Troubleshooting - Q & A Section
Do you need to advice with anything in the Sims ?
If you are experiencing difficulties with The Sims, you can use our guest book and we will try to answer your questions there. Specify the version of the Sims and what had you been doing before the problem occurred. Often the problem you're having in the game seems so bad the only solution appears to be reinstalling the game, but it is mostly not so unsolvable.
For example, the problem of the game getting so slow after gardener's come so it is unplayable, can be fixed. Another example would be the neighbors getting trapped on your lot in the original Sims game, or your Sims getting sick after being bitten by their guinea pig and you do not have Living' Large to cure them. All mentioned can be fixed.
My game becomes slow and unplayable when the gardener shows up.
I expect you have the Unleashed EP. If it's not the case, you can still use the following steps but you'll have to find other items the gardener wants to operate with.
This problem occurs if the gardener tries to do her job but the target place is unreachable. For example, she wants to cover in the hole dug by a dog, but the hole or the dirt pile is situated near a slope.
In this case you have to determine the place she wants to work on. Be sure to backup Userdata first ;-). Run the game and wait till the gardener comes. Then turn on the cheat console (Ctrl + Shift + C) and type move_objects on. ATN, you are able to delete any item on the lot from this moment on, but DON'T DO IT! Switch over to Buy mode (F2) and check the lot for all the dirt piles and holes. If you can't move any of these items (game says the object is in use), then you have just found the right one.
Then quit this house without saving, enter it again and before the gardener comes, delete just this hole + the nearest pile (by pressing Delete while in Buy mode with the move_objects on cheat). Disable the cheat (move_objects off). If you have deleted the right items, the game should run OK now.
How can I cure my sick Sims ?
Your Sims can fall sick e.g. after being bitten by their guinea pig. If not cured, they can die within a few days. It is important to separate the sick Sims from the other family members. Otherwise they will fall sick, too.
The sickness decreases energy and comfort of your Sims very quickly - you can ease them up e.g. by preparing an Energy Drink (download my Wonder Bar item - you can find it among Objects / Other Stuff ).
If you have Deluxe or Livin' Large EP, you can place the guinea pig's picture anywhere on the lot - it will stop the disease. Or you can use the Chemistry set - if there's a sick Sim on the lot, a white poison will be produced. Let your sick Sims drink this poison, it will cure them.
But the easiest way (which works in all game versions) is to use my Wonder Bar item. Simply buy it and if there's a sick Sim on the lot, the Use the Miracle Elixir option will be available. Let somebody drink the Miracle Elixir and not only this Sim, but also the entire family will be cured at the moment!
Why doesn't an object downloaded from the web work ?
In most cases the reason is that the downloaded object requires a particular game version or another object to run. For example rugs require Livin' Large, urinals work only with House Party and various drink machines require the Pepsi Machine object, which can be downloaded from the Maxis website.
However, very often the needed game version isn't mentioned, which most often results in an object disappearing from the lot after switching to Live Mode, however sometimes it will cause the game to crash, although this is only the worst case scenario. If you download more objects, it is better to put them into game folders gradually so that it can be possible to find out which of them is buggy. Sometimes the object can get damaged even during downloading from a busy website. It is better to try downloading it once more rather than to investigate why it doesn't work.
It is not rare, especially while downloading easily creatable objects (pictures, rugs) that their author doesn't know anything about the so-called GUID. It is a number which every object has to differ from each other. If you place two objects with the same GUID in the game, only one of them will load. Many authors of objects are not registered on TMOG website and consequently their objects interfere with each other in the game and they can even cause the disappearing of the original Maxis objects.
If you want to make sure that the objects in your game don't interfere with each other, it is useful, from time to time, to test the game with any tool for detecting duplicate GUIDs. If you, for example, create your own pictures in ArtStudio, you should realize that this program is suitable only for home use - it generates GUID at random so that it won't interfere with any other objects in your PC, but it doesn't regard the other authors' objects.
