Game guide:Avoiding corruption

From The Sims Wiki, a collaborative database for The Sims series
(Redirected from Corruption)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This tutorial is for The Sims 2 only.
The famed "Big Firey Ball Visible From Space"

Corruption in The Sims 2 is when some or all of the game data, whether it is in a neighborhood or in the core game files, become glitchy or unreadable. In severe enough cases, corruption could make a neighborhood or the entire game unplayable. This game guide explains the difference between game corruption and neighborhood (shortened to 'hood') corruption, highlights known actions that guarantee corruption, provides solutions to fix existing corruption, and dispels common myths about what's game-breaking and what's not.

The basics on corruption[edit | edit source]

What's corruption?[edit | edit source]

Corruption is when the files for your game or neighborhood end up with junky, glitchy, or nonsense data that cause problems in your game. This can be limited to one neighborhood ("neighborhood corruption" or "hood corruption"), or it can occur globally across your game ("game corruption"). Corruption varies in severity: some forms of corruption can easily be fixed with third-party tools, other forms will cause the game or neighborhood to become unplayable, and many are somewhere in between.

When a neighborhood or game becomes irreversibly corrupted, it is referred to by some players as a "BFBVFS" (Big Fiery Ball Visible From Space).[1]

The difference between game corruption and hood corruption[edit | edit source]

In discussions about corruption, there are usually two types mentioned: game corruption and neighborhood corruption (also called "hood corruption"). New players may mix up game corruption and hood corruption, and some incorrectly think all corruption requires a full reinstall.

With game corruption, the corruption occurs within the game's installation files. These are located on your computer's hard drive—typically C:\Program Files on Windows and Applications on Mac. The installation files are the ones that make up the core and backbone of the game, including the UI, in-game meshes and textures, the Universal NPCs (e.g. Grim Reaper, Mrs. CrumpleBottom), audio files, and the game's programming itself. These files are normally not modified. If they're modified improperly, the game may begin behaving unpredictably, and the only way to fix it is to reinstall the game, or to replace the modified installation files if you can get access to fresh versions.

With hood corruption, the corruption occurs within your saved game data. These are typically located in your Documents folder, and includes your neighborhoods, custom content, lots and houses bin, storytelling images, and so forth. You can typically find these files at:

  • Windows: Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2
  • Mac: \Users\<your username>\Library\Containers\com.aspyr.sims2.appstore\Data\Library\Application Support\Aspyr\The Sims 2

Corruption normally occurs in a neighborhood's folder, located in the Neighborhoods folder. Each neighborhood gets a folder with a unique ID on it (e.g. N001) containing data relating to the neighborhood (e.g., Sims, relationships, memories, and lots in the neighborhood). Neighborhood corruption is more common than game corruption, but it's often more easily fixable.

What is and isn't corruption[edit | edit source]

This is an incomplete list of possible symptoms that may or may not indicate corruption. Not all symptoms listed here may be a sign of corruption, but may be indicators of other problems, such as bad custom content.

Definite signs of corruption[edit | edit source]

Symptoms include:

  • Children and toddlers with aspirations other than Grow Up, or long-term wants.
    • Some pre-made Sims are an exception to this rule: for instance, Daniel Bell has a long-term want. However, this only applies to pre-made Sims.
    • If you use cheats to age a teen or older Sim into a child or toddler, they will retain their aspiration and long-term wants. This is not a sign of corruption.
  • Children whose family tree contains animals as their mother or father.
  • Wants that don't fit the age group (e.g., a toddler who suddenly wants to go on a date. Toddlers wanting to buy a tree or a bush is not corruption, as this want is allowed for that age group).
  • Memories being lost or totally random.
  • Memories displaying $Subject (e.g. "$Subject Got an A+").
  • Sims completely disappearing from the neighborhood.
  • Disappearing lots. (While some lot types, like secret societies, don't appear in neighborhood view, most lot types should not disappear.)
  • Sims losing family members in their family tree.
  • Sims showing stats, such as Personality, of other Sims of the neighborhood. This can be checked in-game or using SimPE.
  • Sims losing stats, like suddenly losing all Personality points and skill points.
  • Neighborhoods causing the game to crash, even with no custom content installed.

Things that are not corruption[edit | edit source]

The following symptoms or behavior are not desired game behavior, but are not corruption.

  • Blank or blue Wants/Fears slots. This can be caused by a momentary glitch or certain mods, but it's not corruption.
  • "Sim does not exist"/"Incorrect subject instance" or Sim Wants and Fears errors in HoodChecker. This usually just means that the relevant relationship, memory, or token is pointing to the wrong location, and can be easily fixed with HoodChecker.
    • "Sim does not exist" errors do not mean that a Sim has been deleted. Deleted Sims will be displayed at the top of the HoodChecker log with the message, "Sim has no Character file."
  • Pink or purple flashing. This happens when the game runs out of texture memory and starts dumping textures that are currently in use.[2] It's not related to corruption.
  • Blue flashing. This usually indicates a missing texture, missing item groups, or a glitchy mod. (Sims with flashing blue faces can be fixed through Change Appearance in the mirror.)
  • Red flashing. Red flashing doesn't mean corruption; it just means the game thinks your graphics card or drivers are unsupported.[3] (It can also be caused by outdated lighting mods.)

What could be, but isn't always, corruption[edit | edit source]

Some game problems can be caused by corruption, but they can also be caused by something else.

