Monthly Archives: December 2021

The Sims

Where it all started…

Jump to the console version

Neighbourhood

The streets that raised me

The main screen that shows the playable lots in the neighbourhood, clicking on a house will load that lot. The first game supported only one neighbourhood, with multiple ones requiring an expansion pack. The default install ships with five pre-made families and six houses.

  • Goth: Bella, Mortimer and Cassandra – An easy house to start with, although during the first few nights they have an annoying trait of mourning near the gravestones, usually that stops after a few days
  • Newbie: Bob and Betty, Tutorial household, a nice introduction to The Sims
  • Roomies: Chris and Melissa, another small household, this family is vacant and can be moved into any lot they can afford.
  • Bachelor: Just a single sim, Michael, typically moved into 1 Sim Lane
  • Pleasant: A hard family to play since they have two kids and not much money, and you have to move them into a household. With two adults working two jobs you should be able to progress nicely.

There are also five other families that could be download from the Sims website. Although the website is now offline but mirrors exist to download from. These families can be added to the base game or to any install expansion pack but wont work for the console versions.

  • Hatfield: A very hard family to play. They are poor and don’t have a very good house with basic furniture, but at least both parents are working. If you can get the kids grades (there are three of them) to an A+ you can earn a (random) bonus for good grades.
  • Jones: straightforward family to play with two adults (Edward and Barbara) and a kid (Bobby), similar to the Goth house only less extravagant
  • Valentino: Rudy and Julia, who live in a large house
  • Snooty Patooty: Chip and Buffy, supposed to be a parody of a wealthy couple
  • Maximus: A bizarre family, only two adults and the weirdest house you will ever play

Game elements

Relationship

How well your sim knows other sims and if they are friends, lovers or enemies. Some jobs require you to have a certain amount of friends in order to progress to a promotion. The base games has a simple bar that measures your sims friendship from 1-100, with 100 being the highest. In the base game there is only one relationship bar, with two being introduced with the later expansion packs.

Should be notes if you want two adult sims to share a bed they will need a relationship of 50 or higher

Marriage: Sims can move in and get married if their relationship is high enough, this will move the sim into the household, along with any kids if they live with the sim and that sim is the only adult. Same sex sims have the option too move in instead. That said, the game has a very loose concept of marriage, since its possible for one sim too be married to multiple sims, although if they perform any romantic interactions they can become jealous (and the Woody Woodpecker sound plays)

Skills

  • Cooking: Helps prevent fires, and improves the quality of your sims cooking which increases the effect on hunger. The noise the sim makes will also change when food is cooked at a higher cooking level. When playing a sim for the first time its advised to raise their cooking skill level to two bars or higher to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Mechanical: For repairing items, the higher the mechanical skill the faster they will repair the item. Sims can get electrocuted if they repair an electronic item with a low skill level
  • Creativity: Play the piano or paint on the easel, which is useful since sims with a high creativity skill can sell paintings for a lot more money.
  • Logic: Playing chess or looking through the telescope increases this, only useful for job promotions
  • Charisma: Increased by talking to yourself in them mirror, supposed to help with how your sims interact with others, but is mainly useful for job promotions.
  • Body: Helps keep your sim fit, but this has no affect on their appearance. Its mainly useful for carers and winning fights if your sim has enemies

Disasters

  • Fire: Occurs when your sim tries to cook with a low skill level (2 points or lower) or when you have objects near a fireplace. Buy a fire alarm which will summon a firefighter to extinguish the fire automatically.
  • Burglar: Randomly comes during the night, but can come during the day of the sim is at work. Buying a burglar alarm help the police to capture them when they enter your lot.
  • Floods: If a toilet/sink or the dishwasher breaks, it can cause a flood which must be cleaned up by the sim.
  • Aliens: looking through the telescope at night has a risk of being abducted by aliens, who will randomize the sims personality upon return.

Sims can also leave the game autonomously, adults will leave if they get into a fight multiple times with a sim and have a serious degraded relationship. Kids will leave if their grades fall below D- and will be sent to military school. When these occur the sim is deleted from the game upon saving, and cannot be restored unless you exit without saving.

