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Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Empty
PostSubject: Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402   Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 EmptyMon Jan 30, 2012 9:55 pm

Archived from the original TS3CC

WARNING: The creator of this tutorial has not been active on this forum for at least 12 months, and has not updated any of the information. Please feel free to post any questions you have concerning anything you read in this tut, and I'll be happy to help as I am able.

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Stw40210

Stw402 wrote:

Over the next few weeks I will be starting a building guide, each part will give you some helpful hints, links and tutorials on how do some of them sneaky little tricks inside CAW.

By the end of this guide, you should be able to follow each part and you will have a completed world by the end of part 12, yes this guide will be 12 parts long. It will cover many different aspects of building a world, from you humble start, up to the point of no return and you upload your world.

So lets start at the start:-

The problem with CAW and learning to build, is you have a mass of information and also everybody builds worlds differently. The method I will be using is the method I use, now I'm not saying this is the best method, but it will be used for this guide.


Before you even load in CAW, you should do a little research, this can be done by viewing the exchange forum
viewing this forum.

What you are looking for is completed worlds and worlds in progress, make a mental note of the worlds you like, look at the different styles and designs. I'm not saying you should copy a world, but if you like some design, perhaps you can use something similar yourself.

The next part would be to work out the order you do things in making a world, planing a world is very good idea, this is simple plan I've made for my world:-

You will notice that I've planed out 12 parts, 1 for each part of this guide.

1 Story-time Write a story about the world
Name the world
Building List
Number of residential list
Building the world

2 Edit INI files

3 Make new textures
Terrain paint time
check ponds and large rivers are textured
Clean up texture time
Try to reduce size
delete world cache

4 Tweak roads
Tweak bridges
Setup train

5 Add side walks
start a Preview

6 Routing, Routing, Routing
Camera Non-Routable paint

7 Custom rabbit holes Graphics
Lots of Lots
Set community Status
Texture sounds
Tweak INI files again
Give each lot a cool street names and realistic addresses
Assigning Addresses to Lots
game Objects

8 Time for Trees

9 Sims & CAW (in testing)
Effective Effects

10 Spawning Time
Try to reduce size
delete world cache

11 Rebuild the routing data for your world
Come up with a memorable names and description for your world
Take screen shots that shows off your world
Save your world!
test world play
Try to reduce size again
Make Sim pack
Installing INI & ADS files
Uploading your world to The Sims™ 3 Exchange

12 Odd and sods
Merging neighborhoods (In testing)

So lets go back to the start:-

Story-time Write a story about the world

With this, it's a very good idea to have basic story of your world from the very start. No you don't after do a 10000 word essay, just a few lines about the world, from this you should have a idea of what the world you are going to build. If you don't wish to use a theme then go for a generic world, anything works in this type of world. You can then mix a few different style together. Pleasant view and sunset valley are good examples of generic worlds.

Name the world

Names and even the story is open to change, you might come up with a new name for your world while building. But the name for a world is something you should at least consider at this point.

Building List

I do this in the planning stages, mainly because I've yet to build the world and while I'm building the world I will be thinking to myself this will be a good spot for the town and I will leave that area pretty much level to help me build the town. This example is a building list from my recent world I'm building, you can always make your own list in notepad:-

You might notice that some of the buildings have sizes next to them, at the time of doing this list I used the sizes of the lots, that I was going to use that are in my library, thou everything is still currently open to change

Rabbit Holes
Community School – 64x64
(Supermarket ( all 3 on one lot)
Budget Books
City Hall – 34X64
Police Department – 36X44
Hospital – 44x44
Stadium – 48x64
Science facility – 60X60
Warehouse Corp. – 55x40
Military Base – 64x64
Fried Diner – 20x25
Corporate Towers – 40X40

Community Lots
Pool –
Library –
Hangout –
Beach –
Art Gallery –
Gym –
The Consignment Shop -
nectar -
Chinese garden -
Laundromat -
Salon -
Fire Station-
Large Park X2
Small Park X2
Fishing Spots X4
Closed Lots that can't be edited X4 (more about this in part 4)

Residential list

My current world is split into 3 islands, so therefore I split up the numbers of house's I will use in each section, like everything so far this is still open to change.

