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Inventor
Original Poster
#1 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 12:10 PM
Default Planning a 'hood
Hey.

I'm one of those serial 'hood re-starters because I just can't get into the game once made the sims and moved them in and all that.
But I've seen other people say things like "i've been playing for x amount of time, but it took me so-and-so long to plan it out".

So to help me finally make a 'hood I can stick to, my question to those that do this is: How do you plan out a hood before playing?

This includes neighbourhood set-ups, like how do you decide what community lots? and how many houses? and do you start with everything laid out? or do you leave space for later expansion?
And for actual sims, do you start with a bunch of single sims and see who they pair up with? or start with couples and just see where their linage goes? or whole multi-generational families with full back stories? if you play with supernaturals, do you plan with them in mind right from the start or do you just let them add themselves as the opportunities arise?

Thank you!
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Mad Poster
#2 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 1:00 PM
Yay, my favourite topic! Because there are 1000000000 different answers, and whichever you choose is right.

So the first question. Do you want to centre the hood's story around the sims, or do you want to centre the hood's story around the setting? Or do you want more of a mix? It differs, you see.

When you start with the sims, then you decide who is going to live there, and then you ask what sort of a place would this group of people want to live. So you work out what would be more fun to you - a bunch of singles, a single single, couples, inter-related sims with history, two (or more) discrete groups - like the Capp and Monty families in Veronaville, or like supernaturals vs naturals, or class differences, political differences, rival fans of two different football teams, whatever it is.

You could also choose to start with a bunch of premades - either the Maxis sims, or sims you have cloned/imported from a previous hood. Or characters from a particular fictional world.

I've started worlds from a sim-basis with the following methods:
- Started with one family who were really strong to me and then built everyone else up around them. So I had a couple with a teenage daughter and two child aged sons. The teen girl needed a friendship group, so I created three more teen girls and their families. One had somewhat hippie parents and three badly trained dogs, one was very clever and had high achieving parents, one had a stepfather and a new baby sibling. Then her brother needed some friends, so I created them, and their families (borrowing "cast members" from existing families where it seemed appropriate), the dad needed work colleagues, etc. I just added more sims every time I found a situation where I thought "X should really have some peers in Y respect" and if I didn't feel like creating sims, I just played somebody else who did have a more developed social circle.
- A single sim as the basis for a legacy, on an empty world. I brought townies in to be made playable via move-in and via university, and then I let them (and the legacy spares) populate the neighbourhood, letting the game generate more townies as needed.
- Ran up a spreadsheet and used the random number function to choose attributes. So 100 cells. 1 or 2 in the "Sex" field. 1-70 in the "age" field. (I then translated this to how many days they were supposed to have in their age stage and aged them up manually on the appropriate day.) 1-10 in a field for "siblings" - 80% of people have siblings, but this felt a little high, especially as lots move away, so 1-6 was Yes, and 7-10 was No. Figures for marriage and divorce are confusing, so I did another 1-10 on all adults and older - 1-5 married, 6-7 fated to divorce (I'd create them married and split them up - or that was the theory!) and 8-10 single.
Then I matched everyone up. So for everyone who was a sibling, I added up the numbers and wrote the age spread out on a notepad. I can't remember the figures now but I roughly found out how many families have one child, two children, three children etc and tried to keep it proportional when separating all of the siblings out into sibling groups. I had a maximum age span for siblings but I tried to keep them close-ish in age.
Then the relationships. I used the formula that the older partner could have a spouse no younger than half their age plus seven.
Lastly I assigned every child or sibling group under 18 a parent or parents. Again I worked out a formula to work out the minimum and maximum age of parents. Some I had to create the wrong age and age up/down to make family trees work.
Using this system, I ended up with a fairly complex interrelated web of sims, who were immediately more compelling to play. As I created them, I rolled for their ethnic heritage and chose names and skin tone, hair colour and eye colour correlating to this for the furthest back generations, with the younger generations being allowed to be more mixed. I also rolled for some personality traits. I pulled together a list of everything TS2: Careers, majors, interests, hobbies, aspiration, skills, supernatural type, badges, and personality extremes, along with a few of my own (e.g. Power-hungry, or Victim, or Goth.) Each family group got one common trait and three random ones, of which I'd delete one if it directly contradicted the others. For future created sims, I created a genetic system to pass down family traits when the families mixed.

I have run out of time to post So you only get installment one: How to start with sims (and really only step one of that). I'll be back later to add to it with how to start with the setting or a mixture and the subsequent steps of hood design.

Livejournal: simsfreq.livejournal.com
Tumblr: simsfreq.tumblr.com

Co sleeper for babies/toddlers, and teen career overhaul (also custom schools) Plus! TS2:UNI careers enabled for teens: Here at simbology
Inventor
Original Poster
#3 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 1:04 PM
Yay! I can't wait!

Although I'm rubbish at planning hoods myself, reading other peoples is my favourite, same with the "show us how you keep track of your hood" posts, like all the charts and notes and stuff. I love it.