Jobs

The base game comes with ten careers (Six in the console release) with 10 jobs in each. Each job can be accessed by having your sim promoted by fulfilling the job requirements. Certain jobs will require you to have a set amount of friends, and a set level of skills.

Phone Services

Services can be ordered by using the phone, an NPC will then arrive on the lot

  • Maid: A maid will come from 9am every day, and will always leave by 5pm every day. Cleans the lot.
  • Gardener: Waters the plants, comes every 3 days
  • Repairman: Repairs all broken items on the lot
  • Police: No reason to call them unless a burglar comes on your lot and you don’t have a burglar alarm.
  • Fire Service: Only used if a fire breaks out on your lot and you don’t have a fire alarm, can be fined 500 for a false emergency.
  • Pizza: Delivers pizza to your house, costs $40

The game offers a help systems that pops a question mark symbol in the corner, informing the user that a tip is available.

Buy Mode

Where you can purchase items for your sim. Items are grouped by category – Seating, Surfaces (Tables), decorative, electronic, plumbing, appliances, lighting and miscellaneous (items that don’t belong in any category. Clicking on the buy mode icon again switches to room category view

Releases/Versions

PC Release

The Sims: Original base game

Deluxe Edition: Base game with the Livin Large expansion

Complete Collection: Includes all expansions

Mac Release

The game was ported to the Mac platform in 2000 by Aspyr and was for the PowerPC platform. This version was very similar to the PC release.

The Sims (Console)

A console adaption of the popular PC game but I would consider this as a remake, The Sims are rendered entirely in 3D graphics complete with new lighting effects and redesigned objects. A new game mode, Get a Life is added which featured level type gameplay where the player has to progress from house to house, building up their career.

The console version was released for the PlayStation 2 first, with an updated build being released for the GameCube and Xbox. Compared to the PC release there are a few differences due to the consoles typically having less memory compared to the PC, and with no expansion packs available what you see in the game is what your stuck with. You also cannot download and install objects or families from the PC version.

Get A Life

In this mode you create your own sim, who lives in their own rags to riches story as they start off in a basic house. The aim of this model is to reach the dream house stage, which can be achieved by completing goals that consist of getting certain promotions at work, cleaning and upgrading the houses and throwing parties that sims enjoy.

Whilst this mode seems easy at first, it will get progressively harder as it taker longer to raise your sims skills, jobs will require more friends in order to get promoted and you have to battle with refilling your sims needs quite often.

The Xbox version saves directly to its hard drive and has seemly unlimited save slots, memory units are not directly supported. The PS2 version can save as much as its memory card allows, with each save consuming 1.1MB. The GameCube version is limited to 1 save file per card.

Levels

  1. Moms House – Starter level, objectives are to repair the TV, gain two cooking skill points to make a meal, and borrow 800 bucks from ‘Mom’ who is a pain in the arse and will randomly complain and refuses to clean and cook
  2. Reality Bites – This level can be a bit lonely since its just your sim, Dudley (Mimi if your sim is a female) will occasionally pop round but cannot be interacted with unless you invite him. Thankfully Mom can be invited and two neighbours (The Peacocks, Pauline and Pierre) pop round. Get two job promotions, clean and fix everything and spend $1000 upgrading the future to progress.
  3. Party Animals – You have a new roommate, the snag is its Dudley or Mimi (depending on your sims gender) who are a pain to live with. Like Mom they wont cook or clean, and skill building is out of the question so getting a job promotion is a challenge. But it can be done, Dudley/Mimi can build his body skill using a swimming pool which is enough to get promoted two times. The house itself is quite large which makes navigating it time consuming, you may wish to alter its design as part of the $1000 improvements. Two new neighbours are available to meet, the Froofraw (Fran and Freddy, fuck knows how they came up with that surname), along with Dudley’s Roomies friends (Leon, Carlos, Betty, Layla) which you must befriend one of them in order to move out to the next level. There is also a bonus sim, Bobo the Bum, who walk past your house every morning. Give him food and you can unlock a 2 player mode games.
  4. Hot to Trot – You start with the sim that you chose to move in with from level 3, like the previous levels you need to earn two promotions and spend money on upgrades for the house. Again you will be introduced to more of your roommates friends, only this time you have to choose which one you want to marry. This will always be the sim of the opposite sex, as gay marriage wasn’t a thing until the later games. Once completed you will move onto level 5.
  5. Who loves ya baby: The worst level with the worst designed house. Here you have to earn another two promotions and you have to raise two babies to kids. When you first play the lot, you have to manually rearrange the furniture since tis all condensed into two rooms. The worst part is having to raise two children which seems to drag on, you basically need to feed and sing them to sleep every 8 sim hours.
  6. The last Simoleon: You move into a dream mansion. Being the final level, the objective is to reach the max promotion for your career, have 20,000 in your savings and get your kids grades up to an A+ level which will send them to boarding school. Once finished, the end credits will play and you will be returned to the main menu.

