Productive Procrastination: How The Sims Can Be Your Greatest Architectural Software

Well, friends, I’ve come to a point I was afraid I was going to hit eventually. I’ve tried telling myself it may not be as big a deal as I think, but after studying a number of blueprints and maps and doing some reading about Regency Era architecture I, like a poorly-constructed building, caved in.

I have to redesign the Guises to Keep manor house from the ground up.

Full disclosure here: architectural and mechanical design are not entirely new to me, but I am admittedly a bit rusty.

I attended a technical high school and enrolled in the Computer Aided Drafting and Mechanical Design program. Even though I didn’t stick with it after graduation and went on to a liberal arts college to get my Bachelor’s in English and Communications, I can still claim four years of experience in the AutoCAD software. However, the last time I used it was 2014, and I’m willing to bet the software has gone through a bunch of changes to the point where I may not recognize some of its features.

But there is a program I know well, and that is The Sims.

In the past, as I’ve done with Online Fashion Games, I’ve used The Sims for character design as a way to help visualize the characters I’m working with in the early stages of a new project.

Now, I’m taking that idea a step further and using The Sims to help lay out the grounds of my story’s setting.

I started off with creating a Sim version of the earl’s grandson and heir apparent to the estate.

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While I don’t intend on playing much with this game file, as this is really more of a reference point than playing The Sims, having a Sim of a character is useful for scale.

Here is the basic shape after constructing the first floor.

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I did use the Motherlode cheat to do this, though this is fairly justifiable because the manor house has been in the family for several generations and is owned by some of the wealthier members of society. They’ve got plenty of money (or, in this case, Simoleons) to their name.

I have not been able to include every aspect of the manor house, such as the balconies of the second and third stories.

The Sims does not offer much in the way of historical accuracy, so I’ve had to make do with modern equivalents in a few areas, like the wall of portraits in the foyer. For example, I’ve had to substitute what would be a collection of family portraits with some admittedly random selections from Buy Mode.

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I’ve had to add some modernizations like the oven and toilets taking the place of chamberpots. This is meant to serve as a map of the estate, so these appliances act as markers for each room.

In what would be the scullery. I have a bathtub taking the place of the basin used for washing dishes.

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A view of the servants’ quarters in the basement, featuring the common room, kitchen, and men’s bedrooms. The maids would have slept in the attic, which is not seen in my Sims model as a result of the limited number of floors that can be built on any property.

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Even though Twin Oracle Point is the largest plot of land in Newcrest City at 50X40, it is not nearly the size I envision the estate grounds to be. If I felt the need to, I could create the garden on an adjacent lot along with the stables (which makes me miss the ability to have horses in The Sims 3‘s Pets Expansion all the more. The Sims 4 only has cats and dogs available at this time).

While I wish there were a way to turn my Sims residence into a blueprint, as one could do in AutoDesk’s Inventor program, it does let me do a virtual walkthrough. This is by no means a perfect model, but it serves its purpose well enough.

The biggest problem with any Sims game is how easy it is to get sucked into it and lose track of time in the real world.

That said, I think this is a good place to leave the Sims version of the manor house so I can get back to working on the story that takes place there.

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Have you ever made your WIP’s characters in The Sims or built one of your settings? Do you miss having horses in the game as much as I do? Let me know in the comments below!

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