Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sims 3 – Mini Gardening Guide

Sims 3 is a great game. I have already written one blog post about some of the bugs/quirks in the game, and various alternative fixes for them.  I wanted to write another blog post devoted to Gardening.  This game has a very deep, and thorough gardening system that did not exist (this deeply) in previous games. This guide assumes you have the latest version of the game + all EP’s and all SP’s (pretty much everything that EA offers for this game).

Basic Structure/Layout

In sims 3, my original approach to the crop structure was one I took from some of the Harvest Moon games (the standard 3X3.  Then I realized there were several issues with watering, and reaching all of the crops. So after a lot of trial and error, I settled in a line structure. Each line consists of 2 crops thick and the line can run as far as you want.  2 crops, then 2 crops, then 2 crops and so forth to form as long of a line as you can handle.  However, I don’t just stick with one line. I have a total of 3 identical lines running parallel to each other, with one block space in between each one.  This is the perfect setup for me for several reasons.

  1. You can get to all of the crops pretty easily.
  2. It allows me to leave line breaks in JUST the middle line.  These line breaks are for Sprinklers, explained later.
I always made sure each one of my lines were of identical length, at least at the end if you take into account middle line sprinklers).  Then I surround my ENTIRE set of 3 lines with a fence around the entire thing. I place a gate if needed, or a door running straight from inside my house, to the garden. The reason I do this is because of the zombies. They will actually come and destroy your crops, unless you have something preventing them from getting to it. This is almost unavoidable if they are left uncovered. I noticed this problem right off the bat. I am guessing dogs/cats can also destroy them, so this is another good way to prevent your animals from getting into the garden at all. Focusing the effort on just you and your crops.
Watering – Handling Itself

Before I start discussing the handling/care of the crops, I want to let you know about the sprinkler.  Tending a large set of crops can be VERY time consuming, so setting up your watering system JUST right prevents you from having to water, saving all of your time for weed pulling, planting, and harvesting (general tending).

Setup line breaks in the MIDDLE line, based off the range of the sprinkler. Go into buy mode and select the sprinkler, and then try to place it to see the water area of coverage. Make your middle line, line breaks in such a way that you can place sprinklers inside them, and get the coverage area to cover as much of your crops as possible (if not all) throughout ALL 3 lines.  That’s another reason I do the lines..it allows for maximum coverage of crops, and allows more focus on quantity of crops.

Once that is done, get someone Handy to tweak the sprinkler. At some point you’ll get an option to auto-water.  Fix ALL of your sprinklers up with that, and then turn them on. After that just make sure they stay repaired if they ever break, and your done.

Harvesting/Tending/Care

The rest of it’s easy. Get your crops together..you can buy them at a store, or find them laying on the ground.  Then start planting whatever you can find. Make sure you only plant what you want. You don’t want 50 apple tree’s, and just 3 wolfsbane. You want to even it out.  So at first try building a few of each that you have, and then continue adding as you begin to harvest.  Then that’s it. Whenever you see the options available just select Tend to take care of everything (weeding, harvesting) or if you have limited time just harvest.  After awhile the plants die after a certain number of harvesting, when that happens just replant something in their place.

I recommend an Alchemy bench near by so you have something to do with all of those crops you harvest.  A standard person can handle some decent long lines, although I have over done it before. Just keep up with it the best you can and it’ll get easier and easier.

Fertilizer

In Sims 3 each crop can be fertilized with different types of fertilizer.  Fertilizer increases the “quality” of the crops. I generally just fertilize with whatever I want. However, if you research you can find that each type of Crop works best with a “Favorite” type of fertilizer. This increases the effectiveness.  However, all I did was randomly apply fertilizer to random stuff…and I was still achieving “Perfect” crops on a lot of them. For specifics on fertilizer, you can check here: http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Gardening_(The_Sims_3)

Overall Sims 3 is fun and worth playing. Give it a try if you haven’t already.

Sims 3 – Glitches / Errors / Solutions

Update: I’ve recently been played Sims 3 again, and it’s given me time to review more errors and bugs. Also I’ve been receiving some messages from users who were playing Sims 3 and ran into errors and bugs I haven’t addressed yet. I’ve updated this blog post accordingly to account for as many Sims 3 errors and bugs as I can. I’ve also include relevant fixes and solutions where possible.

