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.




220 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.


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

    Ugh I’m done with EA…

    1. Johnny says:


  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:


    2. Sai says:

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

  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. :-(

  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.

  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.

  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.

  9. brando130 says:

    One step forward, two steps back.

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