Today we reach the final oh so exciting conclusion of how my dorky horse hobby is almost exclusively responsible for my career. In Part 1, Sim Horse Chat I developed strong typing and descriptive skills, and in Part 2, Automated Sim Games I discovered Photoshop in a major way… but the real reason that simming helped me get my career is learning web design.
Even though sim chat and automated sim games were fun, my favorite sim games to play were message board based ones. The name of the game there were pretty pictures and pretty webpages, and that was something I excelled at.
I don’t have anything saved of my first sim sites, because they were mostly hosted on angelfire and geocities and went poof. I can assure you though, they weren’t pretty… most of them probably looked like this (yes, that is the original Space Jam site… yes, it is awesome).
The later ones though were pretty decent if I have to say so myself. Sometimes I went for the minimal look like for this stock horse racing farm or my stock horse show farm. Other times, big chunky header graphics were super important as seen in one of my fake hunter farms.
Early designs were done all in tables by slicing up images in Photoshop, but as I learned more I began to delve into the world of CSS and Divs. Arabians needed to be ethereal and mystical feeling and you got bonus points if your sim arabian farm had a fancy name that included ‘Stud’ or ‘Inc’ in it. Eventually I settled on a more simple & wide sweeping design style that I still employ with my sites today, seen in my final sim farm that I ever made.
Looking back at these makes me nostalgic a bit. It’s really fun to just pretend you have no budget and can have the world’s most beautiful horses doing the world’s most amazing things. Plus, I really enjoyed having a creative outlet for making sites like this. When I applied to SmartPak as a Jr Web Designer, I listed several of these sim sites on my portfolio. They were marked as “Samples” though, so it would take an educated eye to guess their true origin 😉