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The Sims 2 and 3 Build Mode vs The Sims 4 Build Mode

waterywatermelonwaterywatermelon Posts: 311 Member
Some people may say that The Sims 4 Build Mode is 'easy' and 'intuitive' and 'fast'. Personally, I find this comment subjective.

I have never had any trouble with TS2 building or TS3 building, and in fact, it really helps that TS3 building has a lot of similar functions from TS2 building + more. Some functions in TS3 (such as the buydebug cheat code) are completely non-existent in TS2, but they may be carried over to TS4. Actually, I think the similar functions between TS2 and TS3 are what makes TS3 easier for me to build than TS4; there is a lot of carry-over. However, with TS4, it is a new blank slate. Whatever worked for TS2/TS3 does not work for TS4 anymore. You have to do it completely differently in order to achieve the same effect - sometimes, not even easier at all.

Finding the right objects to decorate a TS4 room is a bit trickier than in TS3, because TS3 has Create-A-Style, which really helps in customizing the room colors, and TS2 at the very least has normal-looking color options. I just want cheap furniture, but the good ones are kind of pricey. However, where TS4 excels at is the interior design and clutter. Usually, TS2 and TS3 houses would feel very bare and minimalistic, because there is a limited number of slots on certain objects or maybe because the routing and playability must be considered. In TS4, you can place tons of paintings on the wall to form a collage, and there are tons of slots on objects. You can also use cheats in TS4 to add more clutter onto objects.

The Sims 2 tutorials mention that you can build foundations in TS2. That means the predecessor, The Sims 1, has no foundations. With foundations in TS2, you can build basements, and some pre-made houses really do have basements. In The Sims 3, you can build basements like how you did in TS2, but there is also the basement tool, introduced in World Adventures and base game patch. To experience the full functionality of basements, you may still want to purchase World Adventures, because that expansion pack has the tools you need to build your own custom adventure tombs! You can theoretically build a complex underground maze in TS3, hide hidden treasures there and let other players solve the puzzle. As a result, TS3 is the only game with 2 very different style of basements. One is TS2 style; the other TS4 style. With that said, the main problem that I find in TS4 Build Mode is that the room is directly attached to the foundation. This is by design, because TS4 allows you to adjust the height of the foundation easily. However, the disadvantage of this is that the foundation itself cannot be used as a room anymore. If you want a basement in TS4, you are forced to use the basement tool and create a completely underground basement. It is simply impossible to create a walk-out basement in TS4 with a slope going down to the basement door, because the basement is COMPLETELY underground, and the foundation is attached to the room above it.

In TS4, you can change the wall height (low, medium or high), but the main problem I have with this is that the wall height applies to ALL WALLS for the same floor level. This can be very annoying, because sometimes I just want one building to be taller than another, not every single building on the lot. In TS3 and TS2, there is definitely a lot more customization. With the ConstrainFloorElevation cheat code, you can make a very short wall to make a chicken coop, like so.

In regards to lot type, TS2 has only residential and community lot options. These are base game options that you can easily access. With the Ultimate Collection, you have to use a cheat code to convert a residential lot into an apartment lot, community lot, dorm or whatever you want. The Sims 3 lot types are numerous and can be interchangeable, and I think that's because TS3 has a lot of cross-over from TS2. You can also add a lot of rabbitholes on a community lot, and they will actually work. However, to get custom rabbitholes, you do need some computer graphics and programming skills. However, I think TS3 lot types are still better than TS4 lot types, because the base game at least allows you to create a basic community lot that anyone can visit and can do stuff on, like in TS2. In TS4, most of the lot types have requirements, and if you choose the Generic option, then there may be no visitors. On the other hand, TS4 lot traits are very useful if you want a different gameplay experience on each lot you build.

Finally, The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 both have customizable maps. For TS2 base game, you can go shopping for groceries, clothes, magazines and games; or you may use the community lots to hang out and socialize. Normally, you cannot sleep on community lots. However, if you own The Sims 2 Bon Voyage, then you can place a tent on a community lot and make your Sims sleep in it in an unmodified game. With mods, you can definitely make your Sims sleep on a real bed on a community lot or even a park bench. I own the Sims 2 Ultimate Collection, so I can make a Sim own a whole community and place an earned career reward on it so that the Sims in the neighborhood can go to that community lot to train for a career. That's how I build career-oriented community lots in TS2. However, to make these lots actually useful, I have to have a mod installed to allow skill-building on community lots. Otherwise, Sims can't actually skill. The Sims 2 maps are also large enough to store a ton of career-oriented community lots and residential lots. The Sims 3 comes with Sunset Valley, and that one is essentially a town with career-oriented community lots. Meanwhile in TS4, none of the base game worlds are customizable, so if you want a new world, then you have to pay a new pack for it. The EP world will not be customizable either, but on the bright side, you get more lots to build on! With some creativity, you can turn an existing world into a business district or a residential district or an ethnic enclave in TS4.
Post edited by EA_Lanna on


  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 20,743 Member
    Just an fyi for future posting. Comparison threads are always moved to the Sims Franchise forum. 🙂
    Do more of what makes you happy. 🌞
  • CK213CK213 Posts: 19,115 Member
    edited May 9
    TS4 has certain constraints for how things are constructed that can feel awkward if try to build TS2/TS3 style.
    I had to get use to that, but TS4 build mode is very helpful for the way I like to build.

