Although we don’t have terrain tools in The Sims 4 there are definitely ways to create the illusion of uneven, rocky and even mountainous environments in your game. I have built two homes, one constructed around a Cliff-face and the other balanced on top of a Mountain, to show you just how easy it is to create an unusual landscape without the use of terrain tools
1Choosing the Right Lot
Because all of the lots in The Sims 4 are flat building a Mountain or Cliff Home can look a little strange if you don’t choose the right location. For these two builds, I chose Windenburg and Granite Falls. Granite Falls is already hilly and rugged so a mountain lot fits right in, whilst the beaches and cliffs of Windenburg’s Island make it the perfect environment. If you only have the base game, Oasis Springs’ desert rocks and plateaus would make a great location too!
2Scaling up Objects
When building any kind of Mountain or Cliff Lot in The Sims 4 scaled-up objects are going to form the basis of your build. You won’t be able to use this tool without first enabling Moveobjects, so make sure you’ve typed bb.moveobjects into your Cheat Bar before you start building!
For these two builds I used a mixture of rocks and stone benches to form the basis of my Cliff or Mountain side. In my opinion stone benches are better suited for this kind of build with their flat tops making a perfect base for a piece of flooring. If you don’t have the content however, the base game stones will work just as well, you just might need to overlap a couple of stones, or play around with the sizing.
All you need to do to size an object up is select it, hold down shift and press the Right Square Bracket Key. The more times you press the Bracket key the larger your object will become (pressing the Left Square Bracket Key will scale the object back down). This will work on all of the objects in game and can be a great tool for building.
It’s important that you place your rocks down before you start to build any walls. Trying to fit misshapen and crooked rocks perfectly into a premade structure is not going to work. Your build will look much more natural if you start with you rock structure and build around it. This will create some interesting features like parts of the cliff face sticking through the walls and will force you to be a little more creative in your choice of room shape and size.
3Playing with Wall Heights and Creating the Build
In order to get a Mountain or Cliff Lot to work you’re going to have to do a lot of experimentation. I recommend starting by building a basic rectangular shape, two or three storeys high, next to your ‘mountain’ or ‘cliff’. This will show you at what height the floor will be for each level of your build. It’s unlikely that the floor will be flush with the top of your rock structure but by playing around with the different wall heights available in The Sims 4 you can keep adjusting until you’re happy with the levels. Of course you can always size your rock structure up or down a few times as well if you need to.
For Cliff Lots you’re probably going to want to achieve that classic ‘drop-off’ look, creating the illusion that half of your build is ‘falling’ over the edge of the cliff. To accomplish this I started by working with the rectangular shape I’d used to work out my floor heights. I deleted the bottom level entirely leaving myself with a floating 2 storey structure. Because I had already worked out which wall height was going to fit best around my Cliff I was able to simply extend the top floor out over the top of the rock. I repeated this process again on the other side of the Cliff, joining together the two top floors to create a large open space that sat perfectly atop my Cliff-face.
On this build especially I spent a long time pulling different walls in different directions, deleting rooms or moving them to a slightly different place. There was a lot of trial and error involved in creating something I was ultimately happy with so don’t lose hope if it takes you a few attempts before you’re satisfied.
Instead of building around the sides of the rock-face, for a mountain lot you only need to build directly on top of it. This means that the actual building process is a lot simpler. For this build all I had to do was create a basic, 3 storey structure alongside the ‘mountain’, drag the third floor out over the top of rock-face and delete the rest of the structure. The biggest difficulty was creating a way for Sims to actually access the mountain-top home. I started by using flat pieces of flooring to create a series of balconies up the side of my mountain, once this was done (and I was happy with their shape and size) I was able to add staircases in to connect the levels. I highly recommend having a Sim on your lot ready to test everything out. It was really useful to be able to know whether my staircase would actually work if half of it was enclosed in solid rock!
One of the most important things to add when creating these kinds of builds is pillars. These give the illusion of structural integrity and help your build to look realistic. It’s easy enough to decide where these should be placed, I simply added in a pillar wherever I felt like the build didn’t look stable enough!
Another thing that really helps make this kind of build look realistic is the addition of extra rocks and stones of various sizes. Scatter rocks around the base, or even on top of, your main structure to blend your build into its surroundings. This, combined with a few plants and trees, will make your sized-up rock look like it’s a part of the terrain rather than a giant, stand-alone object. Don’t worry about placing everything perfectly, the more random and misplaced the rocks are the more natural and realistic your build will look.