The Sims 4: Loading Screens & The World Explained
Posted by The Sims 4

 
Loading Screens in The Sims 4 are confusing many players (myself included), so with some new clarification from Gurus, let’s all try to understand this together. :P
 


Worlds in The Sims 4

Willow Creek, the first confirmed world for The Sims 4, is a New Orleans inspired world divided into six individual neighborhoods. Only one neighborhood and lot in the world can be active at one time.
 

World – The world is split into 6 playable neighborhoods, but is not an “open world” like The Sims 3. Only one individual neighborhood can be active and played at one time.
 

Neighborhoods – There are 6 confirmed neighborhoods in Willow Creek. Five neighborhoods have up to five lots within them (both residential and community), and the sixth neighborhood is a large park called Magnolia Blossom.
 

Lots – There can only be up to 5 lots in each neighborhood, and only one active lot loaded at a time.
 

Public Spaces – Public spaces are the open areas of a neighborhood that are not part of a lot. In The Sims 4, public spaces in each active neighborhood will be fully loaded at all times, and Sims will be able to roam these areas of the world freely.

 

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Loading Screens

Loading screens in The Sims 4 have a stylized Plumbob in the center, with text strings passing through at the bottom. According to Gurus, loading screens will take less than 30 seconds of your time, and only appear when traveling between worlds, neighborhoods, and lots.
 
 
The following is a simple yes/no on which travels trigger loading screens:

• World to World: Yes

• Neighborhood to Neighborhood: Yes

• Lot to Lot: Yes

• Switching between Sims on two different lots: Yes

• Public Space to non-active lot: Yes

• Public Space to active lot (and vice versa): No

 

load screen

Unofficial representation of the loading screen

 
 


Traveling with Sims & Aging

Active Sims can travel to any neighborhood/lot in the world, and you as the player can follow right along with them. If you have more than one Sim in your household, you can send them all to other parts of the world without you. When switching between two Sims on different lots, you will incur a loading screen.
 
Sims outside the active neighborhood can still be controlled to a minimum using a new system called “away actions”. To quote SimGuruGraham, you can “choose other specific Sims for them to socialize with, you can build specific skills, can sleep, can have them maintain their needs…things like careers have their own set of away actions that are more relevant to their work.”
 

Quote from Graham: You can send Sims off to different neighborhoods, different lots, they’ll continue simulating in the background, so wherever they are, if they’re not active on your lot at that time, time is still passing. If you go somewhere and then come back after a few hours, that time will have passed, so they’re still thinking, they’re doing their life simulation and actually, there’s some small little ‘away actions’ is what we’re calling them, that you can start to have actions for your Sim while they’re away, so you can give them little tasks to do while they’re gone doing their own thing.
 
Aging: We have two different options in game, if you want to enable automatic aging for your own Sims, for played households, or if you want to enable it for all the NPCs in the world. So you can have your own Sims automatically aging and let everyone else just not age, that’s totally an option.
 
The entire world can age, that’s an option and that’ll all happen no matter if you’re loaded there or not, they’re going to continue to age. The difference there between played households and NPC households? Played households are families that you have played so I can jump between my household and another household and they can both be aging if I want them to, or I can turn that back off, that’s kind of where the distinction is.

 

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259 Comments Were Written on This Topic!
  1. Luke says:

    Loading screens….EA, why would you go and REVERT back to the very thing you said you’d remove?!

    Pfft, Just wait for the next Expansion pack: The Sims 4: No Loading screens!

    First no pools and toddlers and no Create a style…what’s next?

    I’m just gonna wait till EA says: “sorry, were not adding ghosts into sims 4, and you can’t restore dead sims cause we wanted Emotions. Aka What the Sims 2 failed at with aspirations.”

    EA, even Yamaha and Crypton Future Media improved their VOCALOIDs.

    CFM: Introducing Hatsune Miku V3 ENGLISH, AND HATSUNE MIKU V3, NO MORE ROBOTIC VOCAL, 10000% Higher quality and A TOTAL UPGRADE AND IMPROVEMENT TO HATSUNE MIKU V2!