A frequent, but not well-known reason for this problem is the fact that the older game versions support only a definite number of downloads of the particular object types. If you have over 200 objects in some of the categories or over 2 000 objects totally, try moving the unused ones away from the game folder. New game versions, on the contrary, have problems concerning the placement of the files. I recommend creating subfolders (max. 8 characters in the name, without spaces) in the Downloads folder and sorting the objects in the subfolders according to which website they were downloaded from. The maximum number is 200 objects per folder. Problems with the files situated in the Objects and UserObjects folders also occur very often. Move them all to the subfolders in the Downloads.
Why does the game crash while Downtown or in the Old Town ?
In most cases this is caused by using cracks. Sometimes the crack is included right in the installation program. In this case you don't even have to copy the files from the Crack folder after the installation of the game.
It is not necessary to emphasize that using of cracks and burned CDs is illegal and that a real Sims fan uses only original CDs. Anyway, when we have mentioned this issue: every game version requires its own crack. If you have installed a new game version and used the crack from the previous version, you are in trouble. In this case the game crashes, usually when you are entering a lot or visiting the town.
Only about a half of all the cracks really do work. The oldest Hot Date crack caused the game crash during visiting downtown; the first Superstar crack can cause the game crash when any object from the web was downloaded. If you intend to use a crack (sometimes it is necessary - e.g. when your old CD drive is not able to read data from the original installation CD), check whether a later crack version exists. The information about the crack is often given in a file with the extension .nfo. Change the extension to .txt and then you can read the text easily.
Downloading an object designed for a later game version can also cause the game crash. You can place this object on the lot without problems, but the game will crash just when you enter the lot. You can cause problems if you download an object that is already included in the new game version and you rewrite it with an older version. If for example the game crashes while using the phone, it can be caused by downloading the phone upgrade designed for the oldest game version. Livin' Large and later versions, however, contain a completely different version of this object, and downloading the older version damages the game.
There is a bug in all game versions concerning calling a taxi or a bus for visiting the town or Vacation Island. If the vehicle arrives at the time between the hour and four minutes after the hour and if the Sims are standing more than three tiles far from the road, then the Sims will fail to go into the vehicle and the vehicle will leave empty after a while. Even the hand-clicked command to get in won't help. In this case put the call for the taxi/bus off for a while and before the vehicle arrives, place the Sims close to the road. Then they will get in by themselves without problems.
The Sims contain another, even worse bug. The number of objects on the Downtown or Old Town lots, which are attached to a NPC (Non Playable Character), is not unlimited. And that's why if you build on any commercial lot, you should place there at most five objects, such as cash desk or fast-food stand. The game will add another three NPCs to them (charwoman, waiter, organ-grinder). When after that your family arrives in the Old Town, then there are too many people there. If their number exceeds a certain value (in case of my Unleashed 16), the game is no more able to manage the arrival of another bus and freezes. This results in the damaging of the first Sim in the family, as described below in more detail.
Anyway, all visits to the town and Vacation Island require a much more efficient computer than playing the game only within your own lot. It is the presence of large amount of NPCs that causes a considerable slowing-down of the game and sometimes even its freezing. This usually happens in the moment when you situate the mouse on the screen edge and move on your lot by scrolling. Before doing this it is better to pause the game.
The last important fact is the size of free place on the disc. The minimum for a smooth run of the Sims on their own lots is 500 MB. However, if you often visit the town and various places there, the minimum necessary size of free place can even exceed 1 GB (especially if you have less then 128 MB RAM and thousands of objects).
The Sims crashes or freezes during launching or playing.
The most frequent cause of this problem is the installation of another game or program related to DirectX. Try reinstalling DirectX with a later version designed for your system. I use the error-free version 8.1. In my case the Sims were damaged after the installation of Nimo Codecs. It was just the reinstallation of DirectX that helped.
Another reason of this problem can be outdated graphic card drivers. I had big problems with nVidia Geforce 2 MX 400 - only the drivers from May 2002 and later worked.
An irreversible damage to the game can occur as a result of freezing during the game and subsequent manual restarting. If the game froze while Downtown (Hot Date), in the Old Town (Unleashed), Studio Town (Superstar) or the Magic Land (Makin' Magic), you can expect a serious damage to the first Sim of the family - the game seems to store the information necessary for the return to the house in his IFF file, but omits to set the correct file length. Scandisc finally completes the act of destruction. This can result in deleting the damaged file followed by removing this Sim from the family.
