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#1 Old 14th Feb 2015 at 9:25 PM
How to Build a (Better) Neighborhood
Most players create their own neighborhood, which seems quite fun so I keep trying to build my own but I end up deleting it because it's not organized and or I have no clue what I'm doing. There is a video on YouTube of someone creating one but it's mostly them just building houses and not much of a tutorial or how-I-make-a-neighborhood type of thing.

Tips and a tutorial is what I'm mainly looking for. Maybe there already is one but I didn't know it? Here are some questions if you still have no clue what I'm talking about....
Needs Coffee
retired moderator
#2 Old 14th Feb 2015 at 9:51 PM
That depends what your vision for the neighbour hood is. Is it a big city, a rural town, suburbia?

My newest favourite hood is one I downloaded with most of it's buildings. Elsewhere by Plasticbox. The reason I love this is how realistic it looks. It's a small template with a lot of buildings and it really looks to be what it is, a busy sea town. Apart from being closly spaced the buildings are all mostly similar. Any lot I load up the view (apart from the poor rendering that sims 2 has that we can't get away from) has at least some sea views and has views of many other buildings and neighbourhood deco. I added quite a bit of the hood deco myself. I think the tightly packed lots is key to getting a really good look both in hood and lot view. I do wish some of the houses were a little bit larger but I'm good at using tiny lots and use a lot of one tile objects or more than one item per tile. I plan to make slightly larger lots in the shopping district once I attach it. But I plan to keep to the closely spaced, similar style houses.

There are no townies. After 10 year I am tired of them.

No building,including the town hall is useless. Every building is either owned with just a few hand picked NPC ones. The town hall has a court room upstairs and the newspaper office down stairs. Jonathon Walsh goes there to work and writes articles. The next sim made will be a judge as right now the top floor is not being used although the court room items are set up. Around the side they are going to sell compost bins and solar panels as the counsel has a green initiative.

I left the road names on the buildings. I'm not bothered.

I've never made a hood from scratch as I don't have simcity 4.

In my older integrated hood it was a bit haphazard. Many houses were too large, I started with way too many sims and there was not enough cohesion between the buildings.There were tiny houses (the council ones I uploaded) middle and larger sized. One road was for one type and another road for a different type. Commercial buildings were in an area together, farms on the outskirts.

I started with 5 households and added in couples every few days until I reached 13. It was more about getting the sims I needed to run things than about how many families there were. I needed a sim to be the police man, so that was one couple. I needed one guy to be the fireman, so there was a second couple. Since these are the founding families I started off with married couples as my plan was to breed. Then with the spouses I gave them various jobs. The fireman's wife writes novels and she now owns the library. The policeman's wife owns the cafe. Everyone is needed for something, I don't just place sims. A few of the spouses had no role immediately but I knew there would be roles for them to fill.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
#3 Old 14th Feb 2015 at 10:00 PM
For me, neighborhood building is totally based on what kind of neighborhood am I building. Like Cactus Flats - my desert town, is architecturally based on the art deco of the 1930s and the smooth modern of the 1950s - but mixed in with a Southwest feel, because it is the desert.

I had the slight advantage in family-making, because I used the Bin families. My reasoning was I had never enjoyed playing them before was because they were made to blend into any town a player would put them into. But, by giving them an environment built to suit them, they would develop their own personalities and story-lines!
- one of my few pet peeves in Sims 2 is that for subhoods and apartments, it is the same townies populating every hood. I like them all but I dislike trying to make them unique and different in every hood. I'd rather have them all new - but at the same, time, I would want one hood where I could have all the old sims, like Goopy and Meadow.

Once I had the town, I figured out the layout: here is the poorer end of town, so the houses are smaller and cheaper and the community lots are on the lower end of the spectrum: Cactus Flats has a bowling alley here. But this part of town is the more "community" based part - there's houses that would suit a growing family better, a playground, the grocery store, maybe a middle-class restaurant. And of course, the expensive part of town: Cactus Flats has their movie theatre and a fitness center here, amongst the biggest and most expensive houses.

And maybe, not all of the town is developed at once - maybe a family grows up and decides to open a restaurant in town. Or suddenly, there are so many sims that a new housing district needs to be built!

