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.




250 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. 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:


    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!

  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…

  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.

  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

    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:


  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.

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