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Sims Troubleshooting Guide

 
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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:59 am    Post subject: Sims Troubleshooting Guide Reply with quote

Much of the information contained here can be useful to both PC and Mac users. There are some places where I mention programs that might help provide a solution. Some of them may be for PC only. Since I have no experience with Macs whatsoever, I can't offer any advice on what the equivalent programs for a Mac would be.

Problems, cures, and assorted tips found here are a culmination of things I've picked up over the years. They are certainly not the only solutions, and it's always possible that someone else out there may know an easier or better fix for something than I've found. Some of this has come from playing on my own, but I've also picked up bits and pieces on various forums. I won't even try to name each person that's mentioned a tidbit, because I'd be sure to miss some. But a lot of what I've learned has come from the people at the Green Sims forum, especially Patio (our very own Patchover!), and so I'm giving credit where credit is due!

THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP FROM PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT

Save Frequently - especially after important things or big changes. That way, if something bad happens, you won't lose as much.

Don't Save - if something weird is happening, or something awful happens (like your Sim dies), close out of the lot without saving, and you may be able to salvage things the easy way.

Make Backup Copies of any lots and families that you'd hate to lose. Keep the copies in a safe place outside the game. It's a simple matter to copy those files, as long as you know where they are.

Test New Things - Make a test lot with a test dummy Sim or two, and use that to try out new objects. If you're a downloader, you're bound to end up with something that causes a problem now and then. If the worst happens, and it actually corrupts the lot, you'll be less upset if it's a throwaway one that you don't use for serious playing. Downloaded lots can be tried out in a spare neighborhood to make sure they're okay.

And for PC users -

Scandisk and Defrag Regularly - Put that off too long and you'll regret it. It's a gradual slide - the changes are imperceptible at first, but you'll get to the point where a little corruption has turned into a lot, or fragmentation slows things to the point where that your game won't load properly, and you can't connect to the internet. It's usually recommended to do those once a month for any computer. But when you use heavy-duty programs like The Sims game, it's better to do it once a week - downloaders especially, since we tend to move files around a lot. If it's been ages since you did it last, it can literally take nearly all day. But when you do it regularly, it's finished in a fraction of the time.

Run Your Adware/Spyware Program Regularly - If you don't have one, get one. You can end up with hidden pests without even realizing it, just from viewing a webpage. They can run invisibly in the background and some are resource hogs. They can interfere with the game, among other things. I've seen cases where a game problem had everyone on various forums stumped, until someone finally suggested checking for adware, and that solved it.


Last edited by annettebrks on Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:31 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:25 am    Post subject: Crashes - Causes and Cures Reply with quote

CRASHES

Lots of things could be the cause of crashing. What you were doing when it crashed, precisely where it crashed, what changes you made recently, all help to pinpoint the cause of the problem you're having. This list certainly doesn't describe all crash situations, and does not offer all possible cures. They're just the ones I've picked up over time. If none of this helps you, try posting about it.

WHEN CRASHES HAPPEN -
Crashes can corrupt files on your game (and on your computer). Always do a scan disk after a crash to fix any problems before they spread.

Crashing after recategorizing objects -
    * Make sure you ONLY categorize in either build or buy mode. NOT both, because that can cause crashes.

Crashing when using or mousing over a specific object -
    * Check for ID conflicts.

Crashing after removing downloads that were still sitting on lots -
    * Removing downloads generally doesn't cause a problem. But if there was a huge amount of those downloads still sitting on lots, the game thinks they should still be there. This can cause so many errors because so MUCH is missing, that it finally crashes.

Crashing with some sort of Windows error message -
    * That's generally telling you that either there's something wrong on your computer, or there's a problem with one of the game's files. Rebooting and running scandisk is a good first step - it can sometimes provide the cure, but not always.

Crash when entering a lot - could be one of the following -
    * Too many resources being used on that lot (slim it down, keeping in mind that animated objects and NPCs use more resources).

    * Bad object.

    * Object ID conflict.

