Apocalypse Challenge Rules – Modified Unlocks

Jump to: Locks & Rules | Unlocks (Beta) | Career Tier Table

Last updated 8/20/2020 – this is a living document so may change without warning.

In Apocalypse Life, I’m playing a modified Pinstar apocalypse challenge. In the challenge, the world and gameplay is restricted and you unlock those actions by reaching the top of each career. Pinstar’s rules are base game only so has 25 careers to unlock.

I totally get not wanting to update the challenge with every new pack or trying to figure out if you have Get Together but not Get to Work – then how should the rules work? But I own all the packs, and I want to have to do the doctor career to unlock things, plus with Island Living and Eco Lifestyle there’s some great off-the-grid additional restrictions I could play with.

Ideally, maybe I’ll say I’m done when I’ve unlocked 25 careers similar to the original? Otherwise this story could go on forever. As of Aug 14, 2020 – there are 57 careers by my count – and we have university degrees. So, I made a set of unlocks for all the careers plus rules for going to university – because yeah. If you want to play this and find that an unlock doesn’t make sense for your game or you don’t have the required packs, adjust as you wish. I would say this is for fun and the story you tell yourself, is more important than following the ‘rules’ in my opinion.

Currently there are two prequel you can do with your sim before you start – my StrangerVille prequel challenge or sending your initial sim to university to get a head start on unlocks before you start playing for real.

Locks & Rules – The Basics

Jeep and Adam meeting in my Apocalypse Life story -Adam is hidden in a bio suit.

I recommend reading pinstar’s rules to understand the basic rules. I have grouped them in themes to help add the unlocks and I don’t think I listed every lock below. It can feel like a LOT of rules. If it feels like too much, I recommend my prequel challenge as it will slowly apply the locks as you play.

Folks are under strict government control. You are on your own.

  • You cannot travel to other houses in your neighborhood or neighborhoods in your town or to any community lots.
  • Only one sim can join your house per generation and you cannot keep their move-in money.
  • A strict curfew means no social gathering and no being outside your house (except to go to/from work) after dark.
  • You cannot travel to other towns, go on vacations or go to college (after your initial sim)
  • You can only build on an 8×8 space within your lot and only up to 3 stories high.

The natural world is no longer safe.

  • You cannot do actives that mean you spend a lot of time unprotected outside.
    • Eg. cloudgazing, jogging, camping, long conversations with neighbors (you can invite them in, just not with the phone)
    • You can do these activities if you are wearing a bio-suit (from StrangerVille) or a beekeeper’s suit.
  • All usable objects must be covered by a roof to keep them safe.
  • The water is no longer safe to drink or bathe in.
    • No drinks, potions, brushing teeth, bottle feeding, bathing in tubs/showers.
    • You can wash in sinks or outside in the rain (and wash toddlers on Saturdays – I use a hygiene cheat for that).
    • You probably can’t stop your sim from getting water from the sink, but I do try.
    • I am playing with laundry on because I like to make my sims suffer.
  • The earth’s plants are unhealthy, strange, and unfamiliar so you cannot harvest, sell, or eat plants.
Adam in his bio suit catches a huge fish. He is thrilled.

The economy has collapsed.

  • There are no city services – set your house to “off-the-grid” – bonus, also set it to grody.
  • Phones can only be used to get/quit jobs.
    • I do answer if the phone rings, but probably shouldn’t.
  • There are no restaurants or grocery stores – that means nothing but grilled fish and grubs to eat.
  • There is no internet, TV, radio. You can only use the computer for job requirements.
  • There’s only a small general store in town and it’s only open on Sunday.
  • You can only buy the worse version of any item for sale.
    • I do take this rule generously, for example I allow the worst rocking chair rather than only the worse living room chair which would mean no rocking chairs.
  • Pinstar’s rule says you must use the random outfit you sims age up in….I say they can only have 1 outfit per category and try to make sure there’s a lot of overlap in the clothes choices.
  • Since there’s only the store you can’t sell things you find or make.

Jobs are precious and rare – so you’ve only got one shot

  • You will lose your job if you are late (red alert), take a day off, or leave early.
  • You can’t start a job you were forced to quit and Elders can’t retire
  • You have to work hard/normal only and you can’t work from home
  • Many jobs have requirements to join
Jeep is doing laundry, behind her the toilet has broken again. She is smelly and dirty.

Crime is rampant

  • You can’t spend money if you’ve gotten the alert bills are due.
  • You must reduce your funds to 0 after paying the bills to pay off the crime bosses.

