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Mad Poster
Original Poster
#1 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 2:20 AM
Default Urban Jungle - getting a real urban feel in TS2?
My best efforts at making skyscrapers and downtown slums notwithstanding, TS2 is still mostly suited for a suburban setting. Yet truly urban settings are their own kind of awesome, and TBH, if I were to actually PLAY the game instead of just building things for it, I'd want to have a dense urban setting much more than anything else.

So my question is, how do you make TS2 gameplay really feel like it's taking place in a built up urban center a la Manhattan? Obviously making skyscrapers is already kind of my forte, but there's still more to a truly urban feel than just tall buildings, so what else would you want to include (in terms of lots, decoration, or just gameplay choices) to really capture that urban jungle feel?

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Mad Poster
#2 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 4:07 AM
I've never actually built an urban area, though I've thought about it on a number of occasions. The following things are my initial thoughts - I'll come back and add more if I think of anything else.

1. Closely spaced lots. No gaps between lots (unless they're filled with 'hood deco alleys, I guess).

2. Concrete terrain, perhaps. I usually use the lush terrain, or occasionally the desert one, but for an urban setting I would consider using the concrete one.

3. "Stacked lots", to make buyable "apartments" and buildings with residential/apartments above businesses, with actual playable businesses that other households can visit. There's a good stacked lot tutorial somewhere that I've used in the past, but I'm not sure where I found it. Use of overlapping lots would also make more interesting layouts possible.

4. Public transport facilities. Definitely bus stops, perhaps also railway and/or subway stations.

5. A range of different areas, with distinct "characters". For example wealthy areas, poorer areas, touristy areas and so on.

6. I usually never ever use 'hood deco buildings, as I prefer all buildings to be playable (though they may have parts which I don't really play, like upper storey "offices", for example), but in an urban area I would consider using 'hood deco skyscrapers as "office buildings".

7. I would also need to think about how the urban area sat in the landscape. Would it stand alone, unrealistically, or would it be surrounded by suburbs, and then rural areas/farms further out?

**ETA**
8. Lot decoration would play an important part in making it feel urban. Things like fire escapes, air conditioning/heating units, graffiti, dumpsters and other things that would fit in (how I imagine) an urban setting.
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retired moderator
#3 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 4:18 AM
Chris Hatch has a usable 'subway' I havn't used it but I think it's like a portal, sims go into and disapear into it.

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Mad Poster
#4 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 4:19 AM
Fill up all the space with lots or appropriate deco - no dead space at all. Bus stops, subway stations, newsstands, teeny parks consisting of one statue and a railing, old buildings cheek-by-jowl with construction sites, grungy spaces lurking behind glittery ones, lunch counters. Corners suitable for busking. Lots that have completely different atmospheres at night than they do in the daytime. Your signature huge lots (corporate and publicly owned) interspersed with tiny ones (playable owned, or at least ownable).

Lots of variety in the townies, so you can believe your sims share the city with the homeless, with tourists, and with the ultra-rich.

That CC fire hydrant that generates traffic.

Consistently spaced streetlights, traffic lights, utility poles, wastebaskets, and other signs of urban infrastructure. Litter.

In game play, make sims travel realistically. In a really dense city, most of them shouldn't have cars, but should rely on public transportation and their feet. So use the Walk to Lot feature to make them pass through all the lots between their residence and their destinations, or make them walk to a lot with a bus stop on it, then leap to another lot with a bus stop closer to the desired destination, and walk the rest of the way. Let them get distracted. Let them get delayed. Let them get worn out and have to leave early.

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Mad Poster
#5 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 4:19 AM
There are sets of office buildings and stores that are used for deco, and I use them quite a lot to fill up a town with an urban feel.
Such as this:
https://deedee-sims.tumblr.com/post...-deco-buildings
https://deedee-sims.tumblr.com/tagg...hborhood%20deco
https://deeleesstuff.tumblr.com/pos...ldings-uptown-4

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Lab Assistant
#6 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 2:17 PM
Yeah, hood deco really helps. These are my favourite hood deco skyscrapers; https://lowedeus.tumblr.com/post/18...kyscrapers-from
Scholar
#7 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 5:07 PM
I won't have an urban feel in Dodge for a long time yet though I'd start with adding an apartment zoned boarding house got newcomers who arrive in the wrong season for building a homestead or who didn't even have enough money.I'd build trailer parks as rental apartment lots for outside of downtown and put more boarding houses and apartment buildings using apartment zoned lots I build myself to make it more urban.
Field Researcher
#8 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 5:49 PM Last edited by jain : 24th Feb 2020 at 7:19 PM.
I've had some success cramming things together, hood deco, community lots, little parks, and residential lots disguised as apartments for example, like this place. I took this shot years ago and wouldn't have used it now because of the problem with the way the road looks but the neighborhood worked smoothly.



