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Ellatrue
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Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« on: 2009 June 25, 18:10:24 »
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I've been getting some questions on this topic, and while much of this is not exactly groundbreaking, I thought it best to share them all in a single place. I will revise this post with additional information once I have a chance to confirm it properly. For the moment, this is the best of my current knowledge.

I've been working on a project to completely reshape the default Sunset Valley neighborhood and give it a completely different look and feel. It is still impossible to edit neighborhood objects, or any part of the neighborhood that isn't on one of the immovable pre-set lots, so accomplishing anything requires reshaping as many of the neighborhood lots as possible.

Here are some basic tips and tricks for starting fresh:

Use Awesomemod to remove all the premade sims.
Pescado's awesomemod added a "destroyallhumans" cheat to the game. If you want to start fresh with a clean neighborhood, use this cheat to poison their asses with poisonous gasses. The cheat menu opens the same way as in TS2 using CTRL + SHIFT + C. Service sims and coworkers will be generated as needed when you play the game. Townies and neighbors are slowly generated by the game to fill empty houses. If you don't want game generated townies to start moving into your neighborhood, you must bulldoze every empty house.

Bulldoze the premade lots (with some caveats)!

This is kind of tricky, since EA added some objects to the default premade lots that the player can't place themselves, such as specialty fish and unique plants. I don't yet know whether bulldozed lots will still spawn collectible objects like seeds and rocks, or pic-a-nic basket spots for picnicking townies (I haven't seen them anywhere but the default, untouched central park, but it may be that townies are required for this to happen).

DO NOT BULLDOZE THE SCIENCE LOT!
 If you want to remake this lot, you must manually edit the lot instead of destroying it with the bulldoze tool from neighborhood view. The science lot contains the omni plant,along with the only instance of the robot fish in the game, which cannot be replaced by the player. The unique fish will be lost if you bulldoze or remove the pond. Once you lose the fish, it is gone forever!

DO NOT BULLDOZE THE GRAVEYARD!

The graveyard lot has the only instance of the death flower plant and the death fish in the game! If you want to remake this lot, you must manually edit the lot instead of destroying it with the bulldoze tool from neighborhood view. The unique fish will be lost if you bulldoze or remove the pond. Once you lose the fish, it is gone forever!

DO NOT BULLDOZE LOTS WITH SPECIAL VALUES!
Specifically, any lot with the "beautiful vista" attribute (aka "mood "buff"). Experimentation has shown that this appears to function as a hidden object, and you will lose the buff forever if you bulldoze the lot from the neighborhood view.  It can still be edited normally. You can still change it from residential to community and back again. I have not played long enough to know if there are other mood buffs like the beautiful vista one, but if there are, the same rules apply.

Rebuilding the neighborhood:
Once you've flattened everything, you can begin rebuilding your neighborhood and editing the lots. A few notes:

Aesthetic limits
Anything outside the lot cannot be changed or removed by the player, so it is important to create lots that seem to fit with the neighborhood, especially at the edges of the lot, for a smooth transition from your vision to the rest of the hood. IMO this is especially important (and difficult) with plants. You should also note that none of the lots touch each other at the edges: all lots in the game have a one buffer of one square around the edges. This means that if you want to create a feature that crosses from one lot to the next, you have to get creative! For example, with flora you can again try to create a natural looking transition zone like the edge of a clearing; if you want to make a river, you could make it appear to go underneath the road, or create false culverts or "caves" so it appears to be going underground between lots.

"Rabbithole" lots (the ones you can't see inside)
The rabbithole lots in TS3 are actually objects, and can be found in the lot catalog under build mode--> community objects. You can place more than one on a community lot so long as you have enough space. They can't be recolored and there aren't any replacements for them yet, but you can get a few new versions if you download Riverview. You can still play the game without them--even the school--but you won't have any careers, etc in the game (children will not be taken away, but they will get a random trait on aging up).

The rabbithole lots can be hidden with fancy build mode tricks: buried under a foundation, placed inside a larger building, or covered with the terrain tools by using the "constrainfloorelevation false/true" cheat. You must leave the entrance clear, and (I believe) you must leave the inner room just behind the entrance completely clear as well or the sims won't be able to use it--at any rate, that is what worked for me. Test it with a sim to make sure they can get in. I've uploaded two lots that are examples of these tricks so far; I will upload an example of the third technique later tonight.

Replacing Lost Fish Through Trickery
If you have a sim in your neighborhood, you can have them stock any new ponds you created (or replace special fish you accidentally killed via bulldozer) by engaging in some risky business. You must play with testing interactions enabled.
CTRL + SHIFT click on your sim --->Debug: All Fish

Your sim now has ten of each fish in the game--enough for stocking ponds. You can repeat the cheat to give them more fish. It's also possible to have your sim fish in the pond you plan to remoe until they have enough of the specialty fish to stock a pond with them somewhere else, but WHY?