Your health is poor and you are malnourished and weak

  • You must try for baby when whooing and cannot take pregnancy tests. You must use random traits only.
    • Alternate MCCC rule – set risky at 50%.
  • No medicine, herbal remedies or vet treats.
  • You can’t move items that are larger than 1×1, you also can’t move items out of your household inventory.
    • 1×1 is the size of the item being placed, not the footprint for interactions. Thus dining chairs and bassinet would be considered 1×1 item.
  • You can only have 1 stack of items in your personal inventory (updated 8/20)
    • This is hard to do the basic pinstar rules here so here’s how it can be played. By default you can have only 1 stack of items in your personal inventory.
    • For each fitness point, you can carry another stack of items – up to ten, until this rule is unlocked.
    • Children and toddlers are still growing and thus can only carry their homework plus one stack in their inventory until they grow up.
    • Hazmat suit, knitting baskets and other “must be in inventory items” DO take up a slot. So a child can have her homework PLUS a knitting basket, but then can’t catch fish until you take the knitting basket out. An adult with a level 3 fitness can have a hazmat suit, knitting basket, and collect grubs. 😀
  • You cannot purchase reward traits, change aspirations

The world is joyless and grey

  • No career rewards or emotional auras.
  • You can’t change aspirations or cancel/pin whims.
  • You can’t put art up on the walls to improve the environmental effects.
  • No festivals, holidays or playing music.

Unlock Rules (Beta)

Adam in his suit working on the political career unlocks.

Unlocks means that everyone can now do/use whatever was unlocked. When a locked action is required for a career you can do the locked activity to get your promotions.

These are just my first thoughts/attempts. I can/will tweak them as better options come forward.

Science & Technology Careers

  • Scientist – can use focused emotional items (requires art critic), buy showers and tubs (but can only use them on Wednesday and Saturday until marine biologist unlock), also can utilize the geo-council and release ghosts. Unlocks space ranger and smuggler.
  • Start-up Entrepreneur – can use computers to socialize and browse online and allows use of Plopsy (requires freelance crafter to sell, buying limits still in effect unless lifted by retail worker). Unlocks Internet Personality career and internet limited careers.
  • Freelance Programmer – allows ordering items from the computer and other non-internet and non-gaming computer activities. Unlocks tech guru career.
  • Computer Engineer – Can use computers to research subjects online, and can purchase tablets and laptops, and better computers as well as use drones to create/upload videos. Unlocks internet limited careers.
  • Green Technician – allows use of eco water/power generators and eco upgrades, can place maker space community lots. Unlocks environmentalist.
  • Mechanical engineer – can buy TVs and better electronics (not computers), can upgrade and repair broken items any day of the week, and can hire repair folks.
  • Internet personalityunlocked by start-up entrepreneur. Can live-stream using drones and make ad revenue online and host charity streams
  • Tech Guruunlocked by Freelance Programmer. Can play games on the computer and do freelance computer work for money and sell computer games. Unlocks eGamer.
  • eGamer unlocked by Tech Guru. Can join gaming competitions, use gaming pad/gaming consoles, and join the SimShuffle team at university. Unlocks GeekCon festival (requires travel unlocks).
  • Space Ranger unlocked by scientist. Can cloud-gaze and use telescope, visit Sixam and sell collectibles (that aren’t plants).
  • Environmentalist unlocked by green technician. Can go jogging, buy thermostats, change the weather and spend time outside without a biosuit/beekeeper suit. Can also vote for and repeal community actions.

Business & Food Careers

  • Manager – can be late to work or leave early, work from home, take off holidays, and choose not to work hard/normal. Unlocks investor and retail worker.
  • Chef – Can buy stoves and fridges. Can place/run restaurants and place/use food carts on community lots, can bake and own a bakery (requires investor). Unlocks Fast Food worker.
  • Mixologist – can drink from fridges, sinks, bars, can brush teeth, can place bar and cafe community lots, can place drink carts on community lots. Unlocks barista.
  • Retail workerunlocked by manager. Can buy items any day of the week, not just on Sunday.
  • Investor unlocked by manger. Can own retail shops, can buy better items, can sell build/buy items (must only be 1×1 until body builder is unlocked).
  • Fast Food workerUnlocked by chef. Can order pizza, takeout, delivery. Can have quickmeals from the fridge, and use small kitchen appliances (microwaves, popcorn makers, ice cream makers. Unlocks the Spice Festival (requires travel unlocks).
  • Barista unlocked by mixologist. Can use coffee/tea makers, can purchase/drink reward potions, can use dishwashers.
  • Food criticunlocked by journalist. Can dine at restaurants (requires chef), can take experimental food photos. Test idea: Opens “grocery stores” can now cook things that aren’t just fish or plants…?

