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The Sims 2 Primer: Avoiding Game and Neighborhood Corruption

Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
Hello and welcome, new and returning Sims 2 players. My name is Scribal_Goddess, but you can call me Scribbles, and I’ve been playing The Sims 2 regularly for over a decade. In my time, I have fried at least five neighborhoods, and accumulated a lot of knowledge about how to prevent that from happening, which I realize a lot of you might not have after the death of many sims 2 communities. There have been a lot of threads I’ve seen just lately where people have inadvertently destroyed their hard work, so buckle in and I’ll teach you about avoiding corruption. I have personally playtested all mods mentioned as potential tools, in some cases for over five years.

A more technical rundown can be found here, but I'll try to explain things in simple terms that will hopefully be more useful in understanding the hows and whys of corruption and game files. Initially, I have three lessons for you, but watch this space in case I see the need for more.


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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    edited December 2017
    Lesson 1: Game Corruption vs. Neighborhood corruption.
    Game Corruption
    Game corruption will render all your neighborhoods unplayable, but is fortunately 100% preventable. Game corruption occurs most often when a game object Universal NPC that occurs in all neighborhoods, such as Mrs. Crumplebottom, is altered in a way that breaks their actions and/or sim data.

    A common example is that there is a very small chance of vampires biting Mrs. Crumplebottom and turning her into a vampire. Because she is a universal NPC and her files are stored in the game core and accessed by all neighborhoods, and she does not have complete sim data and so cannot be flagged as any supernatural state, this will turn your game into a big firey ball visible from space, for which the easiest solution is a complete re-install.

    The best way to avoid this is to avoid all interactions with Universal NPC’s, such as Crumplebottom, the grim reaper, the unsavory Charlatan, the Social Bunny, and the therapist, that would involve hacks or anything but vanilla game interactions. These sims cannot be moved in. In general, do not mess with any sim who does not appear in your sims’ relationships panel and cannot be called on the telephone. Any sim who has an identical name in all neighborhoods is usually also a bad idea.

    (Note: due to how pets and werewolf transformations work, the leader of the pack will appear in your relationships panel, but unlike the head witch or grand vampires, the leader of the pack is not safe to move in. DO NOT move in any sim with hacks unless you 1) know they are a playable or townie unique to this neighborhood 2) already know that if you built the relationship up high enough you could invite them in. RIP Riverblosom Hills 2.0)

    Neighborhood Corruption
    Neighborhood Corruption usually happens when a sim or lot that is unique to a specific neighborhood (usually a playable or townie,) has sim data that isn't properly assigned or contained. Sim data comes in many types: relationships, memories, and DNA. Sim DNA is inherited from their parents, and is unlikely to be a cause of neighborhood corruption problems. Sim relationships, however, will break if you do any of the following common causes of neighborhood corruption:

    -- Place ANY occupied lot in the lots bin at any time: EA intended for this to be possible in the base game, and never patched the option out, but it 100% will corrupt your neighborhood every time. Your neighborhood will not blow up instantly, but attempting to transfer sims between neighborhoods breaks most of their data.
    -- Delete any sim, urn or gravestone in any manner: Deleting these does not remove all references to a sim from the neighborhood, and will slowly corrupt your neighborhood. The "DeleteAllCharacters" cheat will corrupt your game in the same fashion, for the same reasons but quicker. Additionally, any mod that removes babies after a sim gives birth, in any way other than "giving up for adoption" will probably cause the same problems.
    -- Move an owned business lot to the lot bin: Just like occupied lots, this breaks sim data, and will introduce scraps of incomplete data to any neighborhood you put the lot in afterwards.
    -- Ressurect any premade who was given a death token in game development: A large number of premade sims were not properly killed before the basegame neighborhoods were shipped: instead of having a gravestone on some lot they have a “death token.” Because they aren’t dead, attempting to resurrect them via any standard in-game method will not remove the death token. Most premade sims who do not have graves have a death token.
    -- Stupidity with Boolprop TestingCheatsEnabled True: If you don’t know exactly what it does, don’t do it. Examples of things you should definitely not do with the cheat on: give sims death tokens. (See above.)
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    edited December 2017
    Lesson 2: Preventative Neighborhood Maintenance
    Backing up
    The most important thing you can do if you are serious about keeping a neighborhood is make backups often, and keep more than one of them (since corruption is not always immediately obvious, you may have to go a backup or two back.)
    Do not use the SimPE backup as your only source of backups. Not all files are copied over, and ideally you should keep your backups in a folder that is separate from your TS2 folder. A large enough flash drive will do.

