If you've played the tutorial, you know Bob and Betty Newbie. This delightful
couple provides a nice, safe introduction to The Sims because the game's Motive
engine mutes the usual degradation of their needs until you complete the
In other words, neither Bob's nor Betty's needs drop very fast while the
is active. Most, in fact, won't drop at all.
After Betty Newbie appears, ignore the tutorial directions for a while. Instead,
get jobs for the Newbies, buy the espresso machine, put the game on Ultra Speed,
and focus entirely on raising Bob's and Betty's skills.
The Hunger motive is frozen, so they won't need to eat. And, although they'll
lose Energy at work and while exercising to increase their Body skill, they can
recover by using the espresso machine five or six times instead of sleeping.
After that, the super-Newbies move with alacrity up the ladder of success as
make more friends.
After you get jobs for Bob and Betty and build up all of their skills, just let
the game run on Ultra Speed. Walk away. In fact, let it sit overnight. In the
morning your Newbies will be stinking rich.
Then you can finish the tutorial, create your own Sim family, kill off either
or Betty, and have one of your own Sims marry the surviving Newbie to bring his
or her money-making skills and the entire Newbie estate into your household.
If you're feeling particularly cold-blooded, kill off the Newbie you married and
keep the money for your Sim widow or widower. Then marry someone you like
But remember, one of these maxed-out Newbies can be the workhorse of your
getting quick promotions with big paychecks, bonuses, and other good stuff.
Low-level jobs don't pay well, but it's the only employment you can find early
the game. The more workers you have bringing home paychecks at that time, the
Start a full-house "family" of eight Sim adults with the bare essentials for
survival. Start seven Sims working right away and keep one poor slob home to
house. Focus on the key survival motives—Hunger and Energy—but keep at least
three of your folks in a good enough mood to advance their careers.
You can just kill off the extra workers later, when the careers of your primary
Sims stabilize and you have the equipment you need to get their motives up
quickly and work on skills.
Create your family and move them onto a lot, but don't give them jobs. Next,
create a bunch of one-Sim "families," maxing out each Sim's personality with
and Outgoing points. Then move one of these single-Sim families into each
remaining empty lot in the neighborhood. Give each lone Sim a small end table, a
phone and absolutely nothing else. Return to your family.
Now your family's entire focus is to meet, greet, befriend, flirt, and
marry every one of the lone Sim neighbors on the block. (Or, if the neighbors
the same sex, to convince them to join your household.)
Whenever you marry the last adult Sim from another household, you gain not only
mate but also his or her entire net worth.
Here are some less tricky, more straightforward ways to get on the right track
early. These tried and true methods come courtesy of our resident staff of Prima
Keep Things Manageable at First
A good starter family has just two adults, one with high Outgoing and Nice
traits. Keep your nice, outgoing Sim at home doing housework, preparing meals,
and making friends in the neighborhood. Send the other Sim to work. This way,
meeting the family friend requirement for job promotions is no sweat for the
working Sim, thanks to the stay-at-home partner.
Be a Good House Spouse and Get up Early
Stay-at-home Sims should wake an hour or two before their working partners and
prepare a group meal so the partners get as much rest as possible.
Stay-at-Home Partners Should Spend Time Reading Books on Cooking and Mechanical
High Cooking skill boosts the Hunger satisfaction of meals prepared on stoves
in ovens and microwaves. Plus, it reduces the possibility of fire disasters.
Mechanical skill lets you fix plumbing and appliances yourself, avoiding the
of hiring a Repairman. So when stay-at-home partners aren't tidying up or making
friends, they should be hitting the bookshelf, hard.
Other Sims Are Entertaining and Cheap
People are better than toys—at first, anyway. In the early going, save money by
having Sims entertain one another to boost their Fun scores, instead of buying
expensive toys and electronics. This boosts both Fun and Social scores. It also
builds the Relationship score between the two Sims involved in the exchange.
