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Mad Poster
Original Poster
#1 Old 17th Dec 2012 at 2:09 PM Last edited by M.M.A.A. : 27th Feb 2013 at 2:24 PM.
Default How to use your neighborhood (and it's terrain) in the most efficient way as possible?
Hello everyone,

So, I have been seeing lots of threads around here about where to start from? What should I do with my neighborhood terrain? Families or lots first? Etc...

In this thread I will be posting helpful tips on how to use your neighborhood AND it's terrain in the most efficient way. If you have any useful tips, please post them, and I will integrate them into the first post.

I would like to add that these are only suggestions, you are not forced to follow, so don't keep on telling me that everyone is free to do what they want with their game, as I am only offering some assistance.

Enjoy!

#1: Basics
a) Before you even start building a neighborhood, think about what you want to do in that neighborhood. If you want to play an apocalypse, for example, there are very specific requirements depending on which version you play. You need to know those. If you want to play lots of one or two generational challenges, then what's convenient for that is very different than for playing a rotational hood for generations, and even more different is a legacy neighborhood. This should help you in choosing a proper terrain too.
b) Plan out the areas you think are suitable for building. I know most of you will think that the first thing you should think about is your sim, and that is partially true, because, you will be facing problems on where you're going to put them. Decide which roads are going to be inhabited by sims, and which will be made for commercial/community lots/areas. Decide which roads you will be leaving as empty if you have a non-flat terrain, so as to use them as roads to connect areas to each other. For example, you have one part of town up on a hill, and the other down at the foot of it, if there is a road connecting them, leave it empty, don't place lots, especially residential lots.
c) Flatten out the areas around the roads you will be using. I know you want to build fancy homes, but there is not much use of a lot with a ground at a 45 degrees angle. You can still build fancy homes on flat terrain.

#2: Population Distribution
a) If you have a large number of households in your neighborhood, you'd better place the lots close to each-other, i.e. don't leave any space between the lots
b) If you have rich sims, or plan on having them, and want to build them a large mansion, but have a neighborhood terrain with a small number or short roads, there is definitely no need to use a 6x5 lot for your sims. Trust me, the max. size you will be needing is a 3x4 or 4x3 or 4x4.
c)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyBoo8
Road Naming
Name all the roads after all of your lots have already been placed.

Do you have a road with little city apartments, mini residential lots with two levels (bottom for a home business, top for a house), and skyscrapers?
Name example: City Road (but think of something more creative)
Do you have a road with residential lots that are farm houses?
Name example: Apple Orchid Lane (Or any fruit/veggie)
Do you have a road that disapears off the map and looks like it goes to another word?
Name example: Main Street
Do you have a terrain with a lake/beach and on the road beach lots?
Name example: Springwater Way (One of my towns is named Springwater Station, after the the lake, so the road with beach lots is named after the town)
Do you have a road that leads up to the Bella Goth statue and the statue is by water?
Name example: Lady of the Lake Lane
Do you have a road with beautiful mansions?
Name example: Mansion Court
You get the idea :P

Make a list of different lots you want
If you want so many different types of houses (Victorian, cottage, lakehouse, apartment, trailer, farm house, etc.) and community lots (general store, toy, salon, etc.) then make a list of the lots you want. Add one or two of each lot in a certain area of the town and see if you have room to add more of each lot type.

#3: Demographics
a) Family sims will mostly want to have kids, and will get wants of having 10 kids, but there is no need in accomplishing these wants. They will get frequent wants about having another baby. If you are planning on having a family with 10 kids, then make sure that other couples only have one or two max. This way, in the future, when they grow up, you will have more space in your neighborhood, for if they want/need to move out into their own place.
b) If you have the hacks that stop npc's, townies, and strays from re-spawning, then you can maintain the neighborhood population. So, instead of creating a whole new family and match their kids with yours, make use of the townies, leave the npc's alone, as you will be needing them.
c) Make use of grandparents, and move them into their children's homes, this way, your sims can save money on nannies and you will free up some space for others to move into the Grandparents' old homes.

#4: Custom Content
a) Ask yourself whether you want to build a neighborhood with or without custom content. If you want to share the neighborhood online, then it is best to use minimal or no custom content. If you want to keep the neighborhood for your own enjoyment, then you may play however you wish.
b) Remember which custom content you have used on a given lot. If not, you may think carefully before you remove custom content from your Downloads folder. Removing custom content may cause the game to either revert to a Maxis object/clothing/hair or even crash your game upon loading the lot.
c) More custom content also means longer time to load. If you want to load quickly and don't mind the Maxis stuff, then it is best that you play with minimal or no custom content.
d) Consider if you want default face templates, default name templates, if you want custom townies or none at all, if you want stealth-hood sims. If you want hacks to let alien and elf townies spawn, if you want facial hair and glasses on townies, etc.

#5: Story

Then think about why your sims are here. Is it just a widespot along the highway? Is it a port city? A railroad town? A farm village? A mining town? What brought your sims (ancestors) here? How long have sims been living here?

#6: Making Homes for your Sims
a)Building Lots and Time Management:
To speed up the process of decorating lots make your community lots and apartments first. Completely furnish all that is necessary. Then doing the houses should be much easier! Build the walls, roofs, doors, windows- the basic structure of the houses. Add everything you need to make the house look nice from the outside. Paint it and maybe add a tree two, even a fence. Leave the inside empty!! You can make interior walls but don't furnish it. What's the point of making a bagillion gazillion houses if you're not going to occupy them all? Only furnish if a family moves in. It saves a lot of time!

More to be added!
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Instructor
#2 Old 18th Dec 2012 at 9:43 PM
Take Your Time:

Adding too much deco, and spending 10 hours straight on a neighborhood can get frustrating. I know because I always did this. Take your time, build a section of your neighborhood and then go do something else, and come back with a fresh set of eyes.

Changing Ideas

This is one I kind of had to learn the hard way. If you put something down you can take it away again if you don't like it. You can also move the little houses around if you don't like the way they are spread out or placed. (I only just learned this myself!)

Also, don't give up!
#3 Old 18th Dec 2012 at 10:39 PM
#4: Custom Content
a) Ask yourself whether you want to build a neighborhood with or without custom content. If you want to share the neighborhood online, then it is best to use minimal or no custom content. If you want to keep the neighborhood for your own enjoyment, then you may play however you wish.

b) Remember which custom content you have used on a given lot. If not, you may think carefully before you remove custom content from your Downloads folder. Removing custom content may cause the game to either revert to a Maxis object/clothing/hair or even crash your game upon loading the lot.

c) More custom content also means longer time to load. If you want to load quickly and don't mind the Maxis stuff, then it is best that you play with minimal or no custom content.
Forum Resident
#4 Old 18th Dec 2012 at 10:49 PM
Road Naming
Name all the roads after all of your lots have already been placed.

Do you have a road with little city apartments, mini residential lots with two levels (bottom for a home business, top for a house), and skyscrapers?
Name example: City Road (but think of something more creative)
Do you have a road with residential lots that are farm houses?
Name example: Apple Orchid Lane (Or any fruit/veggie)
Do you have a road that disapears off the map and looks like it goes to another word?
Name example: Main Street
Do you have a terrain with a lake/beach and on the road beach lots?
Name example: Springwater Way (One of my towns is named Springwater Station, after the the lake, so the road with beach lots is named after the town)
Do you have a road that leads up to the Bella Goth statue and the statue is by water?
Name example: Lady of the Lake Lane
Do you have a road with beautiful mansions?
Name example: Mansion Court
You get the idea :P

Make a list of different lots you want
If you want so many different types of houses (Victorian, cottage, lakehouse, apartment, trailer, farm house, etc.) and community lots (general store, toy, salon, etc.) then make a list of the lots you want. Add one or two of each lot in a certain area of the town and see if you have room to add more of each lot type.
Mad Poster
#5 Old 18th Dec 2012 at 10:56 PM
Before you even start building a neighborhood, think about what you want to do in that neighborhood. If you want to play an apocalypse, for example, there are very specific requirements depending on which version you play. You need to know those. If you want to play lots of one or two generational challenges, then what's convenient for that is very different than for playing a rotational hood for generations, and even more different is a legacy neighborhood.
Consider if you want default face templates, default name templates, if you want custom townies or none at all, if you want stealth-hood sims. If you want hacks to let alien and elf townies spawn, if you want facial hair and glasses on townies, etc.
Then think about why your sims are here. Is it just a widespot along the highway? Is it a port city? A railroad town? A farm village? A mining town? What brought your sims (ancestors) here? How long have sims been living here?
There are many very pretty terrains (I've made dozens myself) that are very poor for building on because of lack of flats. Look at your terrains you consider in Sims 2 before you decide to use that mountainous one. Things that look flat in SC4 aren't always flat in Sims 2. Beach lots are just as tricky-I've made miles of shorelines that looked like they should work, mild slope and roads close enough, and yet they don't. Test where you can place different sizes of lots before you commit to that terrain. If you have Freetime you can do some terrain editing in game, yet there are always places where you want to but it won't work.

Pics from my game: Sunbee's Simblr Sunbee's Livejournal
"English is a marvelous edged weapon if you know how to wield it." C.J. Cherryh
Forum Resident
#6 Old 26th Feb 2013 at 11:37 PM
Building Lots:
To speed up the process of decorating lots make your community lots and apartments first. Completely furnish all that is necessary. Then doing the houses should be much easier! Build the walls, roofs, doors, windows- the basic structure of the houses. Add everything you need to make the house look nice from the outside. Paint it and maybe add a tree two, even a fence. Leave the inside empty!! You can make interior walls but don't furnish it. What's the point of making a bagillion gazillion houses if you're not going to occupy them all? Only furnish if a family moves in. It saves a lot of time! I once built 6 houses in 30 minutes! And your town will be finished faster too!
Mad Poster
#7 Old 27th Feb 2013 at 11:26 AM
In your game, you should have one empty neighborhood in which to only build (or rebuild) lots. This way you'll be able to view it without the distraction of having other occupied houses that are waiting to be played. You will be able to see how houses look next to one another as well.
Match the neighborhood terrain to the way you want to play-I prefer smaller terrains because they're easier to navigate and view.
If you want to rebuild an existing house, name it a version number, and delete the previous one, in order to save yourself confusion.
I always completely furnish a house before I play it, but with just the minimum amount of furniture to match the expected occupants. Don't forget the basics, such as a smoke detector or a telephone. It's a real pain to have to place those in every lot where you put a family because you forgot to the first time.
If you have hacks like the Lot Sync Timer, or the batbox, you should put them as standard in the lot-then when you put in a family, freeze them, and then you can set up the neighborhood in sequence with every family. I always put in the 'visitor controller' into every lot in order to stop any unwanted NPC's from appearing on the lot when first played.
Once everything is set up, save the lot, and then put together the town. Community lots can be put in at a later time for the pixels pleasure.
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