    EA: Introducing The Sims 2, ACT2, 1000% LESS “PLAY WITH LIFE”!!!!!!

    Ugh I’m done with EA…

    1. Johnny says:

      Byeeee

    2. DeemsDogStomper says:

      I love the new features! Means that older machines are able to run The Sims 4 more smoothly!

      1. Jenna says:

        You mean you love the lack of features.

    3. pnbyron says:

      Ghosts are removed from the game. I do think this is starting to turn into a slighly better graphic version of The Sims 2.

  2. kristine says:

    I’m a tad bit disappointed that we are not going to be having an ‘open world’ likr the sims 3, but the fact that we will be able to go from sim-to-sim, unlike TS2, makes me feel a little bit better. :) Excited for TS4!!

    1. kristine says:

      Like*

    2. Sai says:

      Except you’ll get a loading screen every time, unlike Sims 3.

      1. MEG says:

        So what? they’re like 15 seconds long. You don’t have any patience for 15 to 25 seconds? You’ll get far in life…

        1. Sai says:

          So what? So innovation should move forward not backward. It’s insulting to the intelligence of their consumer base that they’re pushing this as a full entry in the series.

          1. SugarySweets says:

            I honestly think it’s much better because its faster and better than it was in the sims 3. The Sims 3 is so laggy and would crash most of the time (for some users). It would take around 15 minutes for my game to load and the gameplay is awful. Yes open worlds are pretty amazing but, NPCS barely load in any public area I go. So it’s pretty much a ghost town except for my household. I only own the base game and I have plenty of space available.

            Up to 30 seconds of loading screens,and loaded NPCS? Yes please!

          2. nittykitty says:

            exactly! When I heard there would be loading screens, I was thinking, well at least there will be smaller open neighbourhoods and then I find out that we won’t even have that!
            Wouldn’t that have fixed the issues with lag, just confine the open areas to neighbourhoods instead of the larger world? But to have a loading screen for each neighbourhood and then each lot on top of that?!?!
            It’s just disappointment after disappointment with a few little goodies in between.

          3. Stanley Meaders says:

            Think on it this way, the loading screen allows your system to fully release the resources taken up by your previous active lot. This allows for up to 20 sims at a time on any given lot running smoothly and seamlessly interacting and influencing each other. It also means that items will see a full reset with each load screen resolving another type of issue that has plagued the series since it’s inception, the broken or ‘bugged’ item. How frustrating has it been for all of us to find that the grand piano is not only unusable but also undeletable and unmovable. And this issue was not limited to custom content either.

            And addressing your comment about insulting intelligence what it is that you seem unwilling to realize or perhaps are simply unaware. Is that sandbox games(I.E. those that the player can redesign at whim) require a hugely more complex graphics engine to allow for the multiplicity of possible designs. Even as powerful as today’s PC’s are currently every system has only a finite amount of resources. And when you try to exceed that limit what happens is the PC then has to utilize cashe files on your hard drive to handle the overflows. And for the majority of users, SSD drives being the only possible exception to this, as soon as your start to utilize the HD cashe things start to slow down on a massive scale. Due mainly to the fact that the system has to wait for the drive to move the platters and drive heads physically to the proper position for each and every read and write. When you compare this to the access times in RAM what you see are times that are thousands of times longer for every item that has to be swapped in this manner.

            This being said, yes open worlds are very workable. However to have them you have to sacrifice one of four things. Either the player can not mold the world, I.E. no sandbox and zero build mode. Or the resolution of said world have to be hugely diminished a la mine craft. You could also leave your sims with an utterly flat and static set of interactions that really only have a limited amount of replay value(the sims 1 for instance). Or you have the final option of creating a game with such poor performance that no one will want to play the game for very long at all.

            Other games offer open world by making the trade off in terms of game systems, they acutely limit the total number of animations and usually don’t even touch on facial animations. Sure, you[‘ll get a set of spells or abilities, but then you will replay them thousands upon thousands of times within the course of your game.

