Your Account
    Log into your account here:
       Forgot Password

    Not registered? Sign Up for free
    Registration allows you to keep track of all your content and comments, save bookmarks, and post in all our forums.
Follow the dark path or use the light

The Sims 3: Create a World Mini Guide

The Sims 3 Walkthrough and Guide

by Mike Hazleton  

Print page (no screenshots)   |   Print page

The Sims 3: Create a World Mini Guide

Create a World was one of the first new additions to The Sims 3 following its initial release. It allows you to build your own areas from the ground up for your Sims to live in. As opposed to just building houses or moving buildings around, you can actually craft the terrain, right down to the grass, roads and landscaping. This allows players, for the first time, to truly create a world that they really want their sims to live in.

Getting Started:

First, you will need to download the file, as it is separate to the actual game itself. You can download it at

With that done, you will need to install it.

This tool is essentially the same as the one that EA uses to create the neighbourhoods and terrain in The Sims 3. As such, it is a little complicated for the average user. Put the work in, however, and you can really reap the rewards.

Starting From Scratch:

To get going with a blank slate, select 'New World' from the file menu. You will then need to select an image file to form the basis of your terrain on this map. It is at this point that you can import your own image to the project. The image needs to be a .PNG file, 16-bit grayscale, and can be 256x256, 512x512, 1024x1024 or 2048x2048. Otherwise, select one of the pre-made versions provided by EA.

Following this, you can select the climate for the map. This will limit you to a certain palette of brushes when it comes to painting the terrain in the forthcoming steps i.e. desert/yellow colours. You will also need to specify the maximum height of the map, which should be the same as the number in the filename of the terrain map that you just chose, if you picked one of EAs.


Once you have the terrain map in place, you can begin crafting the terrain as you see fit. Click on the Terrain tab and then select the 'Terrain Editing Tools' section.

Select 'Sculpt' on the right and you will be given the opportunity to choose the brush that you want to use to sculpt the terrain. This will allow you to gouge, smooth, indent, and generally manipulate the terrain to your specification. You can make some very dynamic and interesting layouts using this powerful tool.

You can alter the power of the brush using the options provided, altering Size, Strength and Falloff of the brush. Falloff dictates how much of a gradient there is at the edges of the brush area.

Terrain Paints:

To literally paint colours and textures onto the terrain, go to the 'Paint' section of Terrain Editing.

You can pick from the default terrain textures, or go to Add, then browse and select a new texture. You will also need to set the 'Terrain Type' - this sets the noise that the ground makes when Sims walk on it.

If you are good with image design and manipulation, you can also choose to import a texture, in the file formats .tga or .dds. The image size needs to be a power of two with a maximum possible size of 1024x1024 piels and a resolution of 72 pixels per inch.


There are some areas on the map that you will not want Sims to go. If you select the 'Show Unroutable Terrain' option, it will highlight steep sections of the map that you should paint with 'Non-Routable paint'. You should generally also paint water with this.

You use the routing tools to restrict the area that Sims can walk, and also the area that the game's camera can go. TO do this, you paint areas much like the terrain textures. You don't want Sims walking in complex areas where they are likely to get stuck, or for the camera to show the edge of the map or areas that you haven't put the proper care and attention into.


With the terrain laid out, you can now concentrate on the finer details which make the difference between a bland grassy field and an entertaining utopia.

Roads are necessary to allow Sims to drive cars and ride bikes, so make sure you place them carefully.

Select the Road tool and then either select Road or Sidewalk and you can click where you want it to begin. From here on, you can move the mouse around and click for the road to be created in between.

Hold down the mouse button while dragging to create bends for meandering roads.

If you need to move a section of road, select the 'Move World Object' tool and manipulate the blue lines to make the road longer or curve the road further.

Creating crossroads is not as simple as merely bisecting one road with another. Instead, you actually have to select the 'Place Road/Sidewalk Intersection' tool. You need to leave a gap while building roads (or make a gap by deleting a section) to allow you to place the intersection afterwards - you cannot do this while dragging the road, or place an intersection over a road already in place.


With Create A World, you need to place Lots so that players are able to purchase and eventually build their houses on them.

To get started with adding a new lot, first, go to the World Layers window, right click World and select Add Layer. You can use layers to organise the world and make it easier to manage items.

With the layer in place, you can then select to Add a New Lot. Select where you want the lot to start and then click again to set the length of the first side. You can then drag out the square to finish the lot.

A window will then appear, which will allow you to select the type of lot - this affects what can go on in this particular lot. You can choose lots such as Hospital, Theatre or Restaurant.

You can also set conditions such as 'Additional Property Value' to alter the total cost of the lot, and set the 'Beautiful Vista Buff' which initiates the 'Beautiful Vista' mood when a Sim is in this lot.

Adding Objects:

With the terrain and lots taken care of, you can now concentrate on the finishing touches, namely by placing objects in the game world.

You can choose from Spawners, Environment, Trees or Effects from the Metadeta window. Select the object that you want and double click it. You can then place it wherever you like. Use the move and rotate tools to manipulate the objects as you see fit.

Spawners are objects that 'create' other objects for Sims. Such resulting objects can be insects, metals etc.


There are various performance issues that you need to consider when building your world.

Firstly, it is important to cluster trees together to keep performance high. To do this, keep trees of the same type on the same layer.

Keep lots as far away from each other as possible, especially if you are designing for a computer that is not that high spec. This means the game is less likely to have to show multiple lots on screen at the same time.

When using terrain paints, keep the maximum number below 8 different paints per 256x256 section, and four or lower per lot.

Keep plant species to four or less, and no more than 30 in total per lot.

The world is divided into chunks. This makes performance easier to manage. Each chunk is 256x256.

Your Finished World:

Once your 'world' has been created, EA allow you to submit it to their community site, The Sims 3 Exchange. This makes it a good idea to design the world for lower-end computers as potentially anyone would be able to download it.

Need some help with this game? Or can you help others?
Click below to go to our questions page to see all the questions already asked and ask your own.
More Sims 3 on

Comments for The Sims 3: Create a World Mini Guide

8 comments, latest first.
Jun 26th 2014 Guest
Hi guys, I wanna know how to change the watercolour of the world I'm busy with in CAW? Lease help as I am new to this?
ID #406771
Mar 15th 2013 Guest
check youtube for tutiorals there really helpful
ID #264002
Nov 29th 2012 Guest
To add a world to the game. Once you are done building it and have saved it click on File/Select World to import. Select the world you want to add to the game and wait. Thats all there is to it.
ID #213554
Oct 6th 2012 Guest
It is kinda confusing to add an intersection but basically after you place it it won't join with the road untl you pull the road close enough to the intersection for it to sense it and join them, youmight have to wiggle the road around a bit. To get it in your game you generally need a sims 3 exchange account, then go tofile, in the top left hand corner, select world to export and choose your world, you should have already rightclicked on the layer tool to add or edit the description, which is where you can name your town and add a description. Then it will appear in the sime 3 launcher under the uploads section, it will then upload it for everyone else to download and you insall it from there too. :-)
ID #191990
Aug 30th 2012 Guest
i don't know any thing i was reading it 3 times already hheeeelllppp!!!!
ID #181675
Feb 16th 2012 Guest
um how do you add it to the game plzzzz help me i really want it in my game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ID #115571
Feb 16th 2012 Guest
I tried making an intersection for a road, but it won't work! Help!!
ID #115495
Oct 21st 2011 Guest
I Cant :(
ID #81765