How to get started in The Sims 4

How to get started in The Sims 4

If you're looking for Sims 4 beginner tips, we're here for you. Whether The Sims 4 is your first foray into EA's beloved life simulator franchise or you're a returning veteran from a past generation, The Sims 4 does everything a little bit differently, and it can be a confusing transition. 

If you find yourself struggling with making money in The Sims 4, especially in those early stages, we have guides to help you out. If you don't do smalltalk and want quick results, head over to our Sims 4 cheats guide pronto. For everything else the game has to offer in its early stages, from likes and dislikes to tattoo placement, here's how to get started in The Sims 4.

Sims 4 beginner tips and tricks

How to get started in The Sims 4

The first step to take in your Sims 4 journey is my personal favorite: creating your family. This is done in a similar way to The Sims 2 and 3, so returning Simmers might not be too confused.

It's is usually the most time-consuming portion at the outset of any game in which you're given free reign over how your character should look. For a human Sim, just click the add button in the lower left corner. To add occult Sims like Vampires, Werewolves, or Mermaids, be sure to select the icon of the muscle-flexing  Sim with a powerful explosion-type symbol behind them. Bear in mind you will need the requisite expansion packs for this, like The Sims 4 Vampires or The Sims 4 Werewolves

In Create A Sim, the panel in the top left lets you choose the name, sex, age group, gait, the pitch and tone of your Sim's voice. You can also set the nature of their relationship to the other Sims in the same household once you add them, and even create a Sim baby using their genetics by clicking the pacifier icon in the bottom-left Add Sim menu.

Recent updates mean you can also adjust whether a Sim can get pregnant or get others pregnant, as well as the option to choose masculine or feminine clothes no matter which sex your Sim is. You can also set your Sim's romantic and WooHoo interests, giving you greater control over who your Sim will be attracted to and fall in love with. Thanks, EA!

The avatar you'll be presented with is randomised so to start tweaking its appearance to match the visage of your dreams, just click on whatever part of the body you want to start altering to bring up the next menu.

All of the features have a number of pre-sets to choose from that can be further altered by clicking and dragging on the desired body part after selection to amend the size. The clicking and dragging method also applies to larger body parts in general like legs, arms, and so forth.

You can also prepare the outfits for your Sim for 5 difference occasions detailed at the top of the right panel which they'll helpfully change themselves into at the appropriate time. There'll be no giant hotdog outfits at those formal affairs unless you decree it, which is highly recommended.

Creating your Sims 4 personality

Choosing your Sim's personality is another important step, with just three initial traits to choose from for your average adult, young adult, or elder Sim. You will acquire new traits as you progress through the game, including unique ones for toddlers and infants, but these core 3 will influence how your Sim sees themselves and interacts with others. Simply click each hexagon to bring up menus, and select one trait per slot.

To the left of the personality trait hexagons is your Sim's lifelong aspiration. This is something you will steadily work toward and earn points for completing objectives. These points can then be spent on unique buffs or purchasable traits, like Hardly Hungry or Antiseptic for those who don't like to bathe often.

There are 10 categories to choose from but you'll need to narrow it down from the subsets within them. Once you pick an Aspiration, you'll be granted a bonus trait associated with that category. In this example the Love Aspiration grants the Alluring bonus trait, making the Sim more successful in romantic scenarios than those without the trait.

Each adult Sim can choose 3 traits from 4 categories. There are 9 Emotional traits, 6 in the Hobby category, 11 under Lifestyle and 9 Social. These choices will govern the behavior and desires of your Sim and will dictate their compatibility with others. Throwing a good Sim and an Evil Sim into the same household will most likely result in domestic drama, as would making a neat Sim share a house with a messy Sim.

It's also worth noting that Sims are affected by their environment and what's going on around them. A neat Sim will be unhappy if there's a mess lying around. A slob Sim actually makes things dirtier faster than a Sim without the slob trait so the dynamic between 2 Sims with those traits would differ to any other combination. Think of it as a domino effect between what upsets a Sim and what makes it happy and you should be able to engineer all sorts of interesting scenarios just by pairing up the right personality types together.

Likes and dislikes

Just like your Sim traits, you will acquire likes and dislikes as you play through your household. You don't even need to select any likes and dislikes straight off the bat, instead letting your game guide you to where it wants to go. 

Likes and dislikes might also affect your Sim's compatibility with others, as will their personality traits. Compatibility can't be edited in Create-A-Sim, unfortunately, since this will depend upon each Sim you meet in turn.

Building or buying a house

Once you've satisfactorily dolled up your Sim, it's time to move them into a house so that they can get a job, meet people, or be entombed in a box room with a fridge full of orange juice, no toilet, windows on every available vertical surface and no door.

You can choose to move them into any available neighborhood, and from there, into a vacant house (furnished or unfurnished) or onto an empty plot of land where you can create your own home. It's also possible to evict existing residents from their houses and move in on their turf if you have the cash and a mean streak.

Each neighbourhood has a number of vacant houses, empty plots and places for your Sim to mingle and you can visit residents or establishments in a different neighbourhood from the World Select screen.

Building from scratch is pretty easy with preset 'styled' rooms available if you're running out of design ideas. The top icon is build mode which lets you view exterior items just by clicking on the corresponding area on the house i.e. walls, doors, roofs etc. Scrolling through furniture options is just as simple so you shouldn't get too bogged down in this mode.

Inevitably, at some point, you'll want to split or merge your household. Select Manage Worlds in the menu to access the world screen, where you can switch between the 2 neighbourhoods, view the available options for the lots or choose the Household Management tab from top right panel to make any changes to your current household. A newly wed couple can strike out on their own, sworn enemies can sulk in their very own neighbourhood or you can simply spread out your Sims like a virus, and take over the entire world.

The Sims 4 neighborhood secrets

Each neighbourhood harbours a secret area, accessible through a certain series of actions followed by a 'choose your own adventure' style set of questions. If you negotiate the perilous text boxes correctly, you'll be rewarded with verdant, pink forests and crystalline-illuminated mines where you can sit around and catch frogs. And maybe some fish to sell.

Forgotten Grotto in Oasis Springs

Travel to Desert Bloom park and when your Sim spawns in, move the camera straight up and to the left of the picnic area to find an abandoned mine entrance. You'll need to have your Sim's Handiness skill maxed out (level 10) to break down the boards on the entrance. You can do this by having them buy and read books on handiness and by repairing things around the house.

Once your Sim is a DIY god, send them in to the mine and choose the answers as follows:

  • Take the wide path
  • Climb the ladder
  • Step onto the ledge

Sylvan Glades in Willow Creek

Travel to Crick Cabana in Willow Creek then head over to the gnarly looking tree on the right and select view. Repeat this process until a door appears in the trunk. When it does, head inside and choose the following answers:

  • Follow the sound
  • Follow downstream
  • Enter the mist

Just make sure they've had a trip to the loo before they embark on these little adventures.

Here are the Best Sims 4 mods to turn your game into your personal sandbox.

Shabana Arif
Shabana was born looking like a girl wearing a Pikachu hoodie, so when such things became popular, she fitted right in. She writes guides, reviews and features for GR+ when she isn't screaming at Dark Souls 2 on YouTube.
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