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Replies: 14 (Who?), Viewed: 40559 times.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#1 Old 23rd Mar 2008 at 7:23 PM
Tutorial: Creating Usable Beach Lots WITHOUT SimCity 4!
Tutorial: Creating Usable Beach Lots WITHOUT SimCity 4!

What you will need:
  • Sims 2
  • FreeTime Expansion
  • A neighborhood for testing with one sub neighborhood (or two neighborhoods)
  • No fear of cheats

Beneficial (but not required):
  • Bon Voyage Expansion
  • Camera hack (I like GunMod’s Camera Mod)

A word of Caution:
It is recommended that you backup your game file before attempting this. My game crashed many times in the process of testing this tutorial. My computer is less than three weeks old, running Vista, with a Radeon 1550 graphics card, low specs were not the issue.

Before I started testing this I moved all of my current neighborhoods I’m playing out of the Sims 2 folder in case something went wrong nothing would happen to those files. My downloads folder contains ONLY less than 15 hacks, but no other CC. I did what I knew to do but my game still crashed 15 to 20 times since this project started a day ago. I do NOT recommend attempting a large scale alterations in a full neighborhood all at once. You can get a lot farther in less time if you just do a little bit at a time.

There is no Undo button in the neighborhood screen. The changes you make will be saved to the neighborhood’s file when you exit (unless it crashes). Having a testing neighborhood is a very good idea until you feel comfortable altering the neighborhood’s terrain.


Now that all the scary stuff is out of the way, let’s have some fun! I started researching this when I decided that I wanted to make a volcano vacation island neighborhood. I searched Mod for any appropriate tutorials and found some that I thought would help. After reading them from start to finish I headed off to SimCity 4. In a round about way I discovered that my roads had been placed too far from the waterline no matter how close to the water I had placed it. I found the answer when I stared using the “modifyNeighborhoodTerrain on” cheat that came in FreeTime.

Cheat Quick Reference Key Commands:

\ key to level
] key to lower
[ key to raise

To Begin:

#1- Chose the neighborhood that you want to add beach lots to. It’s easiest if it is spankin’ new, but an occupied one works as well (as will be illustrated.) Most people would be altering an existing neighborhood because there seems to be fewer people that are a ‘hoodaholic like I am. So let’s journey to Bluewater Village in search of an idyllic location.

*For people wanting to create areas for beach lots that do NOT have Bon Voyage, beach lots range from 2x5 lots up to 6x5 lots. Although for absolute accuracy I’d still test it with the beach lots to make sure they work.

#2- Features of Ideal Locations:
  • Close to the waterfront
  • Not too high above the water
  • Not too far back from the water
  • Road that is parallel with the beach
  • Unpopulated area
  • Few connecting roads

Most of these considerations are to lessen the amount of terrain altering for natural look. If you want a blocky look (maybe its in a concrete covered area?) your considerations would be different.

These are not requirements, just aesthetic things to keep in mind.

#3- Relocate any existing lots and delete empty lots. You cannot alter terrain within or nearby lot tiles. Unoccupied/un-owned lots can safely placed in the Lots & houses bin. Placing occupied lots in the lots and houses bin will delete all of the family’s connections with friends and relatives, therefore it is MUCH better to just use the move lot tool for relocation.

#4- Open the cheat window (Ctrl + Shift + C) and enter: modifyNeighborhoodTerrain on

#5- Click & drag over the road where you want the beach lots to be. The green end is showing to illustrate that the road is selected, otherwise you cannot see it. Press the \ key once to level the road.


#6- Select the entire area from the road out into deeper water. Press the ] key until the road is flooded.


IMPORTANT: Every beach lot is 5 neighborhood squares deep, hence the reason their dimension is #x5 lot size. The back edge of row #5 must be underwater (the base requirement for beach lots.)

#7- Select the road and 5 rows (starting at one of the corner street tiles.) Press \ to level area and [ to raise one level.

Row animation

#8- Select row #5 and lower with ] once, then select row #4 & #5 and lower with ] one more time. This creates an almost flat lot.*


#9- Finish raising and lowering surrounding areas to desired look, including underwater if it is noticeable.


#10- Remove unwanted neighborhood decorations. Return previous lots if desired, making sure the land is lowered to the appropriate height to place lot (needs to be level with the road.)