    * There's a Sim in the lot with a bad skin. Check with Skin Doctor.

    * There's a Sim with a corrupt character file living on the lot.

    * If it's a downloaded lot and it crashes the first time you enter it, you might just have a buggy lot. Replace it with one from the appropriate Template folder in your game, or with one from a different neighborhood that you know is fine.

Crashing on startup, or during loading (when phrases are scrolling across the screen) -
    * Not enough memory. Most common fix for PC is to run scandisk and defrag your computer, and run whatever program you use to detect adware/spyware. Quit out of EVERYTHING before you go to load your game, close the internet connection, etc. Doing all those things will help to ensure your computer's resources are freed up to run the game.

    * If you've added a new EP, you may not have enough RAM on your computer to run it well. If you have Windows XP, that's a resource hog in itself and requires you to have more RAM to run the game than if you used a different OS. Closest rule of thumb is that for all EPs running on Win XP, it'll run best if you have at least 512 mb RAM.

    * Bad download. If you've recently added some, take them back out and see whether that fixes it. Or check for baddies with the usual programs, such as Skin Doctor, Object ID, File Cop. Hacked items are more often the culprit than non-hacked ones, but both can cause it.

Crashing randomly after playing or building awhile, not always on same lot -
    * Not enough memory.

    * Your computer wants a rest. This is a heavy-duty game and wimpier computers like mine just need a break now and then. More memory can sometimes help in that case, and you may find that you need to reboot more often.

    * Save frequently, especially if you're doing a long stretch of building.

    * If your computer seems to be having overheating problems, that can cause crashes. You may need to repair or replace the fan that cools it. Ignore it and you're running a big risk - you could ruin your computer. If you do play in the meantime, you probably won't be able to play for long periods at a time.

Crashing on a non-home lot -
    * Often due to having too much going on, which can be hard on your computer's resources. It can also essentially freeze your game - it can get stuck at the traveling screen because it never finishes loading the lot. Limit cashiers and food vendors to one each. Animated objects use more resources than non-animated ones, so look for anything there that flashes, spins, flickers, changes color, or brings its own NPC. Get rid of all those that you can. Some big offenders are waterfalls and spinning fan lights. Don't forget about things that are only animated when used, such as the hockey table, pool table, etc. Also, downloaded cars have been known to cause this type of problem for some people.

    * Bad downloaded object.

    * Bad skin. Check with Skin Doctor

Crashing while populating (or repopulating) a neighborhood -
    * Downloaded high fashion skin - Look at the file names. The High Fashion ones normally start with 'H' followed by three numbers, and then an underscore. Hand skins also start with an 'H' but are followed by a combination of letters and numbers. If a downloaded HF skin has a letter in place of any of those three numbers, it shouldn't cause a problem during normal play. But if it's present when the game is populating, it can get confused and crash. Best bet is to remove those whenever you need to let your game populate a new neighborhood, or repopulate an old one.

    * Urban Renewal Loop - This one generally freezes the game, rather than causing an actual crash. When you remove a townie or vacationer type NPC (such as by killing or marrying them to a neighborhood Sim), the game has to repopulate that area in order to replace the one that's now missing. You'll see the "Urban Renewal" message. Ordinarily, this doesn't take all that long. But there was a bug in the pre-SuperStar game that caused this to sometimes loop on itself and become stuck. When it happens, it makes the entire neighborhood unusable, because you can never get past that Urban Renewal stage. The only known cure is to replace the entire neighborhood. The old one can't be fixed. Luckily, this bug was fixed with SS. If you don't have SS or MM, best to avoid the problem altogether.

Mouse weirdness (PC) -
    * Run scan disk, defrag, run adware finding program. Hopefully that fixes it. It's a graphics problem, so it's also possible that you need to make sure your graphics card is up to specs.


Last edited by annettebrks on Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:42 am; edited 5 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:47 am    Post subject: How to Reinstall - and How to Use the Reinstall Lite Option Reply with quote

THE RIGHT WAY TO REINSTALL -

Forget what Maxis says and do it this way. I'm not kidding. This is the surest way to have a trouble-free installation. Patience is the key.

