If you’ve been playing The Sims 4 for a while, you’ve probably had more than a few moments where you’ve sat in front of your computer screen or TV and went “… What?” Moments like these aren’t unusual for Sims games in general. Some would argue they’re part of what gives the series its charm and we might be inclined to agree with that… sometimes. Other times, we’re left more confused than amused.
Here are just some of the many issues and/or bugs that have made us scratch our heads countless times.
While I personally don’t experience this in my game at all, enough people complain about this to warrant it being included in this article. Simulation lag is different from frame rate lag. With frame rate lag, the whole game seems to skip, jump, or stutter. It’s very visually obvious when your game is lagging. Simulation lag is a delay in well… simulation. This means that Sims stand around staring vaguely into space for several minutes after you issue a command. Career and school notifications pop up hours late. Sims get stuck at school or work. While your game appears to be running smoothly, it’s apparent that the simulation aspect is running behind.
There are multiple factors that contribute to this problem. One factor is just that the game’s coding is not as clean as it should be. Another factor is your hardware. A PS4, XBox One, or a cheap multipurpose laptop will experience more simulation lag than a PS5, Xbox Series X, or a custom built gaming desktop. This is because the hardware just doesn’t have the processing power The Sims 4 requires of it.
So how do you fix the problem? Well, a quick band-aid solution is just to pause the game for a few minutes when you notice simulation lag happening. This gives the game a chance to play catch up and can temporarily help get things back on track. However, you’ll need to keep doing this every time it happens. To cut down on simulation lag in the first place, avoid things that demand a lot of processing power. Play with small households on small lots and avoid visiting crowded, extravagant community lots or throwing large social events. All of these things put a lot of strain on your system if it’s already struggling with simulation lag. If you’re a PC player who uses mods, there is also a Simulation Lag Fix mod that’s currently being updated and maintained by SrslySims. Not everyone reports improvement while using the mod but some people do notice a difference so it might be worth trying.
If none of these solutions help you and you’ve also repaired the game, cleaned out your Mods folder, and deleted your cache files, it might be time to upgrade your hardware.
Lag in Build Mode
This is something I do experience on occasion, but strangely, it doesn’t happen all the time. Many players report extreme lag every time they go into Build/Buy. The game will stutter and freeze up for several minutes sometimes after entering Build/Buy. In some cases, the game continues to lag until they leave Build/Buy.
There isn’t a whole lot that can resolve this issue. It’s a problem with the coding on The Sims Team’s end; however, the more items the game has to load in Build/Buy, the worse the lag is. If you own every single pack and kit or if you have a lot of Build/Buy custom content in your game, the lag in Build/Buy can get really bad to the point of not even being able to navigate Build/Buy at all. To cut down on this issue, disable or uninstall packs you don’t frequently use and purge your custom content. You really don’t need 10,000 pieces of Build/Buy CC. Trust me.
Avid players of The Sims 4 have probably noticed that Sims are a little… obsessed with water. Not just swimming and taking baths (although they love those a little too much, too) but drinking water. Every waking moment of every day that you are not actively controlling them, Sims will run to the sink to drink glass after glass of water constantly. All. Day. Long. They will do nothing but stand at the sink drinking water forever unless you force them to do something else. This problem is worse on lots where there aren’t a lot of activities to distract them from the sink. The Sims Team claims to have patched this problem but the patch did not work. We are still plagued by empty glasses of water littering every surface of our homes.
So how do we fix the problem ourselves? We can turn autonomy off in the game settings. This will stop your own Sims from getting water constantly but it will stop them from doing everything else on their own, too. You’ll have to micromanage their every action because they won’t do anything autonomously anymore, not even care for their basic needs. This also won’t stop guests from constantly chugging water when they visit. It’s really not an ideal solution, especially if you play with large households and rely on autonomy to keep everyone’s needs met. Another method would be to make sure you have a lot of distracting activities in the home to deter them from hovering over the sink. Computers, TVs, swimming pools, any object that Sims are attracted to like moths to a flame, put them in the house. With any luck, your Sims will prefer to “troll teh forums” or binge watch every episode of Game of Llamas instead. But this won’t completely stop them from getting water. It will just reduce the frequency.
Of course, if you are a PC user who likes to use mods, you have more options. MCCC’s Tuner functionality can stop this behaviour on your lot. So can this mod, which is what I personally use since MC Tuner does not always work for me.
This is probably one of the most frustrating things on this list. I wouldn’t even call it a “quirk.” It’s a bug. A completely game-breaking one that has been broken for ages. This is a perfect storm that creates a domino effect making about half of Snowy Escape’s content unplayable.
So, what’s the root issue? The onsen lot is corrupted. If you travel there, your Sim will wind up in the area but not on any lot. When you try to go back to Map mode and re-enter the lot properly, you can’t load the lot. You get kicked back out to the world selection screen. In fact, you can’t enter any lot with any household on that save anymore. You’re stuck in an infinite loop of getting booted back to the world selection screen every time you try to load anything.
So where does the domino effect come in? Well, the onsen is connected to a huge portion of this expansion pack. The onsen being corrupted means that Sims can’t go on mountain excursions. The mountain excursion event requires you to start at the onsen. Because the mountain excursion event is broken, Sims can’t access the upper portions of the mountain at all; the only way to get to these locations is through a mountain excursion. And since Sims can’t access the top of Mt. Komorebi, the Extreme Sports Enthusiast aspiration is broken because you can’t complete the goal to reach the top of Mt. Komorebi on a mountain excursion.
So that’s a venue, a social event, three hidden locations, and an aspiration that are broken because the onsen is corrupted. The worst part? There’s no fix. You have to just avoid visiting the onsen and avoid the mountain excursion event and aspiration. Basically, avoid playing with half the content you paid for.