#11- Temporarily place beach lots to make sure they place the way that you want them to. It may be needed to remove the lots to smooth out the terrain for an appealing look.

#12- Finish off by adding the permanent lots and desired neighborhood decorations!

A Few Tips About Land Elevations:

The Road must be within 0 elevation (submerged) and 5 elevation. The back edge of the 5th row out from the road must be submerged 1 or 2 spaces down. From my testing these are the things that made beach lots usable. Rows #4 & #5 will always be auto leveled to accommodate the flat stretch of beach (row #4) and the swimable beach area (row #5). The road will always be auto leveled as with any lot.

Rows #1, #2, and #3 can be altered in the neighborhood view to affect the lot. Submerged tiles in these areas will always be leveled when a lot is placed. However, raised areas will be will be smoothed but not leveled (this applies to empty lots only). Lots with a steep drop between the water and the road look much better (and probably work better) if row #1 is level with the road.

*Various land grades for beach lots-

Flat lot: Place beach lot on submerged road with no other tiles in the lot area above water.
Almost flat lot: Level road and all 5 rows, select row #5 and lower once, select row #4 & #5 lowering once. (as illustrated in this tutorial)
Severe sloping lot: Level road and all 5 rows, select row #5 and lower once, select row #4 & #5 lowering once. Select the road and raise 4 times (or 5 times if the road is submerged), any higher and the lot will not place.

To Place Pre-made Beach Lots:

Go to a part of the neighborhood that has been lowered for beach lots. Start with a level space that has all 5 rows and the street submerged, and check with an empty beach lot to make sure they can be placed (the lot will turn green). Take the pre-made lot out of the bin and attempt to place. Raise the road by one level and try again. Continue the process (up to the max of 4 levels above the water line) until the lot places.

I added this because It took me quite a while to figure it out for a lot I wanted to move that had some major ground alterations within the lot. The first 5 or 6 time of trying to place the lot it wouldn’t work and I assumed it was because of the ground changes in the lot and how with a new lot it levels out the terrain. After some testing I discovered that it is related to the height difference between row #5 (swimable area) and the road. This also works with lots that have basements lower than the waterline! (as unrealistic as that is…)


The two things in-game that I found the most helpful to prevent crashing-

Don’t select an area too large for the program to alter all at once. This was guaranteed to make my game crash.
Switching to another neighborhood or sub neighborhood would save the landscape of the current neighborhood map, so if it did happen to crash a step or two later, you would not have to restart what had changed since the last time it was saved.

Water Rendering:

Leaving and entering the neighborhood (or sub neighborhood) will fix the waterline so it renders correctly and your camera will be where you left it. Sometimes doing this shows areas that may need to be fixed.

Final Notes:

This is not the ideal way to create new neighborhoods because unlike working in SimCity 4, the alterations are not to the base file, but to that exact neighborhood. However, I have successfully transferred an altered neighborhood onto another computer and the elevations are as I had left them. I assume that the file containing the elevations info is contained in the neighborhood folder but I don’t know how to locate it since it doesn’t appear that anything has changed. So as far as I can tell, you can share a neighborhood after doing in-game neighborhood alterations, but it’s messy because of the expansion pack issues.

Off the top of my head I’d assume the person installing that neighborhood would need the same expansions as the person who created it because of the file format change that comes with every expansion. Technically speaking I’d assume that a neighborhood created in this way with only FreeTime + Orig. Sims 2 would be compatible with Ft + S2 + other expansion because upon loading the neighborhood it would add the ‘missing’ expansion components (like the vacation stuff that Bon Voyage allows). I DO NOT know this as fact, I have not tested it but it’s my best guess.

In hindsight I realized a lot of the smaller detail of terrain altering in SimCity 4 was in Mayor mode, while I had just stuck to the God mode except for placing roads.

EA (& Maxis) The Sims 2
Maxis SimCity 4
Photoshop Elements 5
Tinkerbell1124‘s Tutorial
Niol‘s Tutorial
My Brain (that I think is better than a llama’s.)


I am not responsible for any lost, destroyed, distorted, or buggy neighborhoods. The changes YOU make are YOUR responsibility. Lack of backups in the event that a neighborhood is roasted by the gods of Crashing falls on your head. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I have tested this to the best of my ability and in my game it works.