    My preferred method is to save a neighborhood every time I’ve played approximately 20 days, or in a neighborhood with 4-5 playable households, about once a season. I can usually be sure that if something stupid happens in my game, I won’t lose too much play, but I can also be reasonably certain that if I have a backup every season, or every time each neighborhood family finishes five days, and keep two previous backups, one of them will be from before any corruption occurs.

    If you intend to use an outside program, such as SimPE or The Lot Adjuster, back up your game before booting it.

    Safety Mods:
    It is possible to play your game without these. However, now that TS2 is essentially unsupported, know that no currently existing game problems are ever going to be patched or removed. These mods are totally harmless when installed properly, and hundreds of simmers have used them. You can get by without them for quite some time if you're careful, though.

    Vampire Bite: Pescado Creature Fixes: Prevents vampires from autonomously biting people while uncontrollable on community lots. Prevents game destruction due to supernaturalizing Crumplebutt, The Charlatan, etc.
    When unzipping this file, remember to delete the creatures that belong to expansion packs you do not have: this affects werewolves, witches, and vampires.
    No Unlink on Delete: This vastly reduces the chances of your game going kabloey due to urn or gravestone deletion. Don’t delete them because you have this hack, this is for accidents.

    Gameplay Utilities:
    Once again, these aren’t necessary to playing your game safely, but they can help resolve problems, and I’ll go over them in another lesson.

    The Batbox: Don’t be too afraid of Pescado’s standard disclaimer about disposing of this mod in fire – installing it should be perfectly safe. Options such as “fix stuck special effects,” and “nuke bad apartment residencies,” should also be perfectly safe. Other options should be researched before use.

    Sim Blender: This is a ficus shaped cheat that does several of the safe options in BoolProp TestingCheatsEnabled True for you: changing relationship scores, setting relationship types, changing wants and fears, and adding skill points, among other things. It will be covered more extensively in a later tutorial.

    Lot Inspector:This volleyball checks your lots for common issues: you simply buy it, place it, and it should return a report on whether or not it detects some common causes of corruption. It doesn’t get all of them, but if you have a lot with no known issues and it turns up a good report, the lot should be safe to delete. (More on this further down.)

    Playing with Premades:
    You can play the neighborhoods as shipped, but simmer MeetMe2TheRiver produced clean versions of every premade neighborhood some time ago. In these versions, all the dead sims are resurrectable and every baby that has yet to be born will have the correct family relationships. Various other problems are fixed that shouldn't be gameplay critical.

    If you are playing a vanilla game, always research whether a sim is resurrectable before resurrecting them.

    If you do not know if your game is patched, it is important that you do not allow Samantha Ottomas to give birth after you move her in to any neighborhood – her twins have broken family relations due to how they were packaged with Seasons. A hacked object such as the sim blender should be used to stop the pregnancy: sim infants do not have character files until they are born, so deleting a sim’s pregnancy with hacks is perfectly safe.