Just wish I was better at it.
Scholar
#4 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 1:11 PM
I start with what Sims I'm going to have. Then I decide how much space I want in each sub-hood, and how many sub-hoods I plan to have. Then I put in just enough houses and commercial lots to serve my starting Sims, then add as I go. It's a bit higgeldy-piggeldy, but it seems to work for me.
Scholar
#5 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 1:19 PM Last edited by Florentzina : 13th Nov 2015 at 1:46 PM.
My hood was like that, I've been playing it for a year but have been planning it out for a couple years before playing it.

This was mainly because I couldn't get into the game, or rather I didn't enjoy the way I played it, tested various of challenge or playing the sims just "foolishly", testing uber maxi hoods and didn't care what was doing until I find a happy zone to actually play the hood. Because of this, now I only play one hood, Withea Dale whichwas born after alot of trials. After the restarting it for a third time Im finally happy with it.

First I created a draft over what kind of hood I want such as which era it would played on and based on the trials, I figure out my personal rules
(do you find the game more enjoyable when its more relastic? Many households without townies or a few "main"characters supported by townies and non-playable cas acting as supporting characters? Did the time span of the vanilla game made sense to you, or do you wanted it to be shorter, longer or more realistic? Stuff like that) My hood were inspired by the royal kingdom challenge where you use social groups, plus have a touch of realism and creating a general draft of what sims I wanted to play. I like to get through generations fairly quickly, but keep their age relastic and synched so I added the 1day = 1year rule and modified the ages so it suited it. Also, using spreedsheets where I write down the basic stats of each sim (family names, name, age, "lifestyle" and aspiration) I play the hood in rotation to keep everyone aged according my spreedsheets which I edit after each generation.

It was very detailed at first, but then I realized that its very easily to get bored of doing lthis stuff. Right now, Im on my way setting up 100+ residental lots that were build my me and backed up in the lot bin before playing, but because I was lazy with this when started this hood, I keep swaying with this area.

Same thing with playing cas and sims I didn't created myself. I can't stand playing the maxi hoods as I want to create my own characters, but one of the trials I always had was - playing the CAS families - for some reason I didn't enjoy them, so now when creating families, I tends age them up, edit their skills and relationships and family ties before playing them as I found out born in game sims were much more interesting to play. So, I don't really lay everything out, but I do have drafts of what kind of hood that I consider ideal to myself. Even after a year, Im still setting it up despite Im on generation 8 right now, Im not quiet happy with the buildings, but because I enjoy the born in game sims, its what make me keep playing. Ive the sims to most part sorted out, but not the buildings and architecture.

I think in order to create a hood you really enjoy to play, you need to first understand what you enjoy with the game and what you get bored off --- or you keep restarting the hood to no end. Its more trials than a "plan". Beside, be aware that planning a hood is not everyone's cup of tea. For my own playstyle, I need some structure to keep me focused or I "mess" the hood up and regret what I done with it. but for other simmers, it might be the opposite and they find it more enjoyable when its more random.
Forum Resident
#6 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 1:39 PM
I lack the patience to sit and plan everything out. So I start with one sim, who must be a farmer. They start on a very large empty lot, and the only thing that they are allowed is some trees or bushes. No telephone, no nothing else. The backstory is usually something about why the farmer moved here to such an empty place.

Then game begins and the other places and other residents get built depending on what the farmer and his/her new town needs. I go crazy when setting up about just how long it takes to install the essential mods that I got to just get playing.

I wouldn't mind planning out one sub-neighbourhood though, kind of like a very upscale town or tourist destination, with all sims and their backstories already included.
Forum Resident
#7 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 6:20 PM
I almost always start with a one sim couple in an empty terrain and allow them to breed and build the neighborhood, adding in families as I need to for 'fresh blood'. In the rare instances I do not start a hood like this, I will start with a small group of single sims that I allow to find their own mates within the sims I provide them but again they start in an empty hood and the sims have to build the neighborhood up themselves.

One of my favorite hoods that I played though, started with three different households. Each household consisted of two males and two females and they were allowed to choose their mates within the household. One house chose their mates and stayed true to the one they chose, one house was a big love fest between all of the sims, and one house had one man with both women and the other man was not allowed to touch either female. The backstory was that each household represented a separate species (human, elf, and demon) and they tried to build off of their household to take over the neighborhood. It was great fun but eventually the hood got too big and I had too much CC involved for my comp to handle. But yet again, this started on a terrain with no community lots and only the households stated above. Townies are almost never welcomed in my hoods.

Supernaturals that are included in the game (werewolf, vampire, plantsim, etc) usually don't get played very often. Plantsims are more common as many of my sims farm so they are inevitable. However, in my currant hood which consists of the PV sims moved to an empty terrain, I am planning on adding witches and vampires with the help of the storyline I both imagined and the sims set out for me. For example, Bella in this hood never came up missing and I started with Mortimer and Bella an adult, Cassandra a teen, and Alexander a child. Mortimer, Bella, and Alexander have all died due to a plague, and Cassandra's life is miserable with her cheating husband Dustin Broke. I plan on having her go for a walk one evening and come upon her childhood home where she will break in to have a look around and stumble upon her mother's 'diary' which is actually a spell book making Bella a witch. The 'gift' will have been passed down to Cassandra which she will discover upon touching the spellbook. I will then roll a die to see which of Cassandra's children inherited the gift.

