Free will is a game option that enables Sims to move and to perform certain actions without being directed by the player. Most of these actions are connected with their needs, but they are also capable of making other decisions based on a variety of factors. What Sims do as a result of free will may not always be the best or most rational choices they could make. For example, a Sim who has just enough time to eat and shower before the carpool comes may decide to play on the computer.
A Sim's mood can affect which free will actions he or she will perform, and whether or not he or she will perform some actions as a result of free will.
Some interactions cannot be directed, but can happen autonomously. For example, a Sim can "Look out" a window or "Check out" a new object, but can't be told to do so without testingcheatsenabled or allmenus activated. On the other hand, Sims will not do certain things unless directed to by the player, even if Free Will is enabled. Some examples are looking for a job, asking another Sim to move in, proposing engagement or marriage, and woohoo.
In The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4, mods can prevent Sims from performing some actions as a result of free will. These "no autonomy" mods generally target a specific action, such as juggling espresso cups, diary-writing, or checking out new objects. Other mods may "nerf" specific free will actions by limiting when and/or where they can be performed.
By default, free will is on in every game. In most games, it can be enabled or disabled from the "Game Options" menu; exceptions to this are The Urbz: Sims in the City and The Sims 2 Castaway, in which free will does not exist. Beginning with The Sims 2, it is set for each lot, and will be on when a family moves into a new lot.
Handheld versions of The Sims (except The Sims 2 Pets for PSP) do not have a free will option.
Even if free will is disabled, Sims may still move without player direction if they are in a life or death situation.
The Sims era
Free will in The Sims can be enabled or disabled, and is enabled by default. Unlike later games in the series, free will in The Sims is a global option, even though it can only be enabled or disabled while playing a lot. If free will is disabled, it will be disabled for all lots in all neighborhoods. If free will is disabled, selectable Sims will not do anything without player direction, though visitors and pets[Unleashed] will always have free will.
If cheating occurs, Sims will still autonomously slap the cheater regardless of the Free Will setting.
The Urbz: Sims in the City
The Urbz: Sims in the City does not have a free will option and free will cannot be disabled. The Sims 2 restored this option and allows the user to disable free will.
Urbz act the same as in The Sims and The Sims Bustin' Out.
Urbz will sometimes use Act Mean socials on other Urbz (including the player) if the Urb is from a location that the Urb dislikes (such as Gasoline Row hating Diamond Heights).
The Sims 2
In The Sims 2, free will is no longer global, and can now be enabled or disabled for each individual house. Free will is more advanced than in The Sims. Sims will generally make better choices, but may decide to do things such as make a very filling meal when they're only slightly hungry. Sims may make free will choices even while the player is looking though an object's menu. When making free will decisions to use objects, Sims in The Sims 2 are notably poor about judging whether or not another Sim is already using them. For example, Sims may repeatedly attempt to use or clean a shower or bathtub when another Sim is using it.
The Sims 2 (console)
The ability to disable free will, which was removed in The Urbz: Sims in the City, is restored. Free will is similar to The Urbz and earlier console games.
If controlling a Sim in Direct Control, the Sim has no free will unless the Sim is switched out or if using Classic Control. The action used by free will is canceled if the Sim is switched to using direct control. For example, if Dina is currently going to work when switched to her, she will change out of her work clothes and no longer head to her carpool, causing her to miss work unless the player directs her to go before the carpool leaves. This problem is not present in The Sims 2 and The Sims Stories due to the way controls are handled (unless the user cancels Go to Work). If a Sim that is being controlled in Direct Control is left idle for 10 minutes, the Sim will wave and do a motion at the player to move, then free will is enabled until the player interacts with the game in any way.
The Sims 2 Pets (console) and The Sims 2 Pets for PSP
Free will is similar to, and behaves like, free will in The Sims 2. The primary difference is that there is a timer that enables free will after a given period of time. For example, setting the timer to two minutes will automatically enable free will two Sim minutes after the Sim is no longer being directly controlled.
The Sims Stories series
Free will in The Sims Stories is similar to free will in The Sims 2, and has the same features.
Note: In The Sims Castaway Stories, free will can be disabled; unlike The Sims 2 Castaway, in which free will cannot be disabled and the user is only allowed to set the Time
The Sims 2 Castaway
Unlike its predecessors The Sims 2 Pets and The Sims 2, The Sims 2 Castaway does not allow the user to disable free will, but it can be configured.
The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval
The Sims 3 allows players to select varying levels of Free Will, namely High, Low, and Off. Free will does not only keep a Sim sustained in life with almost no player interaction, but will also choose interactions based on the Sim's traits, favorites, and how they are compatible with other Sims in socialization. For example, if a Sim has the green thumb trait, they will autonomously garden and take care of their plants and even talk to them. If a Sim knows the recipe for their favorite food they will be more likely to cook it than any other dish. Sims will give positive reactions and interactions to Sims who are compatible in traits and the opposite with non-compatible traits. With story progression on, this free will is more noticeable with other Sims not currently controlled by the player. Children and teens will even do their homework if the free will is high enough. When free will is set to off, then Sims react autonomously only in order to save their lives.
Unlike The Sims 2 and The Sims Stories, Sims will not use negative socials unless the Sim has the mean spirited or hot-headed traits, or if they are triggered by a specific action, such as being attacked or being kissed by another Sim.
Since free will is configured by Options (Using options.ini) in The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval, it applies to all Sims and all towns regardless of the Sims being played.
The Sims Medieval uses the same free will selection as The Sims 3. There is an option to disable Free Will for the current selected Sim or pet.
The Sims 3 for console
Free will in the console versions is the same as The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval. But instead of "Off", It is called "Puppet".
The Sims 4
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