Since most of City Plan design is done in-game by placing objects and interacting with plots, it becomes more important I describe how certain things work under the hood than actually give you specific steps.
In this guide, we're going to cover several topics that will allow you to take your City Plans up a notch.
With Sim Settlements 2, City Plans can actually change plots during upgrades! Your plan can upgrade a plot, change the building plan, apply a skin, or even change to a completely different plot type!
This is hugely advantageous given the new Advanced/Hi-Tech building classes, as these can give you another path to upgrading plots beyond just the default 3 levels.
You could also use this aspect to change the focus of a settlement over time, perhaps starting as a quaint farm town and evolving into a Commercial empire, or maybe they hunker down as isolationists behind loads of defense and eventually emerge as a technologically advance, industrial powerhouse.
Sim Settlements 1 City Plan Designers: Designer's Choice is now enabled by default! We learned from SS1, that the majority of players who use City Plans are looking for an automated experience. They are here for your beautiful creations, so we've tried to give you the tools and power you need to provide players an awesome experience!
If the City Plan online tool detects two plots occupying the exact same coordinates and rotation, it assumes they are the same plot and so any changes to the plot that exists at that location will be repeated during the upgrade.
For example, let's say you have a 2x2 Agricultural plot at level 1 with the Corn Mud Farm building plan in your Level 0 save. Now in your Level 1 save, you decide to change to the Razorgrain Mud Farm building plan and switch it to level 2. So long as you didn't move that plot between levels, the player will experience this exact same change and their 2x2 Agicultural Plot will switch to the Razorgrain Mudfarm plan and go to level 2 when the City upgrades!
Then let's say in your Level 2 save, you use the Change Plot Type option from the Customize Plot section on the ASAM Sensor menu to switch it to a Commercial Plot, choose a new building plan/skin combination and set it's level and the player will see this exact change.
All of these things work based on location/rotation data. So just be certain not to move or rotate plots if you want them to be treated as the same plot.
There is an exception in this system if the player starts tinkering with the plot and changes the building plan or type on their own, in this case your future level changes are ignored. Ultimately we want the player to have control.
Not to worry about the integrity of your design though, as most players who use City Plans have no interest in micro-managing!
Sim Settlements 2 runs a pseudo-scrap phase between each upgrade. To explain this better, let's first go over how the initial scrapping works.
When the player uses a City Plan and agrees to the "Yes, Tear It All Down" prompt, Sim Settlements 2 destroys anything the player built themselves and anything placed by other automated systems such as previous City Plans, Workshop Framework Layouts, Transfer Settlements Blueprints, etc. Then it will scrap anything you had scrapped in your level 0 settlement save. It also restores any vanilla objects your level 0 settlement save had left behind that the player may have scrapped.
When an upgrade occurs, all of that can happen again, with the exception of scrapping player-placed items and external system placed items. The goal of this is to faithfully recreate each of your saves, but still allow the player to add their own touches to the design - generally they'll be doing so to help with settlement needs, or to build items from other mods, and we want them to be able to do that - so those items are left alone.
This means you can continue to scrap vanilla items or your own previously built items in each of your level saves, and Sim Settlements 2 will replicate those changes during the upgrade process.
You don't have to do anything special for this functionality! By using Workshop Framework to export, all necessary data to handle this is collected for you.
If you are using a special scrap mod, such as Scrap Everything, or are creating a City Plan for any mod-added, Creation Club, or other non-standard settlement, you'll need to do a few extra steps to allow a City Plan to fully work with them.
The "Standard" settlements that do NOT need these extra steps are the 29 vanilla game settlements and the 7 DLC added settlements. All of the data required for these is already stored on our servers.
The exception is if you are using a scrap mod, in which case you will also need to follow these steps.
In order for the web tool to understand how to repeat the scrapping steps you made in your saves, you need to provide it with some extra data we call Scrap Profiles. These are simply Workshop Framework exports under specific conditions.
These two files will be used to teach the web tool which items are safe to scrap by taking the Untouched Settlement and subtracting the missing items. Everything that was not missing from the Fully Scrapped Settlement export will be treated as sacred items. This way things like the workbench itself, and invisible marker objects won't be marked for scrap by your City Plan.
When generating your City Plan in the webtool, you can find the Scrap Profile fields by clicking the Configure Scrap Profiles link, which will expose two fields to upload the above described export files.