Build Skills Before Job Seeking
Build a very modest home and buy the barest minimum of amenities to save money.
Don't take jobs right away. Instead, have Sims spend all of their spare time
building skills for several days, until their bankroll gets low. Building skills
takes time, but it accelerates job promotions.
Skip Work Regularly to Spend Entire Days on Skill-Building Activities
Sims get fired only if they miss work two days in a row. So take days off
regularly. In fact, consider working only every other day at first. Spend the
days building the skills that most apply to your chosen career.
You miss out on some pay, but it's worth it because you gain salary-boosting
promotions faster. Remember, skipping work has no effect on your job performance
rating—unless, of course, you skip two days in a row.
When you first jumped into The Sims, you probably moved one of the game's pre-
made families into the neighborhood. Then, of course, you got the itch to create
your own Sims. When you create your own Sim family, you select their heads,
bodies, and—wonder of wonders—their personality traits.
How Personality Affects Sim Behavior
When you construct a Sim, you assign points to five personality traits—Neat,
Outgoing, Active, Playful, and Nice—in the Create a Sim screen. Changing the
totals for these traits changes your Sim's attraction to certain activities and
to other Sim types. For example, a playful Sim is more likely to be drawn to a
pinball machine than to a bookshelf.
Assigning points from 0 to 10 for each trait is like moving a slider bar between
opposites. At 0 points, your Sim actually manifests the opposite of a particular
trait. Thus, there are really 10 personality traits in The Sims, set up as pairs
of opposites. They are: Neat/Messy—Outgoing/Shy—Active/Lazy—Playful/Serious—and—
Smooth-running Sim households often mix Sims with different traits for an
efficient division of labor—a neatnik housekeeper, a nice and outgoing friend-
maker, and so forth.
Choose your personalities to fit the roles you want your Sims to play. Neat Sims
make very good stay-at-home cleaners. Outgoing and Nice helps a Sim looking to
make family friends. Playful makes the Entertain and Joke interactions more
readily available. Active Sims keep on the go and don't get uncomfortable
Good relationships are important to a Sim's ongoing struggle to get ahead. One
primary objective in The Sims is to raise Relationship scores past the fifty
point mark (the "friendship threshold") with as many Sim neighbors as possible.
The more friends you make, the higher you can climb on your career ladder.
Relationships decay two points on both sides every day, whether the other Sim
lives in your house or not. When a Sim's Relationship score with a friend falls
close to fifty, the friend calls to say, "We need to see each other more often."
When trying to build friendships, avoid letting Sims choose their own social
interactions with other Sims. They often make horrible decisions. The best way
build a good relationship with another Sim quickly: talk until the Relationship
score hits thirty. Compliment until sixty. Hug until one hundred.
Avoid activating the "love bit," however. Don't kiss other Sims unless you're
really looking for a mate. Love can slow the friend-making process because it
provokes jealousy. Just make friends and send them on their way.
Influence of Mood and Personality
A Sim's Playful, Nice, and Outgoing personality settings influence the
interactions they choose. Consult the astrological signs for clues about which
Sims get along and which will clash. Sims in a bad mood, however, are very
to have negative social interactions regardless of their personality traits. If
either Sim engaged in a one-on-one social interaction—talking, joking, and so
is in a bad mood, that interaction is more likely to have a negative outcome.
Talk interests are ingrained. Different Sims have different interests. There is
one exception to this rule, however. An adult will "map" his/her talk topics to
match those of a kid. Sims with similar interests are likely to have very
rewarding conversations. Keep an eye on the topic icons that appear in the talk
bubbles above the heads of conversing Sims. Keep track of which neighbors share
There are twelve general conversation topics in The Sims. Four are adult-only,
four are kid-only, and four are available to both kids and adults. Every Sim has
a high, medium, or low interest level (based on a scale of 1 to 10) in each
conversation topic. These interest levels are assigned arbitrarily when a
character is created and they never change.
How Sim Conversations Work
The person who initiates a conversation always leads with a high-interest topic.