    Premades with known borked death tokens[/b]: Note that there is less information available for neighborhoods introduced with the more recent expansion packs. This is a non-exhaustive list of sims that I’ve been able to find references to having incomplete character files upon resurrection: in general, do not resurrect sims without a known urn or gravestone, and don’t resurrect Olive Specter’s garden of graves. For safety, all resurrections should be done using the Resurrect-O-Nomitron career reward, and not the Tombstone of Life and Death. (More on that in lesson 3) As I locate data I will add it, so it's under a spoiler for now.
    Bella Goth (Pleasantview: Strangetown’s Bella clone does not have it, but she SHOULD NOT BE MOVED to pleasantview: refer to lesson 1)
    Etion Thebe (ancestral sim in Veronaville)
    Queen Thebe (ancestral sim in Veronaville)
    Andromache Thebe (ancestral sim in Veronaville)
    Priam Albion (ancestral sim in Veronaville)
    Caliban Capp (ancestral sim in Veronaville)
    Most of Olive Specter’s victims (Strangetown)

    Proper Lot Deletion:
    Lots that have been played for a long time have a chance of having tokens, objects, or tiles on them that can cause problems if deleted. Common phenomena are:

    -- “Invisible Visitors,” or people your sim was chatting with on the phone or IM, which for relationship building purposes your game considers “on the lot” while your sim does so.
    -- “Disease tiles,” which are what actually makes your sims sick when they stomp on roaches. They’re also shed randomly by sick sims, which is how other sims on the lot become sick. This is why canceling interactions with sick sims is not an effective way to prevent other sims from catching their illness.
    -- Objects stuck in various in-use states, such as being haunted by a ghost.
    -- Business data such as loyalty stars.

    Prior to deleting any lot, sell it (if a business) or move out all sims. If you are a fan of the stay shrub, which makes objects stay at move out, turn off the stay option and allow the game to delete the necessary objects. Return to the lot in build mode to check for any remaining furniture. If you want, you can use the Lot Debugger to check for several types of potential lot issues.
    Post edited by Scribal_Goddess on
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    [Reserved for Lesson 3: What is BoolProp TestingCheatsEnabled True, and how do I not set my game on fire with it?]
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  • WarGreymon77WarGreymon77 Posts: 62 Member
    This could use a pin, honestly :)

    As much as I adore The Sims 2, the risk of game and/or neighborhood corruption is pretty high for the unaware, and I'd bet most people don't know about it. Deleting Sims from the Sim Bin is definitely something I did all the time, years ago.
  • theFellatheFella Posts: 297 Member
    This would have been helpful to have about 13 years ago.
    MeanBrilliantArrowworm-size_restricted.gif
  • Rhiannon58Rhiannon58 Posts: 588 Member
    You are a gem to the community Scribal_Goddess. This is invaluable information. Seems to me at one time, long before my fatal computer crash of '08, I did have a corrupt neighborhood. Probably did one of the things you mentioned by mistake. Straight and narrow for me now that I'm being educated!
    o:)
  • lulubadwolflulubadwolf Posts: 630 Member
    That's really helpful @Scribal_Goddess ! I wish i had that when i played the UC, i'm going to delete all the previously owned business from my catalogue.
    Do you know if there some sort of program to check houses to ( to clean houses or to show which one still have some data in it) ? I'm sure that i've saved houses that had belongs to sims that has moved onto other houses, but i don't remember which one :( . I know SimPe could do that but i don't know how to use it (a bit complicated)
  • MidnightAuraMidnightAura Posts: 4,694 Member
    This is really useful as a reminder if you do know and a brilliant guide if you dont!
  • meerkattimemeerkattime Posts: 1,018 Member
    Thank you @Scribal_Goddess. A very useful thread!

    It hadn't actually even occurred to my mind that moving owned business lots to the lot bin could cause problems. Good to know!
  • theFellatheFella Posts: 297 Member
    Any chance you could post a list about who has the death token and who doesn't?
    MeanBrilliantArrowworm-size_restricted.gif
  • AnmirlaAnmirla Posts: 2,909 Member
    Overall it's best to leave the premade dead alone.

    It isn't just death tokens, but several have incomplete character files. In the past, I have used the method that was supposed to be safe by recreating the Sims then moving certain files into the premade character file, making sure they are linked, not checked as an objects, etc. via SimPE. From what I've read since then, this may still not be safe.
    baby%20bat_zpsgzvzhrnc.gif
  • theFellatheFella Posts: 297 Member
    edited December 2017
    Anmirla wrote: »
    Overall it's best to leave the premade dead alone.