Large Island
40 Residential lots
Med Island
20 Residential lots
Small Island
10 Residential lots

Building the world

This will be first time you actual get to load in CAW and this will be a good time to read the manual:-

Another good source for info is this thread

I will consider at this point you have basic knowledge if not more on how to use CAW.

I will not say that much about world building stage other than, a little tip, when you have the basic layout of your world, enter edit in game, and fast forward the clock until sunset and sunrise, look at where the sun comes up. This is important for lighting, so it will be good Idea to have the sunrise behind a mountain.

What I would also do during this stage, is place any distant terrains you wish to use, it's better to place them now than later, less objects to worry about, why you try to move them about. Distant terrains can be awkward to place , if your not happy with it's location select the world object and the select move world object around. When they are placed you can edit the terrain so it covers the edges of the distant terrains.

The next part is optional, but I highly recommend you do this now, goto C:\Users\yourname\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3

Open the file called options in notepad scroll down until you see terrainquality , set the total to 3, you should leave the option on 3 from now until you complete your world. This option will also effect the main game and give you much better textures, if slower machines have any problems while playing the game, switch the option back down to 1 or 2, but 3 should be fine for CAW.


From time to time I will be updating parts of the guide, should new info become available, if you have already read this guide, you will usual find any new info at the bottom of the relevant part.

Useful Tutorials

Height Map Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

How to create a world using Real-World Height data

Beginners Caw Tutorials


Lets start part 2 with another little tweak to the option menu , this time change the texturequality , set the total to 3, like at the end of part 1 .


Before you read any more I strongly recommend that you read this first:-

Now that you understand what they where trying to do over at mod the Sims, I started to investigate on how to edit Sea colors inside CAW, I failed in this, not sure why, I think the game overrides' the files. But it was not a complete loss, I did get something working that was rather novel.

To do this you need a basic understanding s3pe find this here:-

To do this the easy way you can download the 6 files I've already completed for you, you can find them here:-

So what are the files?
The files are for testing certain setup for Caw neighborhoods, I will give you what I think the files do, but remember this is only for testing and use this only on a backup.
If you use the files I've sent you, you will change the Initiate files to that of china

1 Change the LotRenderSettings and changes LotLODHeightThresh
2 Lighting, this is little more interesting it deals with SunlightScale, I think thats something to with the sunlight beams, I might be wrong
3 Tunable Parameters Related to Sky, you can change sunrise times, sun and moon radius
4 Misc Params with this file you can change cloud layers, star intensity, fog distance, I think fog distance is a mist that you can surround your neighborhood with.
5 Fly though proof of concept, even if you don't use any of the above, this file might be worth getting, this allows a Fly though when you fist play the neighborhood for the first time, the current file is set for china, good luck on getting the setting right for your own world

So how do you add them into my CAW worlds, that parts is very easy, use s3pe and just, open your World from you Caw folder and then click resource and import and import each file into the game remember backup and save first.

If you need to delete them just open your world in s3pe and delete the INI files, your world will not currently have any INI until you export the game.

Can I edit them files, like change the sunrise times?
Feel free to test this, I've not fully tested what you can and can't do with them files.

When will I see some changes?
Some changes do not happen until you load in the game, but say you wanted to make a vampire town, always dark, try changing the sunrise times and you will see the changes in caw.

This photo was taken 2pm game time
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-43

A alien sunset
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-2-18

Now I'm starting to get inpressed, will this damage my game?
All the changes should be for the current neighborhood, but I said and will repeat this again this is still being tested, I did notice that I changed the top colors of my walls, this seems to be global, if you use that file I've uploaded the top of all your walls while building will turn brown, instead of bright white, this is much better for you builders, who like things to blend in better.