Art & Entertainment Careers

  • Freelance Author – can write excuse notes and write to pen pals. Can self-publish books. Unlocks author.
  • Master Artist – can place artwork on walls and sell art to the art collector. Can place an arts center community lot. Unlocks patron of the arts.
  • Journalist – can use the camera and sell to the literary digest (requires author). Unlocks the flea market (requires travel unlocks). Unlocks public relations, photography, art and food critic careers.
  • Freelance Artist (Digital Artist)requires internet to unlock. Can sell art via the street gallery and can change/use lot traits besides “off the grid.” (Off the grid removal unlocked by civic planner).
  • Musician – can listen to the radio and have earbuds, can play instruments for fun, can use the DJ machine to mix music (requires internet) and sell music/jingles. Can place nightclubs and karaoke bars (if mixologist is unlocked). Unlocks actor.
  • Comedian – can throw parties and invite others to your house. Unlocks the humor and hi-jinks festival (requires travel unlocks). Unlocks actor.
  • Author – unlocked by freelance author. Can sell books to publishers, can order books. Can place the library community lot.
  • Patron of the Arts unlocked by master artist. Can place museum community lots and sell art to the art gallery.
  • Public Relationsrequires internet and is unlocked by journalist. Can ask for loans and create and celebrate holidays. Can build more than 3 stories in your house.
  • Freelance photographerunlocked by journalist. Can sell photos and place them on walls. Can change your aspiration.
  • Art criticunlocked by journalist. Can use turn/on emotional auras.
  • Actor unlocked by either musician or comedian. Can win/go to the starlight accolades, can participate in drama club, can watch movies on the TV, can use mirrors.
  • Stylist – I merged Trend setter and Stylist as one career in my head. Need to think through what should be unlocked where here.
  • Trend Setterrequires internet unlocked. can have multiple outfits per category, hire a butler, and have a sim step into the spotlight.

Sims and Education

  • Pro Athlete – can purchase reward traits and choose traits on aging up. Can place gyms, spas, and pools. Can play basketball and play with the soccer ball. Can join the soccer team in university.
  • Body Builder – Can carry more than 1 stack of items in your personal inventory and move items out of the household inventory. Can also move/sell items bigger than 1×1 (requires investor to sell build/buy items). Can own/ride bikes.
  • Doctor – Can woohoo without trying for baby (or use birth control with MCCC), can take pregnancy tests an use/buy medicine. Can also run/visit vets.
    • Running a vet will unlock pets.
  • Babysitter – can hire a nanny or send infants/toddlers to daycare. Can influence a baby’s gender and can bottle feed. Unlocks professor and administrator.
  • Professor unlocked by babysitter. Can take skill classes and go to university (requires internet unlocked and living on campus requires politician unlock).
    • Your initial sim can attend university as a ‘prequel’ to the challenge. Subsequent sims must wait until internet and professor unlocks.
    • University degree rules – a distinguished degree will act/unlock two careers), a regular degree unlocks one career. The chosen career(s) is automatically unlocked even if another career would normally be required. If the sims is your heir they can then unlock a third career the regular way. If the sim is a spare they cannot unlock any more – this acts as their one unlock.
      • Art History – art Critic/patron of the arts
      • Biology – bodybuilding/marine biologist (Plus unlocks pets)
      • Communication – journalism/public relations
      • Computer Science – computer engineer/oracle
      • Culinary Arts – chef/mixology
      • Drama – actor/comedian
      • Economics – manager/investor
      • Fine Arts – master of the real/musician
      • History – judge/administrator (Plus unlocks Selvadorada)
      • Language and Lit – author/attorney
      • Physics – mechanical engineer/scientist
      • Psychology – diamond agent/detective
      • Villainy – villain agent/boss
  • Administrator unlocked by babysitter. Can pause time during university and take out loans to attend university. Can change majors/schools or rejoin university if kicked out.

Plants & Animals

  • Odd Jobs – reach level 5 to join scouts and hire maids. Unlocks manual labor.
    • Once scouts is maxed by a sim you can visit Granite Falls (requires travel unlocks) place national parks, go camping, use the tent, and use herbal remedies. This does not count as that sims career unlock.
  • Botonist – can grow/harvest/graft plants. Can buy non-flower see packets. Can place parks and the garden community space. Unlocks florist.
  • Freelance Crafter – Can sell crafted items via yard sales an on Plopsy (with Start Up Engineer). Can sell crafted items via the inventory only with Investor unlocks.
  • Fisherman – Can carry as much fish in your inventory as you wish – regardless of inventory stack limits. Unlocks Marine biologist.
  • Manual Laborunlocked by Odd Jobs. Can harvest wild plants and hire a gardener.
  • Florist unlocked by Botanist. Can buy/give flowers and go on dates. Can adjust to your lot’s landscaping with trees, flowers, bushes, rocks, etc.
  • Marine Biologistunlocked by fisherman. Can visit beaches and dive for treasure. Can bathe any-day of the week not just Wednesdays. Can move to Sulani (requires Military Officer).

