It’s not enough to just place lots, trees and roads to make a really cool world that other players will appreciate. Your world has to be professional, fun to play and avoid those tiny little issues that players might find annoying. If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and build for others, below are some helpful tricks of the trade.
Tip #1: Consider Travel Times
This one is a biggie. As you’re well aware, sims have to take some time to travel back and forth between lots. So, when you’re building your world, take travel time into major consideration. Don’t have everything so far out of the way or so difficult to get to that players get frustrated. That’s not to say that you can’t have one or two fun, little secret out of the way places for sims to explore. But your most important lots (rabbit holes and venues, especially) should be within easy travel distance. Don’t have it so that it takes sims half a sim day just to go to the beach or a nightclub.
If you insist on having everything spread out, add train stations to make it easier for sims to get from place to place. Otherwise, people who play your world will find it very frustrating to get around in.
Tip #2: Have Affordable Lots for New Households
Remember that whenever players create a new household, the household is poor and only has so much money to buy a house or move into an apartment building. So don’t go crazy and make every house and apartment a super expensive mansion or penthouse. Have a handful of starter homes and apartment buildings.
Tip #3: Place Empty Lots
Players like to build, so place some empty lots in your world to leave enough wriggle room for them to build or place more lots. Especially keep store content venues in mind. You will want to have at least one 50×50, one 60×60 and one 64×64 size lot in areas where it would make sense for players to place certain lots. For example, I have placed 60×60 lots in the beach areas of Oceanview and Sim Acres to allow room for the Boardwalk and Lucky Palms Casino.
Tip #4: Don’t Give Your Lots Weird Dimensions
It’s very important to give your lots standard dimensions, like 20×20, 20×30, 30×30, 30×40, so on and so forth. The reason why is that sometimes players may want to move houses and community lots around. If all your lot sizes are weird (like 23×51, 16×21, 35×52, etc.) they will either have a difficult time moving lots from place to place or find that all of their lots are odd fits. For example, if they want to move a 20×30 house to a lot and the only one that fits is 23×45, there will be lots of wasted space around the sides of the house.
This all isn’t to say that you can’t have any oddly-sized lots. But most of your lots should be standard-sized.
Tip #5: Don’t Skimp on Details at Street Level
I know that it seems really tedious to place things like street lights, trash cans, fire hydrants and little details like this all over your world. But trust me, adding these will not only make your world come alive, it will make players feel as if they’ve downloaded a professional world from EA. Also, players will feel as though you put a lot of love, care and attention into your world, which will make them feel good about playing it.
Tip #6: Provide Free Stuff for Poor Sims in Public Places
Sims need certain objects to skill up in, but not every sim will be able to afford them in the beginning. So be a hero and place some of those objects in public areas. Put computers in your public library so they can write or search for jobs. Place chess boards and telescopes in parks for sims that need to level up in logic. Build community centers with artistic and music objects.
Another great thing about placing objects in public places is that it encourages players to have their sims skill up outside their houses rather than go through the whole boring routine of just buying everything in Buy Mode and skilling up at home. If you place these objects in fun, interesting places, players will have more fun skilling up.
Tip #7: Don’t Forget Special Effects
There are tons of cool special effects in CAW to add ambiance to your world, such as rainbows, hot air balloons, ocean waves and birds. You don’t have to add them but trust me, they are like the icing on the cake to players and will add a lot of polish to your world. So try to make that extra effort of adding seagulls to your beaches, jet trails in your skies and other neat stuff like this.
Tip #8: Don’t Forget Object Spawners
Object spawners create those cool little items that sims can discover and collect, like insects, gems, special flowers and metals. Sprinkle at least two of each kind of spawner throughout your world so your sims will have something nice to find once in awhile when they travel around your world.
Tip #9: Make Your World Fun to Explore
The first things players like to do when playing a world is explore. So, to make exploration as fun as possible, have one or two interesting lots or a few world details in unusual, out of the way locations.
Tip #10: Don’t Use Save Games; Populate Your World Instead
Some creators, instead of populating their worlds, will create a “save game” file for players to download. Unfortunately, players do not like save games because they like to start a world fresh, rather than starting it based on someone else’s save. Besides, because most creators do spend the time to populate a world the proper way (using NRAAS mods), players will wonder why they should take the trouble to download a save game from you when they can just download another world that is populated.
So, if you want your world populated, do take the trouble to learn how to do it properly (see this handy guide, CAW Tips and Tricks: Populating Your World and Beyond). It’s really not that hard, and your players will appreciate you taking the effort to do so.
Tip #11: If You Populate Your World, Tell a Story
If you decide to populate your world, tell a story about the world you have built and the sims who live in it. You can do this by writing some historical information in your town’s description in CAW.
You can also add historical tidbits for each of the lots in your town and household bios. For example, if you read all the family bios in Oceanview, you will learn that the richest households that live on the hill come from “old money” and are threatened by all the newcomers in town. You will learn some backstory about certain lots as well.
Tip #12: Have a Diverse Population
I am amazed when I find out that there are players who make everyone in their world all drop dead gorgeous 20 year olds that look like something out of Twilight or the CW network. I can understand wanting to only look at young beautiful people, but I think that for most players, having every single sim look like this makes for a boring town.
So, to make your world more interesting, have a diverse population. Have super rich snooty households that live in really nice mansions and have super poor households that live in hovels. Have a wide range of kids, teens, young people and elders. Have singles, young parents who just had their first kids and older families with three or more kids. Have conservative sims and have alternative sims like goths, rockers and hip hoppers. Have drop dead ugly sims, average looking sims and drop dead gorgeous sims. Have skinny sims, muscle-bound sims, average sims and really fat sims. Have interracial and non interracial families. Don’t assume that everyone wants young, gorgeous sims all in their twenties who look like they just stepped off a CW show.