In Defense of Inaccuracy

I can’t believe I’m interrupting my vacation to do this. But there was a comment on GOS the other day that really rubbed me the wrong way. (It’s this one if you’re interested. Might as well own my criticism.) I’ve seen this kind of attitude around the community before, and frankly, I’m tired of it and need to respond.

But before I go on, I want to make one thing clear: if you want to make as “accurate” a vision as possible for your own game or story, but don’t criticize anyone else who takes a different path, my beef is not with you. Everyone has their own game and can do what they please with it. But when you start to call my and others’ games and stories “lame” for not conforming to your vision of “accuracy,” that’s when I get pissed off.

There’s a lot of responses I have planned for this particular comment, so I’m going to group them under different headings.

This isn’t a valid criticism of most Sims stories.

Most “medieval” Sims stories have a strong fantasy bent. Lothere has elves and angels and demons; Naroni has the Naron and the magic sex pond; Grimstead has werwolves and vampires. And I could go on, but I’m typing this on a tablet so I’d really rather not. You wouldn’t criticize Game of Thrones or LOTR for not being “accurate” in terms of costume design or hair. Many “medieval” Sims stories take place in a similarly made-up world, where you can have 12th-century hair paired with a 14th-century dress if that’s what the author bloody well wants.

People wear clothes. Characters wear costumes.

If you are creating a Sims story, or any kind of visual story (play, comic, movie or cartoon), you tend to think a lot about what your characters are wearing and how they look. Their costumes need to, first and foremost, fit them and how they view and interact with the world you’ve created for them. They need to express the characters’ personalities. And they need to NOT be all alike. Even movie costume designers will deviate from historical accuracy when they need to make points about characters.

Think about it. I know I tend to take shots from all kinds of distances: close-up, mid-range, far away. I need my readers to be able to tell what characters are in the shot no matter how close or far away I am. I can’t do that if most of my women are wearing the same style of dress and have some “accurate” hair covering.

Also, clothing can be an important indicator of mood and attitude. I did this most with Garnet. The less secure she felt in her future, the more cleavage and back she showed. It was her way of asserting some kind of power over her situation. Think about Rosette, too, and how her costume for the early years looked a bit more peasant-y — and her braid made her look almost childish. Now that she’s got her own shop, she’s wearing a more prosperous-looking outfit and has an undo that makes her look more grown-up (if still totally harried). And lastly, let’s think about George with his codpieces and bold colors: if there’s an outfit that screams confidence more than that does, I’d like to see it.

Heck, I’ve been known to make outfits for my characters when I can’t find one that fits the need they have at that moment. (Or I beg Andavri.)

And just where is all this uber-accurate CC?

Yes, believe me, I know that there’s the Keep. And I LOVE the Keep. But what’s on there is not enough “accurate” clothing to outfit a neighborhood in a particular time and place. There’s plenty of beautiful stuff if you want a mishmash, but not to outfit a cast of characters from one specific setting. There’s not even enough to outfit all the adult women in clothes and hair that fits one time and one place. Let’s not even think about all the other ages and genders.

And there wasn’t always the Keep. I bet half the reason that stories have LOTR-styled clothing is because for a while, that was the majority of what was available. Beggars can’t be choosers and all.

Speaking of which … Sure, it would be nice if there was more accurate stuff available. But somebody has to make it. And I think most creators have better things to do than to bend over backwards to meet somebody else’s idea of accuracy. So my bottom line is, do you want to see more accurate clothing in other people’s games?

Make some.

And until that point, stop insulting other peoples’ stories for not meeting your standards.

17 thoughts on “In Defense of Inaccuracy

  1. I agree with you completely which is the reason I make my own cc and started the Keep. I don’t expect other people to share my vision of what I want for the game. Also, I think historical accuracy is subjective. Sure we have some paintings and scraps of written stuffs to give us an impression of various times and places. If we’re lucky sometimes we even have actual items to go by. We assume that the authors and artists are describing a picture of life as it happened, but how many took liberties with their creations? Humans have been doing that forever.