  • Game crashes. There are many reasons your game can crash, such as insufficient memory or bad custom content. Corruption can cause crashes, but it's not the only or most likely cause.
  • Neighborhoods disappearing from the game or HoodChecker. Neighborhoods disappear when they contain unreadable data or can't be found by the game, which can be caused by renaming files improperly or incompletely, changing the name of your Documents\The Sims 2 folder, or corruption. Check your game directory before assuming it's corruption.
  • Memories and thought bubbles with squiggly lines and/or stretched and distorted text. Sometimes the game displays squashed need icons (that resemble squiggly lines) because it can't find the proper thumbnail like this, which is not corruption. Thought bubbles displaying squashed interest icons may be corruption, but these can likely be fixed using the BatBox to clear corrupt memories and gossip.[4] However, thought bubbles displaying squashed interest icons when gossiping about corrupt gossip have been patched out of the game since the University or Nightlife expansion packs. They may also be due to a Sim lacking wants when asked by another sim what they want through the ask interaction.[5]
  • Sims disappearing from households or becoming unplayable. If a Sim vanishes from their household, but still appears elsewhere in-game (e.g. Relationships panel, family tree, memories), that can just be a glitch (and you may be able to summon them back to the lot using the Tombstone of L and D). It's a sign of corruption if the Sim has disappeared everywhere in-game or if they show up in memories as $Subject.
  • Lots becoming unplayable. If a single lot causes the game to crash, that specific lot may be corrupt, but moving out the family and bulldozing the lot will be sufficient. Sometimes lots may crash due to CC, and removing the problem CC will fix the crashing.
  • Buy and Build Mode becoming indefinitely disabled. Use Fix... > Reenable Controls on the Batbox to reenable them.
  • "Sim has no Character file" in HoodChecker. Sometimes, running HoodChecker on a neighborhood returns the error "Sim has no character file." In an unmodded game, this is a sign of corruption, but if you have mods that add custom NPCs, this is a side effect of the mod and is completely normal. (Most custom NPCs have a character file beginning with 0x00.)[4] There is an incomplete list of mods that create NPCs here.
  • SimPE displaying Sim portraits with red or blue backgrounds or Mr. Potato Heads. Seeing these in SimPE can sometimes indicate problems, but they can also be harmless.
    • Red backgrounds means SimPE can't locate all character data in the Sim's character file. This can be a sign of corruption if seen on normally-playable Sims, but this is also common for NPCs whose data is stored outside of the Characters folder (such as Universal NPCs, who are located in the objects.package, or custom NPCs added to the Downloads folder).[6]
    • The Mr. Potato Head appears when SimPE can't find the Sim's portrait. This doesn't indicate corruption; it can happen even if the Sim has a portrait in-game.[7]
    • Blue backgrounds means the Sim's character file is unlinked. It's not unusual to see this on NPCs with incomplete character files (e.g. Pollination Technician or the Unsavory Charlatan) or deceased Sims in premade neighborhoods.[6]
    • SimPE also has difficulty reading split character files, but the game does not. Split character files do not indicate corruption. They can be caused by certain mods.

Corruption on Macs: The Mac File Limit[edit | edit source]

Players on macOS need to be aware of the Mac file limit. MacOS has a built-in limit of how many files can be open at once which is not specific to any game. When launching The Sims 2, the game opens every file in your game's Documents folder in addition to its installation files. If the computer's file limit is surpassed while the game is still opening, the computer will stop reading the game files, which can lead to temporary or permanent data loss (i.e., corruption).[8]

Signs you've hit the file limit[edit | edit source]

If you've hit the file limit, you'll experience strange in-game behavior that might not obviously resemble corruption. This can include:[8]

  • Disappearing Sims: Sims permanently vanish from the Family Bin or their homes. These Sims will be missing from the Relationships panel and family trees, and memories about them will have no portrait and display $Subject in place of their name.
  • Disappearing lots: Lots placed from the Lot Bin will be missing their buildings, and appear empty. In some cases, the lots may simply not appear in the Lot Bin.
  • Missing lot or neighborhood icons: Neighborhood thumbnails are replaced by wireframe icons. If traveling between lots, the lot thumbnails will be replaced by the same wireframe icons.
  • Widespread aspiration failure: All Sims and pets are suddenly experiencing aspiration failure, including very young Sims (e.g. babies and toddlers).
  • Body Shop shows a black screen: If you open Body Shop, the menu will appear, but the left side of the screen (where the mannequin appears) will be completely black.

Avoiding the file limit[edit | edit source]

The only way to prevent corruption caused by hitting the file limit is to not reach the file limit in the first place. Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk.

  • Close other programs before starting the game. The more programs you have open, the more files are in use on your computer, and the less space your Mac has to read the game files.
  • Remove folders of neighborhoods that you don't play. If you don't play the premade 'hoods, drag their folders out of your game folder or delete them. If you have multiple neighborhoods, but only want to play with one specific neighborhood today, put the folders for the other 'hoods on your desktop. Leaving them in forces the game to open extra files.
  • Prevent overpopulation. Always run your game with mods to reduce overpopulation, create townie-free custom neighborhoods, and avoid moving Sims across neighborhoods (as this creates excessive amount of "stub" files that the OS has to open).
  • Clean up your custom content. The game opens your files in alphabetical order, meaning it reaches your Downloads folder before your Neighborhoods folder. A messy or overflowing Downloads folder will quickly bring you to the file limit.
    • Delete redundant or glitchy files, content missing meshes or textures, or content that you don't use.
    • Reduce the amount of custom content you're using.
    • Organize your content by name or category. Avoid organizing your content into multiple subfolders, as this increases the number of files your game has to read.
    • Rename files with lengthy names or special characters.
    • Use default replacements where available. These typically store multiple recolors of custom content in a single .package file.
    • Use content that's repositoried ("repo'ed" or "slaved") to existing in-game content or another piece of custom content.
If you have access to Windows, use SimPE or CCMerger to merge custom content files together. This allows you to bundle multiple pieces of content into one or two files, thus reducing your chance of reaching the file limit.

