In the first part of my Sims 2 custom neighborhood tutorial series we covered planning our custom ‘hood, in the second part we created an empty world, and here in part three we’ll create our resident Sims in Body Shop.
If you followed part 1, you should already have your residents planned out – or at least a loose idea of them anyway. Now it’s time for the fun part! Creating my starting Sims is one of my favorite parts of building a custom neighborhood.
Before you begin creating, make sure you have any custom eyes, skin, hair, and face templates you want to use downloaded and installed. This is important so you can see how your Sims will really look in the game.
If you don’t want to use custom content for your Sims, that’s okay too! You can skip this step and get straight to the creation process. If you want to use CC but don’t know where to start, here are some posts and videos I’ve made that might help you:
- Ultimate Guide to Sims 2 Default Replacements
- Sims 2 Custom Content Sites List
- How to Install Mods & Custom Content in Sims 2
- How to Organize & Compress Sims 2 Custom Content
Now, let’s talk about the different kinds of custom content you might want to use for this process. I briefly covered these in part 1 of this tutorial, but for the sake of completeness, we’ll touch on it here too.
Face templates are the most important of all the custom content you could install for creating your Sims. They change the shape of your Sims’ faces. I highly recommend everyone have a set of replacement faces in their game because the Maxis ones can be a bit fugly (in my opinion).
Even if you’re a hardcore Maxis Match player who loves the way the Maxis Sims look, you can still find a set of face templates that work (and make a big improvement). My favorites are Mina’s 27 face templates. Below, you can see the difference between the Maxis 01 Face and the same face using Mina’s 27 Face Templates.
Here are some more face templates you might want to check out:
- Deuglified Maxis Faces – Probably the most Maxis Match you can get, just improves the existing faces without changing them too much.
- Terrakosmos Face Replacements – I used these for a while and really like them, also very Maxis Match.
- Chasing Miss Pretty – Another set of unique face templates, a bit less Maxis Match.
- Sims 2 Default Database Face Templates – A large selection of face templates to peruse in all styles.
It’s important that you install these BEFORE you begin creating. Installing face templates AFTER you create Sims will not alter their existing appearance. So don’t worry – none of the Sims currently in your game will be affected, only those you create going forward.
I also recommend downloading the Argon archfix mod, which fixes the broken Maxis face templates for faces #21 & #25 – allowing them to appear for all ages and to pass on the appropriate genetics.
Eyes were the first default replacements I ever experimented with in The Sims 2, and now I can never go back to the Maxis eyes. There are tons of options out there no matter what your style – from Maxis Match to realistic.
I started with Bruno’s Behind These Eyes Maxified (great for a Maxis Match style). But my current favorites are Poppet’s Plain & Simple Eyes. I use both the defaults AND the geneticized and townified eyes to add more eye colors to my game.
If you’re interested in genetics and breeding your Sims, I recommend finding a set of eyes (like Plain & Simple) that include both defaults AND a set of geneticized/townified custom colors. If you don’t want custom colors, you can always just stick to defaults that only replace the Maxis eyes.
What are default replacement eyes? Just like with all other custom content, default replacements REPLACE the Maxis versions. Default eyes are genetic and used by the game just the same as the original Maxis eyes.
What are geneticized and townified eyes? Geneticized eyes are custom eyes that are passed on genetically and work within the range of genetic inheritance in The Sims 2. Townified simply means townies and NPCs randomly generated by the game will also use them.
Custom skin is another way to improve the look of your Sims. As with all other CC, you can find very Maxis Match skins and very realistic looking skins. It just depends on your personal style and preference. I like a more Maxis Match style myself.
My current favorite is Lilith’s Honey Honey skinblend. I use both the defaults AND the geneticized/townified custom additions. The defaults replace the four Maxis skintones and the geneticized custom skins add more skin colors to my game.
Here are some others that you might want to check out:
- Correlated Skins – These skins add body hair to the male skins and are as Maxis Match as you can get. I used these for years when I was a hardcore MM player.