Where did you get the INI files?
You can take INI files from completed worlds, so lets say you wanted the Egypt files, with that bright sun, hot glow, just extract the INI files from Egypt world file found in your programs/sim 3/ world adventures folder, using s3pe and then import the files into your CAW world. On a side note for players of the game who wish to see longer days, you can edit the Egypt, world adventure file, for personal use.

That about all I can say about this, I'm sure the people who use this, in neighborhood designs, will increase downloads and the look and design of your worlds.

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-2-22
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-4-13

There is little point in repeating the mod the Sims tutorial, I could not say it any better, what most people found was that it was hard to get the custom sea's to work in CAW. So I recommend you follow that tutorial:-

The only thing you need to do different than this tutorial, is that you need to export the Custom Sea files into a completed world and then extract the same files out of a completed world. I understand this sounds odd, but when you extract them out again, it sets up the file names that you need for it to work in caw. The last stage is then using s3pe again export the files to your world.

You now have custom sea's in CAW, but when you exit CAW, after a save, it will delete the INI files, it will not save them inside caw. All is not lost, when you export your world, the INI files go with the world and then work correctly with the exported world.
So the truth is that you use CAW only to test the sea's and it should be the last thing you place in your world prior to exporting the world, just remember if you save you loss the INI and you will need to replace them again, so make sure you have backup of the files you will be using.

In conclusion much of part 2 is a repeat of what I've already said in other threads, but this guide is trying to collect all the information on one massive 12 part guide. Many players will not feel the need to edit the INI file, should you fall into this bracket just skip this section and move onto part 3.


With thanks to auntielynds, for this info

Make Your Own Textures

Instructions for installing your new textures:

When you download click on save and then download them where you can find them.
Okay now you have your files downloaded I will walk you through putting them into your game. I'll write this for beginers like I was just a few months ago.

Find your files and then open up Windows Explorer.
On the lefthand side under Folders, go down to Documents,
then to Electronic Arts,
then to The Sims 3 Create A World,
then to UserToolData.
then click on SourceTextures.
Now just drag and drop the new .dds files into the SourceTextures file.

Making your own textures link

Obtaining DDS Plug-ins and installation

A very important thing to remember when adding new textures to the game, make sure they are DDS format and not PNG, a number of texture designers use png format texture. But DDS surprisingly really renders a lot faster than many other formats.

Texture Pack

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-11-14
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-10-9
This is 4 textures placed together to make a large picture
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-10-1
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-4-3

This pack was actual released back in December, I've not added anything new, but I wanted to post a link to anybody who missed this pack first time around. Many of the textures are replacement EA textures, compressed with DX5 format. Some of the textures you will need a little work from yourself to make the best from them.

The pack contains over 130 textures

To use them make a folder called "source textureX" and place that folder here:-
C:\Users\yourname\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 Create A World Tool\UserToolData\SourceTextures

The download link:- ?dzomghjtczo

Part 3

Terrain paint time

auntielynds As already posted a link to get new textures to help you use in CAW, you can find this link here:-

The Easy Way to Create Terrain Textures
A link to this can be found here:-

DSS plugins can be found here

CAW does come with some nice textures, so even if you have no desire to make any or download any, it should not make your world any less pretty. Using Terrain inside CAW is a little like using Terrain inside the game, just on a bigger scale.

What I will show you in this part is how to make some simple grass by blending a few colors together, you can use this method to just about to make anything, from mountains to other effects around your world:-

If you wish to follow this yourself, use a test world.

First place a base color, I did this by right clicking on the texture on the editing tool and changed my default grass to a much darker grass:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 P1

You do not need to change the base color if you so wish, just go over the area with a dark green grass

Next I would use a lighter green grass, so you need to add a Terrain inside CAW, so click add layer and add a lighter green grass, then turn the opacity down to 48 and highlight the area like so:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 P2

Next we will use the base dark green color again this time set the opacity down to 25 and the Falloff down to 0 and then go over the image like so.

