Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sims 4 Build/ Buy Masterclass with Aaron Houts. (I cannot WAIT!)

Now I have been looking forward to this. My main thing in game is building and the Sims 3 handed me some great tools to do this. I always try out something more intricate and hope for the best!
I love building, loads of styles. Things I see in real life, things out of series and Sci Fi and I learned so many new styles, just by playing Sims.

You have to know, builders are a very apprehensive bunch (The ones I know at least).
We really love our building tools, so changes are always greeted with a bit of reservation.
What I saw however, has pulled me in!

There is so much! I don't know where to start! Let's start in the beginning :D First of all, let's meet
Aaron Houts, currently working on the Build/Buy for the Sims 4

He was such a good speaker, very engrossed in his work and I love seeing that in people, no matter which work they do.
It's a plus of course, when they work on the franchise you love and have loved for over 10 years.

I've set myself on the first row! I didn't want to miss a thing!

First of all, the Sims 4 will be running on a completely new engine, we didn't get any names, but it would be very accessible.
If your machine was able to handle Sims 3, it should be able to handle Sims 4. Again, it's still in very early stages and all this information is partial to change later on.


The most basic building tools, but better! You can drag them much easier now, you can drag them into another room without a problem. And that's selling it short. The drag tool in the Sims 3 seems clunky in comparison to this one. I think you can compare it to the new Create a Sim, it's designed to flow, so you can push and pull to your heart's desire.

And then the newest feature. HEIGHT! Oh my, I can't even begin. You can pull vertically at a wall, to make it higher. There are also doors and windows to match, more about those later!
They are also adjustable in height per level too, that will make for some interesting shapes and buildings :D

Another feature I like very much is once the walls connect into a room, this can be square or even an irregular shape. You can drag and rotate the room. Like everywhere and it will connect. Upstairs, drag it away from the house. This will help a lot. The times I demolished a room, because it didn't fit in my symmetry OCD.
What you place over, precedes what is there, which is logical, but not a given of course.

The wallpaper is still divided into it's usual categories, as far as I could see. There were some very attractive brick patterns I already have ideas with :D
You can preview the wallpapers per room or individually.

Also an interesting morsel, overhanging rooms no longer need support! If you had an overhang in the Sims 3, you had to support it first, before building over it. This will again help with the flow of building.

Foundation, Stairs and fences.

Get ready, here it is. You can add foundation AFTER you build and it has a height slider! No more mucking around with the terrain tool in order to get your stairs to connect, because they will adapt!
Oh the possibilities! They can also be pushed and pulled at, like most of the other building tools.

However, there will be no rounded stairs to connect two stairs that are placed at the connecting sides of let's say a square porch.

You can also push and pull to make a wrap around porch. And here's the thing. CURVED foundation and fencing, any fencing. Sadly no walls, that is a bit of a programming nightmare from what I gather. It is a step into the right direction tho, I know many Simmers that wouldn't mind this!

There was a question if basements would be possible with foundation, but no comment about basements.


There will be several sizes of windows, small, medium and large, in order to cater to the different wall-heights people will be playing with.
I saw a wide variation already, from big square modern windows, to more cottage like types and with shutters if I'm not mistaken. I'll be pouring over the pictures I took and we'll try to see what we can determine from there.

There is also a quick tool that adds windows in a reasonable spacing on your walls. It will take into account things that are already on the wall on the inside.  Of course, you can still manipulate they into detail.


Again, WOW! Forgive the many caps, but reading over the notes I took, I'm getting psyched all over again.
So, you can actually drag the roof over the surface you want to roof. Now you could too, but sometimes the roofs reacted differently than what you had in mind.

Not any more, they actually flow along with you better and the neatest feature is yet to come. They actually react to push and pull. You can pull at the edges, giving you a pagoda-style roof. Or pull them down all the way to create an A-frame house. Or push in the middle to make a curve in the middle. You can mold, rotate and drag in any direction you like!
It's very intuitive and I think it will be a lot easier to create stunning roofing! You can also choose a separate color per roof!

There are also Roof trims available. Some are very subtle, but some are like a bright white trim around the roof, which is pretty cool!

More fencing, columns and  friezes.

So fences can curve, we established that. Which is already pretty cool!!

