Okay, so if you’re trying to build a Bridgeport-style world in CAW, you are probably just dying to populate it with the cool apartment buildings you can find there. One fast and easy way of doing this is to save all the apt buildings in Bridgeport to library, then add them to your world in Edit in Game. But what if you’re bored to death of those Bridgeport apartments and want to build apts from scratch using those cool buildings (aka shells)? Simple!

Step One: Enter “buydebug” into cheat console

If you want to purchase a Late Night apartment building in Buy Mode, there’s just one problem–you can’t right away, because they’re all located under buydebug. So, to access them type “buydebug” into the cheat console.

Step Two: Enter “RestrictBuildBuyInBuildings false” cheat

There’s another cheat you need to enter before you start building. As soon as you place a building shell onto a lot, you won’t be able to move, edit or delete it. You’ll get a message that says, “Cannot add, change or remove objects outside of your unit.”

To prevent this from happening, enter a second cheat: restrictbuildbuyinbuildings false. Not only will you need to enter this before you build on a lot with an apartment building shell, but every time you try and edit it after restarting Edit in Game.

Step Three: Choose, then Place Building

Once you’ve entered both cheats, enter Buy Mode for the lot you want to build on. Click on the large “?” tab (this is where all the buydebug objects are). Then click on the very last tab to look for the buildings you would like to use. They are each labeled “Metropolitan Building.”

Once you’ve found the one you like, place it on your lot.

Step Four: Plan Layout

At this stage, you are now ready to plan your layout. In laying out your rooms, remember how the apartment buildings in Bridgeport are organized. There is a lobby/vestibule on the first floor that has an elevator and in some cases, one or two rooms where NPC sims live (NPC sims=townies, bouncers, pianists, mixologists, etc,). On the upper floor, there is a hallway outside your sim’s apartment. This hallway may also have additional rooms for NPC sims.

Here is how I have laid out the first floor of my building. The square room in the middle is the lobby. The rectangular room behind the lobby contains the elevator. The two large rooms on the sides are apartments for NPC sims. They will be left empty when I decorate the lot later.

Now here is how I laid out the second floor. Down the middle of the second floor is the hallway and elevator. The large room on the right hand side of the hallway will be another apartment for an NPC sim. This will be left completely blank. On the left is the apartment where I want our sim family to live in. You can see where I started putting up walls already.

When laying out your rooms, you don’t necessarily have to lay them in the exact shape that I have, but they should always be laid out in the same formation: lobby/vestibule on the first floor, hallway on other floors flanked by your apartments for your NPC sims and sim family. This is very important for later on down the road.

Step Five: Place Windows

When you’ve figured out your layout, place all your windows, but be aware of the following issues as you do:

  1. Make sure your windows match the style of the apartment building shell. For example, if the building has old-fashioned two-paned windows, then choose those from Buy Mode. If the shell has modern windows, then choose those. It’s not necessarily important for the windows to match; it’s just a nice bit of detail that people playing your world will appreciate.
  2. Have the windows lined up with the windows on the outside of the building.
  3. You don’t have to add windows to all of the outside of your building. You only have to add them to the apartment where your sim will be living.

Step Six: Decorate, Toggle Day/Night Lighting

Decorate your lobby, hallway, apartment and area outside of the apartment building. (Do not worry about the NPC rooms. Leave these blank.) As you decorate, toggle the day and night lighting to see how everything looks at night. (To toggle, press the round button that looks like the Yin-Yang symbol.)

Apartment building, with night toggled so I can see how the lighting looks at night. Not bad, may need some more lighting here and there.
Step Seven: Add Special Apartment Building Objects

Apartment buildings require special objects, such as the apartment mailbox and trash chute. These can be found under buydebug.

Another thing apartment buildings need is the callbox. There are two types–one that is freestanding, and the other that goes on the wall. These can be found under Electronics–> Miscellaneous.

Where I’ve placed my callbox. You can place it anywhere outside or in the lobby. I have decided to place mine here.
Step Eight: Add Hidden Room Markers to NPC Rooms

Okay, so you’ve completed your apartment from inside and out, and you’re pleased as punch. Now what? Are you done?

My fully furnished and decorated apartment building.