Vampires will be introduced into the hood through Lillith Pleasant. She has children by both Darren and Dirk Dreamer, both of who died shortly after Lillith became pregnant. Saddened by having both of her lovers taken by death, she will go downtown often to try to find happiness through drink, dating, and partying. When she stumbles upon a male Grand Vampire, he will promise her an eternity of happiness with him as he will never die, all she has to do is become a Vampire like him. However, this will all just be a lie told by the Grand Vampire and Lillith will be stuck as a Vampire, watching everybody she loves age and die when she remains young forever.

The moon so bright shows me the way
Deep in the graveyard beside her I lay
Knowing she'll keep me safe from all harms
Though six feet apart, I lay in her arms...
Mad Poster
#8 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 6:22 PM
I'm the opposite. I plan out all these hoods and then I never stick to them. I've stuck to my megahood for quite some time, but I didn't have to put any plan into it at all.

~Your friendly neighborhood ginge
Field Researcher
#9 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 6:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperSimoholic
So to help me finally make a 'hood I can stick to, my question to those that do this is: How do you plan out a hood before playing?

This includes neighbourhood set-ups, like how do you decide what community lots? and how many houses? and do you start with everything laid out? or do you leave space for later expansion?
And for actual sims, do you start with a bunch of single sims and see who they pair up with? or start with couples and just see where their linage goes? or whole multi-generational families with full back stories? if you play with supernaturals, do you plan with them in mind right from the start or do you just let them add themselves as the opportunities arise?

Thank you!
First, I think of how big it could be eventually, since that determines what starting neighborhood template I'll use. Then comes deciding how many Sims I want to start with and actually creating them. Then, the sort of housing they'll live in and the other lots.

The rest of what happens in my neighborhoods is just gameplay.
Lab Assistant
#10 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 7:09 PM
I'm currently trying to start a hood. But my problem is mainly getting all my essentials back since I've had to completely restart my game/downloads. But I've already created a handful of families and will just play them on a strict rotation. Adding in interesting characters if/when needed. I try to be concise with notes and such but I suck at keeping it updated and my game changes to frequently for town statistics lol. But it really is just trial and error. My game is very "prosperity challenge" influenced but I really just freeplay it lol.
Forum Resident
#11 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 7:28 PM
For me, since I've been in love with building since I first started playing the Sims, I generally end up with ideas for a couple lots and that gets things rolling. Seriously, I have way too many ideas for hoods, it's ridiculous.

I only add Sims until I've finished the buildings in my hood, which... Ends up with me building more than playing. Whups!

So it's kinda like this:
1. Idea for a hood.

Bustling city? Sleepy suburbs? Secluded mountain town? Rural farmland? Hell, what about a futuristic interplanetary society? Why not. Find an idea, get inspired, and stick with it.

2. Build it!

All the houses, community lots, and neighborhood deco get slapped down in this stage. (Warning: If you find building enjoyable, expect to spend lots of time on this stage!) I also keep in mind what kind of Sims will live in the hood when decorating homes.

3. Sims!

Since I take ages building stuff, it's quite rare that I get to this stage. So, my plan is to plop down all sorts of families! Lots of toddlers, kids, and teenagers, since I normally don't have the chance to play them. Some households are families, others are couples, roommates, single folks, etc. Diversity in households makes me happy. Sims also get backstories, since I love a good story. Some of my best writing has been inspired by the Sims, actually.

4. Plaaaaay!

Self explanatory.

This is what works for me! I just hope I can finally finish stage 2 at some point. I probably skipped some steps, but I’m tired and can’t be darned to check. It's a bare bones guide to hood creation, I suppose.

"God created dinosaurs. God destroyed dinosaurs. God created Man. Man destroyed God. Man created dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs eat man...Woman inherits the earth."

- Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park


My Simblr | Hadi Family Tree
Mad Poster
#12 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 9:18 PM
I sort of play the way I feel.
My first custom hood lasted for four and a half years - but I started in the basegame with five families. As the expansion packs arrived, the bin Sims moved in as well.
My previous (in a way still current because it is till backed up for in case) - I started with 12 single Sims, one for each star sign, and they were all young adults and went to uni first. I moved them into 2 separate dorms with 6 rooms each (the same dorm, just different names ) I gradually moved in the bin Sims. It is still a nice hood but a twin plague caused a overpopulation problem.
I have started a new hood where all Sims will go into the military for a week. Too lazy to build a base, I just built them small houses (the air force base close to our town had separate houses for families and sometimes a spouse may have a diferent job, so it feels pretty fine to me). I did build them some drinking holes. The idea with this hood is that, as they leave the military base after a week, family by family, a community lot will go up as well as a new house in another part of the hood. We will see how this one goes!
I also have a hood for building only. It has 15 flower shops and 5 graveyards I plan to grab lots from there for my new hood, if there is a suitable one, otherwise I will build one, or download one, or use one that I have downloaded already. I actually like to see a hood growing with the Sim population myself, and I agree about diverse families too,
In the end - one has to enjoy the game. So if I am in the mood to build, I build. If I am in the mood to recolor clothes, I do so (although I will be the first one to admit that they are rather sad looking ) If I want to make floors and walls, I do so. And if I want to play, which I want to most of the time, then I play
Meet Me In My Next Life
#13 Old 13th Nov 2015 at 9:42 PM Last edited by Simonut : 14th Nov 2015 at 2:12 AM.
I have said this before on another post, to build a "new hood" take patience, that most important. If you have an idea in your head for the kind of hood you want and Sims you need to plan it, with me it took me six months.
I knew exactly what I wanted, and I knew I needed to do some research first to see if it would be possible to bring into reality. I wanted an "All Asian" neighborhood with NO downtown added, I wanted everything within that community.

