The Sims 3 FAQ
Learn about Gameplay, System, and Expansions
This Sims 3 FAQ was originally written for the PC and Mac versions of the game, but also will help owners of the console versions - PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. Please remember some info or numbers may have changed.
Welcome to my Sims 3 FAQ. Here you'll find answers to FAQs about getting around the interface (moving item stacks), where to find objects like aquariums, information about aging, and buying clothes. If you have a question for the Sims 3 FAQ, please contact us at our The Sims 3 Forum. If I can't answer your question, maybe another Simmer can!
Sims 3 System Performance and File FAQs
What are the Sims 3 System Requirements?
The Sims 3 Windows XP System Requirements
The Sims 3 Windows Vista System Requirements
The Sims 3 Mac OS X System Requirements
What Graphics Cards Does the Sims 3 Support?
This information comes from the Official Sims 3 Site. Keep in mind that if you are using a laptop, and your graphics are on board, you may not experience great results with the graphics if it barely makes the list.
FX 5900, FX 5950 6200, 6500, 6600, 6800, 7200, 7300, 7600, 7800, 7900, 7950, 8400, 8500, 8600, 8800, 9300, 9400, 9500, 9600, 9800, G100, GT 120, GT 130, GTS 150, GTS 250, GTX 260, GTX 280, GTX 285, GTX 295
ATI Radeon™ series:
9500, 9600, 9800, X300, X600, X700, X800, X850, X1300, X1600, X1800, X1900, X1950, 2400, 2600, 2900, 3450, 3650, 3850, 3870, 4850, 4870
Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA):
GMA 3-Series, GMA 4-Series
So clearly, most newer mainstream graphics cards will work well with the game.
The Sims 3 is slow, laggy and almost annoying to try to play. What can I do to increase the game performance and frame rate?
While I can't know your system stats, I can advise you to try to tweak with the graphics settings. If you want to see what noticable impact each setting makes when you change it, open the cheat console using Control + Shift + C and type fps on. This will show you how many frames per second the game is running at, useful to see what settings are causing the biggest slowdown in framerate.
Usually, the biggest impacts on frame rate can be made by ensuring that edge smoothing is off and the resolution is at the lowest setting you can tolerate. If you have a widescreen monitor and a poor pc, you might be out of luck as it takes a bit more muscle to run the game at 1680x1050 resolution. It goes without saying, but please make sure there aren't any programs running in the background. Antivirus scanners can cause a lot of trouble with system performance.
If all else fails, an upgrade may be in order. Consult your local geek!
Is the Sims 3 Multiplayer?
In a word, no. You can't really interact with other players as it's a single player game. You can buy stuff from the store for real cash and share your Sims' experiences with friends. Overall, they've made it a bit more friendly to content sharing but that's about it.
How do I transfer my saved games to another computer?
Find your Sims 3 folder in My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves. Copy them to your flash drive, or email them to yourself at the other machine and place them in the save folder in the same location.
Where are the Sims 3 Screenshots stored?
They're in the My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Screenshots folder along with the videos folder and the custom music folder where you can place your own mp3s to listen to on the radio in-game.
My Saved Game is corrupted and no longer visible in the game launcher. How do I recover my Sims 3 save game files?
I've written detailed instructions for resolving this corrupted game issue, and using the backup saved games files in this forum thread. You do not need to register to view these instructions.
Sims 3 Interface and Menu FAQs
How can I see the individual items in a stack?
Click the triangle in the upper left corner of the image. This expands the view of each item. This is useful for queueing up multiple smelts of gold for a collector, or ensuring you are planting the best quality produce in your inventory.
How do I sell multiple items to the Supermarket?
This is a really useful tip for gardeners and fishermen, because they will often have massive stacks of food in their inventories. You can sell many of a single fruit, vegetable or fish type by adding one to the grocery list, then typing in the number you want to sell in the text box on the sell list, on the right side of the panel.
How do I put multiple items in the refrigerator?
This is simple, but easy to overlook. When you are selecting items in your Sim's inventory to drag to the fridge, click the blue arrow in the top corner instead of the actual portrait. If you do this, you'll drag the whole stack rather than one item at a time. Be sure to store food from your gardening and fishing endeavours so they don't spoil and you can later use them for cooking.
Note that if you are making the perfect private aquarium, you'll need to have a room full of these small fish bowls to complete the lifetime wish.
Where is a clothing store? How can my Sim get more clothes?
There is no clothing store as of yet in the Sims 3. Instead, your Sims always have access to the full wardrobe the Sims 3 has to offer. To access the clothing, use a dresser or wardrobe. Click it, and select plan outfit. This will take you to build a sim mode, where you can modify each type of outfit your Sim will wear. I wish there could be more outfits!
How do I sell my Sim's Rocks, Gems, Seeds, Books, Insects, Metal Ingots, or other stuff they find?
This is an easily overlooked feature that will allow you to sell your Sim's collected items from their inventory, without going to town. To sell an item anywhere, click the item and drag it to the simoleon icon to the left of the inventory. The game will ask if you really want to sell the item. Do it, and you're done. As far as I know, this is the only way to sell items like space rocks, gems and seeds. You should donate insects, like butterflies and beetles to the Science Lab in town for more money.
Sims 3 Gameplay FAQs
What are, and How Many, Personality Traits are in the Game?
A lot of people wonder this. I can understand, as the number of personality traits will lend a lot of replayability to the game. You shouldn't be disappointed, as there are a grand total of 63 distinct regular personality traits (click to see a full list) in vanilla Sims 3. There are also a number of hidden traits that can only be chosen by babies born under a Sim with a particular career.
How many Skills are in the Sims 3?
I consider there to be eleven skills in the Sims 3. Alphabetically: Athletic, Charisma, Collecting, Cooking, Fishing, Gardening, Guitar, Handiness, Logic, Painting, and Writing. Collecting isn't like the other skills. You don't improve it like the others, but your Sims can complete skill challenges that give the skill bonuses. I suppose this makes sense, as you're only picking things up. Still, it is listed in the skill journal and features many challenges to unlock.
What's the best way to make money in the Sims 3?
In short, there is no one best way to earn money in the Sims 3, but there are a lot of good ways. Earning the upper promotions in any career path will provide a solid, steady salary that should be enough to sustain any Sim's lifestyle. All of them provide nice money, but some are far better than others. Look to my Sims 3 Career Guide for information on the differences between the uppermost career positions. I really feel that the self-employed skills are best, most powerful money-making tools.
Painting and Writing can both earn hefty sums of money, although providing just enough profit to cover the bills at first. Authors and Artists can both be shut-ins with the hates the outdoors trait and never leave the house for anything. That doesn't sound like a very good life, but they can earn a lot of money by focusing on building wealth.
Gardening has perhaps even more potential but requires more effort on the part of your Sim. A husband and wife team that could start tending the garden on opposite ends of a farm could make very good money. They'd be rich in no time with a nice automatic sprinkler system and the challenges completed that cut back on weeds.
Playing guitar is hit and miss money-wise. I found that on some days there just weren't many people out in the town. You can of course alleviate this by pausing the game and having a look at the town to see where you can get at least 3-4 listeners. Even doing your best, you never know exactly how much money you'll make in a given day.
To read more about the various ways to make money in the Sims 3 that doesn't involve being in a career, read my Sims 3 Money Making Guide
I recommend any type of job where you are self-employed because you have control over the hours you work! You can also work longer hours, and thus earn even more money than the Sims stuck behind a desk.
Help! My Sim isn't getting any opportunities
If you're a work at home Sim, such as a gardener, you should know that you won't be getting career opportunities. Also, your Sim can only have one opportunity of each type at one time. With this in mind, have a look at your opportunties tab and see if an opportunity is already listed that needs to be completed (or deleted by right-clicking) before a new one will present itself.
When will my Sim grow old and die?
If you wonder how many days your Sim will still be alive, look in the Simology tab in the interface. There will be a bar between two Sim silhouettes. This is the aging bar, and it will say how many days it will take for your Sim to reach the age transition. Once they're an elder, the only age transition is death. Once a Sim reaches the maximum age, they will fall over dead at random, usually within a few days. Looking here, you can see how long it will be until a baby grows into a toddler, or a young adult into a mature adult.
To change your Sims' life spans, go to the options menu and the game options tab. There you can increase or reduce Sims' Life Spans, and disable aging all together. You needn't worry about your Sim having a random heart attack at old age. Their day of death is set in stone. The only thing you need fear are cases of preventable death, such as electrocution, fire, starvation and drowning. Having a single death flower in your Sim's inventory will help to save them from the reaper, as they can give it in exchange for their life.