A conversation is capped at four back-and-forth volleys of talk, but may end
before that point due to low interest. Whether the conversation continues
on each listener's interest level in the topic being discussed.
A listener with a high interest in the topic will randomly display one of the
topic's three icons. A listener with low interest in the topic, or one who
changes the subject, displays an X balloon—a talk balloon showing the topic's
icon with an X through it.
When Sims talk while doing something else (such as watching TV or eating), they
run a different kind of conversation algorithm, called Group Talk. The Sims take
turns speaking about something of high interest to the speaker. (This is a good
way to find out visitors' interests.) Speaking Sims get eight Social points and
one Relationship point toward the Sim they're talking to—that is, the Sim in the
group who responds to them.
In Group Talk, Sims may disagree but there is no relationship loss. They also
don't have to worry about matching topics with each other. Thus, group
present nice, safe ways to boost Social and Relationship scores without risking
When Social Life Goes Sour
Most social interactions have more than one possible outcome. Mood, Motive
levels, personality type, Relationship scores, and other factors influence that
outcome. In turn, the outcome (good, bad, or indifferent) affects Social and
Relationship scores, those twin indicators of social health.
Thus, if things start going bad, your Sim can get caught in a downward social
spiral. Bad scores trigger bad interactions, which in turn send scores south
still further. In fact, it can be very, very difficult to salvage any
relationship, much less a bad one, with your Social score mired in the red.
Here's our advice on escaping this trap.
First, fill your house with group activity objects that trigger the automatic
Group Talk interaction. Group Talk situations eliminate negative interactions.
Even Sims that hate you will get a positive social buzz from a soak in the hot
Second, avoid one-on-one interactions with other Sims until you've raised your
Social score to at least 0, preferably higher. After that, limit your social
choices to Talk. Talking may trigger negative outcomes, but the risk is
minimized. Keep talking and arranging Group Talk activities until your Social
Relationship scores climb back into a good green range.
Jealousy is a bad thing. It slaughters the Social motive, big time. Let's say
Betty loves Sim Bob. Both are in the same room. If Sim Jezebel enters and tries
to engage in a dicey interaction with Bob, Betty will get jealous. If Betty gets
jealous, look out. She crosses her arms for a moment. Her Social score drops
a rock. Then she'll likely slap the snot out of Jezebel, flushing the harlot's
Social scores right down the tubes, too.
Sims can be vicious, given certain circumstances. A jealous or grouchy Sim can
manifest dark feelings by attacking another Sim. Dust flies, smoke clears, and
there's the loser, humiliated on the floor, with the winner crowing above.
Fortunately, strict rules govern this sort of Neanderthal behavior. Adults can
attack other adults, but never kids. Kids can attack other kids, but not adults.
Fights are moderated by the Nice personality trait. A very nice Sim will almost
never attack, while a not-so-nice Sim (one with a Nice score of zero) is much
more likely to. Adults might decide to move out of the house if attacked by a
family member (twenty-five percent chance), but kids won't. Any visitor who ends
up on the losing end of an attack will leave the house immediately.
Friendship is a key state in The Sims. Job advancement is impossible without
building a network of neighborhood friends. Two Sims don't become "friends"
both have a relationship to each other of at least 50. When this happens, you
that little blue smiley face appear below each other's picture in the
Relationships subpanel and above their heads on the game screen.
Friendships are two-way streets, though. If the relationship of either Sim
the other drops below 50, the blue face disappears and the friendship ends—at
least, until you repair it with some good socializing. Fortunately, friends warn
you via phone call when their score falls near 50.