            Yes trade offs have been made here as well, this edition of the sims is different than the previous iteration. Use that intellect of yours and try to realize that this is actually a very good thing for the series as a whole.

  3. Yinin says:

    I read this on Sims wiki – “The Sims 4 so far has one confirmed world, Willow Creek, and it contains six neighborhoods. Five of the neighborhoods are composed of up to five residential and community lots each, while the sixth neighborhood is a large community park”

    Would I be right in thinking that this means a MAXIMUM of 25 playable families per world? (More realistically 15-20 accounting for community lots)? I play large neighbourhoods so this might be an issue for me… Could be solved by having ts2 style apartments in base game.

    I know you can only have one active family but I assume that, like in ts3, it only takes a moment to switch families.

  4. Jaletu says:

    Frankly, this has really helped me to understand the loading screen thing. Won’t be as bad as I was afraid of. Really like that I can now switch between households easily like in Sims2! And I can turn off aging if I like. This game is really beginning to sound better and better.

    1. Emmy says:

      Ironically, this game is starting to sound worse and worse for me. I hate how they aren’t including toddlers or pools (I loved both of those). I hate how they’re reverting to the old graphics. (I loved how realistic sims 3 characters looked.) I hate how it isn’t an open world. I hate how I can’t have all of my sims in different neighborhoods/lots doing their stuff at the same time. (My sims never had the same interests. :-) ) I hate how there’s not schools and workplaces (they just seem to “go” there.) And finally, no Create A Style. (I know CASt lags, but you didn’t HAVE to use it.) This is really bumming me out. :-(

      1. Megan says:

        I know what you mean. I can actually get over pools for now, my sims didn’t use them that much (just thought they looked nice), but toddlers were very important to me! I’m mixed about the sims not being able to be in different places at once. I liked being able to check on one sim at the gym while the other one was at the library. But I will be happily if it is easy to switch households because I always found that to be a downside of TS3. I will say with all these changes, this is the FIRST time I haven’t been 100% excited for a Sim game to be released. I hope I eventually change my mind…

      2. Rebekkah says:

        I can understand why not having a work/school building might feel like a big step back but honestly its not like we could see what the were doing in the rabbit holes anyway and ambitions style careers where you had full control we’re kinda tedious so I’m not so frustrated about that right now anyway they can always add that stuff in later if they have demand for it. also they aren’t really reverting to old graphics you have to remember the sims 3 was done by EA not the Maxis team and that means stylistic differences.and while I admittedly prefer an open world this will allow for better graphics( these sims actually look like they do in the ads) and less lag/ crashing also its not exactly a closed world like the sims 2. Besides that it means that we can have huge worlds like Bridgeport that are actually playable because they can theoretically put as many neighborhoods in a town as they want. as for toddlers we will definitely get them in a later expansion or maybe even in an update the same goes for pools. Lastly I admit I will miss CASt but after actually trying out the CAS demo I found that I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would Hopefully not having CASt will mean they give us more clothes in each expansion and if they do that I’ll be fine. My biggest problem was hair and eye color you only get a very small range of choices and that bothered me. But I’m aware that if it bothers me that I don’t have more options then it will bother modders and CC creators too and eventually the community will add to what you can do in CAS. In fact they already have custom default replacement clothing and eyes.

  5. Chanman23 says:

    If having loading screens means that parks and other community lots are actually populated with sims instead of being completely empty, then I’m all for it. Besides, they’re up for like, less than a minute. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Personally, I’ve wanted tools like we now have in CAS and Build mode for so long that all these things we aren’t getting totally worth it.

  6. amanda says:

    well this decided for me. I will not be buying the sims 4 until its really cheap. I hate loading screens! I will be happy just sticking with the sims 3 and sims 2.