If you want to preserve any families, lots, and downloads, now is the time to do it, before you begin uninstalling. Make copies of their files and put them in a safe place away from the game. But be aware that if the problem was contained in any of those files, you'll only be carrying it over to the freshly installed game. Don't try to add any of them back until after you've gone through this entire procedure.
    Uninstall the game.
    Right-click your Start button, click on Programs, find your Maxis folder.
    Go in there and find your The Sims folder. Delete it. Uninstalling doesn't do this for you.
    Run Sim Eraser ten times. Yes, ten. Less than that may not get all the registry files. (Three times if you have no EPs.
    Now, install the base game, The Sims.
    Open the game, play a default Maxis family for a couple game days. Reboot.
    Now start adding your EPs, one at a time, playing a default family for a couple Sim days and rebooting between each.
    Once all your EPs are back in, then you can play normally again.

NOTE - You do not necessarily have to install EPs in order. Some people prefer to add Unleashed before Hot Date or Vacation because those new lots will automatically be set up with things for pets that way. It's best to add Makin Magic last, though, since it contains the patches for all previous EPs.

ANOTHER NOTE - If you're going to add your old saved families and/or lots back to your reinstalled game, be sure to add the downloads back first. Otherwise, you'll have Sims with missing skins and lots with missing objects. Enough of those can crash your game and even cause corruption. You're also better off adding downloads in batches, playing a bit before you add more. Overloading the game with changes can be too much for some computers. Save yourself the headaches and be patient about it.

YET ANOTHER NOTE - - People tend to reinstall when they're experiencing problems (such as crashes) that they don't know how to fix. An awful lot of that is unnecessary. If you can't identify and fix the problem from the information here, try asking on a forum. And if you do have to reinstall, sometimes a 'Reinstall Lite' (see below) is all you need to fix it.

USING THE REINSTALL LITE ON THE DISKS -

Sometimes a global or other important game file is corrupt, making your game unplayable. You may be able to fix it this way rather than going the long and tedious route of uninstalling and reinstalling the entire shebang. It basically overwrites the basic game files for that EP, without touching your Sim characters or lots, so you lose nothing. If the problems you're experiencing in a game is specific to a certain EP or things that came with it, then you're better off trying this first before doing a total reinstall of the game.
    Bring up the welcome screen.
    Choose 'More Information'
    Choose the reinstall option in there.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:13 am    Post subject: Object Problems Reply with quote

OBJECT PROBLEMS

Identifying a problem object -

If you're lucky, an object that's going to be a problem will be obvious as soon as you put it on the lot, or try to use it. In that case, you can remove it and the problem is solved. But it isn't always that obvious. Some can cause random weirdness to happen on the lot only after it's been there awhile, with no apparent cause; like cooked food turning into unprepared ingredients when it's served, or Sims being suddenly whisked away to appear on the other end of the lot.
    * If you're a PC user, you can run the game in Debug Mode, which can help you to identify which object is causing a problem, and sometimes the error report that's generated will provide a clue as to how to fix it. But that's not foolproof, because sometimes a problem object won't produce an error.

    * Another method is to remove all hacked downloads from the lot, and slowly add them back one by one. Play for awhile to see whether anything odd happens. Sometimes you can identify the problem object that way, but not always.

    * If you've recently added new objects (or finally started using some you hadn't before), try removing those and add them back slowly, same as above. It pays to test new things well as you add them into your game, and don't add a great deal at once, to help avoid a situation where it's tough to identify what's causing the problem.

