Nona's Sims

Modding and Troubleshooting The Sims 3

Understanding Mod and CC Conflicts with Delphy’s Dashboard

I’ve posted a new article at Simlogical. The goal of the article is educate mod users about conflicts and false positives. Excerpt from the Introduction:

For most users, one of the most confusing aspects about mods and other custom content for the Sims 3 is understanding what a conflict is, and how it can adversely affect one’s game. There are few different ways mods and custom content can conflict with each other, and some ways are a little more difficult to understand for the average user. This article will attempt to explain different types of mod and other custom content conflicts, so that users are better able to understand how these conflicts can affect their game.

Read the whole article at Simlogical: Understanding Mod and CC Conflicts with Delphy’s Dashboard

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December 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tutorial: Getting Started with CC Magic

Scope of this Tutorial:

This tutorial will teach you how to set up CC Magic for the first time. I will not focus in-depth on downloading and installing CC Magic . It’s up to you to know how to do that (or ask in the comments, or on my simblr).

Intended Audience:

If you’ve never set up CC Magic before, and you’re nervous about using it for the first time, this tutorial should be a great help. This tutorial should also be of interest to people who have tried to use CC Magic in the past, but were frustrated with process, or for people (like me) who panicked when they used CC Magic for the first time. If you’re not sure about using CC Magic, check out my recommendation: Recommendation: CCMagic (it’s true, I’m a Late Adopter).

I highly recommend CC Magic to anyone who has a significant amount of CC in their game. It will make organizing your CC a breeze, and will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend organizing it yourself.

To complete this Tutorial, you will need:

Before You Begin:

  1. Create a Copy of your Entire “The Sims 3” Folder in Documents\ElectronicArts\. If you have a lot of stuff, this may take a long time. However, backing up your entire “The Sims 3” folder will ensure that you can very easily return to pre-CC Magic installation should something go wrong.
    • You can put this copy on your desktop temporarily, to make the process a bit easier.
    • Another easy way to make a backup of the entire Sims 3 folder is to select the folder, right-click and use Send to… Compressed (zipped) folder.
    • If you would rather not back up your entire The Sims 3 Folder, simply make a back up of your Mods folder.
    • Although it is not necessary, if you want to be very safe, you can also back up your Downloads folder (in addition to the Mods folder).
    • Backing up the entire Sims 3 folder is overkill, but it is the ultimate peace of mind for people who are unsure about CC Magic.
  2. Once you have backed up your The Sims 3 folder in Documents\Electronic Arts, go to Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 and select the Downloads folder. Right-click the folder and select Cut (or use ctrl+x). 
  3. Go to your Desktop and right click where you want to paste your Downloads folder and choose “Paste.”
One more thing to consider before starting: Do you want to start over entirely, and install all of your sims3packs as package files? If so, after you make a back up of your The Sims 3 folder, either re-name the original (for example, re-name it to The Sims 3.old) OR simply delete it entirely(Remember: you made a back up). Then start your launcher so it will regenerate missing files/folders. Tip: You can keep your in-game settings (such as graphics and life-span) by placing a copy of the Options.ini file (found in your old The Sims 3 folder) in the new The Sims 3 folder. You may also want to move the contents of your Library, SavedSims, and Saves back to the new folder.

Why did I do this?
One of the most common complaints I’ve seen about installing CC Magic is that it has re-installed objects that people have un-installed from their game. By removing the Downloads folder before you install CC Magic, you will prevent CC Magic from being able to install anything in the downloads folder. Although this is not strictly necessary, it will give you some added security that CC Magic won’t install anything right away.
Do I have to move my Mods folder?
No, keep your mods folder where it is. CC Magic will not alter it in any way.
Continue reading

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Tutorial | , , , , , , , , | 122 Comments

Recommendation: CCMagic (it’s true, I’m a Late Adopter)

Ok, so I know I’m late to the party and by now, most people have heard of CCMagic, and maybe even tried it out. Well, I’m here to recommend it to you anyhow.  This recommendation is mainly for other Late Adopters, like me. First, let me start off by explaining why it took me so long to really give CCMagic a go. For brevity’s sake, I’ll just list up a short summary.