    So, I try to keep an open mind about the past. I definitely don’t buy the cliches and myths about the medieval era like everyone wore brown, everyone was dirty, everyone was ignorant, everyone in Europe were God-fearing Christians, etc. etc. I’m sure there’s a little truth in it, especially if you read what the Eastern cultures state about the west, but it’s still stereotyping and generalizing an entire era of varied societies.

    Finally I just want to add that not every creation that other people make impresses me or fits in to my personal vision for my game. However, I don’t criticize others for their works. I encourage everyone to be creative and maintain positive, or at least constructive, criticism to help artists/storytellers to improve their creations. As the old saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, stay away from the keyboard. I just know that no one really cares in the end what I think about anything at all and I really hate to rain on another’s parade anyway. And yes…if you are not happy that certain things don’t exist for your game because no one else is making it, then learn how to make it yourself. If I can do it, others can too.

  2. I very much agree. As I’m sure you knew when you texted me to read it.

    I can look at this issue from several sides of the argument; as a custom content creator, as a reader of historical sim blogs, as a writer of a historical fantasy based sim blog.

    As a creator, it is HARD to create historically accurate sim clothing. You’re limited by meshes, unless you mesh (which I don’t.), you’re limited by game physics, you’re limited by the game itself. By the time you get past all of the hurdles that are right at the gate, you’re a quarter to fucked anyway.

    But let’s say you do persist. First thing is first, you research and you research and you research some more, as José likes to remind me never trust one source. Even if you do find one source you’re willing to trust, you have to research that source. If it’s not a contemporary to the period you’re working with, you have to research their methodology, then you research their sources. If your source is say, Venetian, and you’re say an American with a smattering of Spanglish as your second language, you need be able to trust the translations you’re working from. And people like to spin. If you haven’t chased all the rabbits back to their holes, and we are talking period time and place. Don’t talk to me about accuracy.

    I don’t like research that much and it takes the time and fun out of creating to do six hours of research for every one hour of creating.

    Which brings me to my next point: Say again, you do persist. You’ve done your research, you’ve chase your rabbits, you’re so sick of researching and chasing rabbits that you almost don’t want to look at the game ever again. You create. But ah-ah-ah, is that blue a period blue? More research. Is that a period pattern you just used for some embroidery? These sleeves are completely wrong, but closer to right sleeves clip and look horrible.

    And then you take this skin that has driven you three quarters around the bend and put it up for download. Two people say thanks and then they go about their day and you’re left exhausted and don’t want to create anything ever again. I have been there. As an average person with no delusions about how much I know about history. It. Is. Not. Worth. The. Time.

    Unless you’re the sort of person who gets off on researching, which most of the people I know who sim aren’t, historical accuracy is almost more trouble than it is worth.

    People who are trying to tell a story with this game want something of visual interest. It’s a very peculiar medium to work with, something akin to an illustrated story. But one that fights you ALL THE BLOODY TIME. The game doesn’t lend itself all that well to history. If an actor doesn’t shower for a few days, he gets sweaty, a little grimy looking, and his hair starts getting getting greasy.

    In the sims series, if your sim doesn’t shower for twelve hours (really EAxis? Really?) he develops a green cloud of visual stench and he and all the sims around him start waving their hands and whining at the camera. His hair and skin are still flawless. He’s just giving off waves of green. >_<'

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    It is not good enough to be a "fabulous storyteller" (which is one person's opinion of themselves, and I'm not getting into it because I kinda have history with that person) to be good at a sim story. Especially not a historical/fantasy one.

    Look at Hat and all of her research and creation and what not. She has been working since who even all knows when and she still isn't even started with her story game. Look at Lothere and the changes that it has gone through. Or Naroni, or hell, Albion. As the creators have adapted so have the games, but it still fights us. It still tells us we can't do this, we can't do that. We have this that and the other thing we have to do before we can get ONE shot of ONE chapter of ONE storyline.

    And to create a world that looks a certain way and a town that looks a certain way, with people who look a certain way, and and interact a certain way is MINDBLOWINGLY difficult. I have been working on my current sims story for MONTHS and this is post two other melt downs on it.

    To create a good historical sims story you have to be Tolkien and Fellini and Frank Lloyd Wright and Frances Adler Elkins (a very famous interior designer) and Joan Bergin (the costumer for The Tudors) and have the patience of Job and the google skills of God.

