Collecting, while not defined in the game, did exist to some extent in The Sims Castaway Stories. In order to survive, Sims could gain resources by collecting various debris across the island, such as metal, wood, grass or bamboo. Sims could also earn food by gathering fruit from different trees or by fishing or spearing fish.
The lifetime reward Collection Helper can highlight the collectibles on the map. To use the Collection Helper, the player must first choose a filter. Then, collectibles will appear in the city map. Also, if the collectible of the selected type is on the camera bounds and the game is not paused, the collectible will be marked by a conspicuous light that marks the spot. If the game is paused, the light will not appear, but if the spotter light is already there, pausing the game in itself will not eliminate the sparkling light.
If you see a collectible, you can click on it and select 'catch' if it is an insect, or 'collect' if it is a seed, gem or a rock. In The Sims 3: Pets dogs with the Hunting Skill can also sniff out collectibles. Collectibles that dogs bring home for Sims will not count toward any collection goals in the Sim's skill journals, even if the Sim orders the dog to find it; therefore it is not a good idea to send Fido out in hopes of completing any challenge (such as collecting all gem types for the heart cut). Dogs with a high Hunting skill however, will get the ability to "Locate Collectible" which works in a manner similar to the Collection Helper.
A Sim who has collected an insect, may donate it to the Science Lab for money, the rarer the insect, the bigger the amount of money you receive.
Players can track the number of collectibles a Sim has collected by using the collecting journal, which is similar to a skill journal and can be found in the same area.
Collecting is a skill not shown in the skills tab. Instead, it is a special skill only shown in the skill journal.
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Gems Collected, Unique Gems Found, Metals Collected, Unique Metals Found, Rocks Found, Unique Rocks Analyzed, Butterflies Collected, Unique Butterflies Found, Beetles Collected, Unique Beetles Found, Insects Donated to Science
- Although the Collection Helper helps track collectibles, it does not explicitly state what the item actually is. On the other hand, the collection Opportunity for kids/teens in which the said Sim is ordered to collect metal/gem/insects will not only locate all types of the needed material, but also state the type of the material. This makes it easy for the player to associate places with specific spawns.
- Similarly, several World Adventure quests may require a Sim to gather some metal, although unlike the opportunity for the underage it only reveals the required material (e.g. copper will not be marked when the quest demands platinum). Similarly, the Opportunity that asks the Sim to gather Red Assassin Bug will mark the location of the said bugs on the map.