The Sims 4: Sims for New Players
Lifespan Settings, Needs, Whims, and How to Care for Sims
A Well-Cared for Sim is a Happy Sim!
While how many friends Sims will have, what they do for a living, and whether they pursue a romantic relationship to build a family are up to the player, some elements of gameplay and caring for Sims are common to anyone playing The Sims 4. This Guide will focus on caring for Sims by filling their needs, Whims, the process of aging, and an introduction to Emotions and how those work. We'll also touch on making money by joining a Career or adopting a Skill, although that will have its own Guide in due time so that we can gradually create a list of all the possible viable ways to earn Simoleons in the game. Naturally, more will be added as it evolves through Expansions and Game Packs.
Making a Sim: Traits, Aspirations, and Age
While creating your Sim, the look of their outfits for various occasions and walk style are entirely up to you and do not affect gameplay. There are, however, some gameplay concepts that come up at Sim creation:
Aspirations are Life Goals for Sims that Reward them with extra Traits
An Aspiration is like a Lifetime Wish. The Sim wants to achieve this, and will receive a Reward Trait upon completion of that Aspiration. When you select an Aspiration at Sim creation, it comes with a Bonus Trait. These cannot be changed, although Aspirations may be changed at any time. You may switch Aspirations and view goals at any time by pressing 'G' and selecting the Star icon. Each Aspiration has milestones to complete, at which point you will get another set of goals. During that process, they will gain Satisfaction to spend at the Rewards Store. When an Aspiration is done, you should switch to another to chase another Reward Trait and the gobs of Satisfaction that come from completing the goals of later milestones.
Selecting good Traits may help your Sim succeed in life
Sims may have up to 3 Traits upon creation or aging up, along with the extra Bonus Trait from Aspiration. Traits determine Sim behavior, animations, and give gameplay bonuses and/or penalties. Reward Traits come in two forms: the Rewards you receive for completing Aspirations, and those purchased from the Rewards Store. The Rewards Store is found by pressing 'G' and going to the little Gift box there. These cost Satisfaction, gained from Aspiration goals and Whims. There is an Achievement for having a Sim with 12 Traits. You will ultimately get a few Reward Traits from Aspirations and even more from the Rewards Store. This can make for Sims with super powers who do not need to use the restroom or make more money selling their items.
Lifespan Settings in The Sims 4 are Found Here
Age and Lifespan of Sims
It is generally advisable to start a Sim as a Young Adult so that they have more time to level Skills, advance in Careers, and develop Relationships with other Sims before Elder-hood and their ultimate death. Sims can avert death by purchasing the Potion of Youth or drinking Essence from a Dead Sim in a Cow Plant. Once in the game, Aging settings may be changed at any time by going to Game Options (ESC), Gameplay, Sim Lifespan. The Sim will have a proportionate amount of their life used, however, so if you went from Short halfway through Adulthood, they'd only have 40 days left on long. When Sims become Elders, they will eventually die if nothing is done. The amount of time varies, but may be extended by completing the Bodybuilder Aspiration for the Long Lived Reward Trait. Playing on Short is not recommended for most games, as Sims will not accomplish much before they die. Normal is about perfect for most players. Here are the number of days you have in each life stage based on the lifespan setting in the game:
|Long||12||28||52||52||96||96||Vary by Sim|
|Normal||3||7||13||13||24||24||Vary by Sim|
|Short||1.5||4||7||7||12||12||Vary by Sim|
How to Age Up a Sim & Make them Older
>While Sims may age up automatically as their Birthday approaches, they may be aged up manually by baking any type of cake, clicking it to add candles, then having that Sim blow out the candles. Sims of all Ages, Elder aside, may do this. Babies just need some help. Aging up is useful to stop needing to care for Children, assuming that begins to bother you on a longer game. You may need this with Teen/Adult Sims on a longer game and find it's just too long for some Sims, while you're happy with it for others.
Sim Needs (Motives) in The Sims 4
Hunger, Bladder, Hygiene, Energy, Social, and Fun are Needs you must Manage
There are six Needs, aka Motives, in The Sims 4 that will drain and put stressful Moodlets on your Sim when nearly depleted that prevent them from taking other actions. Although the game will alter you by coloring the Needs icon when a Sim's needs near low, you can view them at any time by pressing 'O' or clicking it in the bottom right. Only one type of Need being depleted will kill a Sim (starvation), but it takes a very long time. That is realistic. All others simply make it so that the Sim will not do many optional tasks, like painting or collecting something, until that Need is met. Their mood will grow worse and worse as time wears on. Clicking any of the need icons while on that interface will bring you the option to auto-solve that Need using surrounding objects. This is good for managing a larger family, but most players would be better off choosing what their Sim will do, in order to use their time efficiently.