    I tend to build homes in series. Once I build a house with a certain theme, I creat a series of homes from starters to mansions based on that style. The flexibility of placement of house on the lot, saving rooms, and copying rooms makes building very fast for me.

    When University came out, I wanted to recreate a mega-dorm that I had built long ago in the Sims 2.

    I realized I already had a home style that I could use for my dorm.
    I built this home from Realm of Magic content.

    So I simply placed the house on a large lot and started breaking it apart.

    This build did not take as long as I thought it would.

    And I was also happy that I was able to make it look like I wanted it to.
    I could not do it in TS2.

    One more thing I like about TS4 is you can shrink and upsize content.
    I love making miniature versions of some of trees. It adds more flexibility to landscaping.
    Post edited by CK213 on
  • ScobreScobre Posts: 20,348 Member
    Sims 2 and Sims 3 did have fun neighborhood building. I do miss building the scene of stories. FX effects I wish was optional and tend to cause useless performance issues.
    “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” –Helen Keller
  • happyjmehappyjme Posts: 1,731 Member
    I’m still trying To get used to building in TS4. I have a hard time building upper floors because I tend to create buildings by dragging the wall tool out one wall at a time and connecting them, not in “squares” or entire rooms at one. Yet it seems that tiles can’t be placed on upper levels when walls are connected to create a room, only when the rooms are created all walls at once. 🤦‍♂️
  • Mstybl95Mstybl95 Posts: 5,466 Member
    There are a lot of features I really enjoy in TS4s build mode. I really love being able to move the whole house or rotate it. There are a lot of things that make it easier to build. Like the room/platform/foundation tools. It's easy to make a room and drag to the dimensions you want. The roof tools are also easier, the pillars are awesome and can be inserted into fences, the stairs can be configured easily, the windows and doors update so they can be placed anywhere, etc. There's a lot of tools that make building easier.

    However, as someone who started playing with TS1 and ran a building fansite for TS2, I was and am still used to build mode from the previous games. I like being able to make split level homes and attached garages. I like thinking of a new design and actually being able to execute it. There have been countless times when I'm thinking of a design and I realize there's no way to do it in TS4 (before the platforms and stairs updates). Now I'd say when I play TS2 and TS3, I don't really like building in them anymore because it's not as simple as it is in TS4.

    The only thing I absolutely hate about TS4s build mode is the floor tiles being tied to a room. Sometimes I just want to place floor tiles in places that don't need a room. Or remove tiles from a room. But no, now I have to make that one floor tile its own room and now the cornice is inside the house instead of outside! HULK SMASH!
  • auroraael14auroraael14 Posts: 875 Member
    I love the build mode in the sims 4 and I built houses in all four sims games. I like dragging and rotating and being able to pick up the whole house and move it. The only thing I have found that I don't like about the sims 4 building tools is not being able to delete one tile at a time on the second floor. Now it adds more steps to delete one tile than the previous games. I have to make the tile I don't want a room then delete the floor tile and the walls and add a ceiling to where I deleted the one tile and the walls. Other than that I love playing around with the tools and seeing what I can create.

    Like someone above mentioned I do miss creating neighborhoods like in sims 2 and 3. I would spend hours, weeks, and sometimes months making my neighborhood and world perfect for my sims. I'm disappointed that I can't change anything about the sims 4 neighborhoods and worlds and that we cannot create our own. They took simmers creativity away and made it so we can only play in the worlds that they make.
    Check out my gallery for house builds! Username: aejp24
  • sims2freak737sims2freak737 Posts: 2,523 Member
    One thing I always have problems with is building by rooms instead of just throwing down walls and floor tiles wherever. For example, I always struggle with creating a balcony that looks down to the floor below. I wish I could just CTRL + Click to delete single floor tiles.
  • matheus_mar_1999matheus_mar_1999 Posts: 91 Member
    If you want a basement in TS4, you are forced to use the basement tool and create a completely underground basement. It is simply impossible to create a walk-out basement in TS4 with a slope going down to the basement door
    Well, I think that's not true...


  • waterywatermelonwaterywatermelon Posts: 311 Member
    @matheus_mar_1999 You still have to hide the awkward-looking slope. So, that doesn't count.
    In TS2 and TS3, you can literally make a walk-out basement, and the door will be attached to the foundation. This is impossible in TS4.
    Your method is also more cumbersome, because you have to place every single bush to hide the awkward-looking slope.

