View Full Version : Tutorial: Exploring the “EA Games” Folder (User Folder)

22nd Mar 2009, 10:21 AM
Tutorial: Exploring the “EA Games” Folder (User Folder)

:deal: This tutorial is basically for anyone of any experience at The Sims 2. From Newbie to Numenorean, this tutorial will give you the basics about your user folder!


REMEMBER: Always make a backup before messing with this folder’s files! –See http://www.modthesims2.com/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Back_Ups

1. For starters you may be asking, “What is the user folder?” Most people won’t be asking this because they download stuff online and know where to go to put their newest downloads. If you don’t know, the user folder is the folder where all the files are located that hold you’re saved games, sims, lots, neighborhoods, downloads, etc…

In other words, it is what makes YOUR GAME unique. Everybody who buys The Sims 2 has this folder, and all the things that they change, make, or create in the game are saved in this folder.

2. So, now you might be asking, “Where is this folder?”
For Windows XP users = My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2
For Windows Vista users = *current user*/Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2
For Mac OS users = *current user*/Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2

:alarm: A lot of people think that there folder is missing an important folder. THIS IS NOT TRUE! You Sims 2 folder is never missing anything. Every time you start your game, folders generate. If you are missing the “Downloads” folder just create it. -See http://www.modthesims2.com/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:No_Downloads_Folder

Sometimes you may start your game, quit, and some folders may not be there such as the folders “PackagedLots”, “Storytelling”, “Projects”, Etc… All you have to do is use those things In Game. When you go to package a lot In Game, the “PackagedLots” folder will appear. When you use Bodyshop and start a project, the “Projects” folder will appear.

3. Now that you know the location, you might be asking, “What is all this stuff?”


Let’s start with what’s first in the list: (bold words are the name/s of the folders)

This folder is filled with files with names like BuildCamera, camera named parameter, ContentVeiwerCameras, PreRenderCamera, Etc… right?

These note pad files are what control the cameras in your game.

For Example: When you’re in the neighborhood and you zoom or move around with your mouse and it gets to a certain point where it won’t move anymore; the files in this folder are controlling that.
They control where the camera is positioned in your “Create A Sim” and how far the constraints should go. It controls the camera when you click the TAB button, and everything else visible in the game. Without these files, you wouldn’t be able to maneuver throughout the game.

These files CAN be deleted. You can delete the files or the whole folder and nothing will happen. When you load your game, these files will regenerate and be back to normal.

These files CAN be changed. (NOT RECOMMENDED!) If you know what you’re doing and you have experience in this field, you can edit or change the letters/numbers in the note pad and make the camera work differently in the game. –See http://www.modthesims2.com/download.php?t=97642

This folder contains the collection files that are in your game. This folder contains a bunch of random file names like 0x2cfda5d7 or names like Country Collection, and a subfolder called “Icons”. Any of these files CAN be deleted, but they will NOT regenerate. Once you delete them, they are gone and will never come back.

For Example: When you find a bunch of objects that you think go together like a set, you make a collection for them and place the objects in it.

The “Icons” subfolder is for the placement of your own pictures. If you want to create a collection but don’t like the pre made images, you just paste any picture in this folder and they will be in the game. (It does not matter what size the picture is, it will shrink it down in the game. Though, if you have a very thin tall picture, it will be a little tall thin line in the game.)

This folder most likely has only a few files named userProps, userStartup, VideoCapture, Etc…right?
This folder CAN be deleted and will regenerate once the game loads again.

The stuff in this folder is not important to learn about, but there is one.

The userStartup file is what controls what cheats will run in the game. –See http://www.sims2wiki.info/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Userstartup.cheat

The downloads folder is where you place almost everything that you download online. It also is where walls, floors, and ground covers appear when created with Homecrafter. –See http://www.sims2wiki.info/wiki.php?title=Tutorials:Homecrafter_Tutorials

Once a proper file is placed in this folder, it will appear in the game with a small * in the corner of the picture. The game sees it as custom content and renders it as so.
This folder has a special trait to it. You don’t just have to dump thousands of files in it, unorganized and a mess! You can create sub folders, subsub folders, subsubsub folders, and so on to organize your content. –See http://www.modthesims2.com/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Organizing_Custom_Content#Organizing_Later

I have never had a file in this folder because it is used when you connect your game to the internet (in game). What it generates in here CAN be deleted.

