The Sims 4 Tips
Gameplay Help for The Sims 4
The NanoTouch Trash Can will give you $10 per household member when used, but is only profitable for larger households as it takes 100 plates of food to break even.
Submit a Tip to Carl
You can submit tips to carl at carlsguides.com. Please include the name you'd like to be credited with - either your real name or an internet handle. I will add it at the end of the tip.
I compiled a huge list of tips in this video, from from little things you can do to make your gameplay better or great boosts you may be missing out on. I have plans to update this page with info from the video as it's much more comprehensive, and will do so when I feel up to doing so. The video has about 5x as many tips as the page does at the moment.
Claim Your Reward Lamps
A reader reminded me that one of the best things I can do for players who owned The Sims 3 and Expansions is to remind them to claim their Reward Lamps from EA before they stop being available at the end of 2015. These lamps give off Emotional Auras that can be very helpful in your gameplay. Follow the simple process and they'll be installed in your game automatically. The lamps you get depend up on the Expansion Packs you own.
Use Whims! - Don't ignore Whims. The first of the three Whims is tied to your Sim's emotional state and ever-changing. There are often quick little things you can do to get some Satisfaction. The other two Whims are based on what your Sim has been doing the past 24-48h. If you play a lot of Piano, you'll get Piano Whims. If you've been Dating, you'll get Whims to hug your lover and things like that.
You can Zoom out with the Mouse Wheel or your keyboard's 'X' key. This will let you see more of the area, and sometimes spot collectibles.
Sims 3 Camera Controls
Switch back to the old Sims 3 style camera with Control + Shift + Tab or by going to the Game Options > Controls & Camera tab. You can learn all the Sims 4 Keyboard Shortcuts here.
Earn Money Recycling Trash
Buy the NanoTouch Touchless Trash Can for $1200, and each time your Sim discards something, they'll get $10 per household member. This mainly applies to plates, which you can drag to the can yourself. It can actually make cooking profitable if you have multiple household members and are cooking low-value meals.
Refill Needs: The Book of Life
Completing the Bestselling Author Aspiration gives the Poetic Reward Trait, which allows Sims to write the Book of Life then bind it to a Sim. When bound to a Sim, reading it fully restores their needs. A Sim can't bind it to themselves, so you must have someone else in the household complete the Aspiration. You can give the book to the target Sim after bound, and it will fill their needs when they themselves read it. The other purpose of this book is to turn a Sim who has become a ghost back to life. Thanks to Pikeman101 for reminding me that this belongs on the tips page, so all are aware of how powerful this can be to Sims 4 gameplay.
Change them! - You don't have to stick to one aspiration. You can change them at will. This means if you're stuck on a stage and it'll be a while before you can finish that part, you could switch to something else for a while until you can finish up that Aspiration. If your Sim is doing socializing, go with one of those. If you are using a particular skill, try the associated aspiration. You can gain a lot of Satisfaction this way.
The Bathroom - The main useful emotions can be inspired in your Sim's bathroom. Don't take a regular shower unless you want to be just 'Happy' - take a thoughtful shower to get Inspired, or steamy to get Flirty. A brisk shower will make your Sim Energized, and a bubble bath makes Sims Playful. They take the same amount of time. Brushing your Sim's teeth at the sink can make them Confident. Sims may also Psych Self Up to get Confident using a mirror, or freshen up and try on outfits to feel Flirty. If they're already Playful from a Bubble Bath, you can possibly make them Very Playful by making silly faces in the mirror. This is also where they can calm down if they get too Playful (Hysterical)!
Laser Light Show & Listening to Radios
The Laser Light Show object can let Sims get a +1 Happy Moodlet, so long as they can see it. You can move this around as needed. (Thanks DethDukk) Listening to a Radio is something you can queue ahead of other interactions, like writing books or running on a treadmill, and the Sim will gain another bit of Happiness from it. Using these, along with decorations in the room to give a strong +happy (5 or more with enough decor) in that room will make it much easier to reach Very Focused, Inspired, Energized, or whatever Emotion your Sim needs.
Be on the lookout for Interactions that unlock via Emotions. If an interaction has a color code, it's either made available by that mood or boosted by it. Sometimes, simply getting the emotion started can let you do other things to encourage that emotion to get to 'Very' Confident, Playful, etc. For example, with Playful, you can cook gummy bear pancakes with a few levels of Cooking, but only while you're already Playful. The same is true for heart cookies while Flirty.
Career & Skill Ideal Moods
Careers and Skills have Ideal Moods. This means that if your Sim is in that mood while using them or attending work, they will perform better - either by skilling/getting promoted faster or producing higher quality work as in the case of Cooking/Painting.
Paintings and Emotional Auras
Paintings can give off Emotional Auras. With the painting Skill, an Emotion like Flirty, Confident, Focused, Sad, and Angry can all be turned into Paintings with an Easel. You can then hang them on the wall and click to enable their Emotional Auras. This will make Sims within 10 tiles and in the same room feel that Emotion. Many collectibles have associated Emotional Auras, as do Career Rewards.
Auto-Fix Needs - Clicking on a Need (the round icon, not the bar) will make your Sim do whatever is available to raise that need. They don't always choose the smartest things, but doing this can make managing a large household much easier, should you need to get someone ready for work or school. If they're tired, they may sleep on a park bench.. it's just simpler to click rather than queue up all those specific interactions when dealing with multiple Sims. When you have just a couple, you should manage these things on your own. You'll always make better decisions than the game.
Sims can eat while watching TV, which fills both fun and hunger. Using Multitasking effectively can be an efficient way to get ready for work and prepare to be in the Ideal Mood. Other things they can do simultaneously: have a drink while taking a bath - coffee, tea, or a mixology concoction. Sims may talk while doing a number of things, from eating to reading books and using the computer. With talking, however, some things will take longer as progress stops when they converse. Sometimes you just need quiet and focus, as with Children doing homework. With some interactions, like reading a book on the toilet or talking on the phone, the order of interactions matter. If something can be carried, like a book or drink, you do that first. They can't get their tablet while on the toilet unless they brought it with them! Listen to music then do practically anything - it's one of the best things to use for multitasking and doesn't slow down your Sim.
Bathroom Breaks - as in reality, Sims can take bathroom breaks at work. This means you shouldn't bother with that need right before you head out the door. Do something that puts your Sim in the ideal mood, instead.
Friendship Requirements - Some Careers require your Sim to have Friends. Making friends is much easier with Charisma, and you can level this at home with a mirror to get a steady stream of XP. Just a few levels makes a big difference. Once you've made a friend, maintain that relationship by socializing with that Sim once in a while. Read our guide to Relationships & making Friends to learn more.
Use Work Hard - Click on your Sim's portrait at the bottom while at work. You can change how they approach work - from slacking off, sucking up to the boss, to socializing with co-workers. The same is true for Children in School. Some will even let you gain skill while at work. It's smart to do if your performance is capped or you have not yet met the promotion requirements. When you want a promotion fast, use Work Hard - that will boost how fast the promotion meter rises, at the risk of your Sim getting stressed. Do something fun when they get home and you can take care of that minor problem.
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