always looking out for the happiness of my imaginary characters.  This culminated in the Prosperity Challenge project, where I took on the role of “Guardian Angel” for a whole neighborhood of Sims, simulated people “living” in my computer.  For each and every member of each and every family, I would seek to provide a balance between their free will, their immediate needs and guiding them toward becoming the most they could be within their aspiration.

The neighborhood started as six small families, broke and deep in debt, with no skills, no jobs and no friends outside the family, and all of them having lost loved ones before seeking refuge in the small mountain village.  From this foundation I gradually nurtured a village filled with love and friendship, where the various talents worked together to create a better future for all.  A good education, a harmonious family, a career fitting to fulfill their lifetime wants.  Befriending the randomly generated, computer-controlled characters they met in school, college or work, they drew more and more people into their society, starting to take the shape of a small town. And I would still take care of each of them individually, sometimes taking into account things that had happened much earlier in their lives (and months ago in my own timeline).

What was it that tempted me to take up such a hobby?  And why did it take this particular form?  Many players of the game will torture and even kill their characters, or use them to play out scenarios of casual or uncommon sexual relations. In a way this makes sense since they play for the enjoyment of the player, who is real, while the little computer people are not.  Or not by our standards.  To me, they were conferred a secondary reality, a thin and wavering one for sure, by the virtue of living inside my mind.  They were, as I see it now, inhabitants of the second dimension.  And it was natural for me to want to treat them the way I would want someone from a higher dimension to treat me.


If we for a brief time suspend disbelief (lots and lots of disbelief) and imagine that I lived in the world described by Ryuho Okawa in his “Laws” books… suddenly this all makes more sense. Why was I drawn toward acting as an angel toward lesser beings?  Because I actually was a higher-dimensional being myself, incarnated in this world as part of my education. Probably not an actual angel from the seventh dimension, but not all that far off:  Quite possibly from the Realm of Light in the sixth dimension.  Regular readers will know that I constantly make references to the Light where others might say God or Buddha or The Almighty or some such. This fairly lofty origin (though still far from the top) would explain why I was born with unusual intelligence and a deep longing for knowledge and insight in the workings of the world, or why I wanted to be a prophet at an age where other boys wanted to be fireman or pilot. It would also specifically explain my programming skills. Perhaps I was sent to Earth merely for my own education, but probably not:  I may have had some specific task in sights when I incarnated, something that would benefit many people, as is frequently the case for those who descend from that sphere.

But unfortunately, something went off track and whatever I was meant to do, never happened.  Instead I ended up alone, watching the world as if from a distance, while helping my Sims achieve the happiness and prosperity I was sent to give the humans of this world.

Where did I go wrong? What caused me to turn my back on the human world, to “bury my talent” (to use an expression from one of Jesus Christ’s stories)? How did I forget my purpose on this plane of existence? I honestly don’t have a clue.


Of course, my cluelessness could simply stem from not living in a world where Atlantis and Mu were real continents and where most of the world’s gods and heroes were at some point real (albeit somewhat different from how they are remembered today). That instead we each only have one life in this world, and then a final judgment, if even that.  Living in a world where talents are bestowed by genetic lottery rather than celestial hierarchy, a world that will eventually be deserted and share the fate of Venus, and where all our words and all our works will be utterly wiped from the visible universe like footsteps in the sand before the rising tide.

In such a world, playing angel for small computer people may well be the most reasonable thing for one such as me to do. Probably not, though, but “it felt meaningful at the time.”

There went my Sunday


Marrying a magical robot catgirl makes a lot more sense once you’re a vegetable. But that was my sims’ Sunday. How about mine?

I think I slept more than nine hours this night. And that does not include the half hour I was up in the morning before I crawled back to bed. It seems to me that the new MindFlow meditation actually makes me more sleepy, instead of less sleepy as Holosync did. Or perhaps that’s just my mind playing tricks on me.

(There are reasons why I would suspect those different effects — the two of them try to provoke very different waves in the brain. But I won’t describe that again today.)