A hacked object is acting weird, but it works fine for other people I know -

An object may be just fine (not buggy) on its own, but it can interact strangely with other hacked objects or patches in your game. Some just don't get along well with each other. Running in Debug Mode (PC) can sometimes help to identify the problem. Also, those other people might have different EPs or a different setup than you do, and that can make a big difference.
    Note - Millenium Sims "Magic Mirror" - This is a very popular download but it has been known to cause weird things to happen in the game for some people. All reported weirdnesses I've seen were mild and didn't ruin lots. Best advice is to buy it, use it, then immediately sell it. Do NOT buy or use it when there's a baby on the lot or it can corrupt the baby (and the only fix is to start with a whole new baby). Reports have included cooked meals turning back into ingredients which can't be cooked.

Object ID conflicts -

Inside each object is something called a GUID, and every one of them must be unique. If two or more objects have the same one, it can cause all sorts of weirdness, because it confuses the game. There are external programs that you can use to check for these. There's a writeup on how to find and solve these ID conflicts on the Green Sims forum - it's a sticky in the Tutorials section.

The importance of Magic Cookies -

Magic cookies are used by creators to give each new object a unique GUID. Not using a Magic Cookie at all means the GUID will be randomly generated, so there's a higher risk that it will conflict with something else. The MagicCookie site where we register them is a big database showing who's using which Magic Cookie numbers, and that way, we can avoid using one that someone already has. So that provides better protection yet. And yes, there are some creators who don't register the Magic Cookie that they're using (or worse, don't use one at all), so that means conflicts can still happen. But using a registered one greatly lessens the risk for the downloaders we share our things with. If you know someone doesn't use a registered Magic Cookie, I recommend against downloading their things, because these conflicts can really be a major annoyance to solve at times.

I can buy an item, but then it disappears -

That means you don't have the appropriate EP for it. Some things can be hacked to make them work without EPs, some can't. It depends on whether the object relies on animations and such that came with an EP you don't have.

My Sim can't use a certain object -
    * Sometimes a Sim will decide to use something, like a bed or stairs. The object has an action queue, just like your Sims do. If the Sim changes his mind (or maybe gets distracted by something else), the game doesn't always let the object know that. So the object still thinks it's reserved for use, and won't let anyone else use it. In some cases, using the prepare_lot cheat might help. But if it persists, you'll need to delete the object and buy another one.

    * If the object is upstairs, make sure there's enough support underneath it. Sims will sometimes be unable to use certain things if there's not enough support underneath, such as stoves or beds.

    * If the object is upstairs, is it over water? That could be why. Remove the water, use fake water rugs instead, or move the object.

I can't add/remove things upstairs -

Not enough support on the first floor. Frequently a headache when you're trying to remove things like floor tiles. Add temporary columns or wall just long enough so you can remove what you want, then get rid of them when you're done. If there's still a stuck floor tile and you know there's support under it, try putting a new floor tile on top of that, then removing it. That should do it.

Door and Window problems -
    * To remove a window, you need to be in walls up mode. Then you'll be able to use the hand tool to grab doors and windows. (Those without expansion packs will need to use CTRL+Click to bulldoze windows and doors.)

    * If you remove a door or window from the game, but it was still on a building in your game, it may not let you put a new one there. Sometimes when this happens, a cutout will be visible where the door or window used to be. Sometimes you can see a little black bar on the wall at ground level where it used to be. You've confused the lot by removing it from your downloads - the house file still says it should be there. Remove that section of wall, which will tell the lot that you're removing that door or window. Then you can put another wall piece back in to fill the gap.

    * If you downloaded a house, and a door or window is missing, the same thing as above can happen. So use the same cure.

My Sims use the upstairs bathroom instead of the one right in the next room! -

You have to understand how Sims are coded to think.

    For one thing, Sims see the entire house on one level when they're determining the closest object, whether it's one story or two story. If the upstairs one is directly over their head, but the one in the next room is eight steps away, they'll think the upstairs one is closer.

    They'll prefer the one that offers the best score. If the toilet upstairs gives better hygiene/comfort/room score, they'll prefer that one. If the bathroom at the other end of the house has a better room score, they may prefer that one. Try using the same objects in all bathrooms, including toilets, sinks, decor, etc.