Sometimes some of the FAR files have been damaged, for example due to an error of hard disc or bad installation CD. Then the game crashes during launching. In this case the best solution is to download a suitable program for FAR editing - if you succeed in opening the file in it, the file is OK. If the program reports an error, then just this FAR file has been damaged. If reinstalling the game is not successful, you have to try using the file from an older version or to claim the installation CD.
An object downloaded from the web can be damaged too. Try downloading it again and if it doesn't help, move gradually all downloaded objects out of the folder with the Sims, until you find out which one is corrupted. The most frequent cause of this problem is downloading an object, which is not intended for your game version. Downloading an object for a different expansion pack than you have, results either in the crash of the Sims or in vanishing the object after placing it in the house. My objects work in all game versions if not marked differently.
Even if you saved the house with some corrupted object, the game won't get damaged. When you delete the object from the game folder and then re-enter the lot, the game will report Missing Objects - confirm the notice and save the house.
If the game crashes during re-dressing a Sim or creating a new Sim, or if the Sims figures are transparent, it is caused by corrupted skins or meshes. When you download heads or clothes, make always sure that in the archive, there is the BMP file, and that for bodies with the number bigger than 013 there is also the appropriate CMX + SKN file. If the download contains only CMX without SKN or CMX + SKN without BMP, don't place it in the game at all. The original Sims isn't also compatible with a BMP file that has more than 256 colors.
I don't recommend using tools like Grow Up, which is suitable only for the oldest game version. In the later versions it can damage your families. The same holds for tools editing various IFF files, for example for increasing love or money. Before using them, backup your Userdata folder every time.
In some of the oldest game versions there is a bug in the house with the tutorial family - the game crashes during buying any object. Evicting the family and bulldozing the house can solve the problem. Another possibility is to install a later game version.
If the game starts to crash after downloading any object from the web, this is often caused by an installed no-CD crack. There are several cracks that are buggy. The first crack of Hot Date caused the crash of the Sims during visiting downtown. Further, the first crack of Superstar causes the crash of the game when you use downloaded objects. Using of burned CDs and cracks is illegal and every real fan of the game uses only original CDs. When you want, after all, use the cracks, make sure that you have the latest version (sometimes it is necessary - e.g. when your old CD drive is not able to read data from the original installation CD). Don't expect me to advise you where to get the cracks. I use only legal game versions.
Be sure to download the patches from Maxis website. It is necessary in Unleashed as the unpatched game version can for example cause leaking water under various objects in the game. Water is impossible to dry and you have to move the objects away to be able to remove the water.
Using the cheats like MOVE_OBJECTS ON can often cause the damage. If you delete invisible portals, for example at the end of the sidewalk or a road, you are in trouble - your neighbors won't visit your house anymore. Deleting the mail box or trashcan can also cause a big damage to your house. Don't risk damaging your house and definitely don't follow senseless instructions that recommend this method for example to avoid paying bills.
If The Sims starts to freeze after some time of playing, especially in the moment when there are a lot of people on the lot, it is caused by low performance of your PC. Install the latest DirectX and graphic card drivers, switch off Shadows in the graphic settings of the game, set Detail level to Low and, what's most important, switch off Live PIP and data export to HTML, which quickens considerably the saving of the game. Defragment the disc and before opening The Sims close all other applications.
One of the most important things is to BACK UP THE DATA. I recommend backing up all the Userdata folders containing your families twice a week. If any damage occurs to your game, at first restore these folders completely. Before installing a new expansion pack it is recommended to back up the whole The Sims folder and Registry keys related to The Sims, so that it will be possible to restore The Sims to the original state without new installation and losing data. You should realize that the EPs require up to 1.8 GB free space on the disc before installation, and for a quick game you need 600 MB space.
If you have all expansion packs and thousands of downloaded objects, then the minimum configuration of your PC is 256 MB RAM, Pentium III, graphic card with 16 MB RAM, a high-quality sound card and Windows 98, because Windows 95 is not able to address more than 64 MB RAM. On the contrary, I don't recommend Windows 2000, which cause problems when you install the game and don't play as an administrator. Vacation (On Holiday) is the first EP, which is officially compatible with Windows XP.