ETA: I don't really know how to upload images or how I got that thumbnail down there or how to remove it....
Screenshots
Mad Poster
#9 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 6:12 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 25th Feb 2020 at 8:16 PM.
I needed a downtown setting for some story scenes, and (because I didn't want subhoods, and probably didn't have them in mind at the time) I made an entirely new hood using the asphalt terrain, to make it stand out from the grassy terrain in the more suburban setting I normally use, and to avoid having to cover over large amounts of grass. Instead I just added in a bit of thypical city greens in pots and such around the buildings. Looked pretty much like I had in mind, with some neighborhod deco to make the city feel larger, and some more urban-style builds in the shop areas.

Adding in things like street lights, bus stops, deco cars on the roads and some people in the distance also makes the city feel a bit more alive.

Field Researcher
#10 Old 24th Feb 2020 at 7:32 PM
That is so pretty! I really like the skateboards too.
Scholar
#11 Old 25th Feb 2020 at 8:13 AM
Best thing I have found for this are apartment buildings that are made part of an urban landscape, with shops, gyms etc.
Field Researcher
#12 Old 25th Feb 2020 at 10:32 AM
I love what you all did with your cities. It's inspired me. Now that I have a working traffic mod I can see vehicles pass by in lot view as well as the hood view. Now my city in progress feels more alive and not looking like a ghost town.
Instructor
#13 Old 25th Feb 2020 at 6:12 PM
LotAdjustor so there's no gaps between lots
Lots of apartments
Apartments over stores
Narrow lots
Narrow buildings (I have so many apartments that are 4 tiles wide)
Tall buildings with fake upper floors
Wide sidewalks
Public spaces for skilling and gathering since tiny living space doesn't accommodate it
Lots of parks
Different styles of buildings- warehouse, modern highrises, historic townhomes
Some consistency between neighboring lots styles- I always think of the Sim City high density versus medium density areas, where certain areas are zoned for a specific type of building
Forum Resident
#14 Old 25th Feb 2020 at 9:24 PM
To be honest I've never really thought of urban jungles. Might be fun though
Lab Assistant
#15 Old 3rd Mar 2020 at 12:56 AM
I don't try to get exactly a "Manhattan" feeling as those buildings are way too tall for me to try to make, plus my PC is old and can only take so much decoration filling the hood space. I do use a mix of decoration buildings from the game and custom made by others and my own custom made buildings, a mix of usable and "never visit me" type buildings (like my factory/industry buildings). There are lots of tall Manhattan looking custom deco buildings out there.

When planning a city, no matter which "hood" it is and I want it to have a more urban feel, I always take into account the various Sections that will exist. Which street is the Main Street. Usually most government buildings are there or near there, but not 100% of the time. Perhaps some newer city buildings are on the edge of town, as it as started new growth. Also, where do the poor live? Mostly near dirty industry, or in a part of town with less economic opportunities. The wealthier either live in pricier apartments near a nice park or a very expensive section of single family dwellings away from everything. There are also middle class housing spotted here and there. I usually have some bus stops for my poor sims to get to work as most can't afford a car, let alone have space for one in their tiny apartment dwellings. I use Criquette's decorations and always have at least one of the larger bus stations in my town so my sims can use it to go to a neighboring town (another hood). For towns that were once developing but have now experienced a down turn there may be some poor sims that live in small 1 and 2 bedrooms houses on the grimy side of town, but they still might not be able to afford a car to travel.

The larger the town, the more there is in it, of course the more crime can be possible, but no always. For my sims, it depends on how the economy is doing as well as the type of government is in power. Downtowns for instance will have more restaurants, bars, shops, parks, gyms/rec centres, as well as government services. I always put down my standards first: Police, Fire station, Post Office, Library, Park, Gas Station, small restaurant. Beyond that I look at the sections and see what would be available, shopping, recreation, bars. For business and government I do pretend the deco buildings are offices in there, as well as the NPC Jobs have offices in them too.

