Rotational Play in The Sims 4
Managing the Game with Multiple Households
by Marian Taylor
What is Rotational Play?
Rotational Play is the term often applied to playing more than one household in the same "save" file. Sometimes people find themselves doing this accidentally when they move in a new sim to a game they'd already begun playing. More often, it's a conscious decision. A legacy player will decide that the "spare" should be allowed to marry and have children, too. A storyteller will want to control several households for the sake of the story - perhaps a Goths vs. Landgraabs feud. Or someone just wants to control every sim living in Willow Creek or Oasis Springs or both.
One benefit of rotational play: having all the children at the playground be from "your" families.
Although it's called "rotational," it's not necessary to play every household for the same amount of time and the same number of times. You can play one household through 10 generations and another only once if you like. But for now, we'll assume that you're going to take an even-handed approach to your sims. Some people like to play each household one sim week at a time; some like to play through life stages, i.e., follow a married couple through the birth of a child and that child's infancy before moving on to the next family. I would recommend at least 3 days with each household to give time for work, skilling, fun, taking care of needs, and socialization.
To switch households in your game, click on the Options button (... in the upper right corner). Choose Manage Households. You'll be asked if you want to Save and go to Manage Households, or just go to Manage Households. I always choose to save, but your progress will be saved as long as you save before exiting. You'll go to the Map Screen, where you can click on the next household of Sims you want to play.
Try not to switch to a new household during working hours for that sim. With the active careers from Get to Work Expansion Pack, you'll risk lowering job performance for your Doctor, Scientist, and Detective. Your Sims in other careers may suffer from being late to work, too.
I would recommend against doing a "Save As" for each household as that will bloat your overall game unnecessarily. Saving before you exit will keep the progress in all the households that you played during that session.
If you have several Sims in the Gallery that you want to play, it's easy to get them into your game. Click on an empty house in your neighborhood or go to the Map Screen and click on an empty house. You'll get the option to move in a household from the Gallery. You can either play these households or not.
If you want to play a pre-made household and you don't want any extraneous sims in the game, once you've started, click on the Options button (... in the upper right corner), and choose Manage Households. You can evict the sim that you just moved in and then choose the household you want.
But let's suppose you want to play a family from a previous game. I've chosen my family from the Baby Boomer challenge, where I saved the household as it was at the end. I placed them at an empty lot in Willow Creek, and now I want to move out my 3 Young Adults.
The directions for moving out a single sim can be found here. Each of your single sims will have $20,000 to spend. If you move out more than one sim, you'll get an additional $2000 with each. It's a good idea to keep an empty lot or a very cheap house in your game as a starter place for new households.
You can move a sim to an existing house as with Hecate.
You can place an affordable house from the Gallery as with Fred. (Thanks to Shewolf13 for Artist Hallow.)
But Ivan wants something more expensive. Use Manage Household to go to the Map Screen. There, do a CTRL-Shift-c and type "freerealestate on" in the white box. Now, when you move Ivan out, you can choose any empty house on the map.
If you don't want to use a cheat, and Ivan's parents have a lot of money, you can buy several of the more expensive violins and put them in Ivan's personal inventory. Move him to an empty lot, sell the violins, and then move him to the mansion of his choice.
In Gameplay options, it's a good idea to uncheck the box to fill empty houses, although you can always evict a family that's living in a house you want. You can also move a sim in with a family, and then go to Manage Households to move everyone else out.
Aging in Multiple Households
TS4 gives you several ways to handle Aging. If you want a normal life span for your households (13 days for children and teens, 20 days for young adults and adults), you have to choose something other than aging on for everybody.
You can choose aging off and manually age up your sims. If you want to stick to a normal life span, though, you'll have to keep track of how many days you've played each Sim.
Theoretically, if you choose "Aging on for Active Household Only" and check the box to automatically age unplayed households and then choose a Normal Life Span, then you can achieve that. But if you're afraid that some of your households might be aged when you're not playing them, then uncheck that box and arrange to manually age up your unplayed households.
Aging up your unplayed sims can be done with the CAS.fulleditmode cheat in Household Management. At the Map Screen, the Household Management button is in the upper right corner, next to the button for the Gallery. Click on Unplayed Households to bring up all the sims you're not playing. The CAS.fulleditmode cheat gives you access to the Personality section. To age up a household, take each member and click on the next age over. If the household contains an elder, then you can remove the elder by clicking on the x that appears when you mouse over the portrait in the lower lefthand corner.
When You're Not Playing a Household
Your sims will make friends (and enemies) when you're not playing them. They may even develop romantic relationships, but usually at a low level. I''ve not had any new romantic relationships start for married couples, not even ones with the romantic trait or the Serial Romance aspiration, but some people have had a problem with that.
Your sims will usually not make progress in their jobs or at school. They might make progress in Skills, especially in ones where skilling equipment is available on a public lot (the monkey bars for children, for example). Because of a recent patch, however, they might have a job if they were previously unemployed. If you don't want your sim to have that job, you can have him quit. So far, the only sim I've had lose a job while I wasn't playing him was a teen with the insane and lazy traits. It's a good idea to click on the employment button when you come back to a sim that you haven't played in a while.
Stuff in your sim's personal inventory will move with her when you move her out. Furniture from the family inventory won't. If your sim unlocked a career object, you'll be able to buy that again, but your sim won't be able to keep the free version.
Bills won't accumulate while you're playing other sims, but neither will royalties. Your sims will get income from retail stores if one sim that you're playing shops at a store owned by another. If one of your sims buys something from a store where you're playing the owner, that object won't appear in your inventory, but you won't be charged for it. The exception is with clothing. An outfit that your sim buys when not under your control will still appear in the sim's wardrobe.
