I play the Sims 3 rotationally (Sims 2-style) by using a variety of mods and settings. There may be other methods out there, but this is what works best for me.
The image above is from my Sims 3 Pleasantview World, where I play using this method in my personal game.
To play my way, you will need the following mods:
- Nraas Story Progression (All modules)
- Nraas Master Controller (Progression and Cheats modules)
- Nraas Register
- Nraas Careers (Unemployed module)
- Pregnancy Progress Controller
- Ani’s Mod of Randomness V2
Once you’ve installed these mods, follow the instructions below for setting up your world. You only have to do the major setup once and then it’s easy!
Story Progression: Setting Up Castes
First, you’ll need to set up a protective caste to prevent your families from progressing when you aren’t playing them. Here is how I setup my castes:
- Click on City Hall or a computer and go to NRaas > Story Progression > Caste Options > Add New Caste. Name your caste something like “Rotations.”
- Select “Caste: Apply to Household” and it will be highlighted in yellow. Click the check mark at the bottom to change the value to “True.”
- Now change the following settings the same way:
- Career: Allow Progression = False
- Prevents Sims from getting or changing careers, retiring, and progressing in their careers while you aren’t playing them.
- Caste: Priority = 5
- Gives this caste a higher priority than any default castes.
- Flirt: Affair Adultery Chance = 0
- Prevents your partnered Sims from cheating while you aren’t playing them.
- Flirt: Affair Liaison Chance = 0
- Prevents your single Sims from becoming romantic with partnered Sims while you aren’t playing them.
- Friendship: Allow = False
- Prevents your Sims from making random friends when you aren’t playing them.
- Household: Allow Move as Family = False
- Prevents your Sims from moving to a different house when you aren’t playing them.
- Household: Allow Move Solo = False
- Prevents single Sims moving out of the household when you aren’t playing them.
- Money: Allow = False
- Prevents your Sims from being involved in monetary transactions, such as debt or mooching, when you aren’t playing them.
- Money: Allow Inventory Management = False
- Prevents the game from selling items in your Sim’s inventory when you aren’t playing them.
- Money: Allow Purchase Deeds = False
- Prevents your Sim from purchasing property deeds when you aren’t playing them.
- Personality: Allow = False
- Prevents your Sims from participating in any personality related scenario while you aren’t playing them.
- Personality: Allow Occult Change = False
- Prevents your Sims from changing into occults when you aren’t playing them.
- Pregnancy: Allow Adoption = False
- Prevents your Sims from adopting while you aren’t playing them.
- Pregnancy: Allow Can Be Pregnant = False*
- Prevents your Sim from becoming pregnant while you aren’t playing them.
- Pregnancy: Allow Participation = False
- Prevents your Sims from impregnating other Sims while you aren’t playing them.
- Pregnancy: Newborn Last Name = Father
- Gives newborn babies the father’s last name.
- Pregnancy: Rename Newborns = True
- If anything goes wrong and your Sim gives birth while you aren’t playing them, you will be prompted to name the baby even if you’re currently playing a different household.
- Pregnancy: Unexpected Base Chance = 0
- Prevents your Sims from having an unexpected pregnancy while you aren’t playing them.
- Push: Allow Skills = False
- Prevents your Sims from being pushed to perform skill building activities when you aren’t playing them.
- Push: Go to Hospital Chance = 0
- Disables the violent injury scenario that sends Sims to the hospital when you aren’t playing them.
- Push: Go to Jail Chance = 0
- Disables the personality scenario that sends a Sim to jail while you aren’t playing them.
- Romance: Allow = False
- Prevents your Sims from entering into any new romantic relationships while you aren’t playing them. This only affects affairs generated by story progression. Autonomous flirt interactions performed by the sims themselves are unaffected.
- Romance: Marriage Name = Husband
- Gives Sims the husband’s last name after marriage.
- Romance: Marriage Name: Same Sex = Coin-Flip
- Randomly chooses the marriage last name of same-sex couples.
- Skill: Allow = False
- Prevents your Sims from gaining skills while you aren’t playing them.
- Career: Allow Progression = False
- Hit the check mark twice to accept your settings.
- Place all of the families you intend to play rotationally (except for the current active family) in the Rotations caste. To do this, click on the map tag for the family in map view or click on a wall of their residence. Go to NRaas > Story Progression > Household Options > Caste: Manual. Click the check mark and then select the “Rotations” caste. Click the check mark until you’re out of the menu. Repeat for all families.
Note: You can add or remove families from the caste at any time.
