The Sims 4 Articles

Getting Started with The Sims 4 (2021)

Whether you are brand new to The Sims 4, have been playing for a short time or are a returning player, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do or where to start. With so many different features and possibilities to explore, it can almost feel a little overwhelming.

This guide will cover a number of different topics relating to the Base Game, as well as direct you to a number of helpful resources for you to refer to both now and in the future.

Getting Started

There is really no right or wrong way when it comes to playing The Sims 4! The way that you play is truly up to you. Want to tell stories? Go for it! Just want to build? Sure, why not! Just hit the New Game button and jump in!

Playing With Life & Storytelling

Whether you have chosen to create your own Sims or play with one of the pre-made families, it’s completely up to you. Whether it is just one Sim you are starting with or maybe even a small family, you choose how your Sims’ will live their lives.

You can start a family, get a job, become a master painter and so much more which will help you get started in game. Of course, you may already have an idea of a story you’d like to create or even recreate using The Sims 4.

How you play The Sims 4 is really up to you! Make your Sims live their wildest dreams or maybe their worst nightmares. There are so many things your Sims can do in the Base Game when you are just getting started.

Creating Sims

When you first begin to play The Sims 4, you may have chosen to stick with a pre-made household. In fact, it’s natural to do so while you begin to explore and get used to the different features in game.

Creating your own Sim can seem a little confusing to start with but after experimenting and clicking through the different outfit categories, assigning Likes & Dislikes, Traits, Aspirations and even changing your Sims’ voice and walk style you’ll be on your way to creating your own households in no time.

Not sure what kind of Sim you want to create? Why not use the Story Quiz to help influence your Sims life. With ten multiple choice questions, they will help shape your Sims’ future. You may find your Sim will start off with more starting funds or higher in a particular career. With so many different options, it will help you guide your Sim through what lays ahead for them.

Scenarios, Challenges and Achievements

Looking for a way to change up your gameplay? There are plenty of ways you can do this! You could play through one of the Scenarios or take a look at completing one of the many in-game achievements.

Fancy something different? The community has a variety of different challenges you can try your hand at including the Legacy Challenge, Rags to Riches, the 100 Baby Challenge and many more!

Want to find more challenges for The Sims 4? Click here!

Building

When it comes to building, we all start somewhere. There is nothing wrong with starting with a simple square house and expanding from there! It takes time to learn the different features of Build/Buy Mode, and there is no harm in experimenting at all.

If you aren’t sure where to start or are looking for a tutorial to guide you through, there are plenty of resources out there. YouTube is filled with numerous different tutorials from a variety of different Simms and there is everything from videos for getting started to more specific building tutorials and more!

Click here to check out our building tutorials master list and here to view building tutorials on YouTube.

Don’t forget, that The Sims 4 Base game comes with several worlds for you to play and build in! Willow Creek and Oasis Springs come with a number of pre-built lots and households, community lots and empty lots, whereas Newcrest comes as a completely blank world that you can fill up any way you want!

Additional Content

There are a variety of different ways that you can expand your The Sims 4 experience. Whether that is by purchasing packs or adding mods and custom content to your game.

Downloadable Content

The Sims 4 has numerous ways you can expand your gameplay experience in the form of packs. There are four different types of packs, each offering something different. These can be purchased via Origin or Steam if you play on PC/Mac or on The Microsoft Store or PlayStation Store depending on the console you are using.

  • Expansion Packs: These packs are the big, juicy, meaty packs that come with the most content. They often (but not always) come with a new full-size world, as well as a very large amount of new gameplay centred around a broad theme that appeals to a large number of people, such as tropical islands, active careers and shopping, seasons, and university. They also come with hundreds of new Build/Buy items and dozens of new CAS items. The downside is that they are the most expensive packs, at $40 USD. 
  • Game Packs: Game packs are like mini-expansions. They are also primarily gameplay-focused, but are typically themed around more niche interests, like supernatural-themed gameplay, vacations, and family dynamics. They usually (but not always) come with a mini-world of about 5 lots and plenty of new Build/Buy and CAS items. These packs are more moderately priced at $20 USD. 
  • Stuff Packs: Unlike expansions and game packs, stuff packs are pretty much what they’re called; just packs of stuff. They are more focused on bringing a small handful of new objects and CAS items to the game than gameplay, but all stuff packs do come with one or two new objects that offer some unique gameplay. Stuff packs are the smallest of all the packs and come with a dozen or so new items, and a few new CAS pieces. They do not come with new worlds or a significant amount of new gameplay. Stuff Packs are priced at $10 USD. 
  • Kits: The most recent additional content type launched in early 2021. The new Kits add smaller more niche pieces of content and are usually focused on Create A Sim, Build/Buy Mode or Gameplay content rather than a mixture of the three. These Kits are priced at $5 USD.

With so many different packs that you can choose from, we have come up with a super handy guide that covers everything you need to know about the different packs.

Click the image below to take a look at our Ultimate Pack Guide!

Custom Content and Mods

It’s important to remember that currently, custom content and mods are only available for players on PC and MAC. Unfortunately, they’re not available for players on Xbox or PlayStation at this time.

The world of custom content (often referred to as just CC) and mods can seem scary at first. You’ll probably have a number of questions, including how do I add mods and custom content to my game? Where do I find and download mods and custom content? What are some recommended creators or must have mods in my game? These are completely normal questions. In fact, adding mods and custom content into your game is incredibly straight forward.

Click the image below to check out our Getting Started guide for mods and custom content for The Sims 4.

The guide covers a number of important points including how to install mods and custom content, how to keep your mods folder up to date, what to do when there is a game patch as well as a number of helpful resources.

The Gallery

The Gallery is a brilliant place to find a variety of creations by fellow players. Be it Households, Lots or Rooms, there are millions of creations from players from all platforms. This is also where you will find your Library for when you save your own creations before sharing them with the community.

Click here to take a look at our helpful guide that breaks down the different features of The Gallery

The Community

Sticking with the theme of community, The Sims franchise as a whole has a vast community sharing their stories and creations on different social media platforms. You’ll find many Simmers sharing content of Twitter, Tubmlr (also known as Simblr), Instagram (also known as Simstagram), Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Forums, Blogs and sites just like us here on Sims Community.

While this is not something that you have to do, sometimes it is nice to find ways to connect with other plays and share what is happening in your own game as well as keeping up to date with the latest news and information from The Sims!

Want to connect with more players? Come and join in the conversation on our Discord by clicking the image above!

Cheats

From time to time, you may need a little help by using cheats. Now, you may have heard the words Rosebud and Motherlode being talked about before, or maybe even Testing Cheats or Move Objects. These are the most common cheats that many players will have heard of, but there are so many more! Some cheats will affect your Sims’ skill levels, allow you to buy any lot for free, and remove the Plumbob from above your Sims’ heads.

Below is a handy video from Carl’s Sim Guides where he covers all aspects of cheats, how to enable cheats on both PC, Mac and Console and what effect they have on your game! You can also find a ma

You can also find a master list of cheats for the Base Game and a number of packs here.

With plenty of ways to Play With Life, The Sims 4 offers a variety of ways for players to do so. Getting started is easy and with the handy points that have been covered in this guide, you’ll find plenty of ways to expand on your own experience in game, create stories, memories and more!

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About the author

Krista

Hey, I'm Krista! Long time Simmer and Sims Community Staff. You'll usually find me hanging out in our Discord, in-game or creating articles!