Bonus Unlocks: making friends with neighbour sims unlocks certain create a sim cloths and hairstyles or accessories

Play the Sims

Sandbox style gameplay like the original PC version of the Sims, although you have much less lots to play with, having only 6 lots from the 10 that PC version offered. You are also limited to 4 sims per lot with the PC version supporting 8, however the game internally supports 8 sims when using a modified save file.

Game saves in this mode are the same as the Get a Life versions, with the PS2/Xbox being ale to save multiple games deepening on the storage capacity, but the GameCube version being limited to a single save per card.

In the PS2 version the default neighbourhood has no defined name, and the player must enter one when first created, the Xbox/GameCube prepopulate the name with ‘Willville’ but this can be changed by the player.

Up to 2 players can play on one console using a split screen method, however the lot must have 2 or more sims on the lot.

The premade sims are the same as the Pc version, with the Goth, Pleasant, Newbie, Roomies and Bachelor families being present but with a slightly different appearance and personality. The lots have also been amended since the console versions only support a single story. The Goth, Roomies and newbie families are already moved into a lot, but the Roomies house is unfurnished.

Bonus

2 player mode is supported with the use of mini games, similar to the 2-player mode in Play The Sims mode, but in this mode each level has specific challenges that must be completed by each player, and the player that completes their goals first wins. There are 8 in total:

  • Handyman’s House
  • Maid’s House
  • The Park
  • The Frat House
  • Party Motel: Unlockable only by a cheat, Enter PARTY M in the cheat box
  • Club Abhi
  • Taylor’s Place
  • The Museum

Comparison with the PC

  • Console versions only has a single story houses, the PC supports two
  • Console used 3D rendered graphics for everything, PC version only the sims themselves are 3D with the world being an isometric 2D design
  • No online exchange support for the console
  • No 2 player mode for the PC version, whilst the console versions support split screen like multiplayer

Gamecube

Xbox

PlayStation 2

The PS2 version was a fresh copy, Play The Sims mode is unlocked after starging and saving in Get a Life mode

The options menu

Slight difference with the font display on the PS2 version with larger line spacing

Create a Sim mode, The Xbox version will ask you to confirm the changes upon pressing the B button, the PS2/GameCube versions do not

The GameCube and Xbox version comes wit the name prepopulated

The level start screen

Example of the user interface, the directional pad has a different appearance on each version

The first level, some minor difference in the details. It’s possible the game was built for the PS2 and was the lead development platform and was then ported to the other consoles.

Family selection screen

Buy mode, all versions have the same object limiter

The Xbox version seems to be the best one with its sharper textures, but its graphics ae slightly zoomed in, like the FOV is different compared to the Gamecube/PS2 releases

The Xbox version has bonus loading screens if the game takes too long to load. You will only see this if the game disc is dirty and the console is struggling to load

Glitches

PCem seems to have issues playing the game with certain emulated graphics cards.

Utilities

EA AutoPatch

A utility by EA that checks for updates and downloads them, no longer functional.

Sky Interactive – Part 3

Music Choice

Music choice is premium music channel subscription service. Two channels were offered, Music choice on channel 480 was included in the Sky family Pack, whilst Music Choice Extra was on channel 481 and offered 40 different channels centered on a specific genre or theme, and was a separate subscription service that could be added. Both channels featured a press red prompt which would open and lead to the main interactive service where the channel could be selected, and information on the currently playing song along with artist and album information.

