Here are my gameplay rules and mods settings for The Sims 3 used in my current Let’s Play on Youtube. This is a constant work in progress and will be updated as my style evolves. These rules are more relaxed than my Sims 2 version, as I play this game much differently.
Table of Contents
- General Rules
- Lifetime Wishes
- Moving Sims
- Naming Conventions
- Rental Properties
- Mod Settings
I play rotationally while leaving story progression ON. I am NOT currently playing with Sims 2-style aging as outlined in this tutorial. I made this decision because I really enjoy the story progression aspect of The Sims 3. Leaving SP on makes the town feel so much more alive.
I don’t have a set amount of time that I will play each family. I basically just jump around as the story requires. I like to be present when babies are born and for important age-ups and weddings.
As with my Sims 2 gameplay rules, I play TS3 using a wants-based play style. This means I only force my Sims to do the things they want to do (aside from their basic needs). A Sim will only work on a skill or try to get a promotion if they roll a wish to do so. I consider everything they do when I’m not playing them as their own choice.
I use a custom age span for my Sims based on the 3-day pregnancy span already present in the game. If 3 days = 9 months, then 1 day = 3 months.
- 1 Sim day = 3 real life months
- 4 Sim days = 1 real life year
I make the following changes in the Options.ini file, while leaving the in-game settings on “Normal.” See this page for instructions on how to change lifespans in the Options.ini file.
- Baby (Ages 0 to 1) = 4 days
- Toddler (Ages 2 to 4) = 12 days
- Child (Ages 5 to 12) = 32 days
- Teen (Ages 13 to 19) = 28 days
- Young Adult (Ages 20 to 34) = 60 days
- Adult (Ages 35 to 59) = 100 days
- Elder (Ages 60 – 75) = 60 days
This gives a lifespan of approximately 296 days. This might seem like a long life span, and it is if you’re only playing a single family. But I play an entire neighborhood at once, so all the Sims are aging at the same time.
Ages for dogs, cats, and horses are also changed in the Options.ini file.
- Puppy (Ages 0 to 2) = 8 days
- Adult (Ages 3 to 9) = 28 days
- Elder (Ages 10 – 15) years = 20 days
- Total Lifespan = 56 days
- Kitten (Ages 0 to 2) = 8 days
- Adult (Ages 3 to 9) = 28 days
- Elder (Ages 10 to 17) = 28 days
- Total Lifespan = 64 days
- Foal (Ages 0 to 3) = 12 days
- Adult (Ages 4 to 15) = 48 days
- Elder (Ages 16 to 20) = 20 days
- Total Lifespan = 80 days
I assign my Sims Lifetime Wishes when they age up to young adults if I am present at the age up. I never assign them to children or teens. I want all of the Sim’s traits to be present before I decide.
I typically assign the first LTW in the list of available options because it’s usually the most relevant. However, I will break this rule if I feel the Sim is better suited to a different wish. If a Sim ages up while I’m playing a different household, I will change their LTW if it’s something stupid or doesn’t suit them.
When Sims get engaged – either when I’m playing them or on their own – I immediately disallow marriage via story progression for each household. This prevents them from getting married without me. When I’m ready, I have a wedding for them and then allow marriages in the household again.
I allow my Sims to marry whoever they choose, but I use SP Castes to prevent elders from partnering with adults and young adults. See my mod settings for more information. Sims may get engaged on their own or at my direction while I’m playing them (provided that they have a wish to get married).
I disallow my Sims moving as a family in Story Progression settings, but allow solo Sims to move out on their own if they like while I’m not playing them.
When splitting households, I don’t allow free money handouts. I always move Sims from the active family using the “Move” option via the computer or newspaper. This way, they must use the current family’s funds to move. If the family doesn’t have enough money for the Sim to move out on their own, they can’t move.
I use an alphabetic naming system similar to the one I used in Sims 2. The only exception is family names, which I will sometimes give Sims (e.g. Bobby Broke in TS3 Pleasantview).
I name newly born Sims based on which letter of the alphabet currently has the fewest living Sims with a first name beginning with that letter.
I begin with the letter A and go through the alphabet (skipping the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z). If there are living Sims with names that begin with the letter A, I move to letter B, etc. until I come to the next letter of the alphabet that does not correspond to the name of a current living Sim. In the rare case where all letters are taken, I will start over and find the first letter with the fewest living Sims.
I allow both married and unmarried Sims to get pregnant. I use SP settings to control the cooldown between pregnancies. However, you can only really control the cooldown between “expected” pregnancies (married Sims). For “unexpected” pregnancies between unmarried Sims, it requires more management to prevent back-to-back babies.
As soon as an umarried Sim gives birth, I immediately disallow pregnancy via the SP menu at the Sim level. I do not allow them to become pregnant again until their baby has grown into a child. For story purposes, I pretend these Sims are on birth control. I learned that this works best for me after the insane baby boom we had in Pleasantview!
Teen pregnancy is allowed and I follow the same rules of putting the mother on “birth control” after a baby is born.
If you’ve seen any of my Sims 3 Let’s Plays, you know that I like to play with rental properties. I think it’s realistic that some of the richer Sims would own rental homes and the poorer Sims in town rent from them. I use two mods to accomplish this gameplay – NRaas Story Progression (money module required) and this Apartments & Roommates Fix.
When any family reaches a net worth of $100k (the threshold for becoming Rich in my game), they are eligible to purchase rental properties. I use their money as I see fit to purchase any of the empty homes in town. I usually start with the least expensive starter homes.
I turn off auto-purchasing of rental lots in Story Progression because my Sims were going broke buying all the property in town!
Any Sim may live in a rental property if they’re moving and can afford it. The mods handle all rent payments between the landlord and tenants – including the calculations. Sims are charged rent based on the value of the lot, number of tenants, and any pets.
I choose my Sims’ traits using the following criteria when possible. If I’m not there for the age-up, I just let the Sims keep whatever the game assigned to them. If I AM there, I follow these rules:
- Baby – Two random traits. If I’m allowed to choose traits at birth, I just hit the randomize button and take whatever is available. If I am not allowed to choose due to a difficult pregnancy, I just accept whatever the game assigns.
- Child – Inherited from the mother. When a Sim ages up from child to toddler, I assign a trait inherited from his or her mother. I roll a number between 1 and 5 at random.org and use the corresponding trait.
- Teen – Inherited from the father. When a Sim ages up from a child to a teen, I assign a trait inherited from his or her father. I roll a number between 1 and 5 at random.org and use the corresponding trait.
- Young Adult – My choice. When a Sim ages up from a teen to a young adult, I choose a trait that I feel best suits them based on all their other traits up to this point.
There may be situations where the child does not have a mother or father to inherit traits from (such as Beau Broke in TS3 Pleasantview). In this case, I allow them to inherit a trait from an older sibling (e.g. Beau inherits one of Dustin’s traits). If there are no older siblings, I just give them a random trait for that life stage.
My list of settings was getting WAY too big to keep on this page. They have been moved to their own page. CLICK HERE to see my updated mods settings.
See my Sims 3 Mods List for all the mods I use – NRaas and others.