Note: Pick a "Landscape" first look to see if the size is enough for what you want to do when it comes to building and space.
Because I don't have BV in my game I had to test myself to see if I could build Asian like homes so here what I did as follow:

1. Build first : Have an ideas of how many homes you want on the lots I build all my resident homes first. ( I did my deco one by one on each lot after building the home lots, I like my lots with furniture, but don't mean you have to.
A. Build my Community lots was last, good to know how many lots you want and what you want. ( think about parks, fishing places, outdoor pool, fun places, eating places etc. )

2. Sims is the last to go in either create some Sims or download some Sims ( I had to research for my Asian Sims because I wanted Korean Chinese and Japanese ) who would "really" look Asian.
B. I also made a lot of Asian myself now, that took me a long time for I wanted them to really look Asian. That mean Male and female.

All and all having patience and planning knowing what you want and how to go about it is most important. The Main word is "PATIENCE" and in the end you will be happy with what you did and that your ideas came to be reality enjoy your new hood and Sims.

"Nothing in life is a Surprise it just happen to come your way at the time".
Needs Coffee
retired moderator
#14 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 12:16 AM Last edited by joandsarah77 : 14th Nov 2015 at 12:27 AM.
Well that depends what the hood is for and you like to play.

In my modern game since I have 2 separate sims 2 folders (technically 3 but I don't play my old one any longer, but it's there in case I decide to take it up again)
I have a single hood called Coral Bay. This is the Plasticbox hood Elsewhere that is up for download here: http://modthesims.info/d/319898
I have tweaked it, added some houses, changed one side of the coast line. I have to be careful though since there are many row houses and those with specially shaped lots slopping down to water. The houses are also really small so I use a lot of space saving cc. In this case I started with a pre-made hood free of sims and I am very happy with it.There is no way I could have made such a beautiful hood. One of the reasons I love it so much is nearly every house has views of the sea.

As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted a tropical beach hood so the cc I have used reflects that. Lots of T-shirts and shorts, seaside deco.

I already have a good handle on how I play, which is an integrated hood style. This makes it easy for me to know where to start with making sims. I simply think about what people a small real town like this would need and make them first. I started with 12 couples and added in a few more families, 16 I think, although some of those are single sims like my house parent for the teens boarding 'school'. I never just put in sims and then wonder what I will do with them. If they are there they are there for a reason. Someone tested it out a few years ago that a hood could be built from 8 unrelated sims although 12 was a lot easier. You would probably want to start with more than that though.

With my medieval game I did a combination of houses I built and downloaded houses. Generally I only build when I get the building bug. Most of the time I would rather be playing so if I see a lot that would fit I use that. Hoods I put together like that are never as athletically pleasing but they are okay. I don't wait until I have finished building, I will get to playing with a handful of building and sims and add more buildings as I go. If I had to wait until I had built an entire hood I would toss it and go play Dragon Age Inquisition.

There I have a peasant area, merchant area, noble/royal area, farms and monastery out on another road and an evil wizard and a dragon lair down the far end. I have gradually added sims in, partly from the new PBK cc. I did the same with sims to fill basic roles but i am going more gradual since PBK keeps coming out with such terrific cc. I didn't have a weaver but once they put the weaving station out I had to make a weaver family.

Apart from those I have a legacy in my medieval game folder but in a separate hood from my medieval integrated hood. That will be going from stone age to medieval age.

In my old sims 2 folder, I had a couple of hoods for challenges, a large integrated hood, but 60 families was way too much for me and I lost sight of why each family was there. It would be so long before getting back to family 1 that I had forgotten who they were. Find a number of sims that suits you. I have had a hippie community of an island hood and one time toyed with a space themed hood. That one didn't last long.

There is no right way. If you want a hood to just do challenges in you might not want it to look like a fully built hood at all. decide if you like the idea of starting from scratch or if a pre-made hood would suit you better. You don't have to build at all if it doesn't appeal.

edit: might help if I added the link

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Top Secret Researcher
#15 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 12:22 AM
I play BACC style, so I grow the neighborhood as I play.
Mad Poster
#16 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 6:44 AM
What I do depends on what I'm going to do with a hood.
If it's a premade hood, well, it's premade. That's simple.
If it's for little short challenges--seven toddler, asylum, whatever, that take a generation or less, then I plop down a couple basic community lots--somewhere to buy food, at least, and something recreational--and whatever house I need for the first challenge.
If it's for a long challenge, then any lots required for the challenge--the trailer park challenge requires a 'walmart' type store and a trailer park home lot. An apocalypse starter home for an apocalypse hood. A big empty 5x6 for a legacy hood.

