Knutley is my second attempt at a custom Sims 2 neighborhood. My first attempt was Edgewood. It will always have a special place in my heart, but I made many mistakes and wanted to start fresh with all the knowledge from that attempt. It was also an integrated neighborhood, which can be a LOT to deal with.
In this post, I will document the entire creation process of Knutley, a normal non-integrated neighborhood. I hope you can find some inspiration here for your own custom ‘hoods.
The first step is finding a terrain. I recommend something small if you plan to micromanage and play the entire neighborhood like I do. The terrain I’m using for placeholder is Mini Moatland by Loverat on Mod The Sims. To me, this is the perfect size for a small, manageable ‘hood.
You can find a lot of terrains by Googling “Sims 2 small terrains,” or checking on Mod the Sims under the Neighborhood Maps section. Tumblr is also a good place to look. You may have to try out several until you find one you like. If you’re ambitious, you can create your own terrain in Sim City 4.
When you download a terrain, it should come with six files, like this:
Copy those files to your Documents > EA Games > The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection > SC4Terrains folder.
Now when you create a new ‘hood, you can select this terrain in the neighborhood creation screen. Before you create your ‘hood, I recommend getting some essential mods and deciding if you want townies or not (see next section).
I create new custom neighborhoods with NO townies. If you don’t, you’ll get the same set of Pleasantview Townies (Sandy Bruty, Goopy Gilscarbo, etc). Once they’re in, it’s very difficult and tedious to remove them. It’s better to do the work ahead of time and prevent them from being dumped into your new ‘hoods.
You can follow my video tutorial if you don’t know how.
If you want custom townies, you can create your own quite easily. Personally, I prefer not to have ANY townies in my custom ‘hoods. I want to play EVERY Sim who lives there and don’t want a bunch of homeless Sims wandering the streets.
NOTE: If you use apartment buildings, townies will be generated when moving a Sim in to fill the empty units – even if you use notownieregen. There is a mod on MTS that is supposed to stop this from happening.
Whether you go with custom townies or no townies, there are a few mods you’ll need:
- No Townie Regen – prevents additional townies from generating. I recommend this mod no matter how you play townies, as it prevents your game from endlessly spawning randos.
- No Stray Respawn – does the same thing as no townie regen, but for stray pets.
- No Humble – prevents Rod Humble from spawning and giving all your Sims a free computer.
Once you have all these mods in place and you’ve followed the tutorial for no townies (if you want), then create your ‘hood in the game using your chosen terrain.
I like to create my Sims before I worry about lots and neighborhood planning. I find it’s easier to create my homes and businesses if my Sims are already created. You can create your Sims completely in CAS if you like, but I prefer to create my individual adult Sims in body shop.
Before creating your Sims, make sure you have any default replacements you want to use installed – such as face templates, skins, eyes, and hair. I’m using the following:
- Mina’s 27 Face Templates
- Poppet’s Plain & Simple Eyes – I use these as default replacements.
- Poppet’s Plain & Simple Eyes Geneticized & Townified – I use these to add more genetic eye colors.
- Lilith’s Honey Honey Skin – I use both the defaults AND the geneticized/townified skins for more genetic skin colors.
- Mikexx2’s New Hair System – See my post on default replacements for links to defaults in this system.
I start my neighborhood with 20 Sims (see chart below).
I typically make the first 10 female and the next 10 male. I create them all as single Sims and allow them to choose their partners as I play (or not, as they choose).
When creating my Sims, I like to have as much genetic variety as possible. I use a geneticized skin with 20 different colors, so I give each Sim a different skin tone. I also use geneticized eyes with 20 different colors, so each Sim gets a different eye color.
For hair colors, I stick with the Maxis four – blond, red, brown, and black. I create five Sims with each hair color to distribute them evenly throughout the neighborhood.
I also like a variety of personalities in the neighborhood, so I create four each of Family, Knowledge, Fortune, Romance, and Popularity aspirations. I don’t play Pleasure Sims.
