General Issues

This section deals with errors, issues and bugs related to the Core game itself as a result of EA gaffes, design flaws or actual EA functionality appearing to be an error. Also included, is information for problems with the Launcher, Merging Mods, Premium Content, Video Card help or other Game related technical questions.

Note: Mod related issues should be noted on the mod's associated Issues Page, so the developer can look into correcting them.

What files are in my Sims 3 Folder?

For a complete listing of the files and folders in your Sims 3 Folder see: Sims 3 Folder Contents FAQ

Which Cache files should I delete and why?

  • When deleting or installing mods, it is important to delete the "scriptCache.package" file before playing. Failure to do so may cause your game to use old information so that the new mods will not take (full) effect.
  • Cache files help speed up various operations in the game however over time, these files accumulate out-of-date data and it’s a good idea to delete them every once in a while.

Cache Files that can be deleted:
(They will be re-created when you start a new game)
  • CasPartCache.package - CAS parts that appear in Create-A-Sim
  • compositorCache.package - Objects that appear in Build/Buy Mode
  • scriptCache.package - Mods or Hacks
  • simCompositorCache.package - New Sims and Default Skins
  • socialCache.package - Simport and other social data (Introduced with Patch 1.31)

Error 12

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Error 12]]

Error 12 is an "out of memory" error, caused by either:
  1. Playing a very large save-game that takes up a lot of computer memory
    • The Sims 3 was not written with the concept of database management, and as such the entirety of your current town-file is loaded into memory when you load the game.
    • Meaning you must have sufficient memory available to do so, or the game will simply crash-to-desktop.
    • Though ErrorTrap can perform some save-file cleanup and reduce save size, eventually your town will simply become too large to load. Before that happens it is advised that you move the population to a new fresh town. Porter can help you in this matter.

  2. Playing a very long game-session without restarting the game
    • The Sims 3 also has a number of memory leaks, meaning that as you play the game, some parts of memory are left stranded and unusable.
    • The longer you play without restarting the game, the more memory is consumed, until eventually you simply run out and the game performs a crash-to-desktop.
    • To resolve this issue, you should confine your play sessions to a certain amount of time, then save and restart the game from scratch.

The main issue is that The Sims 3 is a 32bit application, and as such only has access to at most 4GB* of memory (2 to the power of 32). That is a hard limit that can never be exceeded by the game. The points that follow pertain only to players on Windows operating systems. Players running the game on a Mac OS should see this page.

  • In the past, the game was actually written to only allow for 2GB of memory usage. However, after the first few EPs were released, EA removed that restriction. As of Patch 1.17, the game is Large Address Aware (LAA) by default.
  • Users of 32bit Windows operating systems are limited to having a total of 4GB of usable memory on their systems. The amount of that memory that can be devoted to a patched game will depend on how much the operating system and any other tasks running are using up at the time.
  • Users of 64bit Windows operating systems do not have the 4GB total system memory restriction. Accordingly, their patched games are capable of using the full 4GB* of memory, provided their system has enough total memory to work with. Most players on 64bit Windows systems report smoother gameplay with 8GB of total system memory installed; having more than that is of course not harmful but will not likely benefit gameplay much.
  • There are still many articles on the Web that claim steps need to be taken to allow the game to utilize more than 2GB of memory. Those articles are obsolete, provided the player has patched their game. There are also many articles on the Web that claim there are ways to entice the game to use more than 4GB of memory. Such is not possible; one can reserve as much memory as one likes to an application, but the game itself is still 32bit no matter what system it is run on and will therefore not recognize the additional memory allocation. Those articles are misleading or just downright incorrect.

*Note: The code for the game itself uses a section of memory for referencing purposes, so even with a 64bit O/S the most memory you will be able to use is limited to around 3.7GB, after which the game will become unstable and crash.

Further details are available here: Crinrict - Save Errors 12, 13, 16

Error 16

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Error 16]]

Error 16 is a generalized file-system error. It occurs when the game is unable to create new files on your computer's hard-drive.

