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Field Researcher
Original Poster
#1 Old 7th Jan 2017 at 1:40 PM
Default (Sims 2) Help with building and landscaping my tribal hood
Hi everyone,

I have to admit I hate building. I'd much rather be playing - but my problem is I always get dissatisfied with what I've done and scrap it and rebuild. And I usually slop through the rebuild so I can play again sooner, which makes me more dissatisfied and it starts all over again. Well, I'm about to start a new iteration of my tribal village hood Kulo Seeri, and I'd really appreciate some advice on how to make this one look better than the last twenty zillion versions.


Little Birch Lake, a fishing hole/hunting ground outside the village

One of my biggest problems is landscaping. Most of my community lots are wilderness or otherwise outdoors, so it's really important to me to get the landscaping right. However I have four major problems with it:
1. I tend to plop trees and plants down pretty much anywhere. I want it to look more natural, but it just looks like everything was thrown down in a hurry by a chronic buildophobe (which is true!)
2. I also tend to cover every available bit of the lot with terrain paint, regardless of what the various paints look like together or where the best place to put them would be. I would like some advice on how to use terrain paints to best effect.
3. My lots are always perfectly flat, I need to make more use of the terrain eleveation tools because otherwise it looks really boring.
4. When I make a lake, like in the picture above, it always ends up covering way too much of the lot.


Apple Grove Shrine, a place in the centre of the village for contemplation, remembering the ancestors and snacking on apples; my only other half-decently-landscaped lot

And then there's the building side itself. I can use building cheats, but I rarely do, so my lots tend to look way too "simple box". My two main problems with houses are:
1. Getting the room dimensions right - I always seem to make my rooms too big or too cramped. It bugs me but I never seem to improve.
2. Making connections between different parts of the house - right now I have each home lot as three or four disconnected huts, and that's starting to bug me too, because it doesn't feel quite right.


The only semi-landscaped residential lot in my game.


A typical, non-landscaped residential lot in Kulo Seeri, for comparison.

So, basically, any advice on how to improve my building and landscaping skills would be greatly appreciated.

Kulo Seeri - Home of the Nuidya Tribe
"Not SimNation and Proud"
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retired moderator
#2 Old 7th Jan 2017 at 2:08 PM
1. Plopping down can look okay. One tip is to use move objects, quarter tile cheat and have your cheat file set up so you can use the < > keys to turn the trees and shrubs on an angle and off grid.
Make groups of plants of one type. Take a look at my 'Forrest' https://www.modthesims.info/d/584732 I got different heights by placing and digging a deep hole. CC can do more, but even then a hole can make a difference if the plants are not all identical heights.

2. Dirt under trees and shrubs, rocky or muddy paint areas around ponds. Try some dirt path in any area that would get a lot of foot traffic. Think about where water would lay and make it greener or add a squirt of flowers. I find the white Maxis flowers to be the most natural. Do a small path from the door of a house.

3. Instead of building the room grab and place the furniture first then build your room.

4. I think huts are fine, probably arrange them so they are a bit in a circle with front door openings facing into the centre of the circle.

I'm off to bed now since it's late over here, I'll be back tomorrow if I can think of more.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Top Secret Researcher
#3 Old 8th Jan 2017 at 5:31 AM
Terrain paint can make a HUGE difference. My building improved 200% when I improved my terrain paint technique. The secret was so simple- take your time. When I did each part more slowly, I had better control and was able to make it both logical and pleasing. The same is true about making ponds, slowly and carefully, so you can control the shape and depth.

You are off to a great start!

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Scholar
#4 Old 10th Jan 2017 at 2:55 PM
In addition to what joandsarah77 and attuned said, try to think about where plants would be located in real life. They tend to group where they find soil, so rather at the borders of the pond or around stones than in the middle of a lake. Group plants, place them asymmetrical and irregular. Where sims walk (or animals graze), plants tend to be lower, where sims don't go, plants can grow higher and much more dense.

What you already said: Use terrain tools to make pond borders (or other areas of a lot) more interesting. Flat terrain is good for building, in reality a terrain is rarely entirely flat. So if you have "natural" areas like light forest or meadows or ponds on a lot let them have small hills. Paint the terrain accordingly. Might be a stony patch, or a fertile spot with softer grass.
Isn't there a cheat in sims 2 which allows you to work on terrain even in the neighbourhood itself, not only on lots?

What you can also do is trying to visually "connect" lots. So, if you have a group of specific trees or shrubs on one corner of a lot, repeat this specific kind of plant at the adjacent side of the next lot. Same with houses - if they were on a huge lot how would you group them? Try to mimic that when building them on separate lots. Same with terrain paint. The weeds might spread to the next lot, or the big muddy spot.

Maybe you'll find pictures of prehistoric dwellings on the internet and can use them as reference. Or pictures of wilderness you like. You could also do some rough sketches on paper before you start. For some people this helps a lot. Like, where would you place groups of plants? Or a path? How is the neighbourhood structured (e.g. deep forest, village, main paths, ...) and in which part are the lots located? Try to landscape your lots accordingly. A hut that is closed to a deep forest might have more trees than one that is next to the meadows.

About using terrain paint: try to find reasons why a certain spot would use a certain terrain paint. Is it muddy there because it's a hollow? Or do sims walk there often so the ground is hardened? Is it a fertile area with flowers and greener grass? Or mossy, because of all those trees around?

In the end, it will take time, no matter what you do or how you do it. Maybe you could do it in "chunks" to prevent that you get bored/impatient? Decorate as you play your world. Or make it a collaboration project with someone who loves landscaping and building?

All in all, what I can see from your pictures, you're on a good path already!
dodgy builder
#5 Old 10th Jan 2017 at 3:19 PM Last edited by Volvenom : 10th Jan 2017 at 3:31 PM.
Armiel was a moderator on this site some years ago. She had a good grip on landscaping. I suggest you listen to her finnish accent, you might learn something

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxY...5568BC59582D916

... oh yes, and I know it's the wrong game, but she says a lot about how to plant and landscape, blend terrains and such. Just the kind of things you're asking about, and as far as I know, the difference isn't that big between 2 and 3 on that subject.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#6 Old 15th Jan 2017 at 3:32 PM
Thanks to all of you for your comments and feedback! I'm about to start building over the next few days, so your suggestions will be put to good use - I'll share pics when I've got a few lots done

Kulo Seeri - Home of the Nuidya Tribe
"Not SimNation and Proud"
 
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