    Then you want me to pile sixteen hours of research for every little detail on top of the hours of other research, development, and creation, just because it offends one person to see a character in a mismatched gown and hat with loose hair. Get. over. yourself.

    If you’re too lazy to put a story together and let us go to town on critiquing it, child-of-air, then we can be too lazy to make sure that we always have our gowns and our hats matched.

    • … I had this whole… THING halfway typed out about the balance between historical accuracy and budget, historical accuracy and perception, historical accuracy and the limits of the medium involved, and then I decided to double-check the comments to see if I was treading over pre-trodden ground and…

      Dude, this is Child of Air who made the comments? Now I gotta go hunt up what she said, but…

      A while back, I put together a big ol’ resource post on my Dreamwidth about the Medieval CC I use for my game. Please note: custom content I use for my game. Child of Air left me a helpful, helpful comment informing me that golly gee I had plum forgotten to link to ANY of her content on Plumb Bob Keep (apparently my blanket link to ‘here is Plumb Bob Keep, do your research and download what works for you’ didn’t satisfy her) OR her MTS profile. And before that, talked down to me (on the Keep, back when I was active there) about my use of photographs of re-enactors’ reconstructions as inspiration and research materials for Sims 2 clothes, because her book full of re-drawn black-and-white line drawings without any actual period artwork or photos of extant examples was clearly the superior source. And she tried to pass off a shift on a mermaid-dress mesh as an tenth or eleventh-century princess’s dress. And I think she was one of the people who got after me for trying to point out that the original painting was probably a better source for the actual shape of a hat than Bipsouille’s mesh, but I won’t swear to that.

      Consider the source and all.

  3. *shifty eyes*

    I don’t normally weigh-in on this sort of thing, but to be honest, I wrote a (somewhat dead now) modern story that took place in a made-up location, with a made-up culture, made-up fashion, made-up languages and dialects, all taking place in a made-up era. No one would have ever given me any beef for the historical inaccuracy of my rendition of modern times, and to me that is somewhat telling. My choice to completely re-imagine society had nothing to do with laziness, and no one would have ever made the accusation. Obviously, I live in 2013 and know what it looks like. To write a period story that is more pre-industrial revolution (let’s say) and that does not conform to a specific time and place is no indication that the writer simply could not be bothered to do her homework. If the calendar says “June 11, 1289”, the map says “Tuscany” and the Battle of Campaldino isn’t going on, I can’t assume that the author just misplaced her library card and wrote the chapter anyway. I can only assume that she did not want to transcribe things as they happened, but instead as she would have them for the purposes of the story. This is a stylistic choice.

    But more than anything, I don’t agree with with the basic premise of the argument. Alternative histories are hard. Hard, hard, hard. They can force you to become very detailed in your thinking. Once you’ve made up a custom or a social attitude, you have to be able to keep your characters consistent with that custom or social attitude. To imagine something that has never happened and that could never happen but to make it believable– That is the challenge. If Clive is having an altercation with John while one of them is wearing a doublet and the other one is wearing a space suit but the writer makes me believe in those characters and that struggle, then that’s extraordinary.

  4. This, exactly! (Though sorry that your vacation got interrupted by stupid.)

    The thing about Sim stories that a lot of those non-writers in the community seem to frequently forget is that they’re for fun. People don’t write Sim stories to make money, people don’t write Sim stories to show off, people don’t even write Sim stories to please readers (though if they do please readers, obviously it’s a major bonus–bigger bonus if you make friends with your readers!). Ask the writer of any Sim story that’s still going on, and everyone’s top reason is “because I have fun doing it”. And you know they do, because really, there are no tangible, guaranteed rewards for writing around video game screenshots and posting them on the internet other than sheer enjoyment.

    And like any other hobby, you can tailor it to fit you, cut down on what you don’t enjoy so much and focus on what you like. Do I enjoy working on Naroni? Obviously, seeing as we’re getting close to the 800 post mark. Would I enjoy it as much if I felt the need to do tons and tons of research for it? That would be a big, resounding “Fuck no”. If I’d aspired to keep Naroni realistic, I doubt we would have gotten to Raia’s first birthday without me up and quitting, because interesting research for me is stuff that I stumble across–not stuff I’m actively seeking out (I already did school!).

