Completely new featuresEdit
These features in The Sims 3 base game have not existed in any game in The Sims series before:
- Seamless neighborhood
- Universal clock synchronized in all lots—in The Sims 2, time was frozen on the home lot as long as Sims visited community lots. To avoid exploitation of this, Sims weren't able to learn skills or sleep on community lots. In The Sims 3, Sims can do almost everything regardless of where they are.
- Ability to visit other homes
- Story progression - non-active households evolve during gameplay (can be turned on or off)
- Create-A-Sim features:
- Ability to adjust lifespan
- Ability to turn off aging (possible through cheats in The Sims 2)
- All Sims, including townies and NPCs, age as the game progresses
- Many new and more enhanced skills
- Rabbit holes - elementary, opaque civic buildings
- Enhanced job features
- Job performance options
- Dynamic performance criteria (skills, coworkers, assignments)
- Branching careers
- Ghost interaction and playable ghosts.
In The Sims 3 expansion packsEdit
- Basement tool (basements were made by using foundations and as part of feature in The Sims 2: Nightlife)[TS3:WA]
- Fountain tool[TS3:LN]
- Breast and muscle definition slider[TS3:LN]
- Body hair[TS3:G]
- Controllable pets (possible through cheats in The Sims 2: Pets)[TS3:P]
The Sims 2 expansion features in The Sims 3 base gameEdit
Many features introduced in The Sims 2 expansions appear in The Sims 3 base game, to some extent.
- Young adult[TS2:U]: Part of the regular life state now.
- Inventory[TS2:NL]: Each Sim has personal inventory and a family inventory.
- Journalism and Music careers[TS2:S]
- Walking between lots[TS2:BV]
- Beaches[TS2:BV]: Ability for Sims to swim in the open sea reappears in patch 1.42, equivalent to The Sims 3: Seasons.
- Bug collecting[TS2:S][TS2:FT]
- Jogging[TS2FT]: Now in the open environment, instead of off-screen.
- Mobile phones[TS2:U]: Each Sim that is a child and older now has a mobile phone fixed in their inventory.
- Guitar[TS2:U]: As many games and expansions featured a fixed electric guitar, The Sims 3 has a portable acoustic guitar with a designated guitar skill.
- Ownable cars[TS2:NL]
- Roof objects[TS2:S]
- Activity table[TS2:FT]: Toddlers no longer gain skill from using it.
- Jungle gym[TS2:AL]
These game features were found in The Sims 2 base game but not in The Sims 3.
- Aspiration: Replaced with lifetime happiness.
- Slacker career
- Fears: Replaced with negative moodlets.
- Underwear: Underwear clothing style is part of pajamas.
- Private school: Reappears as Boarding school in The Sims 3: Generations.
- Visible retail stores: Reappears as market[TS3:WA], consignment store[TS3:A], and gallery shop[TS3:ITF].
- Memories: Returns in The Sims 3: Generations
- Aliens, alien abduction, and alien pregnancy: Aliens and alien abduction return in The Sims 3: Seasons.
- Flower beds that require watering and bushes that require trimming
- Environment and comfort needs: Replaced by moodlets
- The ability to create new neighborhoods. Replaced by Create-A-World
- Illness: Returns in The Sims 3: Seasons
- Inheritance: Returns as a Lifetime Reward[TS3:G]
- Photo album: Screenshots are uploaded to TheSims3.com where stories are created.
- The need to buy clothes
- Cockroaches. They return as a collectible.
- Dreaming during sleep: Re-added in patch 1.5/1.6
- Body Shop
- Crosswords in newspapers
- Astrological signs: Returns in The Sims 3: Late Night
- The need to bathe babies and toddlers: Returns with the changing table premium content
- Shops (sims no longer buy food on commercial lots, and The Sims 3 does not have magazines and video games (as an item that can be bought and played on a computer). The ability to purchase clothing is reintroduced in The Sims 3: Into the Future).
- The picture-in-picture window (also present in The Sims).
- Mechanical skill: Replaced with Handiness
- Cleaning skill
- Creativity skill: Replaced with several relevant skills; Guitar, Painting, and Writing in base game, and additional skills from expansion packs and store including Sculpting, Piano, Bass, Drums, Violin and Laser Rhythm-a-con skills.
- Yoga secret skill
- Meditation secret skill: Returns in The Sims: World Adventures as an ability upon reaching level 5 of the Martial Arts skill.
NPCs that were in The Sims 2 base game, but not in The Sims 3.
- Hula Zombies
- Social Bunny
- Nanny: Replaced with babysitter.
- Cashier: Reappears in market[TS3:WA] and consignment store[TS3:A].
- Bartender: Replaced with Mixologist[TS3:LN]
These objects (with unique interactions) were found in The Sims 2 base game but not The Sims 3 base game:
- Aspiration rewards: Replaced with lifetime reward
- Career rewards
- Piano: Returns in The Sims 3: Late Night
- Pinball Machines: Returns as premium content from the Store
- Diving board: Returns in The Sims 3: Seasons
- Hot tub: Returns in The Sims 3: Late Night
- Retail objects (cash register, shelves): Returns in The Sims 3: World Adventures and later
- Wedding arch: Returns in The Sims 3: Generations
- Changing tables: Returns as premium content from the Store
Changes in AnimationsEdit
- Birthday parties / aging up
- Making out: has been toned down
- Getting in and out of a vehicle
- Comparison between The Sims base games
- Comparison between The Sims and The Sims 2
- Comparison between The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval
- Comparison between The Sims 2: Bon Voyage and The Sims 3: World Adventures
- Comparison between The Sims 2: Open for Business and The Sims 3: Ambitions
- Comparison between The Sims 2: Nightlife and The Sims 3: Late Night
- Comparison between The Sims 2: Pets and The Sims 3: Pets
- Comparison between The Sims 2: Seasons and The Sims 3: Seasons
- Comparison between The Sims 2: University and The Sims 3: University Life
- Comparison between The Sims 3 and The Sims 4