DarkSpawn Social Media Manager, Content Creator & EAGamechanger
Welcome to the first in a short series looking at the world of custom content (or CC) for The Sims 4. Whether you’re new or not to the game, it’s highly likely you have dabbled with CC at some point. Modders create beautiful and functional pieces for any type of Simmer and constantly push the limits of the game. There are 4 distinct camps within the Simming community with regards to CC; the Alphas, the Maxis Matchers, the abstainers, and those who enjoy everything the community has to offer. I myself am the latter, enjoying a mixture of Alpha and Maxis Match is fairly equal measure.
What is Alpha and Maxis Match CC?
Simply put, Alpha is ‘original’ custom content that is designed to look more realistic. Maxis Match is very much the opposite of Alpha. It is designed to look as though it is intended for the game. You could be forgiven for thinking this CC is in-game content, as many items are recolours/retextures of Maxis items. I’m going to focus on create-a-sim (CAS) items for this post, especially Hairstyles and Makeup. There is a wealth of CC for these categories, and some great examples of the talent within the modding community for The Sims 4.
Here are two examples of beautiful CC Hairstyles. On the left, the Alpha hairstyle ‘Sleepwalking’ by Stealthic, has realistic texture and waves. You can see the ends of the hair are wispy and there are more natural highlights/shadows throughout the hair. On the right, the Maxis Match hairstyle ‘Rose’ by Hevandy, uses the same style as original Maxis content and looks less realistic. Whilst some may argue that realistic hair is more desirable, Alpha CC hair does come at a cost. Alpha hairstyles are prone to not working with hats, and can often be affected by body sliders in CAS. Maxis Match hair isn’t completely immune to these issues, but they certainly tend to work better with Maxis content than Alpha CC does.
I’ve chosen 2 eyeshadow examples and 2 lipstick examples for this category. On the top left, the ‘Sakura’ eyeshadow by PralineSims, which comes in a range of 30 colours. On the bottom right, the ‘Dark Magic Palette’ by Crypticsim, which comes in 20 shades. The main difference between Alpha and CC eyeshadows is the depth of texture and colour. The Dark Magic eyeshadows look amazing in-game, but the Sakura eyeshadows simply look more realistic and blended. Both are excellently created, and I have personally used both in my CAS projects.
On the top right, the ‘McLovin It’ lipstick by LadySimmer94 (collaboration with Sagittariah), which is available in 6 swatches and is Base Game compatible. On the bottom left, the ‘N39’ collection of lipsticks by FashionRoyaltySims, which comes in 14 ‘HQ’ colour options. The differences between Alpha and Maxis Match is more obvious with lipsticks in my opinion. You can see lip details and texture in the N39 lipstick, whereas Maxis Match lipsticks tend to be flatter. The McLovin’ It lipstick is beautiful, and I use this regularly however, I don’t believe it would work as a lipgloss.
Facial Hair & Eyebrows
Eyebrows and Facial Hair are the finishing touches on any Sim, and luckily the modding community has created options for all types of CC users. Eyebrows are, for me, extremely difficult to get right and so when I find a talented artist I download all their work. On the top left, the ‘Sonya’ eyebrows by Alf-si, which are an HQ option in 24 colours. On the top right, the ‘N06’ eyebrows by PralineSims, which come in the standard 18 hair colours available in The Sims 4. Maxis Match eyebrows are classicly quite ‘solid’ in both colour and shape. They rarely have any kind of shading and you can not see any individual hair strokes. Alpha eyebrows vary from neat and looking drawn on, to bushy and wild.
On the bottom left, the ‘N6’ beard by Seleng, which comes in 8 custom colours and has a mixture of longer hairs and shaded ‘stubble’. On the bottom right, the ‘Scruffed Stuff’ beard by XLDSims, which comes in the standard 18 hair colours available in The Sims 4. Alpha facial hair tends to have a wider range of textures and colour variations than Maxis Match does. With a Maxis Match beard, for example, you are likely to see less fine detail and more ‘chunks’ and blocks of colour. Alpha facial hair can be affected by skin tones/details though.
Skin Details & Overlays
In addition to mods to allow a wider range of skin tones, such as the Melanin Packs by XMiramira, skin details and overlays are increasingly popular. There are options to give Sims cellulite, stretch marks, scars, and more. But the majority of skin details are designed to add more realism or texture to a Sim’s face and body.
On the top left, the ‘Lauruna’ Skin by MsBlue, is an overlay that is unaffected by your Sim’s skin colour. This overlay gives Female Sims realistic cleavage, belly buttons, and shading on the collar bone and legs. On the top right, the ‘Tia’ Overlay by BlueMoonSims, is a subtle overlay that is also unaffected by your Sim’s skin colour. If you’re looking to make a simple tweak to the Maxis CAS look, this could be the one for you. As you can see from the pictures side by side, Alpha overlays tend to add more realistic details than Maxis Match overlays – but the premise is the same. Overlays are most often used to add a more aesthetically pleasing finish to a Sim.
On the bottom left, the ‘Vitiligo’ Skin by SimplyPixelated, is an overlay detail that mimics the look of Vitiligo (a skin pigmentation condition) for your Sims. Details like this are important for the community too, as Simmers who have conditions such as Vitiligo or Birthmarks to truly create themselves. On the bottom right, the ‘Subtle Freckles & Moles’ Skin by WildlyMiniatureSandwich, is another subtle but beautiful detail that adds a variety of freckles and moles to your Sim beyond the current few options in the game.
So what do you think? Are you an Alpha or Maxis Matcher? Let us know in the comments. Next time, we will be taking a look into CC clothes and accessories for The Sims 4.