The latest update seems to contain some challenging concepts. I have done some serious testing and found out a lot of things. This post is intended to gain a better understanding of what exactly is involved.
Your happy Sims couple decides to have a baby (free). When the stork arrives you are given the choice what baby you want and what kind of personality (s)he will have. Currently there are only two, but you can be assured that they have planned a bunch more. Let's say you made her a Sporty type (and had no orbs to pass on). She's making happy noises in her crib and time passes. If you tend to her needs, like changing her diaper, feeding her, or cuddle, then she'll age a little bit. All these actions add up to a maximum of 24 hours of activities. So, if you only tend to her needs and leave her alone (NOT hibernating), she'll remain a baby for quite a few real time days, since most actions are short.
Cancelling actions cause the amount up until the moment of cancelling to be added to her life-timer! Cancelling actions is therefore not an option. Her Life Dream (which is found next to the hobby tab on the tracker) is not filled in yet, she's too young. When the 24 hours are up, she'll get a little Birthday Cake icon above her head. Nothing will happen to her if you don't tap the icon, but you can not do anything with her either. You do NOT need to bake Birthday Cake for her, passing to the next phase is Free. Birthday Cakes are only for the moments you want to advance before the time is up.
You tapped the Birthday Cake icon and now there is this window with two options: Reverse or Advance. Reversing resets the timer, so you can have your baby for another 24 hours of activities, which cost LPs. Advancing is Free!
The reversing price is different for each life phase. (Babies 2 LPs, Toddlers 4 LPs, Pre-Teens 6 LPs, Teens 8 LPs, Adults 18 LPs, Seniors 10 LPs).
After tapping advance, your baby turns into a toddler and a happy birthday song plays for a moment. Now is the time to check on your toddler's Life Dream, which is basically a task that needs to be repeated as often as possible. Note that your toddler has a little bronze orb next to the progress bar. I'll get back to the orbs later. A Sporty task for toddlers can be "I want to watch 'Activities and Play Channel' on a TV". The task listed is the ONLY way to progress the bar. You do not have to fill it with your toddler, that would be impossible. Since the mentioned task takes 1 hour and 36 mins, you'll have to visit the game often to keep her busy. You might encounter other Sporty related actions on toys for example, but they do NOT count against the orb progress. (They can be the Life Dream of another Sporty toddler). Note: Toddlers can have a hobby now (which might be a Sporty task), Collecting Shells on the Beach. Your toddler will show the Birthday Cake icon after 3 days (72 hours) of activities. The advancing progress is like I described above.
[Tip: Save before advancing to a next Life Phase! That way you can restore if you get a Life Dream task that doesn't suit your play style. Some tasks can be incredibly short in time, so they take loads of effort to fill up the bar!]
Your now turned pre-teen has 5 days ahead of her with a new Sporty Life Dream task. Unless you have many other Sims providing an income, you might send her to school and have her do her tasks when returning. She might want to "perform Ballet as a NOVICE (lvl 2) or higher at the Community Center", or have another task assigned. Remember, these tasks are randomly assigned. They might even contain tasks with items in places
you have not build. I have encountered one for the Geeky Preteen, who
wanted to play with the Skill Tester at the Arcade, while neither was
build (see picture)!
Try to fill the orb further. When her 5 days (120 hours) are up, you'll be warned again with the Birthday Cake icon.
The same process repeats itself for a Teen. She might get a Life Dream task like "I want to read 'Sports Star Bios' - it's in the teen bookshelf!" You have 8 days (192 hours) of activities to fill the orb further.
After reaching the adult phase you'll get again a new task, such as "I want to work at the Stadium". The orb filling process sounds stressful, but it isn't. One day of working at the Stadium earns 10% of the bronze orb bar! Since your adult Sim has 18 days (432 hours) available, you can send her plenty of times to the Stadium to add progress.
And finally there is the Senior phase, lasting 6 days (144 hours). Your Senior will be assigned a new task to fill up the orb further. It would be beneficial if there is only a tiny bit left (or none) at the start of their phase. After those 6 days, you'll be faced with the hardest choice in the game. Reverse the timer or let your Senior die (preferably at a house lot!).
Death isn't an entirely bad thing, the positive side of it is that your Senior left behind a Legacy Orb, when it has been filled completely. In the example I gave, it would be a Bronze orb. If the Bronze orb wasn't filled up to 100% it is lost, all other orb stages will revert to their last full state if not completed!