Why the game is unable to do so can be due to a variety of reasons :
  1. The save-file you are trying to overwrite is open by another application on your computer
    • For the developer, this occurs when I am looking at the contents in a Package Editor and forget to close it.
    • It may also happen if your anti-virus scanner is currently accessing the files for whatever reason
  2. The save-folder is read-only.
    In the above cases, you can resolve the issue by simply using "Save As" and saving your game under a new file name.
  3. Your hard-drive is full.
    • In this case, you will Alt-Tab out of the game, and make some space available on whatever drive your "My Documents" is stored on.
    • After you have made space, simply return to the game, and save again.

Further details are available here: Crinrict - Save Errors 12, 13, 16

Game Freezes

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Game Freezes]]

A game freeze is when all the sims stop moving and the game stops responding to your commands.
  • The animations may continue to run though, making it appear that the game is still working, however, you are never able to successfully interact with it again.

Little is understood about why this issue occurs, so possible resolutions tend to be generalized in nature.

- C.Dark C.Dark provides the following suggestions when this occurs :

Game Lag

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Lag]]

Lag in-game appears as a stuttering effect, where the game appears to stop and start on a constant basis.
  • Such lag can be caused by improperly coding mods (in the past PortraitPanel and Relativity have both caused game lag to varying degrees)
  • Lag can also be caused by running mods that are simply too processor intensive for your machine ( StoryProgression is the prime suspect in this circumstances)
  • If you have incompatible mods installed, that can also produce lag issues. You may want to verify that all your mods are compatible with your Patch Level.

Commonly though, lag is also caused by bad game routing.
  • Calculating the paths which sims use to travel through the game world is labour intensive, and if the world you are playing has any serious routing errors, that process is made even slower.
    • Mods that push sims to travel around town, such as StoryProgression can exacerbate this issue.
    • There are also fixes available for some of the EA provided worlds that correct some of the more obvious routing errors. They are mostly available at ModTheSims.
  • Sims that get stuck in unroutable locations can eat up a lot of processing time attempting to escape.
    • Overwatch attempts to correct this issue by periodically resetting sims that have not moved in a while.
    • However, you can also manually reset everyone in town using the console command: resetsim *
    • If EA's soft-reset does not work, you may want to try the hard-reset in MasterController
      • "NRaas \ Master Controller \ Town \ Reset Everything" from the City Hall Menu
  • Several users have noted that the Generations..Memories system can cause lag.
    • Suggestions on how to disable that system are available here: Other Mods FAQ

For a full listing of user-suggested tips to combat game lag see: Tips For Better Game Performance

Game Lag in China

anchor:[[General Issues FAQ#China Lag]]

If you are experiencing lag while vacationing in China, there are a number of suggestions to try :
  • The "Hot Springs" and "Dragon Springs" lots have been known to produce serious routing issues, due to the terrain surrounding them
    1. - Clisair Clisair suggests simply deleting the lots altogether. Doing so will stop the game from pushing sims to those lots.
    2. If that is too severe, - Mellye Mellye suggests simply changing the lots types to "No Visitors Allowed". Doing so will have the same effect of stopping the game from routing sims to those lots.
      • Note that one of the lots is LotLocked so to change the lot you must :
        1. Use Ctrl-Shift-C to open the command console
        2. Type in enablelotlocking on
        3. When you click on the lot from "Edit Town", there will be a Lock symbol, click on it to unlock the lot and allow changes.
    3. Note if you already have sims stuck attempting to route to those lots, you should reset them
      • Either use the resetsim console command
      • Or use MasterController's "Advanced \ Reset Sim" to send them home.
  • If you have Pets..installed, you may want to turn off the "Wild Horses" herds so the game does not need to route them.
    • Note this is only an issue if you have a mod installed that unlocks pets for vacation worlds, such as Traveler
    • You can use Register to alter the size of the Wild Horse pool and reduce the number of animals roaming about
  • There is a custom version of the file available at ModTheSimswhich corrects some inherent routing issues.
  • Overwatch..contains coding to catch and automatically reset sim who are stuck in unroutable locations
    • Note however that its corrections can take a sim-day to implement, and do not stop the sims from getting stuck again the next sim-day

How do I check the game's CPU rating?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#CPU Rating]]

The game uses the CPU rating to determine how many Sims can be pushed to a community lot with your active sim. To check your CPU rating, find the DeviceConfig.log in your The Sims3 folder. A rating of 4 is ideal. You can get the game to value your CPU higher even if it does not rate as a four, by changing the graphicsrules.sgr file. You will find this file in the same folder where the TS3W.exe file is located.

