The Sims 2 was launched on September 14, 2004. A port to Mac OS X was released on June 17, 2005. Eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs were subsequently released.
The Sims 2 has turned The Sims series into 3D graphics engine. Sims have life goals, wants and fears, the fulfillment of which can produce both positive or negative outcomes.
A lot of things have been improved compared with original The Sims. Most importantly, The Sims 2 introduced ability to edit neighborhoods. You can place lots anywhere, move, rotate, copy them, transpose them from one neighborhood to another, even with families living on them (not recommended to move families from one neighborhood to another).
Due to above reason, size of lots in The Sims 2 is a multiply of 10 of the size shown in neighborhood view. Base game allow you to place lots from 3×2 to 5×5, while Nightlife and newer expansion packs add more sizes including 3×1, 2×2 and 6×5. With third-party tools such as Mootilda Lot Adjuster you can obtain any lot size from 1×1, 1×5 to 6×5 even in base game. More details: lot sizes and prices.
The Sims 2 base game comes with 3 pre-made neighborhoods, with all expansion installed will be 6 pre-made neighborhoods, plus 8 pre-made sub-neighborhoods which can be linked to each neighborhood and visited (3 university campuses, 1 downtown, 1 shopping district, 3 vacation destinations). Total 14 pre-made neighborhoods with 350 lots. Additional 5 hidden neighborhoods do exist in game files and are used to generate NPC, they cannot be played. More details: The Sims 2 neighborhoods.
Players can make custom neighborhoods using .sc4 terrains, base game provide 12 terrain templates and with expansion packs makes a total of 24. Players can make custom terrain templates with another game: SimCity 4.
The Sims 2 houses can be built more compact and realistic than The Sims 1 houses where only 1 Sim can sit in any square, I always had traffic jams between kitchen and dining, to eat 4 people was necessary a 2×2 table. In The Sims 2 a 1×1 table can sustain 4 chairs.
The Sims 2 introduced weekdays, with children going to school from Monday to Friday while adult jobs work hours and work days vary from job to job.
The Sims 2 architectural features were improved greatly. Under default settings the houses can have up to 5 floors. This can be foundation + 3 floors + roof or terrace. You can eliminate the foundation, or built a semi-underground basement floor inside foundation. There is a TRICK that allow building 6 levels: put a dormer on the highest level, but this will not allow anymore stepped roofs taller than one floor.
Roofs can be built automatically or manually, allow you to make a mix of hipped and gabled roofs. Base game roof pitch is always 45 degrees to allow attic usage, which cause very tall roofs in case of squarish single-storey houses (reason for which personally I choose to build houses L-shaped, U-shaped, etc, to make roof not too tall). Nightlife and newer expansion packs add a cheat roofslopeangle 15-75 (degrees).
A cheat was introduced by University and Open for Business expansion packs: press Ctrl+Shift+C when you are in Neighborhood (NOT in a lot), type sethighestallowedlevel 16 (or any number up to 255), then open any lot and you can built more levels. If the height limit was reached, just put a dormer to unlock the limit. Do not try to build more than 16 floors, the game will crash.
Swimming pools in The Sims base game can have only 4 sides, Nightlife or newer expansion packs allow you to build non-rectangular pools such as L-shaped or with diagonal sides.
The Sims 2 introduced aging and genetics (aging can be disabled using cheat aging -off):
Babies cannot be created via Create a Sim, they can be made by doing WooHoo in bed (Sims definition of sex). After 72 hours of pregnancy, a baby is born. Babies can be also adopted if a Sim call adoption service, they never call you like in The Sims 1. Babies do appear in Sims list, but cannot be selected or controlled directly, but only by another sim, teen or older.
Toddler last 4 days, they can be controlled and move around house but depends by other sims, teen or older, to be feed up, change diapers, put them in and out their cribs, climbing stairs, etc.
Child last 8 days, they go to school from 9 AM to 3 PM and can be taken away by social worker in case of falling grades or low hunger motive, as they cannot prepare food, but only have a snack.
Teen last 15 days, but can be aged earlier if they go to university. Teenagers continue to go to school, but from 9 AM to 1 PM, and can be taken away by social worker in case of falling grades but not in case of hunger. Teenagers can also have a part-time job, drive cars, cook food and other adult abilities, except getting married and WooHoo.
Young adult is an optional life stage that happens if a Teen sim is sent to college, otherwise they turn into adult. Young adult last the full duration of college, which under normal circumstances is 8 semesters of 72 hours each.
Adult last 29 years. Adults can have a full-time job, same abilities like teens, plus ability to marry and WooHoo (having sex).
Elder is the final life stage, when adults age to elder they will be 54 days old regardless of how much they actually lived. Elder last 10 days + a random number from 1 of 10, plus a number of days based on their aspiration at the moment they aged, +10, +7, +3, 0, -2 days. Elder female Sims cannot get pregnant, but Elder male Sims can still impregnate adult female Sims. Adults who have jobs when they become elders can keep those jobs, or they can retire and receive a pension, which is per week half of weekly salary of the job he or she retired from, and the Sim will receive one-seventh of that each day. A retired Sim can have a part-time job like teenagers, in parallel with pension.
