Looking for a complex and variable world design game or software tool
May 13, 2011 3:12 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a complex and variable world/city design game/tool

I need a game or a software tool that allows me to build and customize a world, a city, a town, whatever -- and it needs to be heavy on the customization, e.g. a few hundred options just for what sort of material I want to make the walls of a house out of, and a fairly simple drag/drop system to boot, so that I can place a wall "in play" and then stretch it to whatever length I need. There should be hundreds of different "path" types (roads, wooden walkways, pebbles, granite, sand, etc) loads of different kinds of technological inclusions (street lights, telephone booths, garden beds, etc) just... lots of options.

I know there must be something like this, as I've encountered simple models of this in a few games before. I don't care if it's in the wider context of a game or if it's just software made purely for design purposes, so long as I have freedom of customization, so long as it's modern and not based on fantasy technology, and finally that its aesthetically pleasing. I'd prefer something that isn't 3-D, which usually looks ugly as hell. 2-D Sprites are fine.

Free would be best but probably unlikely. Anything will do!

Thanks so much.
posted by heylight to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sounds like youre describing how my other half plays The Sims - hours of building, tweaking and downloading just the right textures and objects. Interacting with the Sims? (arguably what youre 'supposed' to do with the game) Not so much.
posted by Ness at 3:32 AM on May 13, 2011

Best answer: Seconding Ness -- there are some folks who don't even bother to actually -play- the Sims, they just create houses and whatnot. It -is- 3D, but it looks pretty okay.

For Pure house creation, I'd say the Sims 3 because of the sheer ridiculous number of options. Not only can you pick the material for the walls of the house, you pick the colors. This includes a color wheel and hue slider. You can really end up with some very beautiful looking (and silly, sometimes...) houses. And you can add furnishings too, so it's not just plain walls and floors.
posted by Heretical at 4:28 AM on May 13, 2011

Best answer: Maybe Cities XL 2011? (Windows)
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:14 AM on May 13, 2011

I'd prefer something that isn't 3-D, which usually looks ugly as hell.

I misread that part, so disregard my suggestion.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:15 AM on May 13, 2011

Sleep is Death?
posted by empath at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: Dr-Baa: those graphics are pretty non-offensive actually, so thanks. It looks cool.

Sims 3 is a bit ugly but the customization looks good. I forgot Sims existed for some reason.

Sleep is Death looks intriguing, maybe a bit *too* sprite-ish, but I'll check it out...

thanks for the links so far -- keep 'em coming!
posted by heylight at 6:32 AM on May 13, 2011

This is what I use Second Life for. Learning to build is relatively easy, and lots of decent textures can now be found for free. You'll need to rent land to build on, though, unless you have no intention of leaving your build in place - then you could just use a sandbox.
posted by noxetlux at 6:54 AM on May 13, 2011

On the non-game side of things.. There's a variety of amateur home architect software out there that lets you design houses. 3D Home Architect is the one I used a few years ago. You might also find SketchUp interesting, it's a general purpose 3D modelling tool.
posted by Nelson at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2011

If you decide to try out the Sims 3 (which I think is your most satisfying option), don't forget to install The Sims 3 Create a World Tool. It allows total customization of the neighborhood landscape and layout--much more than you can do with the in-game tools.
posted by General Tonic at 9:59 AM on May 13, 2011

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