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The Sims 4: Simified’s Build Mode Preview

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During SimsCamp, not only did we learn about Create a Sim and Emotions but Build Mode too! Without the core feature of Build and Buy modes to create the ultimate home for your Sims, it just wouldn’t be The Sims. Maxis has gone through great lengths to bring the powerful tools we all know back into The Sims 4, but with some amazing improvements and new features too. Let’s take a look!

Now before we start, here are some things you should know. With The Sims 4, Maxis is combining Build Mode and Buy Mode into one mode called Build Mode. Don’t worry though, they still will be separated by buttons; but no loading between them. It’ll be seamless! Also, The Sims 4 Build Mode demo was given by the awesome SimGuruHouts and he dove right into some of the familiar and great new tools, with SimGuruGrant helping out.

The Sims 4 Build Mode

In our demo we were shown all the basics every builder is familiar with. The wall tool, floor tool, windows, doors, it’s all there! The wall tool, since this is where most builders start, has new tools in addition to the classic way you’re used to placing walls. If you’d like, you can now plop down rooms to quickly put together a house. There are various shapes of these new ploppable rooms, but it doesn’t just stop there. Once you’ve plopped down a room (or many rooms), using the new arrows conveniently placed on all four walls, you can drag out (or in) the walls to your heart’s content, further customizing the room to the size and shape you want. If you don’t want to plop down rooms to make it quick and easy to build, the standard wall tool is also present too. The wall tool still works in the same way it always has like in previous games; drag the tool, place walls, and connect to make a room.

The new ploppable rooms have some neat options to them. For example, let’s say you’ve already furnished your living room, but your kitchen is too small so you want to steal some space from your living room. This is no problem, just click on the arrow and drag the wall of the kitchen into the living room and all of the furniture moves out of the way for you. No need to go back and manually move the furniture out of the way first! If you don’t like the position of the room, pick it up and move it. Rooms (even built with the classic wall tool) can be picked up and moved, or deleted with a click.

The classic wall tool also has some nice changes to it as well. You can now create rooms more easily from a single piece of wall. Place down a single piece of wall, and using the new arrows you can drag out from that single piece of wall to create all the walls of your room! There was no comment on the existence of half-walls.

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Enough about walls and more onto some of the new features. Wall heights. Oh yes, wall heights are present in The Sims 4! You can specify the height of walls (per floor) and can choose up to 3 different heights giving each floor of your home some different height. The wall heights cannot be applied to a single piece of wall, but only the entire floor of walls.

New tools don’t just stop at wall heights though! One of the new great features lies when you hover over sections of walls (or fencing). Let’s say you built a room but decided that one side of the room should be a fence, but you didn’t place fence. Hover over the section of wall you want to convert to fencing, and you can easily convert it to fencing without having to go in to the fencing tool. Curved walls are not present in The Sims 4, due to many limitations and challenges with Sims, objects, and so forth. It’s actually quite technical as to why curved walls have not happened yet.

There is good news about fencing though! You’ll now be able to instantly preview fencing styles by hovering the different styles in the catalog, and these will reflect with your house, so you know you’re making the right choice. Other changes to fencing include curved fences. Yep! This will be possible in The Sims 4. The new curved fence will be need to be plopped down using one of the room shapes and cannot be built manually with the normal fence tool. The normal fence tool is still present too though! However, even though the curved fence is plopped down, you’ll still have full control using the arrows you use to stretch and move rooms to make the curve larger or smaller based on how large the area the fence will surround. You can also still change the style of the fence too, which applies to the curve as well. You can even use these tools together to create that perfect wrap-around porch with ease!

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Use columns? Columns are present just like in The Sims 3 and can be of varying heights. But something new with columns is that when put near fencing, they will snap into place to create that perfect columned porch without the need for cheats. Columns and fencing can also be used with the new spandrels (which is discussed in roofing below) to create that quaint Victorian style home if you choose.

Windows and doors are relatively unchanged, but there are some improvements here too. You can now automatically fill a room with windows as the game now has an auto-placement option. This will automatically place down windows for you in a room, on any of the available walls. Don’t worry though, you can still move around the auto-placed windows and still manually place windows if you choose. This new tool is also smart and knows if there are pictures, wall decorations, or a door or doorway arch is present on the exterior/interior and won’t place a window there.

Something I’ve often done is built my entire home including windows but then later decided I didn’t like the style of window I chose originally. There is now an auto-swap option for windows that will allow you to swap out the style of the windows for your entire home. No more manually removing the old style window and placing the style you really wanted! While there will be no vertical (up and down) movement of windows on a wall (like paintings), there will be varying heights and styles of windows to go along with the new and different wall heights you can now have!

Flooring and wallpaper work pretty much the same, but there are some powerful new features that allow for filtering and sorting of styles, and even color. You can still place wallpaper on an individual piece of wall or paint the entire room. Wallpapers are also still divided into the usual categories of Paint, Masonry, etc. but now you can also filter wallpaper by color. Options include: Red, Orange, Blue, Green, Purple, White, Grey, and Brown. This will sort the catalog of wallpaper down to a specific color. Since we are talking about color, know that color swatches, like seen with the clothing in Create a Sim, are also available for wallpapers and windows. This is also present in other areas of build mode too!