Politics, Law, and Crime

  • Charity Organizer – can donate money, apply for university scholarships, and adopt children. Unlocks civic planner.
  • Politician – can move sims out of your house and live on campus (requires university unlocked). Can travel to other houses, community lots within your neighborhood.
  • Attorney – can restart the same job if you had to quit, can take vacation/sick days, can go on family vacations (requires diamond agent or covert operator). Unlocks judge.
  • Military officer – can visit other towns. Unlocks diamond agent and covert operator.
  • Detective – can call the firefighter to your house and use fire alarms/fire suppressors. Also more than one sim can join your household in a generation.
    • This will also unlocks boss career unlocks (not bonuses) – but does not unlock villain agent.
  • Boss – can keep money after bills are due, can spend money after the bills alert. Unlocks villain agent.
    • Boss bonus – while working on the boss career and while that sim is alive the following rules do not apply even if they haven’t been unlocked properly yet: you can visit other areas of your chosen town/neighborhood, you can hire service sims to your house. After you’ve made boss and until you die you gain 5k per week from “taxes.”
  • Oracle requires internet to unlock. Can use various sims cheats, eg. bb.moveobjects, gallery, change gameplay settings. Maybe cc furniture could be unlocked here, like bunkbeds?)
  • Civic Plannerunlocked by charity organizer. Can use the city’s electric and water grid (ie, turn off the off-the grid lot trait), can sell excess water/power for money, can use all your phone’s actions. Can place pool community lots.
  • Judge unlocked by attorney. Elders can retire from their jobs. You can keep the money your spouse has when they join your household and you can divorce your spouse and remarry.
  • Diamond Agent unlocked by military officer. You can move your family to another town (Sulani requires marine biologist), unlocks travel to Selvadorada.
    • Covert Operator – Used in the apocalypse prequel challenge to start the game. If you did not choose to play the prequel, this career is identical in unlocks and requirements to Diamond Agent.
  • Smuggler unlocked by scientist. Can place/sell/use career rewards. Can cancel/pin whims.
  • Villain Agent unlocked by boss. Can build a house larger than 8×8, can join university’s secret society.

Tier Setup for Careers

This should help understand what careers must be completed before the other at a glance. The * denotes a tier one career that requires the internet to be unlocked via computer engineer or start-up entrepreneur before they can be pursued. I’m missing Stylist….

Tier 1 CareerTier 2 Career
ScienceStart-up EntreprenuerInternet Personality
Freelance ProgrammereSports Gamer
Computer Engineer
ScientistSpace Ranger / Interstellar Smuggler
Green TechnitionEnvironmental Manager
Mechanical Engineer
BusinessManagementInvestor / Retail Worker
ChefFast Food worker
ArtFreelance writerAuthor
Master of the RealPatron of the Arts
JournalistPublic Relations / Arts Critic / Food Critic / Freelance Photographer
Freelance Artist *
MusicianActor (or unlocked by Comedian)
ComedianActor (or unlocked by Musician)
Trend Setter *
EducationProfessional Athlete
BabysitterProfessor / Administrator
Plants/AnimalsOdd JobsManual Labor
BotonistFloral Designer
Freelance Crafter
FishermanMarine Biologist
Law & CrimeCharity OrganizerCivic Planner
Private AttorneyJudge
OfficerDiamond Agent / Covert Operator
Oracle *


    • I realized I was getting the benefit of that view, but hadn’t been sure I could duplicate all the unlocks properly when I first made this post. I’m liking the new wp post composer way more than I expected. Table format? Sure we can do that!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I tried this challenge a couple of years ago but gave up because I got frustrated with there being no way to implement newer careers etc following Pinstar’s original ruleset.
    Since you’ve done such a great job with updating and adding most of the new stuff I think I’ll give this another try 🙂
    Btw – any plans for the new career that came with Snowy Escape?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh I’ve totally forgotten to look at the new career. I’ve been spending too much time snowboarding. Lol.

      Yes I will look at it and activities in regards to this challenge…should probably at least mention Batuu as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So, if you want to start with University, is there a specific place you must live? I’d like to do this challenge (I completed it in Sims 3) and I love the idea of using all of the packs. I’m not fond of Strangerville though because I was unable to complete the aspiration. Mind block? LOL


    • It’s meant to be a fun challenge, so if strangerville isn’t your thing, I’d say you could start in any town you want. You’ll just end up stuck there till you unlock moving towns. A place near fish is probably best.


  3. What are your thoughts on the podiums that you can use for charisma gain?
    Should they be on level with mirrors aka get unlocked by a career (like politician or something) or are they ok to use?


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