Raising the file limit (MacOS Mojave and earlier)[edit | edit source]

You may have seen mentions of "raising the file limit" on forums or other Sims 2 guides for Mac. It is possible to increase the file limit on macOS 10.14 (Mojave) and earlier using a Terminal command. Unfortunately, this was disabled in macOS 10.15 (Catalina), so anyone running 10.15 or higher cannot raise the file limit.

If your Mac is on 10.14 (Mojave) or lower, the way you raise the file limit depends on what version of the OS you're running.

  • On MacOS 10.11 through 10.14 (El Capitan through Mojave), follow the steps in this guide.
  • On MacOS 10.9 or 10.10 (Mavericks or Yosemite), follow the steps in this guide.

Playing in a neighborhood while its package file is open in SimPE[edit | edit source]

The data regarding Sims and Lots is stored in two separate locations: the corresponding subfolders of the Neigborhood folder, and the neighborhood's main package file, named "[Number]_Neighborhood.package". If one opens this file in SimPE or a similar program, then launches the game and creates new Sims and lots in the neighborhood, these Sims and lots will disappear immediately and no data will reference them in the Neighborhood.package file, while they will still have their own separate files in the dedicated subfolders.

This is because the Neighborhood.package file, like any file on any computer, can only be edited in one program at once. While the game will still read it when it's open in SimPE, it is technically read-only and the game will not be able to save any modification made by the player. Because The Sims 2 doesn't have an error message that would be displayed in the event of a save failure, it will look as if the progress was saved even though it has not. Always close SimPE, Hoodchecker, and any other Sims 2 programs before running the game.

Avoiding corruption[edit | edit source]

Most forms of corruption, particularly game corruption, can be avoided by not doing certain things in-game.

Avoiding game corruption[edit | edit source]

The following actions are known to corrupt the game's installation files. They should not be attempted, as the only way to fix them is to reinstall the game.

Interacting with Universal NPCs outside of their in-game designated purposes[edit | edit source]

Certain NPCs, such as the Grim Reaper, Mrs. CrumpleBottom, Therapist, Pollination Technicians, ideal plantsim, and so forth, do not have playable character data. Their character files are not located in the folder of the neighborhoods, but in the objects.package file in the C:\Program Files location. Modifying them in any way or form that involves hacks, cheats, or SimPE will corrupt that file.[9] Unsafe interactions with these NPCs include:

  • Making them selectable or moving them into a household
  • Renaming them or changing their appearance
  • Changing any of their data through SimPE

A list of unsafe NPCs, including Universal NPCs, can be found at Game guide:Which NPCs are safe to play as?

The following will not corrupt the game:

  • Spawning Universal NPCs on your lot - just having these NPCs on your lot does not corrupt the game.
    • This includes Universal NPCs being spawned to "collect" child ghosts. They may not be able to leave the lot, however, so you can delete them with the move objects cheat to remove them. There are several mods that will stop these NPCs from being summoned to collect child ghosts if you find this annoying.
  • Clicking either yes or no on dialogs such as this (Sims being introduced through Apartment Life's Secret Networking system)
    • Clicking yes will create a relationship between your Sim and the NPC. However, relationships are stored in the neighborhood package file and will not result in a modification of your objects.package (or the character files)
    • Clicking no will result in no change and no relationship will be created
    • You can get the Networking Friend fix if you want the game to stop choosing Universal NPCs for this dialog.

Recklessly modifying the game's installation files without backups[edit | edit source]

It is possible to safely modify the game's installation files, but because these contain the core data used to run the game, indiscriminately messing with these files can cause glitchy behavior or prevent the game from starting. If you don't back up the files before modifying them, and the changes cause problems, you may be forced to reinstall the game to fix it. Always back up any installation files you plan on modifying, even if you don't think you'll have a problem—it's better to be safe than sorry.

The average Sims 2 player can safely modify certain core files without causing damage. Examples of this include editing the Graphics Rules.sgr and Video Cards.sgr, installing Sims2RPC, enabling the allmenus cheat, and installing custom lighting systems.

Deleting default replacements in-game[edit | edit source]

By default, the game prevents you from deleting EAxis content in Create-a-Sim or Buy/Build mode. However, using default replacements can reenable the in-game or Body Shop "Delete" icon. "Deleting" a default replacement will delete the texture of the object or Create-a-Sim content in the installation files, which can result in paper-white objects or Sims and break any related Want trees.[10] Unless you backed up your installation files, the only way to fix this is to reinstall the game. (Deleting a default replacement from your Downloads folder is completely safe.)

Avoiding neighborhood corruption[edit | edit source]

The following actions will permanently corrupt your neighborhood. There are methods of getting a corrupted neighborhood to keep running for a good while longer, but these are not permanent solutions. The best option is to never attempt these actions.

Deleting character or lot files from the Documents folder[edit | edit source]

The neighborhood saves Sim and lot data in two different locations: the Neighborhood.package file, and the character or lot file itself. If you want to delete a Sim or lot file from your game, do so using this game guide. If you delete the character or lot file without properly cleaning the Neighborhood.package file, your hood will be left with half of a Sim or a lot, and will not function properly.

  • The Characters folder is located at ~\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Characters\
  • The Lots folder is located at ~\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Lots\

Using the deleteallcharacters cheat[edit | edit source]

Contrary to popular belief, it's safe to delete Sims from the Family Bin.[11] When you delete a Sim from the bin, the Sim's character file is "stubbed," but the file itself is still complete.[12] However, the deleteallcharacters cheat wipes out all character files in the neighborhood's Characters folder, and may not fully clean out all the data.[13] To be on the safe side, avoid the cheat, and use these instructions to create a new neighborhood with no Sims at all.

Using changelotzoning on occupied lots[edit | edit source]

Trying to use the changelotzoning cheat on an occupied lot will cause problems in-game. Some lot types do not allow the lot to be saved, while others could make the lot disappear from the neighborhood. If you want to change the lot zoning of an existing lot, move any Sims out first, and don't attempt to change the lot zoning of a community lot that your Sim is currently visiting.

Overpopulating your neighborhood[edit | edit source]

The maximum value of the Sim Creation Index is 32767. Once a neighborhood has reached the limit, trying to create any new sims (via births, CAS or any other way) will result in the game crashing. This is not actually a character file limit as previously thought because if you manually set the SCID to 32767 you will see the same results as if you actually had 32767 character files - the limit is with the value of the SCID and not the number of files.

However, MacOS users also have the MacOS file limit to contend with and need to be cautious of running up against that file limit. Additionally, Windows players with all EPs and SPs have sometimes reported issues with their game once their Characters folder surpasses about 1,000 Sims.[14]

The best way to avoid hitting the limit is to prevent unnecessary Sims from being generated. There are multiple ways to do so:

Attempting to move in, make selectable, or modify certain NPCs outside of their in-game designated purpose[edit | edit source]

There are certain NPCs that have playable character data and are possible to move in without the use of cheats. However, there are some Sims that do not have a complete character file, such as the Social Worker or Repo-man. Tampering with them in any way or form outside of the in-game designated purposes may corrupt the neighborhood they are in.[9]

A list of unsafe NPCs can be found at Game guide:Which NPCs are safe to play as?

Prior to the Open For Business patch, the Gypsy Matchmaker could sometimes spawn the Social Worker as a blind date. If this occurs, delete her using the moveobjects cheat. Do not attempt to interact with her.

Resurrecting some premade dead Sims[edit | edit source]

Several Maxis neighborhoods have deceased Sims with incomplete character data, corrupted genetics, or defunct aspirations. This is most prevalent in the original three neighborhoods (Pleasantview, Strangetown, and Veronaville). Resurrecting these Sims with the Resurrect-O-Nomitron can cause glitchy behavior.

Removing mods that create custom NPCs[edit | edit source]

Some mods or custom content create NPCs as part of the mod. These include custom objects that move around a lot (e.g. bicycles or farm animals), multi-Pollination Technician or multi-ideal plantsim mods, or Sims that otherwise function as part of the mod (e.g. nurses in any version of Chris Hatch's hospital mod). Once these NPCs have been created, simply deleting the mod's files is similar to deleting files out of a neighborhood's Characters folder: it only partially deletes the NPCs from the neighborhoods, so character data points to the wrong location and causes corruption.[15]

If you want to get rid of a mod that created custom NPCs in your game, you can delete the mod, but you must keep the NPCs in your existing neighborhoods. Find the file for the custom NPCs, and move them from your Downloads folder into the Documents\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Characters folder of each of your existing neighborhoods. Afterwards, you can delete all of the relevant mod files from your Downloads folder.

If you want to add mods with custom NPCs to specific neighborhoods, but not all of them, put the NPC character files directly into the Characters folder of the neighborhood(s) you want them to appear in.[16]

Removing custom memories from your Downloads folder[edit | edit source]

The game considers memories to be objects given to Sims. Some game mods, such as the InTeenimater, include custom memories as part of the mod. If you delete these custom memories when a Sim already has them, the custom memory can potentially turn into something else (like another object), which causes problems in-game.[17]

If Sims in your neighborhood already have these custom memories, you can either remove the memories from the affected Sims using the Memory Manipulator (found here) or SimPE, and then wipe corrupt memories and gossip using the FFS Lot Debugger. Once no Sims have the memory, you can delete the file containing the custom memory.

Removing custom careers or majors that are in use[edit | edit source]

If you delete a custom career while Sims are employed in it, or a custom major your Sim is enrolled in, the game will not properly reset your Sim's career or major. Sims who were at work or class will go missing, and households of Sims who used the custom career or major might not load. Poorly-created custom careers and majors can even cause problems across all lots in the neighborhood when deleted.[18] Before deleting a custom career or major, have all Sims employed in the career quit their jobs, and direct all students enrolled in the major to change their major.

Avoiding fixable neighborhood corruption[edit | edit source]

The corruption here is known to be fixable, but typically requires third-party tools to correct.

Deleting custom or geneticized/townified skins or eyes[edit | edit source]

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. (Deleting default replacements are safe.)[19]

Deleting custom foods[edit | edit source]

This breaks want trees for Sims whose favorite food was the deleted food, and will corrupt the memories of Sims who have a "Learned to make" memory for that food. It's safer to edit the food using SimPE to change it to "false" for all mealtimes, which hides the food in-game without causing memory corruption. (Instructions on doing so can be found here.)

  • How to fix it: If you've already deleted a custom food, use Pescado's Lot Debugger to reset all Sims whose favorite food was the deleted food. Then, use SimPE to remove all memories, gossip, and references to the deleted food. This, however, is very time-consuming, and you will no doubt miss something.

Reducing the risk of corruption[edit | edit source]

Generally, most corruption occurs because of the player's actions. However, some oversights and glitches in the game can cause corruption without player intervention. Luckily, little effort is required to protect against it.

Install mods designed to prevent corruption and overpopulation[edit | edit source]

There are a number of mods and programs, created by skilled modders, that can help reduce corruption. They have little to no impact on gameplay, and are highly unlikely to conflict with other mods. Instructions on how to install most mods can be found here.