Playjam

PlayJam was the other main gaming service offered on Sky Digital, and could be accessed by pressing the interactive button, then selecting option 3. Playjam featured exclusive game of which they developed, and operated on a pay 2 play scheme like Sky Gamestar offered where the Digibox would use the telephone line to order and unlock the game or to submit a high score. PlayJam also offered competitions that users could join.

QVC

QVC offered a shopping service to supplement the main channel by advertising the products on offer and allowed for a way to order through the interactive service. QVC made extensive use of Sky interactive platform.

Sky Movies Active

Sky Movies Active offered movie trailers for the movies that Sky Movies was showcasing, and upcoming relates and behind the scenes commentary of the movies.

BBCi

BBCi was offered on all BBC channels and could be access either by pressing the red button or by pressing text. The service is very similar to what’s offered on Freeview and Cable, as BBC at the time wanted to remain platform neutral across the different providers.

Sky Active

Sky Active was treated to a rebrand in 2004, with the service being focused on news and articles that you would normally find on the MSN or Yahoo homepage. There’s less focus on shopping or ecommerce and is more to enhance the Sky service by adding value.

An interpretation of the popular board game Scrabble

One of the many Tom & Jerry games on Sky Active, If I remember correctly this game required you to play as Jerry, and navigate the (large) house and collection cheese, whilst avoiding Tom and his friends. Keys could be collected to unlock areas of the house

Theme Hospital (Multiplayer maps in CorsixTH)

Note: This isn’t a guide on playing multiplayer games in CorsixTH, more like loading the maps in single player

Theme Hospital shipped with a few multiplayer maps that were intended to be used with network play, which were not intended to be played in single player. With the original PC release, there is a way to force the game to play them, after a while this can cause the game to crash since the game does not know how handle the maps in single player mode. Also there are two bonus maps which were used for the bonus rat levels, that are also discussed here.

A very busy first level, with all rooms available

In CorsixTH and the use of the map editor, we are able to import these maps and convert them pack to single player use, for which we can play then in single scenario.

2 Player Maps: large sized hospitals intended for two players, in the range of Level 20-24

3 Player Maps: larger sized hospitals for 3 players, uses level range 30-34

4 Player Maps: huge sized maps intended for 4 players, level range 40-44. Unfortunately I could not get the game to load these maps due to a lua script. Seems CorsixTH does not recognise 4 players (or maybe the original came counted from 0 and CorsixTH counts from 1?)

Bonus Maps: two maps are bonus maps that were used for the rat killing levels, these are Level 13 and level 14. They are rather small but functional as a basic hospital, Although the second one has a few graphical errors, like a misplaced water tile.

  • Level 13: Looks similar to level 1 at the front of the hospital, possible this was an early design  of it that was later reused. Has a rear door with a path that leads no nowhere and has no mapping data so it wont be used by patents
  • Level 14:  Another that has the same entrance path design to level one, this hospital is highly symmetrical.

Along with the maps came with was the SAM files, which contains level variable data such as the type diseases, rooms available, emergency and pandemic probability. The bonus levels do not have these as they were not intended to be used as a regular hospital.

Converting the maps for CorsixTH

To do this the legacy map editor was used from the 2014 release (Version 0.4.0) where the map was opened, and then saved which converted the map to the new format. The original game did not use a specific extension, with files being named as Level.L01, LEVEL.L31, etc. CorsixTH uses the .map extension.

Whilst the 4 player maps will open in the map editor for this version and can be saved, trying to open it on the latest build results in an error.

The levels seem to have their own names, CRUDSVILLE, NICEVILLE, Emergency!, RUMBLETOWN and ST. SCAVENGERS. I don’t know if these names ever appeared in game, the only reference to them are in the SAM files for each level.

The newer CorsixTH builds don’t recognise the maps files from the original game unless you amend the file extension to .map however i still cannot get the game to load the 4 player maps this way.