First, make a backup copy of it somewhere safe in case you need to put it back. Then, go to your Start Menu and find Notepad. Start Notepad by right-clicking it and choose "Run as Administrator". Use File > Open then browse for and open the "graphicsrules.sgr" file.

Just a little below the first few lines you'll find this:
seti cpuLevelUber 4
seti cpuLevelHigh 3
seti cpuLevelMedium 2
seti cpuLevelLow 1

Change this to read:
seti cpuLevelUber 4
seti cpuLevelHigh 4
seti cpuLevelMedium 4
seti cpuLevelLow 4

Manually Adjusting The TravelDB.package For Better Performance

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#TravelDB]]

Several users have noted that manually altering the TravelDB.package for your save-file can improve performance.
  • Note that the following is an advanced operation, and should only be performed if you are reasonably adept at altering package files.
  1. Save your save-file as a new game (so you have a backup in case something goes wrong)
  2. Load the TravelDB.package using S3PE
  3. Select all the _IMG files within the package and delete them
  4. Save the TravelDB.package
  • Deleting the images should drastically reduce the size of the package, and reduce the amount of data loaded by the game into memory

Several users have also noted that the deletion of SNAP files in your NHD town-file can improve load up times and perhaps improve save longevity.
Note: The article linked to below contains an advanced operation and should only be performed if you are reasonably adept at altering package files.
  • See: Deleting SNAP Resources
  • Deleting the images should drastically reduce the size of the package.
    • How this affects performance in the game itself is still up for debate.
    • Missing images that are requested by the game will be automatically rebuilt by the system.
    • The effect this has on the amount of memory your game needs is negligible.

Should I merge my mods together?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Merging]]

Merging package files together has appreciable benefits in reducing start-up latency issues.
  • The fewer files that the game needs to reference, the quicker it is when loading the resources stored in those files.
  • This is why EA Standard stores any Sims3Pack content in large DBCache files, see: Sims 3 Folder Contents

Merging is performed using the S3PE application.
Another application that can be used is granthes CC Magic.

This approach is generally a very good idea when it comes to content that does not require updating very often.
  • Furniture, Hair, Clothing are examples of this type of content.
  • Once installed, they generally never have to be updated again (unless on the off-chance EA breaks them, that is).

Merging is also useful in the case of Tuning Mods.
  • You receive an added benefit of weeding out conflicting mods during this process, since merging two tuning mods that use the same game resource should produce an error.
  • You should merge these files separate from your other custom content, as they may require updating whenever a new EA Patch is released.

However, in the case of Scripting Mods, it is not advisable to merge them together.
  • Though the mods will continue to operate properly, the fact that these sort of packages are updated regularly makes merging them together more effort than it is worth.
  • Most scripting mod packages do not contain game resources that require constant retrieval, so you will derive little benefit from merging the files together.
    • S3SA files, containing the coding for the mod, are unpacked and stored in your machine's "Temporary" directory for the duration of game-play, and any tuning contained within the file are loaded into memory.

If you do choose to merge files, you should ensure that you retain the original unmerged copies of all your content.
  • Doing so ensures that if the content does ever require an update that you can still remerge them back together from the original sources.

How do I bypass The Launcher to start my game?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Bypass The Launcher]]

Important Note
If you bought your base game CD, or digital downloaded through Origin, around August 2012 or after, the following instructions will not work for you. This is especially true for the repackaged version of the game that was internally code named "The Sims 3 Refresh" and was released in August 2012, both CD and digital versions. At the time of writing, there is no known way to bypass the launcher for these versions of the game.

If you bought the base game prior to August 2012, please follow the instructions below appropriate to your base game patch level. If you are unsure what your patch level is, click THIS LINK and under the first heading, "Why Is My Patch Level So Important?", scroll down and read the part highlighted in blue.

For Patch 1.22 And Later
You no longer have to use your latest installed Expansion Pack to bypass the Launcher.