I try to keep architecture style and sizes similar in the different parts of the hood, too, which helps the flow. I think: what would this town have that other hoods wouldn't? Bluewater Village would have a fish market, but Riverblossom Hills would have a farmer's market. I try to avoid the useless in building - Cactus Flats has a bus stop, for example. Sure, no sim would ever actually get off the bus there but if a sim were to walk to that lot, it would be totally useable.
Mad Poster
#4 Old 14th Feb 2015 at 10:26 PM
The important thing is to know what you find fun and how you work best, yourself.

I have to start from a history and backstory; then I know what kind of map I need and what kind of people should be in the neighborhood, and roughly where they would live. I've lived a lot of places, and know a lot about history, so I know how streets get named and numbered, and can name them on the fly. Drama Acres started with six households; Widespot with five (in each case, one per aspiration), and none of them were one-person households because I don't enjoy one-person households.

Planning too much kills my fun, so I don't do it unless I'm creating for publication. I have permission to improvise in my own neighborhood. I can bulldoze what doesn't work for me. I can run off with a Better Idea when I get one. I'm not big on building, so I can download anything I want. If it doesn't look right in the neighborhood and it doesn't bug me, so what? If it doesn't look right in the neighborhood and it bugs me, I can change it. Sims choose where to build their homes and businesses for reasons; they choose to move for reasons. Thus do neighborhoods grow up where nothing was before except an isolated farmhouse; thus do neighborhoods change from residential backwaters to commercial hubs to slums to gentrified historic districts.

Don't think of a neighborhood as something static. It's not. It's a dynamic entity which will change during play, just like real places do. Start small and do what makes sense and is fun for you.

If you find creating custom neighborhoods too stressful, there's lots of prebuilt ones out there. There's more inhabited ones being created all the time. Look at Widespot; look at Riverside; look at Mountainside Valley. Do they look too big, too small, too intense, too casual, just right? Download them, try them out, throw away what doesn't suit and use what does. Use them for inspiration. Find out what you don't like by trying them out.

Ugly is in the heart of the beholder.
(My simblr isSim Media Res . Widespot,Widespot RFD: The Subhood, and Land Grant University are all available here. In case you care.)
#6 Old 15th Feb 2015 at 12:19 AM
What do you start with - a Maxis template or a custom template usually?

I like custom ones, but then again, I don't really make 'hoods often.

Do you add your own landscaping or just stick with what's already there?

I don't change the terrain but I usually add lots of trees.

Do you edit the default townies, add new ones, or just leave them?

I get rid of default townies and batch-create my own. It takes a while though, if you want a diverse 'hood.

Do you name roads?


What do you build/place first, residential or community lots or do you just do it randomly?

I add some homes and community lots from the bin and work my way up from there. I start off with essentials like a grocery store and a clothing store, change those up, add a club or two, build some lots from scratch like a spa or library. If I'm making a new lot, it's usually a community lot.

Do you build starter and add bigger houses as more families come and or get more money?

Depends on the story, if a well-off family moves to town, I send them to a holding lot and adjust the funds accordingly so they can find an expensive house. Normally, a family would move into a 2BR 1BA house, anything under 20k. Sometimes they move into the apartments in the downtown area.

Do you build useless, just for decoration buildings like a town hall for example(or even make them working lots)?

I use a 'hood deco town hall, I don't really have a mayor or anything.

How many households do you start with?

Not too many. I've observed that as time passes, 4 households will blossom into 12 or maybe 16 with heirs and spares. Let's say one family has a 2 babies. Those babies grow up and go to "community college" (a cheap apartment that they live in until they graduate uni) then moves into houses of their own and have a kids. If every household had 2 kids, starting with 4 households, that will make 8, then 16 when generation 3 comes around. This can vary because 1)Someone has more than 2 kids, 2) those kids might not get married, 3) households might split and/or combine, and a number of other variables. I started with 4 and added 1 more later on, and there's already 10. One of them is not having kids, one is having possibly 2 kids at the most, one is a house of elders, one is stopping at one kid, one has 3 kids in it who will go on their own ways, one has twin babies, one has a teen who's staying home, one has twins who will move out and stay together, one will marry and probably have at least 3 kids. Not everyone will mingle with the other families, most will just marry townies.
Meet Me In My Next Life
#7 Old 15th Feb 2015 at 4:37 AM
I started my Custom neighborhood with Tarlia's Clean Template, you can Number one think about your vision of what you want, ( like what kind of neighborhood ) Number 2 think about how many Sims you may want there ( Sims can come later / last ) Number 3 then think about how many home lots and size of lots ( 2x3 or 3x3 ) you may want depending on the number of Sims you may want that will come much later, also good to have maybe some extra home lot. ( for future Sims moving in )

Number 4 when you are building your home lots don't have too many level of floors 2 floors is a good number, Sims hate too many floors to go up down on. Plus it is easy for them to get to work or kids get to school with less floors level. Make sure Sims can get around "All Objects" on your home lots. When I am building my home lots I add furniture deco inside I do my landscape, ( but you don't have to do that, I just like doing it. ) sometime it is better not to so the home lot will be cheaper for a Sims to move in.

