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Ambitions hands-on preview - part 1

Picture the scene: you're playing The Sims 3. A family member or loved one peers over your shoulder and asks "what are you doing?". What's the answer? In my case, it's almost always "I'm waiting for my Sim to finish work". Sound familiar?

Well this scene will be changing very soon. As soon as you install The Sims 3: Ambitions, the answer will become "I'm waiting for my Sim to start work".

It's impossible to understate how much this expansion pack could change the way you play your Sims game. I only played for a couple of hours and I found that the new careers, or "professions" as they're called in the game (to distinguish them from the rabbit-hole based careers) are extremely involved.

Of the new professions, I played at least a little bit of the following:

  • Stylist
  • Interior designer
  • Fire-fighter
  • Private Investigator
  • Inventor (self-employed)
  • Ghost hunter

During the 4 hour preview session in London, I got plenty of hands-on time with the game. Plus, we were treated to a demo from Grant Rodiek, the producer of Ambitions, who showed us some of his favourite aspects of the new expansion. So, without further ado, here's a little bit about those professions:


The stylist has the power to transform your townies' clothes from threadbare to designer flare, their hair from looking like hay to "hey good looking" and their makeup... is also something you can edit in this particular profession.

As a stylist your Sim will have working hours when they should head down to the salon. How much or how little work your Sim does is your choice. You could just hang out with your co-workers, and mess about all day. Or you could wait for a potential client to come in through the door. During your working day, you'll get special assignments to make over certain Sims. These pop up like opportunities.

The client will come along with a story about why they want or need a makeover, along with a list of requirements. These might be something like 3 x everyday clothes, 1 x formal wear, 1 x shoes, 1 x accessory, new hair style, new hair colour, new makeup. That's not a restriction, that's just the minimum you need to do to complete this client's makeover. So if their swimwear was offensively hideous, you could change that as well.

Will your makeover be a hit or a flop?

So you get your client to step up to the new stylists' object, and you'll find yourself in something that looks a bit like Create-A-Sim, but with a slightly different background. It allows you access to change hair, facial hair, eyebrows, makeup, and clothes. There are also some extra hair styles that are only available from the stylist, including a really cute new ponytail style for women. After you've changed all the different things the client asked for, they pay you for your work, and off they go.

As a stylist, your Sim will also have a couple of new socials available to them. They can compliment a Sim on their style to increase their relationship. Conversely, of course, you can also insult their sense of style, which will upset them.

Interior designer

The interior designer profession does not have a special lot or rabbit hole assigned to it. You can join the profession by looking it up in the newspaper. After that you will have certain working hours when you are "on the clock". During that time, available jobs will show up around town.

There's quite a large variety of jobs that might be available, and they will in some cases link in with story progression. For example, a couple expecting a baby might ask you to design them a baby room. A couple whose kid just aged up from a toddler to a child or from a child to a teen might ask you to redesign their child's room to suit their new age group better. On any given working day, there will be a handful of these jobs for your designer to complete for a fee.

There are a couple of restrictions on the interior design jobs. For example, if you remove everything from the house, the game won't let you return to live mode until you've replaced at least the basic items that Sims need to live (i.e. a toilet, a fridge, and one bed space per Sim).

Can you measure up to expectations?

Before your Sim starts the redesign, it may pay off to get to know your client a bit. Learn some of their traits and you might be able to provide them with a design that suits them better. A computer whiz might not have specified that they wanted a computer in their new living room, but you know they'll thank you for it. Your Sim can also "measure up" the house that's to be redesigned. This is just a little interaction that they do, and it has no real effect except that it will boost the final score for the redesign.

When you're ready, and when you know your client, you can hit renovation mode. This is very much the same as build mode and buy mode. As with the stylist profession, the client will give you a list of requirements for the job. In this case, it will be a list of new furniture that must be bought. Again, this is not a restriction, it's just a minimum. The renovation mode also features a budget, visible in the top left corner, which clearly tells you what your client's budget is, and how much you have left to spend. Most clients will like it if you manage to come in a little bit under budget. Frugal Sims will be delighted, of course, if you have plenty of money left over from the budget. However, if your client is a snob, they will prefer you to go over the budget!