Anti-Corruption Mods What It Does EP required Notes
Mootilda's Hood Checker An external program to scan your neighborhood for any unusual or corrupted references and provide an option to remove/fix them. It can detect and fix Family Ties, Sim Relations (SREL), Sims Wants and Fears (SWAF), and Memories. It will also scan for missing character file data, misplaced graves, and other items of interest.
HoodChecker is not compatible with macOS.
Mootilda's Sims2Pack Clean Installer An external program intended as a replacement to the game's default Bodyshop Installer. It allows players to properly install .sims2pack files, and allows to clean out any mods, hacks, or custom content that may have latched on during the packaging process. It can also show you whether a lot is occupied or not.
Clean Installer is not compatible with macOS.
Pescado's No Corrupted Death Memory Prevents the formation of "corrupted death memories" that lack event owners, which can be spread around neighborhoods through gossip.
Existing corrupt memories are not affected.
Pescado's FFS Lot Debugger (The Batbox) A buyable object found in the Miscellaneous/Miscellaneous section in Buy mode. It provides a number of options to fix problems that can occur with lots, delete stuck objects/tiles, and remove gossip. It also has the options necessary to delete a Sim's character file in the correct way.
A list of its functions can be found here.
Cyjon's Lot Debugger Designed to complement Pescado's FFS Lot Debugger. It provides some options for fixing bugs, as well as report on some very useful information.
Requires Cyjon's Smarter EP Check to work.
Cyjon's Lot Inspector A buyable object from the Miscellaneous/Miscellaneous section of Buy mode, and will report on whether the lot is safe to bin or delete.
Users who do not have Apartment Life or Mansion & Garden may find that the object doesn't work correctly. To make it work, press "Ctrl+Shift+C" to open the cheat box, type in boolProp testingcheatsenabled true, and click on the Lot Inspector. An object error dialog with "Bad gosub tree number" should pop up - click on "Cancel" to ignore the error. The inspector should then file a report.
Pescado's Creature Fixes In addition to fixing a number of bugs, prevents vampires from biting Mrs. CrumpleBottom and any other NPCs, which can prevent both unwanted and unstoppable neighborhood and game corruption.
Cyjon's New Friend Fix Prevents townies from introducing universal NPCs, such as the Therapist and the Grim Reaper, or pre-made dead Sims through the Secret Networking interaction (which does not cause corruption but you may wish to avoid it anyway).
Arek_91's Select Your Cemetery mod Allows you to select whether to move a grave from an apartment lot to a community lot, and if so, where to move it to. (The default game behavior is to move the grave to a random lot.)
Overpopulation Mods What It Does EPs required Notes
Pescado's NoTownieRegen Prevents the game from generating new townies.
Pescado's Anti-Redundancy Prevents the game from generating more than 1 of each NPC type, instead of the standard 3 NPCs per NPC type per neighborhood.
Cyjon's There can only be one (Professor) mod Forces the game to generate only one professor per major, instead of the default two.
Pescado's No Dormie Respawn Prevents the game from generating new dormies.
Pescado's No SS Respawn Prevents the game from generating new secret society members.
Pescado's No Stray Respawn Prevents the game from generating new stray pets.
Midge The Tree's Apartment Residents Allows the game to pick safe NPCs, regular townies, and downtownies as apartment neighbors and roommates instead of social class townies, eliminating the need of generating them.

Install meetme2theriver/Tarlia's clean neighborhood templates[edit | edit source]

Many of the premade neighborhoods ship with corrupt, incomplete, or simply inaccurate Sim data (with Strangetown being the worst off). Tarlia's templates have fixed most of the corruption in these 'hoods. The templates and their associated installation instructions can be found on Tumblr.

Tarlia's Tumblr contains the most recent, up-to-date versions. The original clean templates can be found on Livejournal.

Safeguard against child ghosts[edit | edit source]

The game does not handle child ghosts properly. When a Sim dies, they are transferred to the "default" household, a household located in the neighborhood data which contains every deceased Sim as well as Universal NPCs. Ghosts (including child ghosts) only appear at night, but the game does not allow children to be left unsupervised outside at night and sends an adult Sim from the child's household to pick them up. However, the only available adult Sims in the "default" household are Universal NPCs. This causes the Universal NPCs to appear on the lot to "pick up" the ghost child, which they can't do. The NPC will subsequently wander around the lot, potentially leading to unsafe interactions and game corruption, but simply having the NPC show up on the lot is not a sign of corruption and does not cause corruption.

If you want to prevent this from happening, pick one of the following three options:

  • Install the Child Ghost NPC Summon Fix mod to allow child ghosts to appear, but prevent Universal NPCs from showing up.
  • Install Cyjon's Ghost Hack to prevent child ghosts from appearing at all.
  • Move the graves of children to a community lot as soon as they die.

Save before quitting, not while quitting[edit | edit source]

Saving while exiting a household or quitting the game isn't inherently dangerous. However, sometimes the game will crash while it's closing. If this happens in the process of saving, the relevant neighborhood files can become corrupted. Saving separately protects the neighborhood if the game crashes when closing, because the neighborhood files aren't being modified at the time of the crash.

Back up your saved games[edit | edit source]

Backing up doesn't prevent corruption from occurring; however, if your neighborhood begins showing signs of corruption, it allows you to restore an earlier version of your neighborhood that (ideally) isn't corrupt. For instructions on creating backups, see Game guide:Backing up your game. It is highly recommended that you make neighborhood backups often, at least as often as the amount of progress you can tolerate losing - likely a week per backup. This will allow for restoring your neighborhoods to a somewhat recent state in the event of corruption or a major error on your part.

If you plan on modifying the installation files in some way, copy the files or folders you'll be modifying and paste them to your desktop to create a backup.

