PC gamers have been enjoying The Sims titles from Maxis for almost 18 years, while console owners have only had sporadic iterations and dumbed down ports to get stuck into.
The release of The Sims 4 on Xbox One and PS4 will likely mark the first time some of you have had the chance to enter this colourful, charming, often unintentionally hilarious and unexpectedly tragic world. Be prepared for anything (well, almost anything) with our beginner’s guide.
Watch your budget
Entering the world for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of purchasable items. Even without the additional content packs already available (it is EA, after all), there are hundreds of options to build, decorate and furnish your home. But you only start with 20,000 Simoleans (dollars), and that doesn’t go far if you start whacking on conservatories or springing for wall-mounted flatscreens. Start humbly and progress steadily, or you’ll be living on cold peas before you know it.
Traits are important
When designing your Sims, you may be tempted to focus entirely on the physical side of creation. Indeed, there are so many options before you even set foot in the world that you can spend hours crafting just one family or character – and it’s easy to rush the most crucial element: personality. A Sim’s id is comprised of one primary trait and three secondary, which include a massive variety of quirks and throw idiosyncrasies. While it might be fun to create an evil loner who only cares about money and throw them into the world to see what hijinx they cause, you’ll be best served making your main household helpful and active.
Certain traits complement each other (such as Active and Genius), while traits like Neat, Good, Self-assured and Ambitious benefit other Sims, too. In order to do well, you’ll need to improve skills related to these traits, and some, like Introvert and Bookworm are dead easy to level up – you just chat, and read, respectively. Experiment with the traits, but keep in mind that negative quirks can make the game tough.
Get a computer
As soon as you can afford it, buy your Sim a PC. They have multiple benefits including gaming to reduce stress, research to improve intelligence, but you can also use them to order food, find a job, learn programming, surf the net, or write a bestseller. Just as in modern life, a computer of some kind is an essential tool for your Sims.
Get a job!
This ties directly into the first tip, but without using money cheats, this is the only way to keep your Sims solvent. Everything costs money, and without a regular income you won’t make it.
Pick a career that suits your Sim’s personality and interests, which will make it easier to improve associated skills and get promoted. You’ll earn next to nothing initially, but give it a bit of elbow grease and focus on self-improvement and you’ll see the rewards.
Watch your Sims’ needs
Life is hard for a Sim. Work tires them out and makes them hungry, long days make them dirty, poor performance at work or lack of sleep lead to tension and discomfort. They need to pee, take hot baths, socialise – sometimes they just need to kick back with a comedy show or jam on their guitar.
Creating these little people is one thing; keeping them happy is another. Watch their needs (the little icon furthest right at the bottom of the screen), and monitor their moods (highlighted below their portrait). Stay on top of what they want, and you’ll be fine.
Cook your food
It’s tempting to order in or let someone else cook, plus there’s always the danger of an unexpected blaze that can cost you a fortune or, in extreme conditions, have tragic consequences. But cooking is an essential life skill, and you can only improve it by doing it.
Having one Sim per household with a high cooking skill will result in fewer accidents, and better food with much healthier benefits. Just don’t serve a vegetarian a burger, or you’ll be
mending fences for days.
You can get carried away pretty easily while designing your dream house, but keep a few things in mind. One, Sims won’t share a bed until they’re in love, they can only use the loo one at a time and some won’t pee while another is having a long hot bath.
They can get stuck in doorways and if you don’t leave them space to use things they’ll just get frustrated with you. Don’t forget essentials like rubbish bins, a cooker and a coffee machine. Also, remember windows and lights – both are huge benefits to your Sims’ mood.
Keep in mind that the more you have, the more you stand to lose. It’s all very well buying a huge TV, expensive kitchen decor and rare art, but a fire can be costly and horribly stressful for your Sims. Alarms are not just cosmetic items – they’re essential for alerting you to a fire so you can put it out before it destroys your house. There are no firefighters in The Sims 4, so it’s all in your hands.
Focus on one Sim at a time
Making a family in The Sims 4 is loads of fun. You can create an entire lineage from grandparents down to toddlers and throw them all in together, but more Sims per household means more to juggle, more needs to fulfil that may well conflict, more people to fight over the loo, more people to dirty dishes and burn down the house.
Particularly for beginners, starting humbly is the way forward. Create a single Sim household to focus on and let the others fend for themselves. A household will only actually progress when you’re in direct control of it, otherwise the Sims in it will just wander around like characters in your own little soap opera. Create love interests and rivals, friends or enemies, but prioritise one household, or even just one Sim, at a time.
Kids are a rewarding hindrance
Similarly, be aware of what kind of fresh hell a child is in the Sims 4. Kids are great, being pregnant boosts your Sims’ relationships, and certain activities with infants and children have powerful positive benefits for adults, but they’re hard work.
Sleepless nights and mess negatively affect an entire household and make it hard to impress at work. Child Sims are also demanding of your time and attention, throw tantrums, and like to butt into flirtatious encounters with hot neighbours. Having children and watching them improve and grow is cool, but it’s also costly and time-consuming. Plan accordingly.
Don’t flirt too soon
Even if your Sim isn’t overly romantic, they’ll often crave social interaction. Sexual orientation is no factor in Maxis’ world, but regardless of who you choose to pursue, tread softly.
Even outgoing romantic Sims can be put off by clumsy advances and premature flirtation. If you want to land a partner, settle down and build a family, start with getting to know a Sim. The conversation wheels are hugely varied, and you’ll always find something to talk about – unless the other Sim just doesn’t like you. If that happens, move on; there are plenty more Sims in the city.
Cheat if you must
If you can’t be arsed with the rat race, you can always cheat. This disables trophies and achievements, but also removes the need for pesky distractions like working for a living.
Just get into the game and hold down all four triggers to bring up a text box, and thenthtype type “testingcheats on”. Now enter the following to reap the rewards:
kaching: Gives you 1,000 Simoleans
motherlode: Gives you 50,000 Simoleans
Alternatively, typing “Money X” (where X is a numerical value) will award you as much mulah as you could ever need.