- WhySim Spooky Dip Skins – Beautiful but very realistic, shiny skins. I use these when I want to play with realistic CC.
- Sims 2 Default Database Skins – A large selection of default replacement skins in all styles.
If you don’t like a default replacement skin, don’t worry. You can easily remove and change them at any time. Custom skins are a bit different and might cause problems if you remove them while Sims are using them (so choose these wisely). I recommend testing them in-game in a testing neighborhood to make sure you like them first.
Hair is probably the trickiest custom content to use if you want it all to match and/or replace the Maxis hair. There are many different hair systems out there. I currently use the hair system created by Mikexx2. I love it because there are TONS of custom hairs available, it looks really good in the game, and you can find a FULL set of matching default replacements for the Maxis hairs.
See my Ultimate Default Replacement Guide for links to different hair systems including matching eyebrows and facial hair for each one.
When considering custom hair, if you find a kind you really like that doesn’t include default replacements, you can always use hiders to HIDE the Maxis hairs completely. Then, you’ll just use the custom hairs that you download instead.
As with eyes and default skins, you can easily remove hairs or change them at any time. If you’re just starting with custom hair it can be overwhelming, so don’t feel you have to download it all right now. You can work on your hair over time.
Of course, you may want to download default replacement or custom clothing, furniture, objects, etc. for your new Sims and your world. But you don’t have to do that right away. You can keep adding to your custom content collection as you play and find things you want or need.
Don’t feel that everything has to be perfect to get started creating your custom neighborhood. The most important things you need are face templates, skin, and eyes. And truly, the face templates are the only things that are necessary before you start. Everything else you can add later.
Now that you have your custom content sorted, let’s get down to business. I use a spreadsheet (as I went over in the planning part of this tutorial) to keep track of my Sims’ skin, eye, and hair colors. This ensures the most genetic variety in my neighborhood.
I create a new tab on my spreadsheet so I can name my Sims and document their favorite colors, zodiac signs, aspirations, personalities, turn-ons and turn-offs as I create them. Here’s what my spreadsheet looks like to begin:
This is where I start thinking about my individual Sims and who they really are. As I create them in body shop, I populate the favorite color field. When I finish creating them in CAS, I fill in the other information.
So, let’s get started with body shop. This is my favorite part!
Body shop is a utility that ships with The Sims 2. It’s used to create and customize Sims with literally millions of possible variations. If you want unique Sims that never look the same, this is the way to do it.
If you prefer, I’ve made a video showing how to create unique Sims with body shop that you can watch below. But I’ll also go over the method here in this post.
If you have The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection, you can find Body Shop in Windows (C:) > Program Files (x86) > Origin Games > The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection > Fun with Pets > SP9 > CSBin.
Double-click the Body Shop icon to open the program. Depending on how much custom content you have, it can take several minutes to load. Give it time.
I use the “Pooklet” method to create my Sims in Body Shop (as shown in the video above). Pooklet wrote a detailed post that you can read here about how she uses this method. Basically, we use random numbers to generate the faces.
You’ll also need the generators created by chemtale to select the numbers. You can find them here:
Here is a brief rundown of how I use the Pooklet method if you’re unfamiliar and don’t want to watch the video.
Create a New Sim
First, create a new Sim in Body Shop. When the program loads, choose “Build Sims” at the top of the screen. Then, choose “Build or Clone Sims.” Now, click the big plus sign in the green box to start working on a new Sim.
On the left panel, choose the gender, age, and weight. I start with creating all my females first, but you can do it in any order you like.
I also create all my Sims as adults. Body Shop automatically starts with an adult Sim, so you don’t have to change that if you’re creating adults. I usually leave all my Sims thin in the beginning, but you can make some fat ones too if you want.
Next, I click the randomize button (that looks like two dice) ONE TIME. This gives me a random face template to start with. The rest of the appearance doesn’t matter right now.
Click on the “Genetics” tab (that looks like a DNA strand). Then, choose your skin tone, eye color, and hair color and style. I use my spreadsheet for reference here, where I’ve already planned out how I want my first Sim to look.
