Creating an apartment is just like creating a home, but with a few extra steps! In a nutshell, you are going to build your lot, furnish only one apartment/living area, then leave the rest empty and mark as either public or hidden. If you want NPCs to live on the lot with you, you will need to assign doors to NPC's after moving a Sim in. You don't pay rent because your Sims technically purchase the building and then pay bills as they normally would, so leaving out unnecessary things before hand will dramatically lower the original price to buy.
The Sims 3 University Life added the Apartment lot type, only available in the Create-A-World tool and it bring back the roommate system. The Game update patch 1.50 added "Set Bed/Door Ownership/Access" feature, you can assign these objects to the roommates.
The first step in creating nice apartments is the basic construction of a house on any residential lot. You can start with a floorplan from any house plan site or you can use your imagination. Google can provide either house plans for you to use or just the images for inspiration. While you can edit the building structure after the lot has Sims on it, it's easiest to fully design and build your lot now while you don't have to use any cheats.
Design your layout and build your house/apartment building. Be sure to keep in mind any areas that you will want as public areas, hidden rooms for NPC's and the areas that you want as private apartment areas. You will need to have any areas containing apartment doors enclosed with either walls or fences(with gates). The fences must be a type that Sims cannot walk over and you need to place a gate. Remember to place a Public Room Marker inside the fenced area.
Some tutorials to help get you started:
- Building Great Houses from the Ground up
- Necessitorial - Overcoming Auto-roof by Qbuilderz
|IMPORTANT: In order to assign doors to NPC's later you will need to enclose all public areas with doors that you intend to designate as NPC doors with walls or fences and place a Public Room Marker inside. The enclosure must be on the same level as the door. IE: If you build your apartments on a foundation then the fence/gate must be on the foundation level.|
An alternative to enclosing doors with fences
To be able to assign doors for NPCs you can also create a fake vestibule. Create a small room inside the door that is fully enclosed. Place a Public Room Marker inside the small room and outside the door.
When furnishing the apartment you want to be sure to include all the basics a Sim needs to live. The only cost to the Sim is what is in areas you don't mark as hidden or public. You can create community areas that have things such as exercise rooms, pool areas, reading areas or garages. So a great way to keep the apartment costs minimal while having skill and fun activity objects on the lot is to create community areas that you will later mark as public. Be sure not use cheats such as moveojects on while building so you don't create routing issues and place objects that become unusable.
Marking rooms Public/Private/Hidden
After you have designed and built your new apartment you need to mark off the designated areas for hidden rooms, levels skipped and public areas. You do this with 3 different spheres that are located in Buy/Debug.
- Press CTRL+SHIFT+C to bring up the console, then type in the following cheat: testingCheatsEnabled true
- Press CTRL+SHIFT+C to bring up the console, then type in the following cheat: BuyDebug on
Go to Buy Mode, Sort by Function, Debug(?), Misc. Objects. Here you need to look for three silver balls, if you hover over them a description will pop up. There are three that are important when building apartments: Hidden Room Marker, Public Room Marker and Level Skip Marker.
- Hidden Room Marker: This marks rooms for use by NPC's and are unavailable for you Sim to enter. Use this to designate the apartments you want your NPC's to live in or just to hide other areas in your apartment. When using this marker that area of your apartment will be black during live play.
- Public Room Marker: This marks all areas that your Sim can use as well as NPC's. You need to mark any community areas such as pools, garages, lobby's, hallways, excercise rooms, etc, that you want your Sim as well as NPC's to be able to visit and interact.
- Level Skip Marker: This is used for multi-level buildings where you don't want to watch your Sim walk through. Such as a 4-story apartment building where the apartment is located on the 4th floor. You can place this sphere on the levels you don't want your Sim to walk through.
|Note: The Level Skip Marker is optional and will not affect the playability of your apartment or the spawning of NPC's. It will simply make it quicker to get from floor one to floor twelve if your apartment is on the twelfth floor. ;)|
Wall Mailbox and Callbox
- The callbox can be found in Buy Mode, Sort by Function, Electronics, Miscellaneous Electronics. This is used to "call" other residents in your apartment. You will want to place this in one of the areas you have marked as public with the Public Room Marker.
- The wall mailbox is a hidden object and if you want to make your apartment use this then you will need to get an object mod that makes it buyable. Please see the list for Buyable Objects in the Content Lists. Once placed the standard mailbox is automatically deleted as you can have only a single mailbox on a lot. You will want to place this in one of the areas you have marked as public with the Public Room Marker.
- The Trash Chute is another hidden object and is available in the same download as the buyable wall mailbox. Sims will use the standard garbage bin unless you place this on the lot. This object is not required but only adds to the atmosphere of high rise apartment buildings and your Sim won't have to walk all the way to the curb for the standard garbage bin.
|Note: Assigning doors to NPC's works without the wall mailbox and with the standard mailbox. The callbox also doesn't seem to be necessary to socialize with neighbor NPC's. The option to Ring Bell is on doors assigned to NPC's without it being on the lot. However you will need it if your Sim invites visitors over so you will be informed of their arrival by a notification asking you to buzz them in. If you click Buzz In then they will come up to your floor and let themselves in.|
Assigning doors to NPC's is done after your Sim has moved in or using the debug cheat.
- After you finish building your lot, make sure testingCheatsEnabled true is on, then CTRL+SHIFT+Click on any doors you want assigned to NPC's and select Make NPC Door
- If your lot has a family on it go into Buy Mode, CTRL+SHIFT+Click on any doors you want assigned to NPC's and select Make NPC Door. Afterwards you can go into Live Mode and once NPC's start moving onto the lot you will be able to Left+Click any NPC doors and Ring Bell or use a call box if you have placed it on the lot.
|Note: If you don't get the option to Make NPC Door then you have forgotten to make sure all doors are enclosed. Make sure all NPC doors are enclosed with walls or a fence that Sims cannot walk over (with a gate), and that you have placed a Public Room Marker inside the fenced area.|
- To edit your lot in build mode after moving a Sim in: Press CTRL+SHIFT+C to bring up the console, then type in the following cheat RestrictBuildBuyInBuildings off
- The standard garbage bin cannot be deleted. Well it can be deleted in Live Mode but will respawn each time you start your game and enter the lot. The best option is to use this in your design and move it someplace inconspicuous so that the location will be saved.
- When making taller buildings make sure that all hallways, stairs, and elevators are publicly marked.
If you have any questions please post them here: Building Custom Apartments