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Mad Poster
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#1 Old 6th Jul 2015 at 10:22 AM Last edited by AndrewGloria : 25th Aug 2015 at 12:04 AM. Reason: Lot (final version) accepted
Default Small 2-Storey House on 1x2 Lot - Accepted!
I'm building this house for use in my own game, but I might consider uploading it, if there is any interest. Building land is at a premium in my island 'hood, so many Sims there live in small houses on 1x2 or 2x1 lots. So far these have all been single-storey buildings. The ones of my own designs only have one bedroom -- indeed Chandler and Grant live in a one room hut with no interior dividing wall at all. There are two houses based on Maxis Ranch Retreat with the lot size shrunk to 2x1 by Mootida's Lot Adjuster. I found wit these two that it is just possible to squeeze in the love tub that all my Romance Sims just have to have, but it is a very tight squeeze indeed. So I set about trying to design a two-storey house that would fit on a 1x2 lot, and this house is the result.

Now my island hood is unusual in being conceived by it's founders as a hedonistic paradise on earth for Romance Sims. Children are not permitted on the island at all. Only Romance Sims are allowed to settle on the island, and they must have 8 or more nice points. In addition their total Outgoing plus Playful plus Nice points must add up to at least 15. With Pescado's Romance Mod, this last requirement means that all Sims on the island will happily accept "open" relationships. Some of the island Sims live alone but quite a few a few live with a regular partner in such an open relationship. Only having a single double bedroom is a problem for these couples. They can't ask their guests to stay the night. So this house is my first attempt to design a really compact 2-storey house for them, with a minimal street frontage. (Actually it's the second draft.) None of my Sims has a car so there is no need to worry about providing a driveway. And the island is so small, that I reckon it would take no more than 10-15 minutes to walk from one end of its road system to another. (Sadly I don't have the "walk to ..." option.)

So, here is the house:

Front


Back


Ground floor


1st floor


Currently the house costs §28,793, but I think for sharing it would be best to try to get that down to under §20,000. Not including the hot tub would take §6,500 off the price, and I'll definitely do that in my own game because my Romance Sims invariably use the Love Tub aspiration reward. (Not many have got §6,500 to spend on a luxury, but they've all got thousands of unused aspiration points.) Further savings could be made by substituting cheaper stairs and railings. In this draft the railings are the ones that come with Marvine's Spiral Stairs and they're the only CC in the house. For sharing I'm sure it would be better to make the house CC free, but I can't think which Maxis railings to use. Further cost savings could be made by substituting ordinary doors and windows for the plate glass array round the hot tub area, and I'm pretty sure I should do this for sharing. Unlike my exhibitionist Romance islanders, I'm sure most Sims would rather not have plate glass windows along the side of their bedroom! Ideally I'd like to get the price well under §20,000, so Sims buying it would have something left to finish the furnishing to their own taste.

For furnishings and interior décor, the house is partially furnished to a similar basic level as Maxis houses. This suits my Sims as they're used to buying houses like this. (Most of them live in Maxis houses.) The beds were included to make sure the bedrooms were big enough. Interior paintwork is mainly "Beachy Keen". (Since it's an island, the sea is always near.) The downstairs bathroom is "Olive Drab" and the upstairs ones are "Way off White", all colours typically used in Maxis houses. For the outside paintwork I've just used "Pink Slip" paint. I really would have wanted a pink stucco, but I haven't got one, and, at the resolution I play at, I doubt if I could tell the difference anyway. I have thought about using siding, but it's very un-British. However, in the seaside setting it looks ok on the couple of Ranch Retreat houses near the pier, and with all it's palm trees, my island is clearly in a far warmer clime than where I live. So I might consider it for this house. When I look at it, I realise I haven't added any lighting yet, but it will probably be very basic in order to keep the price down. I always think Sims can change it to something a bit nicer when they have a little money.

In my first draft, I had 3 double bedrooms upstairs, with the downstairs completely open plan except for the bathroom, but that meant a narrow passage leading to the front bedroom and the hot tub area, so I moved the main bedroom downstairs and made it a bit bigger. Since the area on the left of the house upstairs behind the hot tub area is no longer a bedroom, it would be possible to make it a bit smaller, allowing a bigger circulating area round the hot tub.

I'm thinking of making this a sort of "standard" house with various permutations possible within the same basic shape, a bit like the little Maxis houses in Downtown's Mendoza Lane. I'll probably include a "mirror image" version with the hot tub on the right hand side. But I'd probably only share one basic version, unless people think I should share more.

Although I have designed this for a specific situation in my own game, I don't see why it wouldn't work as a practical compact family home for "normal" Sims. I reckon it might be useful for anyone playing neighbourhood where there's not a lot of building land available, and a lot of Sims are trying to live in a small area.

