So, you’ve watched Sanctuary, you love the Sims, and you’ve decided that nothing will make you happier than recreating the Sanctuary. I am happy to assist you with this task in my easy, step-by-step guide! Simply follow this tutorial, and you too can have a Sim Sanctuary!
First, you’ll want to find the largest plot available in Sims 4. I used the 64×64 lot on the island in Windenburg for my Sanctuary because the water surrounding the lot best matched the Old City Sanctuary’s surroundings. Then, using a set of exterior shots of the Sanctuary, I did my best to replicate the exterior layout. I had to make a few changes in order to fit within the confined space, but overall I was able to stay pretty true to the original.
Sims Sanctuary (top) with the Old City Sanctuary (below) for comparison.
Before getting started on the interior, it’s best to identify the most easily recognizable rooms. By looking through screen caps, I was able to locate the position of several main rooms.
I narrowed down these locations by looking both at the backgrounds as well as comparing windows, etc.
For rooms that aren’t readily obvious, you can still use views in windows for guidance. If water is visible, you know the room has to be on the back of the lot. If city views are visible, you know it has to be in one of the right-side buildings, or on the front of the mid-section. (The cathedral on the left-hand side is completely abandoned, save for the chapel seen in Eulogy, Vigilante, and Chimera).
Download AS MANY lamps, couches, artwork and tables as you can. Seriously, the Sanctuary is huge. Helen has art work and lamps everywhere! Her office alone has 15 lights. (Yes, I counted). Every hallway has either tables with various flowers and artwork, or couches and chairs. You will need a lot. When you think that you’ve downloaded enough custom content, download at least twenty more. Of each.
I like to search The Sims Resource, Around the Sims and Mod the Sims for as many different styles as possible. I am a stickler for accuracy, so I look for items that are as close to screen accurate as possible. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to take up creating your own custom content (which I’m considering), you’ll have to sacrifice some accuracy.
The Sims 4 does not have spiral staircases (as seen in the library) or elevators (seen in just about every episode of Sanctuary), so you’re already having to make a few compromises in order to build a Sims Sanctuary. Try – unsuccessfully – not to let this fret you.
Some people would probably map out all of the rooms in the Sanctuary at one time. However, I like to take the rooms that I know, place them first, and then go from there. I like to start with one of the most used rooms, and our first introduction to the Sanctuary – the foyer.
In Sims there is no easy way to create stairs with a landing in the middle, so decide that you are ok with the increasing Sanctuary-inspired rather than Sanctuary-accurate Sims lot and grudgingly accept this fact. Go back to your exterior pictures and note that the main entrance is in the diagonally oriented building on the right side. Attempt to set staircases in this room. Realize that you cannot place stairs on a diagonal in the Sims.
Look for mods or tutorials or cheats that will allow you to put stairs on an angle. Turn up nothing. Consider redoing the entire Sanctuary on an angle so that the only room you need stairs in can be accurate. Realize that this is a bad idea (hopefully before you get halfway through the rotated Sanctuary). No, seriously. It’s a really bad idea. Stop thinking about it.
Get even more frustrated.
Decide you’ll work on a different room for now while you contemplate how best to handle the foyer situation.
Decide to work on the library instead, since you have determined its location. Examine screen shots from End of Nights. Curse the storyboarder, the director, the editor, and the visual effects supervisor who all managed to forget the actual location of the library in the second scene. Carry on with studying screen caps.
Start to build your library. Remember that the library played a big role in season three with the map to Hollow Earth. Study screen caps from Vigilante. Realize that the library in Vigilante negates the library in End of Nights.
Send your friend a scathing essay on how the room in which Helen and Nikola unlock the map to Hollow Earth can’t actually physically exist.
Oh, it happened
Curse everyone involved with Sanctuary’s sets and visual effects (not Amanda. Never Amanda). Consider starting a petition, demanding that television shows develop and stick to strict floor plans for their locations.
Realize this is crazy; you’re getting too worked up about a room.
Settle with creating the Sanctuary as it was in End of Nights.
You need something easy, something to take your mind off of how stressful this is becoming. At this point, work on Ashley’s room. You have two options when it comes to this room. You can use her layout from the series, or her room from the web series. I prefer the regular series, because the webisodes were just crey-crey, but do whatever feels right to you.
I just really wanted an excuse to include Ashley’s flowered gun closet
The Sims 4 has lots of great exercise equipment. And the punching bag is a wonderful addition since it’s featured heavily in Ashley’s room. Throw as much equipment in there as you want, Ashley will use it all.
Feel pretty confident about how easy Ashley’s room was.
Consider where you should put the foyer. Decide that the only logical place for it is at the other entrance near the cathedral ruins.
Decide that the foyer isn’t a total loss. It’s not perfect, but having the foyer at the wrong entrance is still manageable. Feel a new sense of confidence. Perhaps this Sanctuary will still turn out ok. Even if you can’t put stairs on a diagonal, and the visual artists don’t know where the library is, and everyone has to enter the building from the wrong entrance, it’s still the Sanctuary.
Consider doing Helen’s office next.
Hold off. You’re on such a roll now, consider doing the basement or sub-basement.
Start with the SHU.
Ignore the doctor’s office in the corner for now. It’s there just for reference materials.
On a roll now, go ahead and create Helen’s lab, her infirmary and her operating room. If you’re feeling really productive, create a wine cellar or Biggie’s secret hang out.
Riding high on your success with the basement, decide it’s time to conquer Helen’s office! You know that her office is in tower, thanks to a fabulous pan out at the end of Revelations Part II.
Revelations Part II shows us that Helen’s office is in the South tower on the back end of the Sanctuary
But wait. Doesn’t Helen’s office have two huge, long hallways off of it? Yes, it does. She walks through one of those hallways in EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE.
Double check the Revelations shot. Nope, they definitely pan out from the back tower.
Realize that Helen’s office cannot possibly exist in this space. It defies the laws of physics.
Unless the Sanctuary is the blasted TARDIS there is ZERO chance that it can exist where they are telling you that it exists!
Question your entire existence – everything that you know.
Become visibly upset whenever someone brings up anything even closely related to Helen’s office: antiques, hallways, lamps, people named Will, etc.
Curse everyone involved with the production again (still not you Amanda). Swear to write a paper calling out the inconsistency. Threaten to have it published so that the entire world can read of the failure on the part of the special effects company. Realize only two people would read that paper.
Rage quit the Sanctuary plan. Uninstall Sims 4. Swear that you’ll never try to build another replica of anything. Swear to stop watching sci-fi, with their unrealistic expectations and refusal to abide by the laws of physics.
Wait six months.
Decide you want to build a screen accurate version of the Sanctuary.