    They dislike doors. If they have to walk through two to get to the one in the next room, but only one to get to the upstairs bath, and all things are equal otherwise, they'll choose the upstairs bathroom. That's also why they'll walk completely around three sides of a house to greet someone, rather than straight in the back door and out the front door.

    They're creatures of habit. Rule of thumb is three times. If they use something three times in a row, they'll tend to want to use it over anything else from then on. That goes for beds, plumbing, walking paths, and so on. You can teach them new habits, but it requires some effort.

    No one ever said Sims were smart. Remember that, grasshopper.


Last edited by annettebrks on Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:40 am    Post subject: General Sim Silliness Reply with quote

GENERAL SIM SILLINESS

Some of my Sims have no interests at all -

That happens. Sometimes they'll have interests after the game is restarted. Otherwise, just take them to a non-home lot and they'll instantly get some.

My Sim (or Sim pet) is stuck! -

Use the prepare_lot cheat. That resets the lot, and your Sims will be whisked over to a spot usually somewhere near the mailbox. Note - on home lots, it also brings all Sims who live on that lot back home, including those at school and at work. The move_objects on cheat usually works just as well, although it's useless on non-home lots unless you have a hack that enables buy/build modes there. The cuddle couch and the cat gym are known to be buggy and often cause Sims (or pets) to become stuck on them.

My Sim is missing and when I look at the face icon, there's a little red x on it -

Just click on that face icon and the Sim will show up again, safe and sound.

My Sim was slapped by another Sim and he walked off the lot with a thought bubble saying 'leave this world'. Is he gone for good? -

Nope. It just means he's so upset that he went home. The rumor is that he'll self-delete. But they don't. Once they start this, you can cancel it out of their queue, but it'll just keep coming back. You can prevent a Sim from slapping another one by quickly canceling it out of the queue and get both involved in other interactions. Once the slapper is distracted, he shouldn't try again.

NPC problems -
    Repair guy won't leave - There's something he wants to fix that he can't get to. He'll try for awhile and then just stand there waiting for you to do something about it. Chances are there's a light or something that's blocked by a table or chair. Find that, move the obstruction, the repair guy will fix it and leave.
    Gardener or Maid quit coming - If your Sim's family has already done all their work for them when they come around, they'll decide they're not needed. They'll stop showing up for awhile, but the option to hire them again won't come up on the telephone. Some people have said that they'll come again after awhile, but I've never had the patience to wait it out to find out for sure. To trigger them into coming again, make some changes in the lot to make them feel needed again. For instance, the gardener will start coming again if you add more flowers that need watering.
    NPC Pests like the Dropinskis and the Obsessed Fan - If you hire the butler, he's known to get rid of these for you, and so will the Vacation Director.
    Butler won't cook - When you click on the butler, then click on 'Ask', you should see options to 'Dismiss Visitors' and 'Prepare Meal'. If the cooking option isn't there, it's either your stove or refrigerator that's the problem. The expensive silver and old fashioned black ones work for that, but unfortunately, I can't remember which other ones do. Downloaded versions will work, of course, as long as they're based on the Maxis ones that the butler can use.

Weird ghosts from gravestones/urns -

If you move a family into a home that comes with gravestones (even if you move a family out and then right back in again), this can happen. When a family moves out, the ghosts that normally haunt the graves are deleted, even though the graves still remain on the lot. When you move a family in, the gravestones have to regenerate new ghosts. Sometimes it does this just fine, but sometimes it randomly selects neighbors or NPCs. If it does that, the game gets confused, and you end up with ghosts that don't quite act like ghosts but aren't really playable Sims either. Sometimes they're even colored like regular Sims instead of ghosts. The only fix is to delete the gravestone (and ghost if it's still there) and replace it with a fresh one.

I downloaded a lot and it's crashing or acting wonky -

You have a lot that your game doesn't like, for one reason or another. The lot may be buggy. The easiest cure is simply to replace it with one from either another neighborhood, or one from the Template folders in your game. Only download lots from sites with excellent reputations.