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Flooring is important as it’s needed to walk on, but it seems I’ve forgotten something when building my house. Ah yes, the foundation. Most of us have run into this problem before, where you build a house without a foundation (or with) and later decide it would look better with a foundation (or without). Well now foundations can be added even after you’ve built your home. There is a new foundation slider that will automatically add or remove a foundation under your entire house, without the need for you demolishing and rebuilding! Rooms will also automatically adjust to the foundation height, just in case you don’t have a fully built house yet. This new foundation slider allows for 8 different heights of foundation so you can build low or build a little higher off the ground. There was no comment for split-level homes and basements, but they haven’t been forgotten. Sunken living rooms are also not possible (at least at the time we were shown) due to the foundation being at ground level, but know that the foundation does not count as a floor to your house. They’re working on it though, and know this is one of the fan’s biggest requested features!

Stairs have had some changes too. Stairs can now be placed anywhere and don’t need to connect to flooring or foundation. Do note that if you decide to put the stairs in the middle of the yard, it may look nice, but Sims won’t be able to use them. Sims will still use stairs when they are connected to floor or foundation or when they do lead to something. Not only that, but if you use the foundation slider, stairs will automatically adjust in height to the foundation height, eliminating the need for your to remove or replace the stairs first. There will be no stairs on an angle due to limitations.

Since we’re down on the ground, there was no comment for pools, pond tool, or terrain painting, but again, they have not been forgotten and will be added. The demo we saw was very early. We did however see some of the great new landscaping options including new shrubs, trees, flower boxes and flowers. They all work very similar in how they are placed in previous games, and there are varying  heights (if you’ve ever noticed) of shrubs, trees, and flowers just like in The Sims 3. You may be able to change the color of the flowers and flowers on bushes for some variation but it won’t be on an individual per flower basis.

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Moving up now that we’ve got a good base for our house, currently, The Sims 4 only allows for a maximum of 3 floors and a roof to your house. Rest assured Maxis is working on this and will be adjusting and hope to change that number to be much higher and hopefully much greater than the 5 floor limit in The Sims 3. When you wanted to build out beyond your first floor, you would always get the notice “Not enough support”? or something similar. Well, The Sims 4 is doing away with this, so when you get to that second or third floor, you can build beyond the first floor without the need for underlying support. This means no more placing columns down on the ground level to get the needed support for floating rooms, only to remove them later for your desired home! That’s definitely a huge plus for many builders!

On the roof, lots has changed here! You still have the normal styles to choose from, such as mansard, and so forth. But the powerful tools we now have at our fingertips are very similar to what’s found in Create a Sim. Roofs can be stretched using the arrows just like building rooms/walls but it doesn’t stop there. You can now make the eaves of the roof longer, pulling it down to the ground if you wish to create that perfect A-frame style home, or bend them upward to create that Japanese style roof. You can also control the height of the roof, just like The Sims 3, but you can now alter the shape using a round orb present on the roof itself. This controls the shape in addition to just the eaves allowing you to curve the roof upward or downward to create domes, pagodas and more!

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All the options you’re used to, such as building roof dormers, can still be done. Friezes are also present now and are much easier and no longer require a cheat like in The Sims 3. Other great new things added are roof trim options and new spandrels. These new roof trims apply only to eaves of the roof bringing unique character and style to your Sims’ roof. Spandrels (also known as ceiling rails) apply to the underside of a roof, and are found mostly in older and classic style architecture. Speaking of style and character, there was no comment on skylights being present in The Sims 4, but they would be a pretty awesome addition to all of the great new roof options!

Further enhancements to roofing allow for you to change the style and color of the entire roof or individual roof sections/pieces. The flat roof also now functions as a room, and while you can’t add walls to the uppermost level, you can add fencing. This flat roof can easily be fenced off for a rooftop deck or just decorative fence edging, by hovering over, similar to how you will change walls of the house to a fence as mentioned previously.

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Moving inside now, Buy Mode is now apart of Build Mode, which is actually really nice! It doesn’t sound nice at first, but trust me, this is a welcome addition as there is no longer a delay switching between building and furnishing anymore. Both modes are separated by tabs/buttons and everything you’re using to is still present. Decor, Living Room, Bedroom, Entertainment, and more are all present.

With furnishing always came the struggle of filling a room. Well not anymore! The Sims 4 includes a brand new Magazine Catalog which is a pretty amazing addition. The Magazine Catalog allows you to buy pre-furnished and pre-styled rooms ready to place down. If you don’t like how the objects are arranged, you can move them around. If you don’t like the color of items, they can be changed from a few pre-set colors. If you’ve already chosen a color, like say, a red styled dining room from Magazine Catalog but later wanted black, you can now just go into Magazine Catalog, choose the black color dining room and place it down over your red styled dining room and it will instantly change. This removes the need for you to pick up each item and swap out the color, making it easier to keep on furnishing!