Make your objects.package read-only[edit | edit source]

Making the objects.package file read-only prevents the game from writing to that file. It will not fix existing game corruption, and does not make it safe to tamper with the Universal NPCs afterwards, but it can help prevent the game from potentially corrupting its own files.

Every expansion and stuff pack has its own objects.package file. The game only uses the objects.package from the most recent expansion or stuff pack on your computer, so that's the only one that truly needs to be made read-only.[20] However, some players recommend making all objects.package files read-only as a protective measure.[21]

Do not make the files in the Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\ location read-only. The game needs to modify those files in order to save your game, and making them read-only may cause your game to not function correctly.

Windows[edit | edit source]

Players running the Ultimate Collection through Origin will need to protect the objects.package for Mansion & Garden Stuff, which is the last stuff pack released.

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Navigate to C:\Program Files\Origin Games\The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection\Fun with Pets\SP9\TSData\Res\Objects
  • Locate the objects.package file.
  • Right-click objects.package and choose "Properties".
  • Click the "Read-only" box so that it's checked.
  • Click "OK" to apply the changes.

Players with the CD versions of the game will need to protect the objects.package of their chronologically last expansion or stuff pack. (For instance, a player who installed Nightlife and then University will protect the Nightlife objects.package.)

Directories for all expansion and stuff packs
Most Recent EP or SP Directory
The Sims 2
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 University
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 University\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Nightlife
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Nightlife\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Open For Business
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Open For Business\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Family Fun Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Family Fun Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Glamour Life Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Pets
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Pets\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Seasons
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Seasons\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Celebration! Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Celebration! Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Bon Voyage
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Bon Voyage\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Teen Style Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Teen Style Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 FreeTime
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 FreeTime\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Kitchen and Bath Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 IKEA Home Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 IKEA® Home Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Apartment Life
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Apartment Life\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
The Sims 2 Mansion & Garden Stuff
C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\The Sims 2 Mansion & Garden Stuff\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package

Mac[edit | edit source]

The objects.package is usually made read-only by default on Macs, but it never hurts to verify. The last expansion pack released for macOS was Bon Voyage.

  • Open Finder.
  • Select "Applications".
  • Right-click on The Sims 2 Super Collection.
  • Choose "Show Package Contents".
  • Navigate to the directory for Bon Voyage. The directory varies slightly depending on whether you have the 64-bit or 32-bit version of the game.
    • 64-bit: Contents\Assets\Expansion Packs\Bon Voyage\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
    • 32-bit: Contents\Home\Expansion Packs\Bon Voyage\TSData\Res\Objects\objects.package
  • Right-click objects.package and click "Get Info".
  • Scroll to the section labeled "Sharing & Permissions".
  • Click the lock in the lower right-hand side of the Get Info window. Enter the administrator password when prompted.
  • On every listed account except for "system," click "Read and Write" and change it to "Read Only".

Patch your game (if you're running the disc versions)[edit | edit source]

If you installed The Sims 2 using the CDs, your game might have some unwanted and potentially dangerous bugs. The patches often fix the most dangerous issues, so all players should patch up to their latest expansion pack. You can find downloads of the patches here.

Patching is not necessary for Windows users running the Ultimate Collection or Mac users running the Super Collection—these versions are already patched.

Misconceptions regarding corruption[edit | edit source]

Just like corruption itself, rumors and misconceptions about corruption have spread over the years. This list contains some common misconceptions regarding corruption.

Myth: Deleting Sims, urns, and gravestones causes corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: This is a widespread misconception debunked by several experienced modders. Understanding and disproving it requires some knowledge of how the game works.

New Sims created in a neighborhood receive a unique ID, which is assigned incrementally. When a Sim is deleted via the Sim Bin, or when a Sim's tombstone or urn is deleted in Buy Mode, the Sim's character file is unlinked and turned into a "stub" file containing the Sim's bare-bones character data, including their ID. There's an inaccurate belief that stubbed or unlinked character files don't retain the Sim's ID, causing the game to reuse the ID for new Sims. However, since IDs are assigned incrementally, they can't be reassigned unless the character file itself is improperly deleted.[22] This means that deleting Sims, gravestones, or urns is ultimately safe.

However, deleting Sims must be done in-game. Deleting the files directly from your neighborhood's Characters folder can cause corruption, because this deletes necessary character data and causes Sims to begin using IDs already attached to other Sims.

Additionally, the stubbed character files of deleted Sims are not removed from the Characters folder or the Neighborhoods.package, so deleting Sims in game does not help to reduce the population of the neighborhood.[11]

Deleting gravestones or urns unlinks the dead Sim's character file, which prevents them from being resurrected. Pescado's No Unlink on Delete will keep character files linked, even if you delete a Sim's urn or grave.

Myth: Binning occupied lots and/or moving Sims across neighborhoods causes corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: This is another debunked misconception. Binning a lot with Sims on it creates "stub" character files, the same way it does when deleting Sims via the Family Bin, which isn't a problem on its own. The problem with binning occupied lots is that it creates stub files both of the binned family and every Sim with ties to the family. Placing the occupied lot in a neighborhood copies the resident Sims character files, plus stub character files of every Sim in their family tree or memories, which can speed up overpopulation.[13]

Myth: Thought/speech bubbles with squiggly lines mean the neighborhood is corrupted[edit | edit source]

Fact: Squiggly lines are not always a sign of corruption. In some cases, they could appear when Sims would be thinking or gossiping about a Sim whose character file had been deleted, but this glitch seems to have been patched out before The Sims 2 : Night Life was released. In most cases, however, they appear because the game can't find the correct thumbnail (a notable example being the game not finding the missing hobby icons that should be used as a Sim is speaking or chatting when a player owns Apartment Life, but not FreeTime) or as a side effect of a mod or custom content. Because they're not a sign of corruption in most cases, speech bubbles with squiggly lines have been sighted in clean, healthy neighborhoods.