The Genie's "Friend" Spell
The Antique Lamp's genie, added in the Livin' Large expansion pack, gives his
summoners random opportunities to choose a "Friends/Family" spell. If you choose
Friends, the spell's outcome has an equal chance to be good or bad. If good, the
genie gives a hefty boost to the Relationship score between the Sim and a random
acquaintance, and he also raises both Sims' motives to 70. This usually leads to
The bad outcome, as you might imagine, is just the opposite, pushing down both
Relationship scores and various motive scores—which often leads to bad moods and
Romance in The Sims can be one-sided. If your Sim develops at least a 70
Relationship with another Sim, and then performs a "romantic interaction" (Hug,
Kiss, Flirt, Give Backrub) with him or her, your Sim will likely fall in love.
Only then will the pie menu give your Sim the choice to Propose. Remember,
unlike friendship, love can be a one-way transaction.
The nuptial ceremony takes place automatically when a one Sim accepts another's
marriage proposal. Don't blink. It happens pretty fast. Then the new spouse
brings a job and income into the household. If the spouse was the only adult in
the previous home, the new partner brings his or her net worth, and kids, if
(This leaves the ex-house empty and up for sale.) Interestingly, if a marrying
Sim has kids, and another adult (a suffering ex-spouse, perhaps) remains in the
old house, the kids stay put.
Livin' Large Love Aids
The Livin' Large expansion pack adds a couple of catalog items that can kick
start a stagnant love life. Sims using the "Concatenation Station" Home
Set make one of eight random potions. The red one is the Love Potion; when
it causes the drinker and his/her lowest-rated acquaintance (based on
Relationship scores) of the opposite gender to fall in love.
The Antique Lamp's genie can cast a Love spell that has an equal chance of good
or bad outcomes. The good outcome causes the Sim summoner and his/her highest-
rated non-lover (based on Relationship scores) of the opposite gender to fall in
Deadbeat families don't last long in The Sims. They may draw a lucky "chance
card" here and there to keep them alive for a few more weeks but, sooner or
later, the food runs out and burial urns appear. Fortunately, jobs are easy to
get and career advancement is a large part of the fun in The Sims. It's an
invigorating challenge to follow a career track to the top.
The original version of The Sims features ten career tracks—Business,
Entertainment, Law Enforcement, Life of Crime, Medicine, Military, Politics, Pro
Athlete, Science, and Xtreme. The Livin' Large expansion pack adds five more—
Musician, Slacker, Paranormal, Journalism, and Hacker.
Each career track has ten positions, starting with low-paying flunky jobs, such
as Waiter, Team Mascot, and Golf Caddy, and building up to top-level glamour
gigs, such as Business Tycoon, Criminal Mastermind, and our personal favorite,
Permanent Celebrity Party Guest.
Sims don't build skills autonomously. You must direct the little folks to better
themselves. (Of course, Sims in a bad mood won't engage in any skill-building
activity except to earn Body points in the pool.) Once a Sim earns a skill point
by interacting with a particular skill-building object—say, playing piano or
guitar for Creativity—the Sim may continue using that object until the mood
rating drops below a certain value, causing an "exit condition."
Sims may engage in skill-building activities even after maxing out their skills.
For example, a Sim with a Body skill rating of 10 can still work out on an
exercise machine. Why you would inflict such punishment on an innocent Sim is
between you and your conscience, however.
How to Improve Skills
Each succeeding skill point takes longer and longer to earn. A Sim may need to
engage in a skill-building activity for only one hour to get the first skill
point. Gaining the second skill point will take two hours, the third three
and so on.
Always buy a bookshelf right away. If money is tight, buy the cheapest one. Use
bookshelves to raise Cooking skills to lower the risk of cooking fires and
increase the value of cooked food. A Sim can study Maintenance skills, as well,
to effectively eliminate the need to call the Repairman every time something
With the exception of the Goths and the Newbies, all families start with a net
worth of 20,000 simoleans. Net worth includes lot price, the depreciated value
the house (and other architectural items), the depreciated value of objects, and
household funds. Lots come in three sizes; size and location determine lot cost.
When a family moves, all purchased objects are deleted from the house and the
depreciated value is credited to the family's funds.