I have a bottle of soda standing beside my bed these nights. (Well, technically it is a mattress rather than a bed, but it serves as a bed for me.) Each morning when I wake up, I am so dry that they cannot even swallow unless I drink something first. I could of course use a bottle of water, which is healthier and practically free. But what’s the fun in that? Lukewarm water is just disgusting, but soda is always soda.

Having already slept so long that I had lunch for breakfast, I soon made my pasta dinner for lucnh. (Hey, it is Sunday, why not?) While I was making food, the landlord’s grandmother was doing something garden-related outside. She is in her 80es now, but arrived with a bike and worked for a good while.  She probably has the utmost contempt for my yard skills, and rightly so. Even the road and parking space could need some serious raking after the ravages of the over-eager snow plow. And dry leaves keep piling up on the lawns.

The good news is that as long as the grandmother (and former owner) can still garden here, it is higly unlikely that the house will be sold. I could still be replaced with a better tenant, of course, if the place gets too ugly, inside or out. This reminds me that I really should get rid of more stuff.  Like the issues of New Scientist that I did not find time to read last year. (I did not renew the subscription, at least.) Or the crate of comic books I brought with me from the old apartment, when I had given to the second-hand store the hundreds and hundreds of comic books I was not absolutely sure I would want to read again and again.  Or in other words, I only brought with me those I knew for certain that I would read.  Of course I have not even opened them.

If I don’t read comic books on a Sunday, what do I do?  I have continued to play my Sims 2 “Build a City” project, but it requires only a fraction of my attention.  Today I have started blogging it, which is a lot more work. Pictures to scale and cut and upload… and uploading anything is a trial in itself.  Even though I have a broadband connection, uploading is hit and miss.  Now this is ADSL, not true broadband – it is much broader for download than for upload. This surely fit most people, since they consume a lot more than they produce when it comes to the Internet. But it is worse than just that.  Even the current upload speed should easily be enough for my needs, but both pictures and even text often time out.  I have to disable the firewall again, and even then it is not a sure thing. It could be a Dreamhost problem, I suppose.

In any case, the new site for the Sims 2 challenge is up finally.  You can find it here, not that I think I have any shared readers between the Chaos Node and my sims imperium. Still, I mention it because it took its sweet time getting started. Hopefully future updates will take less time, now that I have a site for it and have found a form I like.

Oh! And I discovered a new online roleplaying game, Ether Saga Online. It is one of those Asian free-to-play games, less detailed and lifelike than EurAmerican MMORPGs like City of Heroes or World of Warcraft. On the bright side, these Asian games run on cheap or old computers. And as I said, they are free.  This one certainly looks Asian in every way, but it is in English and both of the servers are in the USA.

Unfortunately, there is not at all time to even try the game, much as I would have loved to.  I don’t even have time to play the games I already have!  But this must be a wonderful time to be a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) and a Hikikomori (someone who never leaves their room).  Speaking of which, the founder of my Sims 2 city is a former NEET and Hikikomori, and references to otaku culture pop up repeatedly in the story.

Well, that should be plenty for one day!

Short update

Looks like my next fad may indeed be gaming. I started a new “Build a City” challenge  in Sims 2. (Rules here.) This fiendishly complex challenge makes your first sim start all alone with no regular jobs, having to survive on gardening, fishing, selling paintings or novels etc. The goal is to build a thriving city by fulfilling various criteria for getting more people to move to the area, unlocking various careers, shops and nearby neighborhoods.

I was inspired to this one by reading the Build a City challenge of an online friend of mine, at . Mine is more tongue-in-cheek, with a city called Copycat and a founder named Nekomimi Eien (roughly translated, CatEars Forever). There will be robots. There will be catgirls. There will be catgirl robots. Or perhaps I’ll think of something else if I wake up tomorrow.
The weather is really nice now, but it’s still spring and I come home from work not long before sunset. The night comes later for each passing day though, and the snow is melting AGAIN.

The LifeFlow folks sent me another email. Just in case it wasn’t an automatic mailer, I sent a reply. It is a tough time being a skeptic, even a partial skeptic such as I. Life must be really interesting for the people who think brainwave hacking can cause them to leave their bodies, attract beautiful women and get threatened by the IRS. All this without necessarily believing in higher powers ( not counting IRS).