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Today's friendly reminder to Playtest your Restaurants!

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(Minor rant / PSA. NOT an attack, but a "stern observation")

...So, I notice that the one community lot type with most problems is Restaurants. Now, some of it is Maxis bugs but a lot is bad builds.
Not even big names in the Sim community can be trusted to build a working restaurant, including people that have their own save files for download...

Make sure to look at the following things:

1. Functioning, or even existing, doors. Especially to the kitchen.
2. NO TVs! Especially behind locked doors! It will make Sims leave their table and try to reach the TVs! (also stereos or computers)
3. Make sure waiters don't have to go outside and around the building to reach your indoor tables (sometimes there IS a door, but counters or bars are blocking the way, because No Playtesting!)
4. WAY too crowded. Most downloaded restaurants have WAY too many tables so waiters and guests get stuck trying to get to or from tables. Or chairs blocking booths so the seats against the wall cannot be used.
5. Non-functioning cooking stations due to shelves or decoration placed with MOO and again, not playtested.
6. And finally, if you use MOO say so in the description.
Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek

Comments

  • TombRaider_TombRaider_ Posts: 22 Member
    This should be applied to any lot being shared. Always playtest your lots.
  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member
    edited April 3
    This should be applied to any lot being shared. Always playtest your lots.

    Definitely.
    However there are two reasons I singled out the restaurants:

    1. It is the lot type most people have problems with in general (the "waiting 6 hours for food" bug and other things. Making sure your restaurant has at least two squares between most chairs* eliminates a lot of logistic problems for example)
    2. It is very sensitive to mistakes. If you block the bathroom in a park, 9 times out of 10 you can find another bathroom in the world within walking distance without having to load another lot, for example.

    *With that I mean not side by side, but back to back, between tables.
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
  • DianesimsDianesims Posts: 1,698 Member
    Thanks for the reminder! I haven’t posted that many community lots but I sometimes forget to playtest them. I’d say post in the comments section of these lots what is not working to let the builder know, otherwise If they don’t use it themselves they might never notice and fix it. I also tend to forget to indicate I use moveobjects. I usually don’t put TVs in restaurants, but thanks to you I now know I shouldn’t do it.

  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member
    edited April 3
    Dianesims wrote: »
    Thanks for the reminder! I haven’t posted that many community lots but I sometimes forget to playtest them. I’d say post in the comments section of these lots what is not working to let the builder know, otherwise If they don’t use it themselves they might never notice and fix it. I also tend to forget to indicate I use moveobjects. I usually don’t put TVs in restaurants, but thanks to you I now know I shouldn’t do it.

    Thank you. I hope I didn't come off too harsh; I just find it very obvious sometimes that especially restaurants (also bars and clubs, but restaurants are the most unforgiving since you only go there for ONE thing, while it's okay if you can't get a drink in a nightclub as long as you can dance, or the other way in a bar) are just not playtested at all before uploaded.

    I also think I should have put the crowded bit as no 1. It is by far the biggest problem. We all know how bad the pathfinding can be in sims 4 and having 20 small tables with 1 square between them and maximum number of Sims on the lot becomes well... a lot for it to handle.

    Edit: I know people say bugs make them wait for food for hours. But a lot of times the waiter taking your order might not even have talked to the chef for two hours because he can't get thru the crowd, or can't get into the kitchen, or...
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
  • LiELFLiELF Posts: 3,863 Member
    A lot of really good advice in this thread. I love to download people's builds from the Gallery, but I've had to tweak and rearrange a few restaurants to get them to work properly. Some of my observations are:

    Using MOO too much does seem to cause a lot of small issues so I'd recommend to use it sparingly if you intend for the build to be playable.

    I know that there are some builders out there who build for the art and creativity more than functionality, and that's perfectly okay. But it would be helpful if there was a tag for those types, like #nonfunctional or #justforshow or something like that, or at the very least, #NOTplaytested. This would give fair warning to someone looking for a working lot to plop down into their game.