Not exactly! We may have beautiful apartment interiors, but there’s just one problem. Remember that not only will our sim family be living here, there will also be NPC sims living in those blank rooms we created. Somehow, we need to tell the game which rooms belong to the NPC sims and which ones don’t.

The first step is by placing what are called “markers.” Markers are silver round balls that you can place on lots that allow you to “program” them to do certain things. Let’s look at the “Hidden Room Marker”, located under buydebug.

Hidden Room Marker

The Hidden Marker goes inside the blank rooms of the apartment building where your NPCs live. In live game mode, these rooms will be blacked out. Only put the Hidden Room Markers in those rooms for NPC sims. Don’t place them anywhere else, or those rooms will be blacked out in Live Mode.

Step Nine: Add Public Room Markers to Lobby and Vestibule

We are not done yet with our markers. There is a new marker we need to place for our apartment building, the Public Room Marker. This tells our game which areas that both our sim family and NPC family can enter, exit and use. This marker can also be found under buydebug:

For apartment buildings, place a Public Room Marker in the lobby/vestibule, hallway and room that contains your elevator.

Where I’ve placed a Public Room Marker on the first floor–in the lobby. You can’t see it, but there’s also one in the room behind it containing the elevator.
Step Ten: Mark Rooms as NPC

So now we get to the last step–marking doors as NPC. This is very easy. Just go to each door that you’ve placed outside of an NPC room, then CTRL+SHIFT+CLICK on it. When you do, you’ll get the pie menu. Select “Make NPC door” and voila! Now your NPC sims know which door to use to enter their apartment.

Marking a door on the first floor as an “NPC door.”

Do this for every room in your apartment building that you’ve set aside for an NPC sim.

Marking a door on the second floor of my apartment building
Step Eleven: Set Front of Lot

To make sure your sims always enter their apartment from the front of the building, CTRL+SHIFT+CLICK on the side of the lot you want to as the front of the building. Then click “Set Front of Lot.” The side of the lot you marked will be highlighted in light blue and you’ll see little arrows pointing inwards.

Right click the side of your lot you want to mark as front, then select “Set Front of Lot”
You’ll know the front of the lot has been set when you get a message and see the side you marked highlighted in blue.
Congratulations! You’re Done

If you’ve completed all the steps above, then congratulations! You’ve just completed your first apartment building from scratch using a shell. Of course, it wouldn’t be The Sims without glitches and other problems to worry about, so let’s take a look at a major bug you may come across.

The Missing Door/White Box Glitch

I don’t remember which EP introduced this bug (it might have been Generations or World Adventures), but there’s a bug in which a little white box shows up on a lot after you’ve placed an apartment shell. The reason why the box appears is that the front door of the building (the one the sims enter and exit through at ground level) is missing in Build Mode.

This bug in no way, shape, or form affects game play, but it’s very annoying. Not only will your apartment be missing a front door, the white box will show up in your game, even after you delete it. But don’t despair! There’s a workaround for this glitch.

  1. Use “moveobjects on” cheat to hide white box

    To get rid of the white box, type in “moveobjects on” into the cheats console, then hide the box inside one of your NPC rooms or somewhere else where it can’t be seen in Live Mode. Do not waste time deleting it, because the white box will reappear again the next time you open your game.

    Where I moved the annoying white box–inside an NPC room.
  2. Build walls at the gap and add a door from Build Mode

    You can substitute the missing door for any one of the two-tile doors in Build Mode, but first, you’ll have to put up walls at the entrance so you can place it in the first place. Below, you can see what that looks like.

    Walls I have built at the entrance so I can place a door.

    What the front now looks like with the new door. Even though this door isn’t the one that belongs to the apartment building shell, it’ll act just like the front door. Sims will walk up to it and enter the lobby as normal.
The Unclosed Room Glitch

This is a glitch in which a room you built behaves as if it’s outdoors, even though you enclosed it properly. What’ll happen is that it’ll be flooded with moonlight and sunlight, and sims inside will be exposed to the elements. They’ll experience rain, snow, heat, cold, the whole enchilada. You can usually tell when a room has this glitch when you see sharper lighting and shadows than you would normally see in a room that is indoors. This lighting means that there’s sunlight flooding the room from the outside:

Notice something odd about the lighting in the hallway?

To fix this bug, check out this tutorial, Fixing The Apartment Building Unclosed Room Glitch.