So, for you, where you loose interest:
First, consider building the part of the game you love most (I can't tell if that's buildings or sims from what you said) to share. Why not do what you love? There are lots of people who like to download whatever it is. There are several builders around here who say they really only play to playtest their lots, their main interest is in building. That's a perfectly okay thing to do, if that's what fills your fun bar up!

Second, if you want to play but you don't know how to hold your interest, go try some of the little short challenges. Most of us who have been playing a few years have tried a lot of different playstyles before finding one that really suited. Read over the challenges, look at some of the stories people have posted, and then try different things out. I love reading legacies, but the furthest I've ever gotten playing one was the grandchildren of the founder. So I might start one and play for a bit now and then, but most of the time when I play, I play premades, little challenges, apocalypses, or historical games. (Probably it's no coincidence the legacy I got furthest with was historical.)

When you know what you like, you'll find holding your interest comes naturally.

Pics from my game: Sunbee's Simblr Sunbee's Livejournal
"English is a marvelous edged weapon if you know how to wield it." C.J. Cherryh
Mad Poster
#17 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 7:21 AM
How one sets up your hood is completely individual. I do not have a food shop in my current hood (it is somewhere, of course, since can still order food ). I see community lots more as places where my Sims can have fun and meet other Sims. So there are no town halls, buildings for realsim, etc in my hood - I will rather use the space for another dance venue. Yet many players love their hoods to look like real towns or cities, which is fine, because the game is versatile enough to give one that option.

I believe in solving being bored is not so much in restarting. Rather look at one of your Sims and think - he/she is going to be my main character and I am going to throw the kitchen sink at him now and have bad things happen to him, and then make him survive them all and reach his LTW anyway. One can get lost in planning, and planning again and again and again. One has to get past the first phase of moving Sims in, getting them jobs, greeting the garden club member, etc. - but for me, the longer one stays with a hood, the more interesting it becomes.
Lab Assistant
DELETED POST
14th Nov 2015 at 9:17 AM
This message has been deleted by HaphazardSim.
Scholar
#18 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 10:43 AM
I don't plan much at all. For Strangetown i'm using almost all Maxis Sims (with the exception of adding a Pleasure family to Widespot to round out the aspirations there, and use all my natural skintones, since I added it as a shopping district). The most I know really is Olive is a murderer and only cares about Grim and her son, the Beakers are evil but especially Circe, and Buzz Grunt is a jerk, and hates the aliens. And all that has to do with the Maxis storyline (or at least how i've interpreted it). My Royal Kingdom I just made all the families and a bunch of community lots. For my sci-fi world (the place to use all my cc fantasy skintones) I just made many families and lots and ta-da. I do have the founding family and a little bit of story already but very minimal.

So I guess I don't really plan much out. A little maybe, but if I plan too much i'll get overwhelmed and nothing will go as planned anyway and frustrate me. So I just play as I like, making up storylines as I go mostly.

My Simblr
They/He
Forum Resident
#19 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 11:18 AM
I currently have two 'hoods that I'm playing. One is modern, the other medieval. I like challenges such as build-a-city or prosperity, and tend to use some of the ideas from those to create my own rules about what careers or community lots are available to sims at different points. I also tend to start by deciding where I will want certain types of lots, and I'll add a few empty community or residential lots to remind myself what I intended for different parts of the map before I create families.

For the modern hood' I started with a large terrain and divided it up in my mind so that it had an agricultural area, an area of community lots, and a couple of different residential areas. Then I added a few empty lots - one became a community park, one a cemetery, a few were meant for later purchase as businesses or work related lots, and I added empty residential lots. In CAS, I created 8 unrelated adults - they were fairly random. All of them moved onto one large lot in my agricultural area - I gave the lot a pond and built a small farm on it. For one year (so each season), I played with aging off. I let the sim's wants and their need to produce food determine what happened. Near the end of the year, I took a look at the assorted relationships, and paired off sims that seemed to fit together. One couple stayed on the farm, and everyone else moved to assorted small lots and started businesses. The farm family ran a home market, one family made toys at a community lot, one couple worked in politics (they eventually bought parks and donated them to the town so my sims could visit them), and one family ran a restaurant. The pairs had families, and their descendants either married other playable sims or brought in townies. I tend to only allow my sims to visit owned lots, or ones that have been donated to the town, and I only have sims join careers that make sense to have available in the community. When one grandchild of the founders wanted to become an entertainer and another wanted to be a dancer, that family started building a theater/arts center. I also added bin sims at a rate of one or two families per year. I play all the families in rotation for a season. My town currently has a fairly large number of small community lot businesses, a few municipal buildings, a farm/vineyard section, and three different residential areas. I've also started adding sub-hoods - so far just one vacation and a university have been earned.

