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As a project for my hobby website, I've been taking floor plans provided by others, and converting them into rendered views of the space depicted in the plans. For the two completed "visualizations", I used The Sims 2. However, the computer on which I had done those decided to render itself useless, and its replacement doesn't support installing TS2. I'm therefore looking for alternatives to continue the project with. I have The Sims 3, but I'm finding it far more difficult to build with than The Sims 2 was. What other software is there that I can use for this? It doesn't need to be a "game" or "simulation"; actual space-planning software would also be acceptable - but I don't want the learning curve to be too high, and the more customizable things like "paint", "wallpaper", "fabric", "carpeting/rugs", etc. are, the happier I will be.

Free, obviously, is preferred, but I'm not averse to spending to spending a moderate amount (say, up to US$100 or so) on the software.

I will be running this on Windows 10 on a Surface Pro 3.

(I can't create the tag ; not enough rep).

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I used the terms "free architecture program windows 10" in Google to return a number of results, most of which are not free, but are free trials. There are a few paid programs that come in around your budget figure, although one cannot expect stellar results with the lower priced packages.

A similar search on the YouTube provided a few introductory videos which you may find useful.

These programs are designed to be used by almost anyone who can move a mouse. Drag lines to make walls, pick a window or door icon and click, there's a door. Rapid, easy sizing of features, customized surfaces for wall paper, carpets, furniture, all of this can be found in most of the architectural programs.

Home design is another set of terms to consider, as it may return the lower priced packages, also engineered to be easy to learn.

For more difficulty, but greater and more granular control, you could learn SketchUp. It is not particularly difficult but not a drag and drop type as are the previously referenced packages. SketchUp also has a large architectural following, allowing for plug-ins and library modules containing the aforementioned furniture, carpets, windows, etc.

I found a free open-source home design package called Sweet Home 3D which appears to be based heavily toward interior design, but the gallery also shows exterior views.

aerial view

To its credit, there is also a forum for this program, always a plus when it comes to learning new software.

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  • Upvote, but not an accept (yet), because I didn't think of using 'architecture' in any of my googling; I wasn't sure that home design software was necessarily appropriate, as some of the plans are definitely not homes or home substitutes (e.g., Big Al's that I've already done on the site). – Jeff Zeitlin Mar 7 '18 at 17:50
  • Accepted now, as I've decided that this, and a couple of others from the recommended bingleduck searches, are suitable for my needs - as is, surprisingly, The Sims 3, now that I have a bit more experience. – Jeff Zeitlin Jul 27 '18 at 19:20

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