Why I was a Late Adopter with CCMagic

1. PANIC!!!! When I first installed CCMagic when it was released, it made new folders in my Mods folder and in my Electronic Arts folder and I kind of panicked. I worked hard to keep my CC organized and I didn’t want to ruin it all.  (Really stupid reason.)

2. Panic! Yep, it’s on the list twice. You mean I have to put all of my CC in the downloads folder, all together? Just like that? But what about my organization?! (Really stupid reason.)

3. Hard Disk space and bloat. My sims games are on my 128GB SSD drive, which also holds my OS and MMOs. I have to be careful not to keep too much CC or unnecessary files/programs on my C:\ drive or I’ll run out of space on my SSD. I want a second SSD, but I won’t be able to get one any time soon. So for now, I need to make sure I don’t clog up my SSD with extra junk. Having both the merged files and the original unmerged files on the same drive was (and still is) a huge disadvantage for me. (Ok, I think this is a real disadvantage of CCMagic, but maybe Grant will add a feature which make its possible to change the Content folder location. I’ve been meaning to post a couple of suggestions on the CCMagic forums).

4. Laziness. My stuff is already organized, and starting CCMagic meant I would have to organize it in CCMagic as well. (Because manually re-merging packages when I get new CC is so much less work, amirite?)

5. What about script mods? Is it a pain to replace them when they get updated? Twallan updates his mods fairly frequently (if sporadically) so I want to be able to replace them without any fuss. (Mostly unfounded. There are a couple of extra steps involved, but nothing too annoying).

6. Updates. Grant is AWESOME. I do not doubt this. But what happens if he gets bored and/or stops playing Sims?  If CCMagic needs an update at some point, where will I be? Out in the dark! (This applies to most of my script mods as well so this argument is invalid)

7. Skepticism. That’s just how I roll (really gotta stop being such a skeptic sometimes).

8. Change? But I’m a TAURUS. Seriously. (lol)

So, any of those reasons ring a bell with you? If so, maybe you’ll find the rest of my post interesting.

Why do I recommend CCMagic?

  1. If you have enough CC to require that you merge your package files, I recommend CCMagic. If you only have Twallan’s mods in your Mods folder, or maybe a few tuning mods, CCMagic is overkill. But if you are already organizing merged package files, CCMagic will make your life infinitely easier.
  2. Are you lazy? Then you should use CCMagic. Once you get past initial set up (which is easier than it looks), organizing your CC is a breeze.
  3. You can organize your CC anyway you want with CCMagic, and you can even create different configurations with which to launch the game, so that you only launch certain CC or Mods when you play certain saves. This is really great for people who like to play strict challenges (such as at Carl’s Sims 3 Forum).
  4. Similarly, whatever you keep in your Mods\Packages folders is considered “Legacy,” and will not touched by CCMagic. This means those items will always launch with the game.
  5. If you don’t want to create different sets and just want to merge everything into one file, that’s cool too. You can easily find what you’re looking for if you want to remove or disable something by using the Filter.
  6. Do you hate sims3packs? Then use CCMagic! CCMagic will install sims3packs by extracting the package file and putting it with the rest of your packaged CC. This means you can completely skip the horrible EA Launcher! There are some limitations to this method (which apply even when you’re not using CCMagic). For example, most counters will not work properly if you install them via package, as the corner counters will not be re-colorable.  You can even install lots this way, but in order to uninstall the lot you’ll need to find it in the library and delete it.
  7. If you prefer to install your store items via package files, you can do that with CCMagic. You’ll need to run the sims3packs through s3rc first though.
  8. You can still use your Overrides folder with CCMagic.
  9. You can still use Delphy’s Dashboard with CCMagic. I recommend using it to make sure you don’t accidentally end up with duplicate packages.
  10. CCMagic will even de-compress your downloads for you. No unzipping required! Just make sure you check for duplicates, as some creators include both sims3pack and package files in their archives.

If you’ve read all of this and you’re thinking about maybe trying out CCMagic, I just want to remind you that there’s absolutely no reason to Panic, so just Don’t Do It. I know it sounds easier said than done, and I also know you probably have no reason to trust me, but just give me the benefit of the doubt here.  Before you start, make a back up of your Mods folder. You can even back up your entire The Sims 3 folder if that makes you feel better. CCMagic will not move or touch anything in your Mods\Packages folder. Absolutely everything will be there. Here are some tips for first time users.

