Castles in the Ayre is a new series I plan to post as I create my new medieval Sims 2 neighborhood. It will serve as a change log for me, and I’ll post it in case it is of use to others. However, from a reader’s perspective, it will probably range from slightly to exceedingly dry.
After tweaking the memory allocation and graphics of the Sims 2 Ultimate Collection last week, and setting up clean templates, I was lucky enough to find this really amazing list by Mortia on how to set up a medieval ‘hood in Sims 2. Right away, I followed her advice to set up my Downloads folder and it was quick and easy in a new game to do it.
Following Mortia’s steps, this week most of my time went to the Setting the Stage. Although I read many posts saying that computers running Sims 2 Ultimate Collection were able to use the Scriptorium to install Gunmod’s Radiance Lighting, I couldn’t get it to work for me on Windows 10 with a standard installation to C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games. So two days of simming time went to manually installing Radiance Lighting 2.4, using these fantastic step-by-step directions from Ovenhole at MTS, and then adding Almighty Hat’s A World Lit by Fire mod, which requires the Radiance Lighting system.
I took a deep breath and started up the game to test it in Falls Bridge, and it looked great. It was a relief that my game still started! For finishing touches, I added Voeille’s water mod, Sancta Santorum’s realistic Moon and Sun, and Nighttracer’s seasons fix for Radiance Lighting. I also installed Sancta Sanctorum Sky of Totalitarianism and then Great Cheesecake Persona’s seasons ready skylines, followed by Criquette’s horizons.
This screenshot is the result of all of the above, in game. I love the look from neighborhood view of Middleground. To me, this view almost perfectly resembles what I imagine Ayre to look like. By the way, this screenshot was taken with boolprop DisplayNeighborhoodRoads false.
Using Sunni’s Town Wall set, I played around in the separate Ayre Build World. Eventually, I settled on placing the castle on the water, and placed the squire’s manor, four beginning peasant lots, two yeomanry lots, a well, a village green, and a church and cemetery around the castle. I used GreatCheeseCakePersona’s seasonal fields around the lots.
It’s sort of reminiscent of this castle, in the same region of Scotland. (I learned a few years ago by researching my ancestors’ name, McElveen, that Ayre is the region we may have come from). So far, so good.
I love the docks, which are protected by the castle wall.
However, after opening the lots, I am finding it difficult to make it work like I want, in lot view. Basically, the scale of the actual lots to this view is too large and I dislike the hills being so close to the lots. The lots would have to be much smaller in comparison to the terrain map to reflect what I’m trying to achieve.
I am thinking of my world as a medieval Scottish one, and so although there don’t need to be a lot of trees, finding a balance between a stark landscape and one that has a realistic amount of trees that don’t hover due to steep terrain is really difficult. Since the nearby hills in this terrain are steep, I wouldn’t be able to use trees on most areas near the town.
For the populated version of the ‘hood, I spent a lot of time smoothing the terrain (see the blocky edges in the ridge above from the build version), to look like glacially cut valleys. However, for this “build world” I did not take time smoothing the terrain. But even aside from the blocky edge on the image above, I am not happy with the way the hill looks, looming in the near background of the lot.
These are some of the best pictures I got from inside the lots, and it is not bad (especially if you ignore the pointy tops to the hill behind the fields,) but I think I am going to be unhappy with this terrain in the long run.
Aren’t GreatCheeseCakePersona’s wheat field amazing??
I considered using the Widespot map as a neighborhood view only, and having a different map for lot view, but that seems like a nightmare to maintain as we go along. So I am probably going to use Avonlea or, I might use Greylings and consider it to be upriver from this area at the mouth of the river. If I use Greylings I might make Middleground a sub-hood.
Notes About Terrain Replacements
The other area of my set-up on which I spent quite a bit of time this week was trying out default terrains and roads. I tried out Criquette’s Rural Charm Lush Terrain Default Replacement (hood and skirt view) and it is gorgeous, but it seemed too bright, especially where it meets Criquette’s horizon. So I went with Sunni’s Terrain and Road Replacement for now. Here’s the link to Sunni’s road default for different terrains, including an invisible one.I kept Criquette’s Rural Charm Terrain Paints and neighborhood decals. The white cliffs and beaches are the look I wanted for my neighborhood.
I’m not happy with the roads yet, at least not for a neighborhood set in the dark ages. As I mentioned earlier, I took the first screenshot above with boolprop DisplayNeighborhoodRoads false, but in lot view, the neighborhood roads are still there and I do not like having them. What I really want to do is use an invisible road default and then add decorative roads as needed. I saw an invisible road default somewhere but haven’t taken the time to hunt it down yet.
Having a separate, extra version as a build world, it is going to exercise my patience but I think building everything first in a build world, and then uploading the lot and adding to the populated world, will be more sustainable, so that is what I am planning to do.
Miscellaneous Notes from this Week
Neighborhood Bridges – by Sunni
Medieval Scottish names by Jagatai – went ahead and downloaded these
The terrains I am using from Criquette include: Criquette’s Winter Texture Default Replacement, Cliff Paint replacement, Pebble beach replacement, Winter Beach default replacement, all at the Rural Terrain download post.
Hexameter’s vehicles default replacements & no cars in neighborhood view, here
Other Terrains and Objects
Kativip (GoS) Legend Peaceful Moments terrains