Page 1 of 5Ever since we started with Sims2Cri, we have never limited ourselves to create contents and let you download them without telling you how to use them and how things work. The Sims 3 has simply made things worse for creators. We've been testing files for days and we haven't drawn a defined conclusion yet, but we're going to talk about issues you may encounter, how to solve them and what it actually means for the game when you download files.
How the installation of custom content works in The Sims 3
First off, a short preamble is needed. You all know the Mods/Packages folder and Resource.cfg thing, don't you? Well, this is a process that forces the game to do something it wasn't created for. It forces the game to read the Mods folder while loading, and in this way it can read your custom content installed in the previously named folders. The game was created to read .sims3pack files, after their installation via game launcher. I know this may sound difficult, so let's see what happened with The Sims 2 and what happens now with The Sims 3. I know you don't care about how the process works, but this introduction is needed in order to understand what we'll say later.
|The Sims 2
||The Sims 3
|Sims2Pack: is the default format for custom content. You can install these files by double clicking on them and they will be installed in the appropriate folders, among which in My Documents/Downloads. If you just place .sims2pack items in your Download folder, nothing happens. The game doesn't read these files and they do not show up in the game. They must be installed manually, outside the game. The can be installed via game installer or, for exemple, via Sims2Pack Clean Installer. When you install lots in .sims2pack format, the lot file creates another file in the LotCatalog folder, without which it doesn't show up in the game.
||Sims3Pack: just like The Sims 2's .sims2pack, this is the default file format. They can be installed by double clicking on them or via game launcher if you place them in My Documents/Downloads. When you install a .sims3pack:
- a copy of the .sims3pack file is created in the Downloads folder
- the .package content is placed in the DCBackup folder, but only for a back-up copy. These files are not used by the game.
- a .dbc index file that features the real CC within the DCache folder is updated
|Package: it is the format the game reads. Since .sims2pack files are made up of this kind of files, when you place a .package file in your Downloads folder, you force the game to load it, but do not force it to do something it wasn't created for. The game itself has already been programmed to load contents from the Downloads folder. Thanks to EPs such as Nightlife, it has also been possible to create subfolders and organize everything you downloaded.
||Package: it is always a format read by the game, but only as a "resource". It is different from The Sims 2 (and that's why old files do not work for The Sims 3). Modders have found a way to force the game to read these files, by placing a file named Resource.cfg and a Mods/Packages folder in the same directory the game is installed. This makes the game do something different than it would normally do. It wasn't built to load these files, and the way it is forced to do that is the same the game follows to load the default items (such as Buy/Build mode files).
|Default replacement: these files replace the original game files, for example skintones, eyes, etc. These files are in .package format and need to be placed in the Downloads folder, as usual. They do not overwrite the default files, but when you load the game and it reads the Downloads folders, files with the same ID of the game are temporarily replaced. Just remove them from the Downloads folder (and delete the cache files), and the game is back as new. Avoid default replacements that require to overwrite default files.
||Default replacement: these files replace the original game files. For example skintones, eyes, etc. These files are in .package format and need to be placed in the Mods/Packages folder, as usual. They do not overwrite the default files, but when you load the game and it reads the Downloads folders, files with the same ID of the game are temporarily replaced. Just remove them from the Mods/Packages folder (and delete the cache files), and the game is back as new. Avoid default replacements that require to overwrite default files.
Now that we have seen how CC is managed, we can explain a lot of things. You have probably understood that by installing .package files, you force the game to do something it wasn't born for. In many sites of the international community there are discussions about custom content and the best way to create it. Honestly, we've always abstained ourselves from going into the merits of the question, including in the diatribe between free and pay sites. We have always been and will always be a free site, and we simply don't care about what other sites do. We are thankful for what they've done by building programs and finding ways to create contents, no matter what their opinion was. However, we do not want you to misunderstand our choice. This is the reason behind this long article.
The matter is that at the moment, after World Adventures or patch 1.7/2.2, installing .package file is not safe and advisable. This is the reason why we're trying to offer our .package files in a different format and testing them. The game is not stable with .package files. Nobody questions that The Sims 3 and its EPs are buggy, but forcing it to do something it shouldn't do surely doesn't help. At the moment, the best choice you can make when creating CC is using the .sims3pack format. This is not about making things easier or avoid troubles, it is wisdom and people should admit their mistakes. Package files don't work, they cause issues and the game behaves differently each time. If you keep reading, we're going to analyze these behaviors.