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Death in TS4 - Many Changes Needed

TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
There are many topics that include players expressing frustrations with the death mechanics in TS4, so I thought it would be handy to have one master topic here. Here are some of the most common concerns with the way death currently works in TS4 that I see here on the forums, plus a few of my own added on.

Sims who die off-lot leave no gravestone.
The Sims team fixed this in a patch! I haven't tested it in-game yet, but @SimGuruNick posted in another thread about how the November 7th patch changed tombstone generation to include Sims who die off-lot.
- Without a gravestone, it becomes much more difficult to banish an unwanted ghost to the Netherworld. When ghosts can’t be banished, many players experience ghosts clogging up their worlds. Every dance party or night club my Sim goes to is attended by ghosts, taking up spots on the lot that could be filled by Young Adults and Teens (or whatever other life stage you want at your dances). For Simmers who play without mods that remove culling, this means that if you don’t want your ghosts taking up precious population space, you have to delete the ghost, which also removes them from the family tree.
- Ghosts will often invite Sims out to meals and send congratulatory texts. Many Simmers find this feature breaks the immersion when they are playing grieving family members, but without the gravestone available, the ghost cannot be banished and prevented from making further inappropriate contact with the living.
- If you play rotationally with Aging on, your Sims die while you are gone and leave no tombstone or urn to place on the family lot. This means that you can never have family members mourn that Sim, their ghost will also not reliably haunt the lot, and there is no reliable way to summon that ghost, whether to make them playable as a ghost, resurrect them, banish them, or chat with them. Rotational players who want there to be a tombstone have to race around their games, trying to keep track of everyone who’s about to die and sometimes prematurely hurrying them along just so they don’t miss their death. It’s a tiresome and rather demoralizing way to play.
Potential Solutions: Generate a tombstone or urn in an unused spot on a lot if a Sim dies while a player is not on the lot. Or, provide a graveyard (see below) to which graves are automatically sent. Or, notify a player when any Sim in the neighbourhood dies and give them options including banish to the Netherworld and generating a tombstone. Or, give Ghost Sims the option to summon their own tombstones, and make hidden Ghost households visible in Manage Neighbourhoods under a "Beyond the Grave" category so that players can more easily manage the dead.


Sims only notice the deaths of those in their immediate vicinity. Some players have even reported problems of Sims in the same house not noticing a death if they are too far away, for example, on a different floor.
When family members, friends, or other important Sims die while living in a different household, the Sims in your active household have no idea. The deaths of parents, ex-romantic partners, grown children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, old friends, sworn enemies, etc. goes unnoticed. This is not realistic and undermines the deep and complex relationships many Simmers try to cultivate between their Sims.
Potential Solutions: If a Sim has a relationship other than ‘Acquaintance’ with another Sim, provide a custom moodlet based on their relationship status when one of the Sims dies. There is already a mechanic that blocks ‘marked’ relationships from relationship culling, so this could build on that coding to recognize which relationships merit special moodlets. If a Sim has mixed positive and negative relationships, give them mixed emotions (eg how an ex-lover can be marked as both ‘Soulmate’ and ‘Bad Romance’ at the same time). If the Sim’s enemy dies, a Good Sim might feel sad that the relationship was never repaired, while an Evil Sim might cackle maniacally. And, of course, if a Sim loses someone who is unequivocally loved, let that Sim receive an appropriate moodlet.
A partial solution would be to add an 'Inform of Death' option so that Sims who did not witness the death can still be affected by it. However, this still doesn't account for Sims who die without any witnesses but whose loved ones (or enemies) would still be affected by their passing.


There are no graveyards.
- Simmers who play multiple generations of a single family often want to keep the tombstones of deceased Sims. (See above for the many benefits of having a Sim’s tombstone.) Over time they may run out of room for the family graves, particularly on smaller lots. If graves could be deposited in a designated community lot, players would not have to fit the tombstones onto their own lot. This mechanic existed in TS3.
- There are very few people in modern western society (on which TS4 is based) who do not bury their dead in graveyards, so it is more realistic to have a graveyard. Graveyards are meaningful and, in some cultures, a focal point for family activities on certain days of the year (such as on the Vernal Equinox in Japan, or Dìa de los Muertos in Mexico) so having a graveyard venue would enable players to tell stories that incorporate these activities. In general, graveyards serve as a focal point of family memory and would enhance family play if included.
Potential Solutions: Add a Graveyard venue type.