A death in the family causes grief, and this is reflected in the needs bars of the family members. Their fun meter is completely drained! You can have your Sims interact to Grief (15 secs) or Reminiscence (32 secs) the passed away Sim. It doesn't stop them from looking depressed and slouching for a couple of hours (12?). Pick up the Orb (through edit mode), or pass it on to another Sim (Silver or above to a young one).
The best way to fill your now collected Bronze Orb to Silver, is by giving it to a Sim or new baby. Doing so allows you enough time to work towards the progress to Silver without having to stress a lot.
There are four types, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. As mentioned before, not filling up an orb makes it reverse to the previous full state! (Example: Sim is working on Silver to Gold, dies before completing, the left orb is Silver!)
If the orb is in your inventory you can assign it to pre-update Sims without a personality through the wardrobe, alternatively place it on a houselot and tap it to assign it to a Sim without personality or a post-update created Sim with the personality of the Orb.
Finished orbs still in possession of a Sim can not be assigned to other Sims before the Orb holder dies.
Sporty Orbs can be used to build the Beach (and the Snorkelling Stand), Geeky Orbs can be used to build the Arcade (and the games in it).
The orbs can also be used to pause the ageing in a particular life phase for a limited period or even halt it indefinitely. Since each takes a life time to fill an orb, you need at least 3 completed life cycles to obtain a Platinum Orb, provided you manage to fill each orb during each life time.
If you use a completed orb for building a venue or its hobby spots, your Sim will lose that orb. Sometimes the Sim's life dream panel shows the completed orb instead of a new task, or a blank bronze task. If that happens, try visiting the town map, alternatively exit/stop the game. Android has an exit door in the lower right corner of the (...) menu, iOS users need to go to the home screen, open the active apps and force-close Sims Freeplay. Starting the game again should assign a bronze task.
For a picture guide, visit my unofficial forum: [PIC-GUIDE] Orb usage!
Bronze: Pauses 3 Days
Silver: Pauses 7 Days
Gold: Pauses 16 Days
Platinum: Indefinitely (ideal for the Sims you want to keep forever).
Please note that a completed Platinum Orb still in possession of a Sim can be used to pause ANY Sim's ageing (and the Sim who owned the orb used to pause is given fresh Bronze Life Dream task). Advancing the life phase does NOT resume ageing, it remains paused. Resuming ageing will cause the Platinum Orb to be LOST!
Orbs can also be sold for §, for example a Gold Orb is worth § 180,000.
The cost of orbs:
- One Bronze: One life
- One Silver: Two lives
- One Gold: Three lives
- One Platinum: Four lives
Note: if you use an orb still in possession of an alive Sim, (s)he will get a new Bronze Life Dream Task assigned. (Usage can be building a venue or one of the hobby items in these venues or pausing a Sim's Life Phase timer.)
Summary of the Life Phases:
Babies: 1 day - 2 LPs to hold back ageing
Toddlers: 3 days - 4 LPs to hold back ageing
Pre-Teens: 5 days - 6 LPs to hold back ageing
Teen: 8 days - 8 LPs to hold back ageing
Adult: 18 days - 18 LPs to hold back ageing
Senior: 6 days - 10 LPs to hold back ageing
Total life span: 41 days
Please note that you can reverse the timer in the middle of the life phase, however, tests have shown this is by far more expensive than waiting for the life phase timer to run out and reverse at that point, especially for adults!
Use of Birthday Cakes:
Everybody who played the game up to the point of the Life Dreams & Legacies quest knows that in order to age you need a Birthday Cake. This is NO LONGER needed (at least after finishing the quest). Having a birthday at the automated time is FREE! The Birthday Cakes are a 'cheap' alternative if you want your Sim (teen and onwards) to age prematurely. The Advance option in the Age Control Tab is more expensive! (Pre-teen is perhaps also cheaper, since it takes 24 hours to bake the 5 LP Cake!)
I have closed the comments for this post, if you are having trouble, please use the unofficial forum, there are many people there who can and likely will answer your questions: http://simsfp.perturbee.net
Technical support (if your game does not work as expected, like no goals, no building options, crashes and such) use: https://firemonkeys.zendesk.com/
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Based on a work at http://simfsfp.blogspot.com.