Adding Community Lot Harvestable Plants Through Trickery
This is more complicated. Basically, you must move a sim into a residential lot, have it plant whatever plants you want to be present, then move the sim out and change it to a community lot. I haven't noticed/found a way to cheat and give the sim all seeds like with the fish, so I just bought the plants from the grocery store. Once the sim has planted the seeds, you can either have the sim garden until all plants reach the harvest stage before moving out, or use risky business. If you have testing interactions enabled, you can CTRL + SHIFT click on a plant and select "next growth stage" until it reaches the harvest stage. That's a lot of clicking, but it is still less annoying than playing one sim for fifty years of gardening without any macros. This doesn't work for specialty plants you can't buy at the grocery store.

Other  Lots
Generic specialty lots like libraries, art galleries, and gyms can be created by the player--the game recognizes them based on the objects you place on the lot, so it is fine to remove the super shitty default lots and make your own. There's another thread with the fine details, so I'll just say that it's a good idea to be careful when placing decorative objects--it doesn't take much for the game to decide that your beach lot is a frikken art gallery.


Final note:
If anyone here can confirm for me whether unique plants/fish or collectibles never respawn once bulldozed/deleted in their game, please let me know here, since I can only verify it right now based on personal experiments with my own game thus far.
« Last Edit: 2009 June 28, 19:50:54 by Ellatrue » Logged

blackcat
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #1 on: 2009 June 25, 19:11:10 »
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By buldozing lots with Beautifull Vista moodlet you loose it permanently. No solution was found yet, that I know about. The only workaround for now is to sledgehummer everything and then build the house that you like. Moving said lots also leads to loosing Vista moodlet.
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Ellatrue
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #2 on: 2009 June 25, 20:22:14 »
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I bulldozed lots with the beautiful vista moodlet and did not lose it. Odd. Moving makes sense, however, since the lot is no longer in the same location.
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blackcat
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #3 on: 2009 June 25, 20:29:37 »
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Then maybe you should report this to this thread http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,15279.0.html. They are trying to figure out what makes it tick.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #4 on: 2009 June 25, 21:22:16 »
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When you create a fishing area using your technique, do you get the jumping fish (best fishing), or just an adequate fishing hole?
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Ellatrue
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #5 on: 2009 June 25, 21:54:22 »
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I don't know how many fish need to be added to the pond in order to get the jumping fish. Based on what Pescado told me, once you stock fish in a community pond it will automatically generate those fish in the future. I'm hoping that means the fish population will increase until there are enough fish for jumping, but I haven't had a chance to find out yet.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #6 on: 2009 June 25, 23:18:43 »
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Does anyone know whether adding more than one of a particular rabbithole causes any issues?  I'm thinking specifically of schools - even in a mildly populated hood, there are significant bottlenecks with students getting into the school each day.  I am wondering whether adding another school would fix that at all.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #7 on: 2009 June 25, 23:36:37 »
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DO NOT BULLDOZE THE SCIENCE LOT! If you want to remake this lot, you must manually edit the lot instead of destroying it with the bulldoze tool from neighborhood view. The science lot contains the omni plant (along with the only instance of the robot fish in the game plus some other unplaceable harvestables), which cannot be replaced by the player. Once you remove it, it is gone forever!
Since you can order omni plants after completing the requisite opportunity, losing the omni plant is not a big deal. Losing the robotfish is. You could always have a tester sim go in, get 10 robotfish, and stock a pond elsewhere on a lot of your choosing. Or, of course, use the cheat you listed.

DO NOT BULLDOZE THE GRAVEYARD!
The graveyard lot has the only instances of the death flower plant and the death fish in the game! Once you remove the death flower plant, it is gone forever! The unique fish will be lost if you bulldoze or remove the pond, and cannot normally be added by the player when rebuilding the lot.
As with the Science lot fish, also with the graveyard ones. Actually, stocking a private pond is better since deathfish will then be available at all hours. As for the death flower, I've had death flower seeds periodically be fished up.
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Ellatrue
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #8 on: 2009 June 26, 19:39:47 »
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Updated. I forgot about the opportunity--but I'd rather not have people rely on the sadorandomness of the game for getting the death flower, especially since I don't yet know what causes a collectible object to spawn and where. It seems possible the seeds might only spawn in certain locations which the player could destroy in the process of remaking the neighborhood.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #9 on: 2009 June 27, 13:28:56 »
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As for the death flower, I've had death flower seeds periodically be fished up.