Infants that are born to a household you're not playing will be given names. There's a high probability that a pregnant sim you're not currently playing will produce twins. You can age up infants manually or send a sim you're playing to the infant's home. In that case, the child will be given a random trait and aspiration.
Changing Your Town - Households
At the Map Screen, you can click on the Household Management button in the upper right hand corner and pull up both your played and unplayed households. Unplayed households consist of the in-town pre-mades as well as homeless townies who show up in community lots. If you have Get to Work, your sims' co-workers in active careers and customers will also show up here.
When you click on an unplayed household, there will be four buttons at the bottom right: Edit, Move to a Lot, Transfer Households, and Delete.
The Edit button takes you to CAS where you can do quite a bit. Besides changing the clothing for the sim, you can add a spouse (even an alien spouse if you have GTW), and use the genetics button to produce children and/or teens. The cheat CAS.fulleditmode enables you to change the ages of the sims as well as their traits and appearance.
The Delete button is also helpful. You have a limit of approximately 180 sims. As time goes on, the number of unplayed households increases. If you don't cull sims from your unplayed households, the game will start doing that for you - and it might remove the sim that you intended to use as a spouse for a sim you play. Worse, it might take away a household you play, although sims in houses are supposed to be safe from culling.
Changing Your Town - Lots and Buildings
If you have many households in a game, you'll probably want to start changing lots and perhaps using some of the buildings from the Gallery.
With regard to changing lots, the place to start is in Build Mode on the lot you want to change. In the upper bar, click on "i". This brings up everything you'll need.
Click on the Bulldozer at the far right to clear the lot.
At the left, you'll see the type of lot. At the moment you can have Residential, Retail, and a variety of Community lots. Residential lots don't have any requirements. For Retail and Community lots, there are a few requirements, which can be found if you mouse over the space.
In the middle is the name, which can be changed if you like.
At this point, there are probably thousands of buildings on the Gallery. How do you find what's right for you?
When you open the Gallery, go to Community. At the left, you can choose from All, Households, Lots, and Room. For buildings, you want to click Lots.
You can narrow down your choices to buildings made by members of this Forum by going to the upper right corner. Mouse over the shaded space and pick #Hashtag. If you type #Carlsguide, you'll see some very nice buildings made by people on the Forum. And you can use the Hashtag and OriginID options to find good houses done by others as well.
Back to the lefthand column. In the middle is Advanced Options. If you click on that, you can narrow your selection by price, lot size, and/or by building type. For a starter home, you'll want the $10,000 - $20,000 range. At the bottom of the column, you can choose whether to include unowned content and custom content.
You can expand your options by choosing All Downloads rather than the default, which is Most Recent.
You can also choose Rooms instead of Lots. Again, the Advanced Options can narrow things by size, type of room, and cost.
Once you've found it, click on the house. You'll be given a choice between furnished and unfurnished. Click on the arrow in the bottom right corner to place it on your lot. Once you've placed it, you can click on the + in the top bar to move either the house or the lot. If you use someone else's house or building in a story, it's nice to give the person credit.
Moving to a New Save File
Surprisingly, a Save file for a Rotational game is not that much larger than one for a Single Household game. My current 8-sim, 200-day save file is at 177 mb, which is smaller than my save file was for the 1-sim, 42-day save file for the current Skill challenge. It might be possible to play 10 or more generations without having to move your game to a new save file, but if that's necessary, here's how.
Note: Before taking this rather drastic step, try doing a Repair game in Origin. Open Origin, go to My Games, and right click on the box image for The Sims 4. Click on Repair game. This will take 5-10 minutes, depending on how many EPs and Gps you have. I do a Repair game every time I change families and also whenever I start getting glitches like the refrigerator one.
- 1. Go to "Manage World"
- 2. For each household that you intend to move, choose "Edit household."
- 3. Once in Edit household, choose "Save to My Library."
- 4. When you have saved all your households, go to the houses that you have built or significantly altered. Click on the "build mode" symbol and choose "Save to my Library."
- 5. Save and exit to menu.
- 6. Choose new game.
- 7. You'll start in CAS, so go to the gallery, go to your library, and pick one of your households to replace the sim in CAS. Move this family to an empty lot.
- 8. Go to Manage World and click on Edit household for each of the filled houses. Once in Edit household, choose Delete. If you just evict the family, you'll have a second version running around town in addition to your version.
- 9. Bulldoze the houses that you have altered and replace them with the ones from your Library.
- 10. At the Map Screen, do a CTRL-Shift-c and type in "freerealestate on".
- 11. Click on the "Move out" option for your family, and move them back into their house.
- 12. Click on the empty lot, and choose "Move in." When you're in CAS, pick go to Gallery. Go to your library and pick another family to replace the sim in CAS. Then click on the check mark at the bottom.
- 13. Keep doing steps 11 and 12 until you've resettled everyone.
- 14. Once you've finished moving in all your families, go into Manage Worlds, then Household Management (upper righthand corner). Check your "played households" and make sure everyone is there. Then go into "unplayed households." If you have extra copies of a family, delete them.
Moving families into a new save file causes you to lose several things. Inventories don't carry over, and neither do items in the refrigerators. Your sims will lose their relationships, and family trees won't be right any more. Also, any sims that picked up traits by completing childhood aspirations will lose those traits. Other aspirational and reward traits remain, however.
Marian posts updates to the thread on rotational play here. Check there for more tips on playing multiple households or to thank her for the info!
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