My medieval hood started with the main hood, a university, a business district, and downtown - all empty custom hoods on small maps. I also used empty templates and notownieregen for this hood, so it's fairly empty. The main hood is mostly rural, and in my mind it's just outside the business and downtown areas. It's the only area that I've really used so far, though I've started building lots in all the sub-hoods. Again, I decided where I wanted to place things - I've got an area for poor farmers, one for more prosperous farmers, a crossroads with 4 community lots (a small market, a tavern, a cemetary, and a park/festival grounds), a wooded area, a mining region, an area that will be run by some religious order (it currently has an orphanage and school, but will also have lots with an infirmary and a vineyard and a cathedral - it's a mix of residential and community lots), a fishing village/apartment lot with huts for rent, and a couple of manor houses or hunting lodges for minor nobility. For this game, I rolled dice to determine how many families I was going to start with and what the composition of those families was going to be. I ended up with 8 starting families (I used a six sided die, but had decided to add four to my roll as I wanted between five and ten starting families). I scattered the families about my area - one small family became minor nobility, one family that had just an elder became my first religious order member and started an orphanage, and the rest were peasants that were scattered into different resource-related lots. The downtown area has (or will have - so far it's mostly empty) mostly has community lots, but it will have a castle and fortifications (residences and apartments). My university is open to everyone regardless of class as otherwise the age discrepancies of having only some attend university bugs me, but the dorms are themed - so peasants would be working on gardening or fishing, while craftsmen might learn pottery, and nobles train and study in relative luxury.

I have played my modern 'hood longer, and when it started getting dull, I started playing challenges on a few of the lots. One lot I treat as an asylum, one is an ISBY (the Ramaswami family from the bin, controlling only Priya - she was the first sim in town to have quads, despite the odds set to 1% - they survived to toddlerhood, but it was scary), and I keep meaning to add a legacy challenge. When I wanted a larger change, I created my medieval town. When that starts to get boring, I'll switch again for a while.

I keep track of my towns with notes. For my modern town, each individual has a tiny piece of note paper listing their LTW, personality, career, spouse, motivation level, desired family size and anything else I felt like noting about them (owned businesses, relationship history...). The individual slips are paper-clipped together in family bundles, and as people change households, I just move the papers around to track them. I use a similar system for my medieval hood, but use coloured sticky notes, with the colour of the paper indicating social standing. Even without the colours, I like the sticky notes a bit better, as I stick family piles to sheets of paper and the pile of sheets takes less space and is easier to sort than the piles with paperclips - the downside is the stickiness will eventually wear off. Moving the piles makes it easy to track which families have been played in a rotation, and I can place families that have connections of some sort beside each other on a sheet of paper and add a note (such as a wedding planned for the next rotation, or a feud).
Field Researcher
#21 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 4:19 PM Last edited by Sanypsia : 16th Nov 2015 at 3:30 PM.
My current city, Dirkwood Flats, is played BACC style. It has one grocery store and one salon that are city owned, and one small technology store that'll be sim owned with gen 3 become adults. There is minimal planning when it comes to Dirkwood - lots are placed on a whim, and built on a whim, but the family is played in chronological order through rotation. The main goal for Dirkwood is "get to gen. 5!" Before it explodes, which will be depressing.

Now I do have a 'hood that has been 2 years in the making and that I'll most likely start spring of 2016 with the intention of documenting its growth online, where people can read it. It started with the legacy challenge, or reading the post, anyway. The idea of reaching gen 10 with one family was one I loved, and still do love. I took on my first legacy challenge and discovered my pet peeves. I don't like letting spares rot in my sim bin, for example, and sim deletion is complicated, not as easy as just clicking the "delete a sim" button in the bin. So I realized I'd have to play rotationally, and keep spare families limited. Then I realized that I didn't like the cacophony of names. Since I had a very specific goal of 10 generations, I wanted organization and began naming the sims with correlating each generation with a letter of the alphabet. Then I realized I wanted to do an alphabetacy. Which then took over my writer's intuition, and generated a story of love, loss, family and grandeur. With that, I began planning.

In regards to the sims themselves, I have a spreadsheet with most (not quite all) of the generations heirs or heiresses. It includes names, possible desired LTWs, the number of children they have, possible names for each child (one boy name, one girl name for each child), their turn-ons and offs, what skills they'll be best at, and what talent badges they'll aspire for. Additionally, each sim has been assigned a job that correlates with their part in he next step of my planning, as well as what rank they'll reach and stay at. I have determined who'll be the spares, and am in the process of planning them out as much as the heirs have been. Since I have big hopes for the story itself, I've also been planning out non-related but prominent families, as well as a few of the spouses that the more important spares will marry for the conflict later on down the line.

I have a plot too, for the first 9 generations, and the last 2. The neighborhood is going to suffer from extreme racism between gen 4 and gen 8, for example, as well as a very probable war (which is the chapter I'm currently writing), which I have a notepad document and a notebook irl for, where I spend a lot of time looking at the overviews of each generation I have so far and considering how I can tie the events of the previous into the next o make for a good story. So far it's reminiscent of Days of our Lives in regards to the long term story telling.