Object depreciation is relevant to your Sim family's net worth and bill amounts
and to the amount of money you get when you sell objects. Each object you
purchase (other than art objects, which follow different rules) has an initial
and daily depreciation, as well as a depreciation limit.
You may return the stuff you buy for a full refund before midnight on the day of
your purchase. After your Sims own an item for one full Sim day, however, its
worth decreases by an initial depreciation value—a percentage of the object's
original cost. This percentage varies according to the object's category when
sorted by function in the catalog—Electronics, Decorative, Lighting, and so
The daily depreciation is one percent of the item's original value.
A Note About Clothes
In The Sims, all clothes are free—normal clothes, work clothes, formal wear,
swimwear, PJs. Not only that, but you can change your Sim's daily outfit at no
charge. Well, not exactly no charge; you need a dresser or armoire. If you have
one, click on it and select Change Clothes. Your Sim will don a different outfit
from the one you assigned originally back in the Create a Sim screen. Selecting
Change Clothes creates a new default outfit. That is, whenever your Sim takes a
shower or bath or gets out of bed, he or she puts on this new set of clothes.
Your Sim can also change their body type at the dresser/armoire—losing or
Rich or poor, you can't ignore bills—not in real life and not in The Sims. So
don't forget to check the mailbox. The letter carrier delivers bills to your
Sims' home every three days. (The red mailbox flag goes up to alert you when
bills arrive.) It takes ten days for bills to become overdue. They turn yellow
after three days, orange after six, and red after nine. Pay your bills by the
tenth day, or the pitiless Repo Man will pay you a visit.
Sim families have an extremely efficient network of services available to them.
Firefighter, Police Officer, Maid, Repairman, Gardener, Newspaper, and Pizza
Deliverers—all are quite competent in The Sims. We highly recommend you take
advantage of these services, regardless of your means.
Each service has a daily work-hour limit. Service providers work until they
finish the job, unless the time exceeds the work-hour limit. When they finish
their work, they flash the day's charge over their heads and leave. That amount
is deducted from your household account automatically.
The Livin' Large expansion pack offers you a nifty but very expensive
for the Maid, Repair, and Gardening services. Introducing Servo, the amazing
robot who cooks, cleans, entertains and gives you backrubs when your Social is
low, repairs, and gardens.
Sims don't need to be neat as long as they have a Maid and she's a major
Try this: When creating a new family, don't give any points to the Neat
personality trait. Just hire a maid on Day One and forget about cleaning up.
Sims can die. That's bad. If they die on your property, they create an urn
(inside the house) or tombstone (outside the house). But departed Sims don't
consider urns or tombstones to be sufficient memorials. In fact, they want to
keep their icy fingers in your business.
So every night at 11 p.m., every urn and tombstone on your lot has a one in
chance of spewing out the ghost of the dead Sim buried there. Then the ghosts
come haunt your house.
Each ghost is a pale version of its predeath self. However, ghosts are invisible
much of the time. They glide around the house making a ghostly sound. This is
amusing, but it has a downside. The moaning wakes up adults (but not kids)
sleeping in the same room. So it's really bad for healthy sleep patterns.
If a Sim is awake when the ghost enters the room, things get even more fun. The
ghost remains invisible until it slips behind the Sim. Then it suddenly becomes
visible and scares the poor Sim. The scared Sim's reaction is to panic and run
away. If more than two Sims are awake in the room, the ghost will scare the
closest. If no one in the room is awake, the ghost will wander around sadly for
while, and then disappear.
Ghosts won't climb stairs. If you have a two-story house, put your Sims'
on the second floor and keep urns on the ground floor. This keeps ghosts from
awakening your Sims in the middle of the night.
Getting Rid of Ghosts
Ghosts are deleted if you delete their urn/tombstone or bulldoze the lot. If an
urn is included among the objects in a house when a family is evicted, it gets
sold with the rest of the stuff. However, if a tombstone is in the yard when a
family is evicted, the tombstone remains (as if it were an architectural