Tutorials:Creating A World That Doesn't Suck Planning
Planning Your World
Before you even open CAW, it is recommended that you have at least some idea of what your world is going to be, even if it's just "Desert," "Remote," "Small," or "Quaint Town". This will allow you to choose your world's size and map type easily.
The first thing you need to decide is the size of your map. Sunset Valley, Twinbrook and Bridgeport are all Large maps, though they use up a lot of space around the edges in inaccessible hills. Do you want a small, cozy neighborhood that's just big enough to fit everything, or a bustling urban landscape with houses and businesses everywhere - or maybe a small town surrounded by wilderness? Once you get past terrain sculpting, you won't be able to easily re-size your world without losing work, so be sure of the scale!
What kind of landscaping do you want? What trees do you want to use to compliment this? What kind if climate do you want? What sort of vibe? All these questions need to be asked when altering terrain. The way you sculpt your map will depend on what kind of area you are trying to portray. Some examples could be long flowing cliffs and hills or jagged, pointed mountains surrounded by desolate desert. The climate you are trying to show will also be reliant on what trees and architectural styles you want. Another thing to consider when on these things is the weather. Will it be a cold place or will it be heated? These are all factors in deciding foliage.
This is one that is absolutely vital. Your landscaping can look absolutely gorgeous, but when it comes down to it, your world needs to have a good layout and nice buildings. To do this, you should have at least a small idea of what kind of street template you want. This might mean, for a city, you want close knit streets that intersect all the time, creating a sort of grid look. Conversely, it could mean you want one road running through your town with a few side streets running away from that.
These are fun little nooks and crannies that you can put into your world for sims to explore and have fun with. For instance, there is a mine area in Sunset Valley and an old warehouse area with train tracks running through it in Twinbrook. This could mean you would like a little harbor area or a waterfall with a river running through your world. You need to have some good ideas for this, if you want your world to be interesting.
If you are going to make a world that is large, you might want to consider using "Distant Terrain." It becomes increasingly difficult to add these to your world in a natural-looking way if you have already sculpted your world. If you decide that your world needs distant terrain before you start it, you can make the land on the edges of your world meet up with the distant terrain to create a nice, flowing landscape.
Things to Remember
Once you decide all of these things, remember that you cannot change the map-size; you need to be absolutely certain that you can fit everything you want into the map size you choose. You can export the height map of a half-completed world and save it into a bigger map (more on this in another section), but this involves re-doing all the lots, paint, objects and decoration.
You might also want to consider whether you want to add a second water-level. These can be seen in the EA world Bridgeport, amongst the mountains. Adding these can be difficult for the non-experienced, but it can also give your world a much more realistic and fun feel (see this section for details).