If your game is installed via disc
  1. Using Windows Explorer (or equivalent) navigate to:
    C:\Program Files(86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Game\Bin\TS3W.exe
  2. Right-click the "TS3W.exe" file
  3. Select "Send to" then "Desktop (create shortcut)"
This will place a shortcut on your desktop from where you can now run the game.

If your game was downloaded from Origin (digital download)
  1. Using Windows Explorer (or equivalent) navigate to:
    C:\Program Files(86)\Origin Games\The Sims 3\Game\Bin\TS3W.exe
  2. Right-click the "TS3W.exe" file
  3. Select "Send to" then "Desktop (create shortcut)"
This will place a shortcut on your desktop from where you can now run the game.

For Patch 1.19 And Earlier
The game still needs to be run from your most recent Expansion Pack .exe file.

If your game is installed via disc
  1. Using Windows Explorer (or equivalent) navigate to:
    C:\Program Files(86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 Expansion Pack Title OR Stuff Pack Title\Game\Bin\Execution File
  2. Right-click the appropriate .exe file as per the table below
    For example, if your latest installed Expansion Pack is "University Life", right-click the "TS3EP09.exe" file
    or if your latest Stuff Pack is "Diesel Stuff", right-click the "TS3SP07.exe" file
  3. Select "Send to" then "Desktop (create shortcut)"
This will place a shortcut on your desktop from where you can now run the game.

If your game was downloaded from Origin
  1. Using Windows Explorer (or equivalent) navigate to:
    C:\Program Files(86)\Origin Games\The Sims 3 Expansion Pack title OR Stuff Pack Title\Game\Bin\Execution File
  2. Right-click the appropriate .exe file as per the table below
    For example, if your latest installed Expansion Pack is "University Life", right-click the "TS3EP09.exe" file
    or if your latest Stuff Pack is "Diesel Stuff", right-click the "TS3SP07.exe" file
  3. Select "Send to" then "Desktop (create shortcut)"
This will place a shortcut on your desktop from where you can now run the game.

Expansion Pack Title
Execution File

Stuff Pack Title
Execution File
Word Adventures

High End Lofts Stuff

Fast Lane
Late Night

Outdoor Living Stuff

Town Life Stuff

Master Suite Stuff

Katy Perry Sweet Treats

Diesel Stuff

70s 80s 90s Stuff
University Life

Movie Stuff
Island Paradise

Into The Future

How can I uninstall content using The Launcher?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Uninstalling CC with the Launcher]]

  • The Launcher only reads the first dcdb0.dbc. For some reason, it completely ignores the rest and the dcdb0.ebc. Here's how to proceed.
    • Back up your DCCache folder (in case you change your mind after the process)
    • Move all your dcdbx.dbc to your desktop and proceed as follows (where "x" in the filename is a number)
    • Move the dcdb0.dbc back into the DCCache folder.
    • Start the launcher.
    • On the installed content tab, uninstall what you don't want in your game anymore.
    • Close the launcher.
    • Remove the dcdb0.dbc file from the DCCache and store it in a safe place.
    • Move the dcdb1.dbc in the DCCache and rename it to dcdb0.dbc
    • Start the launcher and proceed with step 3 and 4 again.
    • Once you're done, don't forget to rename it back to its original dbdc number (in this case, dcdb1.dbc) and proceed the same way for all the .dbc files.
    • After scanning each file individually, just move your cleaned dcdb files back in the DCCache folder.

How To Disable Featured Items

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Disable Featured Items]]

Crinrict has a quick and easy way to do this on her website...and with Visuals: Preventing Ingame Store Pictures

Every time I update my video card or video card driver the EA options reset to default

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Options]]

EA has some incredibly unfortunate coding regarding how the "options.ini" file is handled when you change out your graphics card or update the video driver.
  • When you first start the game after replacing your card or driver, the game compares your card/driver's identity against a code stored in the "options.ini" file
  • If that identity does not match, the game deletes the "options.ini" file and replaces all the options with the defaults.
  • In doing so, it restarts all tutorials, changes all audio options, and resets your age-span settings

To correct this issue.
  1. Prior to changing your graphics card or driver, make a copy of the "options.ini" file
    • Personally, I make a copy called "options - Original.ini" and keep it stored in the Sims 3 Documents folder
  2. After you replace your hardware or driver, start the game.
  3. The game will replace the "options.ini" file immediately.
  4. Close the game (you do not need to load a save-game)
  5. Open the new "options.ini" file with a text editor, such as Notepad
  6. Locate the lastdevice line, and copy the contents of the row
  7. Open your old copy of the options.ini file
  8. Replace the lastdevice line with the new value.
  9. Close both files.
  10. Delete the existing "options.ini" file
  11. Rename your old proper copy to "options.ini"
  12. Start the game.