Number 5 think about your "Community" lots and size what you may want for your Sims neighborhood ( after building and placing your community objects be sure Sims can get around all objects )
I have been playing the Sims so long that I can look with my eyes and tell just how much space a Sims need to get around.

Build first "Be Patience with yourself it can take time" If you build something you don't like and how it came out. Just try again until you are happy ( no one is perfect so don't be hard on yourself )
Take your time and set your neighborhood up, again don't add Sims until "last" and just a few at a time when the time come. Once you have your Sims go test your community lots and home lots.
You can always pause your Sims home lot and fix things you don't like ( if your Sims are already in it. ) Community Lot can always be fixed over without the Sims if you find something or an object in their way.

Note: Last if you don't want to build your own neighborhood there are some neighborhoods by other creators all ready, some you may need to furniture and some not. Then all you have to do is select your Sims.
The bottom line is do whatever make you happy, don't "stress" just be patience.

"Nothing in life is a Surprise it just happen to come your way at the time".
#8 Old 15th Feb 2015 at 8:15 AM
Whenever I try to build one it just ends up being a pile of shit. I stick to Pleasantview and Strangetown sadly
Mad Poster
#9 Old 15th Feb 2015 at 11:29 AM
What do you start with, Maxis template?
I have empty templates. Much easier to deal with.
Do you add your own landscaping or just stick with what's already there?
Most of the time I stick with what's there-depending on the terrain.
Do you edit the default townies, add new ones, or just leave them?
I try to avoid the townies-the game will generate some, but I don't create or edit those.
Do you name roads?
Do you name roads before or after you start building?
What do you build/place first, residential or community lots or do you just do it randomly?
I start with the houses first, then put in a few useful community lots, such as the 'government center', the grocery store and a gathering place for them to meet in. I try to not overbuild, and leave the unoccupied ones (when someone moves out) in place for future use.
Do you build starter and add bigger houses as more families come and or get more money?
I have a stock set of starter and middle sized houses for all sizes. Rarely do I have very large families.
Do you build useless, just for decoration buildings like a town hall for example(or even make them working lots)?
Every building in my neighborhoods has a purpose.
How many households do you start with?
In my own created neighborhoods I start out with anywhere from 10-20 single people to play. They usually change around quite a lot and end up having about 10 families or so.
The Great AntiJen
retired moderator
#10 Old 15th Feb 2015 at 11:35 AM
Originally Posted by Alpal425
Most players create their own neighborhood

Actually, most players don't. The players of the EAxis neighbourhoods far outnumber custom hood players on any sims board.

Though I would back up what the others are saying. The most important thing in a custom hood is your idea of what it is.

I no longer come over to MTS very often but if you would like to ask me a question then you can find me on tumblr or my own site tflc. TFLC has an archive of all my CC downloads.
I'm here on tumblr and my site, tflc
#11 Old 15th Feb 2015 at 1:14 PM
I usually start small. When I've started big, I've found I tend to loose interest in a neighborhood. I don't enjoy building, so usually I download houses - I use Plasticbox houses a lot - but I do change the houses to suit me. I want a backstory for a neighborhood. For instance, Crystalville is build on a Maxis template. It's a bacc-like challenge, so I add houses as I need them. But in that neighborhood, I've got the rule that the footprint of a house can't be changed - so if they need more rooms for their kids, they need to move. I've started adding homes to one street, called Main Street. There's a lot of businesses that are placed in a bacc-chalenge, so I'm using another street for that called 'The Strip'. This organically creates a business district/shopping district.

I also play Widespot, and immediately added a graveyard to the neighborhood. Now, 4 playrounds in, I've added a retirement home close to the amenities of the general store, the electronics store, and the swimming pool. I'm thinking about adding a farm, as it's a quite rural area. So it's growing organically.
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