Now that you’ve selected the basics, it’s time to start working on the face. Click on the “Modifiers” tab and click on “Face.” You’ll now see a variety of sliders that you can use to modify the face.
Use Generator #1 to roll the face. This will give you a list of numbers anywhere from -10 to 10 for each feature available to you in Body Shop. In the screenshot below, you’ll see that I rolled a -5 for the first modifier (face gaunt/plump).
So, now I’ll click the FIRST little face icon five times to move the slider backwards five clicks. If you get a negative number, click on the first picture. If you get a positive number click on the second picture (to move the slider forwards and backwards accordingly).
If you get a -10 or a 10, you can simply slide the slider all the way to the edge with your mouse. Each modifier has a total of 20 clicks, 10 to the negative and 10 to the positive.
Then, go through the list and click on each modifier the number of times you rolled. The Sim will start to look INSANE, which is a good thing. This is how her features will be defined. We’ll make her look more human in the next step.
Repeat for all the face modifiers – starting with full face and ending with the jaw – using the generator to roll for each area.
Refining the Face
Now, click on the “Faces” tab, and then start with the “Face” templates.
Open Generator #2, enter the number of face templates you have (for most of us that’s 27) and press enter. The generator will give you TWO numbers for each area of the face.
In the screenshot above, you can see that I rolled a 15 and 11 for the “Face” area. In Body Shop, I’ll first go to the 15th face template and move the slider over about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way across. The Sim’s face will start to smooth out a bit at this point.
Next, I’ll go to the 11th face template and move the slider over about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way across. The face will smooth out even more and start to look more human.
Then, I’ll repeat through all areas of the face – moving next to the “Brow” and moving the slider for the 9th and 18th templates. I’ll continue until the entire face is done, and then I’ll have a relatively normal (but unique) looking Sim.
After you finish the face, then you can click on the “Facial Hair, Makeup, and Glasses” and “Clothing” tabs. This is how I do it:
- Eyebrows – I count how many eyebrows I have available, then I roll a random number on random.org to choose my Sim’s eyebrows.
- Facial hair – I count how many facial hairs I have available, then I roll a random number on random.org to choose a facial hair style. I include “None” in my rolls, and I don’t choose long beards – only stubble, mustaches, goatees (just the ones I like basically). I will also make adjustments if I feel a Sim doesn’t look good.
- Makeup – I don’t apply any makeup in Body Shop. I do this later in Create-a-Sim.
- Glasses – I used to roll randomly to choose who wears glasses, but now I just add them in CAS if I think they suit a specific Sim.
For clothing, I choose only the Sim’s everyday outfit. I choose their favorite color based on the color they’re wearing when I hit the “randomize” button above. Then, I either let them keep the random outfit (if it was decent) or choose another in the same color.
(I also write down their favorite color in the spreadsheet at this time.)
After you finish creating your Sim, click the checkmark at the bottom of the screen in Body Shop. It says “Done Building Sim” when you hover over it.
Now, I go and create ALL of my starting Sims the same way. They will stack up in the Sim Bin as I create them. And they’ll be available to me in Create-A-Sim (CAS) in the game when I get ready to finish them and move them in.
I use Body Shop to create the basic genetics and face shape, then later in the game I finish their makeup, clothing, and personality. But by starting them in Body Shop I can create much more detailed and different looking Sims.
This part is becoming longer than I expected, so I’m breaking it into two posts. In the next one, we’ll cover finishing our resident Sims in CAS and moving them into the neighborhood. (Don’t worry, we don’t need houses yet!)
Creating your Sims in Body Shop is a time-consuming process, I know. But I also think it’s so much fun! You never know how your Sims will end up looking. You’ll get all different kinds of appearances – some beautiful, some ugly, and some in between.
I don’t worry about it too much if something is not quite to my liking. I adjust in CAS in the next step of the process. For now, I just focus on getting the basics of their appearance saved. Have fun and I’ll see you in the next one!
Sims 2 Custom Neighborhood Tutorial Series
Read more in this series below: