Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we're playing.  

I’m home for the holidays, and my parents love the interior-design focused TV station HGTV. That means a lot of Property Brothers, House Hunters, and Tiny House, Big Living. Although I have my own obsession with House Hunters (how do they keep finding such horrible people?), I also have a soft spot for the tiny house show. I’m a tiny person, so the houses seem both cozy and efficient. I’m not likely to be able to afford a house of any kind any time soon, so I’ve been funneling my obsession into The Sims.

Tiny houses are a recent trend where people eschew living in a traditional, large home for living in basically a fancy $30,000 trailer. What makes them so interesting to me is their economical use of space, so that people don’t feel like they’re confined in a small box. In a real life tiny home, you can add a Murphy bed or foldaway dining table to create more living space when you aren’t using them. The ingenuity is pretty inspiring, especially for the part of my brain that is always thinking about my next Sims build.

I’ve tried to make tiny houses in The Sims before, but they always came out larger than I intended. Sims need a lot of objects to live, and their pathing isn’t always the most efficient around those objects. In The Sims, the land is divided up into a grid, with the walls and objects in a house snapping to it by default. So to start, yesterday I made a house where the interior space was five by eight squares. It was pretty cute, and I managed to fit a double bed in there.

To separate the spaces up, I did some fancy building trickery. I was able to split the levels by building a five by eight box, splitting it with a wall in the middle, raising the foundation, and then deleting the floor in one of those sections. All you have to do then is use some floor tiles to cover up the grass. It took some finagling to get the stairs to work, but I successfully created a small, split level home.

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Still, there’s still a lot of unused, empty space in the house. We can go smaller. I decided to try building a four by four house with two levels. It’s actually extremely cute (if difficult to take pictures of). The first floor has this mini kitchen and teeny bathroom.

The second floor has a twin bed, tv, chair and an easel, as this Sim is a painter. If it weren’t for that easel, I’m pretty sure this room could have fit a double bed.

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Despite being in such tight quarters, you can even have company over somewhat comfortably.

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Still, I had to expand the house somewhat because of the stairs, and it kind of felt like cheating. I think I can go even tinier. This time, I made a five by three house. I’ve had dorm rooms that were more spacious.

This is the first version of the layout—I eventually removed one of the counters to add a sink, and removed the stool. I ended up adding a mirror above the bed as well. This Sim is an actor, and actors need mirrors to practice their craft.

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When the welcome wagon came over, it was kind of a tight squeeze.

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Still, I was surprised by how functional the house is. I know adding a porch is kind of cheating, but I feel like it makes up for the fact that I can’t create a working loft space. Even though this Sim barely has enough room to turn around, he can do everything he needs to survive, and even have some fun. There’s a game console on a shelf on the wall right by the TV.

I don’t think I’ve burned off all my tiny house fever. Building them makes me want to experiment with more kinds of challenging layouts. I do think I’ve reached the absolute smallest house I can build, however. That is, unless my Sim is okay with peeing outside.