Tips for Getting Started with CCMagic

1. Back up everything first! This will give you peace of mind and also a reference if you want to organize your CC the same way.

2. Check out this great tutorial by Mimm at TFM’s Naughty Sims Asylum, where you can also ask questions and get help (you’ll need to register first to read the thread).

3. Stop by the CCMagic forums to ask questions, make suggestions, or just learn more about CCMagic:

CCMagic User Guide

CCMagic Folders Guide

4. Don’t forget to install the pre-requisite software if you don’t have it already. It’s listed on the CCMagic download page.

5. If you’re planning to have several sets, add CC to CCMagic  in chunks (by putting it in the downloads folder), so that it’s easier to sort through it all. You can currently only drag and drop one file at a time in CCMagic.  **Please See the comments for Grant’s explanation on how to drag and drop multiple files in CCMagic!

6. Before you start the game for the first time, go into the Configurations tab, and make sure you have enabled all the sets you want to use (including Legacy or Default).

Download CCMagic at ModTheSims

April 15, 2012 Posted by | Recommendations | , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Tutorial: How to Unmerge a package, or multiple packages

This tutorial will show you how to unmerge a package that you have merged into a bigger package. If you have never merged your custom content into one package, I recommend taking a look at Crinrict’s blog for combing packages: TUTORIAL: Combine Package Files to reduce Lag

You will need:

  • S3PE
  • Your merged package file *
  • The separate packages you want to remove from the combined file.
* Keep a back up of everything you merge!
Click images if you would like to see them at full size.
Step 1 – Locate your merged package and the separate, unmerged package(s) which you want to remove from the merged package.

Locate the relevant files on your hard drive.

Step 2 – Open the merged package in S3PE. If you have S3pE as the default package opener, just double click it. Otherwise, right-click and choose “Edit Sims 3 Package.”
Step 3 – Drag the separate, unmerged package that you want to remove from the merged package onto the S3PE window.

The easy way to import to S3PE: Just drag the file onto S3PE.

Step 4 – A window will pop up. Make sure you choose “Replace duplicates.” Then click Import.

Choose Replace duplicates! Then Import.

Step 5 – Another window will pop up: “Autosave current package after each package imported?” Click No. This is very important and the key to removing the file from the merged package! Click No!

Don’t Autosave!

Step 6 –  Click the Chunkoffset button at the top of the resource list table to sort by Chunkoffset.

Sort by Chunkoffset to find thew newly imported files.

Step 7 – Notice you have a number of packages with the chunkoffset 0xFFFFFFFF – This denotes that these resources have not yet been saved to the package. These are all the resrouces for the package you’ve newly imported into the merged package.

You can compare the number of resources with Chunkoffset 0xFFFFFFFF with the number of resources in the original package if you want to verify all resources are being removed.

Step 8 – Select all resources with Chunkoffset 0xFFFFFF and then hit your DEL button.

Use it!

Step 9 – Save the package!

Questions
Can I do this for multiple pieces of custom content at once?
Yes, just drag (import) multiple .package files into S3PE.

What if I don’t have the original package and I don’t know where to find it?
You can still use this method if you don’t have the original package(s) for the content you want to remove. However, you will need to use s3oc by Peter and Inge Jones to clone the item you want to remove from your merged package. To do this, open the merged package in s3oc with File >  Open Package. Do not use the renumber option. Then import the resulting package into your merged package.

Alternatively, you could also re-download the content you want to remove from the merged package, provided you know that the creator has not removed any resources since you last downloaded the item (of course, this only works if you know where to find it…)

Do I have to drag and drop to import the package?
No, you can do it the old fashioned way, and right-click in S3PE to find the Import option. But isn’t dragging and dropping so much more fun?

More questions? Feel free to ask.

Additional Credits:

I did not come up with this method of unmerging a file from a merged package. I can’t remember where I saw it, or who did it, as I actually just sort of stumbled upon it while searching for something entirely unrelated to merging and unmerging package files. I do not take credit for coming up with the method, although I did write this tutorial and make all the screenshots on my own. Either way, it’s always good to have more tutorials floating around.

Thanks to Peter and Inge Jones for creating and maintaining S3PE.

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Tutorial | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments