When EA released basements as a free update for The Sims 4, I wasn’t terribly excited. I don’t really care for them much as living spaces, and while I appreciated having additional levels to work with, I could have lived without them. However, I got to wondering if they could be useful for other purposes.
I began to explore the possibilities with my previous build, Chokkaku, but I felt like I had just scratched the surface, so to speak. Rather than moving on to my next planned WIP, I decided to try one or two smaller builds and experiment with basements more thoroughly in the process. I’m so glad I did!
It turns out that in combination with the bb.moveobjects cheat(affectionately still known among old TS3 builders as MOO), what I call basement spaces are incredibly useful for otherwise impossible object positioning. I’ll get into the hows and whys, but first, let me escort you through my two new builds that demonstrate what can be done.
First up is a small but stylish modern I call Funky 1.
It’s one bedroom, one bathroom, one level…hence the 1. I built it in Newcrest, on the 20×15 Oak Alcove lot, and it costs $78,742. I created a video walkthrough of the lot, so if you’d rather see it in action instead of viewing static images, click here.
You might notice several objects you haven’t seen before; these are not custom content but rather height adjusted and, in some cases, enlarged objects that were positioned using basement spaces.
The plant above usually sits much higher on the ground, with a much larger base. The structure aligned with the left side of the house is actually part of an enlarged desk coupled with an enlarged table on the bottom.
And these fun little stepping stones are actually the tops of bar stools! None of these objects cause route failures either. Sims can happily walk right across the stepping stones.
Here are additional shots of the home’s exterior:
The planter you see above is a combination of an enlarged couch and chairs. You’ll see another similar planter along the left side of the home:
For this build, I opted for an outside kitchen/dining experience that takes advantage of the Newcrest views. You can see that the expansive patio is set up for entertaining, with a grill and small bar also available.
Moving on to the interior, I was shooting for modern, stylish, and of course, funky. Take a look:
The living area:
Room to work for a crafter and/or artist with a bit of a techie theme too:
The bathroom is small but has impact, I hope:
I am very pleased with how the bedroom turned out. It was an odd-shaped space, but I had fun with fitting the furniture to its angles and setting up mirrors to give a cool double effect for the painting and bookshelves. I also was able to make something of a ceiling design with shelves.
Here is an overhead of the property to show you the layout:
And here is a look at the basement space that I utilized for this build:
Funky 1 has been thoroughly play tested, and I found no issues with it. If you’re interested in taking a look at it in game, click here to download the build from the online Gallery. Or, if you prefer, you can search for it in the game Gallery by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations. Please be sure to place the home in build mode, so that lighting colors and intensities are preserved.
While I was pleased with the results for Funky 1, I felt like I wanted to take basement spaces further, to really go all out and maybe a little crazy for my second build. I was greatly inspired by the works of Salvador Dali, and I thought it would be fun to build a combined pet and toy store that sims could run as a retail venue. Thus, the idea for Dali’s Exotic Toys & Pets was born!
I built it in Oasis Springs, on the 20×15 Nookstone lot, and it costs $139,623. I created a video walkthrough of the lot, so if you’d rather see it in action instead of viewing static images, click here.
Okay, bear with me here, I know that the picture above is a lot to take in! It started with the candle décor that I used in Funky 1 (it’s on the fireplace mantle). To me, it had the look of something in a Salvador Dali painting:
And I thought it would be fun to enlarge it to create two doorways:
The toy store would be on one side, and the pet store would be on the other. Since I used basement spacing, sims can route right through the archways, which is fun to watch.
The dead trees with branches reaching toward the sky are definitely taken straight from Dali:
I also wanted the roof to look like it was melting in places, which is another theme of his:
I again had fun creating custom stepping stones:
Let’s take a look at the rest of the exterior. The right side:
The left side:
I wanted to set up a rather…unique children’s play area, so there are a couple of special touches here. An admittedly creepy sandbox with disembodied heads found among debug objects (I have no idea what they’re for!):
And probably my most Dali-esque creation, a skull with an eerie plant growing out of its sockets:
It was inspired by this painting:
It’s a must-see at night, when the plant and orbs glow:
Those are the main points of interest for the exterior. Moving on to the interior, let’s start in the exotic pet shop. It features sims created art throughout. The entry:
Various “pets” for sale:
A small half bathroom:
And as the stores are connected, we can easily head over to the toy store. The entry:
That llama might be the creepiest toy in the whole place! Again, you’ll see sims created art throughout. I like this particular sequence:
A chemistry area where the kids can get hands on:
A dollhouse the kids can play with…well, they could, until some unidentified customer broke it during play testing. I was going to fix it, but I actually thought it looked as if the ghost gnome broke it, and it fits the spirit of the place.