Download

Download (Box)

Extract into the Levels directory in the CorsixTH folder, maps can be played using the single scenario menu option

ONdigital – More Interactive services

ONgames 1

Whilst Sky have Gamestar, Ondigital had its own set of games that were delivers on the service. Unlike Sky, Ondigital games were accessed by going to channel 45/46 and pressing the red button. There was no interactive button

Tom & Jerry

A simple cat & mouse game, basically Connect4

Treasure Hunt

IIRC you had to locate the treasure based on the items uncovered in the squares, kinda like minesweeper

Pigloo

You have to push the snowballs into the holes

Vegas Poker

ONgames 2

Forest Fire

Objective of this game was to put out the forest fires before time ran out

Dr Quiztoast

A Quiz based game where you had to answer the questions correctly

Memory Jnr

There were other games available which were not captured here, I remember one SunnyD basketball game which ran at 2fps on a Nokia 9850T

ONoffer

Similar to SkyBuy, provided limited time offers which you had to call a phone number to order. You couldn’t place orders through the set-top box. The keyboard in the bottom right is the ONmail keyboard.

ONmail

The ONmail user interface where users could send and view emails from the ONmail server. The ONmail service required a separate adaptor to be connected to the receivers serial port, and I’m not sure if all boxes supported this given the Sony and Toshiba receivers did not get the later software updates.

Active Service Screenshots

This isnt part of interactive service, but is still cool to look at whilst the service was still active. pressing the info button called up the now and next screen, which would only display what was currently shown. You can browse listings for other channels and view information on the programme being broadcast, but you can only see whats showing now and the next programme. In contrast to Sky who offered listings for the next 6 hours via the search and scan banner, with 7 days being provided through the main EPG…

..which ONdigital also lacked, at least inside the STB itself. ONdigital did provide a monthly magazine with listings for all channels, and there where a few MHEG services that offered a guide, typically for the next 7 days.

The service itself competed well with Sky’s analogue service, but falls short compared to Sky Digital, and when the cable companies launched their digital services alongside ONdigital was really looking antiquated. Still the service was attractive to people who wanted the popular channels that where previously unavailable to terrestrial viewers and did not want, or could even have a dish. Once Sky analogue shut down it was pretty much considered the bottom tier of TV, perhaps except for analogue cable. Still it had its own unique selling point being that it was plug and play and did not require instillation (in theroy, chances are you needed an aerial upgrade since the signals were transmitted at a lower power, we had to go through 2 upgrades before we got an actual signal)

Nowadays BT TV and TalkTalk TV have a very ONdigital feel to them givern they are DTT based, but feature IPTV delivery for the subscription channels, adn they have a limited channel selection in comparision to Virgin or Sky

ITV Digital Services

ONdigital rebranded itself to ITV Digital in mid 2001, and launched a couple of Sport Channels along with acquiring the premiership rights to football, in the hope that more people would give the finger to Sky and subscribe to their service.

Spoiler: It didn’t, the company was Pepsi’d in 2002

ITV Select

Channel 50 was changed, with ONrequest being changed to ITVSelect with a rebranded interface. The offerings were still the same, with 5 PPV multiplex channels. Channel 20 was also changed, with ONview being replaced with the ITV Digital channel which displayed upcoming services and events via an interactive MHEG applet.

A minor software update was issued to amend the ONrequest option to ‘Order an Event’ when the guide menu is displayed. The service itself was also rebranded with a harsher colour scheme. Funnily ONmail was never changed, but ONnet was changed to ITV Active

ITV Sport Select

During football/soccer game a quick quiz could be played whilst the advert was being displayed. ITV Sport Select was the PPV Box Office channel for live events.

BBCi

A look at the BBCi bar, which you could access that would give now and next information whilst the channel was being displayed.

Interactive – Freeview and early DTT

Back when digital TV first launched many broadcasters were free to experiment with the benefit that digital tv had to offer. Not only did we get an avalanche of channels, we also got interactive services which were to extend what Teletext/Ceefax offered.

These screenshots were captured and were uploaded to a site DTT NEWS, which has long gone offline. They have been archived here for a look at the early days of Freeview and interactive digital TV. Sadly what the screenshots do not capture is the long time it took for the ONdigital box to load the pages. Also some boxes didn’t support interactive at all, with the Sony and Toshiba lacking any MHEG5 support. I’m not sure why these boxes didn’t get interactive support, maybe Sony & Toshiba didn’t stick to the specifications and were not able to port the MHEG5 API? Memory limitations?