My Sim is already an elder! How can I make them younger?
Unfortunately, you can't. Not even eating ambrosia will restore youth - it will push them back to the beginning of that life stage. Life fruit will also make Sims younger, by one day.
How can I stop my Sims from having children, getting married, aging, and making crazy life choices while I'm playing another household in the same save game?
If you want your Sim's household to stay the way you left it while you're playing a different family, go to the game options menu and uncheck enable story progression.
How Many Skills Can a Sim Master in the Sims 3?
You can master all of the skills in the game. This may or may not be possible depending on how the aging setting is configured in your game.
How Can I change my Sim's Name in The Sims 3?
You can change a Sim's name by clicking on the city hall building in Live Mode. Note that the change name option only appears in the day time.
How do I Steal?
If you wonder how to steal in the Sims 3, know that you're going to need the kleptomaniac trait. Then, you can steal at night time while on another lot. You can only steal something three times per night. This works on Sims' homes and public lots that are out in the open (sorry, no more art gallery heists). Target rich Sims for your theft, like the Landgraabs and Agnes Crumplebottom. Sims can even steal cars and furniture. After your Sim steals, they can click a mailbox to return the stolen item.
Sims 3 Gameplay Troubleshooting FAQsI cannot assist you with hardware and other technical troubleshooting
Where are the Aquariums in the Sims 3? I can't find them.
Aquariums are found under the study tab in buy mode's sort by room. Click the easel, which is the skills and hobbies tab. The first item is an aquarium, which is small. I hope they will make a new aquarium for the game at some point, so we could have multiple fish. I suppose it would look silly for a Shark to swim next to a Minnow, but then again shrinking a 100kg swordfish to the size of a bowling ball is already a stretch of the imagination.
What is up with this Unfinished Room?
If you are having trouble getting rid of an unfinished room, look to make sure every tile in the room has a floor and wall covering of some kind. If your walls are down or cutaway, consider raising the walls because it can be hard to click the unfinished sections of walls near doors. Rotate the camera and make sure every spot on the wall is covered!
Where is the fireplace in the Sims 3?
The fireplaces are actually purchased in build mode. In build mode, look to the house model and click the chimney for fireplaces.
Does the Sims 3 even have a Hot Tub? I can't find it!
That's what I said! My Playboy Sim wants WooHoo in the hot yub. Sadly, the Sims 3 just doesn't have a hot tub yet. It appears that Electronic Arts is either going to offer it in the Sims Store, or release it with an expansion. I'm excited for the inevitable arrival of the hot tub, because most objects in the Sims 3 have many more actions tied to them than before. The hot tub is sure to have more romantic and relaxation actions once it's made available.
Sims 3 Lifetime Wish, Reward and Happiness Point FAQs
What are Lifetime Happiness points in the Sims 3 and how do I get them?
Lifetime Happiness are points gained when Sims are happy. Every second they're happy, they'll get a point. If you complete wishes, you can get instant lifetime happiness points, which can be hundreds or thousands of points. Completing a lifetime wish will infuse your Sim with a large, usually over 30,000 point boost, to lifetime happiness points.
What are Lifetime Rewards? How many Lifetime Rewards Can a Sim Buy?
Lifetime rewards can be purchased with lifetime happiness points. There is no limit to how many lifetime rewards your Sim can buy. To view a list of all lifetime rewards, go to my Lifetime Reward Guide/List.
What happens when my Sim completes their Lifetime Wish? Can I choose another wish?
Sims can only have one lifetime wish. They can switch wishes using a lifetime reward, but once completed this option is gone. So, your Sim can only complete one lifetime wish, ever. Completing the wish will give your Sim a massive boost to lifetime happiness points, and give them a mood boost for a day or so. So, other than the points there's no real bonus.
My Sim's Lifetime Wish is to Marry a Rich Sim. Who are the Rich Sims in Sunset Valley and Riverview?
So, you elected to play the Gold Digger. I won't bother to list every rich Sim, as I'm not seeing a point for it. I can tell you one great tip for finding a rich Sim that's sure to work. You can simply go to the map view, and look for the mansions in the town. Since your Sims can get out in the world in this incarnation of the franchise, you can simply head to the houses and ring the doorbell. Do it at a respectable hour! Meet and greet the rich folks in the town and get to work schmoozing your target! Read about the Gold Digger lifetime wish, and how I completed it here