LockedBins: (shipped with Pets)
It usually contains one file called kissingpoints. This is the file that controls the unlockables that came with Pets.

I know it can be deleted, but I'm not sure if you lose the unlocked items? It’s probably best to just leave it because it won’t hurt you or your game.

The “Logs” folder contains most likely a list of note pad files and some other things named AppErrors, GraphicsLog, missing-anim-all, resources, session log, etc…

These files generate every time you start the game. They log everything that happens during the game. If there is a texture error, you will not notice it, but the game does, and it logs it right away. This folder also logs errors when the cheat boolProp testingCheatsEnabled [true/false] is enabled. –See http://www.modthesims2.com/article.php?t=103926

Note: If your game ever crashes for one reason or another (known or not known), be sure to delete this folder. The crash is logged, and sometimes it will cause the game not to load again. (In my experience)

This folder has files named cx_00000004, cx_00000067, etc…

These files are the houses that are in your “Lots and Houses Bin” in game. Every time you move a house into that bin in the game, a file generates in this folder.

You CAN delete this folder, but you WILL LOSE all the houses in your “Lots and Houses Bin” in game.

One special thing about this folder is if you delete the whole folder, the game will generate a new one with all the Maxis default homes from your base game up to the latest expansion.

Hint: If you want the Maxis default homes back without losing your own homes, you can cut and paste the “LotCatalog” folder outside of your EA folder, then load the game. After you load the game, the folder will be back with all the Maxis defaults. Go to your old “LotCatalog” folder, open it and cut and paste the file from it, into the new “LotCatalog” folder. Play the game, and your houses along with the Maxis defaults will be there.

This folder contains subfolders called “Broadcast” and “Games” that contain sub folders with names like Commercials, TvFood, TVMovie_Fetch, arcade, esrb, ssx, ect…

You CAN delete this folder. It will regenerate.

This folder contains tones of folders with names such as: bigband, cas, metal, oldies, surf, etc…

This folder CAN be deleted and it will regenerate.

This folder has a special attribute where it allows you to add you own music. –See http://www.modthesims2.com/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Playing_Your_Own_Music

Neighborhoods: (contains multiple expansions)
This folder contains the neighborhoods, playable Sims, NPC’s, neighborhood lots, etc… This folder is VERY important!

It CAN be deleted but you WILL LOSE ALL of your created Sims, neighborhoods, and lots.

This folder contains subfolders named N001-N999 and a file named NeighborhoodManager.

DO NOT delete any of the files in this folder unless you know what you are doing!

N001-N999: You may have 3 or more neighborhoods in this folder, but I will explain the inside of one of them. (They all look the same) I will use N006 for example.

Contained inside is 4 folders named Characters, Lots, Storytelling, and Thumbnails. There are other files and pictures named things like N006_Neighborhood, N006_Downtown, N006_Vacation, Etc…They have corresponding pictures that you CAN replace! –See http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=75491

This folder contains a lot of files named things like N006_User00001, N006_User00867, Etc…

These are the charters in your game including NPC’s and pets.

You CAN delete this folder and it will regenerate but you WILL LOSE ALL you’re created Sims living in houses or in the “Sim Bin”. (NOT RECOMMENDED)

This folder contains all the lots placed in your neighborhood and suburbs. There will be quite a few.

You CAN delete this folder and it will regenerate but you WILL LOSE ALL you’re created lots excluding your “Lots and Houses Bin”. The houses will disappear which means the Sims living in any of them will be gone. They will still be in the “Characters” folder, but there basically gone forever.

This folder will contain screenshots taken ONLY in that selected neighborhood. See the “Storytelling” folder below for more details.

This folder CAN be deleted and will regenerate. See the “Storytelling” folder below for more details.

This folder contains one file named N006_FamilyThumbnails. It houses the images of families that you create in CAS so the family is visible when you select on their house to view them.

This folder CAN be deleted and it will regenerate.

This is where Sims2Pack files generate when you package a lot in game, or package a Sim in Bodyshop.