Here are charts showing the genetics for my starting Sims:
To add a bit of variety, I roll a number between 1 – 100 to determine if each Sim will be fat. If the number is under 25, the Sim is fat. I then roll again to determine if the Sim wears glasses with the same odds.
After creating my Sims in body shop, I finish them in CAS – making them into playable, single-Sim families. I leave all 20 Sims in the Sim Bin while I plan the ‘hood and create their homes.
Planning the ‘Hood
There are several planning stages for a custom neighborhood. You’ll need to think about your décor/theme, residential lots, and commercial lots. Let’s start with the theme.
If you want an attractive neighborhood, it’s a good idea to stick with a single uniform style for your lots. If you build all your own lots, choose a build set and stick with it across all lots. Some build sets I really like include:
- Avon Build Set by Shakeshaft – This creator also has several more build sets to check out.
- Bespoke Build Set by Honeywell – This is my favorite and the one I personally use.
- Independent Expressions Set by MaryLou – There are four parts to this set, all made to complement the base game independent expressions windows. More recolors are also available on MTS.
If you don’t want to build your own lots, try to find a matching style of lots to download. Some lot creators that I can recommend include:
- Honeywell’s Bespoke Lots – This is a pack of lots to match the Bespoke Build Set. You can start with these premade lots and build your own when you need more. I used these lots in Edgewood and they are fantastic. Other creators have also uploaded houses on MTS that use this set.
- Newbie Road by Plasticbox – Matching, very cute and small houses for a suburban neighborhood. She’s even created many home businesses to go with them!
- Backdoor Lane by Plasticbox – Matching, small urban homes and businesses. Great if you prefer a more city-like feel to your ‘hood.
You’ll need residential lots for all your starting Sims. The easiest way I’ve found to get everyone moved in quickly is to create five apartment buildings with four units each. You can see the creation of my apartments for Knutley in this livestream.
I built my own apartments for Knutley, but you can also download an apartment building and modify it to suit your needs. I built the lot once, then copied it four times – just recoloring and making minor adjustments each time.
Later, I will add stand-alone homes to the neighborhood when my Sims are ready to get married and start families.
To start, I build the following commercial lots for my neighborhood:
- Large park with playground, fishing pond, chess, and picnic area
- Restaurant and bar for dates
- Church and cemetery for weddings and funerals
- General store (selling groceries, clothing, and other necessities)
These are all unowned, public lots. I do allow my Sims to own businesses, but they must earn enough money to build or purchase it themselves. The first generation of Sims aren’t usually business owners since it requires significant capital.
I build my general store with the assumption that it will eventually go out of business when Sims start to open specialty stores for groceries, clothing, etc. But the starting generation needs somewhere to shop, so I create an all-purpose market for them.
Sometimes I start playing before I finish building all the community lots. But I try to build them all before I’ve played the first entire round of my neighborhood. The restaurant/bar is especially important so my Sims can date.
In addition to Sim-owned businesses that actually sell goods, I also build more public community lots to the neighborhood as I play, including:
- Public Pool
The restaurant/bar, general store, arcade and gym may be purchased by Sims who want to be business owners, but the others remain public and free for all Sims to enjoy.
Once I have all my residential lots and at least some of my community lots finished, I move my Sims into their apartments. I use the halved apartment rent mod to reduce the amount of rent they have to pay because I think apartment rents can be ridiculous.
I move two males and two females into each apartment building. I move in 19 Sims, leaving the last Sim in the Sim Bin for now (see introductions below). Once each Sim moves in, I pause time and start the randomizations.
I randomize the ages for each of my new adult Sims so they are not all the same age. I randomize the amount of money they start with, so some will start with more than others.
For ages, I roll a number between 21 – 39 on random.org. I use a custom aging system in my game, so my Sims are adults for 42 days (until age 60 when they become elders). I don’t want anyone older than 39, so the females still have a chance to have at least one child if they choose.