    The CC thing! When I started, I was running base game only (no functional body shop) on a Windows Vista computer without any sort of reasonably good photo-editing software. I couldn’t exactly be picky with CC (and even then, there was plenty I liked, and plenty I still do!). Now, the aesthetic of my game has been well-established, and I absolutely agree with you on your second point–character comes first, and the costume has to fit! If Riona shows up one day wearing a plain, high-necked gown and a wimple… yeah, that’s not going to work. For me personally, character comes first, unity with the rest of the game comes second, pretty is a bonus… historical accuracy is incidental at best. Other people may have other priorities, and that’s cool, but I have a right to mine.

    And really… I have never claimed to be historically accurate. I have a warning right there on my blog. If people don’t want to read Naroni for that reason, or for any other reason, why on earth should they feel obliged to do so? I’m not offended by people not reading, or not continuing to read my story–that’s their choice, and I don’t want to be keeping them from something they might enjoy a little more. All I ask is that they acknowledge my right to write what I want to write, and to do what I want with my own game, whether or not they themselves would make the same choices. To me, that doesn’t seem like an unreasonable thing to ask, but apparently it’s a big fucking deal for some people.

    I’m with Pen there on skilled writers making mismatched elements work! If I opened up an Albion post, and Dilys and Delyth were hanging around their room, wearing hoodies over their gowns, listening to Alice Cooper on a phonograph while comparing the aliens who just landed outside to Klingons, and then Kay shows up to gift Dilys with a baby dinosaur–that’s cool!

  5. I agree with everybody above, who’ve said everything I wanted to say much more eloquently than I possibly could. I agree with Andravi and Van especially. They’re wise people. *nods*

    If you don’t want to read someone’s story because you don’t like their storytelling, fine. If you don’t want to read someone’s story because you don’t like their writing style or think their grammar and spelling suck, fine. If you don’t want to read their story because you think the characters are flat and boring and generally awful, fine. But if you don’t want to read a Sim story that’s told within the confines of the game and is limited by the game’s capabilities and the CC we have available to us (or are able to make) because it isn’t historically accurate? Pardon my Gaulish, but then you need to get fucking over yourself.

    “If I opened up an Albion post, and Dilys and Delyth were hanging around their room, wearing hoodies over their gowns, listening to Alice Cooper on a phonograph while comparing the aliens who just landed outside to Klingons, and then Kay shows up to gift Dilys with a baby dinosaur–that’s cool!”

    I’d LOVE to see that scene! 😀 (And is it bad that I can totally picture Dilys’s delighted reaction? And think that it’s probably a good thing Pellinore isn’t around, because he’d just put a dampener on things by pointing out that dinosaurs do grow up to be quite large even if it’s cute and cuddly now, and that it really isn’t safe to have a fully grown velociraptor around your children? ;))

  6. I’ma weigh in with my two cents about the importance of historical accuracy, then talk a little about the specific comments. And the commenter.

    The best advice I ever got as a writer was “If you have a choice between looking something up and making something up, look it up FIRST.” Historical accuracy is one of the things where ‘look it up first’ is near and dear to my heart, because things only get more awesome the more you look up. And as a Sims 2 creator, I want the awesome. I want to share the awesome. I want to put something out there that looks Medieval instead of something that looks like badly-researched Hollywood. And I firmly believe that there is an important argument to be made about the popular depiction of the Middle Ages in modern media, but it’s the same thing, really, that could be said about any historical period or women or people of color in modern media, and I can’t put it any better than this Cracked article by David Wong— the stories we are told, the books we read, the TV shows and movies we watch, all shape how we see the world (Skell reblogged a thing that says when the ratio of men to women is 83/17 (the same as Hollywood gives us), the men think it’s 50/50). Because we are reading or watching these things to entertain ourselves, we hoist up our suspension of disbelief and let our collective guards down. As Mr. Wong says in his conclusion, “while your guard is down, you’re letting them jack directly into that part of your brain that creates your mythology. If you think about it, it’s an awesome responsibility on the part of the storyteller. And you’re comfortable handing that responsibility over to Michael Bay.”

