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Contents

Introduction

This guide, written for The Sims 2 game series, explains how some actions that occur in-game can lead to your neighborhood or game files becoming corrupt. These issues have never been fixed by EA through patches & should be avoided by you, the player, to ensure a longer lasting game experience. In regards to the newly released The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection through Origin (as of July 17, 2014), these same issues prevail. Some issues listed below have been fixed or patched by community modders throughout the years to help prevent accidental corruption. This list below may be incomplete. Any new information regarding neighborhood or game corruption will be filled in as new knowledge comes to light. Some matters of interest can also be read in the DISCUSSION section of this article. If ever there is need for clarification or if you have questions about myths or misconceptions you'd like to cleared up, please check out that section for additional information.


Symptoms Of Neighborhood Corruption

The following is a list of some symptoms that could occur from neighborhood corruption. Some of these symptoms may not necessarily be signs of corruption, but may be of other types of problems, most commonly bad custom content.

  • Children & toddlers with long-term wants other than Grow Up.
  • Wants that don't fit the age group (e.g. a toddler who suddenly wants to go on a date).
  • Memories & thought bubbles that contain squiggly lines.
  • Memories being lost or totally random.
  • Disappearing Sims.
  • Disappearing lots.
  • Sims losing family members in their family tree.
  • Sims becoming unplayable.
  • Lots becoming unplayable.


To Avoid GAME Corruption

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DO THE FOLLOWING. These actions will not only corrupt your neighbourhood(s), but will corrupt your game installation files, resulting in corruption in all neighbourhoods. If for some reason you are desperate to do the following, back up your neighbourhoods first and set your installation files to read-only. Failure to do so will result in you losing your neghbourhoods and having to reinstall your game.

  • Interact with Mrs. Crumplebottom, the Charlatan, the Grim Reaper, etc. in any way OTHER THAN their intended in-game purpose.
Why? These characters do not have playable data. These universal non-playable characters (Universal NPCs) are objects, not sims, and they are shared by all your neighbourhoods. By interacting with them in any way other than what the game intends, you will create changes in your objects.package file. Errors associated with changing the objects.package file will affect all of your current & future neighborhoods, & could result in needing to re-install your game.
You can avoid game corruption by following these instructions to make your objects.package files read-only
Here is a thread which discusses this issue further
Here is a wiki page on Playing NPCs and Adding them to Households. Some are unsafe & adding them can cause issues.

To Avoid NEIGHBORHOOD Corruption

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING. Although these actions will not corrupt your installation files, and will not force you to reinstall your game, they will corrupt the neighborhood(s) you perform them in. The severity of these actions may not be noticeable at first. Some users can discover the corruption in a few days, while some users can live with it for months or years on end. These actions may result in your neighborhood becoming slower, rendering it unplayable. Other times, these actions could cause the neighborhood or lots to throw errors or crash. The only known solution at this time to undo neighborhood corruption is to restore an uncorrupted backup copy of the neighborhood folder from a previous playing.


THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS WILL PERMANENTLY CORRUPT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, & CANNOT BE FIXED BEFORE OR DURING GAME PLAY

Delete sims from the Family Bin

The game doesn't delete the sim entirely. It deletes some of the affected sim's information and saves the sim as a 1 kb character file in your neighborhood's Characters folder. Other sims from the neighborhood who have memories of the deleted sim, who gossip about him or her, or who have other links to the deleted sim will try to spread missing information to other sims, which can create errors in the long run.


If you want to delete a sim, use this method. Note, however, that there is currently no absolute way to remove a Sim from their inception. This method is the closest achievement to a clean removal of unwanted Sims. There may be other references unresolved that can only be found when researching the game's source code (currently unavailable to the Internet public). The severity of said references are unknown, and could be benign.

Delete character files from Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Characters

Information about sims is stored in both the Characters folder and the neighborhood's main neighborhood.package. Without the character file of the sim, your neighborhood will be left with half a sim, and will not work properly.


If you want to delete a sim, use this method. Once again, this is currently the known cleanest method of removing a Sim from the neighborhood. It is not an absolute method to removing all traces of a Sim.

Delete lot files from Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Lots

Information about lots is stored in both the Lots folder and the neighborhood's main neighborhood.package. Without the lot file, your neighborhood will be left with half a lot, and will not work properly.


If you want to delete a lot: move out all sims, or sell the lot if it is an owned business, use Cyjon's Lot Inspector to verify that the lot is safe to delete, and then bulldoze the lot.

Move an inhabited lot or an owned community lot to the Lot Bin

The game transfers your lot's sims out of the neighborhood, but does not completely erase your sims' information from the neighborhood. Sims living in the neighborhood will continue having memories of the binned lot sims, and may gossip about them. This will lead to errors in the long run. Also, placing your binned lot back into the neighborhood, or into a different neighborhood, will create new character files which are also incomplete, instead of overwriting the previous ones.