And more toys for sale, as well as a secret door out to the back (the pet store also has one):
A small half bathroom (hope those kids like creepy llamas!):
Want to run this retail lot as a home business? No problem! Just head down to the basement for your inviting home away from home, featuring open kitchen/dining/living, two bedrooms, and one full bath:
You would never guess the upstairs was so wild with the modern, soothing style downstairs. Well, there are hints, but we’ll get to that. For the living room, I really wanted to do another modern, animated fireplace:
Here are a couple of shots of the kitchen. I thought that the painting not only reminded me of Dali’s work but would also make a nice, bright spot of color:
I envisioned the first bedroom as the resting place of the pet store owner; somewhat austere and tech/science themed.
I tried my hand at an aquarium using a couple of the new XXX objects from Get To Work. What I love about them is that the bubbles animate. I placed some fish in there too, but unfortunately, they don’t animate. If EA ever gives us a fog emitter object for The Sims 4, I will fix that problem!
This is the shared bathroom:
And last but not least, the second bedroom. I envisioned the toy store owner retiring to this space to rest and work on his latest toys and sculptures. You could say that I imagined him to be a bit eccentric.
And that wraps up the interior. Let me show you some overhead views. The property:
Close-up view of stores:
And here’s a look at how I set up the basement spaces. In this case, I used both basement levels. You’ll want to do this when you have objects that you have greatly enlarged, as if you place them within the first basement level, it’s likely that they will project out of the ground level higher than you’d like.
First Basement Level:
Second Basement Level:
If you’d like to take a look at Dali’s Exotic Toys & Pets in game, click here to download the build from the online Gallery. Or, if you prefer, you can search for it in the game Gallery by its name, or by my hashtag, #bryscreations. Be sure to place it in build mode, in order to retain lighting colors and intensities.
I thoroughly play tested Dali’s, and there were no issues. However, a couple of graphical glitches can happen when you place it: 1) one of the stepping stones may display some edges that the other two don’t; you may want to position it, but it’s very minor, 2) the small spice décor I set up by the frog tanks doesn’t seem to want to transfer (some debug objects simply won’t), 3) the dollhouse will be repaired when you place it. If you prefer it broken (I do), simply have your sim go kick it down (or wait for a customer to do it).
So how can you use basement spaces in order to enhance your builds? I go over the technique in detail in my video here, but if you’re unable to watch it, I’ll try to walk you through the steps via text below. I think it will be easier to grasp if you watch the technique in action though.
- Type CTRL+SHIFT+C to bring up the console and type bb.moveobjects on in order to be able to freely place objects.
- Decide what type of effect you are trying to achieve. For instance, in my video, I use a glass top table as flooring, place an enlarged goblin head poking up through the ground, and set up fence post lights.
- If you are going to enlarge your object, I recommend doing so above ground, so that you can get a general idea of the amount of space it will take up and how tall it will be (SHIFT+] to enlarge, SHIFT+[ to shrink from an enlarged state).
- Optionally create a basement wall or wall(s) to act as a guideline for object positioning. This isn’t necessary, but it’s very helpful to shorten the time it takes to get the object exactly where you want it. If you are concerned about the cost of walls, I recommend drawing your guide wall one tile away from where you will place your object, so that you can later delete the wall without losing the object (objects placed by/near walls often get deleted with the wall).
- Drop down to your basement level and press G to turn grid lines on if they are not already on. Grid lines must be on.
- Using the guideline wall you built (or not), place your object where you think it should go. Note that if you enlarged an object a great deal, you may want to consider dropping to the lowest basement level for placement.
- If you need to height adjust it upward (necessary in most cases), press CTRL+9 repeatedly to raise the object by a small amount for each press(CTRL+0 lowers it back down). This part is largely trial and error, although you can use the top of the basement guideline wall as an indicator for where your object will break ground above.
- Bump up to ground level to see where your object broke through and if it is at the height you wanted. If not, bump back down and change positioning/height as necessary. Note that height will be reset to the bottom in most cases when you pick up the object. This is a bit of a bummer. I typically cope with a tricky adjustment by counting the number of times I’ve bumped up the object’s height. If I find I’ve raised it too high, then next time, I won’t bump it up as many times, or vice versa if I need it higher. By keeping track of my count, I can get pretty exact with my placement.
So those are the basics of utilizing basement spacing. If you want to embed objects in the ground or elevate objects outside without having them drop back to the ground, this technique is invaluable. I hope you enjoyed learning about it and taking a look at Funky 1 and Dali’s. I can’t wait to see what other builders come up with using the technique! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for reading!
Credits: I created a painting by reference of a piece of art by Selerono that I used in Dali’s. It’s from her SLRN Vintage Skeletal Paintings found here. Note that there is no custom content in the build itself.