*If one of your Sims becomes pregnant and you move to another household before they give birth, you must set an exception for them or the pregnancy will be terminated. More on how I handle pregnancies below.
Ani’s Mod of Randomness
This mod also helps create a Sims-2 style game. Once you install it, you can find the mod under Deco > Plants in the catalog. Place it down anywhere in your world. I usually place mine near the City Hall. It looks like a decoration, but adds some important functionality to the game.
Here’s how I set it up:
- Click on the “plant” and select Settings > Aging > TS2 Aging is [ON]. This enables TS2-style aging in your world. The inactive families will not age, but your current household will.
- Click on the “plant” and select Settings > Work > Remove Payments is [ON]. This removes any pay your Sim receives at a rabbithole career while you aren’t playing them.
Switching Between Families
All playable families should be placed in the Rotations caste except the current active family. Here’s how you switch between families:
- Before you rotate out of household 1 into household 2, put household 1 into the Rotations caste as described in step 5 above.
- Click on a wall of household 2’s residence, and go to NRaas > Master Controller > Make Active. Household 2 will now be the active family.
- After switching, take household 2 out of the Rotations caste and play. To do this, click on a wall of the household’s residence and go to NRaas > Story Progression > Household Options > Reset to Defaults > Caste Manual > Rotations. (Warning: DO NOT just select the caste again to toggle off. You must follow this path exactly.)
- Repeat this process when you’re ready to switch from household 2 to household 3 and so on. Each time, make sure to place the current family into the caste and remove the family you want to play next out of the caste.
Townie & NPC Aging
To keep the aging of your world in sync, it’s necessary to allow aging ONCE per “round” of your rotations.
I allow aging to remain on for all Sims that ARE NOT in my Rotations caste every time I play the first family in the rotations. When I move on to the second family, aging remains off until I make it back to my first family. This ensures that all non-played Sims age the same number of days as my playable Sims.
To allow aging, click on City Hall or a computer and change the following settings:
- NRaas > Story Progression > Town Options > Death:Allow Aging = True
- NRaas > Story Progression > Caste Options > Not Active > Death:Allow Aging = True
To disallow aging when you ARE NOT playing your first household, change the following settings:
- NRaas > Story Progression > Caste Options > Not Active > Death:Allow Aging = False
I try not to leave a household with a current pregnancy until the baby is born, but sometimes it’s necessary. In this case, you must make additional adjustments to ensure the pregnancy remains and the baby is not born while you aren’t there.
- Click on the pregnant Sim and go to NRaas > Story Progression > Sim Options > Pregnancy: Allow Can be Pregnant = True.
- Now, click on the Sim again and go to Pregnancy Options > Pause Pregnancy.
MAKE SURE YOU SAVE BEFORE MOVING TO THE NEXT HOUSEHOLD IN CASE SOMETHING GOES WRONG. I have had babies born and pregnancies terminated even when I thought I did everything right. So create a new save before moving on in case you need to revert back and try again.
Preventing Unemployed Sims from Getting Jobs
Even if you have career progression turned off in Story Progression, the game itself will still take any of your unemployed Sims and force them into roles as coworkers in jobs that you may not want them to have.
To prevent this, I use the NRaas Careers mod (unemployed module) to assign them the “job” of unemployed.
- Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Master Controller > Sim > Intermediate > Career > Choose Job > Homeworld.
- A list of all the Sims in your world will appear. Choose all the Sims you want to remain unemployed.
- A list of all the available jobs in your world will appear. Scroll to the bottom and select “Unemployed – City Hall.”
- A dialogue box will appear asking if you want to apply the job to all the selected Sims. Hit the check mark to apply.
Note: I have STILL had Sims dragged out of their unemployed careers and into roles as coworkers. This can happen if your world doesn’t have enough Sims to occupy those roles. You may have to check every household’s career status as you play them. But this should offer as much protection as you can get.
Personally, I don’t like a bunch of random Sims showing up in my world. I also HATE paparazzi and tourists. Here is how I stop them from generating. If this doesn’t bother you, feel free to skip these steps.
To stop immigration of random townies:
Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Story Progression > General Options > Options: Lots > Options: Immigration/Emigration > Immigration Gauge = 0.
To stop tourists:
Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Register >Tourists > Allow Tourists = False.
To stop paparazzi:
- Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Register > Global Roles > Allow Paparazzi = False.
Note: The game will still generate service Sims and there’s not much you can do about that. They are typically pretty bland and I just tend to ignore them.