For the safest way of moving sims between neighborhoods, see Game Help:Moving Sims. However, bear in mind that even the safe method is not 100% safe, and you should back up your neighborhoods before moving any sims.

Install an occupied lot, including downloaded lots which come with families

If the sims had any relationships with any sims not living on the same lot in their original neighborhood, placing the lot in your neighborhood will create partial character files of all the sims that the lot's residents used to know. This will cause errors in the long run. You may find some occupied lots available for download which the creator has 'cleaned' to make them safe: it's up to you whether or not to risk downloading such lots, but you should be aware that the cleaning process is not 100% reliable. Occupied lots from EA that are properly patched are safe to place in your neighborhood.


If you want to install someone else's sim, they should export the sim itself by following the instructions at Tutorials:How to Extract Born In game Sims EASILY.

If you want to move sims from your own neighborhood to a different one, you should follow the instructions at Game Help:Moving Sims.

Safe EA occupied lots that are clean to place, when patched, into your neighborhood include lots from: The Kat family; The Kim family.

Use the DeleteAllCharacters cheat

This will partially delete all of your neighborhood's sims, leaving junk incomplete information in your neighborhood's neighborhood.package. This incomplete information will cause errors if you continue to play the neighborhood.


If you want to start a new neighborhood without any sims, use empty templates such as Tarlia's.

Delete tombstones/urns

Graves are sims. Deleting a tombstone or urn is the same as deleting a sim, and causes the same kinds of corruption.

If a grave or urn is smashed by another sim and you do not have Pescado's No Unlink on Delete hack installed, quit without saving.


Install Pescado's No Unlink on Delete mod now to avoid problems caused by grave deletion in the future.

Place tombstones/urns on Open For Business display shelves

Placing an urn or a tombstone on an Open For Business display shelf can cause the grave, and therefore the sim, to be duplicated. This is a known issue with any game that does not have the Family Fun Stuff patch, and appears to have been re-broken in the Ultimate Collection (which includes all available patches); it may have been re-broken prior to the Ultimate Collection. There was no patch for this error for the Mac version on discs; it is unknown if this error was fixed in the Super Collection or not. There are some game configurations in which this error may not occur, but when it does occur, there is no way to fix the corruption. This action is therefore best avoided until further data becomes available.

Delete lots that have graves present

Graves are sims. As with deleting living sims, deleting dead sims (graves) will result in your neighborhood containing incomplete information on those sims, which will cause errors in the long run.

Bin lots that have graves present

Graves are sims. Moving a lot which contains graves to the lot bin will transfer the dead sims out of the neighborhood, but does not completely delete the sims' information from the neighborhood. This will result in the neighborhood containing partial information on those sims, which will cause errors in the long run. Placing a lot with graves into a neighborhood, even if it is the same neighborhood the lot came from, will create partial sims in the new neighborhood, which will also cause errors in the long run.

Allow a Sim to die with tombstones or urns in their inventory

When a sim dies, their inventory items are deleted, as everything is treated like objects. Tombstones and urns are sims and have character file data associated with them. As mentioned, deleting a sim destroys the character file data and will cause errors in the long run via memories and gossiping from other sims who encountered the deceased sim.

Resurrect dead pre-made Sims that shipped with the game

Most deceased sims have missing character data (e.g. Skip Broke, Darleen Dreamer etc.), and will cause corruption if resurrected.

Save with ghosts active on a lot

If you save with ghosts active on a lot, the game may delete all of the tombstones on the lot.


Installing Pescado's No Unlink on delete mod may prevent corruption if this happens. Note that the mod must be installed before the graves are deleted!

Remove multi-pollination technician or multi-plantsim mods

Multi-PT and Multi-Plantsim mods consist of one controller package which tells the game to use the custom PTs/plantsims, and a number of packages which are the new pollination technicians or plantsims themselves. Whenever you play a neighborhood with a multi-PT/plantsim mod installed, the characters are added to that neighborhood even if none of your sims are abducted or turned into plantsims. If you delete the PT or plantsim character files from your Downloads folder, you are deleting a sim, which will cause problems in the long run.


If you want to change to a different multi-PT or plantsim mod, remove the controller package (usually the smallest one), but leave the character packages in your Downloads folder.

If you're starting a new neighborhood and don't want the PTs or plantsims to be added to that neighborhood, copy the PT and plantsim character files from your Downloads folder into the Documents\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\Nxxx\Characters folder of each of your existing neighborhoods, then delete them from your Downloads folder.

Here is a thread which discusses this issue further

Here is an incomplete list of custom content that creates NPCs with the same removal issues as multi-PT/plantsims mods

Bin empty lots that have been lived in without getting rid of the Off-World Loiterers

Off-World Loiterers are sims that attach themselves to the lot, temporarily & invisibly. They could appear through phone calls, for example, as the living sim on the lot communicates with the sim outside the lot. As with living sims, binning the lot will carry the invisible sim with the lot, and will cause long term errors.