    1. Maddison says:

      It’s such bologna! I am so disappointed that I could freaking cry. Loading screens were a Sims 1 and 2 thing. I assumed Sims 4 would be open just like Sims 3. The anticipation was intense but now it’s just a big disappointment. They literally ruined the entire thing by not allowing us to be in an open world.. I could care less about toddlers and pools. An open world is what the new generation of Sims is supposed to be. They fucking ruined it.

      1. Zoey says:

        I completely agree. I can totally get over no pools and toddlers, but no open world and loading screens in between? I’ll just start playing TS2 again… too bad I already pre ordered this game because of all the hype :/

        1. SugarySweets says:

          You can always cancel your pre-order

        2. Cassie says:

          Origin has a guarantee that if you don’t like it you can return it. It says so right above the picture of the box front on the pre-order page on origin.
          https://www.origin.com/en-us/store/buy/55482/pc-download/base-game/digital-deluxe-edition#details
          https://www.origin.com/en-us/great-game-guarantee

  7. Sai says:

    This… is utter shit. We’ve actually regressed, but even further back than Sims 2! The neighborhood is split into 6 parts with only 5 houses and LOADING SCREENS in between them!? I think it’s evident there’s something to the rumors that this is the cobbled together remains of a second failed Sims Online project. There’s no way I’m buying this, they can’t even fix this. An expansion would have to change core programming in order to go back to an open neighborhood.

    1. Sai says:

      Which is a shame because I do like the CAS and the new style of the Sims. But with stripped down gameplay it doesn’t sound enjoyable.

      1. Maddison says:

        It doesn’t sound enjoyable at all. Sims 4 is supposed to be open like Sims 3 with incredible additions. An open world is literally the one and only they could take away that would make me not want to play it. It’s such a disappointment. EA never disappointed me once, until I heard this news. I won’t be purchasing this game if there is loading screens, that’s so lame. Why would they do that?

        1. Sai says:

          Because they’re greedy and know the average Sims players are casuals who won’t be aware of the bad press.

          I speculate they were about to do something similar to Sim City 4 until that spectacular backlash, so they threw together what remained of their original project rather than scrap it and do it right this time.

          1. Sai says:

            Just plain old SimCity we’re-not-numbering-things-anymore rather. I derped a bit there.

  8. Beaufryer says:

    I don’t see what all this fuss is about loading screens, it will be less than thirty seconds! When shifting from Lot to Lot on TS3 it would usually take about that with missing objects for a while and grey skins everywhere, do not get me started with the week it takes to boot the game up in the first place. Then there are people groaning about the number of lots. B E H A V E, most of the lots in TS3 are only there for them to dump a steaming pile of rabbith-oles on. We could have as many as fifty lots (Including Oasis Springs) with actual stuff to do on them and sims living in then, we won’t need as many lots as we’ll be playing in the street, like in real life. How often do you trek across the world to look for more than five people congregating, never. Now we have up to twenty sims right outside our doorsteps, and nightclubs, weddings, proper memories and attractive non-potato faced sims. The forty odd days couldn’t shift any quicker.

    1. Thank you! People are really over reacting about this! I’m not to thrilled about the no-open world but if it means that there will be more people around and I’m not entirely one-lot restricted than it seems fine to me. They are only taking away the lots we don’t even bother visiting other than to send our sims to work there. Unless you loved watching a building where random people would walk in and out off it’s not much of a loss

    2. Tom says:

      I kind of agree. Also, I think most of the problems in TS3 were because of the open world. The stuttering, the re-loading of the objects all the time and whatever else. I’m not saying TS4 is perfect and I love it to death but I definitely understand these particular sacrifices.

      However, taking toddlers and pools out of the game is just pure sleazy.

      1. Megan says:

        You make a valid point, I hadn’t thought about this before. At first I was freaking out about all these changes, but the main thing that’s bothering me now is the lack of a toddler stage, and I can probably get over that eventually. These changes actually might make it better for more computers to play it as well. And loading screens definitely don’t seem like a big deal

      2. nittykitty says:

        however, I was hoping they would correct the issues with Sims 3 by removing bugs, improving game play and expanding on it rather than just removing everything that was too difficult and time consuming to deal with.

