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 lovely!! So currently I started a small casual generation challenge to get back into the flow of gameplay but I wanted to ask you how you make your sims family feel like a real family? Like how do you add realism to your game?
Heeeey! I love this question because family dynamics are something I find really interesting — so interesting, that every story I’ve ever written has been greatly influenced by the characters’ upbringings and relationships with those closest to them. If you’ve been following me for a long time, you know that both Graylight and Camilla in San Myshuno started off as gameplay that over time, evolved into its own story. This evolution happened right around the time I noticed complexities within the relationships between the sims and a relative of some sort, ie: Lux with her dad and Salim with his ex-wife (which ended up affecting Camilla big time). Now, I give all this unsolicited info about my characters to say that even if you aren’t planning to write a full blown story, gameplay still provides an excellent opportunity to explore your sims’ relationships and help you get what you need to portray them as a ‘real family’.
To get to the real family part, you would first need to understand your sims as individuals. What are their interests? What are their goals? Who are their favorite people to socialize with? What’s their favorite channel to watch on TV? What’s their favorite type of music? All of these questions can be answered through gameplay. If you play with autonomy turned on, just observing your sim’s choices can answer many of these questions for you. In the first Ask Mellindi post, I talk in great detail about how to figure out the core of who your sim is as well as allowing the game to develop a story for you as you play. I think the tips outlined there will help you out a whole lot as about 90% of what you’re looking for actually takes place there.
Portraying a Real Family
The word ‘family’ can mean something different to everyone so I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to this but I’m thinking you may mean in terms of how I usually portray the lives of my non-scripted gameplay families so I’ll answer from that standpoint.
Make Time for Family
Just like your sim’s individual personalities need to be developed, their relationships with each other do too. Allowing them to spend time with each other, socializing and doing things together — especially small, everyday things — like eating dinner, watching TV, playing dolls, etc… gives them room to grow closer with each other. If you need more ideas for activities they can do together and a few mods that help with that, check out this post.
Acknowledging Special Bonds
Another great thing about playing with autonomy on — and this goes right back to developing their story — is that it gives the sims the opportunity to show you who they enjoy spending time with. You may find that your child sim always seeks out one sibling over the other to socialize with with or maybe the toddler always goes to one parent over the other whenever they need something. Just like within real life families, sim’s sometimes have favorites and watching their autonomous actions and their whims can help you figure out who they are.
So the key to realistic families in your game are:
Fleshed out sims & Making time for family
Once you have that down, the rest will come naturally ❤.