Here's a nice example. So you can see this
beautiful open room in two stories. He
created a sort of walkway and a fenced sitting corner, overlooking the floor below.
Click the picture for a better view.
Plus a killer cameo from the back of my head.
(Black hair ;) )

So we already saw some columns, again, some modern looking ones and some more classical ones.
The great new feature is, you can put a column into your fencing!!!
The times I have done this with the moveObjects cheat on, because it looks so good! Now without cheats and you can plop it in anywhere you like. This made me literally squee!

Friezes will be easier to apply to roofs too.

But now, for what Ruth Less (I link to her blog, check it out ) were most excited about the arrival of Spandrels!

So now between your columns, you can add an inside trim, like so.

Oh, just think of the Victorians and/or Goth houses you could make! We spent the rest of SimsCamp yelling spandrels at each other at random intervals!

Terrain Tools, Pools and Ponds. 

We asked about this, but he couldn't talk about this yet. We did see a couple of beautiful plants tho.


The furniture we saw comes in a couple of preset colors. Like in the usual Build/Buy Catalog.
There is a new feature however, it's called Magazine Mode.

You can see and buy a whole room and place it wherever in your house. If you can't afford the whole room, you can still buy separate pieces.

This room can also be picked up and placed wherever you like in your house!

You can also freely place objects on a wall, diagonally, vertically and horizontal. That means above eachother without cheats :D
Now here are some pictures :D I've taken the same ones. Mine aren't as good as Bill Sim's. I have his permission to use his.

I can see bar taps, a nice round corner with the counters. A square and round modern lamp. A plant in a sort of concrete vase. The three-cylinder modern lamp. The big windows, that I think are two tiles wide? Judging by the dimensions of the door. This looks like an exclusive bar type of lot :D

Same room, but the upper level, looking down on the room below with a lovely walkway and places to sit. Sleek modern one and three-seaters. And here you can see a good example of the rounded fences. In this case with a modern, glass fence.  Mr. Houts was pointing at something, but I forgot what he said.

This looks nice! I think it's a federal style house (Not the best with American style houses, but always willing to learn!) Here we can see the elevated foundation already, to make a grand entrance. We can see some lovely cornices, which are easy to apply. We can also still make dormers, as you can see.

 Here a house in similar style. Also a good view of the available plants and trees. I also spy some rocks!

Take a load of this modern beauty! Notice the slight roof curvature and the patterns on the walls. Concrete blocks mixed with light and dark wood. I'm a big fan of different colors for different floors.
There is an actual house like that, near to where I live. Everywhere I go, I always look at buildings with a Simmer's eye. Even my husband points them out for me.  "You could totally build that!"

 Another angle, here you can really see the curvature of the roof
 You can see some of the neighborhood.

 Container living! Check those angles. I already noted that overhanging structures don't need support.
 An inside look. Oh boy, I can hardly WAIT to start building!! Is that an exhaust hood I see over the stove? That makes me so happy :D

My conclusion. I'm happy and super excited. I haven't heard anything about create a style, but at this point, I'm not too bothered by it as you do have some color options per furniture piece. Create a style is a massive drain on performance. It's endless colors and pattern combinations that need to be rendered. This has made my game sluggish at times. Don't get me wrong, I love personalization, my Studio is a testimonial to that.

I do think however that the building experience will be very enjoyable. These tools will let you mold your houses into exactly what you had in mind and I think one can be very creative with that. If you give 100 people the same crayons, you will still end up with 100 different drawings. I'm not worried about the future of Sims. In fact, my SimsCamp experience has assuaged my worries that inevitably come with the end of Era and the beginning of a new one.

I can only remember my anxiety when the Sims 3 was announced :D
If you have questions, feel free to drop me line, here, on Twitter or on the Sims3 site itself.


  1. I am so happy there is finally 2 versions of the half gable roof! woo!

  2. Thank you so much Sara for all the info you have given to us. Let me say this knowing what I know now if EA add CASt to TS4 it will put the game over the top.. I think it would out sale anything they have on the market... Thank You again..

  3. Very welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read! It's much appreciated!!

  4. I'm trying to find out more info on build and buy mode since the trailer of the Goth's came out. Since saying at the end of the trailer that they would give an more in-depth look at the Goth's house in the next trailer (hopefully)! And this has helped me very much ever if it's old news it better than anything that I have found so I give great thanks to you :3


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