That’s it! These are all the settings I use to play rotations in The Sims 3. I will update this guide if I change things in the future or add any additional settings. If you play with other Nraas mods, see my Nraas Mods Settings page to see how I set them up for rotational play.
19 thoughts on “How I Play The Sims 3 Rotationally”
I’m curious if you have a recommended playing order for the families in Sunset Valley?
Love your content – thanks!
Hi Lianne. This is actually something I’m working on creating. I don’t have the entire world done yet, but I can tell you I would start with the Keatons first and then play Claire Ursine second. They are both expecting babies, with the Keatons due the first night you start playing them.
hi! it’s my first time playing rotationally and this is a blast. thank you for the tutorial, so far it’s been working for me!
I’m so glad you’re having fun with it! I love playing this way!
Hi Cindy ! I followed your instructions but my sims keep aging when i’m not playing them… Do you know any solution ? Thank you ❤️
If they are aging, you have set something wrong somewhere. But another solution is to use Ani’s Mod of Randomness V2 to turn on Sims 2 style aging. This guarantees they will not age. You can download it here: https://anitmb.tumblr.com/Downloads
As always, your posts and tutorials are top notch. I was wondering if you know if it’s possible to have seasons work rotationally like in Sims 2 in the Sims 3? I want to play rotationally, but I don’t want half of my families to miss out on certain seasons. Does Ani’s Mod of Randomness solve this issue? Thank you for all of your help!
Hi, there’s no way to really set up the seasons to be static with rotations like in Sims 2. The only solution I know of is to just change the season manually when you need to. There’s a mod here: https://modthesims.info/d/481816/time-weather-change-mod-new-seasons-version.html
Or you can just enable testing cheats, Shift + Click on the ground of your Sim’s lot and choose “Seasons..” Then, you should have the option to change the season. I don’t know how this will impact festivals.
For the pregnancy I use battery’s pregnancy controller, usually works and they don’t give birth, have more settings for even more control than the nraas mods allows, things like setting different durations to every occult life stage.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that if you put the ‘Rotation’ caste as priority 4 and the ‘Active family’ caste as priority 5, you can override the rotation caste so as not to need to keep moving families in and out of it. So just put the opposite of everything above on the ‘Active family’ caste and it’ll cancel out all the falses from the ‘Rotation’ caste. It seems to be working for me, but I get so overwhelmed by NRAAS mods so I’m not sure if I’m entirely right!
That’s a good idea! I will tinker with this but it sounds like it should work!
Totally unrelated to the sims 3 btw…but I am having big trouble installing the sims 2 ultimate collection games on my PC. I currently have windows 10, and unfortunately I have had to download the sims 2 from the retro games website. I have followed tutorials off youtube etc. but it is still not working. I adore the sims 2 and I will be so gutted if I cannot get back on it 🙁
On a positive note however, I love your channel and videos! You make these games look so fun to play! 🙂
Sorry, don’t know if I can help. But you can come ask in our Discord. We have a Sims 2 help channel with a lot of knowledgeable people. https://discord.gg/pleasantsims
Hello, Cindy! I really like your YouTube channel and I’m really glad that I found it a few weeks ago. Thanks to you I learned how to play the Sims 3 the way I play the Sims 2, however I have one question. Since it’s not the sims 2, if I play it rotationally, does it mean than my sims can’t go to university? How do you handle with it? I want my sims to get degrees, but I also want to play each household rotationally. And one more question, how many days do you usually play one family? Personally I play in Sunset Valley and it has like 24 households.
I don’t play each family for any certain amount of time. Because I use story progression these days, I just jump around to the households I want to play at the time. As for University, I just move all the Sims who are going to Uni at the same time into a single household and then move them to Uni. I play their entire University round and then move them all back to the main neighborhood. Hope that helps!
I don’t know if you’re going to see this but in mine doesn’t have the option to reset to default when I go back to the family I out in the Rotations Caste 🙁
Hi Cindy, I’m watching you from France where I have discovered you fews weeks ago on youtube and I must say I’m impressed and I really love your channel.
With this article you have just gave me great solutions to play the Sims 3 most like Sims 2, a game-play style which, just like you, I used to love in the Sims 2 to create stories and generations. So Thank you Cindy !
Hello Sarah! So glad I could help! Sims 3 is a really fun game when you get it setup how you like it!
Thank you so much for how to play in rotation. Setting castes were so confusing before! I also agree without adding in custom sliders, creating sims is really challenging. Thank you both for all your hard work on all of this, and I cannot wait until my brother finishes building our gaming computer to download this! 🙌🤗😘❤
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