When I first started playing The Sims 3 I was going for quantity, not quality. What I mean by that is that I wanted to get a number of generations into the game to see how the lives of my Sims would play out. So, in the beginning I was going with the Normal life-span setting of 90 sim days.

Yet after a while that was not working for me and I switched to the Long life-span of 190 sim days. Then after playing with that for some time I came away thinking that Normal was too short and Long seemed too long. So I came up with a custom lifespan of 140 sim days that was in between the two:

Normal Custom Long
Baby 3 4 6
Toddler 7 4 15
Child 7 14 15
Teenager 14 26 30
Young Adult 21 33 45
Adult 21 33 45
Elder 17 26 34
90 140 190

After I came to understand the game better, I realized that these life-spans that I was playing were too short and did not allow for the time needed for my Sims to achieve their goals. They also made the story-telling aspect of the move too quickly to be able to create any sort of meaningful life stories. Added to that some of the lengths of the age groups (Baby, Toddler, etc.) did not make much sense. If your Sim is 16 sim days old, how old does that actually make them in human years?

So I decided that I needed to come up some sort of rule regarding the length of a Sim year. After playing around with 2 sim days make a year and 3 sim days make a year, I finally settled on 4 sim days make a year.

I based this on the length of a Sim pregnancy. In Sims 3 a pregnancy lasts 72 sim hours. If that equates to a normal nine month pregnancy then 8 sim hours equals 1 month, 8 X 12 months = 96 sim hours or 4 sim days (96/24) is 1 year. Given that I came with a life-span of a total of 300 sim days.

Real-Time Years AgeStarts Age UpYear SimDays
Baby 1 0 1 4
Toddler 3 1 4 12
Child 7 4 11 28
Teen 10 11 21 40
Young Adult 19 21 40 76
Adult 25 40 65 100
Elder 10 65 75 40
75 human years 300 sim days

When it comes to the Seasons EP, there is no simple, realistic way to make the life-span and length of seasons sync up. For example, with the 4 sims days = 1 year one would need to set each of the four seasons to be 1 day in length and that just would not work as there would be no time for transition from one season to the next, you could not have holidays, and whole host of other reasons why not.

The opposite extreme of that would be to set the length of a year to be 365 sim days. Then the total life-span would be 27,375 sim days. (Yikes!)

When I first started playing with the Seasons EP I just left the seasons and lunar settings at default where each season is 7 days and the lunar cycle is 6 days. (It seems odd that EA made the default lunar cycle six and not seven given that the length of a week is based on a 28 day lunar month).

At any rate, after I started playing with the 300 sim day life-span I decided that I also wanted to change the seasons and lunar cycles to make three sync up in some way.

I figured that if 4 sims days = 1 year then 40 sim days = 1 decade.

There are four seasons so I first thought of making each season ten days so that each decade has four seasons. Then I decided that in the world where my Sims live the summers are long and the winters are short. So, here is what I came up with…

Season Length
Summer 14
Fall 10
Winter 6
Spring 10

What this means is that the four holidays in the Sims’ calendar will now NOT occur on the same day of week each time around. This adds some variety to the game play.

With these season length settings in a new game the first day of summer will occur on Sunday as it does for any new game and the final day of the following Spring will occur on a Thursday. In each cycle (decade), Summer will start on a different day until after the end of 7 cycles (70 years) the Summer season will start again on a Sunday.

To top it all off, I set the lunar cycle to 10 days so that it all syncs up nice and even.

Hint: Instead of using the sliders on the Options dialog you can easily edit Options.ini file found in the Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 directory under your “my documents” directory. Just be sure to back up the file before editing.

One thought on “Lifespans


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