Sims 3 - Game bundleI am a fan of the Sims series, especially Sims 3. I have played various Sims games since they were first released. Starting with the original “The Sims”, I started getting my first experience literally weeks after the first original base game came out.  I played “The Sims” throughout it’s entire release lifetime. I would spend months sometimes away from the game, and then always come crawling back when the newer expansions hit the market.  I experienced the full Sims (original) experience with all expansions, stuff packs, and loads of custom content.From there, I expanded my experience over the years into Sims 2.  Eventually resulting in total installation of all expansions, all stuff packs, and hundreds of hours worth of collecting custom mods, clothes, hair, and various other aspects of sim-ness.

Over the years, they finally released Sims 3, and currently that is the game I have been playing. I have all expansions, all stuff packs, and the latest (as of 3/9/2013) patch.  Currently the most recent expansion was Sims 3 – University.

Throughout the time period I have been playing Sims 3 (to date) there are several errors/issues that (as far as I am aware) Electronic Arts is not ever intending on fixing.  Because of this, I have brought it upon myself to find the solution to these problems myself. Some of these are major bugs/issues with the game, while others are simply user error that is easily resolved.

Room Mate Obsession, Infinite Room Mate, Daily Room Mate

This “User Error” deals with a situation where every single day, a new room mate is added to your lot. Even if you dismiss/kick out a room mate, it still does not allow you to go 24 hours without suddenly having another random strange Sim living with you, sleeping in your house, and just overall hanging out with you..while sleeping in your bed.  So…overall..is this an error….Actually.. it’s not.

The “Room Mate” system in Sims 3 has an enable/disable feature. So when it is enabled, the system will check (every day) to see if you have a Room Mate. If not, it randomly adds one. This is setup based off your preference. If configured right, then it’ll add two room mates. So what is happening is the system has this enabled..so when you kick out a room mate, well suddenly a new one comes bright and early at 8:00 in the morning, the next morning.  No matter how many you kick out, they are always back.

Solution: Go to your smart phone.  Select Real Estate services…and room mate services. You’ll see an enable/disable option. If it’s enabled, then that is why this is happening. Simply disable this, and the problem is solved.

Crash While Save Sims 3 data

There are some situations where a Sims game might crash while saving. This is the most annoying error /problem with the game. Nothing irritates like losing a ton of gameplay, or build progress.  I had a specific issue that was a save crash error. Mine was specific.  If you go into build mode, and place down some walls, and then leave and try to save…it crashes. This isn’t a situation that occurs all the time, but only when certain conditions are met.   So if you are having that kind of issue, look below for a solution that I found that works EVERY SINGLE TIME…however, if your having just general save crashes, then there are a host of other solutions that have worked for various people online. I have listed these solutions I found online below..I actually tried ALL of these solutions for my issue, before I actually found a solution (that I created) that actually fixed it..and did it the right way, without any negatives.

Alright, the basic fixes to try (if your facing general crashing while saving issues) are as follows:

1. https://help.ea.com/article/dep-settings-for-sims-3-on-vista-and-windows-7 – Follow these instructions.

2. Try running the base game by bypassing the launcher. Go to the base game folder..It’s going to be in the folder that all the Sims games were installed in, whatever that path is. It’s different depending on whether it’s Physical, Steam, or Original digital download. Once in the main install folder for the MAIN game (not an expansion) then go to game/bin and select the TS3W.exe file.  Then go to options an run in Windows XP compatibility, as well as “Run as Administrator” check box.

3. Turn off virus scan, firewalls, windows defender, and so forth. Anything that might hinder the application from performing certain actions.

4. Uninstall Daimon Tools, or UTorrent..if you have one of those two apps installed. Someone said (somewhere I found online) that these are not compatible, and in some situations cause errors/issues.  So uninstall them just to rule that out.

5. Upgrade your Bios, Graphics driver, sound card driver and/or any other drivers you can safely figure out how to install, especially the Graphics/Display driver.  This is a major cause for a lot of people’s crashes.

Now for my issue. The issue I had was experienced by THOUSANDS of people around the time Seasons came out..it has been a persistent issue with some people ever since.  So what happens..is your playing your game. You decide you want to do some building, so you head into build mode. Add some walls (expand your house) do some other stuff, spend hours going through perfecting the house..then go to live mode, save and BAM it crashes on you. You rage out, break your laptop/computer, throw it out the window..accidentally drop it on your car, and cry yourself to sleep…or maybe not..Anyway, the first part is true.  So what causes this.  Well after HUNDREDS of hours of testing, the general community consensus has narrowed the issue down. Most people don’t have ANY issues with this build mode/save glitch. But when people do run into this issue, it’s generally narrowed down to building walls. People generally who have this issue can build anything else, except walls. If they try a wall and save it, then it messes up.