I don't know if this helps but I examine the map first and determine my whole region in my head before building. Main hood is a town usually, sometimes it is another major city using a larger custom map. I determine which is north and where it lies in the region to downtown (which usually name Sims City) and where it lies in relation to other cities (shopping). From there I can name streets and those exiting my city will be named the same as those entering other cities attached to them. After that I plot out the poor section, upper crust section, some business and governments areas, and middle class housing mixed in, keeping in mind that growth occurs over time. For instance, there may be a few old mansions in the middle of town from when it was first established, like that Forsythe house. The bigger the city, the more everything is packed in like sardines. No empty space, if there is I fill it in with hood decorations like trashy alleys or water towers or bus stops.

I don't have the mod that allows shopping under apartments, don't care to have it. But I do make businesses under apartments but the upper floors are just there as decoration. Sims can't even get to them. There are windows but no doors. For instance, for a really seedy part of downtown, I built an old dark bar with grimy features under 3 stories of old brick apartments. It looks pretty good but I only use the bar, the other 3 floors are nothing but empty space. Depending on the look you want, don't forget grunge and dirt and trash decorations.

Hope this helped.

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Test Subject
#16 Old 3rd Mar 2020 at 7:36 PM
This has been one of my goals in the game for a long time. It's easier to have an urban feel in later games, especially TS3 due to Bridgeport, but the first two games are definitely more suburban than anything.
I plan to create a city in The Sims 2 soon.

I used to download lots of CC. I don't remember where I got files, in fact I am just coming back to the game after a long time.
I know there was a Korean blog - ASAMO? Or something like that... she had custom content like a subway train (I think you could sit on one of the seats?), decorative poles, bus stop set, and things like that. She had two websites, but I can only find one of them... it's gone, though you can access it via Archive.org. There were more files in her blog, although I'm not sure I have the correct address.

If you choose the "concrete" terrain type and flattest terrain, you can make a city. You will have to build a ton of lots and use your imagination. I know there are decorative skyscrapers but they are for neighbourhood view. Tumblr had a lot of items like that by the way, including different skies/atmosphere which might help you (I always wanted greyish skies).

I remember trying to build a subway station once. But it didn't work out well for me, it was empty. You can try to make one. I know there are train station items here in MTS.
You can create a shopping mall easily, although I'm not sure how it would work. Might get confusing. The only time I tried to build a shopping mall was in The Sims 1.
You can build cafés like Starbucks, fast food restaurants (ASAMO had some CC), hospitals, beauty salons, tech stores, apartments, etc.

I always wished you could take buses and the metro in The Sims lol. I wish there were usable skateboards and bikes, but the downloads I found weren't very good IMO.
Lab Assistant
#17 Old 3rd Mar 2020 at 8:50 PM
By the way, there is a neighborhood with an urban setting for this game, it's called Emerald Heights, here's the link.
http://modthesims.info/d/584335/eme...ject-no-cc.html
It looks pretty cool.
Test Subject
#18 Old 3rd Mar 2020 at 11:43 PM
Hey, you can always download from AroundTheSims, the creator made a lot of Downtown items, most decorative, but it can still give your city a bit more flavour, because you can build churches, pizzerias, etc. There are ways to make prisons and schools, but they are kind of fiddly.
There are hospital sets available for download but I never messed around with those so I don't know where to find the best ones.
Here you can get the ASAMO items - they are pretty old but still usable to me:
http://web.archive.org/web/20080919...d=s338&db=ASAMO

Sadly, a lot of websites that I used to visit are no longer.
Lab Assistant
#19 Old 13th Mar 2020 at 8:23 AM
I can't take the credit for this, I saw this via Krabbysims who made a post sharing this resource

but here is a generator that generates a bunch of different ideas for shops and businesses - could definitely come in handy when building and designing a city!

https://www.mithrilandmages.com/citygen/
Mad Poster
#20 Old 13th Mar 2020 at 4:38 PM Last edited by simmer22 : 13th Mar 2020 at 4:53 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by darth_kor
There are hospital sets available for download but I never messed around with those so I don't know where to find the best ones.


Well, there's plenty of more recent hospital stuff to find (been making and uploading quite a bit of it myself, because I noticed a lack of it when I started making stories with parts of it set in hospital environments), and there are a lot of hospital buildings people have made that can be used for either gameplay or neighborhood decoration. Chris Hatch made a hospital mod that could work for gameplay.

There's also been several sets uploaded with police/firehouse/hospital stuff converted from TS3 and TS4.

I guess if someone is after these kinds of things, posting in the WCIF section would be a good idea.

Quote:
I always wished you could take buses and the metro in The Sims lol. I wish there were usable skateboards and bikes, but the downloads I found weren't very good IMO.


