Nona's Sims

Modding and Troubleshooting The Sims 3

Tutorial: How to Check if an XML Tuning Mod Needs to be Updated

An Improved Version of this Tutorial is Now Available at Simlogical

This tutorial will teach you how to  check XML tuning mods to see if they require an update. This tutorial is intended for beginner modders, or mod users who want to know how to see if an XML mod requires an update.

Method 1

The quick and easy way. You must prepare for this before you patch. You will need:

Setting up the files
  1. If you haven’t already, download the NRaas Packer and Delphy’s Sims 3 Dashboard. If you have Windows 7, you can download both of these and use them immediately. If you do not have Windows 7, you will need to install Microsoft .NET framework 2.0 for the Dashboard, and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 for the Packer.
  2. Before you patch: Browse to: \Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Game\Bin\Gameplay\  and select GameplayData.package  **. Right-click and select copy. Now paste the file somewhere safe. On your desktop, or make a new folder. Wherever you like. I save mine on a separate hard drive in a folder a called GameplayData
  3. Rename the GameplayData.package to GameplayData-patchlevel.package. For example: I would name the Gameplaydata for 1.29 GameplayData129.package
  4. Patch your game.
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to find the new GameplayData.package and make a copy. Rename it to GameplayData131.package (for example) if you want to.
Looking for changes
  1. Now open NRaas Packer (simply double click on NRaasPacker.exe).
  2. Click the button with the two arrows in the upper left corner (toolStripButton1). See Pictures below.
  3. You will now see “Left File” and “Right File.” Add the GameplayData131.package to one, and GameplayData129.package to the other. It doesn’t matter which.
  4. In the Results field, click Browse, choose a name for your results file (Changesfor131.package, for example) and choose where to save the file.
  5. Press compare, and wait for a small window to pop up which says “Complete.”
  6. Browse to the folder where you saved your results, and place a copy of the package file into your Mods folder, where the rest of your mods are for the game.
  7. Run Delphy’s Dashboard Tool. Any mod that is marked as conflicting with Changesfor131.package (or whatever you named your results package) is not compatible with the new patch.
  8. You can also open the package that Packer generated and look to see exactly what resources are included in the package. Any mod that affects even one resource in that package will need to be update.  ***
  9. Remove incompatible mods and the Changes package! (Seriously, don’t forget to remove the Changes package.)

** Your install directory will be different depending on: (a) how you install the games (via DvDs, via Origin, or via Steam). If you install via Origin, your games will be in Program Files\Origin Games\  and (b) whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit Operating system. If you’re on a 64-bit OS, your games will be in Program Files(x86)

*** This method cannot test for incompatible script mods. Don’t forget: Core mods must always be updated for a new patch. You can use this method to test for changes in the Fullbuild packages.


Method 2

So, you don’t have the GameplayData.package from the previous patch, or you only need to check one or two mods? That’s no problem.

You will need:

  • A Sims 3 package editor, such as S3PE, Packer or Postal. I generally use S3PE. I recommend S3PE for this.
  • A text comparison tool, such as WinMerge or P4Merge. Both are free. I use WinMerge, but P4Merge works for Mac.
  • The mod(s) you want to check.
  • The new GameplayData.package.
  1. If you haven’t already, install your package editor and text comparison tool. I will use WinMerge for this.
  2. Open Winmerge and start a New Documents (Ctrl+N). Leave WinMerge open.
  3. Open your mod in your Package Editor and look at the resource list. If there are any files called _KEY, ignore them. You can only use this method for XML and ITUN resources, so if the mod doesn’t have any of those in it, close it and wait to hear from the author.
  4. Choose a resource. If you are using Packer, right click and choose Edit. If you are using S3PE, click on the resource and you can see the text in the right-hand pane. If you can’t see any text,  go to the bottom of the window and where it says Preview: tick the button next to Value.
  5. Put your mouse cursor in the text area and hit Ctrl+A, then Ctrl+C. Go back to Winmerge and paste the text into one of the columns.
  6. Now you will need to find the EA XML/ITUN resource. Many modders do not include the resource name in the package, so if there is no name, you’ll have to find the name from the modder’s post/thread, or use the Instance ID. To copy the instance ID in both Packer and S3PE, right click the resource and choose Details. Highlight and Copy the Instance ID, then close the Details box.
  7. Open the GameplayData.package (see step 2 in Method 1 to find the GameplayData.package) in your package editor and find the original resource. In S3PE, you can use the filters at the bottom of the program to find your resource. Tick box that says “Filter Active” and put the name of the resource in the Name field. Otherwise you can put in the Instance ID in the Instance ID field. Make sure you tick the box next to the field that you want to use, so it is included in the filter. Then press Set. I don’t know how to search one package file for a specific instance with Packer, so if you don’t want to use S3PE, you’ll have to sort by Instance ID and find the resource the hard way.
  8. Repeat Step 5, pasting the text into the empty column.
  9. In WinMerge, hit F5 (blue and green arrows at the end of the task bar).
  10. If you find any gray areas, the mod is incompatible with the patch*. If you find no gray areas, and the mod you’re checking edits multiple XML/ITUN resources, make sure you go back and check each resource.