This issue was originally thought to be caused by seasons, but it’s not. It’s actually caused by a corrupted lot. When this happens it means SOMETHING you did, or something that happened on the lot or during the course of playing, ended up corrupting the lot. So in CERTAIN situations (building walls is one of them) some strange programming error is throw, and the game is shut down.  Now that we know why…let’s figure out HOW to fix it.  Well I doubt they EVER patch the game to fix this. Because it’s almost impossible to replicate, without extensive testing..and the lot can get corrupted in a thousand different ways. The fix that was detailed online was very…dangerous.

The general fix was this….save the sim/lot to the clip board, bulldoze the lot, and place the sim/lot down again. Problem solved…yes, it is solved…BUT..not entirely.  I mean it’s resolved, but at the expense of losing some of you temporary date (moodlets, external house hold relationships, and other minor things). Not to mention it’s risky..what happens if the game glitches, or the clip board clears itself, or they get stuck in the clip board.  You lose it forever, completely gone.  Have to start over from scratch.

So what do you do instead.  Well you check the size of your LOT.  Find another lot somewhere in the city with the same size.  Then just MOVE the lot. It’ll move the house, the sims in it, and everything 100% as is into the new lot.  Then bulldoze the glitched lot, move it back in, and go back into live mode.  Then save. Then go into build mode, build walls, whatever you want, and save again. No problems. Problem solved. Generally once fixing a broken lot, GENERALLY you won’t ever have to deal with this issue. People play for THOUSANDS of hours without running into the issue. BUT if the evil issue DOES raise it’s ugly head again..guess what, now you have a fix that takes less than 5 minutes to implement with NO negative impacts..and if the issue is caused by a corrupted lot, then this is 100% GUARANTEED to fix the issue.

Sims Not Losing Need Bars

So…you noticed your Sim is suddenly not losing their needs. Their energy or hunger has been the same for several days. So why..well generally this only happens if you were messing (in some way) with the boolproptesting check.  That is a very dangerous cheat, and you need to know A LOT about what your doing it before you start messing with it and ALWAYS turn it off when your done.

So first things first, let’s make sure you didn’t disable them. Type in “BoolProp testingCheatsEnabled true” into the panel. Click the option to enable/disable their needs.  I forget the option but just make sure it’s set to the right setting. If that isn’t the cause, then simply reset the sim.

Simply type “resetSim Firstname Last Name”. This will set their motives to neutral, remove all mood lits, teleports them back homes, and reset’s their bars.  This will fix the issue. Reset each Sim in your house hold, and your done.  Not sure if testing cheats is required for this to work. Either way, make sure that you disable the testing cheat when your done.

Woo Hoo Refusals

Sims 3 - Woo Hoo - Bed

So…let’s say you have a girlfriend, lover, wife (Etc…) and you find yourself WooHoo’ing all over the house. In the tub, in the bed, and so forth. At first you WooHoo several times a day, sometimes several times in a row. Never have a problem. Then one day your “other” starts turning you down all the time.  Glitch…not really.  Here is how I have seen it work, and kind of mapped out the behavior myself.

Well the first thing I noticed, is that when you first go steady or get married, the WooHoo’ing seems to almost always work.  Most likely this is caused by a new relationship. In real life the general situation is..within the first beginning period of time you end up being together, sex is very….very deep. It happens a great deal more often, than a couple that has been together longer. This isn’t “Always” the case, but a general rule of thumb. Well they built that overall idea into the sims as well. Newer relationships have no “Restrictions”.

Then several factors are taken into account…. zodiac sign compatibly, attractiveness, mood, traits, and several other factors.  So what do you do (taking all these factors into account) you find yourself in a situation where your “other” isn’t wanting to Woo Hoo. Well…that isn’t actually a glitch. Unless it’s a newer relationship, or the situation is perfect…there are certain road blocks built into this. Just as in real life you have to build up to it. When you first starting talking to your other, you’ll notice it says “Simname thinks simname is OK.”. After a minute it’ll change it “Simname thinks simname is being flirty”.  Then finally “Simname thinks simname is alluring”. At this point it’s easy to get them to WooHoo. So I don’t think this is a glitch. I think it’s a system built into the game to resemble “Foreplay”.  Trying to jump in right often generally fails (unless conditions are already correct), in those situations it requires a little bit of time and effort to get the mood right, or your Sim ends up shoving you off.

Stupid Zombies eating my plants

Soo….not a glitch. However, assuming you like Gardening, you might start planting a lot of stuff. Then a stupid zombie comes along and starts eating them.  Not a glitch, but annoying and fixable nonetheless. Simply build a fence with a locked gate (to everyone but you). Problem solved. I generally build a fenced in (smaller) area outside, then put a door leading from my house to it. If the zombie can’t get to it, they can’t eat your flowers either.  Also a good way to keep from getting “Zombie Attack” while you try to tend to your garden.