These screenshots are of Freeview/ONdigital DDT only, and will differ from what was offered by Sky or the cable services of the time (ntl/Telewest)

Teletext

The digital successor to ‘analogue’ text which was promised to be faster and more efficient, the drawback was the early ONDigital boxes had slow CPUs (The Nokia 9850T has a Texas Instruments 40Mhz ARM CPU) which meant it was slower than the analogue Teletext, Teletext was later axed and only the holidays branch remains.

I should mention that analogue Teletext/Ceefax itself is actually digital, its just transmitted within the vacant PAL lines, whilst digital teletext are MHEG applets that are part of the digital transport stream. You can also have both analogue and digital text at the same time, and have the STB regenerate the analogue teletext signals which are decoded by your TV, this also worked for subtitles (888)

Channel 4

FourText was Channel4’s digital text service which also covered FilmFour, now known as Film4. Like ITV’s services, these complement Channel 4’s programming.

BBCi

BBCi, previously BBC Text and now known as BBC Red Button was the replacement for Ceefax and made use of the MHEG functionality offered by DTT. The BBC operated three interactive channels known as 701, 702 and 703 which were used to offer extended coverage of sporting events and behind the scenes interactive features.

The BBCi bar was used to locate and find listings across the 6 BBC digital channels, it only functioned on the BBC channels.

Saturday Show

The Saturday Show was the replacement for Live&Kickng and competed with SM:tv, a few games and activities are offered with this service while the show was being broascast.

ITV Brit Awards

To complement the yearly ITV Brit awards, the interactive service offered updates, simple games and sponsor zones.

This Morning

This Morning was sponsored by LearnDirect, and was advertised on their interactive text service. LearnDirect is a company that offered course for people to learn from home int heir own time, and this service was designed to promote that by giving details that their adverts were not able to provide.

ITV Sport

To complement the ITV Sport channel, an interactive service was launched with offers additional activities like a quiz, and a match predictor that was sponsored by Littlewoods, who still operate as an online retailer.

SMTV

If you get bored of Ant & Dec that you could access the SM:tv interactive services that featured information in relation to the current show, any competitions and KFC, back when fast food joints could sponsor kids shows until Ofcom stepped in

ONdigital Interactive & Services

Throughout the years that ONdigital had operated it had launched several interactive services to enhance and compliment their channel line up, and to make their service more competitive compared to Sky Digital and the cable operations by ntl and Telewest at the time. ONdigital used the MediaHighway and later MHEG5 interactive standard.

Several of the screenshots were hosted on DTT NEWS which has long since gone offline, they have been archived here for future refernce.

ONview

ONview was launched in mid 2000 as a replacement for the channel ‘FirstONDigital’ which broadcasted slideshows of upcoming news and service launches for the ONdigital platform on channel 20. ONview however was supposed to be the central portal of all ONdigital customers and operated as an MHEG service, I guess to entice non subscribers using IDTV’s to subscribe? At this point you could buy IDTV’s of which some came with ONdigital firmware loaded (with some being nothing more than a Nokia Mediamaster box being stuffed inside), some TV’s (Sony) did not feature this software and had their onw, which would explain why ONdigital moved from the MediaHighway middleware to the MHEG middleware.

ONguide

The ONdigital EPG, a tacked on MHEG5 app. The ONdigital boxes only featured a Now and Next style EPG built into their firmware, and was reliant one either a monthly magazine or a couple of interactive guides offered by BBC, ntl or Teletext.

Compared to Sky and cable its very poor, with no ability to set reminds unless you manually set the timer in the main menu. Meanwhile this is what the completion TV guide looked like…

ONinfo

ONinfo, with information about ONdigital’s services and how to subscribe, a later revision is shown on the right with information about ONmail and ONrequest

ONprizes section, where details of competitions and how to enter them.

ONsport – Sport highlights for ONdigital’s dedicated sport channel

Information on movies and event on ONrequest are promoted here and information on how to order from the service.

ONrequest

ONdigital’s Pay-Per-View service, where films could be ordered and screened across 5 multiplexed channels. Customers could access the service by going to channel 50 and pressing the text button when prompted.

A common thing you see with Onrequest is sweets, or sweet wrappers. I’m not sure on the connection between sweets and per-per-view movies

This part of the service is where you can view information about the movies that are offered, followed by a description of the event and the actors and director involved, along with the age rating.