    It isn't just death tokens, but several have incomplete character files. In the past, I have used the method that was supposed to be safe by recreating the Sims then moving certain files into the premade character file, making sure they are linked, not checked as an objects, etc. via SimPE. From what I've read since then, this may still not be safe.

    Which sims have complete character files? I would assume that ancestral sims who are not actually present anywhere in the game, such as do not but how about the Goth ancestors and Michaels Bachelor and the like, who have graves, and thus ghosts present on lots? in the past I revived them a lot, and never linked any issues directly to that. (though, of course, reviving those Sims could have just caused corruption that did not rear it's head until later, which made me assume another, more recent, action had caused it.)
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    theFella wrote: »
    This would have been helpful to have about 13 years ago.

    Honestly, 10 years ago 90% of this information was floating around a big pinned primer on Boolprop. It was mostly a dos and don'ts list, but it was there. Just not on the officials. :)
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    theFella wrote: »
    Anmirla wrote: »
    Overall it's best to leave the premade dead alone.

    It isn't just death tokens, but several have incomplete character files. In the past, I have used the method that was supposed to be safe by recreating the Sims then moving certain files into the premade character file, making sure they are linked, not checked as an objects, etc. via SimPE. From what I've read since then, this may still not be safe.

    Which sims have complete character files? I would assume that ancestral sims who are not actually present anywhere in the game, such as do not but how about the Goth ancestors and Michaels Bachelor and the like, who have graves, and thus ghosts present on lots? in the past I revived them a lot, and never linked any issues directly to that. (though, of course, reviving those Sims could have just caused corruption that did not rear it's head until later, which made me assume another, more recent, action had caused it.)

    This depends. Personally, if I was going to resurrect any premades, I'd use Meetme2theriver's remastered neighborhoods, because it's a bit of a toss up as to which sims are safe to ressurrect, and ones that aren't resurrected commonly might be reported as having no issues because the simmer didn't play the neighborhood they're in long enough to get issues.

    If you know more about SimPE than me, you can check what sort of character files they have before resurrecting them.
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    That's really helpful @Scribal_Goddess ! I wish i had that when i played the UC, i'm going to delete all the previously owned business from my catalogue.
    Do you know if there some sort of program to check houses to ( to clean houses or to show which one still have some data in it) ? I'm sure that i've saved houses that had belongs to sims that has moved onto other houses, but i don't remember which one :( . I know SimPe could do that but i don't know how to use it (a bit complicated)

    Easiest method I'm aware of:
    In a clean new disposable neighborhood, place the houses that you want to remove the furniture from down. Create any fresh CAS sim, and move them in and out of the houses in succession - you don't need to interact with anything, but moving them out should remove all the furniture. There are some things (like counters) that this won't clear, but you can delete those manually.

    Use the Lot Inspector to check for additional problems.

    There may be things that this method doesn't catch (stuck disease tiles, etc,) which can potentially be vaporized with the batbox, which I'll write a tutorial on sometime soon. The Batbox has to be run with a sim on the lot though, so if you want to use it, it should be done before your sim moves out.

    Lots can also be fixed manually in SimPE, a process which I'm STILL working on learning...
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    theFella wrote: »
    Any chance you could post a list about who has the death token and who doesn't?

    I'll add this to the list, though there's not a lot of data on later neighborhoods. The Wiki and More Awesome Than You should know... heck, given the right settings in SimPE i should be able to find out...
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  • lulubadwolflulubadwolf Posts: 630 Member
    That's really helpful @Scribal_Goddess ! I wish i had that when i played the UC, i'm going to delete all the previously owned business from my catalogue.
    Do you know if there some sort of program to check houses to ( to clean houses or to show which one still have some data in it) ? I'm sure that i've saved houses that had belongs to sims that has moved onto other houses, but i don't remember which one :( . I know SimPe could do that but i don't know how to use it (a bit complicated)

    Easiest method I'm aware of:
    In a clean new disposable neighborhood, place the houses that you want to remove the furniture from down. Create any fresh CAS sim, and move them in and out of the houses in succession - you don't need to interact with anything, but moving them out should remove all the furniture. There are some things (like counters) that this won't clear, but you can delete those manually.

