Making Movies with The Sims 3
The Sims is one of the most popular computer games ever created, and it's easy to see why. As possibly the most played simulation game, there are so many other ways to enjoy it than by just playing it -- in fact, lots of Sims fans have been known to create their own Sims movies and music videos!
Are you interested in learning how you can make your own movies and music videos with The Sims 3? This guide will give you tips and tricks on how to make the best machinima possible!
First Thing's First
Before we dive into the tips and tricks for creating the most awesome Sims 3 movies and music videos around, it's a good idea to watch some! One bad example of a Sims 3 music video, and one good example.
This is an example of a bad music video, also known as what you want to avoid making! What makes it a poorly done machinima video? Well a few things in particular.
- Music is warped and not clear and crisp.
- Plumbobs and thought bubbles are visible.
- Bad use of camera angles.
- Video quality could be more clear.
- Not enough action!
So what's a good example of a Sims music video?
This is one of the best examples of a Sims 3 music video that I could find on YouTube, and I cannot stress the perfection yet simplicity of this video. There's no extra special transition frames or sparkling effects added in by movie editing programs, but instead the well executed use of preset camera angles! What makes this video so great?
- Use of different camera angles (especially preset ones).
- Clear audio (the song is a Simlish version of Daylight by Matt & Kim).
- Tells a story effectively while still being simple.
- Great video quality.
- Plumbobs and thought bubbles hidden.
So, hopefully now you've got a pretty good idea at what you're looking to accomplish when it comes to making amazing Sims 3 machinima. Moving on!
Capturing Video in The Sims 3
If you want to make movies with The Sims 3, then you've got to know how to actually film in game, right? Capturing video in The Sims 3 is as simple as pie once you get to know your way around the keyboard. Here are the hotkeys and their function.
- V: Press to begin and end video capturing.
- C: Press to take a screenshot.
- Tab: Press to hide dashboard and motives.
- + and - : Zoom in and out.
- Q and E: Pans the camera up and down.
- Z and X: Zoom in and out.
- W, D, A, and S: Forward, right, left, and backward.
- Shift + a or Shift + b: Tilt the camera.
It's a good idea, before entering any other cheat codes, that you enter "testingcheatsenabled true" without quotations. This cheat code is often necessary for many others to work properly.
Preset Camera Angles
Notice the way the camera smoothly pans across the screen as if it were planned in the good example video. Well it was planned, sort of! It's possible to set camera angles so that you can press a key and the camera will pan to that preset location. This makes not only for a smooth and awesome looking video, but also adds to the overall wow factor. Think... would you rather watch a video from a couple boring angles, or watch a video from many different angles, some of them even swooping across the screen?
You can set up to 5 different camera angles. How do you do this?
- Hit the Tab key. Find the location that you'd like for your camera to be in.
- After you're settled on a location, hold Ctrl + 5 (or 6, 7, 8, 9) to set that angle.
- Move away from that location, then press 5 (or whichever number you chose). If done correctly, your camera should automatically pan right to that preset location.
- Repeat for the remaining numbers, and then have fun panning between angles!
Setting the Scene
If you're going to make a video, don't half ass -- especially when it comes to the set! Does the scene take place in a diner? Go all out and make sure it looks like one, dress the waitresses up accordingly, have extras in the background eating! You want the video to seem as real as possible, and in order to do that you might need the help of a couple other cheat codes...
To buy everything you need, you might find yourself low on funds. If this is the case, hold Ctrl + Shift + C and then enter "motherlode" without quotations. This will add $50,000 to your funds. Repeat as often as necessary!
Place Objects Wherever
Are the restrictions on where you can place objects getting in the way? Hold Ctrl + Shift + C and then type in "moveobjects on" without quotations. This will allow you to move and place objects (and Sims!) wherever you'd like. If you ever want to return back to normal, replace "on" with "off".
Buy ALL Items
Do you need some items for your set that you could only find in a vacation place? Maybe you need certain objects that you can only find in a public place, like a park? Well entering into debug mode for the buy screen is what you need. Hold Ctrl + Shift + C and then type in "testingcheatsenabled true" without quotations, hit Enter, and then type in "buydebug" without quotations. This will allow you to purchase ANYTHING during buy mode!
Get Career and Service Uniforms
Need a cop uniform, or maybe the super hero suit? There's an easier way to get your hands on it without having to work your way up through the career ladder. Hold Ctrl + Shift + C and then type in "unlockoutfits on" without quotations. Be sure to do this before entering CAS. Doing this will allow you to choose from every piece of clothing, even those only available to specific careers and NPC's.
Plumbob and Thought Bubbles
If you're going to make a great video, you're going to want to get rid of those pesky plumbobs and thought bubbles. How do you do this? Easy. More cheat codes!
On the keyboard, hold down Ctrl + Shift + C, then type in "HideHeadlineEffects On" without quotation marks. When you want to replace them, just replace "On" with "Off".
Download Custom Content!
If you're looking to add awesome props or cool hairstyles, outfits, houses, etc. to your Sims 3 movie or music video, you can always download custom fan made content. One of those most trusted websites to use for this is modthesims.info.
Remember: If you use anything in your movie or music video, it's always good etiquette to credit the creator somewhere!
Actions on Demand
Sims 2 fans who've made movies with the game before remember how easy it was to get a Sim to do an action on demand -- there was actually a box that had every action listed, and upon clicking that box, you can choose for the active Sim to do whatever you please. Unfortunately, EA didn't think Sims 3 movie makers would enjoy this luxury, and actually had to go quite a while without the ability to do actions on demand.
Thankfully though, with the release of Generations came a new cheat code to get at least most of the most important actions needed to make great videos. First, hold Ctrl + Shift + C and then type in "moviemakercheatsenabled true" without quotations. Now upon Shift + Clicking on your Sim, there will be options to do animations and actions right on queue! How's that for useful? It even allows you to quickly bring the Sim into CAS (if you click on the option) so that you can edit them right then and there!
Coming up with a Story
Be creative and try to tell a story with your video! Don't just film some stuff, toss it together and upload it to YouTube -- sit down with a pencil and paper and actually plan! If you're making a show, try coming up with a plot, characters, character biographies, seeing if you could find voice actors, etc. If you're making a music video, first find a song that you'd like you make the music video for, and then try to come up with something simple enough to execute in The Sims 3 but still interesting and well put together to tell a story! Who knows, if you're good at what you do, there's a possibility you could even earn money from it by partnering up with YouTube later on down the road if you gain a following!
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Samuel Franklin on October 14, 2014:
This is why I love The Movies since it's basically The Sims with the ability to create movies!
Sarah Forester from Australia on February 05, 2014:
Great guide! This is actually why I really like The Movies, it's The Sims + Movies.
Jess on December 26, 2013:
Thankyou soo much really useful and am making a movie now :)
Georgina on March 25, 2013:
Best tips I got for this thanks;)
H. on June 09, 2012:
sims 3 fan on June 02, 2012:
This was sooo helpful and easy to read! Thanks!!
Shasta Matova from USA on March 07, 2012:
I really enjoy this game, and with these ideas I am going to be able to take it to a whole another level! Thanks.