    I personally like TS2/TS3 foundations best. TS4 foundations suck.
  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 20,743 Member
    @CK213 your dormitory is awesome! Is it on the Gallery?
    Do more of what makes you happy. 🌞
  • GoldmoldarGoldmoldar Posts: 11,425 Member
    edited May 9
    I do like some of Sims 4 build modes but Sims 3 had other build mode options that does not exist in Sims 4 build mode and Waterywatermelon alluded to it and that is the Create an Style function which allowed the user to make crazy designs designs that really made users design stick out. Also I liked the auto roof in Sims 3 which is not in Sims 4 and it is annoying to me.
    Post edited by Goldmoldar on
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  • CK213CK213 Posts: 19,115 Member
    edited May 9
    @CK213 your dormitory is awesome! Is it on the Gallery?

    Yes it is.
    I don't remember if I removed that cafeteria object in this upload.
    But if not, I would remove it because they are annoying. Just add in more counters and have two refrigerators behind it to store all the food dormies bring in.

    There is a hidden room for spellcasters in the attic. (No door)
    I wanted to have the cauldron up there, but since it is considered a stove, the game doesn't allow it.

    I located my dorm in Windenburg.
  • simgirl1010simgirl1010 Posts: 20,743 Member
    Do more of what makes you happy. 🌞
  • Brd709Brd709 Posts: 393 Member
    Why is foundation automatically added to every wall in the Sims 4 build mode?
  • waterywatermelonwaterywatermelon Posts: 311 Member
    Brd709 wrote: »
    Why is foundation automatically added to every wall in the Sims 4 build mode?

    The main purpose is to create adjustable foundations.
  • readerbug2readerbug2 Posts: 22 Member
    I'm an amateur builder for both TS4 and TS3 (and Sims Bustin' Out, but we don't talk about that). I prefer building in TS4. It's cleaner, and I can replicate my vision better than in TS3. Being able to minimize/maximize items and being able to lower or raise items helps make my buildings homes. I know there are mixed feelings around clutter, but clutter really helps give rooms character. Tiny spaces feel lived in while bigger mansions don't feel as empty as they do in TS3.

    I will say roofing is a nightmare, regardless.
  • Sunflowergal227Sunflowergal227 Posts: 194 Member
    Now i haven't figured out how to build quite yet in ts4. in ts3, i only played and didn't really build. In Ts2 however, i build alot because of my rotational play. For instance Jill and Buck Grunt got married and i built them a house in strangetown. Strangetown has alot of houses in its neighborhood. To boot last time i built a house, i was able to finally build 2 floors without it costing too much. i use auto roofing tho, as it is easier. In my personal experience Ts2 is easier to build. plus you can build on a foundation if you'd like.
    Favorite EP/SP
    Sims 2 (All EPs/SPs)
    Sims 3 Showtime
    Sims 3 Generations
    My Sims 3 profile page:
  • TheStarrSimmerTheStarrSimmer Posts: 169 Member
    TS2 build mode was great easy and not hard to figure out, it was pretty self explanatory. The menus were very simple, and I could build for hours.

    TS3 I have never played

    TS4 I have only been playing it since April 2021, so I am speaking as a new TS4 player... At first it was difficult, The learning curve is massive for new players...but that being said, now that I have played a while, I actually like it a little better than TS2, I love how the stuff in TS4 is organized in the menu...I also like how there are premade rooms that allows you to skip building it all the way from scratch...BUT, it also allows you to build from scratch if you choose to do so. Sometimes a little complication makes things a little better.
  • OldeseadoggeOldeseadogge Posts: 3,340 Member
    TS2: Agree on the foundations, with a cheat can build very tall structures, water tool, proper Mansard roofs with room space and working windows, tape measure so you automatically know wall/room sizes, greater variety of floor and wall coverings, spiral stairs, can choose how many railings to place on connecting stairs, terrain tools easier to use - at least for me
    TS4: ability to move/re-size rooms & buildings, for boring basements just down a floor below ground level and add box walls
  • Renato10Renato10 Posts: 406 Member
    I honestly prefer The Sims 3 to build
  • ClarionOfJoyClarionOfJoy Posts: 1,858 Member
    I prefer The Sims 3 to build too. I'm not a builder, but I love modifying lots as I play in live mode as it's just so easy and everything is so highly customizable! I think though that the only thing I actually build from scratch are the diving lots - and that's pretty unique to The Sims 3 as well. I also love the camera in build mode because you have a greater ability to see everything from many angles.

    Took a quick snapshot of my active sim with her date riding the roller coaster at the amusement park:
    The look of sheer terror is priceless, lol!


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