In WinMerge, gray areas show that one document is missing text that the other document has. This is almost* always bad for mods and you should wait for the mod author to update the mod. Yellow areas are not bad. Those show that there is a difference between the text, rather than that text is missing, and modders change stuff.

*In some cases, a modder may legitimately remove text from (or add text to) an XML tuning file, in order to achieve the desired results for a mod. In those cases, gray text would not necessarily be an indicator that a mod would need an update. However, since this mod is intended for beginners, I prefer to stress the fact that missing text is a sign to wait to hear from the author. Generally speaking, when EA updates for an EP (or SP), more information is added to the game files, so missing text is likely to be an indicator that the mod will need an update (otherwise it may be missing information pertaining to the EP/SP).

I hope this wasn’t too confusing!

Additional Credits:

Inge & Peter Jones for S3PE, Twallan for NRaas Packer, SimAd for the idea of putting the results packages from Method 1 into the Mods\Packages folder and running Delphy’s Dashboard. Rainbow_Brite for her tutorial which I’ve actually never even seen but have heard about. There’s never too many tutorials!

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March 6, 2012 - Posted by | Tutorial | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. With Method 1, can I use s3pe or do I have to use Packer?

    Comment by Seabody | October 3, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Seabody, thanks for the comment. Sorry for the delay.

      S3pe does not have functionality to compare two packages. That is why I use packer for it. Peter did make a new tool that compares packages, but I haven’t tried it yet.That said, the new and improved version of this tutorial at simlogical goes a little more in depth about the usefulness of packer in this case, so I do recommend that you check out at that version of the tutorial ( http://www.den.simlogical.com/denforum/index.php?topic=1104.0 ).

      Comment by Nona | October 5, 2012 | Reply

  2. Whoa
    That was confusing :s
    I have just instaled Paradise Island and apeared the modifications error.
    But I can’t live without my sliders 😥
    Damn Paradise Island >:-(
    Hope it is really a paradise, because I had to delete almost all my mods. XD
    I’m going to see if there are still hopes. Thanks for the tutorial, hope it’s gonna help me 😉

    Comment by Ingrid M | July 11, 2013 | Reply

    • If you are getting a message about “Unofficial Modifications” it means you have an outdated core mod installed. Core mods must be updated for every single patch. ErrorTrap, AwesomeMod, and XCAS are all examples of core mods.

      Note that you may have other outdated mods in addition to your core mod, but these mods won’t cause the “Unofficial Modifications” error. In fact, this tutorial won’t help you very much, because incompatible tuning mods will NOT cause this message. Although, the tutorial may help you identify any tuning mods that need updating.

      Sliders will not cause the unofficial modifications error, and I do not know of any slider that has needed an update for the patch, so you don’t have to worry about your sliders. However, if you are using a mod to increase the number of sliders you can have, you may need to update that one. AwesomeMod does this and it is a core mod. NRaas MasterController does as well, and it is not a core mod. CmarNYC’s XCAS core mod does this as well, and it has been updated.

      Comment by Nona | July 11, 2013 | Reply

  3. I am so so so so so so confused, my english is not very good and non of these words make any sense to me 😦 Why can’t I just delete the mod and install the new version? And why do I need to download a bunch of new stuff I just want to update my game ;_;

    Comment by Maya | February 3, 2014 | Reply

    • This tutorial is primarily for mod creators, so that they can check whether their mods need updating.

      If you are using a mod that has been updated by the creator, just delete the old mod and install the new version.

      Comment by Nona | February 3, 2014 | Reply

  4. I’m not sure If you’re still active but I have a question. I want to update a mod that wasnt updated for ITF, bc it causes ITF moodlets not to show. So would updating it be as easy as adding the new gameplaydata? Or is there more to it?

    Comment by ashmo | January 4, 2017 | Reply


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