There are no funerals or wakes.
Sims cannot come together to mourn the loss of a loved one. Funerals are an important part of life. Especially for Simmers who get pretty attached to their Sims, it would be nice to be able to have a proper send-off. It could also be a cathartic experience for the Sims who are sad about the passing.
Potential Solutions: Add a funeral or wake Social Event type. There are many good ideas about interactions and gameplay that might be associated with funerals in this thread: http://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/894854/i-think-it-would-be-good-to-have-funerals-in-the-sims-4#latest

Time does not speed up when ghosts are haunting a lot while all other Sims sleep.
This is mostly an annoyance. This has been fixed with guests but not with ghosts. Simmers who want to watch the ghost run around breaking everything in real time can always switch back to the regular timers, but for Simmers who want to speed through the ghostly activities on the super sleep speed, there is currently no option to do so.
Potential Solutions: Make the sleep speed continue while a ghost is haunting the lot by default.

Sims get no special interactions shortly before they die. Players are notified that a Sim should put their affairs in order, but it would be nice if Sims could receive special interactions during this time, as its gameplay is currently indistinguishable from regular Elder gameplay.
Potential Solutions: There are a lot of options here. Writing a will to leave money or Inventory items to other Sims; having special ‘Make Amends’ interactions with enemies or Sims who you have wronged or been wronged by; give parting wisdom to younger Sims; make special philanthropic donations; etc.

Random deaths are extremely rare.
Some players miss the rare random deaths that were possible in previous Sims games, such as meteors falling while cloudgazing in TS2. Other players feel that deaths such as electrocution and cowplant in TS4 are less fun because they are 100% preventable with the warning moodlet; these players would prefer that the decision about whether their Sim dies from those actions is left to chance. As it is now, players are left with the decision of whether to repeat the action (such as electrical repair or feeding the cowplant), which takes away the surprise and some of the fun.
Potential Solutions: Give players the option in Gameplay Options to turn off "warning" moodlets for deaths such as electrocution or death by cowplant. Plenty of players prefer the current system, though, so please do not change this without making it an optional toggle. If rare and random deaths such as meteor crashes are added, please provide a toggle for players who do not want that feature, whether in the Gameplay Options or through a simple cheat code.

The "Read Obituaries" interaction on the computer has no connection to in-game deaths.
In TS3, when your Sim read the newspaper they might be notified of local goings-on, such as a recent marriage or death. In TS4, certain Traits and Moods unlock the ability to "Read Obituaries" on the computer, but this interaction is totally disconnected from what actually goes on in your game. (See this thread.)
Potential Solutions: Create pop-up notifications like those that existed in TS3 that report recent in-game deaths when a Sim uses this interaction. If the Sim had a personal relationship with the deceased, give them a corresponding moodlet after they read their death notice.

Marital links are not preserved in family trees after Sims die.
When a Sim gets married, their spouse will be connected to them on the family tree even if they have no children. However, when one of the spouses dies, the marital link disappears. The spouse will only remain on the tree if the couple had children because both partners are still genetically linked to the child. This means that childless couples' marriage will not be preserved in the family tree, and the link is severed as soon as one of the spouses dies. It also means that step-relationships disappear completely after one of the spouses dies, even if that person raised their step-children and should by all rights have a familial bond with them.
Potential Solutions: Adjust the family tree system to work like the premades had in Sims 2, where deceased spouses remained on the family tree (e.g. Michael Bachelor remaining linked to Dina Caliente).