Please let me know if you think it's worth uploading, and what changes you think might make. I can add floor plans if necessary.

I know that for uploading I'd need bigger pictures, so I'd need to get FRAPS or something, but I hope these in-game pics will do for this forum.

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
My Simblr ~~ My LJ
Sims' lives matter!
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#2 Old 6th Jul 2015 at 10:40 AM Last edited by joandsarah77 : 6th Jul 2015 at 1:43 PM.
I think a starter is a good thing to aim for. Generally if it's a more expensive house it's better to go further and decorate it fully if you know what I mean.

My suggestions.
1.Change the outside to a more regular siding or brick or just a cheap neutral paint if you are pushing the budget.
2.Move the front door in by 2 squares deep and place the stairs from where the door currently is. I think that would look nicer then the stairs as they are and give it a slightly more interesting look. I don't think you would miss the space seeing it's currently only a hallway. Edit: Just in case that isn't clear I mean the bottom floor wall in by 2 tiles not the top. This will give you an undercover space above the door.
3. See if you can place the windows so they are spaced more evenly around the outside instead of being clustered down the end.
4. Is there a basin in the downstairs bathroom, I would try and add one if there isn't.
5. Is the lounge room supposed to be next to the stairs? I would remove the downstairs bedroom and give an eating area and lounge room area.
6. Do you have half walls at all? That might help section the kitchen off on one side or a floor fence. I am thinking you don't have floor fence though.
7. landscape by putting a few flowers against the house or some kind of plants. Doesn't have to be much as it's a starter, even just a couple of bushes. Place a small dob of dirt terrain paint under the bush or flowers.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Mad Poster
#3 Old 6th Jul 2015 at 2:46 PM
All over very nice, Andrew I am not nearly as experienced as Jo, so I'd advise listening to her.
All that bothers me at first glance is the part of the wall without any windows - not that it has to have windows, but it has to have something. I'd like a small tree in front.
And yes to the dirt terrain paint or else it will be send back to you to change anyway.
Mad Poster
#4 Old 6th Jul 2015 at 3:15 PM
The window arrangement leaves a lot to be desired. Look at it from the exterior and think in terms of proportions and symmetry. Informal symmetry (where a large window on one side balances a door and a window on the other side, and so on) is more appropriate to a house like this than formal symmetry (where a central door is flanked by two evenly-spaced windows of identical size), but a house that lacks symmetry lacks curb appeal - unless the asymmetry is done in such a brilliant, deliberate style that it creates its own aesthetic. Which is not happening here and is unlikely to happen at this stage of your building career.

One way to trim money would be to reduce the stairs and handrails at the entrance. Do you actually need to have four ranks of steps? Little things like that add up.

I think the house would look better if the foundation matched the walls. And I'm pretty sure there is a pink stucco with your combination of EPs, under "poured" walls, but I could be wrong, or it could be a shade you don't like.

Don't forget to add lights!

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.)
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#5 Old 6th Jul 2015 at 10:32 PM
If he brings the door in two tiles he will save money on the stair area plus it will give more room outside for things like playing catch.
My one peeve of small lots (and yes I build them myself!) is that message 'not enough room to play' Gah, I know you guys played out on the road last time!

Good catch on the lights, they are so easy to forget and I don't see any there.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Mad Poster
#6 Old 7th Jul 2015 at 7:24 AM
I love the porch on the top floor with the windows, though - and, yes, the hot tub does not need to be there - my knowledge sims would probably put their telescope there
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#7 Old 13th Jul 2015 at 11:47 AM
Thanks all your comments and suggestions (especially Jo for replying within 20 minutes of my first post!). Sorry for being a lot more tardy ion answering. I have been paying attention to your suggestions though, and have produced a slightly revised version.


Is this the sort of thing you had in mind for the entrance steps, Jo?

I'm also including floor plans this time. They are for the revised version, but internally it's very similar to the original. The main changes are to the entrance porch as Jo suggested, and upstairs I have extended the open-air decked area (for the hot tub) one tile width further back as I hinted at in my first post.

Ground Floor


First Floor


May I try to deal with each of Jo's points in her first post and deal with other suggestions as appropriate?
1.Change the outside to a more regular siding or brick or just a cheap neutral paint if you are pushing the budget.
The original had a cheap (§3) pink paint. Would you prefer off-white or similar rather than pink? Pink seemed appropriate in my island seaside setting. In the revised one I've used light blue vinyl siding like the Maxis Ranch Retreat house, but unfortunately this is dearer.