I've seen (and used) a few skateboard and bike poseboxes, which works well for storytelling purposes. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of ingame ways to make a sim move around (at least not in a somewhat controlled way) on a skateboard or bike. There's the NPC way using functions of the toy car and helicopter (which have some issues tied to them due to the NPC and moving around randomly), and driveable items like cars which have have limited functions and a limited range of movement.

I've found it's a heckuvalot easier to do storytelling with pictures than for instance making movies. In a picture you can use a deco bus or train, static poses, OMSPs, the Freezer clock, and all the other help you can find - while in movies you somehow have to make it seem like everything is moving. Not impossible, but I'd rather not have to deal with that. For actual working gameplay you're pretty much stuck with the options the game gives you, plus the odd cleverly made CC items that seem like they're doing something new but in reality are just reusing something deep within the game files.
Mad Poster
#21 Old 13th Mar 2020 at 4:48 PM Last edited by HarVee : 13th Mar 2020 at 5:03 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by inspiredzone
LotAdjustor so there's no gaps between lots
Lots of apartments
Apartments over stores
Narrow lots
Narrow buildings (I have so many apartments that are 4 tiles wide)
Tall buildings with fake upper floors
Wide sidewalks
Public spaces for skilling and gathering since tiny living space doesn't accommodate it
Lots of parks
Different styles of buildings- warehouse, modern highrises, historic townhomes
Some consistency between neighboring lots styles- I always think of the Sim City high density versus medium density areas, where certain areas are zoned for a specific type of building

I do most of this already, except the fake floors. In my opinion fake buildings are better than fake floors.

I would also suggest making use of the alleyways, specifically the concrete ones with trash. Put down some hood deco cars in them and they look like people being forced to park in them.


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Forum Resident
#22 Old 13th Mar 2020 at 7:01 PM
I've been a city girl all my life, so I build a lot of urban hoods! I like to use deco buildings to block off the open spaces between lots that would normally lend a more suburban feel to a hood. I also build multiple businesses on a single lot, to get that nice 'compact' feeling. There are some good, fun (if you're into building!) ways to make a single house look like a row of houses, or make a single business look like a few, crammed together into one 'city block'.

The most important thing for me in building convincing urban environments for my sims is scale. I like to build lots that are completely useable, so I'm not a fan of dummy windows or levels, but if you aren't as concerned with that, then the 'sethighestnumberoflevelsallowed' cheat is going to be your friend! I have it in my user startup file set to 15, but I almost never build more than 8 stories. The reason for this is that it starts to look out of scale past 8.

That's also the reason that I stick to smaller deco buildings that are comparable in size to something that I could build and use for my sims. CuriousB has some great ones in her abandoned city download.

Even in cities where I want tall buildings, 8 stories is the most I can build and make fully useable (as in, sims can visit and find something to do on every floor). That said, a few 8 story buildings really does wonders for the look and feel of downtowns. I use hood deco sparingly, as I like my sims to have a lot of community lot options. Department stores, multi-story banks, mints, combining these things with cafes, daycares and laundrettes creates a nice 'busy' feeling for the lots and gives my sims plenty to do when they visit. For city blocks that usually would have apartments over businesses, I create additional businesses to put 'upstairs' so that the exterior still looks inhabited, but it's also totally ownable as a business lot. Having lots of cashiers and walkbys also gives it a nice busy feeling.
Mad Poster
#24 Old 14th Mar 2020 at 5:57 PM
I stink at setting up stuff like this by myself, so I used Glabeglarn's SimCity as a starting point. It uses Lowedeus' city buildings from Post # 6 above and includes some lots while leaving room for the player to add more.
https://glabeglarn.tumblr.com/post/185226854741/simcity

I pulled out the Sunset Valley deco buildings that came with SimCity and replaced them with Ousmeo's deco buildings from Roaring Heights. I think they look more appropriate for a big city.
https://dulcinean-alien.tumblr.com/...o-cc-collection
Field Researcher
#25 Old 15th Mar 2020 at 8:17 PM
Like most people already said, hood deco. Alleys, street lamps, bus stops, telephone poles really help, especially with the help of the mod that lets you place them anywhere to fill the gaps between lots. Hood deco skyscrapers are harder to use as they're usually on a completely different scale from regular building (I have a skyscraper almost done that's 16 or something stories high that's roughly the same height as the smallest skyscraper), but can really help if well used. Conversions from Roaring Heights, in particular, are really good for this, especially if you're looking for a Manhattan style. Criquette's transportation stuff is also pretty decent for this (though the pedestrian walkways are a favourite of mine).

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