Green’s Blue Victorian

I proudly present my fourth entry into The Sims 4 Build ‘n Share contest, an elaborately detailed Victorian era home created for a ghost!  I had been planning to skip this round in order to focus on some of my own ideas, but there was one Victorian house image that I’ve been hanging onto for a while:

I’ve never built a Victorian before, and I didn’t think I would be able to get anywhere close to approximating this home given the limited building options in the base game, but I figured there was no harm in seeing what could be done.  Next thing I knew, I was deeply engrossed in the build!

While I was inspired by the original, I let the architecture in the game take its own shape based on the challenge requirements: formal living/music room, kitchen, and dining room, 2 bedrooms (which had to be masters with attached baths) and a third full bath.  I struggled with the interiors a bit, but I am really happy with the final result!  Before we get into the interior, here are some additional exterior shots:

I had a good bit of fun in the backyard.  I looked up Victorian landscaping, and was pleased to learn that they had a sense of fun and liked to throw in a few exotic details.  In particular, I liked this image and wanted to do something similar (but obviously on a smaller scale):

Here’s what I came up with:

Here are a few close-up shots from the garden that I really like:

And originally, there was a gravestone with mourning gnomes!

This was because, in order to create the ghost sim required for the sim portion of the challenge, I had to ..ahem, arrange for a tragic incident involving a bit of hysteria.  I figured my ghost would appreciate having his gravestone placed (with appropriate humor) in the garden.  Unfortunately, graves and urns don’t transfer (yet), so I later revised the area.  I still wanted to give a nod to Halloween:

Well, enough spooky stuff; let’s move on to the interior!  For the challenge, it needed to be Old World, and the judges are, I think, looking for a luxurious feel, so that was what I went for; no modern conveniences, etc.  There is a small foyer upon entry.  I was originally inspired by this shot:

I thought maybe I could do something roughly similar with spandrels inside the house.  It’s a bit complicated in TS4, because if you create fences and spandrels inside a building, the game can get confused about what constitutes the inside vs. outside of the home.  Also, the game has a very aggressive fade in live mode, such that columns and ceiling lights completely disappear, even when you are still a good distance away from them.  I wound up using spandrels but not columns because of this.  It worked out better for object placement anyway.

There’s my foyer, and here’s another shot of it from above.

From the foyer, you can go left to the living room/music area or right, into the kitchen.  Let’s head left first.

The beautiful grand piano is the focal point of the room, of course, but I was disappointed that he chandelier would not show up in my live mode pictures.  I took a shot in build mode (angles are not so good) to at least show the effect.  I do hope EA reduces the fade or gives us options for this soon.

From the living room, you can access a full bath.  Nothing too thrilling, I suppose, but it is functional and pretty:

From the living room, you can also proceed through a back foyer to the backyard or dining room.  There is a small closet too, not shown.

Here is the dining room:

I’m taking a chance in the dining room, because one of the paintings is not strictly speaking “historical,” but I could not resist as its colors were perfect, and its frame is ornate (not the hen, although its colors worked really well too).  And I was again annoyed about the ceiling light going missing in my live shots, so here’s a build mode shot of it:

Now, let’s take a quick look at the kitchen before heading upstairs:

Moving upstairs, there is a small landing:

And then on, to the first of two indulgent master suites.  I call this one, the Blue Bedroom:

Again, I’ve got a slightly unconventional painting in here, but its colors were too perfect, and its frame fits.  Here is the attached master bath:

Not my usual style, but I thought a little water closet was called for here.  On to the second master suite, which I call the Pink Bedroom.

And its romantic en suite bathroom:

Here are overhead shots of the property and floor plan:

Ground Floor

Second Floor

Roofs On

Garden

I thought it might also be fun to show you a few images of my ghost, William Green.  It was no joke trying to get him to die of hysteria; it was ridiculously hard!  It also took forever go get my other sim’s relationship with him up to the level required in order to add him to the household.  I’m glad I didn’t wait until the last minute to try to get that all done!

Here he is checking out his new digs:

No risk in getting a little hysterical now, so might as well!

I had a good laugh when he possessed the ghost gnome!

How about a duet?

And of course, the ubiquitous selfie!

I almost forgot – a few more shots of the exterior during evening and night time:

Green’s Blue Victorian is situated on a 30×20 lot and costs $285,379 (Old World charm doesn’t come cheap!).  If you would like to take a look at the home in game, you can search for it in the Gallery by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations.  Note that the home contains resized objects.  In order to retain the adjusted sizes, please add the home to your lot in build mode rather than via Manage Worlds.