Because of the extreme racism I know my sims will face, I have selected a neighborhood template that includes a bridge and two sides of it - one where the non segregated sims will live, and one where the segregated sims will be forced to live. This leaves room for me to determine how to plan the slums vs the uptons, vs the badlands.., and also reminds me that I've decided what all of the areas on the neighborhood map will be named, mimicking real life. Where "over the tracks" is either good or bad depending on which side you live on. As such, no one in the slums is going to have a nice, 3bed, four bathranch style house! Which has helped me determine where the low class will live, where the upper class will live, where the shops will be and where parks and rec will be.

Because I also know how the 'hood will be subdivided, I have begun being able to determine how sims will end up in each different location - old money, life's hardships, etc. which also leaves room for overall neighborhood growth as I'll be having to add in other families to keep the bloodlines fresh. This has also helped me begin to determine how the tax system will work out in the grand scheme of things and how the technology advancement will begin, which will be a great benefit to the main legacy family in the long run.

All that's left is to determine the neighborhood name, as well as subdivision names. Which, for me, is one of the most important parts. It has to be something maleable and with give, something that can change over time. Dirkwood Flats, for example, has been shortened to Dirkwood by its inhabitants. Which might altogetether change in the future with other generations taking the helm. And, of course, there has to be different names for each subdivision. The outlands might be the same as the badlands, but different people will call it different things, or coin a new term entirely. I feel like this gives the neighborhood character.

At the end of it all, I still plan on flying by the seat of my pants when I finally do play the Zany legacy, but my long term goal is to post it online, and I don't want to do that willy-nilly. So it'll be more structured than most of my neighborhoods have been. I've had a fantastic time planning it out and can't wait to actually start playing it.

Take the Hard Hat Challenge. A relatively quick challenge designed to be added into almost any established hood.

Hollow Tune - Brick 'N' Mortar.

{San-Yip-See-Ah}
Mad Poster
#22 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 4:43 PM
I'm what's called a pantser - I play by the seat of my pants.

First, there's a concept. When I made Widespot, this was calculated and planned, with lots of doodling in notebooks, balancing the resources I had to work with against what I wanted to accomplish - maximum drama, minimum sims. I worked out the families and their names and the broad outlines of their starting situations on paper, using the time I spent building the houses (you will note that Widespot has very few houses! Just one per family and the three community lots - one for shopping, one for recreation, and one joke) to evolve clearer pictures of the sims. Building and decorating a house for someone requires a certain knowledge of their character, so building was part of characterization. Then I made the sims, again the minimum necessary for what I intended to accomplish. The elders were each built with their roles and their households in mind, and with notes about the other characters and their relationships on hand; then the adults, teens, and children were spawned with the pacifier (and excess elders deleted before finalizing the household, so as not to clutter up the character files) and their characters left alone, if they had no particular role, or tweaked. Certain people had to have reasonably good chemistry regardless of what turn-ons they got in each neighborhood, so I was picky about star signs; but where it didn't matter, I let the game surprise me.

By my standards, that was a lot of planning, and that's because it was for public consumption. When I built Drama Acres, I had been about ready to make a custom hood when our desktop computer blew out. So I had the weeks of waiting to get a computer with a good graphics card and the correct background software in which to refine the original concept for it; which was just "make one sim for each aspiration and send them to college." While I waited for that computer, I thought about the things the game would land me with which wouldn't make sense, like adults with no skills and the $20K handout, and worked out a backstory that would explain them. I didn't know how to use any cheats except move objects at that time, and the limitations challenged me to overcome them purely with story solutions. By the time I got the computer I needed to start, the six core sims each had families (based primarily on how many puns I could work out to name them) and a little bit of history. I chose a map, built the families in CAS, built houses for each of them - lot bin houses, except for the Onions, who got one built from a floorplan cadged from the recycle bin at my soul-sucking day job, and the Hawkinses, who got a freehand miner's cabin - plopped them down, and started playing. The neighborhood got new people and new lots as I needed them, and the backstories grew as I played. Once I started using mods and cheats and editing tools I was able to render theoretical back stories - like the close blood ties between the core families - into game reality.

Planning can be fun by itself; but too much planning sucks the spontaneity and fun out of the game. The sweet spot on the continuum of planning and winging it is different for everybody. If you find that by the time you're done planning a neighborhood you don't want top play it any more, I submit that you need to start playing earlier in the process and adjust your plans on the fly. Only you can find your comfort zone.

And no matter how much you enjoy planning and playing out plans, you will never, ever be immune from getting a Better Idea later. Always build in enough flexibility that you can accommodate those better ideas!

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.)
Top Secret Researcher
#23 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 7:49 PM
I'm working on my version of Castaway Stories' Felicity Island in my TS2 game right now.

What I did first is create the terrain in SC4. (SC4 wouldn't start at all on my Windows 10 laptop - and VB keeps bitching about some missing DLLs - so I got downstairs and set up my old Windows XP dinosaur desktop, installed the game, and modded the terrain. Once I think I got something, I'd import it via USB on my laptop, see what it looks like in-game, and re-do if needed. I've done around 9 versions of Felicity Island, with the tenth one being roadless.)

