using the Seasonal Lot Marker to change the appearance of lots accordingly to the season
Difficulty: advanced technique
German Version (Deutsche Version): Tutorial - Jahreszeitenmarkierung auf Grundstücken einsetzten
The Seasonal Lot Marker allows a lot to switch objects and decorations depending on the season. Using it on community lots offers your Sims different attractions every quarter of a year.
Using the marker on your residential lot enables seasonal decorations without the necessity to store objects temporarely in the family inventory.
- Preparing the lot
- Placing the Seasonal Lot Marker
- Interacting with the Seasonal Lot Marker
- When and how lots change appearance
- Working in the seasons modes
- Copying and recolouring objects
- Placing identical objects in more than one season
- Small changes to the same object at all seasons modes
- Saving your work: Lock Common Objects in Place
- Set Seasonal Festival Name
- Choosing the seasons appearance
- Deleting the Seasonal Lot Marker
- More The Sims 3 topics
For this tutorial I am going to edit the Little Corsican Bistro at Sunset Valley.
Preparing the lot
Build your lot as usual: terrain plus terrain paint, buildings, outdoor plants.
It's good to have a plan of the seasons depending objects you are going to use: Is it just small decoration oder large activity objects like roller skating (Seasons) or Riding the Bull (Showtime). Include enough levelt terrain for those objects.
For the Little Corsian Bistro I am just going to change some table decorations, flower boxes and sandwich signs. This is the common look of my terrace, that will be shown as base for all seasons. In the lower left corner you can see the silver ball of the Seasonal Lot Marker:
Placing the Seasonal Lot Marker
The Seasonal Lot Marker is located at the debug buy menu. Enter the cheats
TestingCheatsEnabled true and
BuyDebug into the cheat console. Search for the silver ball under buy mode > sorted by function > debug > Misc Objects. It looks like other marker balls - please make sure it has the correct name:
If you set your lot type to the new Festival Grounds there will already be a seasonal lot marker by default when you enter the lot in build/buy-mode. To make it visible you need to enter the cheats named above anyway. You might need to switch one time between build/buy to unhide it.
This silver ball will be invisible in Live Mode. It is totally up to you where you want to place it. Choose a location that is easily accessible for you during the building process.
Only one Seasonal Lot Marker per lot is allowed - though the game does not explicitly prevent you from placing a second: Make sure you use only one!
Interacting with the Seasonal Lot Marker
Hold CTRL plus Shift and Leftclick the Seasonal Lot Marker to open its options pie!
During this tutorial we are going to explain most options in more detail.
The option Set Season switches the lot between several modes. It offers you several choices, the active mode is the pale one:
- Common Mode
This determines the general appearance of your lot. Everything you see here will be shown during all seasons. This is also the mode that players without the Seasons expansion pack will see by default.
Things you place in these modes will only be shown during the according season.
The construction mode is going to show on every first day of a new season and be replaced by the seasons settings on the second day. If there are no objects in this mode, it won't show at all - The seasonal modes will be shown on the first day of a season instead.
The construction mode is meant for days in between festivals - days without festivals. This mode might be very usefull in the new lot types coming with Seasons to filll in a day for "time to switch shaks and attractions".
The construction mode is the same for all seasons.
When and how lots change appearance
- Lots switch appearance on first day of a season at about 3 a.m. to construction mode; lots switch appearance on second day of a season at 3 a.m. to seasonal mode; if there is nothing in construction mode, lots switch appearance on first day of season to seasonal mode at 3 a.m.
- Sims on the lot will be asked to leave the lot before 3 a.m. (action queue) like on clubs and lounges from Late Night or Supernatural hangouts.
- If Sims do not leave the lot they are teleported to a safe place on their home lot.
- Sims on their home lots will go on with their activity while their lot changes. If they are using a vanishing object or if they occupy space where a new objects is going to appear, the Sim will be teleported to the safest nearby position.
- If your Sim gets stucked in the switching process you can reset him with the cheat
ResetSim ReplaceWithForename ReplaceWithSurname.
- The amount of lots using the Seasonal Lot Marker and the amount of objects being changed by all Seasonal Marker have impact on the game performance depending on you computers specs - use this object wisely!
Working in the seasons modes
Switch through the seasons via the Option Set Season. Being in construction or in a seasonal mode all objects from common mode will be shown transparent:
The following should be considered while working with the Seasonal Lot Marker:
Moving objects between modes
If you click a transparent object it is pulled into the active mode. It's appearance changes to opaque. While still sticking to the mouse you can hit esc(ape) or the shortcut CTRL+z for undo. After placing a pulled object, it cannot be reassigned to the common mode not even with undo. If you pulled it by accident into the active mode, delete it, switch to common mode and place it there again.
