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|MTS Help Q&A Forums|
Neighborhoods, Households, and Buildings
Q: How do I make a custom neighborhood from scratch?
A: By using The Simsâ„˘ 3 Create a World Tool (BETA), available as a free download from the Official TS3 site.
Q: How do I place a new empty lot?
A: First click on "..." in map view and click on "Edit Town", then click on the world edit icon and choose a lot size. If you hold down ALT, you can choose the lot location and rotation more carefully.
Q: Can I play more than one household in a neighborhood?
A: It's possible, but there are things you need to know before you do it. TS3 seems designed to play one household per neighborhood at a time. There is only one "active household" at a time, and any other sims in the hood--whether you made them or they came with the neighborhood--are treated as NPCs by the game. If you abandon your family, they will change careers, have children, die, lose money, have their inventories nuked (including deeds and reward objects), and all manner of nastiness that you aren't likely to be terribly happy about. Sometimes, the game will even decide you have too many of some specific demographic (i.e. married couples, teens, etc.) and move your family out of the town altogether, unrecoverably. There are, however, mods that allow you to quickly switch between households and retain their data.
Q: Surely there's a way to turn all that stuff off?
A: In the game options you can find a checkbox for "Story Progression." When you uncheck it, things like births, career changes, and move-outs should be halted. This option was bugged in the initial release: be sure to patch your game.
Q: I still want to play more than one household in the same neighborhood. How do I change active households?
A: First, click the "..." button at the bottom left. Then select "Edit Town" from the menu. Place your new family as needed, then look to the left for a button with two houses pictured on it. Mousing over it will show the text "Change Active Household." This is what you want. Changing households will result in loss of current wishes and opportunities - it warns you beforehand. If you don't like this, Awesomemod includes functionality to disable the loss of wishes and opportunities (as well as fixing other bugs related to switching households).
Q: My sim went to <insert building here>, but I couldn't see inside! Why?!
A: These are what the community refers to as "rabbit holes." Your sim can go inside, but you, the viewer, are forced to wait while your sim has all the fun. For work and school, you can click on the rabbit hole (or the action in your sim's action queue) to change how they're doing what they're doing - work harder, schmooze with coworkers, etc. There is currently no way whatsoever to see inside the rabbit holes. They are objects, not true buildings.
Q: Where are the pointy ears?
A: Pointy ears require at least patch 1.38 to appear in create-a-sim.
Q: I made a sim, but when I entered the game, he's halfway through his age span. What gives?
A: In order to stagger the birthdays a little in pre-made families, EA added a snippet of code that adds up to eight days to a sim's age when it's first played. If you're unhappy with it, you can remove your family and try to place them again using the Edit Town/Place Copy options.
Q: All my sims look the same! It's so boring!
A: HystericalParoxysm posted a method for trying to create more unique-looking sims. If you're stuck in a rut, try this. Alternately, to allow more range in the facial adjustment sliders, you can get Awesomemod or Drakah's CAS Sliders
Q: I want more clothes. How do I get back into CAS to change them? I didn't see any clothing stores at all!
A: Your sims own all possible clothing available in the game. Just click on a dresser and "Plan Outfit" to return to the clothing section of CAS.
Q: I heard you can have multiple outfits. How?
A: Go to the dresser and "Plan Outfit," but when you get to CAS, look for a plus sign to the left of the clothes. This will let you plan an additional outfit, e.g. "Everyday 2." There are three available outfits per outfit category.
Q: Why does my sim-child have blue hair?
A: Hair dye in TS3 is apparently radioactive enough to change a sim's DNA and can be passed down to children. If the parents had oddly-colored hair, there's a fair chance the child will as well.
Q: I want to change my sim-child's hair/clothes, but I can't. In TS2, you could have a parent take a kid to the dresser or mirror, but you can't here. Is this impossible?
A: It's completely possible. Now, the sim in question has to click the mirror or dresser itself, even if it's a child or toddler. The parents don't need to be involved.
Player Sims, Children, and Families
Q: Can I change my sim's name?
A: Click on City Hall during normal daytime working hours. There should be a "Change Name" option. If you want to change a minor's name, a parent can go to City Hall and change the child's name.
Q: Can I change my sim's traits?
A: The only way to change a sim's traits without a mod is by purchasing the "Midlife Crisis" lifetime happiness reward, or using the Modify Traits for Active Sim cheat.
Q: Why is it my sims only seem to have one gender of baby? Is there a way to influence the gender of the baby?