My Sim cooked and the meal turned back into ingredients -

I've only seen this happen when hacks were used on the lot. Use the move_objects cheat to delete the ingredients (you won't be able to use them anyway) and get the hacked object off the lot. Try cooking again. You may need to use the prepare_lot cheat, leave the lot and return, or even reboot the game, if the symptoms are stubborn.

I just moved my Sims into a new house and the carpool isn't showing up -

Weirdness that just happens sometimes. Do a prepare_lot cheat to reset the lot and that should bring things back to normal again. It should also tell you if you've somehow deleted the car portal (BIG nono!). If that's the case, you'll need to either replace the portal or replace the lot.

Visiting Sims get confused and can't find the door to leave -

Sims aren't exactly known for being smart. If there's too many twists and turns, they'll give up trying and stand around whining til they die. Literally. In that situation, use the move_objects cheat and delete them before they actually die. They'll go back home. To prevent it from happening again, simplify the way out. Sims have been known to be willing to swim to get into the lot but refuse to swim back out. Go figure.

Visitors don't arrive, NPCs don't come, carpool/bus doesn't show up -

Chances are, you've deleted something you shouldn't have. Do a prepare_lot cheat and see if it gives you a message that something's missing. If a Ped or Car Portal is missing, there's two choices. The extreme method is to replace the entire lot with a fresh one from either another neighborhood or the appropriate Template folder, and rebuild (being more careful this time!). The easier method is to use a Portal Replacer object.

I deleted the school bus/carpool/taxi/trolley and now it won't come back -

You probably deleted the car portal along with it. You can move the vehicles if you really need to, but deleting them is risky business. Use the Portal Replacer to fix what's missing.

Phone doesn't have the options it should, or doesn't work at all -

Either you're using a downloaded phone that doesn't work with the EPs you have, or you've accidentally deleted the lot's phone line. If it's just a downloaded phone, replace it with a Maxis one. If it's a missing phone line, use a Portal Replacer object to replace it.

My Sim is trying to interact with another Sim but there's no interactions available -

Assuming it isn't an NPC Sim (many of those don't allow Sims to interact with them at all), then the Sim may be planning to do something that prevents him from being interacted with. That happens if they're about to leave the lot, buy from a food vendor, play pool, etc.

The 'Propose', 'Move In', 'Have a baby', or 'Breed pets' option doesn't come up -

All of those options will add a new member to the family, and the maximum you can have (without special hacks) is eight, including pets. If the family has already reached its maximum, the options won't appear. Proposing and having babies won't come up for kids. They also won't come up unless the Sims (or Sim pets) are opposite genders. The baby and breeding options happen randomly, generally when they're being cuddly/kissing. So if at first you don't succeed...

Families with more than eight members -

There are some hacked objects that will allow you to move in as many Sims as you want. That's fine as long as your computer can handle it. But NEVER evict a family with more than eight members, because it will cause the Create a Sim screen to keep crashing until you delete their file. If you really need to move them, move some members out to other lots first, to bring the total family number back down to eight.

Twin babies or twin pets were born! -

That's not a bonus. It's a bug. You'll be able to control one but not the other, and things will get wonky because the game is confused. Delete the one you can't control.

What causes it - when a baby is in the process of turning into a child (or pet), its face icon will appear just before the game is finished making the new family member. If you happen to click on that face icon before the process is complete, it can produce a clone.

Missing Ped or Car Portals, Mailboxes, Trash Cans, or Phone Lines -

Never delete those or it'll wreak havoc on your lot. You can do a prepare_lot cheat and if any of those are missing, a message should pop up telling you so. If any are, then you have two options - either replace the lot entirely, or replace what's missing. One Portal Replacer object is available from SomeSimThings which also has telephone replacements for away lots, if you accidentally delete those.

BunkerSim has another Portal Replacer object that will also replace any of the other invisible essentials - mailbox, trash can, phone line. Make sure to READ and follow the directions they gave you in the zip - just sticking it in your downloads folder won't fix that lot.