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 P3
You can see that the grass blends into the light green, now this method of blending color can be used for any texture in the game, I could if I wished add another color into the mix, say I wanted the grass to be swampy I could add a brown color with a Opacity of 12 and 0 fallout, it would add another dimension to terrain painting, but for this example I will stick with two.

So lets have a look on what we could do with this inside a world, you could click on the sculpt button and make a few small hills, perhaps I wanted to place a little sand around the outside, this of course could be more grass or a river, but for this example I will use sand and I will place a few trees.

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-31-2

When you think about this, I only used the sand to divide the color from the background this entire look was only made with 2 texture blended together.


The best method for building roads can be found on this tutorial, I can not add anything to this tutorial and this method is the method I try to use:-

Special thanks to Sim_Outlaw for this tutorial.

Prior to using roads in your world, if this is your first world, then I recommend that you practice using the above method, inside a test world, understanding how roads work is one of the most important things for any world.

Bridge Building and Roads

To place a bridge in the game you can follow this tutorial:-

The only downside to this, is that the tutorial cuts a little short on placing roads, so we will have a little look at roads and bridges in more detail.

So first build a bridge, should be easy if you read that great tutorial,, we should open up CAW and place down a bridge and sculpt the terrain like this picture.

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B1

I've not made this very easy for you, but in a real world that your building you might get far worse problem than this, if your a first time world builder you will need to flatten the land below the bridge using the sculpt button, then use the steep valley sculpt tool under the bridge to build the water and last select the object and use the raise object to move the bridge above sea level.

The next step will be to switch the grid lines on, this will make placement of roads a little easier(TOP TIP- Grid line on will also help with lot placement) Build a road either side of the bridge like so:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B2

You can see by the picture we need to raise the terrain for now just level out the terrain to about the same height as the bridge like so:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B3

Yeah, it's starting to look a little messy, but don't worry about this, all you need to do is connect the roads up to the bridge, like you would to a intersection.(see Sim_Outlaw Road building tutorial for more info on this).
Scroll closer to the bridge and you will see the bridge connections points are not that good:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B4

The best way to fix this, is go back into the sculpt menu, raise the terrain using the gentle hill and few clicks should increase the height of the road, then flatten the terrain around the bridge, including the other road on the other side of the bridge, your road should look better, if not repeat until you get the correct height.

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B5

The last step is that we need to smooth out the road, I find the best results can be done with sculpt terrain tool and then use smooth road, then use the road grading tool menu and smooth road. Do not forget to replace the river under the bridge with the sculp tool. Here is the end result:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B6

This bridge might look better than before, you still must check the road for bumps and fine tune the terrain.


You can ignore this part, if your world will not contain the train, If your going to use a train in your world, it would be a good time to place this object early in the world development, the reason for this, the size of the train tracks, it will get more and more tricky to use correctly the more you build and sculpt your world.
I use the emitters to place the train, the emitters are placed inside a lot, that will activate the train, alternatively you can just place the train from inside a tunnel, then the train will sometimes animate, I'm not 100% sure how this works, so I will just show you the method that I use.

To use the train by using the emitter you first need to research this tutorial:-

This is more a knowledge update, should you set up a lot in create a world that contains emitters, when that world is first installed, some of the emitters temporary reset to fog emitters. This is a minor setback, all you need to do to get the emitters to work as normal, is save your world, exit to the main menu and reload the save and the emitters will turn back to normal, all test I've done confirm this.

The reason this happen, CAW only contains Fog emitters, so when the world is installed you only get fog, until of course you save the game, then the game will recognize your emitter codes, this currently effects all lots installed by CAW.
The animated train

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-3-18
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-2-21

The train was made using a simple emitter placed inside a lot, of course I also needed to make the train track, that is a simple texture.

