Tech

Somebody Built a Lifelike Spanish-Era Philippine City for The Sims 3

This history buff took about 4 years to build San Simeon.
IMAGE Gabriel Abuyuan
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If you’ve ever gotten hooked on The Sims 3 when it came out, this world created by Gabriel Abuyuan, a web content writer and social media manager, may have you re-installing and playing the game all over again. He’s spent a good three to four years building the fictional Spanish-era city of San Simeon, located in the equally fictional Nombre de Jesus province—and the amount of detail that's gone into it is stunning.

“San Simeon itself refers to the city in the middle of The Sims 3 world, though it lends its name to the entire file. It's a double entendre: on the surface, it's a Spanish place name that [references] the word ‘Sim,’” Abuyuan explains. “It's also the name of several Catholic saints, the most famous of them all being Simon Peter, the apostle recognized as the first pope. The fictional province also included in the world itself is named ‘Nombre de Jesus,’ based on the name given to Cebu city during the Spanish conquest.”

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The beta version, which is downloadable here, comes complete with bahay kubo, bahay na bato, and churches, along with costumes for farmers and principalia. Abuyuan has patterned them after real historical buildings, like the houses at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, the Ayuntamiento de Manila, the ECJ Building, and the Casa Manila museum.

As a history buff, Abuyuan has quite the flair for world-building (no pun intended). His description for San Simeon reads:

Ruled from the bustling town of San Simeon, the Spanish-ruled province of Nombre de Jesus is part of a colony that has been the bastion of European Civilization in the Orient and lies at a fortuitous crossroads of trade between the great empires of East and West.

Make it big as a trader of foreign goods, rule the island as part of the landowning aristocracy, or fan the flames of revolution as the sun finally sets on the Spanish Empire.

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“Although I began laying the foundation for the world sometime in 2013 or 2014, the idea of playing a historical game in The Sims 3 came much earlier," Abuyuan says. "I had always been a history fan and was pondering on ways to play a historical game in The Sims 3. Sims players frequently do challenges where they run a family for 10 generations, and I wanted to try my hand at it while adding a historical theme to make things interesting.”

Of course, the history buff thought of building a Spanish-era Philippine setting for his Sims. “The publishers of The Sims eventually released a town called Isla Paradiso, which finally made it possible to set my Sims game somewhere that resembled the Philippines. And the terrain of the town resembled the provincial areas of the country beautifully.”


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To play the game, you’ll need to get all the expansion packs except for Into the Future, Monte Vista from the Sims 3 Store, Patch 1.67, and some custom and store content. Abuyuan has included a nifty Excel file containing links to where you can find the Custom Content, though he’s kept them to a minimum and says the store content is easily replaceable with other items.

Since this is a beta version, Abuyuan will be adding content and making changes to San Simeon. The sims in period costumes, while not included in the beta, will be added as separate downloads at a future date. For updates, check The San Simeon Sims 3 Build Blog on Tumblr


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Angelica Gutierrez
Angelica is currently Editorial Assistant for Esquiremag.ph.
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