Taking care of your Sims and keeping their Needs high will reward you with +1-2 Happy Moodlets, which is based on the Needs' average levels. Learning to manage time and get your Sim in a good mood while working on Skills, out on the town, or on the job are keys to "success" in the game. That is, if success is measured in terms of what your Sim can accomplish in their lifetime. The definition of success is ultimately based on what you find it to be, given The Sims 4 is an open game.
Because the developers removed the fillmotive cheats, the only way to do so now is to use testingcheats on and shift-click a Sim in order to 'Make Happy' and fill all their needs at once. You can also freeze their needs once full using disable need decay. This can be done for a household or the whole world by shift-clicking the mailbox.
Sims who have High Needs get a +1-2 Happy Moodlet
Energy is a need filled by Sleeping in a bed or napping on a sofa. Napping can be useful when not at home, but beds are better for this because of Energy gains. Energy drains gradually throughout the day, and more so when your Sim is tied up in an activity. Sims who are low on Energy will not do much at all outside of caring for Needs. This one should be top priority so that you have more to expend throughout the day.
Your Sims will gain more energy per hour while sleeping in a bed with a higher Energy rating, and beds have Stress relief ratings as well. If your Sim is to remain single, you should take advantage of single beds' lower price points. If you will eventually get into a Romantic Relationship, your Sim would be best to start with The Utopiate for $1390. Its Energy 5 is a good amount for the price. Beds with Energy 10 are 8k (single) and 12k (double). Note that Sims will not sleep with one another without some Romantic Relationship built up.
Your Sim feels no negative Emotions while asleep, and Sims don't have sleeping problems in The Sims 4. You can save an Angry or Embarrassed Sim from an Emotional Death by putting them to sleep. You should prioritize Energy over other Needs. The others will decay a bit while asleep, so it's best to Sleep then take care of Hunger, Bladder, and Hygiene last. Just don't go to bed with Bladder low and make your Sim wake up to pee on the floor!
Hunger is a need obviously satisfied by eating. Sims have several options here. When their tummies are full and they've had some rest, they are happier. A good meal can provide a boost to happiness via various Moodlets that come with eating food with fresh ingredients (fish or gardening) and even an upgraded refrigerator. The best for making Sims happy are normal, cooked meals (which also raise that skill), but those take time. You can have another Sim prepare your Sim's food. For single Sims, you can cook a group meal, then put the remaining servings in the refrigerator by clicking it or dragging. Then, the Sim can eat that as leftovers. Refrigerators have varying ability to keep food fresh, with the best able to hold leftovers for quite some time and keep them palatable. This is a very efficient way to take care of a Sim's hunger, even when you have groups of Sims. Why waste food, eh?
Quick meals like juice and milk are not very efficient, although Sims can multitask to a degree while drinking them. Chips, Yogurt, and Cereal are much better because the Sim will eat it fast. These fill about half the hunger bar, so are excellent when you are in a rush. However, the refrigerated meals (leftovers) are probably best, because they can bring a Sim much more satisfaction. Take care of Hunger (if low) after Energy, then go after Bladder, because eating depletes that Need faster than the normal decay.
This one requires no explanation. Sims can use the restroom while at work, and also use it at any time while at home even if they don't need to 'go'. I usually do this after a meal then shower if the Sim is around half so that they won't need to be interrupted by these natural Needs. If you didn't read it above, eating/drinking makes Bladder go down faster, as you would expect, so Bladder can come after eating if possible. Sims with a low Bladder will grow uncomfortable and eventually pee themselves, causing them to be Embarrassed for a time. Embarrassment is an emotion that, when becomes Mortified, can cause a Sim's death.
The Fun Need can be raised in a number of ways, from reading Books (really fun for Bookworms) to watching TV, playing Chess with another Sim, and computer games. There are plenty of options here, and some of them offer Sims to have Fun together while also filling the Social Need. Working Hard while on the job can reduce Fun a lot, so Sims who get home from work will typically have it depleted at least to a degree. This is a good need to fill the night before work, since it won't deplete much while a Sim sleeps. When Fun gets low, Sims get Tense. Having some Fun will ease that Tension and make the negative Moodlet go away.