You can see the emitter in the center of the lot built over the train tracks, if you have read part 3 of the guide you will understand how to change the emitter code:-
the code for the animated train is:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-4-15

The downside, of the train, it does not stay in the world forever, I needed to place 4 emitters in 4 different lots, so when one emitter runs out, hopefully inside a tunnel another emitter kicks in, to give the illusion that train is going from when one end of my world to another.

Making Ponds & Rivers

I wont say to much about this, just try and design ponds and river with some common sense, you will need them for fish.

Ponds and Textures

Here is a photo of 4 different ponds:-
pond 1= Deep pond no textures
Pond 2= Deep pond with textures
Pond 3= Shallow pond no textures
Pond 4= Shallow pond with textures

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B7

Now lets have a little look at them ponds in the game=

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 B8

Not much change really, but that is my point, it's more or less a waste of time, energy and use of KB size to your world to terrain paint a pond, river, sea. Your just best editing around the outside of the pond, everything you do to a world will increase loading times and upload time, so keep your world fine tuned.

Clean up texture time

While we are looking at textures, it will be a good time to go over your world and check for any abnormalities in your terrain painting, look for area's that might need blending since you placed your roads and around your bridge area

Try to reduce size

I'm not going to say to much about this, I will go into this in much more detail in part 11, where we try to reduce the upload size of your world. We will get ready for this now, here a few things to watch for, testing texture paints inside your main world is a bad idea the game will keep a copy of the texture even if you delete the texture. A copy of the textures is saved inside your world file, so only test textures on test worlds thou in part 11, I will go into more detail on how to remove unwanted textures.

I highly recommend anybody who is building a world bigger than a small island to download The Compressorizer Redux! this works with CAW worlds unfinished or finished world, you can find this program here:-

When you have download this program, feel free to test this now on your world file, on a side note this program works on:
* .package
* .dbc
* .sim
* .sims3
* .world
* .sims3pac

If you have never used this program, this program can also reduce lot/sim upload & download times to the exchange.

Delete World Caches

From time to time, while building your world it will be a good idea to Delete World Caches, this is more for your benefit, it should stop the world loading all the extra stuff that's not needed.
To do this, just delete the entire contents of this folder, found here:-

C:\Users\YOUR NAME\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 Create A World Tool\WorldbuilderCache

The game will just spawn a new cache next time you load CAW



Part 5 is a small section about side walks you can add to the game, they can add a extra dimension to building any world, at the very least you should consider using them to break the terrain up, give that extra dimension so to speak.
By reading the manual, you should already have a good idea on how to place sidewalks so I will just show you how I used them in the two worlds I'm building:-

Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-18-2
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-4-19
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-3-23
Tutorial: Building a world Part 1-6 by Stw402 Screenshot-2-27

If your following this guide you will not have placed trees yet, so at this stage the sidewalk just break the terrain up, but later you can place trees and other objects for sims to view while using the sidewalks


If you have not done so already it will be a good time to start preview for your world, gather some feedback.
You can do this on this forum or the exchange forum, or any other places CAW builders gather.

If you have got this far into world building, you have done well.


The half way point and the last part on this thread, 7-12 will be on a another thread

Much of this guide is about the order I build worlds in, I've tried to collect information that will help you build a world, I understand some of the info might be of no use. Some of the info is more common sense, but it's very easy to forget something, that is why this section is rather small of information, the Routing section, much of the ways to set Routing is already discussed in the manual.
So part 6 is more hands on, so it's time to complete your Routing, you really don't want your sims running over your lovely crafted mountains.

Camera Non-Routable

This is similar to the above, I can't really add anything that is not already in the manual, some points thou:-
Allow the player some flexibility to move the camera out into the sea and always block Distant Terrains, they look terrible close up.

Here ends part 6

PART 7 Link

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