Colonial Coalescence

Another Build ‘n Share challenge creation, and one that definitely took me outside of my comfort zone, at least partially.  It was a bit of an odd one (perhaps they all will be) in that it called for a traditional colonial exterior but a modern interior.  It also had an extremely tight budget for the requirements (2-3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, and a workshop for 100k).  Boy, did I struggle with this one, mostly due to the budget, and it took up a ton of time.

I started with a completely different design, that was shaping up like this:

As time went on, I realized it was just too big and would cost too much to complete.  I attempted to downsize it, but it just wasn’t working, so I scrapped it and started over.  I’m glad that I did, as the new build moved along swiftly after that.  I may just come back to the original at some point though, and complete it as a traditional home throughout (without worrying about the budget).  This was another build where I found a ton of issues and oddities, particularly with regard to the way the game handles color and lighting, but that’s a whole different story (I do have a build mode feedback thread on the forums if you’re interested.)

Moving on to the completed home, here are more images of the exterior:

We had to create the home on a huge lot, 50×50, and as you can see, the landscaping is minimal.  I would have liked to do more, but there was just no way on such a limited budget.  I was amazed by how much the various trees, shrubs, and flowers cost!  In fact, I was amazed by the prices of objects in general once I was really paying attention.  $30 for a Kleenex box?!  Anyway, back to the images.

You can see the couple for whom I built the house, Don and Judy Olsen, in the shot above.  I plopped them onto the lot at one point for play testing and pictures.  Most of the time, I just let them do their thing on free will.  I would ordinarily ignore sims during a build, but I had to say, these two really charmed me, and I may well play them.

I love the oversized windows on the workshop, gives it an almost dollhouse quality.

Moving on to the interior, I’ll start with the open kitchen and dining, which is on one end of the first level:

Don loves the color brown, whereas Judy goes for blue, so I tried to keep that in mind for a mostly blue and brown color scheme.  Don is a woodworker, so I tried to put in wood touches where possible, envisioning that perhaps he had crafted the kitchen cabinets and/or built the dining room table.

I wanted to use the industrial kitchen style, again because of the woodwork and also the cool off blue color of the metal, but I ran into my first color problem here – the windows.  These particular windows are darling from the outside, perfect little shuttered windows, but the interior color cannot be changed, and that green which I wanted on the exterior is not the best for the kitchen.  I also could not seem to get a style I was happy with for the window coverings.  I fear my kitchen may be a misstep in terms of doing well in the challenge.

I really like how the dining room turned out though – for once, all of the colors were working perfectly.

Here’s a peek-a-boo study nook.  See the shadows under the lights?  Sigh…

And a view of the nook and entry leading to the living room.  I couldn’t resist trying to do something with the ceiling again to give it texture, this time using a window treatment enlarged and placed at the top of the wall.  You’ll see more of it in the following shots.

I just think touches like these really help a modern space, which should grab the eye and refuse to let go!

There is also a half bath on the first floor, but it’s tiny and utilitarian, so I’m not going to bother with pictures.  Let’s move upstairs to the landing:

It’s funny how, enlarged, a child’s picture can work quite well as modern art.

Obviously, I couldn’t spend a ton of money on the landing, but I tried to put in a couple of flourishes.  One of my favorite areas in the house would have to be the master bedroom and bathroom:

There’s that inescapable green on the bay window though, argh.

Since I really went for a minimalist but luxurious feel in the master, there wasn’t a whole lot left for the other two bedrooms and bathroom.  I had a ton of color problems in the first bedroom, but it worked out in the end.

The shared bathroom is basic but functional (green window again though):

And the last bedroom is barely furnished so hardly worth looking at.  it was not actually required but was considered a plus to have, so I hope its barren nature won’t be a detriment in the challenge.  It does have a bed!  And curtains! :P

Finally, here is Don’s woodworking worshop.  It provides a good sized space for any hobbyist.

Here are some overheads so that you can see the property layout:

And to close, of course some evening and night shots.  Nothing hugely special about them though.  I didn’t have extra money to do something impressive with lighting.

And that’s it for this one!  Once again, I had fun, got completely frustrated, and learned a ton.  I may skip some of the upcoming challenges, as I’m not finding any time to work on my own ideas.  But watch, the next challenge will wind up being somehow irresistible to me!  If you’re interested in checking out Colonial Coalescence in game, you can search for it by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations.  Note that the home contains resized objects.  In order to retain the adjusted sizes, please add the home to your lot in build mode rather than via Manage Worlds.