Last edited by annettebrks on Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:58 am    Post subject: Non-Home Lot Dilemmas Reply with quote

NON-HOME LOT DILEMMAS

I put something in a downtown (vacation, etc) lot but when my Sims go there, they can't use it -

Some things will only work in certain areas. Beds and stoves won't work in community lots, for instance, unless they're downloads that are specially hacked for use in that area.

Ned at the Rental Shack ignores my Sims and won't sell them (fishing bait, boats, etc) -

He's renowned for it. When a Sim goes up to his window, he'll just look around, then leave the shack, leaving the Sims standing there with nothing. The trick is not to approach him at the window. Wait til he leaves it, then approach him and he'll sell you what you want.

I take my Sim to a non-home lot and no one else shows up except for the NPCs -

There's probably too much going on. Strip that lot down a bit to free up some resources and you should start getting some visitors. And remember, on Community lots, they show up gradually instead of a bunch all at once. (See "Crashing on Non-Home Lots" above for more detailed help on whittling things down.)

There's too many Sims crowding around my restaurant podiums and no one's getting seated -
    * There's too much around the podiums, which can lead to a standstill where no one gets seated, no one gets fed, and the tables don't get cleared. Clear a bigger area so your Sims can move more freely.

    * If a Sim decides to order a meal, it's put into that Sim's queue, and also into the podium's queue. Unfortunately, if the Sim changes his mind, the game doesn't always let the podium know. So the maitre d' waits and waits and waits for the Sim who changed his mind, and no one else gets seated in the meantime. The tricky thing is that it could have been some visitor to the lot who ordered and then canceled without your ever having seen it happen. So when your Sim goes to order and nothing happens, it just looks like something's gone buggy for no obvious reason. I haven't investigated enough to find a dependable fix for it, but you could try the prepare_lot cheat in the hopes that it will clear the podium's queue.

Too much trash accumulates on non-home lots -

A restaurant setup brings its own busboy, but if you're relying on food carts or grills, the janitor will have to add table cleanup to her regular cleaning and repair duties. But having more work to do won't make her go any faster. So streamline things.
    * Make sure there are trash receptacles and sinks placed near anything that generates trash or dirty dishes. They'll spend less time walking and more time cleaning.

    * Make sure there's enough walking space to avoid crowds that will further slow down the cleanup.

    * If you're relying on the janitor, put as much of her jobs as close together as you can - dining tables, anything that can clog, leak, or generate trash.


Why is the pianist not appearing with the piano I put on a downtown lot? -

To get her to appear, you have to put both the piano and a barstation in the same room.

Why don't my TVs work downtown? -

They only work downtown if they're placed in the same room with a barstation.

Why can't I order from the bar? -
    * Sims who are standing have to order by clicking on the barstation.

    * Sims who are seated at tables can order by clicking on the barmaid. If there are no tables and chairs present, she won't appear on the lot. Picnic tables don't count.

    * If you can click to order, but the drink doesn't get made, then check the counters that are attached to the bar. The spot where the bartender stands is actually the front of the bar (even though it looks like the back to us), and all counters attached to it have to be facing in the same direction as that bar. Otherwise, the bartender will get all confused, shrug, and give up trying to figure out how to serve on a backwards counter. Just to be on the safe side, once the counters are all placed, go back and pull each one (as if to rotate) toward the side of the bar where that bartender will stand. That way, you're likely to catch ones you didn't notice.
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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:03 am    Post subject: What's Where in Your Game's Folder Reply with quote

WHAT'S WHERE IN YOUR GAME'S FOLDER

Knowing where things are in your game's files has a lot of advantages. Come along on a guided tour and you'll see why!

Right-click on your Start button at the bottom left of your screen, and choose Explore.

Click on Program Files, then Maxis, then The Sims.

Inside there are all your game's files.

See the Downloads folder inside there? That's where object downloads go (although some people put them in other folders, but we'll get to that).

