How to build taller than 5 floors

The Sims 2 is the ONLY game in Sims series where you can increase max floors limit using a cheat.

By default, The Sims 2 allow you to built up to 5 levels. This means houses like basement + 3 floors + roof or terrace. You can eliminate the basement, or built an underground floor inside basement. There is a TRICK that allow building 6 levels: put a dormer on the highest level, but this will not allow anymore stepped roofs taller than one floor.

University Expansion Pack allows to change the floor limit: press Ctrl+Shift+C when you are in Neighborhood (NOT in a lot), type sethighestallowedlevel 16 (or any number up to 255), then open any lot and you can built more levels. If the height limit was reached, just put a dormer to unlock the limit.


BEWARE! the game will crash when you reach a certain height, of 16 levels if you use basement or 15 levels if you do not use basement.

In neighborhood views you will not see floors tiles higher than 150 steps from street level. Each floor have 16 steps and foundation normally have 4 steps, 16 steps x 9 floors = 144 steps, you can use raise ground or use foundation of max 6 steps, however ground floor raised at levels not divisible by 4 cause a ugly look in neighborhood, so when you are building skyscrapers you should stick at 4 step foundation and 9 floors.

The towers shown in above photos show max possible building height (pink skyscraper, basement + 15 floors), and highest flooring which appears in Neighborhood view (green skyscraper, basement + 9 floors) so the roof flooring is at 11th level.

You can also create a huge hole in the ground and by this way you can have the floor tiles displayed even at 16th level (the game crash at 16 levels regardless of the height from street level), but again will look ugly.

Alternatively, you can use pitched roof to cover tall buildings, see through windows that internal floors are not displayed above 10th level.

Imperial Building Imperial Building

Lots saved with University expansion pack, regardless of number of floors, can be open and played in any other version of The Sims 2 including base game, any University object is deleted rather than crashing the game, the single “problem” is that the University lots viewed in base game have crazy prices, even negative prices, like $-987,123,456.00, you need to enter in lot and save lot in base game, then you can play a base game lot with 16 floors.

This is not working for newer expansion packs, from Nightlife to Apartment Life, each having own version for saved files, and trying to open lots without required expansion packs will crash the game.

Other games

The Sims 1 allow you to build 1 or 2 levels only, lower and upper level, and no foundation. Roof is added automatically over any area enclosed with walls.

The sims 3 allow you to build up to 6 levels, 6th level cannot hold walls but only roof or floor tiles and railings. Foundation and frieze (a 4-step tall zone that divide floors) also count as levels. So you can for example build a house with basement and 4 floors plus roof. World Adventures expansion pack add option to build basements, up to 4 levels underground. But for efficiency you shouldn’t have more than 2 habitable floors, otherwise your sims will waste a lot of time going from one task to another.

The Sims 4 allow you to build up to 4 levels above ground and 2 levels under ground (basement). Foundation does not count as level, it is added automatically over entire house and you can adjust its height from 0 to 9 steps even after the house was built.

Best strategy to play The Sims without cheating

This strategy is designed for The Sims 2 but can work approximately same way in The Sims 1 and 3 too. This is NOT really best strategy, but usually give nearly best results, maybe it can be improved a little… if you have more time for gaming than me to test variations of strategy.

Starting strategy

Create a family with 4-8 adult Sims. More Sims is better in getting a richer family, but is harder to control especially in first days when $20.000 is not enough to buy furniture for large families.

Create a 2×2 lot and build a simple house, can be about 100 squares for 4 sims or 180 squares for 8 sims. Avoid foundation and stairs as it raise costs unnecessarily, keep number of rooms at minimum, use the cheapest doors and windows, or you can even keep most of “house” in open air, only the beds, toilet and shower / bathtub needs to be indoor. Add furniture for purpose of planning then sell it and leave it unfurnished.

Move family into house. DO NOT move family into an empty lot then build the house, because only 80% of Build Mode costs are added to home value. With other words, a house that cost $10.000 to purchase would cost $12.500 if you build it with sims on lot, or even more if you build, demolish and rebuild, because deleting build mode items give back 80% of value.

You can also download one of my highly-efficient Starter Homes and sell all or most of furniture, this will make Sims to have basic wants, like Buy a couch, Buy a TV set, easy to fulfill, improving aspiration bar and helping getting promotions in career very fast.