2.Move the front door in by 2 squares deep and place the stairs from where the door currently is. I think that would look nicer then the stairs as they are and give it a slightly more interesting look. I don't think you would miss the space seeing it's currently only a hallway. Edit: Just in case that isn't clear I mean the bottom floor wall in by 2 tiles not the top. This will give you an undercover space above the door.
Have I got that right? I don't like the half wall I put in on the right hand side and I think I'll replace it with either a full wall or a fence. I tied to put an arch at the top of the stairs, but the game wouldn't let me.

3. See if you can place the windows so they are spaced more evenly around the outside instead of being clustered down the end.
I used the Lot Adjuster to put the side walls of this house only one tile away from the edge of the lot, and I envisage several similar houses being built side by side along the street as in the top picture in this post. Windows in the side of the house will therefore be looking out onto a wall about 2 metres away. Add in the effect of the overhang of the roof and it is obvious that windows there will let in very little light. Worse still, if the windows align with windows in the house next door, you'd be looking straight into your neighbour's house. That's why I have put very few windows in the side of the house. To let light in, the windows have to be at the front or the back. I rather hoped there might be a single story house on the left when I put a full set of windows upstairs on that side. There might even be a case for having no windows at all on the side walls; I'm not sure if current building regulations would allow them for new construction.

4. Is there a basin in the downstairs bathroom, I would try and add one if there isn't.
Yes, there is one. I hope the floor plan makes this clearer.

5. Is the lounge room supposed to be next to the stairs? I would remove the downstairs bedroom and give an eating area and lounge room area.
In my very first draft I had all the downstairs (except for the bathroom) as a single dining and lounge area with three bedrooms upstairs. For reasons indicated in my first post, I moved one of the bedrooms downstairs and made it a little larger. In these smaller cheaper houses I rather like open-plan, mixed use space. Unfortunately I think I may have to remove a bedroom or a bathroom somewhere anyway if I'm going to get the price under §20,000. Maybe my house just has too many walls.

6. Do you have half walls at all? That might help section the kitchen off on one side or a floor fence. I am thinking you don't have floor fence though.
I have always had half walls. They must have come with Nightlife. However I'm now thinking of making the house base game compatible, so I think I would lose the half walls. This arrangement of delineating the kitchen area only by its floor covering is quite common in the cheaper Maxis houses. Initially I didn't like it, but over time playing these houses I have warmed to the idea. If the kitchen is a completely separate room, then Sims won't carry snacks out of the kitchen to eat them; unless there's a seat in the kitchen, they'll eat them standing up. If the kitchen and the dining room/lounge are all one room, they'll carry their snack to a sofa or dining chair and sit down to eat, which I think is much more civilised. I don't know how common this arrangement is in Real Life, but it seems a reasonable enough idea in a small house or flat.

7. landscape by putting a few flowers against the house or some kind of plants. Doesn't have to be much as it's a starter, even just a couple of bushes. Place a small dob of dirt terrain paint under the bush or flowers.
Do you like what I've done? I don't see much point in doing anything at the sides or the back of the house. Anything there would be hard to see and would only add to the price of the house.

Peni, I've tried to deal with the problem of the side windows in point 3 above. With buildings on either side, the side walls of the house will hardly be visible from the street. Viewed from the kerb, the house will be judged by it's frontal aspect, and I personally find that quite pleasing, though in this respect I think I prefer the original version to the revised one. I don't like that half wall I've put at the side of the front steps, and think I'll replace it either with a fence to act as a balustrade or a full wall. A full wall would make the entrance more symmetrical and I think it's my preferred option. (I wish I could place a round topped arch there to match the door.) If we judge the kerb appeal of the house purely by its front elevation, then I think it does have a sort of informal symmetry. It really divides into four quarters, and within each quarter it is almost symmetrical. If I moved the second downstairs window one tile to the left, each quarter would be completely symmetrical, but that would leave a larger windowless area to the left of the entrance. I think aesthetically I prefer the current arrangement.

On checking I see I do have a pink stucco wall covering, "Rich Rose", but it's rather a dark shade. I think I prefer the Slip Pink paint.

Yes I must add electric lights, though they'll have to be basic if we're to keep the price down. Andrew and Gloria lived at 19 Chorus Court for six real months before they noticed they were in the dark, but I think most Sims wouldn't like it!

I am having difficulty getting the price down below §20,000. The game isn't reimbursing the cost when I delete the expensive stairs, so the house is still at around §22,000. So to get an affordable starter version, it looks like I'll have to rebuild it from scratch. If I've got to do that I'm thinking I might as well try to make the house base game compatible too, as well as being CC free. To that end I've downloaded AGS but haven't installed it yet. (It says it will work with my Double Deluxe.) Obviously I've never used AGS before. For the purpose of building Base Game compatible lots, I think I have create an empty base game in it, and then create a neighbourhood in it, using a terrain with plenty of flat land. For variety I'll probably make the base game version in the mirror image with the decked area for the hot tub on the right. I see these as "scheme" houses built by a speculative builder to his standard designs.