    Use the Lot Inspector to check for additional problems.

    There may be things that this method doesn't catch (stuck disease tiles, etc,) which can potentially be vaporized with the batbox, which I'll write a tutorial on sometime soon. The Batbox has to be run with a sim on the lot though, so if you want to use it, it should be done before your sim moves out.

    Lots can also be fixed manually in SimPE, a process which I'm STILL working on learning...

    @Scribal_Goddess Thank you for the mod, it will take time but i rather have houses clean to prevent corruption ^^ I've heard about the batbox, but a tutorial will be welcome. And i've tried too to read about SimPe, got totally lost ><'.
    From now, i will just create a new neighborhood that will only be a "house building" neighborhood, it will be safer :D
  • AnmirlaAnmirla Posts: 2,909 Member
    edited December 2017
    theFella wrote: »
    Anmirla wrote: »
    Overall it's best to leave the premade dead alone.

    It isn't just death tokens, but several have incomplete character files. In the past, I have used the method that was supposed to be safe by recreating the Sims then moving certain files into the premade character file, making sure they are linked, not checked as an objects, etc. via SimPE. From what I've read since then, this may still not be safe.

    Which sims have complete character files? I would assume that ancestral sims who are not actually present anywhere in the game, such as do not but how about the Goth ancestors and Michaels Bachelor and the like, who have graves, and thus ghosts present on lots? in the past I revived them a lot, and never linked any issues directly to that. (though, of course, reviving those Sims could have just caused corruption that did not rear it's head until later, which made me assume another, more recent, action had caused it.)

    It's been years since I have done this, I can't remember which ones. If you Google the missing files, you can check them in SimPE.

    I just recently dl'd meetme2theriver's last version of the uberhood. (Over several years, I really missed the original characters and I had used way too many NPCs in the version I had. I admit I was also too lazy at the time to use the clean templates and merge the hood myself via SimPE - which is what is suggested.)
    This was the comment under KNOWN ISSUES - * Dead sims. Don't touch them (except the Tricous & Rainelle Neengia). I've fixed them as much as I could, but not added memories. Some are fine, some are completely borked. Most of the dead sims from the base game have no character data - this means that they CANNOT be resurrected, and Pescado's FFS Lot Debugger will wipe any memories of them if you use its 'wipe corrupt' option.
    I guess he or she didn't want to take the time to fix all the character files, but this should be an indication that it can be quite a task. :D
    They may be fixed in the clean templates that are recommended for merging. *Yep - was just reading the blog. The dead are fixed in the 3 base hoods. Not sure about the dead in the other hoods - I want to say there were a few mixed in.
    Not a game breaking issue, but definitely interesting: I remember one ancestor (I think it's Chester Geike's mom) is a man. After resurrecting, I heard a deep voice and thought I had a temporary audio glitch. Well, then she had to pee. "She" stood in front of the toilet. I exited the game, opened up SimPE and sure enough she was checked as male. :D
    baby%20bat_zpsgzvzhrnc.gif
  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    Anmirla wrote: »
    theFella wrote: »
    Anmirla wrote: »
    Overall it's best to leave the premade dead alone.

    It isn't just death tokens, but several have incomplete character files. In the past, I have used the method that was supposed to be safe by recreating the Sims then moving certain files into the premade character file, making sure they are linked, not checked as an objects, etc. via SimPE. From what I've read since then, this may still not be safe.

    Which sims have complete character files? I would assume that ancestral sims who are not actually present anywhere in the game, such as do not but how about the Goth ancestors and Michaels Bachelor and the like, who have graves, and thus ghosts present on lots? in the past I revived them a lot, and never linked any issues directly to that. (though, of course, reviving those Sims could have just caused corruption that did not rear it's head until later, which made me assume another, more recent, action had caused it.)

    It's been years since I have done this, I can't remember which ones. If you Google the missing files, you can check them in SimPE.