Start furnishing the house by buying the furniture items that are on the Sims’ wants list. Additionally you can sell them shortly afterwards and repeat the process. Be sure to sell before midnight, buy mode items lose 15% of value each midnight, reaching terminal value of 40% in 5th day.

Buy the cheapest items for non-functional items: counters, table, windows, floors, wall paint (these items do not affect Sims mood). Avoid buying plants, paintings and other decorative items. Spend the bulk of money to get best couch and TV set, then kitchen appliances, bathroom items, beds, dining chairs, etc.

Do not copy my strategy on other sites. This article is copyrighted by Teoalida and its original URL is

Get a job in Military or Law Enforcement career tracks, these have highest salaries in early levels (in The Sims, salaries are inverse proportional, career tracks with high salaries at entry positions have lowest salaries at top positions). Use a computer instead of newspaper for more variety of jobs.

Life is short in The Sims 2 so reaching top position in career is difficult under normal conditions (playing only inside one lot), personally I never succeeded. But there is a secret: time do not pass when you are not on your lot. Go to community lots to earn skills, for example to get body skill go to a community swimming pool, to earn logic skill go and play chess on a community lot, etc. If you play a single family you may have trouble maintaining friendship over 50% with more than 10 sims and still do a job and housekeeping, you need to play several other families where you do not care about their mood, and spend their time to maintain friendship with the main family you intend to get in top position in career.

Once your wealth reach $100.000, move to a bigger house. Again build an empty house then move family in it, of download one of many highly-efficient houses built by me. Avoid making modifications in Build mode once the family is on lot.

Start making babies or adopt them, aim them to Business Career (requiring charisma, logic, creativity) or Criminal Career (requiring mechanical, body, creativity) because body, logic, creativity skills are usually earned automatically during childhood if you have a pool, chess table or piano in the house. For more details see The Sims 2 Career Tracks.

Starting from second generation, your family will be very rich!

How to make a good efficient home in The Sims

DO NOT copy floor plans of real life homes in The Sims. Real homes usually have too many rooms, narrow hhallways, U-shaped staircases, and other elements that do not work well in The Sims. You can copy external shape of real homes, but design floor plan according The Sims rules.

Single-storey homes are most efficient in The Sims, two-storey is also OK, but avoid making homes with more than 2 floors of livable space.

One square in The Sims equals 3 feet, 0.91 meters, but you should design house according number of Sims you intend to put in the house, NOT according the size of real house you are copying. The optimal size for a house for 4 sims is 150-250 squares, for 6 sims 200-300 squares, for 8 sims 250-350 squares. Of course you need a bigger house if you want a disco room or bowling alley inside your house, but that will be NOT an efficient house.

In Europe a 3-bedroom house for a family of 4 average 100 square meters, but in The Sims you need about 150 squares for a family of 4. You need extra space for things that in real life do you not need, for example chess board. For a double bed you need a room of at least 4×4 squares, but in real life bedrooms can be smaller than 3.6 x 3.6 m. A two-car garage is 6×6 meters in real life but in The Sims 2 you need 10×8 squares.

Keep number of rooms at minimum. In The Sims you need ONE room for noisy items (TV, stereo, computer, piano, etc) and ONE room for quiet items (beds). Kitchen appliances, dining table, chess board, pool table, easel, workout bench can be placed in either room, they do not make noise to wake up sleeping sims. You also need ONE bathroom for every 3 sims.

In The Sims is NOT required to make separate bedrooms specifically for parents, boys and girls, as they go to sleep to nearest bed. You can even keep all items outdoor to lower building cost (unless you have Seasons EP).

I tested the open-air home with a family of six sims (1 elderly, 2 adults, 1 teenager, 2 children) for more than 30 sims days, aging -off, and improved it constantly to make the best home, originally made in 2010 on a 3×2 lot, I remade it in 2011 on a 2×2 lot.

Efficient home 2010 Efficient home 2011

For realism you can make one bedroom for each 2 beds, separate rooms for living, dining, kitchen, another room for hobby and fun items, but no more rooms than this because house lose efficiency.

Design house without dead ends, rooms with a single door, especially if you have more than 4 sims. Beware of bathrooms, which many players make them just 2×3 squares with a single door, and if a sim is in bathroom and another sim want to talk with him, will go after him, and if a third sim come to use toilet, will try to shoo other 2 sims away but they cannot leave bathroom because the only door is stuck with 3 sims, this can have severe consequences if it happens when carpool or school bus arrive. You can have a hallway with doors to each bedroom, but add also a door between bedrooms so each room will have 2 ways to exit. Make bathrooms with 2 doors too, for example by putting between bedrooms.