    On the other hand, as someone who has hand-sewn clothes for six-inch dolls and helped to put twenty teenagers in passably Medieval royal court clothes on a budget of $200 inside of six weeks, there is a point where you have to say, “I can’t do it any more accurately or it won’t be in scale anymore” and “It’s not perfect but they won’t be able to tell from the third row,” and those are both vital lessons for Sims 2 custom content creators. I create before I write, I need the look there, I need the game to look like I see it in my head… which is why my game is still in pre-production (and liable to be revised with some more Sims of color). For someone who writes rather than creates extensively? Costuming your Royal Kingdom Challenge characters is like renting costumes. You’re stuck with what the costume shop has, whether or not you’ve done the research to know this one is tenth century, this one is fifteenth, and that one is a Disney Princess.

    And sometimes? A singular creator has to choose between research and creating. That’s why Lothere started— to get past some exhaustive research for another project, Jenny wasn’t going to research at all for Lothere, she was going to sit down and write. And she did, for free, in her spare time, and then she shared it. That is as important as whether or not her photos look Medieval enough, and more important than whether anything is properly eleventh-century enough. … But goddammit I will yell at Hollywood or paid authors about it. If you can afford to pay your leading man seven or eight figures, you can afford to hire half a dozen hungry grad students to tell you what kind of shoes said leading man should be wearing, and if your story is being published all in one chunk by a proper publishing house, you can damn well note where YOU KNOW you need to do more research in one of your drafts, and then go fix it before printing.

    Frankly, one ‘okay’ in a period setting jerks me out harder than a hundred backgrounders cosplaying as Legolas and Arwen.

    And Sims stories that aren’t expressly set in Actual England or Actual France but in fictional countries… well, c’mon, that’s not depicting The Middle Ages, that’s depicting the Sims’ Middle Ages. If a reader assumes the story is set deep in the past, they should probably be assuming it’s set deep in the past of a world where people at the top of the Law Enforcement career can fly, and nobody ever worked out how to have sexism or racism (… assuming turn-offs for supernaturals count as xenophobia instead). Whether or not you are just dealing “with humans and their drama,” there are fantasy elements in the story because they’re built into the game’s code.

    But then we must also consider the source, who right in her confessional post, wrote: “That being said, I should shut up and right my own story because I’m a fabulous storyteller. But I am too fucking lazy to finish my stories most of the time, and would rather just play.”

    Emphasis mine.

    Two years ago, her attitude about not-quite-accurate content was, “So far it’s the most accurate mesh there is out there- nobody else has even attempted this style, so I’m going to go with it, until someone else makes something better.” She assumes another Simmer’s resource post isn’t complete without a direct link to her content (she’s an original member of the Keep and the Smithy, you know), and that her resourses are the best resources (despite having their seams drawn on in the wrong places and using criss-cross lacing instead of spiral).

    Morgaine, I am so sorry this happened while you were on vacation and having fun, but there’s absolutely no reason for you to stop having fun because of Child of Air’s amazingly inconsiderate and apparently totally hypocritical words. Do not sweat this person, don’t let her upset you, and don’t let her get you down– she only wants to feel like the smartest little special snowflake in the blizzard.

    • … There was emphasis on ‘right’ and ‘I’m a fabulous storyteller,’ but apparently I am not allowed to use bold. Sorry for the confusion.

      • That was weird, especially since I could see the emphasis when I viewed your comment on my tablet. Hope you don’t mind that I added it back in. 🙂

        (More detailed replies to everyone will follow.)

        (Also, even though I wasn’t going to go there, I just want to say that I am so, so glad someone did. 😈 )

    • And Sims stories that aren’t expressly set in Actual England or Actual France but in fictional countries… well, c’mon, that’s not depicting The Middle Ages, that’s depicting the Sims’ Middle Ages.

