It’s been a long time since we’ve had the chance to visit our favourite Manchester hotspots. You’d be forgiven for forgetting what they look like.
If you a fancy a reminder – it’s worth venturing over to an Instagram account called sim.ulatedmanchester
User Jess Vaughan has recreated many of the most popular city centre spaces in digital format… using The Sims 4.
The gamer, from Ancoats, has spent hours on the video game rebuilding Manchester from the ground up – designing computerised versions of venues such as Oyster Bar, Peveril of the Peak and Albert’s Schloss.
The resemblance is uncanny.
Jess has also constructed copies of Canal Street, Ancoats Marina and St Ann’s Square – giving her Sims characters a true taste of Manchester life in the process.
Some of her designs have been shared online, too – meaning fellow gamers can take advantage and incorporate the architecture into their own Sims worlds.
It’s taken a lot of patience and precision, and some of the early builds involved a bit of trial and error.
“I started one day on a whim,” Jess tells The Manc.
“I created Cutting Room square in Ancoats and it was overambitious to say the least. I’d never done Sims builds of this scale and I didn’t have a grasp on the game’s capability, so it crashed and I wasn’t able to access my save file. I was fuming.
“Luckily, I’d taken a few blurry screenshots beforehand which I decided to share with friends and they loved it.
“This led me to create my Instagram page and experiment with more Manchester buildings.”
Jess’ most recent project has been the iconic Oxford Road – which includes a wide variety of familiar landmarks viewers are sure to know and love.
It’s her favourite creation so far .
“I’ve included The Thirsty Scholar under the arches, the steps to Oxford Road as well as the Salisbury and Grand Central. I think it captures the space well and I think a lot of people will like it fingers crossed!
“The most challenging [design] is definitely buildings with rounded walls. As Sims 4 building is on a grid, the nearest I can get the the illusion of a rounded wall is an octagon. Unfortunately this means that Central Library would be impossible.”
Jess’ virtual buildings have attracted huge praise online; particularly from those who have also spent a huge chunk of lockdown engrossed in The Sims and can appreciate the work that goes into recreating a whole city.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Jess explains.
“People have been reaching out saying how much they love the builds and a lot have been tagging their friends and sharing memories in the comments. Which are great to read through.”
It’ll still be a few weeks at least until we can visit many of these locations in waking life. But at least with The Sims, we can take a virtual trip into town.
“I’m not stopping anytime soon,” Jess tells us.
“I’ve got a long list of builds and I can happily say that I love what I’m creating.”
Phil Foden’s bond with elderly City fan with dementia only gets more wholesome
Among the City fans flying high after the Manchester derby, 84-year-old Barry Carr was undoubtedly one those most bowled over on the day, as he was once again invited to Phil Foden‘s box to watch the game.
As you can see, Barry was invited back to watch the derby and treated to a 6-3 blockbuster, where he got to spend more time with Foden as well as meeting ex-player turned pundit Micah Richards.
One of the best bits is when he calls Erling Haaland “the big one”. You’re not wrong there, Barry!
The lifelong fan City fan was over the moon with the result and even more excited when he realised his favourite Foden had netted his own hattrick against against their historic rivals.
Following the game, the two share a lovely embrace and talk about the game, with Foden describing his game as a “dream come true”. We dare say Barry felt the same.
We’re not crying, you are…
While he struggles with his memory, most of time spent watching City vs United would have been quite different, as they were long-considered ‘the noisy neighbours’. Safe to say things have changed over the past decade.
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.