The Acrophobic Penthouse

My latest creation was designed for The Sims 4 forums Build ‘n Share challenge # 2.  I had a tough time getting started because the concept – to build a ground floor penthouse – just didn’t gel with me.  However, I was able to come up with a little story for it; that the buyer, who was described as a famous adventurer and explorer, has acrophobia, or a fear of heights.  It reminded me of Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes.  It’s funny, and it made the whole thing fit for me.

It took me so long to get started, that once I did, I was fighting to get done before the deadline.  Even though I understood that this one was really about the interior design, I couldn’t resist playing with the architecture and spent way more time on it than I probably should have.  I think the interiors probably could have been more cohesive, but as with the exterior architecture, the interiors were a lot about play and discovery for me.  I’m still learning the new TS4 toolset and still exploring what can and can’t be done.  If I don’t score well because of that, oh well!

Here are some additional images of the exterior.  The home is situated on a 40×30 lot, contains 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and costs 149K (the budget was 150K, so I squeaked in just under!).  It was built for entertainment, with a huge balcony (that includes a fake pool – I want real pools back!) and expansive, open living and dining spaces.  Like my first BnS build, this is so specific, I don’t know who would actually want to play it, but it is pretty to look at, I think!

Moving on to the interior, one of the requirements was to create a lobby, like one might see in a real penthouse.  I wasn’t thrilled by this aspect, but I saw a lobby image I liked and took inspiration from it:

I went in a different direction out of necessity, but I hope you can still see the concept.

Even though I like how it came out, it’s probably a weak point of the build in terms of the challenge requirements.

Moving on, here are some additional shots of my favorite parts of the interior:

It was fun to use high ceilings in this build, but it’s also pretty limited at this point in terms of what’s available in base game for a taller level; very small selection of doors and windows and not many objects built with a high ceiling in mind.  I look forward to having an expanded selection of items for multiple levels in the future.

The next few shots are of the home’s central bathroom.  I really had fun in there, doing a sort of yin yang style, and I refused to let the orange door defeat me!  I sure do miss being able to color both sides of the door, as we could in TS3.

Next is a cute little office for our adventurer with a perhaps not so subtle nod to the acrophobia again (but then, I’m not terribly subtle!):

I had fun giving the master suite a hidden entrance via the “secret” bookshelf door.  They really need to create some matching bookshelves that are also inset into the wall though.

I wanted the master suite to be a refined, masculine getaway.

There is also a guest bedroom that I struggled with.  I just couldn’t get the color scheme and placement of stuff in here entirely to my liking.  I decided to go for somewhat playful, but I can’t say I’m 100% pleased with it.  I think the orange door did manage to defeat me in here.

And here’s the balcony.  I love the shape.  I just wish there were more outdoor items and that I could have placed a real pool.

Here are some overheads, so that you can get a feel for the layout:

And as always, a couple of evening and night shots to show how the exterior appearance changes with the light.

Thanks for looking!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story behind them.  You can find the Acrophobic Penthouse in the Gallery – just search by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations.

The Brick Wall House

I’m excited to present a new build for The Sims 4, a modern home inspired by The Brick Wall House, which was created by architectural firm 123DV in the Netherlands.

I’m a big fan of the cube structure and clean lines of this home.

I don’t care for the landscaping as much.  While it certainly lets the home be the star of the show, it is too harsh for me, and I didn’t think that would work well in game.  However, I tried to make sure that any landscaping I did would not detract from the structure itself.

The owner was big on privacy, as you can see from the curtains all around.  I tried to preserve that to an extent while also letting in more light.  Unfortunately, The Sims 4 does not have any functionality to open and close curtains, so it would not have worked to take that part of the design literally.

Here are some exterior shots of the structure I created:

While I did not publish it first, this was the first build I completed in The Sims 4, and I did get a few unpleasant surprises as I worked my way through it.  One of them was that I could not color window frames and door frames black – the darkest color available was a sort of orange/red.  That was quite disappointing as many moderns use a lot of black in their window and door frames.  What I found I could do was use black shelving placed just above and below the windows to at least give the illusion of black framing.

Another challenge I discovered was the roofing – there is no flat roof in The Sims 4.  However, there is one type of roof, the hipped roof, that can be flattened using the new roof tools.  When you recolor it black, it doesn’t look too bad, but with any other color, the roof lines are way too visible.  Fortunately, this house called for a black roof!  I really like the new roof edging – it helped to give a nice, solid eye line.

I also found the fencing choices pretty limited.  There was nothing along the lines of a chain link fence like in the original (not that it was super pretty, but it didn’t interfere with the view of the house), so I opted for using the smallest fence available but only in portions and offset by hedges in order to blend it in to the landscape.

