The Sims 3 World Adventures Preview - Exclusive Details on Create-a-World

Get the exclusive first details on the next big addition to the Sims 3 community.

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The Sims 3 was released earlier this year to much fanfare and acclaim. The third game continued the tradition of letting players create little computer people who led little computer lives as they love, laugh, work, and buy property in the virtual suburbs just outside of SimCity. All versions of The Sims have had a "build mode" editing tool that lets players construct housing and alter terrain. The upcoming World Adventures expansion pack for The Sims 3 will also let players create "adventure" zones with switches and buttons that trigger different events, such as revealing secret passages and treasures. But later this year, the publisher will release a separate new editing tool called "Create-a-World," which will essentially let players build out not only a house, but also an entire neighborhood from scratch.

The Sims 3's Create-a-World utility will let you build entire neighborhoods from the ground up.
The Sims 3's Create-a-World utility will let you build entire neighborhoods from the ground up.

Create-a-World is intended for serious Sims enthusiasts willing to devote enough time to build entire neighborhoods from scratch. The tool is actually the same one that the development team uses to create the playfields for The Sims 3 and its expansions. Because it's the same tool that the developers use, it can create areas similar to those that appear in the base game and expansions, in four different size levels. (The Sims 3's default neighborhood of Sunset Valley is the largest of the four world sizes.)

Like with the build mode of The Sims 3, you can manipulate terrain by raising it to create mountains or lowering it to create valleys and then "paint" the terrain using either the textures or terrain types available in the editing tools. Or, if you're ambitious enough, you can use image-editing tools, such as Photoshop to create your own JPEG and PNG textures to map onto your custom neighborhoods. Once built, these areas can be exported from the tool and then either imported into your own game install (you can have as many custom neighborhoods in your game as your computer's hard drive space allows) or uploaded to the Exchange community site to share with other users. It's not yet clear what the average file size of a custom neighborhood will be, but EA community representatives assured GameSpot regardless of how big they are, custom neighborhoods will be subject to the same sort of community-plus-EA-oversight content moderation process used for other custom content.

While giving users the ability to create entire lots from scratch will give hardcore fans the ability to create huge new areas to explore, the EA team clarified that the tool will work off of each user's installed games. That is, if you wish to create a community lot using the adventure-based gameplay of The Sims 3 World Adventures, you must own World Adventures and have it installed; the created lot can be used only by players who also own that expansion. In any case, EA states that Create-a-World is not intended to replace the new gameplay features that traditional Sims 3 expansion packs typically introduce, such as the new careers and adventure gameplay in World Adventures. EA plans to continue to work on full expansion packs that not only add new terrain and areas to explore, but will also introduce new gameplay concepts that will be unique to the expansions themselves.

Create-a-World will be a separate utility that will weigh in at about 130MB and be free to download from the official Sims 3 Web site. The tool is planned for release in a beta state this December in all languages--EA plans to support and improve the utility over time as it receives feedback from the fan community.

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