A: Normally, the chance of a particular gender is 50%/50% random. However, it can be influenced based on what your sim eats.
If your pregnant sim eats APPLES or any food made with apples (apple pancakes, french toast, apple cobbler, etc.), she is more likely to give birth to a boy. If your pregnant sim eats WATERMELON or any food made with watermelon (watermelon pancakes, eggs machiavellian, watermelon cobbler, etc.), she is more likely to give birth to a girl.
Each serving adds an additional 5% chance for a particular gender, up to a maximum of 15% extra chance of a particular gender (so eating more than three servings has no effect) - for a total maximum chance of either gender at 65%. If you want your sims' children to be a random gender, go out of your way to avoid these fruits, particularly apples. If your refrigerator is not stocked, many recipes that call for "any fruit" wind up using the cheapest available for sale--apples.
Q: Is it true you can find out the gender of a baby before it's born?
A: If your sim knows someone around level 7 (needs confirmation) in the medical career, that sim can click on your pregnant sim and "Determine Gender of the Baby" under Friendly interactions. Even if you find out the gender before the birth, there is a chance that information can be wrong (it may say you're having a boy and you may actually have a girl).
Q: Can my same-sex couple have a child? (Also: Can male sims get pregnant by any means in TS3?)
A: Some users have reported that same-sex couples can have random genetic pregnancies from WooHoo. The chances of this happening are very low, and in the case of male pregnancy, there is no pregnancy mesh, resulting in floating heads. Because of this, it is largely regarded as a bug. However, if your same-sex couple has a wish to have a child, adoption will satisfy this wish.
Q: Can children die in TS3?
A: Babies, Toddlers, and Children can all die. Members of MTS's forums have reported deaths by drowning and starvation, specifically.
Q: My baby disappeared! Can you help? PLEASE?
A: There are a few things that could have happened. Your baby can be kidnapped by visiting neighbors, for one thing--they'll simply pick the baby up and leave. Another possibility is a commonly complained-of glitch that will cause a baby to simply disappear right before your very eyes! You can try restoring your game from a saved backup, or try using the resetSim cheat.
Q: Is there a way to force twins or triplets?
A: Buying the fertility treatment lifetime happiness reward goes a long way toward encouraging multiple births (and the chance is greater if both parents have the fertility treatment instead of just one), but you can also influence the chance of twins or triplets by listening to the kids' station on the radio and/or watching the kids' channel on TV. There is no special boost to doing them both at the same time, but if you watch/listen to a lot, then you can increase your chance of twins and triplets up to 50% for twins and up to 10% for triplets (from the default of 5% and 1%).
Q: I can't find the option to bathe my baby/toddler. Where is it?
A: There is no such option in TS3. To raise your baby/toddler's hygeine motive, you'll need to change his/her diaper.
Q: I heard there were playable ghosts in this game. How do I do that?
A: When your sim dies, keep the grave marker on the lot. After some number of days, the research facility will call asking if you'd like to resurrect the recently deceased sim. Follow the steps to do so, and you will have a playable ghost, capable of even making playable ghost children!
Q: What colors can ghosts be/what do the ghost colors mean/how can I find out how my sim died when I wasn't looking?
A: The colors signify the cause of death for the sim in question. White is for old age, red is for fire, blue is for drowning, yellow is for electrocution, and pink is for starvation.
Q: My playable sims lost their association with one or both parents. The family tree doesn't show both parents anymore, and all the siblings show up as "Step-Sibling" instead! What happened?
A: This is a known problem when moving children from one lot to another. They can drop all association with one or both parents when moved. There isn't any fix currently known.
Q: Why can't I move my sims' relationships forward? Everything is stuck at "Romantic Interest." (Also: Why can't I woohoo?)
A: TS3 shakes up the building of relationships by requiring you to get your targets "in the mood" for certain interactions. In real life, you probably wouldn't just walk up to someone on the street and say "hey, marry me"--you'd warm them up first by starting up a speech, telling them how happy you've been since you met them, and so forth. In TS3, you have to do the same thing. If you want to propose going steady/propose marriage/woohoo, you have to do lots of romantic interactions. You'll see your target's mood going up from "<sim> thinks <sim> is being flirty" to "<sim> thinks <sim> is being very alluring" or "is being extremely irresistable." Some interactions are only available at higher levels of interaction, so keep it up! On a side note, "Ask to Move In" requires similar behavior, but requires Friendly interactions instead of Romantic ones.