Do not repost this info anywhere without permission, it's easier to post a link anyway.
Copyright Corsetcrush Creations 2008
Mad Poster
#2 Old 24th Mar 2008 at 6:42 PM
#3 Old 8th Apr 2008 at 6:22 AM
Thanks... I knew this feature was in Free Time but never tried it lol

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Test Subject
#4 Old 21st Apr 2008 at 6:24 PM
I may try that later, thanks!

Jonas Brothers && The sims
#5 Old 28th Apr 2008 at 10:58 AM
I've try with some hazardous attempts but this tutorial will help a lot. On the french keybord the keys are : µ to level, ] to raise and ¨^ to lower.
I will test with the 5 rows. Thank you Corsetcrush.

All of nature is within us and we are part of all nature (Chief White Cloud)
Lab Assistant
#6 Old 20th May 2008 at 2:51 PM
Thank you so much for this tutorial!!!
you explained all very clearly and I have just finished the first part of my project!
Field Researcher
#7 Old 23rd Jul 2008 at 4:23 AM
This is just what I needed! Thank you.
Lab Assistant
#8 Old 21st Aug 2009 at 2:30 AM
Thanks for taking the time to make and post this tutorial. (I put a link to it in the Sims2Wiki for people needing help placing pre-built beach lots.)
Test Subject
#9 Old 3rd Sep 2009 at 6:20 AM
can i use this with the sims life stories?? cuz i want new neighbor hoods

dats a parrot made it myself tehe HI MUM

_<( )>
...." "
Test Subject
#10 Old 3rd Sep 2009 at 6:23 AM
nope i just checked

dats a parrot made it myself tehe HI MUM

_<( )>
...." "
Test Subject
#11 Old 17th May 2010 at 1:08 PM
Hey, first of all thanks for your tutorial.

I tried it out but i cant get it to work.
I got a pre-made beach lot and couldn't get it placed in my neighboorhood. so i followed your tutorial and got my lot placed, but everytime i load it now my game just crashes. any ideas why that could be? i was thinking maybe it could be cause the water is now to deep and one third of the lot is flooded. but even when i raised the terrain and made it less flooded the game continued to crash. help would be much appreciated =)

And last but not least, had a rough time with the keys... guess mine are different cause i'm from germany. here they are:

level: ^
lower: ´
raise: \
Site Helper
#12 Old 17th May 2010 at 5:40 PM Last edited by Mootilda : 17th May 2010 at 8:16 PM.
Beach lots are notorious for crashing if the slope of the land from the road to the water is not identical to the slope used when the lot was created. They can also crash if you turn them in a direction which is different than their default rotation; ie, the direction that the lot is facing when you first take it out of the lot bin. Many creators will tell you where the lot was created, so that you can place it in the same location with the same rotation in the same neighborhood. You could also try making the neighborhood terrain more or less sloped, to try to match the existing slope of the lot.

I've had some luck using the LotAdjuster to adjust the lot edges to match the existing neighborhood terrain. First, backup your neighborhood, in case you aren't happy with the results. Then, run the LotAdjuster and select your neighborhood and lot; don't type in any amount to expand or shrink the lot, just click on the Finish button. Then, run the game and enter the lot.

If you want to ensure that the portal locations are maintained, especially the location of the mailbox and garbage can, then you'll need to do something slightly different. Run the LotAdjuster and select your neighborhood and lot; don't type in any amount to expand or shrink the lot. Click on the Advanced button to gain access to the option that you require. Check the box entitled: Place Portals Manually. You might also want to ensure that Lot Edges is set to Neighborhood. Then click on the Finish button, run the game and enter the lot.
Test Subject
#13 Old 18th May 2010 at 4:37 PM
Great! It works =)

Thanks for your help!
Lab Assistant
25th Feb 2012 at 11:23 PM
This message has been deleted by HugeLunatic. Reason: useless post
Test Subject
#14 Old 1st Jul 2014 at 8:20 PM
Where do you find beach lots?? I was searching for them everywhere!!!!!!!!
Needs Coffee
retired moderator
#15 Old 1st Jul 2014 at 10:30 PM
Go to where you would normally place a residential or community lot and click around until you see the beach icon type of lot, I think it says special.

Very interesting tutorial, I was messing around in this very spot a few months ago seeing if I could make that coast line take a beach lot. I didn't have a tutorial, just messing with the terrain keys. I didn't get it to work, but it also didn't crash until I tried to place a lot.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
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