Why hasn’t this been fixed, yet? Well it’s not affecting every player. That makes it difficult for The Sims Team to pinpoint what exactly causes this glitch to happen. For example, on my fresh save, I don’t have this issue but on my long-running SuperSim save, I do.
Placing Lots in Map Mode
Have you ever noticed that it takes MUCH longer to place down a lot from the Gallery while in Map Mode than it would if you were loaded onto the lot? Yeah, us too. And many times, some things on the lot disappear when placed from Map Mode.
This isn’t a huge annoyance since it’s easy to get around. Just load onto the lot in Build/Buy first before placing down the lot you want. It takes a few extra seconds to load the lot but otherwise, it’s not a huge hindrance to building up your worlds. Still, it’d be nice if placing lots from Map Mode could be optimized better since it is a feature of the game.
The Debug Labyrinth
Avid builders will know all about the hidden debug and live edit menus that give you access to thousands of objects not available in the regular Build/Buy catalogue. If you’re not familiar with these hidden menus, you can read up on them here. If you are familiar with these menus, you’ll know first-hand how tedious they are to navigate. Thousands of amazing items… all named ** DEBUG ** so it’s impossible to search for what you need. These hidden menus have virtually no organisation and many limitations, like no swatch options and no cloning abilities. It’s kind of a huge, jumbled mess to sort through.
Players have gotten around this by gathering up collections of these items and uploading them to the Gallery as rooms, so if you’re looking for something specific, you can probably find it in one of these collections on the Gallery.
For mod users, TwistedMexi also has a mod called Better Build/Buy which sorts the debug catalogue properly. Many players find it extremely helpful for navigating the debug menus.
Sit Before Using the Computer
Have you ever run into an issue where Sims just refuse to use the computer no matter how many times you direct them to do so? The action immediately drops from their queue and they don’t do anything. This happens a lot with builds that use the moveobjects cheat to create custom desk setups but it can sometimes happen with a plain old EA desk and computer, too.
Luckily, this is easy to fix. Just tell your Sim to sit in the chair in front of the computer, first, then tell them to use the computer. Why does this happen on occasion? Why does telling them to sit first work? We don’t really know but at least it’s a quick solution for whenever you do run into this problem.
Ghostly Phone Calls
We’ve all experienced this in the game. We get a call from dear old grandpa, telling us about a sick rave happening at the abandoned ruins in Windenburg and you guys should totally go check it out together! The problem? Dear old gramps is dead. You’re being invited out to a rave by a ghost.
This isn’t actually a glitch. It qualifies as a quirk. The game treats ghosts the same way it treats living Sims so even after your Sims pass on, they still have cell service in the afterlife, apparently. Legacy players constantly get overwhelmed with phone calls from dead relatives asking them out to the bar, the club, or congratulating them on a new job, baby, or marriage. While most Simmers certainly don’t mind a bit of weird, quirky gameplay, we think this is just a tad creepy.
The only way to stop this from happening is to find the headstone or urn of all the dead Sims that your household knows and release their spirits to the netherworld. Or just go hit up the nightclub with grandpa. He’s probably bored in the afterlife, he could use a night out.
So you’ve decided to rid yourself of these nosy, intrusive ghosts calling you at all hours of the day and night but you’ve got one problem; their headstone or urn is nowhere to be found. You can’t find a way to release their spirit to the netherworld.
If you’ve already searched the lot where they died (usually their home) and can’t find any trace of a headstone or urn anywhere, you’re out of luck. You’ll just have to wait until the ghost fades away on its own after a period of time. This can take quite a while. Sometimes an entire generation or more.
But if you’re a mod user, once again, mods can come to your rescue. LittleMsSam has a mod that can generate a tombstone or urn for any ghost in the game, allowing you to release their spirit for good… or just fill up the family cemetery with cool tombstones, we’re not judging.
Occult Children and CAS do NOT Get Along
If you play with occult Sims a lot, you might have noticed some issues with occult toddlers and children, particularly mermaids and spellcasters.
Spellcaster toddlers and children do not keep the same eye colour, especially if you use one of the unnatural eye colours like purple. Every time you enter or exit CAS, their eyes will default to brown or red. It drove me so batty when I was raising a pair of spellcaster twins with purple eyes that I spent several hours experimenting with them to see if there was anything at all I could do to prevent their eyes from changing all the time. I couldn’t find any help for this anywhere.
The solution I managed to come up with works about 9 times out of 10. I don’t know why it works or why it still occasionally fails but the problem is mostly resolved now. To stop their eyes from changing when you exit CAS, make sure the child/toddler is the active Sim in CAS and that they are in their first everyday outfit. Then change their eyes to the colour they are supposed to be and immediately exit CAS without doing anything else. They must be in their first everyday outfit and they cannot have anything else changed after changing the eyes. This should cause the eyes to stay their intended colour when you exit CAS, at least most of the time.
To prevent their eyes from changing when entering CAS, avoid entering CAS with them if at all possible. If you play with mods, use MCCC to edit other household members separately if you need to edit any other Sims in the house at all. This will avoid bringing the toddler or child into CAS and prevent their eyes from changing. When you absolutely must edit the toddler or child, edit them separately, too. Ensure they are in their first everyday outfit and that changing their eyes is the last thing you do before leaving CAS.
For mermaid children and toddlers, it’s their skin details that don’t stick. Freckles, beauty marks, or anything of that nature will disappear every time you leave CAS with them. I still haven’t found a fix for this but you can try the fix I use for spellcasters and see if it helps for you.
What other quirky or annoying things do you notice about The Sims 4? There’s plenty more than what we’ve covered in this article.