Sims 4 Overthinking: Realism to a Point of Mildew

By Bay Posted Friday Dec 16, 2022

Filed under: Epilogue, The Sims Overthinking 8 comments

We’re almost ready to finally start cranking forward the years on this build. I only have two things on my to-do list before we can make that happen; a pantry, and a basement.

Neither of these things are made easy by The Sims 4 build-mode setup. The only closets that EA has given us are for clothes. I could scuff it and put one of those in the kitchen and just pretend it’s full of canned goods, but that isn’t how I roll. I could also, in theory, install a mod to help me out. The Sims 4 has fantastic mod support, which is amazing after the nearly entirely locked Sims 3. The problem is, I don’t like mods in my builds. I have all sorts of mods for my sims themselves, don’t get me wrong. Clothes, makeup, tattoos, it’s all on the table. But no build-mode mods is my general rule, because I like to make my shared content accessible. If I upload my house to the gallery and someone likes it enough to put it in their own world, I don’t like the idea of half the content being inaccessible without a bunch of hoops.

People generally get around this by just putting links to their mods in the description of the build. But, if I’m honest, there is almost no build on earth appealing enough to make me want to spend an hour fighting with Adfly and compatibility issues.

So, no mods and no scuffing it, looks like we have to build something from scratch.

I’ve thrown in a weird little wall area here between the kitchen and the living room, which will hold both the pantry and the basement, with some effort. First, the pantry.

This is an archway I’m placing, which has, for my convenience, gone entirely invisible for the screenshot, thanks EA! Just what I wanted!

Later, there will be a door here, but both for the sake of showing what I am doing, and actually seeing what I’m doing, we’re just putting the frame in for the moment.

Our sims will never be able to use this space, it’s too small and they have no functional reason to go in this weird, shelf-filled room. But for our benefit, you and I know there’s a pantry here for them to keep their food in and that’s what really matters.

The plain frame may return in later years if our residents ever get sick of smacking the pantry door on the kitchen island, but for now, it stays. The trends of the early 1900s were very much closed floor plans, which makes sense, they didn’t have central heating. Houses in the modern US have almost all been victims to the open floor plan and loft setups. It’s so so, very visually appealing, nice and open, and fucking impossible to heat. I myself live in a very nice loft, the upstairs is a little room that I suppose most people use for an office, I wouldn’t know, my disabled self can’t get up there.

Do you know what can get up there? Every ounce of heat our god-damned heater produces! Look at it up there! Warm! Snug! Festive! I bet it’s warm enough in that stupid loft space to not need to wear seventeen layers! The audacity of that stupid room to drive up our electric bill is insane, but I digress.

How our Sims build currently is, it’s heated ineffectively, but at least efficiently, by that puny single fireplace. Later once some idiot house flippers come through, it’ll be heated effectively by modern heating methods, but as inefficiently as possible. Gah, human hubris. Whatever, on to the basement.

I have no idea how those drain pipes got down here. It must have been during the building of the exterior that I put them in and I guess…didn’t notice as they vanished into the ether? We’ll just get rid of those in a minute here.

To be as realistic as possible, that ladder needs to be stairs. The issue is, The Sims 4 only offers stairs that would pass a building inspection, not break-your-neck steep things that are nearly a ladder. Besides, stairs take up a whopping five tiles, not including the landing, and we just don’t have space for that here. A ladder will have to do.

Hilariously enough, sims themselves would bitch and moan about the drywall from the before screenshot but have no issues with this brick-and-dirt unfinished basement.  Their little ‘mood’ would be negatively affected by the ‘unfinished space’ of just drywall and concrete, but have no care in the world about the arguably less finished stone and dirt.

This kind of drives me nuts, because it feels like it’s just punishing the player for not bothering to pick a color for the walls, instead of the sim actually caring what their surroundings look like. Then again, I wouldn’t really want them complaining about any ‘unfinished’ wall types either. The sims don’t really get context, so imagine you’ve made a hipster coffee shop with one exposed brick wall and your little sim won’t stop complaining about it. No, I think it would be better if they just didn’t complain about the drywall in the first place, but whatever.

This space will likely be used as a place to keep long-term preserved things like pickles and jams. In 1900 we aren’t quite to modern refrigeration yet, and basements stay cool most of the summer. Cold and dark is the perfect mix to avoid propagating bacteria, so a fruit cellar would have been recommended for food storage. Still, it isn’t a space people will spend a lot of time, so no need to fully finish it. In fact, finishing it might be exactly what you don’t want. Insulation might help you heat the space that you’re trying to keep intentionally cool. Then again, cool, dark, and dry are really what you want, and good luck keeping the damp out of that basement. Man, I can almost feel that brick right now. If it’s anything like the house I grew up in, it will be consistently cold, dark, and just a little bit wet all the time, yay, bet it smells great down there.


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8 thoughts on “Sims 4 Overthinking: Realism to a Point of Mildew

  1. Kaspar says:

    Huh, didnt know Sims4 isd mod friendly. I expected EA to keep it closed, so that they can sell more asset packs.

  2. Fizban says:

    More from the unsolicited advice crowd- have you tried closing off the loft space, or does the heat go straight up there through a vent? If it’s completely unused, you might be able to close it off with some thick blankets/drapes/etc. Or that could be far too much effort for little or no effect, as I’ve no experience (the unused rooms here have doors- I only use one space heater in my room and freeze my extremities off everywhere else, though I ought to get some drapes back over the window in the living room). Or I suppose if it does have vents, you could close those so at least it’s only soaking heat from the rest of the house rather than also doing so directly. Or you could seal up every non-door’d room with more curtains to keep their heat in, though again that could just be a pain in the ass.

    I like how immediately on board with hating this stupid design decision I am the moment the problem presents itself. Yay, design by people that will never interact with or use the space they’re designing! Heck, my high school was exactly that- It had giant open holes in the roof, in *Oregon*, because they used a plan from *California*. So every time it rained there was water leaking past the canopy covers all around the edges of the little “garden” spots inside.

  3. RCN says:

    I can smell that basement.

    Even though basements aren’t really a thing in Brazil (residential zoning laws mean you DON’T really own much under the surface of your residence, so anything besides the foundation is pretty much out of bounds. This is so that government wiring and plumbing don’t have to account for human “ingenuity” too.)

    Still, my grandparents’ large house in the south’s countryside is built of stone and brick. And it has this prevalent mildew/moldy smell that I associate a lot with my childhood because it actually gets cold there. As opposed to where I actually live in the Cerrado (think African Savannah, but exceptionally dry) where it is over 25º C (80º F) all year round except for a few weeks a year when it MIGHT get chilly during the night.

    As a bonus punch, that house also has a pantry (two actually). Where my grandmother keeps preserved peaches year-round in large glass jars from her peach orchard. I never lived in a house or apartment that had proper pantries.

  4. Dreadjaws says:

    Throughout this series I’ve learned a lot about housing that I had never even considered. I’ve never lived in a house with more than one floor, so I never thought how would that affect heating. That’d be one thing to consider if I ever think of moving into one.

    Also, I feel like an idiot, because I didn’t know you could build basements in these games. Or is it exclusive to the 4th title?

    1. Bay says:

      I don’t know about the first or second game, but both the third and fourth have basements. They are usually a pain and work just slightly differently from the rest of the building systems, making them an obnoxious learning curve of their own. In the third game, if you had a foundation for your home at all you couldn’t have a basement because the stairs weren’t compatible. In the forth game, it’s a little better and the only issues arise because the space outside the basement is a no-build zone, unless you add a bigger basement, which you can only do in a very specific way because of the no-build zone. It’s a mess.

      1. Octal says:

        Well, in the second game, you “can” have a “basement” (with stairs!), but it involves shenanigans with making an outline with foundation tiles, then using the dig tool and leveling it out at a certain level (which you determine via the wall pattern on a foundation tile next to it) and then you end up with a double wall (to hide the ground slope). There’s no special tool for it–you either figure something out yourself or look up a tutorial by a helpful player.

        You know. One of those things.

  5. William H says:

    These days, I just run games on my PC to keep my room warm

    1. djw says:

      I do that too. Unfortunately I like it cool.

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