Some critics by me
- Starter families gets $20.000 regardless of number of Sims. Is this correct?
- Land prices are too cheap. A starter family can afford even the largest lot (5×6 which is $18,500). In my opinion, starter families should buy only small housing lots and move to large housing lots only when they get enough rich to build palaces. I am not against large lots, but look at the houses made by me, showing the potential of small lots. $100,000+ houses on 2×2 lots that cost only $1,600. Also even the cheapest, basic furniture for a fully furnished house is approximately the value of empty house. In real life, no house is cheaper than its furniture.
- Another thing that I do not like is that the sun in neighborhood view is in opposite direction of the sun in lot view. The sun direction is defined based on the original lot orientation when it was placed, rotating lots will make neighborhood view to have shadows in multiple directions. I personally build playable houses with various lot orientations to have most beautiful facade and pool on sunny side, while buildings designed purely for neighborhood decoration to have most beautiful facade on the dark side in lot to be sunny side in neighborhood.
The Sims 2 expansion packs
Release date: Windows: NA: March 1, 2005, EU: March 2, 2005, Mac OS X: ?.
Add ability to go to college, Young Adult age group, Influence system.
New sub-neighborhoods: La Fiesta Tech, Sim State University, Académie Le Tour
New careers: Natural Scientist, Paranormal, Show Business, Artist
Release date: NA: September 13, 2005, EU: September 13, 2005, Mac OS X: ?.
Add ability to own cars, and sub-neighborhood Downtown.
Open for Business
Release date: Windows: NA: March 2, 2006, EU: March 2, 2006, Mac OS X: September 4, 2006.
Add ability to set up home businesses.
New pre-made neighborhood: Bluewater Village.
Release date: Windows: NA: October 17, 2006, EU: October 20, 2006, Mac OS X: November 6, 2006.
Sims can now own pets.
New careers for pets: Security, Showbiz, Service.
Release date: Windows: NA: March 1, 2007, EU: March 2, 2007, Mac OS X: June 11, 2007.
Add seasons and weather, fishing and gardening.
New pre-made neighborhood: Riverblossom Hills.
New careers: Education, Gamer, Journalism, Law, Music.
Release date: Windows: NA: September 4, 2007, EU: September 7, 2007, Mac OS X: December 17, 2007.
Allow sims to go in vacation.
3 pre-made sub-neighborhoods: Twikkii Island, Three Lakes, Takemizu Village.
Release date: Windows: NA: February 26, 2008, EU: February 22, 2008.
Add ability to keep hobbies, lifetime aspiration system, new talent badges.
New pre-made neighborhood: Desiderata Valley.
New careers: Oceanography, Intelligence, Entertainment, Dance, Architecture
Release date: Windows: NA: August 27, 2008, EU: August 29, 2008.
Allow you to build apartments and put up to 4 families on same lot.
Add witchcraft system.
New pre-made neighborhood: Belladonna Cove.
Characters: Witches, Warlocks.
The Sims 2 stuff packs
Holiday Party Pack
Release date: Windows: NA: November 17, 2005
Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year themed stuff, plus new NPCs: Santa Claus, Father Time, and Baby New Year
Family Fun Stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: April 13, 2006, Mac OS X: April 30, 2007
Family-oriented Fairy tale, outer space and nautical themed items mainly for children’s bedrooms
Glamour Life Stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: August 31, 2006, Mac OS X: June 1, 2007
Luxury, couture and glamour themed objects, floors and walls
Happy Holiday Stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: November 7, 2006, Mac OS X: September 4, 2007
All items from Holiday Party Pack plus added Asian and European holiday themed stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: April 3, 2007.
Wedding themed hairstyles, fashions and accessories, furniture, and other party enhancers
H&M Fashion Stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: June 5, 2007
Fashion collections from H&M and H&M branded build objects
Teen Style Stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: November 5, 2007
Goth, Thrasher and Socialite themed stuff for teenagers’ bedrooms, teenage haircuts and new teenage clothes
Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
Release date: Windows: NA: April 15, 2008
Kitchen and bathroom objects, floors, walls and clothing items
IKEA Home Stuff
Released on Windows: NA: June 24, 2008
Fashionable furniture, floors and walls from the styles of IKEA
Mansion & Garden Stuff
Released on: Windows: NA: November 17, 2008
Items featuring three new decorative themes (Moroccan, Art Deco and Second Empire)
The Sims 2 custom content requirements
You can package lots in game and give them to friends or post them online to be downloaded and installed on other computers if they contains all expansion packs that were installed on the computer where the house was built, regardless they contains items from them or not, they also require stuff packs if they contains items from them. An exception is for University expansion pack, which is technically a stuff pack, and Mansion and Garden stuff pack, which is technically an expansion pack.