Farther down, see the Gamedata folder? Click on that.

Some people (and extraction utilities) put their object downloads into Objects or Userobjects in there. And this is where you'll also find your walls in the Walls folder, floors in the Floors folder, roofs in the Roofs folder, skins in the Skins folder.

Now that you know where those are, you can put unzipped download files into them on your own, or delete ones out of them that you no longer want.

Now, let's get back out of Gamedata. If you scroll down further, you'll see some userdata folders. Those are your neighborhoods. Userdata is neighborhood 1, Userdata2 is neighborhood 2, Userdata3 is neighborhood 3, and so on.

Click on Userdata (neighborhood 1). Each neighborhood has its own Houses folder, and inside are all the lots. Each neighborhood also has its own Export folder, which has all the families. But -only- Userdata (neighborhood 1) has an Import folder. And every neighborhood has its own Characters folder, where each of your individual Sims are stored, including the "visitor" ones, like townies and vacationers.

On to the Template folders! Have a look around inside those. If you ever end up with a corrupt lot that needs to be replaced, you can either replace them with ones from other neighborhoods, or ones from these templates. Very handy to have!

Your Music folders are where you can replace the music in your game. Yup, you can. Just be sure to read a good tutorial on it first, and save copies of the original folders just in case something goes wrong. You can change the music for radio, build and buy modes, and away lot speakers.

Now that you know where things are, you can personalize your game even more than before. Before making changes, ALWAYS save a copy of the original, so if you need to, you can replace it without having to totally reinstall. Ask on the forum - there's a lot of people out there who can tell you how to do what you want to do, and whether it'd be safe to try it.

One caution - It's often tempting to try to remove some of the "ugly Maxis stuff" from our game. Don't give in to it. There are some things that can seriously wreak havoc if they're removed. For one thing, removing a Maxis object can cause other objects not to work as they should. Until you really know what you're doing, it's best to leave the Maxis-made things alone.


Last edited by annettebrks on Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:27 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:18 am    Post subject: Moving Lots or Families to a New Neighborhood Reply with quote

MOVING TO A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD

Move a family to a different neighborhood -

All you have to do is copy their .fam file from their neighborhood's Export folder, and paste it into the Userdata / Import folder. Then when you load the game and go to their new neighborhood, you can import them into it.

If they were living on a lot when you copied their file, importing them will move them right onto the same lot in the new neighborhood, along with their house and furnishings.

If you'd rather they appear in the Create a Sim screen instead, just Evict them first before you copy their .fam file. The family you copied will still exist in their original neighborhood. If you don't want them to be in both, just evict and delete them from their old one.

NOTE - When you move a Sim into a new neighborhood, they lose their friendships with all their old buddies, because they left their old friends behind, and each neighborhood is a whole separate world. The Ginia Kat living in this neighborhood is a totally different Sim than the Gina Kat back in their old neighborhood. Their family relationships stay the same, because they brought them along for the move.

Move a lot to a different neighborhood -

It's just as easy to move a house or other lot to a new neighborhood as it is for families. Just copy the house from the neighborhood's Houses folder (they're named after their lot numbers) and paste it into the Houses folder of the new neighborhood. When it asks if you want to replace the old one, click Yes. Just be careful that you don't end up replacing a lot that you wanted to keep!

NOTE - Here's a nifty trick that will let you give a family an entirely furnished house for free! Have your family move onto the lot you want them to live on. Then save and exit the lot. Now, go to a different neighborhood where that same lot is empty. Build and furnish it there. When you're finished, copy that lot and paste it into the family's neighborhood Houses folder. Tada! Free house! Be aware that the house won't actually show on the neighborhood screen until you've left it and come back again.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Links to assorted Tips and Tricks and Problem Solvers posted right here on Simblesse Oblige (we'll add to this over time) -

Bluesage's Trick for saving a child from Military School

Crashes specific to Windows XP computers

More info on replacing corrupted lots with ones from the Templates folders

More info on replacing mailboxes, portals, etc
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