Q: Where are the memories?
A: Memories return in Generations or equivalent to patch 1.22. When an event that triggers memory occur, the memory will capture the snapshot around the sims. This will often cause the TravelDB.package in the save game folder to bloat. You can disable memory capture in the game option, which requires patch 1.42. You can share the memories sims have through facebook and twitter when connected to the internet.
Q: Why can't my sims swim in the ocean?
A: Ocean swimming is introduced in patch 1.42. Sims can swim in the ocean as far as the game camera can go.
Q: I can't find any place to woohoo other than a double bed. Is there any place I've missed?
A: MTS users have reported having the option to woohoo backstage at the theater when taking a theater tour with other sims. This may extend to other tour locations as well. Beyond that, no. There is no way to woohoo in cars or changing booths as in TS2.
Q: My Good/Evil sims have the option to donate money to help/undermine certain charities. Does this have any effect other than a money drain?
A: You get a positive moodlet for a while after you donate to/undermine a charity. Otherwise, no, it's useless.
Q: Why does my sim shower in formal wear and go to work in a swimsuit?
A: Your sim has the "Inappropriate" or "Insane" trait. Both have a side effect of your sim not caring for conventional wisdom about what he/she should be wearing!
Q: My sim keeps dying, but the Grim Reaper keeps taking pity on it and giving it one last chance. Why?
A: The Grim Reaper sometimes feels sorry for sims with the Unlucky trait and saves them from death.
You may find the following FAQ pages helpful:
Q: I got an opportunity asking me to bake cookies, but I can't find cookies as an option anywhere for me to make. How do I bake cookies?
A: The recipe for cookies, along with many other recipes and books pertaining to other skills, is sold at the bookstore. When you get to the bookstore, be sure you click on the "Recipes" tab to filter the long list of available books, or it can be difficult to find! You can also sometimes learn recipes by watching the cooking channel on TV.
Q: I keep hearing about Ambrosia. How do I make it?
A: You'll need a sim with level 10 cooking to make it, a Life Fruit (available only through high level Gardening), and a Death Fish (available only through high level fishing). The recipe can be found at the bookstore for a few thousand simoleans.
Q: Is there any large fish tank? Is there any fish habitat more than one fish can live in at a time?
A: No. Currently we are limited to the fish bowl, which holds one fish.
Q: I have a pond on my lot I want to be able to fish from. How do I do that?
A: You need to have ten of the same type of fish in your sim's inventory. When you have them, you can go to your pond and "Stock Pond."
Q: What's the point of Deathfish?
A: It's used in Ambrosia, it kills plants if used to fertilize them, and it's rumored to be able to poison other sims if cooked into sushi.
Q: My sim is very athletic, but is also very fat. Why?
A: When you made your sim, you might've noticed there were two body shape sliders--one for fat, one for muscle. Cardio workouts will burn fat, while strength workouts will build muscle. If your fat sim is pumping iron, he/she is going to stay beefy.
Q: How do I collect stuff, like gems, ore, insects, or seeds?
A: You pick them up from the ground all around your neighborhood. If you're just learning about such things, the Collection Helper (40,000 Lifetime Happiness points) is highly recommended. It will go into your sim's inventory, and from there you can choose what you'd like to track. After doing that, the items will glow unmistakably when your sim is near one, and icons will show up on the map view to show you where about town you can go to find them.
Q: I get collecting seeds and fishing, but what's the point of the other collections?
A: There isn't one, other than decoration, satisfaction of wishes, and cash. Well... there is the magic gnome...
Q: I caught some insects. How do I display them?
A: Drag them from your sim's inventory. They come in display boxes for you to put wherever you like.
Q: What's the deal with smelting ore and cutting gems?
A: One of the MTS users has made a thread with good reference information about cutting gems, when each cut is available, and which cuts are worth the most. Have a look [here].
Q: In TS2, you could get custom paintings by swapping some files around when your painter started to paint. Can you do that here?
Q: My toddler sims have been playing the xylophone/peg box/block table, but when they grew up, they didn't have any skill. What happened?
A: Toddlers no longer get direct skill from these objects. Rather, they are supposed to let you skill those skills up faster when they grow up.
Q: Why can't I take a class in <insert skill here>?
A: Classes are only available if you have 400 simoleans, and only if your sim has not yet taken a class in that particular subject.
