The Long-Awaited Sims 4 Terrain Tools Helped Me Build A Better Roof

Not to sound like the guy who sold you weed in high school, but did you ever think about roofs? What the fuck are those, man! Thanks to the latest Sims 4 update, I finally understand what makes a roof a roof.

It’s been a long time coming. Every single time I’ve tried to build a house in The Sims, I’ve been thwarted by the roof. I could just never make them look like what an actual roof on a house looks like, despite living in a house with a roof my entire life. In The Sims 3 I always ended up making A-Frame houses or modern houses with flat roofs. I told myself this was an aesthetic choice. It wasn’t. I was just a failure.

I’ve tried reading about architecture, taking inspiration from specific houses, and watching numerous speed build videos from my favourite Sims YouTuber, LilSimsie. Nothing stuck. Thanks to this week's free update in the Sims 4, I managed to finally make a house with a normal roof right out of the gate.

Screenshot: Sims 4, EA/Maxis

This lovely little cottage on a hill is the home of Phoenix Church, the name of my new Sim, whose job is “Style Influencer,” which is a new career also from the update.

I’m not gonna lie - I am unreasonably proud of this house, even if the window placement is slightly suspect. I think it has to do with how much less space I had to build on once I got finished manipulating the terrain.

Even the smallest lots in The Sims 4 give you a lot of room to work with in terms of building, but most houses, especially starter homes like these, are actually pretty small. After spending last week in the suburbs where my parents live, I’ve been thinking a lot about room sizes and layouts. Although the rooms in my parents’ house are bigger than my closet-sized New York apartment, they’re still pretty small.

This means that, in my parents’ home and also in this home I designed, the actual sections of roof on the house are much smaller than I previously had realised.

The latest terrain update gave me a chance to really think about how to make this work. It turns out the key is just “less is more.” Houses are both more and less complicated than they seem—most people who live alone don’t actually love living in huge, cavernous spaces. Because you can only build contiguous foundations on a flat plane at the same height in The Sims 4, I was constrained to half the lot size, and that made me realise that bigger is not actually better, and would actually make adding a roof to this house way more complicated.

Smaller roofs with fewer sections just look more like the houses on suburban streets.

Screenshot: Sims 4, EA/Maxis

The portions highlighted here in bright yellow are the only places where I can actually build. You can make staircases snap into the sides of hills, but otherwise you need the terrain to be flat to put a foundation on it.

In real life, there’s going to be at least a little height variation in the plot of land where your house is. I grew up in a house where the backyard is a hill with a fairly steep incline. Restricting the buildspace actually makes it easier to make something that looks like a house instead of a series of boxes with a huge roof on it.

When I spoke with producer David Miotke about the terrain tools for The Sims 4, he told me he couldn’t wait to see what other Simmers upload to the gallery. I also can’t wait to start uploading my own lots to the gallery, because they don’t look like complete arse anymore.


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