    I've noticed also that there are many "flexible" builds where the builder wanted the player to be able to use it as they choose, so they include all objects for bars, cafes, restaurants and night clubs. I find that, in the end, these end up causing more headache than convenience and end up with too much wasted clutter bogging down the lot as well as unused space. Sims will end up routing around for random things and not behaving as they're supposed to. So it's really best to keep it simpler and focused and let the player renovate themselves if they wish.

    Finally, there are many restaurant lots that include a "liveable" space upstairs for the owner. While this is convenient for those who like to own restaurants and use that gameplay, these lots aren't the best for players who just want their Sims to visit and go dining. So this advice is probably more for the players. If you must download one of these lots to use, make sure you lock the doors to the residential section (or remove the doors altogether) so your Sims don't try to wander up there. You might even want to delete computers, TVs and stereos, as previously suggested, just in case Sims still get distracted by them.

    I know there are players who say restaurants are very buggy, but I have several good working restaurants in my own game (some I've had to alter) so it's possible that many issues are caused by things mentioned in this thread. I'd suggest to try out a simple, spacious, non-MOO, focused restaurant (maybe one by Maxis) and see if it works properly. If it does, then you'll know that you just need to do some tweaking in the other restaurants in your game, or get new ones. If it doesn't, then you most likely have a bug.
  • calaprfycalaprfy Posts: 2,520 Member
    This is the reason I stick to the original lots or download from Maxis. Builders overdoing things instead of keeping it simple.
  • ButteredToastButteredToast Posts: 39 Member

    I concur with OP and after running a restaurant for 2 Sims generation, I would like to add:

    1. I don't have any extraneous objects that would distract Sims. No pianos, no stereos, no chess sets, no computers etc. I found Sims still got up and chat with each other but they returned to their tables much quicker if they were not distracted. I don't even put bars in my restaurants although they're maybe ok (don't know, haven't tested this).

    2. If you use any custom content (especially tables and chairs), make sure they are updated for Dine Out pack. I used custom tables once and they really bugged out the game. I had once a bug where I couldn't customize my Sims staff's outfit. The culprit was CC. As soon as I deleted those CC from my lot, outfit customization was fixed.

    3. Use the automatic garbage can (I can't remember the name) instead of the "manual" garbage can that needs to be re-emptied into the outdoor trash cans. Delete all outdoor trash cans. It saves your Sims staff from having to take garbage out and other sims from wanting to kick the outdoor cans (and you/your staff have to clean up after them). Your Sims staffs should be focused on doing food related things as much as possible.

    4. Pathing: I now prefer to build my own public lots (whether it's retail or restaurant or gym). When I build my own I do not use MOO (I still use MOO for my Sims' house).
  • SindocatSindocat Posts: 4,563 Member
    I admit, my own builds often go up before I have playtested them. Then I yank them and upload the corrected version. It's a bad habit I am trying to change, but I just get so excited when a lot comes out -looking- good that I don't always take the time I should to be sure that it plays as intended.
  • GalacticGalGalacticGal Posts: 15,882 Member
    Sage advice, OP. I've had to 'remodel' a wedding venue because the way to the bar was totally blocked by a hedge. Mind you, it was gorgeous, so I very carefully made a hole, if you will, by just removing the smallest amount of the hedge to allow the bartender (Mixologist) to get in, and of course, the guests. I probably should have alerted the creator of that lot, come to think of it. Oh, well. I relabeled it in my own library so I wouldn't have to made the modifications all over again. Plus, I put potty chairs in the two bathrooms in case some of the guests are toddlers.
    You can download (free) all three volumes of my Night Whispers Star Trek Fanfiction here: http://galacticgal.deviantart.com/gallery/ You'll need to have a pdf reader. New websites: http://www.trekkiefanfiction.com/st-tos.php
    http://www.getfreeebooks.com/star-trek-original-series-fan-fiction-trilogy/
  • Colton147147Colton147147 Posts: 10,242 Member
    edited April 3


    Couldn't help it. :#
    Your Justine Keaton Enthusiast.
  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member


    Couldn't help it. :#

    Yeah... Probably going to delete half your lamps :wink: .