      This. This, exactly. Something that bugged me a little extra was when she was asked about fantasy blithely said it was okey-dokey fine: “I don’t expect Game of Thrones to be historically accurate, because it’s fantasy.” So, it’s okay for George R.R. Martin not to get every detail about the medieval setting of ASoIaF right, because it’s about a made-up country in gods old and new know which universe. But people who write Sim stories about made-up countries in whatever deities they worship there only know which universe are not allowed not to get every detail about their medieval setting right, because… Child of Air doesn’t approve? (Never mind that a Sim storyteller might not have any other choice than to put their character in a 12th-century hairdo and a 14th-century gown unless they want their character to be bald and naked.) Okay, then. 👿

      • I’m gonna say, even in a strong real-world-parallel story like Lothere, it doesn’t matter. It matters in Braveheart (in which Mel Gibson’s would have us believe that William Wallace, seven years after his death, impregnated then nine-year-old Princess Isabella, future She-Wolf of France, from across the English Channel), because the wide audience there has no idea that they’re being lied to– but in Lothere, the readers are Simmers by and large. The readers know the citizens of Lothere are clothed in the best CC Jenny could find when that chapter was written. Because it’s not a movie where the costumer is inaccessible except for maybe a bonus feature on the DVD, it’s a blog, with a WCIF section and a Downloads tag.

        And since Lothere is the ‘realest’ Medieval Sims story I know of (I keep up with Lothere, Albion, Fortune & Romance, and Strangetown, Here We Come, but I have occasionally glanced at other stories), with its actual dates and occasional historical figures and ability to do better math than Hollywood, and it STILL has elves and vampires and zombies and wizards and angels and demons and Absolutely Not Demons At All Stop Using That Word.

        • One of the things that I did as far as research went is a little into that black and white book that Child of Air holds as the “medieval clothing bible” (Which, by the way does not cover the place and era that I skin for when I am creating for myself. That would be the end of the fifteenth century in Northern Italy and Venice. Which was actually chosen in part because it was a fairly prosperous area at the time and there are a lot of paintings and what-all-not to use as inspiration. Part of it is though I just LIKE the time and place.) Anyway her book? Quite a bit of it is based off Victorian “research” and as I said yesterday to my brother a good portion of Victorian research was “let’s see how much of this I can pull straight out my own ass.”

          But again, if there is one good thing José taught me, it’s how to properly and thoroughly research. It’s part of how things become exhaustive, half-assed research seems a worse sin than making shit up and admitting I’m doing so. I won’t pretend there’s accuracy where there isn’t. In fact there’s a lot more research that goes into my stuff than I even do credit myself for because of the liberties I end up taking due to the medium.

          Also, if Child of Air thinks that creating a fantasy based world like Albion is easy she is so full of shit she squeaks. Sure, the Albion we know was born of a lark. I went on vacation one week and when I came back and logged on IM, Morgaine informed me that she had started a RKC with her story sims while I was gone.

          However since that weekend long, long ago in both story and real life time, Morgaine and I have spent I do not know how many weekends brainstorming and developing and fixing and rethinking to reach the Albion that is here today. Long time readers might be familiar with the “Checkylist” which is basically a world creation thought exercise. It’s over twenty pages and I’m not even done with it yet. (I need to do that sometime. In my infinite spare time, of course. When I should be researching to accurately clothe my sims so as not to offend delicate flowers, you know.)

          Like your comment, Hat, about looking it up first one of my most important rules/best thing anyone ever told me about writing is “Your setting is your most important character.” Which it is, your setting is what everything else spawns from. From the king straight down to the little townie chit who harassed poor Marigold when she was out for an afternoon with Thorn.

          A solidly developed setting is crucial to continuity, to character development, to plot development, to knowing what the hell do I do now. A fantasy world is not “reality for the lazy”. In fact, because you don’t have the guidepost of “what really happened” like the World Wars or Waterloo or the Inquisition, it can be a lot harder than researching what happened in real life.

          Think about what Morgaine’s done with the game mythology and how she’s developed that into a religion. How do you really think she went from one small reference to Robert Crumplebottom from TS1 to a full blown religion with him as a prophet and with saints and holy days and (cow)demons? Sure, there are parallels to Christianity, to Islam, to other real world religions, but don’t tell me she didn’t have to think about it. I’ve listened to a lot of her brainstorming and helped her cross many a road in development of just that one facet.

          And then think about how the “Word of Wright” has now permeated through the society and effects things from Mordred and Dindrane’s divorce, to Arthur going head to head with the Robertians, to that stupid guard who likes to beat Ash up for coming to his stall to sell his flowers.

