Improve the graphics in your Sims 4 game

I’ve recently discovered an amazing Simmer, Simp4Sims, who not only makes very cool stop motion build videos but has also provided an edited GraphicsRules.sgr file which will greatly enhance your in-game graphics. The GraphicsRules.sgr file is a game file that tells your game which graphics settings to load. It is nestled within the Sims4.app files but, since an update in September 2020, you can place a copy in the ConfigOverride folder in the Sims 4 folder and this will override the hidden original. Spot the difference:

It’s very easy to make this change to your game as Simp4Sims has done all the hard work for you by editing various values in the GraphicsRules.sgr file but it’s also important that your Mac has a GPU powerful enough to handle the increased demand. If you have a Mac with integrated Intel graphics only I would not recommend doing this as it will most likely slow your game to a crawl and possibly cause it to freeze. If you have a Mac with an AMD GPU with 4GB or more VRAM then go for it. You may also notice a hit on performance in-game but you should be able to play. I don’t spend much time in Live mode, for me it’s all about the aesthetic and my game still runs great after adding this file.

After testing I can confirm this will reintroduce swimming pool reflections, something Maxis removed from the default file. It also improves the shadow lines and artifacting issues.

Instructions:

  1. Head over to Simp4Sims Patreon page here and download the GraphicsRules.sgr file. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a Patron, the download is freely available to all. He also helpfully explains the main changes that have been made to the file.
  2. Navigate to your Sims 4 folder (where all your saves, Mods, Tray and other user data is saved) and open the ConfigOverride folder.
  3. Open the Downloads folder in a new Finder window, grab and drag the GraphicsRules.sgr file you just downloaded and drop it into the ConfigOverride folder.

and that’s it! It really is that easy. If you decide to go back to the original GraphicsRules.sgr file just trash the one in the ConfigOverride folder and your game will revert back to using the hidden file in the Sims4.app.

If you like to play a vanilla game don’t let this put you off, this is NOT a Mod. It is an edited game file that you can easily make changes to yourself if you prefer. We used to have to edit the GraphicsRules.sgr and GraphicsCards.sgr files in Sims 3 all the time just to get the game to work. You can find more information on the ConfigOverride folder here.

What is the ConfigOverride folder? Editing Sims 4 graphics files the easy way

The September 2020 patch 1.66.139.1220 has introduced an easier way to edit the Sims 4 graphics files. This is helpful if you have a newer machine with a GPU that isn’t yet supported in the game. Or you want to edit the files to override the in-game settings.

There is now a folder called ConfigOverride in the Sims 4 user data folder where your saves etc. are stored. You can place copies of the GraphicsCards.sgr, GraphicsRules.sgr and Default.ini files in here and any changes you make to the copies will override the existing game files in The Sims 4.app > Contents > Resources. If you have issues with the files you have edited, you simply trash them and the game will default back to the master game files in the Sims 4 app. You can then repeat the copy/paste to add them to the ConfigOverride folder and edit away. Repairing the game will replace the master files in the Resources folder.

Windows users – head over to Crin’s site for your instructions.

To make the file copies for editing:

  1. Right click on the Sims 4 app and select Show Package Contents (Windows users: \The Sims 4\Game\Bin and skip step 2)
  2. Navigate through Contents > Resources
  3. Select the Default.ini, GraphicsCards.sgr and GraphicsRules.sgr files and hold down CMD and C to copy or go to File > Copy
  4. Open the ConfigOverride folder in your Sims 4 folder and paste the files into the folder, CMD and V or File > Paste
  5. DO NOT drag the files from one folder to the other, you must copy/paste them

These are not normally files that the average user has to bother with so if you’ve never had to edit the files before, chances are you won’t need to start now. However, for those who like to tinker around and potentially break things (like me), here’s a quick explanation for these files and what they do:

Default.ini – you can change the default plumbob colours for your sim in here

GraphicsCards.sgr – the database for all supported and some older unsupported graphics cards (GPUs) in the game. If you receive the warning that your video card is not supported when you load the game, this is where you add it. You can also raise the default setting for your GPU if you think it is too low.

GraphicsRules.sgr – this tells the game what to do with the in-game graphics options when you chose Low/Medium/High/Ultra. There are settings for each which you can change. Simp4Sims has made an edited version of this available to download for free here which will really make your game look beautiful.

Boxy shadows under Sim since 1.58 patch

Do you have these horrible shadows under your Sims since downloading the Discover University patch?

thanks to Ryguy2707 for the screenshot

You can get rid of them in several ways like enabling laptop mode or disabling post processing effects. My preferred method is to edit the GraphicsRules.sgr file as it does not affect any other graphics settings. You will need to apply this fix after each patch update as the file will be replaced (or until EA fix the problem):

  1. Follow these instructions to make copies of the graphics files and add them to your Sims 4 folder – https://bluebellflora.com/2020/09/03/what-is-the-configoverride-folder-editing-sims-4-graphics-files-the-easy-way/
  2. Open the GraphicsRules.sgr file with TextEdit
  3. Hold down CMD and F to bring up the search box and enter SSAO
  4. There should be four results of SsaoEnabled that come up
  5. Make sure the value next to it is false for each instance:
    prop $ConfigGroup SsaoEnabled false
  6. Close the file, it should automatically save

They should now be gone!