Avoid hallways (long narrow rooms with no furniture). put furniture aligned on walls and leave middle of room as passage. There is no problem for guest sims to walk through bedroom to go toilet. If you really want to have hallways, make them 2 squares wide to prevent sims getting stuck if they come from opposite directions.

This U-shaped apartment block do not have hallways and every room, even bathrooms, have 2 exit doors.Efficient floor plan of apartment block

Staircase should have lower end as close is possible to main door, and the main door should be close to road and in center of lot width or max 5 squares towards left, because carpool arrive slightly left from center.

Living room with sofa and TV is the most important part of house because allow sims to fulfill their comfort, fun and social needs at same time. Sometimes happens to have all your sims plus guests watching TV, so you need to provide enough seating. In The Sims 3 you can watch TV from seats at 45 or 90 degrees from TV, but in The Sims 2 only seating facing TV can be used for watching. Many players make mistake to not put enough seating facing TV. At 3-4 squares distance from TV you can have seating for 5 people, while at 5-7 squares from TV you can have seating for 7 people, as seen in below screenshot.

TV seating area

Dining room should have 50% more seats than number of sims in your family because when one sim serve food, usually all sims in the house come to eat, and you need to accommodate guests too. Also sloppy sims do not clean dining table after eating, leaving seats occupied.

Fun room, depending by personality, sims have different ways to fulfill their fun needs. From my personal experience with families of 8 sims made with random astrological signs, most sims prefer TV, but computer, easel and piano are also used (they help children to maximize creativity skill before reaching adulthood), while stereo and telescope are not often used. If you have a large family with 8 sims is good to have 2 pianos and 3-4 easels in your house.

Homework & desk problem: child and teen sims can do homework on desk or dining table, or on the floor. When sims come from school they put homework on a desk or near it, but if the right side of desk is occupied by a computer and left side is desk is empty, they put homework on left side where they cannot do homework. You should always cover left side of desk with a phone or any decorative item and leave right side empty, you can have 2 desks, one for computer and one for homework.

Bathroom need to be one per 3 sims (in case of typical bathroom with bathtub, toilet and sink), but you can make also Japanese-style with separate rooms for bathtub and toilet, one half bathroom per 2 sims.

Garden can have trees and bushes, avoid flowers as they do not bring any benefits but just waste time of your sims to water them, also flowers contains large number of polygons and slow down graphics of your game.

Strategy for The Sims 2 Apartment Life

Renting an apartment may be a good option because starter families with $20,000 budget can enjoy high-end furniture, instead of purchasing a house with $100,000+ worth of furniture that will lose 60% of value in 5 days, you can rent an 150 squares apartment for $2,000-3,000 per week and never lose value.

Sadly Maxis did not made the option to rent furnished apartments without cheating. You need to activate cheat mode “boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true” then shift+click apartment door and click “Rent furnished”. You can also cheat and make money by selling buy mode items from apartment, evict family and rent again same apartment furnished like nothing happened.

Additional details

Cover other tables with objects such as clocks, phones, plants, lights (after cooking, Sims will go to nearest free table, if the dining tables are full, they may go upstairs and serve food on bedroom nightstands, which is a waste of time).

Keep an eye on which furniture is most used and move it near the center or home, delete excessive furniture and reduce home size to minimum necessary (this depending of family size and their personality, some Sims prefers to have fun with TV, other Sims prefers doll house).

Enclose with fences the unused part of land, prevent Sims going away from center of home and waste time.

Controlling your sims

Some players love to control every action their sims are making. But sims have free will, choosing themselves what to do based on their needs.

Personally I play The Sims more as building game, playing in live mode only 2-3 sims days to playtest each house I build and make sure it is working before publishing for other players to download it. The sims do most actions autonomously, but there are a couple of things that need your intervention:

  • Check food supply: new in The Sims 2, the fridge have a limited supply and when it gets empty, sims cannot prepare food anymore. You need to call service > delivery to fill up your fridge, or go to a community lot for shopping.
  • Make sure the kids are not hungry, they cannot prepare food, some teenagers and adults prefers to have food (for themselves) rather than serve food (for entire family).
  • Ensure that kids go to school (if they are in bad mood, they will not go automatically), ensure that kids do their homework (kids never do homework automatically), otherwise grades will fall and social worker will take your kids away.
  • Pay bills, sims do not pay them automatically. Personally I avoid paying bills because I find funny to see what items Repo Man is taking from my home.
  • Repair damaged items. TV, computer, microwave, washing machine, toilet, bathtub breaks quite often.

Cannot build walls? You reached the wall limit!

I was not aware that The Sims 2 hav e a strange limit of number of wall segments when you cannot build more walls… until I built The Condominium.

During building the 6th floor, I encountered the bug, so I had to replan the blocks thinner and simpler, to reach desired height of 7/8 floors.

The limit is 2100 wall segments. Half height walls are NOT counted towards wall limit, BUT you cannot build them once wall limit is reached. Foundation walls and pool walls are counted towards wall limit, BUT… you can add them even over limit.

SOLUTION (trick to exceed wall limit): Delete the foundation, build as many walls as you can, then rebuilt foundation and pool.

In my example, each block’s floor contains 68 pieces of wall (there are no internal walls), so I built 30 floors over the 4 blocks, totaling 2040. With the remained 60 walls I built lift houses on the roof and an entrance porch. Then I rebuilt foundation and pool which bring the number of wall to 2440 segments.

Tips and Tricks

Looking for a trick not listed in this page? Ask me! Leave a comment… and I may add it!

Build mode not working, cannot build anything!

That because you have the base game with a no-CD cracked .exe. I never found a working crack able to use build mode, so you can play the game with the DVD inserted in the drive, in Daemon Tools or whatever you have. This happens only for base game. In case of Expansion Packs, no problems occurs if you crack the .exe if you want to play without CD-ROM.

How to money cheat

Place your family in an empty lot, press Ctrl+Shift+C and type motherlode as many times as you need, each time you will add $50,000, save the lot, evict family and it will can buy expensive palaces. Or, if you have Nightlife or newer expansion packs, you can press Ctrl+Shift+C in neighborhood view and type familyfunds <familyname> <money>.

How to built basements

Some people ask which expansion pack is needed to build basements, WRONG! You can built basements just with the base game. Place a foundation at desired level (default is 4 steps above ground), then lower the ground 12 steps, and place a stair from foundation to lower ground. Now you can built rest of foundation, surrounding stair or U-shaped foundation and a normal wall on 4th side to make a house on sloped terrain or garage in basement.

How to design apartment lots

You need EP8 Apartment Life. You can have any number of apartments on one lot, apartments do not need to be in same building and one above others. You can make multiple landed houses, like a trailer park, on same lot too.
Make a residential lot, built everything and when you finish everything press Ctrl+Shift+C and type changelotzoning apartmentbase. You can change lot zoning earlier too, but be sure to changelotzoning residential back before making build mode changes. Do not make build mode changes after you changed lot zoning to apartments, because you can lose apartment validity.
You may get a message There is an invalid apartment on this lot. Check main door rug to be outside of apartment, be sure that is no other entrance, etc.

Many people experienced problems in designing apartments and they think that is not allowed for apartments to have terraces and ground access. WRONG!
– Valid apartments should have only one entrance (the unique separator door) and no door connecting them (no back door to a common courtyard)
– Valid apartments CAN have garage, as long as it is accessible internally.
– Valid apartments CAN have balconies, rooftop access and helipad, as long as they are fenced.
– Valid apartments CAN have private ground area and pool, as long as it is connected to building at same level and is fenced.
– Valid apartments cannot have a basement terrace with stairs to ground, even if the ground area is enclosed.

How to solve invalid apartments

Delete all apartment doors and place them back one by one, type changelotzoning apartmentbase, even if it is valid, type changelotzoning residential to change back and check next apartment. After you get which apartment is invalid, try deleting stairs or built a wall or fence to see which part is invalid.

I tried to built 4 units of semi-detached housing with garage and pool (photo). I kept getting message that one apartment is invalid, I found that the green house is the invalid apartment. How the fuck 3 are valid and 1 is invalid since all 4 units are identical????

How to rent furnished apartments

Sadly Maxis did not made this option available without cheating. Tired of losing furniture when rent an apartment? Just activate cheat mode boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true then shift+click apartment door and select Rent furnished.

How to have more than 8 sims controllable

Activate cheat mode, shift+click on NPC Sims and make them controllable. You can have dozens of controllable sims in this way (useful if you want for example, to record a movie with dozens of dancing sims), best to do in a crowded apartment building, controllable sims does not mean they will not be added to your family. You cannot have more than 8 sims in a family (or 10 including pets)

How to cheat and control everything

Type boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true. Beware, you can do everything with this cheat, even RUIN THE GAME!

