With the announcement that the Sims 4 will soon be going free to play, we’re likely to see an influx of new players joining the community. That being said, not everybody entering the world of the Sims is going to be familiar with concepts many of us have known for a while now, such as how to install mods. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help!
While console players unfortunately don’t have the option, PC players can tweak their game with custom content and mods that can totally change how the Sims 4 plays. We’ve put together a quick and easy guide on how to install mods, as well as how to organize and troubleshoot them once you’ve added them to your game.
Prepping Your Game To Install Mods
If you have already played the Sims 4 and have gameplay data you don’t want to lose, it’s important to make a backup before you start fiddling around with game files and settings. Making a backup to your save will ensure that if you make any mistakes while installing mods, you can still get back to your previous game state with no ill effects.
How to Enable Mods In Your Game
Whenever you do a fresh install of the game, or it has a major update, mods will automatically be disabled. To enable the game to utilize mods, go to Game Options -> Other and check off “Enable Custom Content and Mods.” Certain mods will require the use of Scripts (modders should let you know if they’re needed) and you can enable these Script Mods from this menu as well.
Once you’ve enabled these options, click “Apply Changes” and exit your game. Now you’re ready to start installing mods in the Sims 4!
How Do I Install Mods?
Unless you’ve told your computer to install the game elsewhere, you should find the Sims 4’s folders located at:
C:\Users\[USER NAME]\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4
Once you’ve enabled mods in your game, a folder titled “Mods” should appear in your Sims 4 folder. If it doesn’t, you can manually add a new folder and name it Mods. The folder must be named exactly as written or your game will not recognize it as the mod folder. When you are ready to start installing CC and/or mods, simply place them in the Mods folder and they should be ready to go!
A quick tip: Don’t forget to exctract any zip files when downloading custom content and mods for your game. Unless the downloaded item is a package file (xxx.package), it won’t show up in-game!
Installing Lots & Sims
If you are interested in adding lots and sims into your game from sources outside of the Gallery, you will notice that when you download them they come with a handful of files that have long, nonsensical names.
Do not place these files in your mods folder! In order for them to work correctly, you need to install all of the files in the game folder titled “Tray.”
Note: If the sim or lot you’re installing requires custom content, that content should be installed in the Mods folder, not the Tray folder.
When done correctly, the next time you launch your game the lots/sims you installed should show up in “My Library” and if you can’t find them, check off the “Include Custom Content” option on the left side of the page.
Organizing Your Mods
It’s a good idea to organize your mods so they’re easier to find if you want to update or remove them later on.
In my game, I have files organized by whether they’re for CAS, Build/Buy Mode, or if they modify the game (such as overrides or bug fixes), but you can do what works for you. Other ideas you could try are folders for alpha content vs. Maxis match, or by the month & year you installed them. Whatever makes sense for you!
Note: Major mods like BetterBuildBuy are required to stay in the Mods folder and cannot be filed into any sub folders. Doing so may break the mods and prevent them from working in your game. Mods like this will typically have a warning about it, so make sure you’re always reading notes & install instructions for any mods you use!
Troubleshooting Broken Mods With The 50/50 Method
Even the most meticulous simmer can find themselves in a situation where they install mods that either don’t work, or break the game entirely. This is most often due to incomplete, outdated, or conflicting mods and it can be really frustrating to figure out if you don’t know what you’re doing. The 50/50 method will let you narrow down your files until you figure out the problem mod, and all you need to do it is your computer and some time. When troubleshooting mods, DO NOT SAVE your game while exiting. If you save your game while troubleshooting, any items that were removed or substituted by the game will not be restored and you’ll have to fix everything manually.
KTfromJersey on TikTok has a super-quick tutorial on how to do this (and you can also see how organized her Mods folder is)! Just keep moving your files in chunks until you narrow down the group of files causing the problem, and then add those files back a few at a time until the problem comes back. With a little trial and error, you can figure out what file is broken and from there you can delete it, update it, or replace it.
Note: Mods that worked just fine before may break when the game has an update, so even if you think you know a mod is okay doesn’t mean that it is. Certain mod types, like UI cheats, break pretty much every time the game updates; when you’re troubleshooting broken mods remember that none of them are immune to breaking the game!
If you’re new to the Sims 4 community or just want to try mods for the first time, the idea of installing them can be a bit confusing. Fortunately it’s pretty straightforward once you know what you should be doing, and with a little bit of guidance you can start installing mods pretty easily. Good luck modding your Sims 4 game, and happy simming!