          So, if you look at Albion, there are maps, and you know, it doesn’t look like the world we live in, the calendar is different than the one we have. The religion that is central to the world is different. The kings who do and have reigned are different than the kings who do have reigned in the real world… So I’m still not sure why George RR Martin gets a pass and Morgaine and her world do not…

          I mean Child of Air is allowed her opinion, certainly. But if you look at her premise, she was whining about not having any sim stories to read because we evil awful simmers won’t write what she likes.

          • Anyway her book? Quite a bit of it is based off Victorian “research” and as I said yesterday to my brother a good portion of Victorian research was “let’s see how much of this I can pull straight out my own ass.”

            So I don’t know if it’s weird timing or what, but Child of Air posted on two different entries on my DW today, pimping a) another book full of 20th century line-drawings and b) pirated scans of said book.

  7. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. If she finds inaccurate stories to be lame, if she can’t enjoy them, then it’s her right. I’m glad she has her standards that make her happy. And if she ever decides to write that story of hers, I hope she finds that elusive font of painstakingly accurate CC that also exactly matches her characters and their universe. I would hate for her story to be lame.

    The first comment had my ears steaming. The second one really got to me. Why anyone would use a historical setting for a “humans and their drama” Sims story without accurate costuming? Unless I’ve fallen into an alternate universe, Albion, Naroni, Lothere, etc. are stories, not historical lectures or educational fashion shows. (And I love an educational fashion show. I could read Hat’s content posts a dozen times for the amazing information about dyes and spiral lacing slipped in between the pictures.) They’re stories about characters and their world, a universe that is so much more than hats and gowns. Are the design elements important? Sure. If I see bright, airy pictures with Andavri’s gorgeous clothes left and right, I know I’m in Albion. If I see a Moroccan sofa housing chatting sims with brilliant eyes, I’ve wandered into Naroni.

    Put another way: Dindrane’s tightly-done hair tells me about her inner tension as a sophisticated woman in a society that’s progressive for its era but still all-too constrictive to her. If you put her in the modern era (and let’s just say it’s a modern setting that you have working familiarity with and not a foreign culture that would still require research if you want to be truly accurate)… why is she still married to Mordred? Why didn’t she get a divorce, get custody of the kids, and move away with Margery? Heck, why did she marry Mordred at all?

    And how, in the age of cell phones and GPS and wire-tapping, did Mordred get away with an assassination? Would Morgause’s trial have meant nearly as much if she was the relative of a prime minister in an era where justice is meant to be blind? Is the rise of the Ferreiras going to put you on the edge of the seat if they’re just trying to make the cut at the country club? Is Leona’s adventure all that special if she merely hooked up with a foreign guy in a hostel in Prague?

    My long-winded point: the setting isn’t about the pretty costumes. CC a massively fun tool, a special element to a Sims story, but it doesn’t dictate the value of the work. The contract that an author like Morganna makes with her audience isn’t the one that the BBC makes with me if I’m tuning in to a costume drama. And even if she broke that contract with her readers, put everyone into gorilla costumes, and wrote the story entirely in tweets and sexts, she’s doing ME a favor by writing Albion. There’s nothing lame about that.

    (And there would be nothing lame about a baby dinosaur arc. Just saying.)

  8. I know I should start by thanking you guys (er … gals …) for all the love and support, but all I can think is this:

    How the hell am I going to do a baby dinosaur arc?

    But! Now that that is out of the way … THANK YOU!!!!!

    Thank you for pointing out that a made-up world, with all of the time and effort that goes into thinking up elements of religion, culture, law, geography (evil geography!), history, art, music, politics, economics, and all those other -ics and -isms and everything else, is easily just as hard as doing research for a “real-world” story.

    Thank you for having my back on the CC question, for pointing out that story authors, especially if they don’t create their own outfits, have very little control over what’s available and can only choose how they’ll use it.

    Thank you for reminding me that one person’s opinion does not a reasonable critique make. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t hurt by what Child of Air said, and I didn’t take what she said as a real critique of Albion or any kind of criticism I should take to heart. I was just flippin’ MAD. (And by the way … even if the main characters of a story are dryads, talking sharks, and space aliens, stories are ALWAYS about “humans and their drama.” If it’s got characters, they are in some way based on HUMANS because that’s the only intelligent(ish) life we know!!)