This folder CAN be deleted. It will regenerate.

Paintings: (Shipped with Pets)
This folder houses pictures that can be painted by Sims in game. There may or may not be images in the folder, but they CAN be deleted along with the folder. The folder will regenerate itself, but the images WILL NOT.

This folder has the ability to add your own paintings for your Sim to paint in game. Just copy and paste any pictures you want but make sure the pictures are 1200x1200 pixels or less and 600KB total size or less.

PetBreeds: (Shipped with Pets)
This folder contains the breeds of pets in “Create A Pet”. The files inside CAN be deleted permanently and WILL NOT regenerate unless you delete the whole folder.

PetCoats: (Shipped with Pets)
This folder contains the coats of pets in “Create A Pet”. The folder or files inside CAN be deleted but will regenerate.

This folder is non-existent unless you use Bodyshop for the first time. This folder houses your current projects in Bodyshop. When one project is started, usually it will generate a folder with the name of your project, and an unknown file on the side.

This folder CAN be deleted along with individual files. If you delete a file in the folder, it will become unusable if you haven’t finished the project. If the project/s is finished, you can delete the file/s or folder.

Deleting this folder will not remove your finished projects. Your finished projects are saved in the folder below, “SavedSims”.

This folder houses your Bodyshop creations including full Sims for the Sim bin in game.

This folder CAN be deleted but you WILL LOSE all your Bodyshop creations.

The files in this folder with names like 5f552be6_(project name) are your custom creations. Files with names like 57783b63_872c4575 are saved Sims for your “Sim Bin”.

These files can be moved to the “Downloads” folder if desired.

This folder contains .sc4 files along with images of empty neighborhoods.

This folder should NOT be deleted but can if desired. I have currently not tested what will happen if deleted, but I know that if you delete individual files they do not regenerate.

This folder can have custom .sc4 files made from Sim City 4. –See http://www.modthesims2.com/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:Custom_Neighborhood_Terrains

This folder contains the screenshots you take in the game. It will generate a large version and athumnail version of the snapshot along with an XML document and a Configuration Setup file.

This folder CAN be deleted and will regenerate WITHOUT your custom snapshots, only with the maxis snapshots. If you want to empty it every time you take pictures, just delete the files inside without deleting the whole folder.

Nothing important and it CAN be deleted. It will regenerate.

This folder contains files named BuildModeThumbnails, CANHObjectsThumbnails, ObjectThumbnails, Etc…These files contain the thumbnails to object images, CAS Sim images, design images, etc…In other words, the little object squares with the light blue backgrounds that you click on to select an item to place in the game.

These CAN be deleted, but don’t do it often. When you delete them and play the game, it has to regenerate the files again. It will make your game lag during the category choosing.

Each file states the obvious. Build Mode, Object, Cas, Ect… If you happen to stumble upon a messed up thumbnail in game, either its black, invisible, etc… then you can delete the according file in this folder.

For Example: If you are building a house and go to the fences section and one of the blue squares has no fence picture in it, then you need to leave the game and delete the BuildModeThumbnails file. If you are in “Create A Sim” and you see a black silhouette of a Sim but not the pretty clothing texture, you need to delete the CASThumbnails file…So on and so forth.

-If you would like to know what each file means read here:
BuildModeThumnails = All the images in the Build Mode category
CANHObjectsThumbnails = All the images in the neighborhood decorations category.
CASThumbnails = All the images in “Create A Sim” and “Create A Pet”
DesignModeThumbnails = All the images that are the recolor’s of an object.
ObjectThumbnails = All the objects in the games category excluding Build Mode objects, including aspiration rewards, career rewards, and non-buyable objects.


4. You may be asking, “What is the "zCEP-EXTRA" folder, and what are the extra files that aren’t in folders?”

The "zCEP-EXTRA" folder should NOT be deleted unless you are getting rid of the CEP’s object fixes. (You may or may not have this folder.)

The extra files are .cache files which CAN and SHOULD be deleted frequently, especially after a crash or testing. Delete them right now if you want!


This concludes the exploration of the “EA Games” Folder (User Folder)! If you have any questions, comment this tutorial or PM me! :)

Tutorials:Exploring the "EA Games" Folder