Myth: Leaving boolprop testingcheatsenabled on for extended periods causes corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: The cheat itself is completely safe. It's just a debugging tool, and you can leave it on the entire time you play without problems. What can cause corruption is misuse of the options available with the cheat, like spawning the Tombstone of Life and Death to interact with unsafe NPCs in ways you normally couldn't (e.g., moving them in or making them selectable).

The "Force Error" option that appears when shift-clicking an object will not cause corruption if clicked; it simply forces the object to display an error dialog even if it's functioning as anticipated. That being said, randomly resetting or deleting objects through Force Error can cause unexpected game behavior.

Myth: Object Error dialogs are a sign of corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: Error dialogs do not mean something is dangerously broken; it just means an object in the game encountered a problem and is unable to continue. If you don't have testingcheatsenabled on, the game will automatically reset the object, which can cause Sims or objects to "jump" or suddenly reset. With the cheat on, if the game encounters an error, it will always ask you whether it should ignore the error (Cancel), reset the object (Reset), or delete the object (Delete). The cheat itself didn't cause those errors—it's only forcing the game to ask you what to do instead of handling the error itself.

Since object errors are just errors, they're not always a sign of corruption. They can be caused by custom content or mods (e.g., installing an outdated mod), and even healthy games will have occasional object errors. If you constantly encounter object errors with no custom content or mods in your game, it can be a sign that something is wrong, but even then, it's unlikely to be corruption.

Myth: Saving with Sims on the phone causes corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: Saving with Sims on the phone can cause bugs, but not corruption. When Sims chat with other Sims on the phone, the other Sim is an "off-world loiterer": they're technically considered on the lot, but are not visible. If you save the lot, and something triggers a lot reset (for instance, installing a new mod), off-world loiterers on the lot are not sent home properly. At most, though, this just causes issues using the phone or binning the lot later, not corruption. (Stuck off-world loiterers can easily be removed with Pescado's FFS Lot Debugger, using Nuke... > Off-World Loiterers.)

Myth: Saving with ghosts active on the lot can cause corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: Like with saving while Sims are on the phone, this can cause bugs, but not corruption. The game considers both graves and ghosts to be Sims. Saving a lot with ghosts active may cause the game to believe there are two physical manifestations of the same Sim, so upon the next load, the game may delete the tombstones so there aren't "multiple" of the same Sim on the lot. This can sometimes cause the gravestones to disappear, so it's best avoided if you want to keep the graves, but it doesn't cause corruption.

Myth: Leaving custom tokens in will cause corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: This is not the case. Most mods that create custom tokens, like ACR, can be safely deleted without clearing the tokens. You can delete the token if you'd like, but it isn't necessary.

Myth: Bulldozing a lot will cause corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: While lots that can be lived in (e.g. Dorms, Residential, Apartments, etc.) do contain references to Sims that previously lived there, bulldozing these lots from the neighborhood won't cause corruption. However, you should always move Sims out of/sell an owned community lot before you bulldoze it.

Myth: Putting tombstones or urns on the Open For Business display shelves causes neighborhood corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: There used to be a bug where a tombstone or urn placed on an OFB shelf would duplicate the tombstone. This bug was fixed in a later patch.

Myth: Letting Samantha Ottomas and/or Sarah Crittur's pregnancies come to term causes corruption[edit | edit source]

Fact: This is only the case in unpatched games, and even then, it's apocryphal. Prior to the Seasons patch, both Samantha Ottomas and Sarah Crittur had pregnancies containing incorrect character data, causing their children to have incorrect family trees—for instance, showing a Universal NPC as their father. However, there isn't clear evidence that this actually causes corruption.

Both of these pregnancies were fixed in the Seasons patch, so players with the Ultimate Collection, the Super Collection, or the patched version of Seasons can safely allow the pregnancies to come to term.

The patch only fixes the families in neighborhoods opened after the patch was installed. If you played the unpatched CD version of the game, and Samantha and/or Sarah have not yet given birth, you can use a tool like the Sim Blender to terminate the pregnancy if you wish.

Myth: Sims that have a character file are safe to move in/make selectable/tamper with[edit | edit source]

Fact: All Sims have a character file. It's not whether the Sim has a file or not, but rather whether that file has a complete set of data.

Myth: All in-game features that are available without cheats are safe[edit | edit source]

Fact: This isn't the case. While in-game features that don't require cheats are more likely to be safe, some (like going on blind dates with the Social Worker) are not and will cause corruption.

Myth: If nothing bad happens after doing something that was said to cause corruption, there's no corruption and the action was safe[edit | edit source]

Fact: Just because nothing bad happens as soon as you do something doesn't mean it's safe. Symptoms of corruption don't always show up immediately, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

Fixing existing corruption[edit | edit source]

Even if you follow all the proper precautions to avoid corruption, sometimes things can still go wrong. Some forms of corruption can be fixed in some fashion; it just depends on the type of corruption that occurred.

Fixing neighborhood corruption[edit | edit source]

The most common way to fix a corrupt neighborhood is to restore a backup of it. Copy the most recent backup of your neighborhood, go to ~\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods, delete the folder for the corrupted neighborhood, and paste in the copy of the backup. You'll lose any progress made since that backup, but it's often better than losing the entire neighborhood.

Many forms of corruption can be fixed via HoodChecker or SimPE. However, not all of them can, so restoring a backup is generally the safest bet.