A base game version would lose the plate glass windows round the hot tub as they are OFB. Since Justpetro, my Romance Sims and I myself all like those windows, I'm thinking of offering both a cheap base game version of the house, and a somewhat dearer (under §30,000) version requiring OFB (and maybe Nightlife).

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
My Simblr ~~ My LJ
Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
Mad Poster
#8 Old 13th Jul 2015 at 6:57 PM
I haven't tried this, Andy, but it's worth a shot:

To get an arch at the top of the stair, nuke the stairs and enclose the porch area with a wall. Place an archway at the head of where the stairs belong (you may have to place floortiles in front of them, but you can delete those.)

Now, turn on move_objects. Try placing the stairs. It normally wouldn't let you put stairs so close to a doorway, but I think it will allow it with move_objects.

Now - the most important step - test the arrangement in a live hood and see if it causes routing fits. If not, you should be able to get the porch area you want without CC.

To bring down the cost under $20K, I generally have to sacrifice interior decorating. You've got stone flooring in the kitchen. It looks nice, but it's expensive. Delete it and replace with linoleum or cheap tile. You can also lose a counter or two.

Handy money-saving tip which I routinely use on a new building; not so useful once it's started, but keep it in mind if you have to start over: Don't do a full foundation! Just draw the outlines in the foundations, then place the flooring. You'll have to do it in stages, but it's not that onerous, and may suggest variant floor treatments to you.

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.)
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#9 Old 15th Jul 2015 at 5:35 PM
Thanks very much for your suggestions Peni. Unfortunately I couldn't get the trick with the arch to work. Even with MoveObjects on, it wouldn't let me place steps under the arch. I also tried it the other way by trying to place the steps first, but then it wouldn't let me build a wall at the top of them. With MoveObjects, I could place an arch over the steps, but without a wall it would look rather stupid! Your cost-saving suggestion for the foundations was a big help though. I used it to start of a new version of the house built in an empty base game 'hood created in AGS, I'm rather pleased with the result:


By using cheaper building materials as Peni suggested, I got the price down to §19,955. That pays not only for the house but for a cooker, fridge, kitchen sink. counters, smoke alarm, telephone, dining table with 4 chairs, three double beds and a sofa. I even managed to get a wardrobe in. So I reckon the house has everything needed for up to six Sims to live in it. All for under §20.000 on a 1x2 lot. It has full (if basic) electric lighting throughout. Because there will likely be large houses on both sides, I have removed most of the windows on the side walls, but added one more to the rear wall to allow as much natural light as possible in. I'll add more pictures ASAP. I discovered that the RoofSlopeAngle cheat isn't available in base game. This rather changed the appearance of the house. To try to make up for that I changed the roof from a pure hip-roofed auto-roof to a mixed roof with a gable at the front. I liked the original low pitched roof, but I think I like this version too.

I think this house could be useful to anyone trying to get a lot of Sims live in a small space, and making it CC-free, base game compatible and under §20K should maximise its versatility. I can think of desirable changes that Sims might make when they start to earn some money, but I think everything is there that they need to get started. Do you think it's worth submitting it for upload here? Because of the price point I really can't add anything without taking something else away. I suppose my next step is to place it in my 'hood and see if my Sims like it.

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
My Simblr ~~ My LJ
Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
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#10 Old 16th Jul 2015 at 2:50 AM
I would not worry about an arch, it's just an additional expense. How do you like the look of the door being recessed with the stairs that way Andrew? if you need some more money undo the wall and use a fence there.
I like the blue with the windows. remember this is for other people, and to get your lot approved, you can remove the windows in your own game.

The garden looks fine for a starter. If you need more money remove the small shrubs.

Another way to get more money is to use a cheaper fence around your upper deck.

I feel the house has too many bathrooms for it's size. One below and one above is enough. You can also save money by only having one bathroom with plumbing. People can tell it's a bathroom by it's tile, especially if the same tile is used as the fitted bathroom. The main point with a furnished starter is does it have the basics? One bathroom with shower or bath, one bedroom, kitchen and some place to sit and eat. The sit and eat place can even just be one love seat.

What I would do:
Remove the downstairs bedroom and bed, place a small table and 2 chairs near the kitchen. Place a sofa and bookcase facing towards the front windows.
Change one upstairs bathroom into a nursery/office/sewing room. Simply change to paint and carpet, remove plumbing and use a connecting door to the bedroom. It can be empty. You will find that will save you a lot of money. Most people do not want a starter for six, think about what people want in an uplaoded lot. Having something for each skill area is also liked, so mirror and bookcase. Also try for a phone, smoke alarm and burglar alarm. Burglar alarms often can't be afforded though and smoke alarms are more important.