If you don’t like how the room looks or is positioned, you can rotate the entire room around and the furniture will move with it. Not only that, but lets say the room is a bit too small. Grab one of the walls and stretch it out a few tiles and any furniture on that wall will move with it, as does the wallpaper and flooring too, filling in the gaps.

If you’re browsing the Magazine Catalog and decide that you only like certain items from each room, not a problem. You don’t have to place the entire room you see in the magazine catalog preview. Just click on the object you want from the magazine catalog preview image and place it in your home. It’s that simple! At this time, there is no comment on creating and saving your own Magazine Catalog options.

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For those that like to furniture on a piece by piece level, this is also still possible. All objects will be available in the exact same way as in previous games, ready to be placed however you choose. The Magazine Catalog option just makes it easier and quicker to furnish rooms and get you back to playing fast. And for those that don’t like landscaping their Sims’ yard: Magazine Catalog options will be available for landscaping too, to tree and shrubify your Sims’ yard without you having to worry.

Finding furniture is easier with Magazine Catalog, but if you like to decorate piece by piece, collections are also present in The Sims 4. Collections now take on the name of ‘Styles’ in The Sims 4, but allow for greater options such as filtering by color of objects (like you can with wallpaper) or even by style of objects. There is no comment on creating and saving your own Styles at this time.

They eye-dropper tool is also still present allowing for quick duplication of objects and decor. Sledgehammer tool is also present allowing for quick deletion or even grouped deletion (like in The Sims 3) of objects, walls, windows, doors and more. There was no comment on if the eye-dropper tool will allow for duplication of a Magazine Catalog room for even faster building.

The other options of furnishing and customizing such as vertical placement (moving up and down) of pictures on the wall is still present, but you can now also move mirrors up and down on the wall too. If the mirror is out of sight of the Sim, the Sim won’t use that mirror though. Mirrors will better show the interior and exterior reflection too! Free placement (off the grid) is there and works just like in The Sims 3, by holding the Alt key while you have an object selected. There was no comment on chimneys and fireplaces, but again, they’re also not forgotten!

Other things that I’m sure most of you are itching to know about…

  • Create a Style: Create a Style is not present in The Sims 4 at this time. It is being considered and could very well be added in a new way. Color swatch and changing options are present on clothing, furniture, wallpapers, windows, and all the areas you’d expect; but they’re pre-set. Maxis could very well add in a rainbow swatch option that, when clicked, would bring up a color editor allowing you to choose a different color than offered, and this could be a way they would achieve the Create a Style so many people want. Patterns and textures that could be applied with Create a Style in The Sims 3 on objects may be a little difficult for them to complete in The Sims 4 due to changes in rendering, the engine, and overall graphics, but not entirely impossible. In all honesty, I would be happy if they just offered pre-set colors but allowed for you to choose your own colors too. Patterns and textures, I’m personally not too concerned with because I don’t need leopard or fire print bedding, chairs, and so forth. I just like things to be able to match or to be able to adjust the lightness or darkness of colors and woods. But that’s just my thoughts.
  • Lots of optimization has been done to the brand new engine being used in The Sims 4 to decrease loading times and help the game run on a variety of different of computers with different specifications. While there are no system requirements for The Sims 4 yet, the team is focusing on making the game work better on a greater number of computers than past games.
  • Light also now spreads between floors, so if you have a floor open below, light from above will light the floor below too. Light will also pour in the windows, and it looks really good! If you liked to build or furnish in the dark, the option to control day or night have been expanded to allow for even more times of day. You can now see what your house will look like at sunrise, midday, sunset, or night. There was no comment on lot sizes and what they will be, such as largest or smallest lot. There was also no comment on Create a World and options being built into the core game.
  • In the gameplay demo it showed entire rooms being moved around and deleted all with one click. This will be possible to make for easier deleting, but you will be able to delete square by square too.

As you can see there is a lot to Build Mode in The Sims 4! The new features and tools, and the classic ways to do things are all still there. They work hand in hand to make building the house of your dreams (or your Sims dreams) easier than ever. Sure some things may be missing, but don’t worry, they’re still working on the game and there are lots of great ideas and things that are still on their lists to be added. They listen to your feedback and your ideas, but do remember, they’re human too and have emotions so take it easy on them.

With that said, a big thank you goes out to both SimGuruHouts and SimGuruGrant for giving us this great demo of The Sims 4 Build Mode! Sure does get me very excited for building in The Sims 4!

Make sure to check out our other previews we have for The Sims 4, and including upcoming previews. Animations will be next on September 18th, and there will be lots of great information there too!

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer them.

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6 thoughts on “The Sims 4: Simified’s Build Mode Preview”

  1. Thanx for sharing all this info, glad u got to go to sim camp to learn all about what’s coming :) awesome article, u did a great job

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