    3. BelindaJane says:

      It’s 30 seconds without mods or expansion backs. Sims 2 base game was quick when it first came out too. I however play my game with mods, extra content and expansion packs. But sure, as long as you only ever play the base game, no seasons, late night, university, pets etc. the game should be work fine. Think about it.

  9. brando130 says:

    One step forward, two steps back.

    1. Maddison says:

      Agreed,,, completely agreed

  10. Jennifer says:

    I don’t think Maxis, The Sims Team or EA entirely knows what progress and next gen means, sure it’s great more people will be able to play Sims 4 but it sounds like a headache to me…I don’t care about loading screens as long as it doesn’t sloooow way down when the ‘inevitable’ stuff packs and expansion packs are added. However the whole setup sounds confusing and could have been avoided…I think I’ll wait until December to see how many people are really loving it before I even take a second look at Sims 4.

    1. Liz.O says:

      Agreed.

  11. Riley says:

    I think EA is playing a joke on us. I hope.

    1. NoelDemkes says:

      i think that only the no pools and no toddlers a joke is but i think the loadingscreens are a good choice from ea.

  12. praysolace says:

    What concerns me about these “away actions” is that it feels like the console versions of TS3, where, even if I left my sim with a queue of actions and doing something specific like studying cooking, if I left the lot with another sim and followed him I’d switch back to the first sim and find him not doing anything I told him to. I’m a micromanager. That killed me. I don’t know if I”m going to be able to stand having multiple sims in a household if that’s how it’s going to work in TS4.

    1. jessica says:

      Yessssss!!! I completely agree! 100%. This game feels soooo much like the sims 3 on console it’s not even funny.

  13. SugarySweets says:

    I honestly think it’s much better because its faster and better than it was in the sims 3. The Sims 3 is so laggy and would crash most of the time (for some users). It would take around 15 minutes for my game to load and the gameplay is awful. Yes open worlds are pretty amazing but, NPCS barely load in any public area I go. So it’s pretty much a ghost town except for my household. I only own the base game and I have plenty of space available.

    Up to 30 seconds of loading screens,and loaded NPCS? Yes please!

  14. I cannot says:

    The neighbourhoods is small, not even any lots to build on and now, loading screens?I!! thought it had ended with the sims 2. Dissapointed. WELL, better look at the positive side: Now I’m saving money by not pre order/buying it until I see real gameplay on youtube.

  15. jpeee says:

    Also when Ts3 stuff was about to come out they had a billion youtube videos to advertise it and walkthroughs etc. Now they have all these vague youtube videos because they know if ppl thinkit sucks they won’t buy it so hopefully there’s more to it than they show in the youtube video walkthroughs and such

    1. Yoohoo says:

      Yeah, I totally agree! Are they leaving loading screens out in the videos, having those thoughts? I’m sure not everyone know about some stuff (as this) because they prefer watching videos of how the game is going to be.

  16. For those of you who have delved into the console version of the Sims 3, this is all too familiar. The game loads to go to different parts of town and if your sims are in another part of town you have “away” options. If anything you probably cannot build and buy on community lots or the “open spaces”. The loading really gets old fast.

  17. aeonfluxx75 says:

    No toddlers and pools are not a big deal for me. Both will undoubtedly be added back in at a later time. If not, it’ll be weird but a weirdness I can get over. What I do not like is the removal of the open world. I do feel that for all of the technological advancements almost every other game/gaming system has, will or willing to make this series however, seems to cater to developing a game centered wholly around the most slipshod/weakest hardware specs and low-grade demographic. I’ve never heard of such and have been PC gaming since early 80s so please refrain from insulting my muster. I totally get why an open-world implementation “do over” is and was necessary. Saying I do not agree nor like having been given something totally awesome (despite its flaws) then having it taken away in the “latest/newest” series iteration does not mean I lack the comprehension behind making such decisions….it’s just bizarre that such a large company would choose THAT route –the low-grade route.

