Sorry, I’m not being very clear. I understand what you’re saying. Yes, the sims are just as conscious as you are.
What I was trying to get at is that there is no “universal code of morality”. What you consider right and wrong is only considered right and wrong because of your cultural, societal, religious, etc. background. You believe something is right and wrong because somebody/some experience taught you that, and somebody else taught them that, and it goes all the way back to either a deity of some sort of a society of some sort.
Stuff like killing another person isn’t inherently right or wrong; it only becomes one or the other when a system of morality examines it and gives it a label. And in this case, most present-day systems of morality aren’t equipped to answer your question, probably because artificial life was pretty rare when they were were first drafted.
So we get to decide for ourselves. The same way we get to decide for ourselves whether it’s right to fuck and make babies in a world we know is full of pain and suffering. Whether that’s evil will only depend on who you ask, so it’s pretty much an individual choice affected by the individual’s particular system of morality, religion, or culture.
Is it okay? It’s up to you and your society to decide.
I think “suffering” is an unavoidable part of having a rich and full life. In the current world, people suffer because some of their needs or desires aren’t met. They’re hungry, they’re not safe, they can’t find love, whatever. But then if we made a perfect world in which every child was born into a pristine white box, fed and cared for their entire lives and given a life partner, they may still very well suffer. Innate drives of curiosity may seek them to break out of their box and explore the outside world, and inability to do so may make them frustrated and then they’re suddenly suffering. Then we give them a TV set to feed their curiosity, and now suddenly they’re hungry for more and even more unhappy. And so on. Or even if you give them a rich and perfect world, they’d already have everything and there’d be nothing left to achieve, learn, hope for or dream for. They’d all be Gods and there’d be nothing for them to do because they would have no needs or desires to fulfill. They still wouldn’t be happy. Suffering is relative, but everyone makes it for themselves one way or another.
The only way to create a never-suffering sim is to simply make that sim incapable of experiencing unhappiness, but then it cease to be human-like because it would lack basic human drives. And at that point, the question becomes “is it better to be a species that can suffer or one that cannot suffer?”, something we may never be able to answer until we can experience a suffering-free life for ourselves.