Building Sets

'Hood View

What you do with sets are also a matter of preference. You don't have to build full houses or areas for each scene. You don't have to use a Community Lot to make a shop or hotel for a sim story. You don't even have to use four walls.

Often, I do, but that's because I like using different angles and I enjoy building, and I come from the Peter Jackson School of Lord of the Rings Detail: giving the impression of a world beyond a screen or book. I do this for my fantasy world stories (in my world building for RL fantasy books as well), simply because it helps me write the story.


Here is an example of where I've gone the whole hog and used a full set, for A Continent Too Far I and II. This tavern, despite being a business, is built on a residential lot. This means I don't have to worry about townies.

The reason for building a full set in this case is twofold. Firstly, I expected to be doing a lot of photography here, from all angles. Secondly, I want to use this lot later as a community lot. It is not as detailed as House Elsweyr, where I did actually build a secret tunnel just to see if it could be done, but it's also simpler because I wanted to make sure that "Freehaven" had a different "feel" to it than The fae forests.

Here is my forest set, as it currently stands:


This set has been changed around often, and the left-hand set has been used and re-dressed, so far, for Isabeau's flight after the bandit attack (with autumn trees); the goblin play shots; the fairies, both background and foliage; her vision quest; the hunt with the centaurs and all of the Bad Guy shots so far. All that I've done is changed the mood each time: autumn trees and leaves for the flight, fantasy props for the goblins and the jacaranda trees for the centaurs.


The classroom I've used for this tutorial is a non-functional set. You'll see the hacks off to one side, along with things like loos and fridges because it's sometimes quicker and easier to just satisfy sim wants than use a hack to do it.

Top Floor defies physics!

I like to use ceiling tiles. This means you can open up more options for photography, notably close-ups angle upwards, without seeing the second floor floating above your sims' heads. The difference between this:

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

and this:

Or not

is obvious.

You can make sets without any custom content at all. In fact, my tavern set has all Maxis walls and only a few pieces of custom content (notably the horse, the barn door and window and the sign, as well as the neighbourhood objects from Retail Sims).

Also, if you are leery of custom content, or your machine won't run a lot of it, there is nothing stopping you from making your own recolours. Try Mod The Sims 2 for tutorials on using Body Shop (packaged with The Sims 2) to make your own clothes.

Basic recolouring is not actually very difficult: the unicorn shirt I am now wearing -- from a painting by Anne Sudworth -- is the first ever recolour I did.

Note: if you have Pets, and intend on sharing your content, make sure you have patched your game using the official patch from Otherwise, your content will not show up properly for anyone who doesn't have the Pets EP.


Another thing to consider is your background, behind your buildings and sets. For the tavern, I have placed it in a town, so have put neighbourhood buildings around them, but it is worthwhile using your neighbourhood objects to their maximum advantage to help set a mood.

Next - Tips and Tricks

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