    If you’re insulted, then upgrade and live a little better. Take some pride in what you consider a “hobby” or “past time”, become an enthusiast and grow. Don’t give me “target demographic can’t afford” nonsense because it has always had adult themes and more adults play this than children. The modding community alone should prove which age group(s) clearly dominate. So, I feel it’s total BS that some other compromise could not have been made other than “loading screens” and etc. Yes, I understand the new world design, districts and yadda. Yes, they have an approximate run time of 25-30 seconds. However I do not belieeeeeve, for 25-30 seconds, that after the induction of approx 12-15 expansions and/or stuff packs the run time of these loading screens will remain @ vanilla base game 25-30 seconds. Assuredly, those times will be negatively impacted. So for everyone on defense, as if they’re shareholders, please do know 25-30 seconds is base game ONLY. I give it to expansion 2 before this inevitably blows up.

    I want to believe, trust me I do. I’ve been there since and through 1, 2 and 3; all expansions (some stuff packs), (EXCEPT KP sweet treats which I found insulting). I’ve sunk hundreds of dollars into the Sims series, proudly at that – I’m fully vested. We’ve got history, big time, but the loading screens and price tag are holding me back. I want to buy, but I cannot justify nor reconcile the new price tag for the “new emotions system” (total handjob) –it’s just a stripped down Sims 3 and banged out Sims 2. Build/Buy mode alone is almost worth it in my eyes. Everything they’ve giveth and taketh, then charged extra for is prreeeeetty much worth it for the improved build/buy. Oh yeah, I’m upset about CASt too, but who isn’t??
    If I’m wrong about the loading screens, apologies and I’ll stand corrected. I hope I’m wrong but the history of the game and the company … who knows, this may be their moment to shine.

  18. rainer beckers says:

    No open world … a no go

    what what would make me buy a new sims game:

    – smarter scripts of sims not directly controlled … I mean let them do the tasks needed to survive like sleep, cook/eat, go to job and use the rest of the time for visiting parts of the map and hobbies…

    – a realistic mode where it is a challenge to improve both socially and money-wise.

    – a new framework for custom content which is easy and fast to use and has clear restrictions (no corrupt items possible)

    – population control based on the power of the machine sims is running on. There could be a display telling the player: there are 120 sims in the world, your pc can handle max. 130. Player simply can decide to stop births after 130 or even go for less inhabitants.

  19. Megs says:

    I think one thing to keep in mind is that EA is a totally consumerist company. Meaning that they will do whatever they can to make money. So as with past games, the features everyone wants will show up eventually, but the player has to pay for it. EA hears what everyone says and complains about, puts it into an expansion, and then waits for more complaints. So while some things may not be present right now, they very well could be in future expansions. I’m disappointed with what we seem to be left with beforr expansions, but I said the same thing when I started playing Sims 3. Everyhing is an adjustment. And as much as it totally sucks, I’m just going to wait until EA puts our complaints into a $20-$40 expansion, hopefuy with toddlers and pools. Maybe some day we will even get a more open world. Who knows? It could happen.

  20. Tegan says:

    I have a question I am a really big fan of the sims and I have just download the sims 4 and its says I need to upate it so I press update now and then it says weve encounted a problem ‘ an unexpected problemhas occoured. please try again in a few moments. error: 196630:0. what do I do??

  21. Corrado says:

    I’m so pissed.The pleasure in TS3 was also to send your sims fishing, shopping, hiking, collecting rare objects spawned at the far end of the map, etc. It was open, it was alive. Now with TS4 we’ll spend our time to switch between tiny restricted areas via loading screens. So cool. Oh, and the “short loading screen”… Try an experience : watch a film, now pause it and wait 25 seconds juste glaring at your screen, then continue the film, then stop it again 5min later and wait again, and repeat… you’ll see how “short and absolutely-not-breaking-the-rhythm” those 25 seconds will be…

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