If more money was needed I would change the door. I notice the top one onto the balcony area is expensive. Also the fence could be cheaper. With starters you have to think cheap and nasty if money crunching is needed.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#11 Old 18th Jul 2015 at 12:27 PM Last edited by AndrewGloria : 18th Jul 2015 at 12:37 PM.
Thanks Jo! I should have included floor plans of the revised house so you can see the changes inside. Then you might have seen that the house now contains some of the items you mentioned. It does have a telephone, a smoke alarm, a dining table and chairs, and a sofa. Since I took the last photo, I've painted the exterior blue, using the base game Blue Collar paint. It costs only 3 Simoleons. Here, rather belatedly, are the plans:


Ground Floor plan


1st floor plan

Here also are some three-quarter views showing the interior, this time viewed from the rear:

Ground floor (To save money the combined bath tub and shower in the downstairs bathroom, that was in the original design, has been removed. Also the left hand kitchen counter underneath the telephone.)


1st Floor

Let's I call this Version 2 - I'm already on to Version 3. Following Peni's suggestions, I've replaced the stone and timber flooring with cheap lino (§4) and carpet (§2). The exterior walls are now painted (§3) instead of vinyl siding (§8) which I briefly considered. I also used her technique to economise on the foundations. The stairs are the cheap wooden stairs,. All these economies allowed me to include (almost) enough basic furniture to get my Sims started. So there's now a dining table, 4 dining chairs, a sofa and even a wardrobe.

But when I read your post Jo, I realised there were a couple of important things I had forgotten. Not having a mirror in the house is not too bad. I reckon they could buy one with their first or second wage packet. But a bookcase? I had almost forgotten how important that was. Before I got the No Fires mod, I used to make my new Sims sit down and study cooking so at least one Sim had one cooking point before the welcoming party arrived. And a burglar alarm? While not absolutely essential, I reckon it's poor Sims who need one most. I've never had a really poor family burgled, but I can see how it could be a disaster for them. If a burglar steals their fridge and they can't afford a new one they could starve. And, when I looked at the house again, I realised that there was no railing on the internal staircase! And just to add the railing would cost §48 . . . putting the house price up to §20,003! I have placed a copy of this house in my island 'hood and some Sims have moved in. When the first one moved in, he only had §44 left out his §20,000, but when he asked his brother and a friend to move in (he's an ex-townie), they brought over §23K between them, so the deficiencies of the house were easily remedied. I also added some CC objects that I place in all my houses. (The Batbox, the Sim Manipulator and the Variable Meals object.) My island hood is all about Sims enjoying themselves -- never really about them suffering.

So I've now started on Version 3 -- I'll post pictures shortly. Following Jo's advice, I'm simplifying the garden (cheaper bushes and fewer of them). The reason why I had that expensive door on to the balcony is that I wanted a glass one, and that is the only base game single glass door. The doors and windows in my original version are from OFB. I thought about it again, and replaced both that expensive door and the two adjoining windows with the cheapest glass double door. I removed the plumbing from one of the upstairs bathrooms, moving its shower to the downstairs one. I removed the bed from the downstairs bedroom and redecorated it as a nursery. I now had enough cash to buy a burglar alarm, a mirror and a bookcase. I also put railings on the stairs! There was still a little money left so I put a cot and a potty in the nursery. That brings the total to §19,740, so there's not enough left to buy a changing table. I could add two windows, but I don't see the point; it would need more than two windows to seriously change the face of those blank side walls. Of course I could add a good few more windows if I completely removed that downstairs bedroom, but I still feel reluctant to do that. I see 3 bedrooms for under §20,000 as the house's unique selling point. There are bin families like Goneril and Albany Capp's family with 6 Sims and only §20,000 to spend, so I reckon there should be a demand for such a house. I feel too that removing that bedroom makes the whole of the downstairs except for the toilet into a single large open-plan room, and I prefer to have it divided up a bit. Anyway I'll try to get some pictures of this version 3 and post them shortly.

Meantime, as a taster, I find it hard to resist pictures and posts of what my Sims are doing. To test if the house actually works in a base game environment I've added it to the Tiny Game 'hood that comes with AGS, and created a family (the Mortons -- Martin, Amanda [Mandy for short], Menzies [teen] and Muriel [child] -- I couldn't resist a little alliteration!) to test it. They moved into a copy of my latest Version 3. As soon as they moved in, they all trooped into the nursery (the original front bedroom) and looked at the cot.

