How I Play The Sims 3 Rotationally

Sims 3 Rotational Play

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.

Required Mods

To play my way, you will need the following mods:

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. There is already an amazing tutorial on the Nraas website for setting up your  castes. But for your convenience, I will also post the settings I use here. These are the settings from the Nraas Tutorial plus the additional ones I use.

  1. Click on City Hall or a computer and go to NRaas > Story Progression > Caste Options > Add New Caste. Name your caste something like “Rotations.”
  2. Click on your “Rotations” caste in the Caste Options menu. Make sure “Caste: Automatic” is set to “False.” It should be false by default.
  3. 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.”
  4. Now change the following settings:
    • Career: Allow Progression = False
    • Caste: Priority = 5
    • Death: Allow Aging = False
    • Household: Allow Move as Family = False
    • Household: Allow Move Solo = False
    • Money: Allow Inventory Management = False
    • Money: Allow Purchase Deeds = False
    • Money: Property Tax Rate = 0
    • Personality: Allow Occult Change = False
    • Pregnancy: Allow Adoption = False
    • Pregnancy: Allow Can Be Pregnant = False*
    • Pregnancy: Allow Participation = False
    • Push: Allow Skills = False
    • Romance: Allow = False
    • Skill: Allow = False
    • Skill: Allow Harvest = True
  5. Hit the check mark twice to accept your settings.
  6. 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.

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:

  1. Before you rotate out of household 1 into household 2, put household 1 into the Rotations caste as described in step 6 above.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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

Playable Pregnancies

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.

  1. Click on the pregnant Sim and go to NRaas > Story Progression > Sim Options > Pregnancy: Allow Can be Pregnant = True. 
  2. 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

The game will 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.

Give unemployed Sims the "unepmloyed job."
Give unemployed Sims the “unepmloyed job.”
  1. Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Master Controller > Sim > Intermediate > Career > Choose Job > Homeworld.
  2. A list of all the Sims in your world will appear. Choose all the Sims you want to remain unemployed.
  3. A list of all the available jobs in your world will appear. Scroll to the bottom and select “Unemployed – City Hall.”
  4. 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.

Stopping Immigration

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:

  1. Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Story Progression > General Options > Options: Lots > Options: Immigration/Emigration > Immigration Gauge.
  2. Set the number to 1,000. In a while you’ll receive a notice from the town council showing how much pressure built up in your town over the past cycle. To prevent immigration, make sure the immigration gauge is HIGHER than that number.
Immigration Pressure Message
Immigration Pressure Message

To stop creation of Role Sims:

  1. Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Register > Allow Immigration. Set the value to False. This will prevent the game from creating new Sims to fill roles (such as stylist, consignment worker, etc.)
  2. In the same menu, set “Allow Resident Assignment” to True. This will allow unemployed residents to be assigned to roles in your world.

To stop tourists:

  1. Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Register >Tourists.
  2. Change “Allow Tourists” to False.

To stop paparazzi:

  1. Click on City Hall or a computer. Go to NRaas > Register > Global Roles > Allow Paparazzi.
  2. Set the value to 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.

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8 thoughts on “How I Play The Sims 3 Rotationally”

  1. 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! 🙌🤗😘❤

  2. 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 !

  3. 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 🙁

  4. Hi Cindy,

    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! 🙂


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