Death flower has 1/4 chance of appearing in any Unknown Special Seed. So losing it is not even remotely a great deal. Just get level 7 gardening and plant a few of these.
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Ellatrue
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #10 on: 2009 June 28, 19:45:50 »
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Alright then, if you are sure the chance is that high.

In other news, I haven't been able to replicate keeping the "beautiful vista" buff after bulldozing, so I wil be revising my guidelines again. It is possible to switch it from a residential lot to a community lot and back, however, without losing the buff. The game does indeed seem to treat it like a hidden object.

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joshiejack
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #11 on: 2009 July 02, 18:07:49 »
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To get all seeds, shift ctrl click on a sim, then click on Sim... Then there is DEBUG: Gardening, this will add three of each seed to the inventory and also make the sims have level 7 gardening so that they can plant them all. Each seed will be of varying quality, so use this a few times until you get the quality that you want.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #12 on: 2009 July 02, 20:51:03 »
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What about the library and gym buffs? I presume they work like the vista buff.
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blackcat
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #13 on: 2009 July 02, 22:01:52 »
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No, they are tied to the lot type. Here is how to get them : [Tutorial]-How to build a specific lot type, where to have a party and why it matters
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #14 on: 2009 July 26, 00:30:28 »
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To get all seeds, shift ctrl click on a sim, then click on Sim... Then there is DEBUG: Gardening, this will add three of each seed to the inventory and also make the sims have level 7 gardening so that they can plant them all. Each seed will be of varying quality, so use this a few times until you get the quality that you want.

I must be missing something...  When in debug mode (testingcheatsenabled) I get no "Debug" option by shift + ctrl clicking on my sims.  I get the options "trigger age transition" and "modify traits for active sim".  If I click on another sim I only get "Make scared".  I still get all the options for the mail box though.

I was really hoping to finish up my custom town.  Hopefully I'm just being stupid and over looking something.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #15 on: 2009 July 26, 06:01:46 »
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When you create a fishing area using your technique, do you get the jumping fish (best fishing), or just an adequate fishing hole?

I don't know how many fish need to be added to the pond in order to get the jumping fish. Based on what Pescado told me, once you stock fish in a community pond it will automatically generate those fish in the future. I'm hoping that means the fish population will increase until there are enough fish for jumping, but I haven't had a chance to find out yet.

At MTS2 there is a mod for Buyable Fishing Spawners.  If you download this and then place them in your ponds (they are in build mode under rocks and look like white boxes) you will have jumping fish.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #16 on: 2009 August 13, 13:15:33 »
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Is there a way to create random townies after destroying the premades?
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Ellatrue
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #17 on: 2009 August 14, 21:57:51 »
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To get all seeds, shift ctrl click on a sim, then click on Sim... Then there is DEBUG: Gardening, this will add three of each seed to the inventory and also make the sims have level 7 gardening so that they can plant them all. Each seed will be of varying quality, so use this a few times until you get the quality that you want.

I must be missing something...  When in debug mode (testingcheatsenabled) I get no "Debug" option by shift + ctrl clicking on my sims.  I get the options "trigger age transition" and "modify traits for active sim".  If I click on another sim I only get "Make scared".  I still get all the options for the mail box though.

I was really hoping to finish up my custom town.  Hopefully I'm just being stupid and over looking something.

You need to have Pescado's Awesomemod installed, and use the aweconfig file to enable those debug interactions.

As for the game generating new townies, it will automatically do so for coworkers (this might be stomped by awesomemod), and it will create new residents for any empty houses you have in your hood. You'll then see them around town.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #18 on: 2009 September 03, 04:45:35 »
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I have a question about building custom Gyms and Art Galleries. (note upper case initials!)

There must be some kind of special flag for these lots, because if you have, for example, an artistic sim, they throw wants to go to the Art Gallery, and if you click on them they have an automatic option for "going to the Art Gallery." Ditto for athletic sims and the gym... So the game has to RECOGNIZE those lots as those types.

I can see that the game might figure out that a gym is a gym because of all the exercise objects, but what about an art gallery?  There has to be some way to flag it as an Art Gallery (yes, capital A and capital G!)

....

Btw, Flabaliki at MTS has some lots emptied of all the peoples and residential lots, but preserving the community lots, useful for customizing your hood but avoiding all these headaches!

http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=344655

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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #19 on: 2009 September 07, 04:27:51 »
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Bulldoze the premade lots (with some caveats)!

This is kind of tricky, since EA added some objects to the default premade lots that the player can't place themselves, such as specialty fish and unique plants. I don't yet know whether bulldozed lots will still spawn collectible objects like seeds and rocks, or pic-a-nic basket spots for picnicking townies (I haven't seen them anywhere but the default, untouched central park, but it may be that townies are required for this to happen).