    I just recently dl'd meetme2theriver's last version of the uberhood. (Over several years, I really missed the original characters and I had used way too many NPCs in the version I had. I admit I was also too lazy at the time to use the clean templates and merge the hood myself via SimPE - which is what is suggested.)
    This was the comment under KNOWN ISSUES - * Dead sims. Don't touch them (except the Tricous & Rainelle Neengia). I've fixed them as much as I could, but not added memories. Some are fine, some are completely borked. Most of the dead sims from the base game have no character data - this means that they CANNOT be resurrected, and Pescado's FFS Lot Debugger will wipe any memories of them if you use its 'wipe corrupt' option.
    I guess he or she didn't want to take the time to fix all the character files, but this should be an indication that it can be quite a task. :D They may be fixed in the clean templates that are recommended for merging.

    That's the uberhood, which is out of date compared to the templates. The clean templates should have (most) of these fixed.

    All the same, no gravestone means no resurrection unless you're willing to test it out in a fresh neighborhood... fortunately buggy resurrections show signs of borkedness near-immediately.
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  • Scribal_GoddessScribal_Goddess Posts: 748 Member
    Hey, still editing lesson 3, but I thought I'd open this thread up (and keep it on the front page) by asking what else you guys want to know about corruption, boolprop, and how the game works? I'll probably be starting other lessons in the new year.
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  • Rflong7Rflong7 Posts: 35,393 Member
    Maybe making their own townies? I know there are some tutorials... I'm not sure which are up to date though. It might help some- make pets, townies, NPCs, with mods and without, if you want. :)
  • JULES1111JULES1111 Posts: 4,484 Member
    .
    Rflong7 wrote: »
    Maybe making their own townies? I know there are some tutorials... I'm not sure which are up to date though. It might help some- make pets, townies, NPCs, with mods and without, if you want. :)

    Oh I like this idea. I never made my own townies before! :)
  • sunblondsunblond Posts: 483 Member
    edited December 2017
    Speaking of sim creation, I just found a Body Shop tutorial on "The Jessa Channel" on YouTube, Making Interesting Sims in Body Shop, the upshot is that it's a method for sim creation first touted by Pooklet and Lilith, that is "plum proof". You randomize things and need no creative skill, good for me, my sims tend to turn out boring or weird. You end up with non-generic looking sims that you can play, that are attractive and unique.

    I'm going to give a try.

    Edit:
    Here are some results. No touch ups after, so just using the random system without editing.

    Before
    2nkqm2t.jpg


    After
    skwbar.jpg
    Post edited by sunblond on
    Origin ID is: sobenewbie
  • ParyPary Posts: 6,347 Member
    edited December 2017
    JULES1111 wrote: »
    .
    Rflong7 wrote: »
    Maybe making their own townies? I know there are some tutorials... I'm not sure which are up to date though. It might help some- make pets, townies, NPCs, with mods and without, if you want. :)

    Oh I like this idea. I never made my own townies before! :)

    Yes I'd like to populate hoods with my own townies too so an up to date tutorial would be awesome if you wanted to, thank you!

    Oh P.S, do you have links to the most up to date clean hood templates too please?
    I've been considering using a Mega / Uberhood as well and would like to know if anyone knows where to get one that is current.
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  • Rflong7Rflong7 Posts: 35,393 Member
    edited December 2017
    @Pary wrote: »
    JULES1111 wrote: »
    .
    Rflong7 wrote: »
    Maybe making their own townies? I know there are some tutorials... I'm not sure which are up to date though. It might help some- make pets, townies, NPCs, with mods and without, if you want. :)

    Oh I like this idea. I never made my own townies before! :)

    Yes I'd like to populate hoods with my own townies too so an up to date tutorial would be awesome if you wanted to, thank you!

    Oh P.S, do you have links to the most up to date clean hood templates too please?
    I've been considering using a Mega / Uberhood as well and would like to know if anyone knows where to get one that is current.

    I think these are the best in cleaned up neighborhood files- http://meetme2theriver.livejournal.com/63030.html

    I know there is a Good Uber-hood but I don't remember which one... :(
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