Create a Random Sim

The Sims 4 Random Trait and Aspiration Generator

Dear Create a Random Sim community,

First, let me all tell you that I am sorry about the delay in the update. I said I would do something, and I kept postponing it for various reasons. This message is about explaining what happened, sharing the dilemmas I am facing, and gather insights from the community, to help me move forward. By communicating with you, I hope to get a better understanding of what are your needs and desires as a community, in the short term and long term. This should help me define the goals I have with this website and help me to find the more meaningful solution for the community.

TLDR at the end! :)

I am usually a very secretive person, but I now feel I have to be honest with you about my struggles with the current state of this website. I have had a goal to update it for a while, with a more modern and intuitive interface, but I have kept postponing it. The latest objective was to release an earlier version of the new design, without the customization features, to gather feedback in mid-August, and the full version with all the current features, and a bit more, at the end of the month. With that said, I, yet again, feel I have to reconsider my goal... and it brings a lot of questions to my mind. Questions I would like to share with you, by telling the story of this website.

In 2014, when the Sims 4 was released, I started playing the game and faced a challenge whenever I created a new Sim: I always made similar creative oriented Sims, with a few variation here and there. Sometimes it was a painter, a musician, or a writer, but I struggled moving away from the creative gameplay.

This is where the idea to build a randomizer came from.. I knew a bit of programming, knew it would be relatively easy and quick to make it. At first, it was only for myself, but I figured a bunch of people could enjoy it as well. So, I shared it online. Back then, the website was done entirely with PHP, because it was only programming language I knew. It meant the page had to be refreshed every time a new Sim was randomized. And, it was even worst when I implemented customization. Profiles data were stored on the server... so, every time a new sim was randomized, the server had to fetch all the profile data back from the server, and randomize a new Sim and output all the page again. Quickly, my host sent me a message: Hey! You are using too much of our server power. This is what got me to learn Javascript and lead to the current version of the website.

Anyways, I am moving a bit too fast in the history. I purchased a cheap host plan for one month, to test the water. I was still a student, very tight on money, and the bigger plan felt like a huge expense to me at that time. So, I would share it online, see if people were using it and decide what I would do with it from there. After one month, it had roughly 50 visits a day. I was amazed! I built something that was used and brought meaning to 50 persons per day! I decided to not look at the expenses and keep it online for those 50 persons.

And... over the years... it grew... until earlier this year, where it reached a staggering 50 000 unique visitors per month. More than 8 000 visits per day. The question about money had not been an issue for a while. I even made some profits, but, regardless.. those numbers made me extremely proud. To believe that this website, despite all its flaws, managed to bring meanings to 50 000 persons every month for a while is amazing.

Obviously, with these numbers came somewhat decent profits. This is when I started to consider the possibility of realizing my old dream, of learning to build website full time and make a job out of it. These numbers made it feel like something possible to achieve. At that time, I was very enthusiastic about the website, worked more on it. This is when I added Household generation and started working on the new version. It motivated me to learn a new framework.

I was one week away to release an early version of the new design when EA announced they were adding randomization in the game. I believe you all noticed the drop in motivation it meant to me. I expected something like that to happen someday, and, to be honest, I expected it to happen sooner. With that said, I received various message of support, that made me want to finish the update.

This is where the story starts to get a tad personal. To keep it short and simple, I got sick and had to stop all my activities for a while and it obviously meant to put aside the development of the new version of the website...

Strangely, at that time, I received an intriguing email from a startup company interested in buying the website. I traded a few emails with them, but it got me to think about what this website meant to me, and I remembered the beginning... those 50 visits per day that got me so happy, so proud. Then, it was obvious to me I was not interested in selling it.

In that time, I also received a message, from another Simmer who told me my website inspired her to create her own. Honestly, I still have chills in my arms when I think about this message...

This website has so much personal values to me. It is my first website that got some attention. It also thought me a lot of valuable lessons.. it inspired Simmers in various ways. I want to keep it going, regardless of what it takes.