So, I imported the 9th version in TS2, and added bunch of lots. (I pre-planned the lots - names & what would each contain.) Once I placed them, I entered every single lot (because Mootilda's LotAdjuster doesn't work with lots that've never been loaded). Then, I exited the game, and used HoodReplace (again, from our late Mootilda, without whose programs all this wouldn't be possible for me) to replace the .sc4 terrain of Felicity Island with the same one, just with no roads. The reason I did this is that original Felicity has roadless lots, and I really wished to follow that concept.

The way I re-imagined Felicity, is that there are multiple villages on that island (besides some other reasons, this really helps put all those Sims in the hood, especially when one does not wish to add a downtown or shopping district to the island). To fit all the villages on one small city (SC4 has 3 city (neighborhood) sizes, Sims2 only accepts small cities, compared to Castaway Stories where Felicity was on a medium map), I used LotAdjuster to remove roads from lots and re-position all lots in the neighborhood so that they'd snap to each other (have shared borders). That way I accomplished the central village (the one with the Harbor) to be more dense, and to add an effect that the remaining four villages are placed further away from the central one. (I call it "central" because it's on my mind to move legacy there.)

Once I opened the game again, everything looked severely messed up, but there was nothing to worry about, as it was expected behavior. And now the looong part, where I build all the lots. Right now I'm 82 % done with the central village.

After I build all the lots, which is going to take me the most, I'll add those nhood decorations and take a few pics for the thumbnail. Following which, Sims creation. Right now I'm thinking whether I should re-create existing Sims that I've had in previous versions of Felicity Island, or should I start over with a handful of townies with native outfits and a few CAS-made ones.

But once I reach the phase where the island is populated a bit, it's merely just storytelling. And that I cannot put into words, because I end up doing it differently every time.
Meet Me In My Next Life
#24 Old 14th Nov 2015 at 10:23 PM
Also another reason why it took me so long to complete my Asian hood was after creating or downloading Sims I had to research Asian names for each group that mean for Japanese, Chinese and Korean.
Just because they are all Asians, don't mean their names or the way they are written are the same, each group have their own "distinctive" names and meaning and customs.

Next was creating Asian names for Streets or addresses and also for some community lot, I visit China with friends years ago, so I had a pretty good idea of streets and businesses names.
But I should point out, that there are some European businesses over there in China that do use English words, so I took that into consideration when giving names for lots.
Next was downloading and hunting down "traditional" clothes for each group, that was not so hard to find thanks to the Sims wonderful community.

Very recently I added some new lots to Pleasantview and my Custom hood thanks to the many ideas from members joandsarah77 posting about Career and Businesses here http://modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=561271
I decided a while back to only play just two neighborhoods after restarting my game over with Tarlia's Templates, so right now I am so happy with just Pleasantview and Shanghai my custom Asian hood.
It was well worth the long wait of six months to complete my Custom neighborhood.

"Nothing in life is a Surprise it just happen to come your way at the time".
Field Researcher
#25 Old 15th Nov 2015 at 12:31 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ.
I'm working on my version of Castaway Stories' Felicity Island in my TS2 game right now.

What I did first is create the terrain in SC4. (SC4 wouldn't start at all on my Windows 10 laptop - and VB keeps bitching about some missing DLLs - so I got downstairs and set up my old Windows XP dinosaur desktop, installed the game, and modded the terrain. Once I think I got something, I'd import it via USB on my laptop, see what it looks like in-game, and re-do if needed. I've done around 9 versions of Felicity Island, with the tenth one being roadless.)

So, I imported the 9th version in TS2, and added bunch of lots. (I pre-planned the lots - names & what would each contain.) Once I placed them, I entered every single lot (because Mootilda's LotAdjuster doesn't work with lots that've never been loaded). Then, I exited the game, and used HoodReplace (again, from our late Mootilda, without whose programs all this wouldn't be possible for me) to replace the .sc4 terrain of Felicity Island with the same one, just with no roads. The reason I did this is that original Felicity has roadless lots, and I really wished to follow that concept.

The way I re-imagined Felicity, is that there are multiple villages on that island (besides some other reasons, this really helps put all those Sims in the hood, especially when one does not wish to add a downtown or shopping district to the island). To fit all the villages on one small city (SC4 has 3 city (neighborhood) sizes, Sims2 only accepts small cities, compared to Castaway Stories where Felicity was on a medium map), I used LotAdjuster to remove roads from lots and re-position all lots in the neighborhood so that they'd snap to each other (have shared borders). That way I accomplished the central village (the one with the Harbor) to be more dense, and to add an effect that the remaining four villages are placed further away from the central one. (I call it "central" because it's on my mind to move legacy there.)

Once I opened the game again, everything looked severely messed up, but there was nothing to worry about, as it was expected behavior. And now the looong part, where I build all the lots. Right now I'm 82 % done with the central village.

After I build all the lots, which is going to take me the most, I'll add those nhood decorations and take a few pics for the thumbnail. Following which, Sims creation. Right now I'm thinking whether I should re-create existing Sims that I've had in previous versions of Felicity Island, or should I start over with a handful of townies with native outfits and a few CAS-made ones.

But once I reach the phase where the island is populated a bit, it's merely just storytelling. And that I cannot put into words, because I end up doing it differently every time.


Wow, would be nice to see some pictures! (Upload in the Pictures subforum)
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