Young dependants are deleted from the game if all the adults in their household die.
Thanks to @SkyeChimes for pointing out that toddlers, babies and pets disappear if your YA/adults/elders in a household all die. This even happens in households where the children have parents or older relatives living in a different household. Deleting orphans as if they never existed is a serious problem in the game mechanics. It disrupts the family tree, robs the player the chance to tell certain stories, and seriously breaks immersion, leaving all Sims disturbingly unaware that a child has just disappeared.
Potential Solutions: Return to the TS2 system where orphaned dependants would be put into the adoption pool, just like children taken from the social worker. (Note that this may necessitate a reform of how adoption works in TS4, since currently there is no standing pool, but several families generated every time a Sim tries to adopt.) Or, send the dependants to the household of a relative or friend if there is room. Or, create an "orphans" household that the player can use to manually add these children to different households.

Please keep your discussions respectful.
Post edited by Terra on

Comments

  • king_of_simcity7king_of_simcity7 Posts: 22,262 Member
    Interesting thread :smile:

    I actually read this as 'death to The Sims 4' but I realise that it is just about death in the game anyway.

    But yes I do think there should be more focus on graveyards, every Sim has to end up somewhere anyway and part of the fun was visiting them to see what ghosts appeared, who the premade ghosts were and in the case of TS3, visit the catacombs rabbit hole :smile:

    I mean the lack of ghosts at launch meant that for the first time ever, even the Goth family where missing their famous gravestones which means that really, they are not the Goths they used to be

    :disappointed:
    Simbourne
    screenshot_original.jpg
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    Hahaha, I can see the confusion there! I think for now I will leave the title unless a lot of people get confused!

    Yes, premade ghosts in the graveyard (or in family lots in TS2) really added great depth to the game! I guess since ghosts and family trees weren't base game in TS4 we'll never have that for the in-game families, but maybe they could work to incorporate those features in future premade families - the ghosts on the von Haunt estate were a start. :)

    For the Goths in particular I feel your pain, and I've started building up a family graveyard for them that starts with Bella and Mortimer, but I run into two problems: 1) there's not a lot of back garden space on that lot and 2) the Goths die while I play other Sims so they leave no gravestones.
  • Simmer_chiyenSimmer_chiyen Posts: 259 Member
    Very thorough thread, nice work!
    I've been asking for a proper death related mechanics for a long time :'(
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    Very thorough thread, nice work!
    I've been asking for a proper death related mechanics for a long time :'(

    Thanks! And I can only hope that having a thread like this that puts lots of death mechanics issues in one place will help make your concerns more visible to the devs!
  • MissMaddy1021MissMaddy1021 Posts: 83 Member

    Yes! I've noticed these problems too, VERY frustrating. My sim husband died and I had NO IDEA and he died in the room right next to me! The children who had moved out already didn't care. On my other game my child sim grew up and moved out, but her parents weren't together, so her father lived in another home and she'd have to go and visit as a child to cull a relationship with him, which I FINALLY got to full. One day, I was looking at my relationships and I saw he had turned into a ghost and died. No phone call, no anything. And she was as close as she could be with her father. She didn't even feel sad or anything! I feel this is very wrong.
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    If Grimmy whips out his tablet, why can't he use it to notify Sims the recently deceased had relationships in the panel with? As it is, it's just "Look! Technology! Ain't we hip and up-to-date?"

    Good point! They could utilize something like the current 'Congratulations' system.

    @MissMaddy1021 - :( That is exactly the kind of situation I am talking about. I'm sorry that happened to your Sims.
  • friendlysimmersfriendlysimmers Posts: 5,930 Member
    sorry op but i am clearly againts death in a game like the sims so in the game there should be no death at all
    http://friendlysimmers.forumotion.ca/

    http://delightfulsims.net/index.php

    Please note that forums are in maitnance mode



    Repose en paix mamie tu va me manquer :

    1923-2016 mamie :'(
  • Simmer_chiyenSimmer_chiyen Posts: 259 Member
    sorry op but i am clearly againts death in a game like the sims so in the game there should be no death at all

    Well, to be fair, there's an option to stop aging, then there won't be deaths happening in the game. Death has been in The Sims since day one, and for some people only by having death would life cycle be properly mimicked.
  • luthienrisingluthienrising Posts: 30,737 Member
    @Terra Yes yes yes yes yes! This is a great post.