    ...Seriously last restaurant I downloaded was so bright with a good graphic card that all guests looked like the Joker or Harley Quinn. I had to delete two thirds of light-sources to get it anywhere close to the "romantic Italian place" it was labeled as :neutral:

    (I get it, with a basic graphic card you need tons of light).
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
  • HermitgirlHermitgirl Posts: 8,124 Member
    Two thumbs up OP!
    Usually I'm in and out of a restaurant in 2-3 hours (not that a bring a large family just 1-2 sims) unless I chose to stay and have more food or just hang out. I know it's because I avoid basically everything you mentioned. Especially hard on sims is placing fun activities. I downloaded on really cute diner with a basketball court and the waiters were drawn to it. It was obvious it had to go. Also the spacing is very important to not bottleneck the paths as you said. I try not to download MOO builds at all unless I know the builder playtests.
    egTcBMc.png
  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member
    Hermitgirl wrote: »
    Two thumbs up OP!
    Usually I'm in and out of a restaurant in 2-3 hours (not that a bring a large family just 1-2 sims) unless I chose to stay and have more food or just hang out. I know it's because I avoid basically everything you mentioned. Especially hard on sims is placing fun activities. I downloaded on really cute diner with a basketball court and the waiters were drawn to it. It was obvious it had to go. Also the spacing is very important to not bottleneck the paths as you said. I try not to download MOO builds at all unless I know the builder playtests.

    Basically the restaurants are the premade lots that you really should get pointers from Maxis on. Don't place things closer together than they are in the premade restaurants.

    Also yeah, as I said, restaurants should really not have any other activities than "Sitting" and "eating" to flow well. And yeah, 2-ish hours for a solo Sim or couple, 4-ish hours for a dinner with many friends where the main reason to go is to just gain Social and Friendship scores.
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
  • wylmite1986wylmite1986 Posts: 1,125 Member
    I agree that any lot should have this especially tiny houses. I downloaded like 2 or 3 where I had to redo almost the whole thing because my sim can't get around or into some place.
    sims_zpswwzalnus.jpg
  • popstarsleypopstarsley Posts: 778 Member
    Even without move objects on, it’s disappointing that sometimes ceiling lights or wall deco impact routing and prohibits Sims from being seated at some tables by the hostess. I wish EA would fix some of this.
  • Atreya33Atreya33 Posts: 1,344 Member
    This is a great thread. Thanks for all the tips. I always use Maxis restaurants because I know they work. I have not yet come around to building my own, but with this info, I want to try.

    Does anyone have info on placing tables inside or outside? I had sims dine in the rain because they got assigned a table outside. Tables outside don't consider weather in my experience.
  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member
    Atreya33 wrote: »
    This is a great thread. Thanks for all the tips. I always use Maxis restaurants because I know they work. I have not yet come around to building my own, but with this info, I want to try.

    Does anyone have info on placing tables inside or outside? I had sims dine in the rain because they got assigned a table outside. Tables outside don't consider weather in my experience.

    Nope, Restaurants does not care if it's a blizzard and everyone freezes to death. However you can at least avoid personal death by clicking on a table you want rather than asking the Host to seat you. It's one of those tips they really should tell you but don't.

    (But yes, I tend to either avoid outdoor seated restaurants during winter OR place them only in warm places, like Oasis Springs or Strangerville (Sulani and Whatsitcalled the Get Famous World has constant thunder storms during Winter so not ideal).
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
  • WaytoomanyUIDsWaytoomanyUIDs Posts: 452 Member
    edited April 4
    One thing I noticed while playtesting a cafe styled as stereotypical diner (I don't have Dine Out) I built in a brownstone type shell is a baseball netball basketball hoop on the same lot will distract the patrons from eating. from the horror stories I hear, I imagine it would distract them even more on a restaurant lot. And I think it makes them turn up in sports clothes. I put a jukebox in the cafe but it doesn't seem to distract them too badly.

    The cafe only takes up half the lot so I put some stuff there to make it looks less empty, but I'll have to rethink that. I suppose I could move original karaoke bar building into that space, but then the karaoke stuff would probably distract the patrons and barista.