Buy Mode, Build Mode, and Object-specific issues
Q: There's an object I bought/stole/was given. The game says it's in the "family inventory," but I can't find it. My sim's inventory is empty! Where did it go? (Also: Why can't my sim carry a couch in her inventory?)
A: TS3 introduced the "family inventory," which is a family-wide inventory intended to hold LARGE objects like furniture. You can find it under buy mode. Look for the icons to display items by room or by function. There is an icon underneath them, which looks like a box. This is your family inventory.
Q: Can I make one part of the roof one slope and another part of the roof another slope?
A: Sort of, but it takes some tricks. See here for a tutorial: How to create a basic roof with different slope angles.
Q: I can't find <insert item here> in build mode or buy mode. Where is it?
A: The following items come up on the forums fairly often. None of these are currently available:
Diving boards(Added in patch 1.42) Half walls(Added in Ambitions)
- Musical instruments other than guitars, pianos, drum sets, and basses (New instruments added in Late Night)
- Changing tables
Hot tubs(Added in Late Night) Elevators(Added in Late Night) Spiral stairs(Added in Generations)
Q: I bought cars for my sims, but they don't use them! What's with that?
A: Carpools ALWAYS pick up and drop off your sims for work, regardless of car ownership. Higher levels of some careers also have vehicles attached to them that will always pick you up and drop you off no matter what your destination or time of day is (for example, Rock Stars get a tour bus, while other careers have limos). If your sim has a car, isn't trying to drive to or from work, and isn't in one of those careers, check to make sure your sim is assigned ownership of the car by clicking on it and assigning it an owner.
Q: What's the point of keeping the refrigerator stocked/going to the grocery store? If I want to cook anything, my refrigerator just purchases the ingredients for me.
A: The grocery store can have sales, and ingredients purchased directly from the refrigerator are marked up about 10% above normal price. Also, if your sims are gardeners or anglers, they can stock the fridge with their catches and harvests, resulting in higher-quality meals and the ability to cook things that use ingredients that aren't purchasable at the grocer (e.g. Angel Food Cake and Ambrosia).
Q: Does food ever go bad in the refrigerator?
A: Cooked food goes bad after a while. Ingredients never go bad, whether they're in the fridge or in one of your sims' inventories.
Q: I can't use Create-a-Style on <insert object here>. Can anyone help?
A: Some objects, like stairs, fences, and small decorations or objects (like alarms) simply can't be styled with Create-a-Style. There is no known fix for this.
Q: I have a ton of <some object> that I'm trying to stock elsewhere, but dragging them one at a time is insane. There must be a better way. What can I do?
A: Instead of clicking the object and dragging it, click the small arrow in the top left corner of the object's picture and drag THAT. This should drag the whole stack of your item. There's no way to drag a partial stack or items of only a particular quality, unfortunately.
Q: I've seen options in the game for custom music, but how do I get the game to play my music?
A: Look in your Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Custom Music folder. Place your .mp3 files there. Only .mp3 files will work, and you cannot place them in a subfolder.
Q: Why does my stuff (TVs, toilets, showers) break so often?
A: Cheap objects break VERY often. If you'd like to stop things from breaking so much, you'll need to either upgrade these items or get a handy sim to upgrade them with "Unbreakable." Certain handy sims who have completed skill challenges even have a "side effect" of making anything they repair impossible to break.
Q: I bought the food replicator lifetime happiness reward, but it doesn't do anything. Is this a waste of points or what?
A: You need to cook some food first, then place it in the food replicator. The replicator copies food that's already made and stores its pattern to reproduce anytime. It doesn't come with any stored patterns when you purchase it.
Q: Why are my houses so dark inside?
A: Some users are reporting that their houses feel very dark, or darker than they like. Check your lights. They have variable intensity settings in TS3. Click on any light and you should find a setting for intensity, which you can apply to all lights in the home.
Q: There are a lot of cheats in the Prima guide that don't work. Is there a list of working cheats?
A: Game Help:Sims 3 Cheats
Q: What can I do with testingcheatsenabled? (Also: Where is the maxmotives cheat?)
A: Shift-click your sim, your mailbox, your workplace, or other things for the cheat options. You can also click and drag relationship bars and motive bars if the game is not on pause.
Q: That's it? No other cheats?
A: There are some debug cheats, such as one that gives a load of lifetime happiness points, but you need a mod to enable them. You can find one such mod here.
Q: I really want that "edit in CAS" cheat... :(
A: Pescado's AwesomeMod restores this functionality, but certain things have been recommended against toying with by the author of the mod.