Then, I decided to try to hire someone to update the website for me, because I was still sick. While I found someone, he did not exactly fulfill my needs. I don't have the money to hire a fully professional web designer, and, sadly, because of that I think, it required a lot of micromanagement I did not have the energy to give. So, I decided I would take the time to recover, postpone the update to a later date and do it myself.

Which leads me to today... Today, I had plan to look at what I had done before, plan what was left to do for the rest of the month. I am in the middle of moving out, but, more importantly, I am in the middle of another website project... an idea that popped in my mind recently, one that is currently extremely motivating to me. One that requires a lot of focus and attention, and that attention is currently extremely limited, because I still haven't fully recovered from the health issue I had earlier.

With all this in mind, this leaves me with a few choices.

1. Spread my focus and attention thin, between various projects: moving out, my Master degree, the new website, and the update to this one, and release half-satisfying version of both of them.

2. Focus on the new website and postpone the update of this website even further: Despite all the emotional attachments I have toward the Create a Random Sim website, in the next few years, I would like to switch my focus to try to become a professional web designer. The new website I am working on, not only has more potential, but it also comes with more technical challenges. In the end, it can teach me more, and make me progress further toward that goal.

Because of that, I sadly don't really consider to focus my attention on the Create a Random Sim update first, then work on the new website second to be an option..

3. Try again to hire someone to update the website for me: This time, I would consider hiring someone from the community. I believe it would be easier like that, be less micromanagement as the person would already understand the goal of the website and be more motivated to update it.

4. Simply leave it as it is, with all its flaws, and continue to add the new traits and aspirations, whenever a new update comes: This, to me, is an easy option that is a realistic one... but, I feel, the website, in its current state, has many flaws which needs to be fixed (would have needed to be fixed for a while actually).

5. Lately, I have also been toying with the idea of simply giving it away. I feel that one of the biggest challenge that will come to me in the few months or years is to not spread my attention too thin across various projects. I am still continuing my Master degree at the University. This is already taking a lot of energy. I would like to focus my attention on one other project at most. Was this website in state that was satisfying, I would just stay at option 4, but it is not... I believe giving it to someone from the community, whom I know would take great care of it, could be the best thing that could happen to this website.. With that said, I am still attached to it a lot, and it would make me sad to let it go away. And I feel I am not ready to do that.

This is where you all come into play. This community has been extremely supportive. I am currently at lost, and I can't make a decision. I feel almost all of these choices have pros and cons... but they mostly all have a lot of cons, that make none of them really satisfying to me.

Furthermore, since the beginning, this website has not been as much about me, than about its community. It was always about the gratification of making those 50 visitors per day happy... Nowadays, I have this strange feelings that I have to do so much more to make the many more visitors per day happy... (Despite the huge drop in visitors after the EA update, there is still a significant amount of visitors.) I would honestly want to, but I have to admit that I do not have enough energy or time in the day to do that.. not alone at least.

This leads to a sixth option: ask the community what it wants.


TLDR;

So, this is what you can do to help: Message me. I want to hear from you! Tell me which one of these options make the more sense to you? Do you feel the website needs an update soon? If yes, tell me why. More importantly, tell me, what would be the number one priority you would like to be fixed? This will help me to redefine the goals I have with this website, make a decision about its future. Knowing what is the number one priority the community wants with this website might allow me to think of a small update, that could be done quickly, that would keep everyone happy. Then, I could move from that, focus on one small priority per month, adding or fixing one of those priorities every month, would mean 12 every year! Additionally, knowing the community's priorities would mean much more meaningful updates... in the end, that would be 12 small, but meaningful updates per year.

When I think about all of the dilemma I have listed before, this is an option that makes a lot of sense to me, but if I want to go with this option, I need to hear from you! To know about those small high priorities update that would mean a lot to you!

You can contact me at info@createarandomsim.com

Thanks a lot in advance to everyone! And, like always, happy Simming!

Contact:info@createarandomsim.com