Sims 3 – University Life Glitches

I noticed a few people came to this post from a search term asking if it was worth installing the game with the current glitches in University.  Honestly, the answer to this is yes.  There aren’t really a lot of glitches in University at least not bad ones. They are no worse than without it.  Not to mention within a short period of time they released that new patch, and will no doubt release another within a matter of weeks mopping up some other glitches.

Overall there are a few minor glitches, but nothing game breaking and nothing too annoying.

Several Misc. Issues in Sims 3

There are actually several different issues within Sims 3 that can possibly be fixed by what I am about to explain.  The issues that could be resolved from this are as follows:

1. Items not downloading from the Sims 3 store properly (or at all).
2. Items not installing into the game from the Sims 3 store properly (or at all).
3. Items installing but not showing up in the game, or uninstalling themselves when restarting.
4. The store glitching and not working right, locking up and forcing you to close it down illegally.
5. Items that you had purchased and installed previously suddenly disappearing from the game, or being inaccessible.
6. The game suddenly becoming extremely buggy and hard to manage, seemingly overnight.
7. Slow game
8. Laggy game
9. Bad performance in game.
10. Other weird bugs and happenings..basically if you have ANY type of bug, the process I am about to explain is the first thing you want to attempt.

OK, so basically I am going to explain one thing that might fix most issues with the game. It’s especially effective at fixing all sorts of install issues. I had issues where items were not installing, and were not showing up in the game. A simple series of steps fixed it.  In short we are going to clear the cache, download history, downloads, downloaded worlds and so forth. That is pretty much what we are going to do at this point, which should resolve most (if not all) issues downloading/installing and solve several in game issues that crop up sometimes.

The following articles are going to explain everything that we are about to do, but after I post the links, I am going to go into better detail.

http://simswiki.info/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Sims_3_Delete_Cache_Files
http://www.carls-sims-3-guide.com/technicalhelp/slowgame.php\

There are three ways to clear your cache for Sims 3. A full clear and a partial clear and obliterate  mode. A full clear means clear everything. It will clear the cache, downloaded items, installed items, custom worlds and everything else. It’ll even clear your download history and force you to re-download all items from the download history off the Sims 3 website. The full clear is used in emergency situations when nothing else will work.  The partial clear is more of a “try this first” clear, and is mostly to help with slow/laggy games. Bugs related to items downloading/installing will typically require a very full cache clear in order to correct the problem. Obliterate just means delete EVERYTHING.  I will explain shortly.

For a full clear delete all of the following Sims 3 files and folders: “DCCache” folder, “Downloads” folder, “SigsCache” folder, “SavedSims” folder, “IGACache” folder, “CasPartCache.package” file, “compositorCache.package” file, “scriptCache.package” file, “simCompositorCache.package” file, “socialCache.package” file, “Thumbnails” folder, “FeaturedItems” folder, “WorldCaches” folder, and “InstalledWorlds” folder.  That clears all data. It resets downloads, installs, and so forth..as well as clears all the standard cache to fix other issues as well.

Partial clear is simply 4 files:
CASPartCache.package, scriptCache.package, compositorCache.package and simCompositorCache.package.  Deleting these four files just does a basic clear to fix minor issues and slowdown/performance problems.

Obliterate is for people who don’t feel like picking through it. Delete the entire folder under documents as detailed at the link. The only bad thing is it’ll have to rebuild the entire file..and that deletes EVERYTHING including any saved files and so forth and makes it default to a fresh install. Useful if your experience very weird glitches and don’t care about your save and so forth.

Anyway, that is what needs to be done to clear your cache..one of those 4 methods.

Now, let’s talk about the item download and install issues. Once the cache is clear, you can go back to the Sims 3 store and start downloading items again. Then install them. Any worlds you want to “install” separately and patiently. Then you can group smaller items together for installation afterwards, but no more than 5 at a time. Basically you go to the Sims 3 website purchase history, download the items into the launcher (ONE AT A TIME NOT MULTIPLE DOWNLOAD) and then once they are in the launcher install them. Install worlds first one at a time, and once all worlds are installed then install the smaller pieces of content, about 5 items at a time.

If you want to know what all the folders do, then feel free to take a look here for details: http://nraas.wikispaces.com/Sims+3+Folder+Contents+FAQ

In Closing

If I run into any other errors/issues with Sims 3, then I will post here what they are, and the solutions that were found. However, so far those are the only real issues I have encountered personally during game play, as well as some that I know exist and have found solutions for that I know work.