There are several Sims 4 challenges that give us a sense of community to some extent. Build Newcrest is probably the most popular because you are building lots for the community as a whole each generation. Pollyannasims has a version of the Dynasty Challenge rules in which each generation builds a house for a poor family and adds a community lot as well as throwing parties for each of the different “worlds.” In my Build a City Challenge your city is built from the ground up with different community lots either owned by played sims or earned from population requirements. In the Drifter Challenge, you start with a blank map as well and build residential and community lots that are earned throughout the challenge.
I love this concept and want to expand on what these challenges have taught me. There would be varying levels of this community idea of mine of course. Depending on whether you only play one family or whether you rotate. Whether you want to build from the ground up or if you just want to get to the end result right away. And there is no right or wrong here. Everyone has a different playstyle. My goal here is to give you some ideas on how to build more of a feeling of community in your sim’s lives.
I already visited the process I plan to use for the peripheral characters in my Integrated ‘Hoods: Population Control article. The many “extras” that are generated to add some flavor and diversity to our sim’s world. But, in addition to them, there are other ways we can add an additional level to this. When you take your sims out of their houses you don’t always take them to places like festivals, of course. There are many many other community lots available in the game! And even more, if you play a modded game thanks to LittleMsSam, Zerbu, and other modders like them.
Like I said already, you can decide what extent you want to take this. I’ll start with a more involved process since this is what I personally hope to do. Each and every building will be owned by either a sim, a family, or the government/community as a whole. There could be several different restaurants of varying types such as a mom and pop diner up to upscale for special occasions. A few gyms for different types of sims like a more bro type sports place or a more relaxed spa type. The neighborhood vet that everyone in that community knows and the veterinary hospital that you take worse cases. A bowling alley, gaming place, internet cafe, the world’s the limit! Of course, there are also different kinds of stores. I’ll probably go more in-depth in a separate article with these.
Thanks to Zerbu’s Turbo Careers mod we can now visit the buildings that we didn’t even have representative rabbit hole buildings for. And then there are the hands-on careers that also have no actual home-base like politicians. Imagine how much more in-depth your stories could be as your sim chats with the mayor and his wife (hello Murkland!) and develops opinions of them. How fun it would be to visit the theatre that your neighbor owns or any other lot really. The point is you would know the owners and see them working there thanks to LittleMsSam and her genius mods.
Personally, I plan to play every single one of these sims to one extent or another adding another level of community. We would know the mayor because we play/read about him. The grocer might be having an affair with his wife and only we know until a customer catches them who we also know because they are the neighborhood vet who is very gossipy and when I play them they tell others. This is what I mean by community. An actual community. A living breathing sometimes struggling sometimes thriving entity that we get to get glimpses of and mold their lives.
And you might not want to take it to those extremes. I doubt many people would and that’s okay. I know I’m a wacko and I’m happy with it! A much lesser scale would be to just download or build lots and place them for your sims to visit. Maybe group them together by what you’d imagine a lower and higher income sim might own. A scale up from that would be assigning sims to the lots that you would never play but you could point out as the baker from Oasis Springs or something like that.
Levels upon levels… from the peripheral characters that repair our broken stove to the cafe owner to our coworkers to our next door neighbor who our kids do trick or treating with and have playdates with to our cousins that live in the city and we don’t see much. The struggle in this is remembering who every person is. And, as a reader, it’s okay if you don’t. If someone becomes more important to the main storyline maybe remind the readers. You could link to where they were previously involved or do a little flashback. In my case, I plan to build profiles. Because I love charts and databases and genetics and all that crazy nitpicky way-too-involved stuff!