Project Lemon: Notes From the Researcher

Here are the before and after pictures and stats of the Project Lemon household as well as notes and thoughts from the researcher (Watcher Shelli).

Everyone survived and even increased their skills! The group began to care for their own needs after only 24 hours of gentle nudging from The Watcher; the only exception was food preparation.

Patrice Britt discovered animal crackers the last week and would choose them or cheese and crackers to the delicious food prepared by Jayceon. She rarely had a negative mood or let her needs decrease too much.
Gerald McAlister was a great Bunker Chief. He thrived learning new things and seemed to enjoy the camaraderie despite being a loner.

For the first two sim days, I guided their actions and encouraged them. I had to abandon their careers after Day 3 because there are too many off-lot requirements for the Covert Operator career. This made Patrice Britt sad from being unemployed. Apologies, Patrice, but it was for the greater good. (Having a bug planted on her Day 1, made Lexie even more paranoid I think.) After that, for the rest of Spring, I clicked on the “auto solve” when I saw any needs dip into yellow. The rest of the experiment was done using Speed 3 with no intervention except for having Jayceon cook up meals (and then lock the door because the guy would get hungry and grab milk or only prep a meal for himself. Selfish sim! Or someone would run in to cook a grilled cheese). I intervened during the fire by having Haylee Frazier extinguish herself; the rest of the sims either routed for safety or doused her with foam.

Lexi Betts alternated among “paranoid–are they talking about me?” helping out with cleaning, playing chess, reading, or using the Research Archive Machine or feeling “safe from being underground.”
Haylee Frazier, you had so much promise but you turned out to be such a troublemaker!

As noted in the journal entries, the promise of fruitcake as a nutritious, shelf-stable food was not feasible. “Uncomfortable” moodlets from eating “junk food” arose. Even though each sim had 14 lemons in his/her personal inventory, they did not recognize it as food and needed to be nudged to eat them. I noticed a slight dip in hunger, then a slight increase, so it appeared to me as though one lemon was neutral and it took at least four lemons to increase the bar from midway to three-quarters. This was a tremendous disappointment! Brazen Lotus has a mod that fixes this.

After a frustrating (for me) Spring, I decided to let the sims choose their own schedule. It was exhausting making them choose “sleep” or “subliminal slumber” only to have a sim pop back out after an hour. I removed the lounge chairs because sims were napping midday. I took out the comfy seating area since they were already seated at the dining table (had to change because original one only seated six).

There seems no way (without mods) to put adult sims on a strict schedule. I’d send them all to bed at 2300, and they’d pop awake. Some even sneaked food into their inventories. It was a constant battle that I quickly tired of. Then I locked the door. Finally, in Summer Day 1 I just let them do whatever and began playing Speed 3 with the camera zoomed out or even looking around outside as they just did their thing.

As long as food was prepared and set on the table, they managed their food needs. I did cheat add the “fresh chef” trait to Cook Jayceon Barron so the food would not spoil. After a sim week of having laundry equipment, I removed it: the two hampers were constantly full since they were changing clothing at least eight times in a a day! The cooperation among the “neat” trait sims, Jayceon Barron and Jase Hwang, was interesting to observe–they would spontaneously switch out the laundry, helping Laundry Specialist Stacey Acosta. Lexie Betts was also frequently part of the laundry crew.

Another surprising observation was that even though each sim was leveled up to Fitness 6 before I began the experiment, only two or three would choose to use the exercise equipment. One day, Jami Douglas was on the treadmill for so long, she had “sore muscles” and was nearing the “red” for hunger needs. She needed a prompt to eat! Holidays came and went with varying sadness, for the only thing they celebrated was a Harvest Fest meal. The gnomes stayed on the perimeter, which was a nice surprise.

Objects used in order of noticed popularity:

Unsurprisingly, chess was a favorite way to build fun and social interaction.
The microscope was very popular.
After careful research, two prints were added by Patrice Britt and Gerald McAlister — I didn’t take a screenshot of the second print (the blue one). Where did they obtain the slides? Does it spontaneously generate?
No surprise that exercise and wellness objects were used.
It was endearing to watch sims mentor others, or choose yoga to combat stress.
(My troublemakers, haha! Together the first day.) Much reading was accomplished. Stacey (I think) actually achieved an aspiration level for Renaissance Sim on her own. After Day 2, I removed all novels and non-skill building books, except for the StrangerVille ones, on Day 5, I added at least two copies of skill-building books (excluding comedy and mischief, sims learn that on their own!).
Spontaneous cleaning for the “neat” trait sims may equal the “browse books” or use microscope. The bunker was nearly always immaculate. The only problems were when two sims were trying to throw away garbage in the same bin at the same time; but that was resolved in the next action.
After I made my adjustments (removed lounge chairs where they could nap and stopped trying to put them on a schedule) to keep my sanity, they used the “sleep” option and no sim passed out. I consider that a win. Also, they showered and used the toilet–nobody wet themselves or had green stinky fog.
Disappointingly, with so few options for fun, nobody used the wood working table or tended the garden on their own. Gerald McAlister enjoyed the yoga mat, as did Haylee Frazier.

I really learned quite a bit about sim behavior. My hypothesis going into this experiment was that the interactions I guide my sims to do for the first minutes of their existence and then using the “auto-solve” will teach them self care, provide them with opportunities to learn and their skills will increase. For the most part, this was proven in my limited test, 21 days. Everyone gained skills–even mischief or comedy (no surprise there).

From the settling in days, Spring Days 1-3 when there was unlimited access to pre-made meals, popcorn, and a seating area (Jayceon was busy cooking up batches of fruitcake, poor guy).

When given a choice to eat delicious (mostly) vegetarian fare or junk food, several of them chose the “quick meal” option rather than go to the dining table and grab a serving. When the kitchen wasn’t locked, they ran (not literally) to cook up grilled cheese sandwiches or grab junk food from the fridge. This greatly disappointed me. Also, the longer I observed, the more random their behavior became. They flitted from “browse books” to use microscope to chat to browse books. I would like to do another experiment with four controls and four others, so perhaps if there’s interest, I’ll share Part Two of Project Lemon. Please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading this, I hope it was interesting and perhaps even helpful.

Mods Used

Twisted Mexi’s Better Exceptions because my game hasn’t been the most stable. I also highly recommend his All Cheats, which is extremely handy.

Weerbesu’s UI Cheats Extension was for “just in case.”

Helpful Resources

Carl’s Sims 4 Guides — This has been my go-to resource since I started playing Sims 4 more intensely. Check out the links to: Website, YouTube, and if you’d like to give some support.

The Sims 4 Wiki is a great resource for worlds, family trees, and more.

There are many more, but these are my two go-to sources.


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