In my attempted "Omega Man" experiment, I wanted to keep the town intact, but, kill all of the NPC's.  To approximate that, I had to keep killing them, since nothing prevents them from respawning.  Until they respawn, however, the town's pretty deserted.  I did not see any food spawning in the park during this experiment, so, it appears that NPC's are almost certainly required to spawn pic-a-nic baskets.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #20 on: 2009 September 08, 23:32:27 »
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By the way, you don't have to worry about losing the "Beautiful Vista" buff because a program to remedy this was made a while ago. I just gas everyone and blow up all the lots and then re-add the Beautiful Vistas wherever I need:

http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=366436
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Ellatrue
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #21 on: 2009 September 09, 10:47:13 »
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Bulldoze the premade lots (with some caveats)!

This is kind of tricky, since EA added some objects to the default premade lots that the player can't place themselves, such as specialty fish and unique plants. I don't yet know whether bulldozed lots will still spawn collectible objects like seeds and rocks, or pic-a-nic basket spots for picnicking townies (I haven't seen them anywhere but the default, untouched central park, but it may be that townies are required for this to happen).

In my attempted "Omega Man" experiment, I wanted to keep the town intact, but, kill all of the NPC's.  To approximate that, I had to keep killing them, since nothing prevents them from respawning.  Until they respawn, however, the town's pretty deserted.  I did not see any food spawning in the park during this experiment, so, it appears that NPC's are almost certainly required to spawn pic-a-nic baskets.

You can use the "destroyallnpcs"  and "destroyallhumans" cheats with awesomemod. I'm not sure what you mean by "Omega Man" experiment? Are you trying to prevent townies from spawning? You should be able to do that by deleting the beds in all the empty houses.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #22 on: 2009 September 09, 11:07:09 »
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Beds don't cause townies to spawn, they merely cause them to have a place to move in if you have AwesomeStory on. If you have EA story on, EA story totally ignores everything. In any case, AwesomeStory does not spawn townies, so only the job engine will spawn. If nobody has a job, no one will spawn.
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #23 on: 2009 September 15, 06:19:43 »
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Death fish, vampire fish and robot fish will be no problem to replace.  Just get this mod here from Mod the sims.  It allows you to buy all types of fish at any number. 

http://linna.modthesims.info/download.php?t=343257&goto=nextoldest
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Re: Creating Custom Neighborhoods: My Learnings
« Reply #24 on: 2009 September 22, 15:18:50 »
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I thought I'd add to this thread rather than starting another, this being the closest one I could find to my topic.  I'm in need of learnings regarding catastrophic population decline, but I'm not running the AwesomeMod at the moment.  The AwesomeMod was causing crashes, all of which were of common and well-established types, so I made the decision (probably wrong) that I preferred a stable game with a story mode that ran on no apparent rules, to an unstable game with a story mode that had rules behind it.

On getting the NRaas Supercomputer, I discovered that there are only five mature adults in my hood, including the parents in my One Family; no young adults, only two teenagers (both in my One Family, and one of which is about to become a young adult with no one to marry), and no children or toddlers.  I also had about 80 NPCs, with assorted homeless, which I ran out of town.  The 10 or so elders remaining are mainly the aged great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of EA Sims such as Pauline Wan or Stiles McGraw.

This is in fact the second hood death I've experienced.  The first time, I pumped in about 25-30 Sims, including all the bin Sims, and everything was fine for a while.  But as they aged, none of the younger Sims ever married or had children.  And now I'm back in the same position.  The game steadfastly refuses to immigrate Sims into the hood.

There are plenty of empty houses around the hood, including cheap ones.  Actually I had put a house on every empty residential lot, to try to keep Sims outside my One Family from living on empty lots, but further experimentation indicates to me that this is not what's preventing immigration.  I knew that the EA story mode tended to lead to hood death (especially now that there is no parthenogenesis, which although stupid, did keep the population going), but had no idea it was this bad.

Then I came here and read this relevant comment from His Awesomeness:

Beds don't cause townies to spawn, they merely cause them to have a place to move in if you have AwesomeStory on. If you have EA story on, EA story totally ignores everything.

So I guess what I'm wondering is, what's going on inside the game that makes it decide when and when not to immigrate new Sims?  And can I force it to stop deciding not to immigrate new Sims?

Barring that, as I see it I have these choices:
1.  Start over.  It's just a game after all.
2.  Make a whole bunch of Sim families in CAS, move them in, and then start playing with AwesomeMod again.  <--- probably the best choice
3.  Make a whole bunch of Sim families in CAS, move them in, go on without AwesomeMod, and prepare to do the same again in a few generations.

Thanks in advance for the sharing of learnings.
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