I use Sim Blender to set my Sims’ ages. Click on the Blender and choose Aging > 3 Days Older > Sim Name. I do this until I reach as close to their age as possible. I usually round the age I rolled up or down until it’s a multiple of 3 to make this easier. You can also change ages in Sim PE.
Money is randomized AFTER Sims rent their first apartment. I roll a number between 1,000 – 5,000 to determine starting money. I don’t want my Sims to be too rich when just starting out, but I also want them to have varying amounts of money and at least enough for basic furnishings.
I use the family funds cheat to set each Sim’s money. I repeat this process for all 20 Sims before I play them at all. As I create my Sims and move them in, I keep track of their stats in a spreadsheet like this:
When I move each Sim in, I take notice of the wants they roll initially. If they roll a want to get a job, I lock in that want. If they roll a power want such as to get married or have a baby, I lock it in. These will help guide me when I begin playing and I don’t want them to reroll and lose these wants.
Sometimes Sims roll a want for more than one career. If this happens, I look at their interests and personality to decide which one would suit them best. I will choose LTW and degree when I actually start playing rotations. For now, it’s time to move on to introductions.
After moving my Sims into their apartments, I place them all on an empty residential lot and allow them to mingle for a full day. This allows them to start forming relationships and gives me an idea of which Sims are attracted to each other, etc.
Here’s how I accomplish this:
- Place a large empty residential lot anywhere on the map. I delete this lot later, so it doesn’t really matter.
- Move a single Sim onto this lot.
- Furnish the lot with a Sim Blender and nothing else.
- Use the Sim Blender to teleport all 19 remaining Sims to the lot.
- Max Motives to keep Sims from getting tired, hungry, etc.
- Randomize gender preference (see next section).
- Press play and watch the fireworks.
I let my Sims mingle with each other until around 5:00 PM – just before they would age up at 6:00 PM. This gives them a lot of time to decide who they like and who they don’t and start up those initial relationships.
At 5:00 PM, I delete all the 19 summoned Sims via build mode with move objects on. Don’t worry! It’s completely safe to delete a Sim this way! They just return home and are not deleted from the game.
Next, I save the game, return to the neighborhood screen, and move the Sim out of the empty lot into the Sim Bin. I delete the empty lot, and move the 20th Sim into their apartment. I perform the age and money randomizations for this Sim and now I’m done!
Randomizing Gender Preference
I prefer to randomize gender preference at the introduction stage rather than when I move my Sims in. This is so I can have control over the number of gay Sims in my neighborhood. I prefer to start with no more than two gay/bisexual males and females.
I know this doesn’t leave them much room for choosing a partner. Gay sims are pretty much stuck with the other gay Sim of their gender. But, more than that and it feels too unrealistic to me. With four gay Sims out of 20, that’s 20 percent of the population.
Here’s how I randomize gender preference:
- Click on Sim Blender and choose Traits > Sim Name > Gender Pref > Randomize Me. I start with the first Sim I created. (You can also do this with ACR if you use it.)
- I repeat this process starting with the second Sim I created, then moving to the third, etc. until I have randomized two male and two females as gay or bi.
- Once I have my two randomized gay/bi Sims for each gender, I set all other Sims’ gender preference to straight.
If I get through all my Sims and two of each gender weren’t randomized as gay/bi, I repeat the process again until I reach that goal.
Playing the Neighborhood
After all the setup is done, I start playing my neighborhood rotationally using my gameplay rules. I start with the first Sim I created – playing her for a four day season – and then move on to the next.
I play using a wants-based playstyle, meaning I let my Sims choose their own paths in life based on the wants they roll. I love watching my Sims get married, have affairs, start families, move up in their careers, and just live their normal everyday lives.
I will give my starting Sims a University degree if they roll a want for a job that I feel would require a degree and they are 22 years old or older (to account for the four years spent at University). I choose lifetime wants based on the job they roll a want for or their personality.