Sims want to Socialize, whether they have Friends or not is up to you. But they need to talk at times. Low Social Need makes Sims Depressed, which is not a fatal Emotion but can be crippling to them and make them not want to do much. A phone call can raise this a bit, but is not very effective. Getting your Sim out of the house or inviting someone over, talking to a family member, and chatting on the Computer are all good options to raise Social. It can be taken care of very quickly, and doesn't decay very fast.
Hygiene is raised by showers, baths, and washing hands. Sims with low Hygiene will feel uncomfortable and icky, so get them into a shower so they can resume their day. The Shower is a good place to pick up a number of positive emotions - Inspired, Energized, and even Flirty. When I'm playing a Sim who benefits from these Emotions, I use the shower last so they get the Moodlet right before work or leveling a Skill. Taking a Bubble Bath can help a Sim become Playful, useful if a Comedian or Criminal.
Juggling Needs for Better Performance
Taking care of these six Sim needs and getting them all high at once is important because it helps Sims be in a good mood, which raises Skills faster and helps them with Career performance. It even aids in them having higher success rates with Social Interactions, which helps make friends or find love. You should always check on your Sim's needs before taking on a task that will take several hours. They'll do better at it and not be interrupted by a low Need, putting them in a bad mood. An efficient routine on a fresh day with half needs would be to get sleep, have a meal, use the restroom, then shower. Have Fun and Socialize the night before the day out, whether your Sim earns money at home or on the job.
Body Fat and Muscle Mass
The Sims 4 uses a Calories system to simulate real-life weight gain. Muscles deteriorate as well. Follow the link to learn about what foods contain calories or see the video below.
Keys to a Successful Sim Life
Whims are means of earning Satisfaction in The Sims 4, along with Aspirations
Whims are an important part of The Sims 4's gameplay and shouldn't be ignored unless you don't care about Rewards. A lot of the Satisfaction you need to purchase rewards will come from your Sim's Aspiration, but Whims will provide you more of this important currency. Whims are the little thought bubbles over your Sim's head in the bottom left. You can choose to either pursue or clear these by clicking the 'X'. The reward is noted, and Whim generation is based upon what Sims have been doing lately, along with Emotions. So, if you're pursuing painting, your Sim will get Whims related to that. The first Whim from the left is purely based on Mood and changes all the time. If your Sim is angry, they may want to rant at someone. Pursuing these little Whims may interrupt your Sim's day, but if you chase those that are related to what you're already doing, you will get loads of Satisfaction if you keep it up. Watch these and be sure to clear those unrelated to your goals, so that new ones that are relevant may be spawned. They do not take long to come up, so you will find something you want to do for that Satisfaction! Click here to learn more about Whims and Aspiration Switching.
Money is essential to Sims, else their utilities will get shut off from an inability to pay the bills. The most typical way to make money in The Sims 4 is to pursue a Career and get promoted. However, some Skills will allow you to make money from home, such as Painting, Writing, Handiness (Woodworking), and Programming. Comedy is also a viable option. All of these Skills benefit from reward objects that come from Careers, which help Sims skill up faster and earn those Promotions. Learn about Careers and their potential income at top levels here and learn about Skills here. All Careers and Skills have Ideal Moods, so knowing how Emotions work can be helpful.
Find Friends, and maybe Love
This is entirely optional. Maybe you want to make a huge mansion and not bother with procreation or friendships. After all, Sims are able to be immortal whether aging is turned on or off. Having Sims' Friends and Lovers around, however, is a fun part of the game. Bringing Babies into the world and raising them to Children, sending them to school and seeing them successful can be rewarding for the player. Parties and such can be hilarious, thanks to Sims' animations and the variety of things they can do. All of these things can bring some extra depth to your gameplay and should be considered.
Study Rewards and their Effects
Knowing what Rewards to buy from the Store can help your gameplay immensely. Read our Guide to know ahead of time what they do, and pick carefully what you'll spend that hard-earned Satisfaction on! Those that help your Skills or reduce/eliminate Need decay like Steel Bladder are highly recommended!
Learn about Aspirations' Requirements and Bonus Traits
Because Aspirations can be switched at any time, knowing their objectives can be very handy. After all, you can pause and have a look at the list any time. When your Sim is not pursuing painting, but rather doing some Cooking or socializing, you can pick an Aspiration related to that, just be sure to switch back so you can chase your Reward Trait! This is a great way to get extra Satisfaction and, overall, more Reward Traits as your Sim ages.
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