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Ciem is a 2007/2008 superhero-themed, Sims-based DSHW produced by Dozerfleet Productions. Originally to be called Ciem: The Human Centipede, a name change was granted it in 2010 to avoid confusion with Tom Six's Human Centipede series. Ciem was also going to be the first in a trilogy of Sims webcomics, though the series was canceled for several reasons in early 2010.

Plot

The story begins in the home of Erin Flippo, who is acting as a mother for her orphaned sisters Candi, Miriam, and Marina. Marina is revealed to have left the home after getting married to the delivery boy Matthew Baret, who got her pregnant. Candi is therefore living with her remaining two sisters. One evening, the phone rings; and Candi answers it unaware of the fact that it is really Gunner Soorfelt trying to confirm that he has reached the Flippo residence and confirm his assassination targets. Candi hangs up the phone, scared but ignoring her instincts. Candi and her sisters share their most intimate secrets with each other, including the origin of Candi's centipede powers. The Hebbleskin Gang, fueled with zeal by Duke Arfaas, launch a raid on the city of Gerosha and try to kill all the Flippos and their friends. Miriam seized by police and sent into protective custody; and Erin is murdered by Gunner and Skellig. Candi herself accidentally kills Don the Psycho. The McAuley family, friends of Erin's, inform Candi that her boyfriend Donte has been captured by the Hebbleskins, and is presumed dead. A disheartened Candi blames herself, knowing the Hebbleskins were really after her the whole time. She flees to Viron to start her life over, and assumes the false surname of "Stevens."

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Ciem battling Musaran in an office complex.

Not long after getting settled and dealing with Viron's numerous villains, Candi befriends and eventually marries reformed bootlegger Denny Levens. The couple's marriage soon results in an unplanned pregnancy, which causes Candi to temporarily lose her powers. Arfaas kidnaps Donte's brother-in-law Jeraime Malestrom, and puts him in a suit that is programmed to turn Jeraime into the killing machine known as "Musaran." Musaran begins killing targets left and right at Arfaas' discretion. When Arfaas convinces Dirbine police chief Merle Hourvitz to join his side, almost the entire Dirbine police force defects. Dirbine and its suburb of Viron are then under Hebbleskin control.

Musaran and Kelsea Linney independently attack the Levens family home in the same evening in their efforts to murder Denny. They also try to kill Candi, but she survives both assaults. Candi goes into labor, and is escorted by paramedics to the hospital. After giving birth, she passes out and wakes up greeted by her brother Tom and godfather Imaki Izuki. The two inform Candi that Donte is still alive, and that she has a responsibility to rescue him in order to overthrow Arfaas' loyalists.

Candi then uses Imaki's technology to turn herself into Ciem officially, and begins her quest to learn how to find Donte and rescue him right when the moment is most critical. Her plan succeeds after she first gets herself arrested and then escapes from jail - only to smuggle herself aboard Arfaas' Doomsday ship. There, she dons her Ciem suit again and rescues Donte after a battle with Musaran. Donte breaks a glass tube and gets his powers back to become the superhero Emeraldon once more. Emeraldon destroys the Doomsday ship while Ciem battles Musaran inside an office complex.

She uses the obsolete computer monitors inside the office complex to her advantage, electrocuting her foe and destroying the AI device that was controlling him. Jeraime awakes, but discovers that he has been blinded for life. Candi and Donte reconcile their lost romance, after burying Denny and Angie in the Gerosha Cemetery. They start working as a superhero team to bring down numerous other villains that are in the Dirbine area as a result of either Phaelite or Meethlite activities.