123DV furnished the interior in a modern minimalist style, almost entirely in white.  I tried to stick mostly with that, but with all of the new décor available in TS4, it was a real struggle.  I found myself constantly adding and deleting things!

They did use black accents in some areas, so I used some black and other color accents as well.

There were no house plans available, so I developed my own interior layout.  Here are some shots of the living area, follow by kitchen/dining, which are on the ground floor:

Moving on up to the second floor, we have the landing and an open area that I currently have set up as an office/library, but it could work quite well for any set of sims’ hobbies/activities:

There is a small but open bathroom available to the entire household:

Next, we take a look at the master bedroom and en suite bathroom, which is again small but open.

And the last of the interior, the second bedroom on the third floor, which includes an adjoining balcony.

Here is the home’s floor plan – ground floor, second floor, and third floor:

And I always like to take a few exterior shots in the evening.  I make it a point to pay attention to the lighting at both times of day:

The Brick Wall House is situated on a 30×20 lot and costs $95,294 (sorry, it’s definitely not a starter!).  I think it’s perfectly set up for young adult roommates or siblings, but the second bedroom could also easily be converted to a child’s bedroom.  If you’re interested in seeing more of this home in game, have a look in The Sims 4 Gallery.  Just search for my hashtag, #bryscreations.

One word of warning: I used resized objects in this build, and in order to preserve their new size, you should download the home from the gallery onto the lot where you want it; if you download it from Manage Worlds and place it that way, the re-sized objects will return to their original size.  Sorry!  I hope that EA will fix this issue.

Reflections Design Studio for TS4

I’m excited to show off my first published lot for The Sims 4.  To be honest, it was built on a whim.  I noticed the Build ‘n Share challenge thread on the TS4 forums and was intrigued by the first challenge, which is to create a designer sim and his or her office.  I remember Build ‘n Share from TS3; it always looked like fun, but I never participated, so I thought that I’d give it a go this time.

Reflections Design Studio is a commercial property, designated as a museum, set on a 30×20 lot.  It costs $65,531 (which doesn’t matter unless you want to convert it to a residential property, I suppose).  It is a riff on my Reflections Gym & Spa from The Sims 3.  I fell in love with the idea of a mirrored structure when I saw images of this mirror house, and I was re-inspired in TS4 after being amazed by images of the Shard House (possibly my favorite building ever).

For this build, I wanted to go with a modern, edgy design that would also incorporate many windows for natural lighting and an open floor plan.  I wanted to represent my design aesthetic as much as possible.  As with my original gym, this was an interesting challenge in terms of balancing structure, reflectivity, windows/light, and of course, the interior elements.  I also experienced some very strange game quirks as I went along that had me a bit discouraged, given the time crunch (I started just a few days before the challenge was due).  However, I’m happy to report that it’s complete and has well surpassed my original expectations.  I don’t expect it will receive many downloads because it is small, has an odd layout, and is so very specific to the challenge, but I’m still excited to offer up something unique to the community.

Without further ado, here are images of the Studio.  If you would like to check it out in game, you can search by its name or by my hashtag, #bryscreations.

Exterior Shots – Afternoon

Interior Shots – Reception Area

Okay, strictly speaking, this last shot was superfluous, and I know you won’t be paying much attention to the interior with such a distraction *ahem*, but I couldn’t resist posting it!

Interior Shots – Waiting Area and Office (I am not going to bother showing you the bathroom – it’s there, and it’s accommodating, but I didn’t wall it with mirrors or anything outrageous, so what’s the point?)

That’s my simself there behind the desk,  I never planned to upload her, but it was required for the challenge.  It feels weird to put ones simself up for grabs!

Here are some overhead shots so that you can get an idea of the floorplan:

And I can’t resist showing more of the exterior at different times of day, first in the evening:

And I just love it at night:

That’s it!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I have a more playable lot (residential) coming soon, and I am toying with remaking the Reflections Gym for TS4.  I also have many attractive sims on the way, as I’ve been having way too much fun experimenting with genetics in CAS.

My First Sims 4 Work in Progress

I was planning to just stick to playing for the first few weeks after getting TS4…but I couldn’t resist wanting to check out the new build mode.  There are definitely a lot of constraints now that I find myself chafing against.  It’s really tough having no cheats whatsoever available, and some of the “smart” tools are quite irksome because you are unable to take manual control when you want/need to.  A prime example of that came when I decided to try my hand at the Volga Patchwork House.