If you're looking to do some really cool stuff with your City Plans, you might want to load them into the Creation Kit after generating them in the web tool. We've got a bunch of extra fields you can set up to add extra control to how your City Plan works.
You can even arrange to lock your City Plan or its upgrades behind quest requirements!
Once you've loaded your City Plan plugin into the Creation Kit, you'll want to find it's records, which can be found under Items > MiscItem. If you didn't explicitly set up a prefix for your forms in the web tool (the steps to do so are described in the next guide!), then your items will be prefixed with my_.
If you've never used the Creation Kit, check out my Creation Kit guide series which can help get you started!
Once you search up these records, the ones you'll be interested are those with CityPlan and CPLayout in the name. Below I'll describe the extra fields you can tinker with on each!
Each City Plan has a central record that ties together each of your levels (which are the CPLayout objects). Below are some of the special properties you can set to modify the behavior of your City Plan.
Any fields you see in the script properties window of the Creation Kit that aren't documented here either aren't in use yet, or are used by the web tool and you should NOT fill them out manually.
Each level will have one or more CPLayout records, these define the actual item position data, but can also have extra configuration done to give you more control.
To speed up the processing of items that only exist temporarily, each level will generally have multiple layouts associated with it. For example, if you have items that you placed in your level 1 save, and then scrapped them in your level 2 save - there's no reason the level 0 or level 3 layouts ever need to know about those items, and so they are kept separate.
Below are some of the special properties you can set to modify the behavior of your City Plan.
Presumably, you wouldn't actually set these properties on the automatically generated layouts from your leveled City Plan, and instead would be using them for special layouts described in the Unlimited Layouts section below. I'm documenting them here to keep all of the City Plan related script properties together, but you might want to skip ahead and come back to this section later if you decide to pursue what's described in the next section.
Any fields you see in the Script Properties screen of the Creation Kit that aren't documented here are either not meant for you to touch, or are far too advanced for these tutorials (such as the CallbackID fields which only knowledgeable programmers would ever have need of).
This section is extremely niche, so even though it's part of the guided series, it's probably more than most people will want to get involved with. If you read through this next section and get excited, read on, otherwise, don't feel bad about skipping the rest of this document!
You are NOT limited to one layout per level, in fact, it's rare you'll even have just one per level with a basic City Plan. The Web Tool will generate these for you, but if you want to create special layouts that act as additional layers to your settlement that react to other events in the game, you can absolutely do so!
Sim Settlements 1 Veterans - if you ever wanted to create something like the responsive Museum, which places exhibits as the player completes Far Harbor quests, that we created in the Rise of the Commonwealth Longfellow's Cabin build - this section is for you!
In order to do this, you'll generally need to plan ahead and have your extra layouts set up as Workshop Framework exports. To help create these, smaller sublayouts, check out my video on converting a settlement into smaller "Zones", by taking advantage of some special web tools created for manipulating Workshop Framework exports. (You can skip the stuff at the end of the video about generating a plugin for release - for this section we're interested in creating smaller export records with just specific items)
This next tutorial section is assuming the following:
Note down which order you added these, as once you create these, the form editor IDs will be named very plainly. For example, my_merge_CPLayout_1_AbernathyFarm, and so you'll likely want to know which is which. If you note the order, you can always change the Editor IDs of the layout objects later to something you can more easily understand after you start tinkering with the plugin file you're going to generate.
If you City Plan plugin does not appear here, it means you need to exit FO4Edit and change your load order so that the City Plan plugin is ABOVE your extra layouts plugin. If you don't know how to change your load order, head to the in-game Mods screen, then press the Load Order button, and you'll be able to highlight and reposition plugins.
After reordering, return to step 8.
TIP: If you find a property you are NOT supposed to remove, you can click the minus symbol next to the word Property to collapse and hide that so you can more easily scroll down to the next property to check it.
Now that you've merged in your layouts, and added them to your City Plan, if you were to run this in-game, all of your extra layouts would be immediately created along with your level 0 content!
If you want to condition the extra layouts, for example, to make them react to in-game events, you'll want to read more about the Usage Requirements system, in particular focusing on the QuestRequirements section to make them especially reactive!
In addition, you may want to tinker further with the script properties as described in the previous section under CPLayout Records.