    One thing that I'd like with respect to your #1 is a pop-up option letting me "release to the netherworld" any Sim who happens to die in my save. Or some sort of option set:
    - retain in-game (so, they might show up as a ghost, or *shudder* text my Sim someday)
    - retain a marked gravestone (even if I don't choose #1)
    - retain in genealogy (given that there's nothing to do in-game with the genealogy, I prefer to lose it if it makes a smaller save file or lets me have more living Sims)

    FAQ: culling relationship decay
    #freethebabies #TeamToasters #TeamPlayableGnomes #TeamFarms #FarmTeam #BouncyCastle!!
  • king_of_simcity7king_of_simcity7 Posts: 22,262 Member
    Terra wrote: »
    Hahaha, I can see the confusion there! I think for now I will leave the title unless a lot of people get confused!

    Yes, premade ghosts in the graveyard (or in family lots in TS2) really added great depth to the game! I guess since ghosts and family trees weren't base game in TS4 we'll never have that for the in-game families, but maybe they could work to incorporate those features in future premade families - the ghosts on the von Haunt estate were a start. :)

    For the Goths in particular I feel your pain, and I've started building up a family graveyard for them that starts with Bella and Mortimer, but I run into two problems: 1) there's not a lot of back garden space on that lot and 2) the Goths die while I play other Sims so they leave no gravestones.

    When I played the TS4 Free Trial I had a look at the Goths but to me they where not really the Goths.

    Aside from the story line from TS2 being ignore, there was no vast grounds surrounded by trees and a few gravestones like their TS3 house.

    Even though the TS1 house was smaller, it had the grave stones which set a standard for them and it was interesting playing them to see what ghosts appeared.

    I mean who remembers that one of their ghosts was called Vegas?
    Simbourne
    screenshot_original.jpg
  • NZsimm3rNZsimm3r Posts: 9,261 Member
    I really like your ideas but I think due to only one lot being loaded at a time many of them just can't be implemented. :/
    I'm a girl who likes to play with boys, what can I say... o:)

    “Instead of putting players in the role of Luke Skywalker, or Frodo Baggins, I'd rather put them in the role of George Lucas.”Will Wright.
  • friendlysimmersfriendlysimmers Posts: 5,930 Member
    sorry op but i am clearly againts death in a game like the sims so in the game there should be no death at all

    Well, to be fair, there's an option to stop aging, then there won't be deaths happening in the game. Death has been in The Sims since day one, and for some people only by having death would life cycle be properly mimicked.

    well 1 i have aging fully off and 2 i do not play life since i never let my sims age
    http://friendlysimmers.forumotion.ca/

    http://delightfulsims.net/index.php

    Please note that forums are in maitnance mode



    Repose en paix mamie tu va me manquer :

    1923-2016 mamie :'(
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    Thanks for all your feedback, guys!

    @NZsimm3r - I'm not sure that would be such a problem. I play with MCCC and it notifies me whenever one of my Sims dies or ages up. The death and aging notices come in batches throughout the day, and they're almost all for Sims who aren't in my active household. MCCC isn't controlling when they die; it's just telling me when that's happening. So if MCCC can notify me when a Sim has died, I don't see why the game couldn't do that either, even though they're not on the active lot or in the active household. And I think that the options @luthienrising suggested could be incorporated into this pop-up notice. I really like the idea to have the option to automatically release to the Netherworld. I would do that with the majority of my Sims.
  • NZsimm3rNZsimm3r Posts: 9,261 Member
    @Terra ooo that's really interesting! I don't use MCC so I wasn't aware of those features. I also really would like an option to release any/all dead sims to the Netherworld.. would really help with keeping way under the population cap.
    I'm a girl who likes to play with boys, what can I say... o:)

    “Instead of putting players in the role of Luke Skywalker, or Frodo Baggins, I'd rather put them in the role of George Lucas.”Will Wright.
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    edited August 2016
    Yeah, I think MCCC shows that it's definitely possible. :smile:

    @king_of_simcity7 - Yeah, I agree that it hardly feels like the Goths without a graveyard! (But in general the Goths are weird to me in this iteration - Bella Goth is family oriented and good...? Really...?)