    EDIT: Good advice about potty chairs @GalacticGal , I will have to revise my wedding venue. I always forget about potty chairs
    Origin/Gallery ID: WaytoomanyUIDs
  • SadiesueSadiesue Posts: 42 Member
    This is why I try to make my own restaurants. I did download a beautiful fancy restaurant for my sims and had to change a lot things. It had an indoor and outdoor pond. I didn’t want to delete them because it’s what attracted me to the restaurant to begin with. However it was a problem with Sims wanting to swim constantly so I added short fences around them. That stopped the swimming issue.
    I also will take all decorations like flowers and candles off all the tables. I know it’s tempting to add these things for decorating but It will sometimes prevent your food from being placed on your table. Especially the smaller tables.
    Adding the Homey and Chefs kitchen lot traits does wonders for food quality and service. I also add patio warmers to the outside tables if possible or as another poster said you can click on certain tables in the restaurant and request that table if want to ensure indoor seating.

    And It never fails if the waiter is cleaning off tables they dump those dirty dishes on MY SIM’S TABLE. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!! 🤢
  • BabykittyjadeBabykittyjade Posts: 1,273 Member
    Thank you for this. I learned the hard way :D
    Zombies, oh please oh please give us zombies!! :'(
  • Bearpal64Bearpal64 Posts: 875 Member
    I'm learning a lot about restaurants. I used this one restaurant that was in my library and it looked amazing! Unfortunately it was not functional. So I took what I learned from watching the Sims get stuck and simplified it. It's kind of annoying that you can't use the locks when you visit a community lot though.
  • LajoilLajoil Posts: 7 New Member
    Other sims tied to steal the food from my table...
  • ChampandGirlieChampandGirlie Posts: 1,672 Member
    Yes, playtesting is useful for all lots. I trialed a downloaded restaurant but it just didn't fit in my game. I do a lot of editing of Maxis lots, such as the Hare and Hedgehog that I converted to a restaurant or the bar in Brindleton Bay that I converted into a restaurant. I downloaded a cafe that I've kept in the game after editing, but sometimes a lot just doesn't feel like "yours". That has happened to me and I would just take the lot out. I said it went out of business.

    Ultimately, what appeals to one person doesn't always appeal to another. I've kept some downloaded community builds that did fit in my game but you don't always know until you playtest them.

    In terms of buggy lots, I've run into issues with houses in which the kitchens wouldn't work or there was just excessive non-functional decor making the lot unusable. It makes you a little wary of downloading.
    Champ and Girlie are dogs.
  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member
    Lajoil wrote: »
    Other sims tied to steal the food from my table...

    That bug was fixed 6 months ago. :)
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
  • BeardedgeekBeardedgeek Posts: 3,847 Member
    Yes, playtesting is useful for all lots. I trialed a downloaded restaurant but it just didn't fit in my game. I do a lot of editing of Maxis lots, such as the Hare and Hedgehog that I converted to a restaurant or the bar in Brindleton Bay that I converted into a restaurant. I downloaded a cafe that I've kept in the game after editing, but sometimes a lot just doesn't feel like "yours". That has happened to me and I would just take the lot out. I said it went out of business.

    Ultimately, what appeals to one person doesn't always appeal to another. I've kept some downloaded community builds that did fit in my game but you don't always know until you playtest them.

    In terms of buggy lots, I've run into issues with houses in which the kitchens wouldn't work or there was just excessive non-functional decor making the lot unusable. It makes you a little wary of downloading.

    "Clutter-itis" is something a lot of builders suffer from in general: It's a conditon where any space must be filled with decorations to the point that your Sim can't go to the bathroom without circling around 14 book heaps, 12 plants, 3 random items from the debug menu and 4 small statues, two of them enlarged, two of them shrunk. ..But it usually don't lend a place unusable, just that you realize after you try to move something that that "single object" is actually 14 debug items shrunk and then squeezed together using MOO...
    Origin ID: A_Bearded_Geek
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