Example of things that you can do: click on the skills and maximize or reduce them, click on the mood bars, shift+click on refrigerator and restock it, shift+click on TV or computer and break them, shift+click on the Sim itself and change the age and the clothing, shift+click on newspaper and choose any career and any job level. Shift+click on NPC Sims and make them controllable

Starter Homes tips

Always built houses THEN move family in them. NEVER move family to an empty lot then build the house, because only 80% of Build Mode costs are added to home value. The loss of money will be even bigger if you build, demolish and rebuild.

A way to have a even better furniture in less than 20K is to move a rich family in the house and play it for 5 days, as the Buy Mode items depreciate with 15% per day and reach terminal value of 40% in 5th day (unlike The Sims 1, items no longer depreciate at infinite), then kill all Sims, the house will be empty, for sale, but with used furniture.

Use cheapest items for tables and counters, as these things do not affect Sims mood.

My Best Starter Home include a computer, later I found that this is not necessary. Use computer to find a bigger variety of jobs for your Sims, then sell the computer and buy better beds.

The Sims 2 list of CHEATS

Miscellaneous Cheats
help [cheatname]
autoPatch -on/off
setLotLightingFile [filename] Nightlife and newer
bugJarTimeDecay [on|off] Seasons (only?)
Neighborhood Cheats
changeLotZoning [residential | community | greek | dorm | secretsocietylot] University only
terrainType [desert | concrete | temperate | dirt] Nightlife and newer
changeLotZoning [residential | community | hotel | secretvacationlot] Bon Voyage only
modifyNeighborhoodTerrain [on/off] Freetime and newer
changeLotZoning [residential | community | secrethobbylot] Freetime only
boolProp apartmentBuildBuyRestrictions [true/false] Apartment Life only
boolProp aptSubLotSpecificToolsDisabled [true/false] Apartment Life only
boolProp aptBaseLotSpecificToolsDisabled [true/false] Apartment Life only
changeLotClassification [low | middle | high] Apartment Life only
changeLotZoning [residential | community | apartmentbase] Apartment Life only
clearLotClassValue Apartment Life only
printLotClass Apartment Life (only?)
setQuarterTilePlacement [on/off] Mansion & Garden
Build Cheats
moveObjects on/off
boolprop snapobjectstogrid falsetrue
boolProp dormSpecificToolsDisabled [true/false] University (only?)
setHighestAllowedLevel [number] University and OFB only
boolProp allow45DegreeAngleOfRotation [true/false] University and newer
roofSlopeAngle [15-75] Nightlife and newer
deleteAllFences Pets and newer
deleteAllWalls Pets and newer
deleteAllAwnings Pets and newer
deleteAllObjects [doors/windows/stairs] Pets and newer
deleteAllHalfWalls Pets and newer
Gameplay Cheats
boolProp testingCheatsEnabled true
kaching – give $1,000 simoleons
familyFunds [family last name] [number]
motherlode – give 50,000 simoleons
aging [on/off]
intProp maxNumOfVisitingSims [number]
plumbbobtoggle on/off
intProp censorgridsize [number]
AspirationLevel (0-5)
StretchSkeleton (0.0-?)
bugJarTimeDecay on/off
familyFunds [familyname] [amount] Nightlife and newer
unlockCareerRewards Nightlife and newer
maxMotives Nightlife and newer
motiveDecay [on/off] Nightlife and newer
aspirationPoints [amount] Nightlife and newer
lockAspiration [on/off] Nightlife and newer
aspirationLevel [0-5] Nightlife and newer
ageSimsCheat [on/off] Nightlife and newer
addneighbortoFamilycheat [on/off] Open for Business and newer
boolProp petActionCancel [true/false] Pets
boolProp controlPets [true/false] Pets
boolProp disablePuppyKittenAging [true/false] Pets
boolProp petsFreeWill [true/false] Pets
Storytelling Cheats
slowMotion [value]
boolProp enablePostProcessing true/false
bloom [r g b x] (rgb is color) (x is the bloom amount) [0.0 – 1.0]
vignette [centerX centerY X] (X is the vignetteing factor) [0.0 – 1.0]
filmGrain [val] [0.0-1.0]
letterBox [val] [0.0-0.4]
showHeadlines [on/off] Nightlife and newer
plumbbobToggle [on/off] Open for Business and newer