I Broke My Brain Designing Randomly Generated Sims Buildings

Illustration for article titled I Broke My Brain Designing Randomly Generated iSims /iBuildings
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I build a lot in The Sims, but like a lot of Simmers, I end up building the same house over and over. No matter how hard I try, they look like the houses in the neighborhood I grew up in. They’re suburban houses with two stories, vaguely Georgian architecture, two beds, and one bathroom. I needed to figure out a way to break the cycle. Enter Lilsimsie, a Sims YouTuber I am obsessed with.


Simsie is also a builder in The Sims, though she has been doing a Let’s Play series in which she uses a random number generator to decide what’s going to happen to her Sims. Because all the choices for her Let’s Play are customized to the episode she’s doing, she hasn’t been able to release a set of rules so that her fans can play along. She calls it the Wheel Spin Build, even though there’s no literal wheel involved. She does have a spinning wheel animation that she uses for her videos, and the name stuck.

Lilsimsie made a set of rules that will give you random parameters for building a house, which generates everything from the size of the lot you’re building on to a “funky room” you have to include in your build. I decided to try it.

The first go around went okay, but mainly because I was lucky. Building a moderate sized house in a Modern style for a family of three isn’t all that hard. It wasn’t until the very last moment that I remembered that I needed to add a garden. This counts, right?

Illustration for article titled I Broke My Brain Designing Randomly Generated iSims /iBuildings

My second try broke my brain.

I knew I was off to a bad start when I got the largest possible sized lot in my first spin of the theoretical wheel. Building a big house in The Sims is hard. You’d think bigger would be better, but have you ever tried to furnish a larger than average house? You will run out of stuff. You simply forget what the hell to do with all the room you’ve been handed. I’ve realized I have a real knack for building on much smaller lot sizes. Given that I have no aspirations to live in a mansion, it’s not that I even fantasize about what I would do with all the extra space.

My budget of 75k simoleons was going to be tight, so when I rolled for the architectural style, I crossed my fingers for Mid-Century, as I’m a fan of that style and know it well. I could probably stretch my money by using it on a few specific details to make the style distinct, and then going bland everywhere else.

That evening, the random number generation gods looked upon me and deemed me unworthy. No, they said. You will build a Victorian. And it says here you also have to include a kid’s play room.


I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the spot, it’s like I get instant amnesia. I looked over at the Google doc where I put all my restrictions, and every single mental image of a house that I have ever had slipped from my mind. I knew Victorians were relatively ornate, with big porches and towers and lots of finicky little details everywhere. After reluctantly loading up the largest lot, situated in the faux-Los Angeles neighborhood of Del Sol Valley, I threw down a couple boxes and tried to put a roof on them. But now another question plagued me: what is a roof?

I ended up sleeping on it. Today is another story. I woke up, and after my morning meeting, I did a Google image search for some Victorian mansions, looked at some pictures, and went to town.

Illustration for article titled I Broke My Brain Designing Randomly Generated iSims /iBuildings

The key was to stop thinking about filling the lot with a big house, and instead think about interesting ways a house could sit on the lot. If the back porch is going to look out on the rest of Del Sol Valley, wouldn’t it be cute to have a fountain back there? To balance the dip in the landscape where I put the fountain, I added a gentle hill out front and put a gazebo on it.


I’m probably still cutting it close to call this a kid’s play room, though.

Illustration for article titled I Broke My Brain Designing Randomly Generated iSims /iBuildings

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Lurch of the SoCal

Spot on play room. Don’t diss yourself on it. Victorians ALSO are known for a lot of small, cramped rooms. A solarium style room barely large enough for two adults but used for a child’s play area is totally legit.

Gameplay wise, have they ever fixed the way sims interact with the large houses? I still play 2 every now and then and stopped tracking the gameplay mechanics at 3 - large houses were nearly impossible to “live” in due to the amount of time it took to get from place to place with the occasionally janky pathfinding and shifting needs of the sim. You’d send someone to make dinner, and in the in-game half hour it took to reach the kitchen they’d divert to the bathroom, get lonely, get bored, and by the time they hit the kitchen refuse to do anything other than eat a bowl of cereal.