A basic straight staircase is one square wide, five squares long on the lower level, and four squares long on the upper level. These spaces must be left clear both above and below. The first square on the lower level and the fourth square on the upper level is reserved for the landing, and players may change the floor covering on these squares.
The Sims: Unleashed, The Sims: Superstar, The Sims 2: Apartment Life, The Sims 3 and The Sims 3: Generations add spiral staircases. They have a 2x2 footprint on both levels, along with an extra square on each level that's reserved for the landing. This saves space, and allows players to add upper floors to smaller houses.
The Sims 2: Open for Business, The Sims 2: Apartment Life, The Sims 3: Late Night and The Sims 3: Into the Future allow players to add elevators to lots, which can be used as an alternative to the stairs.
Staircases in The Sims consist largely of straight, one-piece stairs of a fixed height. As houses cannot be higher than two stories, staircases are only ever used to connect the first storey with the second storey. Only one Sim at a time can use a staircase, even if multiple Sims are travelling in the same direction. It is not unheard of for staircases in The Sims to get "stuck", and become unusable because the game considers them to be in use. The only way to fix this is to use the move_objects cheat to delete the stairs, then buy new stairs.
Spiral staircases were never introduced in The Sims, although House Party includes the Anti-Heisenberg Teleporter, which can be considered a type of elevator. The teleporter has a one-tile footprint and can be used to "teleport" Sims between floors. Players should note that dogs and cats cannot use the teleporter or any custom content based on it.
Unlike later games, players can manually command Sims to use the stairs. This is usually not necessary, as Sims will use the stairs automatically to get to their destination, although it can be used to ensure that a Sim uses a specific staircase.
The Sims 2
In addition to the basic staircases, The Sims 2 adds modular stairs with matching side railings. Modular stairs can be used on uneven terrain at almost any height, though their normal height is the same as that of the foundation. Pricing for modular stairs is unusual, as the price given in the catalog is not the price for a basic 4-step unit. Instead, it is the price for each step, so the cost of a 4-step unit needed to reach the ground from a foundation or deck is four times the catalog price. Modular stairs can also connect two floors in a building. To do this, leave a 1x4 space in the upper level's floor. Place a modular stair so that it points into that space, and it will automatically extend down to the lower level. Four modular stair units equals the height of one regular staircase, so the cost will be 16 times the catalog price. After placing the stairs, the player can add the matching railing to one or both sides at the cost of §12 per stair unit, regardless of the cost of the stairs. This is done by clicking the railing tool, then clicking the side of the stairs where the railing should be placed.
In The Sims 2, several Sims can use a staircase at the same time, though there are still some limits. The basic rule is that one Sim can go up a staircase while another is going down it. The player can increase the number of Sims that can use a staircase at one time by placing staircases side-by-side. Staircases placed side-by-side will automatically connect, making a wider staircase. Modular stairs are somewhat different, because each section is considered a separate object; only the ones that a Sim is actually on are considered to be in use. So, if modular stairs are used to connect two floors of a building, up to three Sims can go up (or down) them at the same time, as long as each one is on a different section.
List of staircases
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The Sims 3
In The Sims 3, staircases are able to be any length the player wishes. Unlike previous games, staircases can have railing that is of a different style from the actual staircase, and the railing can be only on one side. A tool in the staircase placing tool allows for multiple staircases to be placed side by side quickly and easily. Multiple Sims can use the staircase, as in The Sims 2. The Sims 3: Generations also allows spiral staircases to be used on a lot. Patch 55 also added a spiral staircase and ladders, which are more compact and take up less space.
The Sims 4
In The Sims 4, the length of a staircase is based on the height of the walls. Staircases can have different types of railings, but are restricted on both sides. Staircases can also be pushed and pulled sideways to be as long as the lot itself. Any wallpaper can be added on to a staircase and the base can be removed with the sledgehammer tool. The Sims 4 doesn't currently have spiral staircases.
In patch 84, stairs are configurable through the use of an additional widget, which allows the player to bend a staircase in any direction, allowing for the creation of L-shaped, T-shaped, and U-shaped staircases. There is a maximum of four steps between landings, dependent on the size of the staircase. The height and length of stair sections can then be modified by dragging the arrows from the object for the desired result. Staircases can go in multiple directions provided there is room.
Staircases have often been modified by custom content creators. Sometimes, this is just a matter of redesigning them so they have a different appearance, such as making the Anti-Heisenberg Teleporter resemble an elevator rather than a science-fiction device, or making a staircase look like an escalator. At other times, staircases have been modified to produce working ladders or to be more-or-less working spiral staircases. Some custom staircases for The Sims and The Sims 2 effectively work as "vertical doors" or "teleportation pads" between floors, which allow players to simulate elevators.
Modified staircases for The Sims 2 may or may not be fully animated, and may or may not work well when used by pets.