Hi and welcome to Ask Mellindi, a weekly (or bi-weekly) column in which I answer all your questions about gameplay, mods, builds — or whatever Sims 4 topic you find yourself needing help with!
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Hi India! I have been looking through your “how to get back into gameplay” tips and tricks post on your other acc and was wondering if you could do an updated version talking about out how you stay in love with your families and create your sims and builds in a way that keeps you interested? I haven’t opened the game for more than ten mins recently and it bugs me cos I wanna get back into it. Plus I just love your sims xxxx
Hii!! Okay so, sticking with one family was NOT easy for me for a looooong time, lol! Same with gameplay because I often found myself not knowing exactly what to do with my sims and to me, playing this game with no kind of direction is like the quickest way to find yourself bored. It took a while but I finally got to a place where I enjoy loading up my save and checking in with my family and I think it’s because I have a process — for lack of a better word — that’s really been working for me:
First, I think it’s helpful if you know how you like playing your game or at least what you would like to accomplish while playing — that’s a great start, actually. For me, setting goals that sims can achieve gives them purpose and me, something to work towards. These goals don’t have to be the obvious ones defined by the game like maxing a career or completing an aspiration (although, these goals work fine too as I usually have my sims attempt to do one or both of these as well) but they can also be other things that you can see your sim (and you) being interested in. For example, one of your foodie sim’s goals might be to try and learn every recipe from the marketstalls in San Myshuno. Once they achieve this goal, they can throw a huge dinner party to celebrate. Another example, would be an outdoor loving sim who’s goal may be to make every potion from Outdoor Retreat. Once they meet this goal, the next could be to earn enough money to open a their very own retail store specializing in herbal remedies.
Now when it comes to the sims themselves, I don’t ever fall in love with them fresh out of CAS. At that point, they’re still strangers to me. Cute strangers who I want to get to know better — but a stranger nonetheless. Mods can help with this though, especially if you’ve always wanted to know more about your sims. For me, the three (very shallow IMO) traits we get in CAS are not enough. I need to know more. More about what they actually want in life — more than what the game itself offers. With that being said, my favorite get-to-know-my-sim-mods are:
- Wicked Whims (18+) or Wonderful Whims by turbodriver — the personality and attractiveness systems help me find out who my sims really connect with and who they’re attracted to. If you decide to go with Wicked Whims but don’t want all the sex stuff, you can find out how to turn that off here.
- Open Love Life and Woohoo and Wellness by lumpinou — let’s me know what type of relationship my sim is interested in as well as whether or not they want a child. Honestly, these two mods do so much for my game, but you can read all about that here.
- Slice of Life Personality System by kawaiistacie — I’m not using this part of the mod right now but when I was, I loved reading the personality types that were assigned to my sims and let it help guide me towards their interests.
- Life Decider Mod by kawaiistacie — I’m also not using this one right now but it’s super helpful for when you want to add a little backstory to your sim. It gives them special traits, decide how well they handled their money and even gives them friends or enemies!
Another thing that keeps me coming back for more is the “story.” Even with gameplay, developing a story makes things so much more interesting for me. It doesn’t even need to be this in-depth, intricate plot and you don’t even need to have it all figured out because the story — is forever ongoing and develops as you play. The more time you spend with your sim, the deeper the story goes and you, even as the watcher, get to see it all play out in real time. This may sound like a lot of work but I promise it’s not. You just need to pay attention to your sims actions/interactions with other sims and put a little thought into why they do the things they do. For example, if your sim moves into a new apartment and the first interaction they have with one of the neighbors is a negative one, think about why that happened. Was your sim doing something that angered the neighbor like playing music too loud? Or maybe the neighbor is just having a bad day and took it out on your sim? Maybe the neighbor is just a jerk? Pay attention to how your sim responds. Do they get angry and instantly insult them or do they apologize? What does their response tell you about their personality? Since they’re clearly not the neighbor’s favorite person right now, what kind of relationship will they have in the future? You can leave this up to the sim and let them decide via autonomous interactions or you can decide yourself. The story doesn’t just apply to your current sim either, it goes for all sims: the future spouse, the kids, everyone! They all play apart in the story of your sim’s life. How things will play out is a HUGE motivator for me and part of what makes playing so fun!
Whims + Aspirations
Whims are also super useful for getting into your sim’s head — especially when it comes to dating and other relationships. For example, if your sim has multiple romantic interests but they continuously get whims to marry one but never any for the others. Or maybe they do get whims for the others but they’re always things like ‘be friendly with’ or ‘woohoo with’, they might be trying to tell you that they just aren’t that in to them. Whims in the vanilla game are pretty repetitive, IMO, so I use the Whim Overhaul mod (scroll down to ‘whimoverhaul’) by bienchen83 which mixes things up to give you more of a variety and makes whims actually worth completing.
Aspirations can be a big help in your sim’s story too. For example, a sim with the Serial Romantic aspiration, can get into all kinds of trouble juggling multiple relationships. How does your sim handle such a chaotic life? Why are they interested in this kind of life anyway? Will they end up alone as a result of playing with so many sims’ hearts? Or will they find the one in the process who they’re willing to change their life for? Same goes for the Public Enemy aspiration which can lead your sim down a dark, lonely path if they aren’t careful. Because they’re hated by so many, are they forced to hide out in Strangerville where no one will find them? And why is this place called Strangerville anyway? Is it cause of all the weirdness going on? Maybe your sim will be the one to find out!
When it comes to where they live, I almost always build my own houses (I’m a builder at heart so I can’t help it!) and build/decorate keeping where they are in life now in mind. If I’m playing a single sim (this is how I always start out) I build them a one or two bedroom home (renting the second bedroom to a roommate*) and fill the house with only the essentials (living room, kitchen, bed, bath furniture) and a few decorative pieces (lamps, wall hangings, plants, etc…) since this is a brand new sim who is just starting out. For a more in-depth tutorial on how I build my houses, check out this post.
Filling the house with items they collect throughout life such as: selfies and photos with friends, rewards from promotions at work, paintings purchased at festivals, snow globes found around the city of San Myshuno and gifts from successfully completing custom events (the housewarming party is great for this) from the Memorable Events mod by kawaiistacie (one of my all time favorites and a must have for my gameplay) makes the home feel lived in and helps show off the sim’s personality. Once they get married or start having kids, I usually expand the house or move them to a new one to suit the growing family.
*If you’re interested in playing with roommates but don’t have University (or are not a fan of the game’s roommate system), check out this guide here.
Not using cheats — like those for money or needs — adds a level of difficulty that makes accomplishments feel much more worthwhile. When my sim really needs to make a new purchase but can’t afford it, they have to figure out a way to get more cash. There are a number of ways they can do this, of course, but it will ultimately come down to the sim’s personality. Once they do get the money though and are able to make this purchase, it feels so much more special because you know they really earned it.
One of the biggest changes I’ve made in the way I play is allowing my sims to be social. Sending them out to the bar, having them go on dates, throwing parties for no reason, inviting friends out to celebrate new promotions — basically giving them opportunities to meet new people and bond with those they care about the most. If you need some inspo for social events, check out my post, 20 Family Style Gameplay Ideas for Sims 4, which is all about this kind of thing.
I’m sure this all sounds daunting, lol, but once you get used to it, it’ll come to you naturally and hopefully help you enjoy your game too!
If you still have questions or need anymore tips, let me know!