This was a house that I started working on in TS3, and I thought that perhaps with TS4’s shiftable windows, it might be easier.  It’s straightforward in terms of levels; the complexity is in the exterior siding.  I soon discovered that we can no longer choose to use panels with siding in any position we like; they will only go on corners.  And you can’t even do something to trick it, like creating a corner, placing the wall paper, and then deleting one of the walls, because as soon as you delete it, the wall paper reverts to a version with no siding.  Very frustrating not to have manual control over this – we did in TS3!

So for now, I’ve moved on to the Brick Wall House.

I think this house will make for a good starter or next bump up abode, and fortunately, I haven’t encountered anything that makes it impossible to build a decent replica.  The most irritating issues so far have been to do with the color palette (in my opinion, we at least need to have primary colors available for each object), lack of a very low and narrow fence that can be used as edging (the new edging tool is nifty, but again, you have no manual control – it’s all or nothing, and that doesn’t work well with this house, and boy do I miss the Bauhaus windows from TS3 – were always so great to have when creating a modern.  Still, it’s coming along.  Here are some shots:

P.S.  The sims I mentioned in my last post are all now available on the gallery along with a few more from the cast and my attempt at actor Rutger Hauer (unrelated to Veronica Mars).  Simply search for my hashtag, #bryscreations.

To Sims 4 or Not To Sims4…

That has definitely been the question on my mind for the past few months!  I was really hoping for some revolutionary changes with the next version of The Sims, and as news about TS4 started filtering out, it was disappointing.  The graphics had not evolved the way I’d hoped, and features that we’ve come to take for granted were not being implemented.  Thus, I was on the fence and leaning pretty heavily toward staying on The Sims 3 side of it.  There are still builds and stories I have in progress in TS3, but truthfully, I haven’t done much with the game for many months, so I hadn’t written off TS4 completely.  Then, finally, the TS4 CAS demo became available, and I have to admit I’ve been having a good deal of fun with it.

I definitely miss CAST functionality.  It’s hard to comprehend that we aren’t even given a color wheel for at least a minimum of customization beyond the template colors available.  Also, when it comes to the templates, a lot of the colors are way more garish than I care for where others are more muted.  It makes it tough to set up a good matching outfit sometimes, and the hair and particularly eye color choices are poor if you prefer more natural, realistic colors.  The hairs are very blocky, which seems like something of a step backwards.  However, I think there is a pretty good selection of hairstyles and clothing for a new base game, and I’ve heard that there will be more that we’re not seeing in the demo.

The real star of the demo is the ability to more intuitively shape your sim’s face and body with push/pull techniques as opposed to the prior format of presets and sliders.  However, there are still limits to what you can do as you must still select (or accept) a preset for each feature that can be morphed from there to a certain extent.  It isn’t always easy to know exactly what you’re manipulating when you grab part of a feature; you might think you’re going to tilt the nose up, but instead you make the tip larger, things like that.  With trial and error, you get used to it.  It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely a step up from sim creation in TS3.

I’ve been working on creating some of the cast from the Veronica Mars TV show.  I just finished watching the series and movie, so the characters are fresh on my mind, and I thought it would be fun to set up my own “Neptune.”  I feel like I’m definitely putting CAS through its paces as I try to generate sims that can be easily recognized as their celebrity counterparts.  It’s definitely a challenge, although some come easier than others.  My Weevil practically sprang to life from the random generator.  Here’s what he looks like – it’s not perfect, but I think it’s probably as close as I’m going to get:

Francis Capra aka Eli “Weevil” Navarro

Simified

 

Lilly and Dick are coming along nicely too:

Amanda Seyfried aka Lilly Kane

Simified

Ryan Hansen aka Richard “Dick” Casablancas

Simified

I am having a really tough time with Logan and Veronica.  It’s weird, but it seems like even though I can approximate their features, they’re missing something that would make for a strong resemblance.  I may just need to get more extreme; it seems like you almost have to draw a caricature to make it work.  I’ve also got Mac, Wallace, and Duncan in progress.  Hope to have them all finished and uploaded by go live!  You’ll be able to find them in the gallery by searching for hashtag #bryscreations or my Origin ID, BryonyRae.

Looking beyond CAS and the sims themselves, I am still concerned about building.  From what I understand, we are restricted to completely flat lots, no split levels, no CFE or MOO cheats, only 3 story structures, etc.  From an advanced building perspective, it seems like much is lost.  However, I didn’t originally get into the Sims to build; that evolved in the Sims 3 and in no small part due to the wooden nature of the sims, which made it difficult for me to enjoy the gameplay that much.  I am hoping that gameplay itself will have more staying power in TS4.  I will also give building a try, but if it fails to hold my interest, oh well.  I will take The Sims 4 as a brand-new game and try to judge it on its own merits (but they do need to add toddlers and pools ASAP!).