    I've edited the OP to include giving a player a pop-up notification with several options when a Sim in the neighbourhood dies under 'Potential Solutions' for 'Sims who die off-lot leave no gravestone'. Having no gravestone renders ghosts very frustrating to play with, so I hope they really consider fixing this even if they do nothing about the rest of our frustrations and suggestions concerning death mechanics. (Though not knowing about the deaths of Sims who are important in our Sims' lives is also pretty bad.)
  • king_of_simcity7king_of_simcity7 Posts: 22,262 Member
    @Terra I was not impressed with the new Bella. She is supposed to be family oriented but doesn't give off that impression. She looks too brazen and when I played her in the free trial the first thing she did was use the toilet and check her Simpad. That is not Bella! :#
    Simbourne
    screenshot_original.jpg
  • jheyjuneicejheyjuneice Posts: 236 Member
    I think they should have a social interaction "inform about death" for if a sim died and they wish to tell another sim who was not present. For instance, when my sim's husband died 2 of her children were at work, when they came back they were completely unaffected however if she had the option to inform them about their father's passing then they could be affected and get the same moodlets as they would if they were right at his feet when he died.
    6zbts7.png
  • luthienrisingluthienrising Posts: 30,737 Member
    Terra wrote: »
    Thanks for all your feedback, guys!

    @NZsimm3r - I'm not sure that would be such a problem. I play with MCCC and it notifies me whenever one of my Sims dies or ages up. The death and aging notices come in batches throughout the day, and they're almost all for Sims who aren't in my active household. MCCC isn't controlling when they die; it's just telling me when that's happening. So if MCCC can notify me when a Sim has died, I don't see why the game couldn't do that either, even though they're not on the active lot or in the active household. And I think that the options @luthienrising suggested could be incorporated into this pop-up notice. I really like the idea to have the option to automatically release to the Netherworld. I would do that with the majority of my Sims.

    Oh, I hadn't thought of using MCCC for that since I'm not having it set up story progression. Thank you for the tip! Does it notify you when any Sim in your game dies, or only Sims marked played?
    FAQ: culling relationship decay
    #freethebabies #TeamToasters #TeamPlayableGnomes #TeamFarms #FarmTeam #BouncyCastle!!
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    @luthienrising - It notifies me when any Sim in the neighbourhood dies whether they're marked as unplayed or played. It's one of the little blue pop ups in the corner like when a Sim levels up in a skill, and it has a little picture of the Sim in the corner. I also have it set up to notify me of age-ups in the same way since my neighbourhoods have too many people to keep track of, and I like to go and give them better outfits when they do age up. :)

    @jheyjuneice - Good idea. I'll add that to the list of potential solutions.
  • luthienrisingluthienrising Posts: 30,737 Member
    @Terra - awesome, thanks! I'll enable that for the save I have aging on it :) I like keeping track of who's dead! And the aging up will be awesome too.
    FAQ: culling relationship decay
    #freethebabies #TeamToasters #TeamPlayableGnomes #TeamFarms #FarmTeam #BouncyCastle!!
  • friendlysimmersfriendlysimmers Posts: 5,930 Member
    well me in my case i will stick to aging off since i clearly do not went any of my sims to age or die
    http://friendlysimmers.forumotion.ca/

    http://delightfulsims.net/index.php

    Please note that forums are in maitnance mode



    Repose en paix mamie tu va me manquer :

    1923-2016 mamie :'(
  • PHOEBESMOM601PHOEBESMOM601 Posts: 14,343 Member
    sorry op but i am clearly againts death in a game like the sims so in the game there should be no death at all

    Well, to be fair, there's an option to stop aging, then there won't be deaths happening in the game. Death has been in The Sims since day one, and for some people only by having death would life cycle be properly mimicked.

    well 1 i have aging fully off and 2 i do not play life since i never let my sims age

    Then you don't have to worry about it.
    "People really love to explore 'failure states. In fact, the failure states are really much more interesting than the success states." ~ Will Wright
  • TerraTerra Posts: 1,336 Member
    Would you guys like me to add any tweaks to the current mourning system in the OP? I'm happy with it but now that I think of it, it does come up sometimes in other topics. What do you think the general feeling in the community is about the frequency and autonomy of mourning?
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