Characters

Heroes

Villains

Supporting cast

  • Miriam Flippo (first appearance)
  • Denny Levens (only appearance) (dies)
  • Imaki Izuki (only appearance) (dies)
  • Erin Flippo (only appearance) (dies)
  • Dominick McAuley (mentioned)
  • Tracy McAuley (only appearance)
  • Dolly Malestrom (first appearance)
  • Laurie Pegol (first appearance)
  • Maria Sanmarcos (only appearance)
  • Wilbur Brocklyn (first appearance)
  • Cladeus Hutchins (only appearance) (dies)
  • Harold Harvey Henson (only appearance)
  • Hannah P. Henson (only appearance)
  • Ill-fated driver killed by Botan (only appearance) (dies)
  • Claire Rauscher (only appearance)
  • Dagmar (only appearance) (dies)
  • Khumar Hamilton (first appearance)
  • Lindsay Hamilton (first appearance)
  • Kelsea's unnamed son (only appearance) (dies)
  • Andrew Ryan (only appearance)
  • Andrew the Truck Driver (only appearance)
  • Dhalia Lorrice (only appearance)
  • Merdie Dolon (only appearance)
  • Niles Beldon (only appearance)
  • Mulwi Gibson (only appearance)
  • Kathy Rittney (only appearance)
  • Stella Oggles (only appearance)
  • Mike Flippo
  • Jeff Flippo
  • Tom Flippo

Locations

Production

Principal screen-gathering for this version of Ciem was officially completed on October 2nd of 2007. Post-production for the screenshots themselves was finished at 10:30 PM, EST, on Saturday, November 10th, 2007. Unlike previous incarnations, screen resolution for screenshot edits was bumped up to a 500x282 resolution.

Most of the Ciem suit's composition consists of a simple recolor of the white ski outfit from the base Sims 2 game, designated in the Everyday clothing section for Adult females. The ski outfit was wrapped around a bikini mesh, which in turn was wrapped around Zenman's Adult Curvy Default #5 body mesh replacement for adult female Sims. Centileg openings were also not very sophisticated. Candi's mask was a simple two-piece consisting of face paint and a customized hairstyle. Her reflective green eyepieces were adjusted in Photoshop to look the way they do. Most work with her mask revolved around obscuring ears and hiding her mouth. Musaran's suit consisted of a recolor of Brasstex's Mecha Warrior suit from Mod the Sims, to give a "shrew fur" impression. However, graphics problems that Seasons created with the Dell Inspiron 6000's Intel GML 910 series graphics chip prevented many of graphics in the recolor from showing up properly. Therefore, the Musaran suit sometimes appears as being a simple brown rather than having any real complex texture. The helmet was a two-piece of a similar "shrew" recolor of Magneto's helmet with a custom face paint. The diameter and complexity of a centileg varies between shots and essential details. One thing that remains certain is that they are extremely long-but-strong, thin, well-controlled spare appendages that Centhuen Prototypes have. For most instances in Ciem, they are simple brown lines that are added in Photoshop and beveled to look more natural.

Keyframes from several Sim animations are deliberately taken out of context to create the battle scene effects, the most frequently used of which is the "Play on the Couch" animation sequence. Couch animations are used less frequently for Sims whose faces are visible and not obscured under masks, as it would have been more difficult to alter their facial expressions in post. Realistic eyes by IcedMango were used as default overrides. Skintones by MissSimGameFan were likewise used to produce a more natural-looking skin for Sims to interact with than the game's defaults. However, low graphics card quality meant that a lot of custom skin details faded away, making characters seem almost as cartoonish as if they were using defaults. Scenes of the city from a bird's eye view are screen grabs from SimCity 4. While most of Dirbine, Viron, and Gerosha are completely fictitious, a few of the buildings are parodies of buildings and locations at Ferris State University. Hallison Hall is an obvious Hallisey Hall stand-in. Likewise, the Scarr Building for the Starr Building. Even Viron University's clock tower is inspired by the real life Ferris State clock tower. Other locations are loosely modeled after their equivalents in real life.

Many of the titles used in Ciem use the Windows system font Copperplate Gothic Bold, as this font closely resembles a centipede in the body structure of the characters. The official Ciem logo is actually a modification of Copperplate with legs added, dubbed "Copperplate Centipede." This new font only exists currently as raster, and is not a font available for download. The credits page for Ciem features an italicized version of Copperplate Gothic Bold. Thematic font preference for Ciem is inspired by the fact that the Spider-Man film franchise uses a special font for most of its titles.