To actually order the event you had to press the guide button and then choose option 2, which would load the actual PPV application where the customer could order the event, as long as their box was connected to the phone line. This was all done in the second part below.

The screen where you order the event itself. This looks like a MediaHighway applet.

This banner appeared when you entered an ONrequest channel whilst an event was currently being shown. Customer could see a 10 min preview of the start of the programme to entice them to order

Sometimes things went wrong

Homechoice EPG 2004

Homechoice was one of the first IPTV providers in the UK (along with Kingston/KCOM) where the entire TV service is delivers via the ADSL enabled phone line.

The main on demand guide, C1 and C2 were presented as linear TV channels but were shortcuts to Homechoice’s on demand content

TV channel genres, similar to the category view on Sky digital, but with video on demand mixed in

The main linear TV channels, up to 6 channels are displayed at a time and can be scrolled through using the CH + and – buttons. Future TV listings can be displayed. Like cable, a Mini TV window is displayed showing the channel that the user is currently tuned to

Main channel navigation banner, you can see what is being shown now and what’s coming up later

Synopsis information, displaying more information about the program

All shows than are going to be broadcast latest for a specific channel

C1 was a dedicated n demand channel that would show trailers for shows that Homechoice was offering. Virgin would adopt the same method with Virgin Central, as a way to entice customers to use the service.

Detailed list of all shows, here the newest shows are listed

A-Z of all shows

Windows Millennium (Beta 3: Build 2499.3)

An operating system with a notorious reputation from people who have never ran or used it. ME mainly built off Windows 98SE and came bundled with an updated version of Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player 7 and Windows Movie Maker. Internet enabled games also make an appearance here.

Under the hood not much has changed, but some DOS compatibility has been broken or removed in preparation of migrating to the NT kernel, which was finalized by Windows XP. This means drivers that are reliant on MS-DOS real mode will not function.

Install

The install process is very similar to Windows 98 and is divided into two parts, with Windows itself being responsible for the second part. (First part is somewhat MS-DOS/Win 3.11 like environment)

Desktop

The default desktop features a revised taskbar and UI color scheme, being a lighter shade of grey. Gradients continue to be used in the title bar’s of active applications. Windows Media Player and MSN have more prominence in Windows Me and are featured on the desktop.

Programs

Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player 7 makes its appearance here, which was meant to combine the CD Player, Movie Player and MIDI music player into one application. And introduced a media library and a radio tuner guide for internet radio stations. This would form the basis of later media player versions and was meant to be more competitive to Apple’s QuickTime. Media player 7 is fully skinable, and come with a few preinstalled skins that give a minimal view and control of the media player.

Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker debuted with Windows Millenium, and was made as a separate download from the Microsoft website. This was a basic video editing applications where video clips could be combined into one video clip which could be exported or burnt to a DVD.

Outlook Express

The default email client bundled with Windows Millenium and integrated with Internet Explorer

Accessories

Sound recorder, many of the utilities from Windows 98 like Paint and Volume Control remain unchanged.

Imaging for Windows – capable of opening JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF and AWD files. Useful for images received by email, fax or that have been scanned in

Early version of MSN Messenger, Microsoft’s instant messaging service. Sadly not much use since the servers were shutdown.

System Tools

Maintenace Wizard

I believe this was present in Windows 98 but has been slightly revised here. Maintenace wizard lets you schedule when to run scandisk and disk defragmenter, which could be run in background to maintain performance.

System Restore

Windows ME marks the introduction of system restore, this was a feature that took snapshots of your system when applications or changes were made to the system in the event of the system no longer booting correctly. It has since been included with Windows XP.

On Screen Keyboard has been introduced

Feedback utility to provide feedback to Microsoft, does not appear in the final release

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 5.5 comes bundled with this build, and is somewhat able to load the modern msn homepage. I also decided to test it with some period correct websites from 2000

PCem Specifications

Motherboard: Asus P/I-P55T2P4

Processor: AMD K6/266

Video: Diamond Stealth 3D (S3 ViRGE)

Sound: Ensoniq AudioPCI ES1371

Network: NE2000