Decorating with slots
Decorative objects can be placed in slots of furniture, e.g. flowers on a table. Unfortunately the first decoration blocks the slot of a common mode object: You can't use the same slot in several seasons to switch table decorations of common mode tables like decorating it with flowers, candles, sunshades. You could put tables (and chairs) in all seasonal modes instead. But deleting them on common mode gives a poor appearance for players without Seasons: They will see the empty common mode by default. It can be a bit tricky to find a working compromise.
Build Mode actions
Rasing or lowering terrain and all building actions (walls, floors, wall hanging, windows, doors and so on) even in seasonal modes will always be connected to the common mode and therefore be shown at all seasons. Make sure to especially finish terrain editing before you decorate the seasons modes. Changing the terrain later might lead to sunken or hovering decorations in other modes. You can repair those modes by picking up the objects with the hand tool and immediately hitting the esc(ape) button or by deleting them with the sledge hammer and undo it. Both actions put the objects back in their prior position with corrected hights.
Stones (from plant section) and colums - though in the build mode - can be placed in seasonal modes and will be shown only in this season. Fire pits/bowls from the party section cannot be places on seasonal modes - they will always be connected to the common mode.
Most items from debug > misc objects are tricky... they work just fine with seasonal modes if you build the lot just for youself. After exporting and installing lots with the seasonal lot marker, those objects might got lost or might show in all seasons instead of the one where you placed it. Same goes for seed(!) spawners. Plant(!) spawners work just fine! If you intend to make your lot downloadable you better won't use any misc objects from debug. This lot type needs lots of testing
Modifying the Little Corsian Bistro
For this tutorial I am going to place flowers on some tables at spring, a sunshade on one table at summer, candles on some tables on fall mode including some radiant heaters. Winter mode will go without decorations:
Copying and recolouring objects
Clicking transparent objects with the Hand Tool pulls them into the active mode. Clicking them with the Eyedropper or Create-a-Style tool leaves them in the common mode. This allows you to easily match styles and objects in all modes.
Placing identical objects in more than one season
Placing some objects in more than one but not all seasons (e.g. flower boxes for spring till fall) is easy when using a template objects in common mode: Place the object in common mode. Switch to the first seasonal mode where you want this object to show and copy the transparent object with the Eyedropper tool. Place it and go on to the next seasonal mode. After copying the objects to all desired modes, delete the template objects in Common Mode.
I am going to add some flower boxes and boxed trees to the Little Corsian Bistro from spring to fall:
Small changes to the same object at all seasons modes
You want to use the same object with slightly different appearances or maybe lights with different settings in all modes? Place the objects in common mode as a template. Switch though all other modes and use again the eyedropper tool to copy the object to the active mode. Then change the material or light setting. When you placed the object in all modes got back to Common Mode and delete the object there.
I am going to add a sandwich sign to the Little Corsian Bistro from spring to fall advertising the seasonal specialities:
Saving your work: Lock Common Objects in Place
Before leaving Build/Buy Mode EA recommends to always click the Seasonal Lot Markers option to Lock the Common Objects in place. This eleminates reasons for game issues - even if the effect might not be directly visible.
Set Seasonal Festival Name
Community lots allow to set different Names for each season. Those will be shown in the Live Modes Town View when Seasons is installed. Click the Option, choose the Mode and enter a Name.
Changing the Common Name actually changes the lot name - the one displayed in edit town mode. Leaving some or all names blank will show the common name in town view instead.
Choosing the seasons appearance
If you have Seasons installed the lot will show the according appearance. If Seasons is not installed the common mode will be displayed by default. If you want, you can change this to the appearance you prefer:
If not yet entered type the cheats
TestingCheatsEnabled true and
buydebug into your cheat console. This will make the silver ball visible when entering the Buy/Build Mode of the lot (you might need to switch between modes once to unhide it). Open the Seasonal Lot Markers options and choose Set Season and pick your choice. Switch back to Live Mode and your lot will show with the chosen season. Here you can see summer with all Common and all Summer objects visible in Live Mode:
Deleting the Seasonal Lot Marker
The marker is a very special object and cannot be easily deleted. If you place it by accident you can just undo this action. If you placed it a while ago or installed a downloaded lot - open again the menu pie of the marker and choose the option Delete It. Confirm the warning.
The deletion of the Seasonal Lot Marker immediately pulls all objects from all modes into view:
Objects might be stucked on top of each other. Clean your lot and delete all unnecessary objects to ensure function and accessibility of all objects.
Your turn! Have fun creating your own lot with changing seasonal appearances!
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More The Sims 3 topics
You can find more information about seasonal behavior and options of the Seasonal Lot Marker in this Guide to Seasonal Lot Markers at the official forum.
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