The Sims 4 Guides

The Sims 4: A Day in the Life of a Programmer


Hey Simmers and welcome to another Day in the Life article! I hope you’ve been enjoying this new article series, but have you heard that Sims Community is doing themed weeks now? This week is base game week and in honour of base game week, I’ll be walking you through one of the brand new, never-before-seen skills that launched with The Sims 4; the Programming skill! This skill opens up many new computer interactions, providing your Sim with stronger moodlets and even simoleons. Join me as we code and hack our way to the top of this unique skill.

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Click or tap on any image in this article to view the full-size version!

Meet Kayden Lane. He’s a Genius, a Loner, and a Geek with the Computer Whiz aspiration. He’s also 100% base game friendly! He’s going to be our Programming guinea pig– er, I mean “volunteer” for this article. Kayden has a great combination of traits for building the Programming skill. Being a Genius will make him Focused more often, which will boost the rate at which he gains the Programming skill. As a Geek, he enjoys playing video games, so as he mods his favourite games with the Programming skill, he’ll get better moodlets from playing those games, which will put him in a better mood to build the Programming skill further. Being a Loner means Kayden will be able to spend more time at his computer without needing to go out and socialize as much.

I move Kayden into one of the Oasis Springs starter homes and get his work station all set up. I sacrifice a few other luxuries like a TV and stereo in order to spring for a higher end computer. Before I’m able to start Kayden on the Programming skill, he’s already at the computer… browsing parenting forums? He gets an embarrassed moodlet from that, which doesn’t help us at all in building the Programming skill. Thanks a lot, Internet parents.

In order to combat his Embarrassed emotional state, I dig into Build/Buy and rummage up one of the plumbob mood lamps that gives off a Focused aura to place on his desk. As long as I have its emotional aura enabled, it will provide a constant +1 Focused Decor moodlet to all Sims in the room.

Unfortunately, the lamp isn’t enough to get Kayden out of the Embarrassed emotion, but we can’t wait around forever to get started. Let’s go ahead and have him Practice Programming which is located in the first level of the computer’s pie menu when you click on it.

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The “Browse Parenting Forums” feature comes with the Parenthood game pack. It’s not the focus of this article.

The plumbob mood lamps are an exclusive reward for purchasing The Sims 3 expansion packs. The one I used was the reward item for purchasing Into the Future. These lamps are handy for quickly changing emotions, but if you don’t have them, not to worry! Some great ways to change emotions in the base game are drinking tea from the Tea Magic Personal Brewer or taking different types of showers. Pondering Moves at a chess board will also get your Sim Focused.

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All skills in the game have their own descriptions in the skill panel. Hover over any skill to read its description. We can see here that Kayden has discovered the Programming skill. Right now, all he can do is practice programming at the computer. Practice makes perfect! As he builds his skill level, new Programming options will open up to him, some more legally questionable than others. What kind of Programmer will your Sim be?

Watching your Sim sit at a computer all day may sound boring, but The Sims Team put a lot of thought and care into the Programming skill. One detail about this skill that many people miss is the images on the computer screen. They match whatever your Sim is doing on the computer. Many of the screen images contain little easter eggs and throwbacks to previous The Sims titles. Browsing forums, surfing the net and even trolling the forums brings your Sim to the old The Sims 3 forums. Hacking brings up a DOS-style command prompt and several text windows and playing video games shows the game being played. Even the desktop background is a picturesque view of a world from The Sims 3 and the “Windows” icon in the bottom left corner is a The Sims 2-style plumbob. Keep an eye out for little tidbits and subtle references on your Sim’s computer screen.

After a while, that unpleasant Embarrassed moodlet wears off and Kayden becomes Focused thanks to his nifty new lamp. As you can see from the purple glow around his skill bar, this means this emotion helps him build the Programming skill faster. Being Focused is boosting his skill gain rate. Always try to get your Sims into the ideal emotion for the skill you want them to build. It makes a big difference!

It pays off for Kayden because he levels up. We get a notification that he can now make plugins. That seems like a good way to make some money from programming so let’s have Kayden try his hand at that.

If you’re having trouble getting your Sim into the ideal emotion to build the skill you want, try getting them into any other positive emotion. Being Happy or Confident is still better for skill building than being Uncomfortable or Fine.

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About the author


A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.

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