Where can I find more information on the in-game graphic settings & suggested settings?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Graphic Settings]]

Graphics Explained By Neoseeker is an excellent Guide with detailed descriptions on the various settings along with Recommended Settings.
Here is the information you will find there:
  1. Introduction
  2. Screen settings
  3. Object Hiding, Reflections
  4. Animation Smoothing, Advanced Rendering
  5. Edge Smoothing (AA)
  6. Visual Effects
  7. Lighting and Shadows, Tree Detail
  8. Draw Distance, High Detail Lots
  9. Texture and Sim Detail
  10. Recommended settings
  11. Video card benchmarks

The mood meter in my game is dark green and the game is stuttering or acting bizarrely!

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#BadMod]]

The "Dark Green" mood meter is an indicator that you have an incompatible mod installed in your game.
  • The effect is due to a mislink between a scripting mod you have installed, and either the Core files or another scripting mod necessary for its operation
  • When the mislink occurs, it bounces the loadup of the game, causing odd graphical issues and game-play errors
  • Personally, the developer has noticed the effect quite often when they uninstall a base-mod, but fail to remove any modules as well

The solution is to go through the mods you have installed, and ensure they are all compatible with your Patch Level.
  • If you have any optional modules installed, also ensure that you have the proper base-mod version installed for them

My Sims 3 Store Premium Content does not work!

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#PremiumContent]]

- NonaMena NonaMena notes: The most common cause of broken premium content is due to an incomplete ccmerged.package in the DCBackup folder.
  • The ccmerged.package is found in Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\DCBackup. This package is used to store all Sims 3 Store-related moodlets, skills and recipes. If your ccmerged.package is incomplete, or empty, your premium content will not be able to work properly. The ccmerged.package will not appear for users who have not installed premium content.
  • If you have deleted everything in your DCBackup folder and have not done a clean re-install of premium content, your ccmerged.package is most likely incomplete. The launcher does re-make the ccmerged.package when it is deleted, but it is often empty and useless.
  • You can restore your ccmerged by uninstalling all premium content and re-installing it. This will fix many bugs, such as the spell book reset bug, and moodlets not appearing properly.
  • To avoid breaking your premium content, do not delete the ccmerged.package.
  • For more information about the ccmerged.package and how to restore it, - NonaMena NonaMena recommends the following tutorial: Nona's Sims: DCBackup, ccmerged.package, and Your Premium Content Items.

What files should I back up and when?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Back Up]]

Crinrict has some solid information detailing when, how and what to back up over at her blog.
You can find it at Crinricts Sims3 Help Blog

If I randomly uninstall a mod, will ErrorTrap fix any issues?

anchor: [[General Issues FAQ#Uninstall]]

Answer originally written by - SimAd_NRaas SimAd_NRaas

Do I need to go through all the steps for uninstalling?
ErrorTrap will clean up all sorts of things left dangling, including injected interactions leftover from an uninstalled mod, HOWEVER, it is still good practice to check the mod for any uninstall instructions. Most notably, Awesome has an "uninstall" command which you really should use. Of course, if you start a new game, you're always safe.

As for the "works well with NRaas", almost all NRaas mods are script mods and it is an exception if script mods conflict with other mods. For example, even the mod at MTS which removes the Full Moon lighting effect is not likely to conflict with Overwatch's newest function which does the same because the approach is entirely different. The MTS mod zaps the lighting effect if it occurs, whereas Overwatch disables the alarm that makes the effect occur. No conflict, except the first mod, will be waiting for something that will never come. :-)

Of course, having a backup is ALWAYS a good idea and trying things out on your four-year running Legacy game is not recommended without having a back up should you need to revert back.

Updated 12/21/16 - brappl brappl