Pescado's Lot Debugger has an option to get rid of Off-World Loiterers, but it will only appear when they are present.

Cyjon's Lot Inspector can also tell you whether or not your lot is safe to bin.

Rezone a lot with Sims living or staying on it

The game has different rules for different types of lots. Some lot types do not allow the lot to be saved, others could make the lot disappear from the neighborhood. Only perform such a task on empty, preferably new & unused lots.

Remove custom careers/majors while a Sim is employed or enrolled in them

This will cause an error in the households of the sims who use them. Your household may not load, and could cause problems when the sim visits your other lots.


THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS CORRUPT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT ARE FIXABLE BEFORE OR DURING GAME PLAY

Delete custom or geneticized/townified skins or eyes

This will cause all sims who were using the deleted skin or eyes to have corrupt DNA. You will have to fix the DNA of all affected sims individually in SimPE.


Instructions on how to fix sims' DNA are available here (login required).

Delete custom foods

This breaks want trees for Sims whose favourite food was the deleted food, and will corrupt the memories of sims who have a "Learned to make" memory for that food.


Use Pescado's Lot Debugger to reset all sims whose favourite food was the deleted food.

Use SimPE to remove all "Learned to make" memories of the deleted food, and all gossip memories about that memory. This is very time-consuming and a pain in the ass.

It may be possible to avoid this problem by editing the food so that it is set to false for all mealtimes. This will hide the food in-game but will not cause memory corruption.

Let Samantha Ottomas’ pregnancy come to term

Samantha Ottomas is pregnant with babies that do not have complete data, unless you fully patched your Seasons game prior to loading or creating the neighborhood for the first time after installing Seasons.


Use a mod to end the pregnancy.

Save with Sims on the telephone

This will cause problems when the game is reset, for example when installing hacks or a new EP/SP. The sim on the other end of the phone is visiting the lot, although they are invisible - they are an off-world loiterer. If the sim making the phone call is reset, the phone call will end but the loitering sim will not be properly 'sent home'.


Pescado's Lot Debugger has an option to get rid of Off-World Loiterers, but it will only appear when they are present.


Suggested Mods, Hacks, & Programs To Help Reduce Hood Corruption

Some actions listed above can be prevented or remedied by using mods created by skilled programmers. The following is a small list of items that are suggested to be placed in your game's Downloads folder for safer & easier game play. Although some items listed may not be needed, they help fight unintentional doings by the player. As an important precaution, always back-up your neighborhood's folder prior to using or testing these mods, in case something goes wrong.

This mod prevents shredding of a deceased sim's information when their tombstone or urn is deleted in-game by the player selling the object, or if the urn is smashed AND swept up by a sim to a trash bin. It is highly recommended to preserve the sim's character file data in the event other sims gossip about the deceased sim, in case of resurrection, or in case of sim DNA needed for future generations of sims born in-game.
This mod will move your apartment lot's graves to a community lot of your choice, in the event you decided to kill off your sim's household in your game's current apartment lot...you cruel, cruel player, you! The program also allows you to keep said graves on the lot, if you choose to do so.
This mod prevents unnecessary quantities of certain NPC sims, such as preventing several Tour Guides, or preventing several Unsavory Charlatans for spawning. Instead, the game will call upon those already made NPCs.
This mod prevents vampires from autonomously biting untouchable NPCs such as Mrs Crumplebottom, which is a cause of game corruption.
This is an object that can be found in the Miscellaneous/Miscellaneous section of the Buy Mode catalog. This object provides several debugging options that can be used to trash memories, fix off-world loiterers, and can be used for deleting a sim the correct way. The options for the object can be seen in-game.
This is a program created to detect any unusual references & instances in your neighborhood's folder. It attempts to fix most instances relations to Family Ties, Sim Relations (SREL), Sims Wants and Fears (SWAF), and Memories. It also reports missing sim character file data, misplaced graves, and other items of interest, as found in the link above. It's advisable to clean your neighbourhoods regularly with HoodChecker, as the game creates corruption even if you do nothing wrong.
This is a program created to properly install lot files packaged as ".sims2pack" files into your game via the Teleport folder. It is used as a replacement to the game's default installer. This program will show you the lot's likeness, any custom content, any Sim family living on it, the family's associated Sims, along with other data that may not be recommended to install to your game.


Other Items Of Concern To Maintain Safe Game Play

You should also be aware that the neighborhoods which are shipped with the game have some problems. Strangetown is particularly problematic. You can solve some of these problems by installing clean templates, such as these clean and fixed templates from Tarlia:

http://meetme2theriver.livejournal.com/63030.html

You may also want to install empty templates for the stealth sub-neighborhoods, to avoid unnecessary townies and Family Bin sims:

http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,13382.0.html or :http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=520751

The discussion thread for this article can be found here:

http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=394352



1 Pescado's hacks can be found at MATY in the hacks directory under your most current EP: http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/samples/ts2/

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