Unfortunately, if you don't have a backup and HoodChecker and SimPE can't repair the problem, you may not be able to recover the neighborhood. If you can open the neighborhood in SimPE, it might be possible to extract the appearances of the neighborhood Sims, which will make it easier to recreate the neighborhood.

Fixing game corruption[edit | edit source]

Fixing game corruption is actually quite simple (albeit time-consuming). To check whether a file is corrupted, mouse over the files and check the "Modified" date. The files should've been last modified in 2008 or earlier, or in 2015 if you have the Ultimate Collection. If they were modified after that, it's possible that they're corrupted.

Run "Repair Game" through Origin[edit | edit source]

If you're playing the Ultimate Collection on Origin, you can use the Repair Game feature to fix the game's installation files, and therefore repair game corruption. However, you'll need stable internet access.

  • Back up your game. This includes any content in your installation files that you want to keep (e.g. Sims2RPC or your Graphics Rules files).
  • Open Origin.
  • Click on the tile for The Sims 2.
  • Choose the Settings gear. A dropdown with several options will pop up.
  • Click "Repair Game". Origin will essentially reinstall the game, so this may take awhile.
Repairing the game through Origin will reset the installation files back to their default state, including your Video Cards.sgr and Graphics Rules.sgr files.

Reinstall the game (CDs)[edit | edit source]

The easiest way to fix game corruption is to reinstall the game. Back up your saved games and custom content, then proceed to uninstall all expansion packs, stuff packs, and the base game. Then, install everything again. Copy your backup and move it back into the Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 folder. Patch your game, make your game files read-only, and you're good to go.

It's possible to replace the specific game files that were corrupted instead of reinstalling entirely. Instructions can be found on Mod The Sims, at Game Help:Making your Objects.package file Read-Only.

A final note on corruption[edit | edit source]

Most of the time, you don't need to worry about corruption. Much fear of corruption comes from inaccurate information spread in the game's earlier days, when modders and players alike were less tech-savvy and reinstalling the game was an all-day affair. The Sims 2 is a much sturdier game than players initially believed, and much of what was once considered a sign of imminent doom is now seen as a minor error that's nothing to worry about.

Of course, don't throw caution to the wind; there are some things that will screw up the game or neighborhood, and being careless can cause ultimately-preventable issues. Install mods and clean neighborhood templates to reduce the risk of corruption, back up your neighborhoods regularly, and run HoodChecker now and again (if you're on Windows) to clean up junky data in your neighborhoods.

Ultimately, though, focus on what's most important: playing the game and having fun. Complex programs like The Sims 2 will never run perfectly, and trying to prevent every problem before it happens can turn the game into a chore. At the end of the day, playing the game should be an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one.[23]

See also[edit | edit source]

  • Game guide:Which NPCs are safe to play as? on The Sims Wiki, lists NPCs that are safe to play as and move in, and NPCs that will cause corruption if made selectable or tampered with in any way outside of their in-game designated purpose.
  • Is there a list of non-intuitive things NOT to do in a Sims game? - Mod The Sims thread with some examples of what not to do in the game. (Some posts have since been debunked, see above sections.)
  • Post on ModTheSims explaining what corruption is and how it works - there is some misunderstanding here, namely that deleted Sims IDs can be reused, which is not the case unless the Sim Creation Index is reset. We currently are not aware of any in game mechanism that causes the SCID to reset, though it's possible there is one. Alternatively, SWAFs can be created for non existent Sims, which would look similar to Sims reusing IDs as young Sims can acquire those SWAFs.
  • Game Help:Avoiding Hood Corruption - guide on how to remove corruption from, which this article was based on.
  • April Black's video that goes into a deep dive as to what corruption is and is not.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. BFBVFS - MATYWikka at the Wayback Machine (archived September 17, 2009)
  2. LeeFish: Sims 2 UC Win10 Pink Flashing (Post #2)
  3. Game Help: Red Flashing Walls (Mod The Sims)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Midge The Tree on Tumblr
  5. April Black’s video provides more context.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Red/Blue Thumbnails in SimPE & Other Simmer's Experiences with It (Post #5)
  7. Red/Blue Thumbnails in SimPE & Other Simmer's Experiences with It (Post #2)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sims 2 on Macs: Crashes and File Limits
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mod The Sims: NPCs that are safe to marry
  10. Mod The Sims: I deleted a Default Replacement the wrong way... :(
  11. 11.0 11.1 More Awesome Than You!: Are stub character files really harmful to your game? If so, how? (Reply #2)
  12. Mod The Sims: How EXACTLY does deleting Sims from the family bin cause corruption? (Post #1)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Mod The Sims: How EXACTLY does deleting Sims from the family bin cause corruption? (Post #32)
  14. Mod The Sims: How EXACTLY does deleting Sims from the family bin cause corruption? (Post #5)
  15. Mod The Sims: I didn't corrupt it .. oh, maybe I might have? Removing NPCs/about PT mods
  16. Mod The Sims: My poor new neighborhood! (Post #22)
  17. r/sims2help: Deleting mods that have custom memories
  18. More Awesome Than You: CC in use. What can be removed without exploding stuff? (Replies #21–25)
  19. Mod The Sims: Stupid/random questions... (v3) (Post #13570)
  20. Mod The Sims: I deleted a Default Replacement the wrong way... :( (Post #14)
  21. Mod The Sims: Just started playing Sims 2. What are the most essential mods? (Post #18)
  22. Mod The Sims: Properly deleting premade unlinked/dead sims - effect on neighborhood corruption? (Post #5)
  23. Mod The Sims: Slowing corruption in a neighborhood with a corrupt subhood (Post #2)
This tutorial was a Featured Game guide in May 2014. Its layout and content is an example of excellence on The Sims Wiki.