You started off excited to build your first world, and then suddenly it hit you: OMG. All those objects you have to place. All those houses you have to build. All those households you have to create. And now it seems as if you’ll never, ever get your world completed.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t let all of this get you down. There are a few tricks you can use to cut down on all this building time and make the process far less tedious.

Tip One: Use the Search Feature When Placing Objects in CAW and SuperCAW (Especially)

CAW has hundreds of cool objects to choose from to decorate your world with. However, as you can imagine, scrolling through that gigantic list of these items in the Metadata panel can be very time-consuming. However, there’s a neat shortcut you can use to cut down on the scrolling. Simply do a search in “Filter” to immediately call up the item that you want to place.

For example, below, I wanted a traffic light to place in my world. Rather than just scroll through the Metadata list, I typed in “traffic,” and voila–got a list of all traffic-related objects.

▲ By doing a search for “traffic” in CAW, I was able to whittle down the objects in Metadata to only traffic-related objects instead of wasting time scrolling through the list.

This shortcut is not only helpful in CAW, it’s especially helpful in SuperCAW, which loads particularly slowly. If you find that program especially frustrating for this reason, using search will make it less so.

Tip Two: Don’t Fill Up All of Your Residential Lots with Households

Everyone gets the idea that if they populate a world, they have to create a household for every single vacant lot. But think about it: in the Real World, there are vacancies, right? Not every house or apartment is occupied by someone. So, why do you need to fill up every household? You don’t. Besides, you never really need more than 8-10 families in any world to make it feel alive, and whatever you don’t fill will be filled with Story Progression in-game, anyway. So, resist the urge to go overboard when creating households. 10 households is fine, 20 is okay, but over 30 is overkill, and you will be exhausted trying to complete all of those families!

Tip Three: Use Premade Lots from the Library or Other Worlds

Everyone who starts out building a world always has this urge to build every single lot in a world from scratch. This is understandable but it’s way too time-consuming. Plus, it’s unnecessary because you can always place a completed lot from the library or from other EA worlds. For example, in Oceanview, I placed many of EA’s lots from the library in one part of the world to cut down on world building. In all three of my worlds, I merely copied and pasted Showtime venues from Starlight Shores.

Showtime venue in Pottersville.
▲ Showtime venue that I copied to bin and then placed in my custom world, Pottersville.

Some people will not like this option, as they might find this a form of cheating or feel as if having these pre-made lots will take away from the originality of their world. My feeling is this: 1) If you put enough of your own personal touch into a world, having these pre-made lots won’t really make much of a difference (players will be too busy oohing and ahhing to really care). 2) You can always reedit these lots in the way of more landscaping and different wallpapers, anyway.

Tip Four: When Creating Households, Use “Make Twin” Option

I used to find creating households the most annoying part of world building. Nothing was worse than adding a new member to a household. You’d click “Create Sim” and then wait forever for Create a Household to load a new character. You’d complete that character and then you’d have to wait a long time for the next sim to load, too.

If you’re also feeling that household building is a drag, there’s a neat trick to make a new sim in a household load quicker. Instead of choosing, “Create Sim,” pick your first sim, select”Create Twin” and then use the randomizer to customize. Below is the process in pictures, so you get a better idea of what I mean:

Create a Household shortcut
▲ Here is a sim I’ve created for a household. Now I want to make a new member.
Create a Household shortcut
▲ This is what most people do when they create a new household member. They click “Create Sim.” DON’T DO THIS! It will take forever for Create a Household to load a new sim! Do this instead:
Create a Household shortcut
▲ Choose “Create a Twin”.
Create a Household shortcut
▲ Now we have made a twin of our first sim, and she loaded super fast, in less than 5 seconds.
Create a Household shortcut
▲ To make this sim unique, we will click on the “Randomize” button.
Create a Household shortcut
▲ Ta da! Now we have a sim that looks different from our first one.
Create a Household shortcut
▲ Now I can customize this sim’s looks, outfits and personality traits.

I know this little shortcut doesn’t seem like much, but trust me–this will cut down on your household-creation considerably! I used to hate creating households; now it’s the most fun part of world building.

Tip Five: Don’t Get Too Fussy with Outfits in Create a Household

If you’re super OCD, you may be tempted to carefully craft every outfit for every sim in every household, to where you’re even using Create a Style for every swatch of clothing.

I understand the compulsion, but this is definitely overkill. Remember–sims can be restyled anyway via the salon, and players can create new outfits for them in the dresser in-game. So, in creating your households, don’t get too crazy. Just make sure that the outfits that you fit matches your sim’s personality and are color-coordinated.

The only exception to this rule is if you want a particular sim or household to be very eccentric or convey a unique personality. For example, for the sim below, I took the trouble to customize everything because she is supposed to be a quirky Harajuku sim. If she had been your ordinary, run-of-the mill sim, I would’ve just clicked on a few outfits and called it a day.

Harajuku sim
▲ Only get detailed in Create a Sim when the sim is supposed to be very unique and quirky.
Tip Six: Use One House as a Template for Many Others

Something that people do when building house lots is to build every single one from scratch, so that every house is as unique as possible. As you can imagine, this can take eons, especially if you have well over 50 lots.

Believe it or not, there’s a short cut to build lots up faster and still get “unique” houses in the process. It goes something like this:

  1. Build a rough draft of a house idea that you have. So, put up your walls, maybe a little landscaping, maybe windows, but don’t finish the interiors and don’t add wallpaper.
  2. Save this “rough draft” to bin.
  3. Add multiple copies of this lot from your library to the world.
  4. Now, tweak each house to look unique. For example, give each of the copied lots different wallpapers, different windows, different landscaping, etc.

Below, you can see an example of what I mean. These look like two different houses but they are actually both built from the same structure. I just changed the landscaping, the roofs, doors and windows for each one.

Sims 3 townhouse- Pottersville

▲ This house and the one above may seem like two different houses but they’re not. They’re built from the same structure. ▼

In Summary

Building a world in CAW can be a very tedious, time-consuming task. Luckily, there are a few shortcuts to make things far less tedious. They won’t cut down on your world building significantly, but they’ll make enough of a difference to where your work flow is improved and world building feels less burdensome.