Q: What about a cheat to age sims up or down?
A: No can do, sorry. (Well, aging down, anyway. You can trigger age transitions with a cheat. See Cheats). If you aren't using the AwesomeMod for the ability to edit a sim in CAS (allows you to change their age from CAS, though the author recommends you don't try this) then the only things you can do are....
- Age up: Buy a birthday cake and have an early birthday. Your sim will proceed to the next life stage regardless of how long was left until aging.
- Age down: It's not possible to age down to a previous life stage (e.g. Young Adult to Teen, or Elder to Adult). However, eating a Life Fruit will give you one more day in your current age span, and eating Ambrosia will give you several weeks. (Note: Not a cheat, but an exploit: If you change sim lifespan to Very Short just before eating the fruit, and then change it back, you'll get more youth out of the fruit. Epic Sims can get back over 100 days from a single Life Fruit this way).
Q: Is there a skills cheat?
A: No. You'll have to use a mod for faster skilling if you want this functionality. You could use Make All Happy repeatedly to keep your sims from needing to sleep or eat, however, allowing you to train all night long.
Q: So how do things like mod compatibility and stuff work in TS3?
A: There are two types of mods. CORE Mods are incompatible with one another, as they modify the base game code. They are usually comprehensive, offering mutiple functions, and are sometimes configurable so you can take this piece and leave that. Minor Mods change one or two small parts of the game. You can have as many of these as you'd like.
Q: I'm a Mac user. Will <insert mod here> work for me?
A: Yes, TS3 mods are cross-platform.
Q: Gosh, there are so many mod sites out there. Is there any comprehensive list of mods?
A: This list has been recommended by some of MTS's members.
Q: Can I import any TS2 custom content into TS3?
A: Sadly, no. The two games are very different under the surface, and the mods are totally incompatible.
Q: Why isn't there more custom content for TS3?
A: Modding is tough in TS3. EA wanted us to use their store for new items, rather than creating our own. Be patient. :)
Common Bugs and Tech Support
Q: Why can't I enter the Criminal Warehouse?
A: This question has come up enough to know that it's a common(ish) bug. There is an object inside the building, invisible to those of us on the outside, which is blocking all entry. Some people have reported being able to go into Edit Town and remove the obstruction, while others have had to start their Criminal or Law Enforcement sims over because of it. One user was able to solve this problem in this thread.
Q: My game crashed/I accidentally overwrote my game. Are there any backups?
A: You can find your saves in your Documents folder (NOT Program Files) under Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves. There should be .sims3 files--these are your active saves--and .sims3.backup files. If you remove the .backup extension, this can restore your last good save.
Q: The computer I installed TS3 on isn't connected to the internet. How do I get downloaded items from the Exchange/EA store?
A: You can't. The Exchange and EA store run the Launcher directly to install their files. You can't download the raw files at all, which you'd have to be able to do to move them to another computer. The only option would be to install TS3 on the computer you can connect on, download the sims3pack files, and transfer them over.
Q: My sim is glitched out/stuck! Is there a way to reset it or am I going to have to delete it?
A: Open the cheat console and type "resetsim <firstname> <lastname>" -- that is, for example, "resetsim Jane Doe". This will reset the sim to his/her home lot with no moodlets and neutral motive bars.
Q: My clock is running really slowly, even on max speed. There doesn't seem to be a difference between speeds 3 and 4. Why?
A: Speed 3 has been reported to run slowly on slower computers; there is little that can be done, short of a harware upgrade. For most people, speed 3 causes a game-hour to pass by in about 5-10 seconds. Also, speed 4 is not intended to be any faster than speed 3. Rather, it causes the game to run at speed 3 until the currently selected sim's currently queued task is complete, then it automatically switches the game back to speed 1. The first patch for TS3 addressed this for some people, but not for others.
Q: My game slows down or stops entirely at 1:00 AM or 5:00 AM. What's going on?
A: At 1:00 AM, EA's story progession makes its changes--people are given babies, people move, people are made fat or slim, people change jobs, as so forth. Installing a mod that forces those changes to make sense instead of being completely random can make this process take excessive amounts of time. At 5:00 AM, the game can also slow down on lots with gardens, as gardens do their growing and calculations about needing water or fertilizer at that time.
Reviews, Discussion, and Criticism
If there's one word that describes the TS3 community so far, it's "vocal." If you have a comment, review, or complaint about TS3 or EA in general, chances are it's got a thread in MTS's forums already (in fact, probably several).
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