Just some helpful tips, tricks and helpful advice for beginners to the Sims 3 Create a World Tool.

Read the Manual First (Don’t Be a Hero)

Before you even so much as contemplate building your first world, read the official manual that comes with CAW. (To access it, click “F1” to bring it up in CAW or go to File–>About–>Help). Read it, learn it, memorize it, then practice what you’ve learned before moving on to more advanced building skills. But whatever you do, don’t be a hero trying to either wing your way through CAW, or by starting with the most advanced tutorials out on the web; this is like trying to learn a foreign language by learning the hardest words first.

Create a World Manual
▲ Click F1 to draw up the manual while in Create a World. It will tell you everything you need to get started.
Master the Basics Before You Do Anything Ambitious

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You’ve got to learn to walk before you can run,” right? That’s true of building a world in CAW, too. Before you do anything, it’s important for you to make sure you know how to do the littlest things first, such as:

  • Placing lots and learning how to make them residential or commercial.
  • Placing roads
  • Placing bridges and how to connect roads to them.
  • Using the sculpt tool to make hills and valleys.
  • Terrain painting
  • Opening and running EIG (or Edit in Game)
  • Using SuperCAW

I know that this is a bitter pill to swallow. You want to start building right away. But world building has a steep learning curve. To make the curve less steep, learn the basics until you can practically do them in your sleep. Once you do, the rest will come easy.

For Your First World, Build Small

If you’re building your first world ever, do not get ambitious. Start with a small world. The reason why is that as a newbie, you’ll be making tons of mistakes. If you start out in CAW with a big, sprawling city with a zillion lots, streets, buildings and bridges, it will take you forever to troubleshoot and fix all the routing issues and mistakes you’ve made. This problem is the reason why it took me so long to complete my first world. It took me six months to build but then another year and a half to fix.

So, I repeat, don’t go overboard. Keep things simple. When you gain more experience, build as large as you want but in the beginning, start small.

Don’t Get Too Creative, Either

When you build for the very first time, you may want to go crazy and start building elaborate structures like piers, built-in staircases, waterfalls, etc. When you become more experienced as a world builder, it’s okay to be creative but as a beginner, stick to the basics–lots, hills, roads and trees. Elaborate stuff like this will only cause trouble down the road when you first start playing this world, and you’ll become so demoralized you’ll quit.

▲ Don’t start building elaborate stuff like this as a beginner. You will go crazy trying to get it to look right or have routing work perfectly.
Use Premade Lots to Make Things Go Quicker

One of the dumbest things I did starting out was decide to build every single lot in a world that had well over 180 lots. As you can imagine, it took me forever and only dragged the process of completing it further.

If you are dreading this very thing when building your first world, remember that The Sims 3 comes with a whole bunch of premade lots in library for you to use. You can also take lots from other worlds, add them to library and then place them in your world. So, don’t be afraid to recycle lots to make the process of completing a world go faster.

▲ In my TS3 world, Riverside, I added lots from EA’s worlds and pre-made lots from the game library.
Backup, Backup, Backup, Backup! Did I Forget to Mention Backup?

This cannot be emphasized enough: backup your WIPs (work in progress) worlds to a DVD, the cloud, a flash drive or whatever else you have handy as soon as you hit a milestone. The reason why is that your hard drive can fail at any given moment and if that happens, all of that hard work will have gone down the drain. You’ll be so devastated, you’ll never want to build another world again or even so much as look as a copy of CAW. So, backup, backup, backup! You can never be too careful.

▲ Always back up your world. The easiest way to do this is to simply backup the Worlds folder, which can be found under Electronic Arts–>The Sims 3 Create a World–>User ToolData folder.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Every world builder has run into a problem or gotten stuck trying to do something. If that’s you, don’t be afraid to visit various forums for help from master builders. Two of them are The Sim 3 World Builders forum at the official site, as well as Mod The Sim’s Create a World forum. However, before you post, make sure you use the search function first because odds are, your problem may have been answered already.

Mod the Sims Create a World Forum
▲ Mod the Sim’s Create a World Forum is a great place to ask for help if you get stuck!