I'm sure they're all thinking, "Muriel can't sleep in that!" Next they all looked at the potty, as if to say, "Why on earth do they think we need that?" I'm sure the first thing they'll do is sell both the potty and the cot, and buy a single bed for Muriel.

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
My Simblr ~~ My LJ
Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
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#12 Old 18th Jul 2015 at 1:09 PM
I find it quite a fun challenge changing things around in starters to get the needed things.

It does look better but I really would not put the nursery downstairs with the parents upstairs, that's quite a hike in the middle of the night. I would use the larger upstairs bathroom as the nursery with a connecting door to the parents room. Sims can quickly see to the baby and go back to sleep.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Mad Poster
#13 Old 18th Jul 2015 at 2:04 PM
But if you put the nursery upstairs, they'll be up and down stairs to the fridge all the time! Much more efficient to have a ground floor nursery.

I don't think you have to worry about how it's furnished too much, anyway - every family that moves in will have different needs and different ideas about how to deal with those needs. If a three-bedroom starter is the concept, then absolutely keep the third bedroom. The Goneril-Capps and Ottomai can certainly use such a thing.

Those pictures won't cut it for the download thread. Time to start experimenting with screen print programs.

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.)
Mad Poster
Original Poster
#14 Old 18th Jul 2015 at 3:35 PM
I made the changes Jo suggested, and then I read Peni's post! Never mind. I've got both versions and I don't know which I like best. If the nursery was upstairs I'd use one of MsBarrows's formula fridges from TSR, but that's CC, so I can't put in a CC-free upload! My Sims usually take their toddlers downstairs during the day so as to have them near them. And they wouldn't want to leave them unattended upstairs in case they fell down the stairs (as I did when I was a child). Anyway I think it's time to choose one of these versions and try submitting it, and see what happens. What screen capture programs do you use? I like the in-game camera because it removes all traces of the user interface. I don't want to submit pictures with the red outline and the pause symbol on them. Jo, I like the pictures you used for your Ranch Retreat makeovers. How did you do them?

I'll maybe post pictures taken with such a program in this thread before I submit them. I still owe you floor plans of Version 3, so I'll see if I can find a good way to take them in a larger format. My monitor has a maximum resolution of only 1024 x 768 -- possibly one reason why I'm happy with smaller sized pictures.

Jo, would you like to test one of these houses to see if the front garden is big enough to play catch? I'm sure you need some EP I don't have to play it.

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
My Simblr ~~ My LJ
Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
Mad Poster
#15 Old 18th Jul 2015 at 6:29 PM
You can get rid of the UI with the tab key and the red line with editing, Andy. I like the game camera for storytelling, myself, and have never had a complaint about my tumblr, but it will never be as good as they like to have it in the upload thread. When I was putting the upload thread for Widespot together I got all kinds of help and advice and had to take most of my pictures twice. I had a tutorial linked, but lost all my bookmarks in a recent internet disaster. You can start in the Pictures forum with the tutorials on how to take good pictures, though - they're stickied. There's hotkeys that help you line things up at the desired angle and distance.

I use Fraps and a photo editor I downloaded for free, which I used solely to crop out the red lines and save at a resolution that was both clear enough, and small enough, in the correct format. I downloaded several things and experimented before I wound up with the software I've got. Read the current Creator Guidelines for submissions carefully so you know what the goal is.

I know this all seems nitpicky, but compared to following publisher guidelines in the creative industries it's a snap, and every bit of it is perfectly reasonable if you look at it from the moderators' point of view. They, and the downloaders, need pictures they can look at in detail and make a judgement about, without having to download and look at the submission itself.

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.)
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#16 Old 19th Jul 2015 at 2:36 AM
My sims breast feed, but if I didn't I would put a fridge up in the nursery. But again starter houses don't have to have things furnished in every room just the basics for 1-2 sims, with the rooms done in a way that makes it either obvious what the room is for. eg tile is a bathroom, or wall and floor coverings that could lend itself to a few different uses. A small connecting room off a bedroom could become a nursery but it could also be a sewing room, an office or a huge walk in closet. Options.

Sure Andrew, uplaod the file here and I'll test it in AGS.

I also use FRAPS. Then I have an old GIMP as I don't like the newer versions. I use Gimp to change the huge BMPs that FRAPS takes and turn them into JPGS.

"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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#17 Old 19th Jul 2015 at 5:05 PM
There is a 'no pause' mod for removing the red pause lines here if you're interested. Just pop it into your downloads folder. I take my pics using Fraps and then edit them in Irfanview. Your upload images need to be at least 800x600, larger if possible please

Want a specific style of house or community building? Why not take a look at my profile and see what I build and then come ask me to make it!
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#18 Old 20th Jul 2015 at 10:17 AM
Thanks Karen. To my surprise I find that I've already downloaded that mod in April, though I have no recollection of doing so! I think someone must have linked to it. I think I'll put it in only when I'm making screenshots for possible uploads, as in normal gameplay I like to know that my game is paused. With that mod I can make screenshots the same size as I normally play at, and I won't have to crop. That would be 800 by 600 if I made my screenshots in my AGS base game, but if I make them in my normal game they would be 1024 x 768, my monitor's maximum resolution.

The guidelines for pictures must have changed over the years, as there are some really tiny pictures in some of the older download threads; Mr.Bill's mini dress for one. I can see why the mods want bigger pictures than those! I don't know how you could assess anything from those pictures.

I've downloaded FRAPS but haven't installed it yet. Once I've got it installed I'll post larger scale pictures oi the newest version.

Jo I attach the newest version of the house so you can test it to see if the front garden is big enough to play catch. (It's the version with the nursery upstairs as you suggested.) Anyone else is welcome to download and test this house, but please let me know if you do. I'd like to know what you think of it. I'm sharing it here for testing purposes only, not to try to jump the queue! The house was built in an empty AGS base game 'hood with no Sims at all except for 5 object Sims (the Grim Reaper, etc.). As @Jawusa suggested I tried to remove all the Sim references in SimPE. I removed the SREL records ok, but when I tried to remove the single SIMI (Sim Information) record, it reduced the value of the lot to §300 and the game crashed when I tried to package it. So I take it that the SIMI record must contain essential information about the lot and left it in.

To check that it was OK I installed the lot in my normal game, and placed it in my normal building 'hood. I then discovered a mistake I've made. My base game building 'hood is based on the lush version of the driftwood terrain. My normal building 'hood uses a concrete terrain. When I placed the new house there, I realised that I haven't used any grass-green terrain paint, so the front garden looks like concrete. I'll correct that for the final version, but I'd like to ask whether I should put grass all round the house, or only put it at the front where the garden is. I'm not sure if it makes sense to put grass on the 1-tile wide strips round the sides and the back of the house, so I'm tempted to just let the neighbourhood terrain show through there.
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: zip Small 2 Storey House (BG 1x2) v.3a.zip (727.7 KB, 12 downloads) - View custom content
Description: Newest Beta version of Small 2-Storey House being shared for testing purposes only. It's base game compatible and CC-free.

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Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
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#19 Old 20th Jul 2015 at 4:18 PM
After deleting the SimInformation file, you have to load the lot and save. Then you can package the lot. The sim refernce information is actually stored in that record.

It should not crash the game. I'm not sure why it didn't work for you...

But if nobody had lived there before, then there is no need to remove the sim references. It reduces the size of the package a bit. You could also use Mootilda's LotCompressor to make it smaller. It's normal that the lot value will be low after deleting the Sim Information record but it gets fixed when you load that lot and save one more time.

Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
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#20 Old 20th Jul 2015 at 5:10 PM
Skip the terrain paint! Without paint it'll default to whatever the user has in the neighborhood she puts it into, which is presumably the one she wants, and she can use her own terrain paint if she wants to.

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.)
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Original Poster
#21 Old 20th Jul 2015 at 8:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jawusa
After deleting the SimInformation file, you have to load the lot and save. Then you can package the lot. The sim refernce information is actually stored in that record.

It should not crash the game. I'm not sure why it didn't work for you...

But if nobody had lived there before, then there is no need to remove the sim references. It reduces the size of the package a bit. You could also use Mootilda's LotCompressor to make it smaller. It's normal that the lot value will be low after deleting the Sim Information record but it gets fixed when you load that lot and save one more time.
I didn't load the lot and save it again because I thought that would put the Sim references straight back in again. But since the neighbourhood in which I built the lot is empty of all Sims except the 5 base game object Sims (the Grim Reaper, the Hula Zombie, the Therapist, the Pollination Technician, and one Unknown [which I think is the radio-controlled car]), I reckon all Sim references must be to these unless they're completely spurious references to non-existent Sims. So I suspect the Sim references are all harmless anyway.)

Out of interest I used SimPE to open the copy of this lot that I placed in my normal building hood (which also contains only object Sims). This one has been opened in Build Mode in my regular game, a little bit of green terrain paint added, and saved. The deleted SRELs are still deleted, but no less than 34 SCOR (Sims scores) records have now appeared! Of course the single SIMI record is still there because I didn't delete it. Another oddity is that, when I got it into my normal game (Double Deluxe with OFB added), the value of the lot dropped by 72 Simoleons. I've no idea why.

What I did the first time was to close the game, open the lot in SimPE and delete the SIMI and SREL records. Then I restarted the game, and without opening the lot first, I tried to package it to a file. That's what crashed the game. It might have been OK if I had opened and saved the lot first.

Anyway I'll try to do it the right way before I upload the final version.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peni Griffin
Skip the terrain paint! Without paint it'll default to whatever the user has in the neighborhood she puts it into, which is presumably the one she wants, and she can use her own terrain paint if she wants to.
Are you sure? Without terrain paint it looks like this on concrete:

I feel that's just crying out for someone to plant a lawn. What I want to do is plant a lawn at the front while leaving the side and rear untreated, so the neighbourhood terrain shows through. I'm also tempted to extend the flower bed by one tile on each side to the edges of the lot, so as to create a visual divide between the lawn and the untreated area. Something like this:

(As you can see there are variants of this house popping up everywhere in my neighbourhoods! )
Any thoughts?

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
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Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
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#22 Old 20th Jul 2015 at 10:55 PM
I think the terrain paint is fine as long as it is not cc? The nursery - I agree to having it downstairs is probably better (I put a normal fridge in my nursery on the third floor; as well as a counter with a basin and a bin () but that will not do for a MTS upload. One can never please all, but I kind of like the pink paint better - but this looks nice too. I also liked the windows upstairs - or sliding doors - this would be much more like a house in sunny South Africa, I know, but I think there should be at least a big window. The glass fence looks really good.

The foundation bothers me a bit, I would paint that too. Otherwise, neat.
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#23 Old 20th Jul 2015 at 11:13 PM Last edited by joandsarah77 : 21st Jul 2015 at 1:52 AM.
I would do green terrain paint all over the lawn areas, I could not contend with concrete, and that includes the upload pictures. I hate the downtown concrete with a passion though. So long as it's Maxis terrain paint that is fine. I never ever use cc terrain paint in uploaded lots and never download any with it either. As pretty as some stone terrain paint it, it isn't worth the hassle and potentially can give somebody a huge blue flashing unusable lot.

Andrew please don't worry so much about sim references. So long as no sim has lived in the house that is fine.

Edit: I am back

Plenty of room for catch, although I think Sally's father would rather she play something else!

I think the house looks nice. All I would do is space those windows around as I said before. I would also use the same lino in both the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. If this is going to be a Nightlife game engine use the roof slope cheat to lower the pitch, but if base game it has to stay.


You could save $10 a square if you changed to this railing but that is only if you want money for something.

I do believe you could get yourself a first upload with this 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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#24 Old 21st Jul 2015 at 9:21 AM Last edited by AndrewGloria : 21st Jul 2015 at 9:49 AM.
Painting the foundation the same colour as the wall costs §132. As the house is currently costing §19,748, I could do that and still keep the price under §20K. Do other people agree that it would look better?

Terrain paint is Maxis and base game, so it shouldn't cause any problems. Indeed part of the remit I'm giving myself is that the lot should be base game compatible and CC-free. Justpetro, I too preferred the plate glass windows round the balcony area in my first post, but those windows are from OFB and were putting the price up. The cheap "French window" style doors in my latest version seem a good compromise. The Sims who moved into this house in my island hood have replaced them with full height windows all round very like my original design. But they could afford to.

I have spotted a blemish in the roof on the right hand side, so I'll have to try to remodel it to remove it. The roof is in any case a bit problematic for the MTS guidelines, as most of it is an auto "hip" roof, with the front gable added manually. They say they want more originality in the roof, but really there's a limit to what I can do with base game tools on a house this size. I'll see what I can do though.

Does anyone have any violent objection to me extending the flower beds to the edges of the lot? I like it as a way to separate the front lawn from the rest. I could use a fence but that would obstruct access to the rear of the house, which might be needed for maintenance, e.g. to clean the windows. (I know that Sims don't clean windows, but in my imagination they do!)

The house was built in a base game AGS building 'hood with no Sims except for the 5 base game object Sims. So I'm pretty confident it must be safe. Sims are living in copies of the house in other 'hoods.

[EDIT] On seeing Jo's picture of Sally and her dad playing catch, I think I'll leave the foundation alone. The brickwork looks quite attractive behind the flowers, and downloaders can easily paint it themselves.

All Sims are beautiful -- even the ugly ones.
My Simblr ~~ My LJ
Sims' lives matter!
The Veronaville kids are alright.
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#25 Old 21st Jul 2015 at 10:06 AM
I would leave it as is Andrew. Maxis roofs often have blemishes and since you can't alter pitch in base game don't worry about it. If you used some manual roof with some auto roof that is fine. My small hosues have a combo of both and I have roofs with 'blemishes' as do other people. Try doing a diagonal or a cone and see how many blemishes you get. It's not just that roofing is tricky, it's also slightly borked the way maxis made it. You are looking at it too hard. Tomorrow I will load the house up again and take a good look at the roof for you.

"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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