Special features

The story comes bundled with four "special features," which are one-page documents describing certain aspects of the development of the story. The features are as follows:

  • Dressed to Prowl: The Ciem and Musaran Costumes: This short "documentary" discusses briefly the design concept and evolution of the Ciem and Musaran suits into the forms seen in the 2007 version of the story, and contrasts these forms mildly with the 2005 and 2006 equivalents.
  • Origin of an Idea: Birth of a Centhuen Prototype: This piece addresses how the story got its earliest forms, and what inspired the development of Ciem and its predecessors.
  • What's in a Song?: Behind the Music Choices: This one-page article explains the rationale behind the choosing of the songs that feature in the playlist from Project Playlist that feature on the credits page. The songs are collectively known as Music For and Inspirational to Ciem.
  • Playing Ciem: Downloading Ciem for Your Sims 2 Game: Also known as Playing Ciem: Downloading for Gameplay, this page provides download links so that viewers of the site that would like to have a Ciem costume inside of their copy of The Sims 2 may do so both and their own discretion and in accordance with the download policies. The content is almost verbatim identical to the wording of the download links post for Ciem located thread 2 of the Dozerfleet Sims 2 downloads collection of the Dozerfleet Forum.

Music

CiemMusicFrontThumb

"Cover" to the "album."

Main article: Music For and Inspirational to Ciem

Music that played on the credits page was inspired by the Sony compilation album Music from and Inspired by Spider-Man. In the compilation of songs, selections are references to or parodies of either artists or music styles in the Spider-Man film soundtrack mentioned above. The title is a parody on the idea of rock artist compilations for films, which works by reversing the relationship of music and production. Music For is not commercially available, but was accessible as a playlist on Project Playlist's website for a time.

Critical reception

Prior to release, Ciem received mixed reviews from critics. According to John DeBruyn of Blue Moon Inn at ProBoards, the plot reads "like a soap opera on LSD," claiming that characters are too frequently confronted with bizarre, otherworldly, extreme situations. Members of the His House Ministries group on the campus of Ferris State declared that the story was "intense," remarking that the plot was very complicated and that the characters were, to say the least, "interesting." According to Slovakian user HannahSpring of the Sims 2 Community Forums, the story made "very effective use of custom content." Overall, it received positive reviews in spite large criticism of its graphics issues.

Forum performance

The Mod The Sims Social release of Ciem garnered 71 views from October 11th to October 20th of 2008, in spite not being posted in its entirety. It faced stiff competition in its opening weeks from popular titles such as Ksnyatin Point, Starting a New Life, Noir Arachni, Back to Love, and When Cliques Collide.

While not the top overall story, Ciem did claim the top title of science-fiction stories for the site. By the time Ciem was moved to the Completed Stories subforum on December 11th of 2008, it had garnered over 500 views; a modest amount given the lack of popularity of sci-fi entries on MTS Social. The story later received around 600 views by the 21st of December. It was self-rated as three stars, since the JPG data quality was compromised by hardware compatibility issues.

As of October 4th of 2009, Ciem ranked as the 28th most-viewed completed story in the entire history of MTS Social's archives. By January 4th of 2020, archives on Mod The Sims showed it to have gathered a total of 36,785 views during its forum shelf life run.

Ratings controversy

Main article: Ratings controversy for Ciem

The story has been the subject of some debate concerning the rating. At 13-UP, the story implies it is in the territory of a PG-13 film. While considered appropriate by HystericalParoxysm of MTS, this claim was disputed briefly by the user BoolPropped of the same community. For release in MTS Social's forum format, the story was edited to remove unnecessary Musaran murder spree scenes; and to tone down the implied racist and xenophobic attitudes of Andrew the Truck Driver.

Distribution

On October 10th, 2008, Ciem was submitted to the Mod The Sims for approval in the Sims Stories section of that site. Approval arrived on October 13th, and the notice was received around 12:15 AM EDT. Completion of MTS Social syndication occurred at 2:57 AM EST on December 11th, 2008. That same hour, the official story status was changed from "Sci-Fi" to "Completed." Ciem was published in DSHW format on a WebCD in February of 2009. The story pages for DSHW were fully converted to HTML at 1:33 AM EST on Friday, January 2nd of 2009. Documentaries were added to the project on January 20th of 2009, around 1:15 AM EST. (Therefore, on a trivia note, the project was considered to have been finished in the twilight of George W. Bush's presidency.) On November 25th, the story was syndicated on The Dozerfleet Forum, mostly through copy-pasting of its syndication at MTS Social. It was listed as complete at 2:55 AM EST on December 11th, 2008, when the End Credits were added as a reply to Chapter 32's thread.

See also

External links

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