If you want to give your makeovers the personal touch, you can actually access your family inventory from the renovation mode. This is great because it means you can place down paintings, sketches, and any collectible items you've placed there. Or if you're Cyclonesue you can put a dirty toilet in the family inventory, and leave it as a charming gift for your client.

After you've completed your fabulous redesign, you report back to your client with a quick phone call, and if they're available they'll come home to check on your handiwork. They'll check it all out, and tell you what they think. If you've paid no special attention to it it'll be "ok", but if you measured up the house, and really got to know your client and considered their personality in your design, they will love their new room, and should pay you a bit extra to thank you for your efforts.

Finally your Sim can take a photo for their portfolio. If you have World Adventures, here's where you can bring in the photography skill, and the nice cameras, to take a professional-looking photo. Otherwise, your Sim will have to put up with their less-than-spectacular camera phone for this.


If your Sim likes a bit of adventure and action, or just likes bright flashing lights and loud noises, perhaps they'd enjoy the new fire-fighter profession. Like the stylist profession, this new profession has its own open community lot. The lot contains a fire engine (of course!), an alarm in every room, plus a bunch of recreational stuff for the fire-fighters to use when they're just hanging out.

When your shift starts, you have to head down to the fire station. You can do basically whatever you want there until your shift starts. You could even just sit around eating and watching TV. However, if you prefer to do something more productive, you could maintain or upgrade the fire engine and maintain the alarms around the station. Alternatively, you could hang out with your co-workers, or hit the gym in the basement to keep yourself in shape.

Whatever you're doing, when that alarm starts ringing you'd better get to the fire engine - and fast. Of course, if you're upstairs, you can slide down the pole to get back to the ground floor really, really fast. Well, you could just hang around a bit longer, after all you haven't finished your sandwich yet... mmmm sandwich... ok ready now, did someone say fire?

Save the day! And impress the ladies...

Depending on how well you've maintained your fire engine you'll either zoom to the scene of the fire, or you'll be overtaken by your elderly mother en route. All of the jobs my Sim went on were small house fires, however Grant told us that that there are plenty of other different kinds of fire that your Sim might get called out to help with.

Upon arriving at the scene, your Sim can start to extinguish the fire. Or they can take a few pieces of furniture first. Y'know, you can just tell them it was burnt. They'll never know. Once you've put the fire out, you'll be given a grade depending on how long it took you to deal with the fire, and you'll be graded accordingly.

And for those of you wondering - yes, you can buy the fire pole for your Sims' houses, without them necessarily being in that profession. I had a pole going from my Sims' bedroom into the kitchen. It was sweeeeeet.


I'm going to cut this review off here, for now, because it's getting rather late and... wow look how much stuff I still have to write about... new traits, laundry, and three more professions, and "more", as they say. So you've read all this? On to part two then...

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45 Comment(s) so far

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#36clare030182May 16, 2010

thanks for the preview I can't wait for ambitions!!

#37samusa06May 16, 2010

Gosh this ep sounds so much fun! I cant wait for it!

#38FlexinaMay 18, 2010

Nice ^^ Thanks for the insight to the new EP, cant wait. Well, need the other one first, do not have any EP at all hehehe. But i will get them all when i can \:\)

#39bettybetty13May 18, 2010

Awesome preview! I wish I was lucky enough to play it :P

#40moque51100May 21, 2010

je ne peux plus attendre

#41lilliebouMay 22, 2010

Wow this expansion looks so fun! Thank you for writing this! I can't wait to read the rest =D:P

#42SepiaeyesMay 24, 2010

Wow, this expansion pack sounds awesome. Thanks so much for your written preview.

#43mrsimulatorMay 25, 2010

Wow that sounds awesome \:D I can't wait to play, very excited ! !

#44mspassions2May 28, 2010

This blog entry is amazing. It further more proves that waiting for this game is drining me crazy

#45AnnieBooMay 30, 2010

OMG!! I can't wait

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