    Thank you, also, for reminding me to consider the source of said opinions, and confirming that I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

    And thank you for the continuing outpouring of support for Albion. I promise you, I will not turn the story into sexts and tweets, but it felt good to hear that you’d still support it even if I did. 😀

    (However, I’m still not making any promises about the dinosaurs.)

    I didn’t just write this about Albion, though. I honest-to-God wrote it for all of us. For Van and Naroni, who explicitly swears off historical accuracy but still delivers great human drama and a way of exploring modern problems in a decidedly non-modern setting. For Winter and Verona, with her gorgeous blend of Renaissance, Regency, medieval, eighteenth-century, and I’m-sorry-I-don’t-know-what-else styles, and its seamless mix of Shakespearean and Austen characters, and the best damn Lady Catherine to step out of the pages of Pride and Prejudice. For Lothere, bouncing history and fantasy off each other. For Andavri’s project, which isn’t ready to be written up yet but will be awesome when it is, I promise! For Hat, because I want to see what kind of story she writes with her hood. For Nix and Penelope and every other CC creator making something beautiful for all of us to play with even if it isn’t 100% accurate. For Sunni, making the Keep which is equally welcoming of tenth-century, fifteenth-century, eighteenth-century, Disney princess, Pre-Raphaelite fantasy, and everything in between. What was said was a slap in the face to all of us and all the hard (if enjoyable) work we’ve put it, FOR FREE, making something for other people to enjoy.

    Like a lot of people said, it’s one thing to not like a particular story because of characters or writing style or even just not liking the style of the pictures. It’s even one thing to dislike a particular genre of story, Sim or otherwise, because it just doesn’t mesh with your taste. It’s another thing go out of your way to insult a whole genre of Sims stories and their creators because of so-called historical accuracy … especially when most of our stories are about as accurate as we can make them, damn it, given the limitations of the game and the CC and everything else. Especially when we’re doing this, once again, for free.

    I could go on, but I’ve ranted enough for one week. 😆 Once again, guys, thank you.

    (And for what it’s worth — I’m back from vacation, I had a FANTASTIC time and have the painful sunburns to prove it, and I can say from experience that the Jersey Shore is BACK, baby! JERSEY STRONG!)

  9. I am so glad you posted this. It’s about time someone said something.

    A long time ago at the Keep, someone (can’t remember who so I won’t point fingers), made a comment I really didn’t like. It was something like, “Great work, but next time could you make something more historically accurate?”

    In my head I was really freaking out. I’m thinking, “No! Don’t say that! I love Sherabim’s work. If she does that, her stuff might not be the same level of awesome.” I don’t have a problem with Sherabim choosing to add more accuracy. I have a huge problem with Sherabim’s creativity being hindered in any way. I even had that awful thought that she might not want to continue uploading those pretty clothes with comments like that.

    I can’t remember if I replied. Sherabim gave a very nice reply that emphasized fantasy and eased any fears of Sherabim giving up on her public.

    It’s the same kind of thing really. Criticisms need to be done carefully. Rebecah of Affinity Sims had lots of criticism for her animals not being perfect enough…and no one has done it better. I have the feeling she was thinking about keeping her cc private to avoid that treatment.

    I would be so sad if one of my favorite creators of cc or sims stories quit due to remarks of others. This story is included!

    I personally have been guilty of not being historicly accurate for the sake of fun. Like the tonsures….my monks have never had them. There are too many fun hairstyles, I couldn’t bare to give them all the same one. I’ve also spanned centuries in clothing, and included fantasy clothes, because I loved the clothes so much I couldn’t bare to leave them out.

    And another point…. I took a break from rkc to play some Test of Time. That goes through many time periods. I became interested in adding extra time periods to the end. I started researching beyond where I was in the challenge. I found some interesting things out. One is that during the Edwardian period the nobility wore Edwardian clothes, but the underclass still wore Victorian clothing. It stand to reason that in earlier periods the nobility may have been in the latest fashion while the peasants were well behind the times.

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