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Better Names v3 (2010-11-15)

by chann Posted 31st Jul 2009 at 6:31 PM - Updated 14th Nov 2010 at 12:28 PM by channTL : new version
89 Comments / replies (Who?) - 25 Feedback Posts
DESCRIPTION

Better Names completely overhauls the default name lists (male, female and surname) that TS3 uses for randomly generated Sims - NPCs, "townie" employees and bosses, and Sims created through Story Progression.

I've endeavoured to rebuild the name list from scratch, working mainly from U.S., British, Canadian and Australian sources (birth and census records). The resulting name list, in my opinion, suits the setting of the Sims much better than EA's mish-mash of names from varying cultures or nationalities.

I have nothing against multiculturalism, but in the context of the game EA's random names stick out like a sore thumb because they inevitably get assigned to Sims who in no way resemble the racial/cultural/national background of the name they're given. That's why this mod uses mostly "Western" names.

This mod should not re-assign the names of existing Sims but any newly-generated ones will take on names from this mod. Check out the screenshots to see some examples of names.

I created this mod using STBLizer - check out the thread for the templates I originally used to create the names (but keep in mind there are probably simpler, less invasive ways to accomplish the same things these days...)

INSTALLATION

Install like any TS3 tuning mod - set up the Resource.cfg framework, and place into Mods\Packages\.

**NEW** a version called "AwesomeNames" has been added for all your AwesomeMod! users, which uses the custom name loader feature. To activate it, after installation you must set the Generator Keys in the configuration utility to "ChannBetterNames". Or add the fields to the XML yourself. Plug and play. See this image:



There's no significant difference using this version versus the default, except that it's easier to swap in and out with other custom name packages - plus the package itself a smaller size (because the duplicates are unnecessary).

COMPATIBILITY AND LIMITATIONS
  • This mod works with all language versions of the game as of version 3.
  • As a STBL mod this is compatible with all known core mods. The only incompatibility is with identical name-list mods, unless those mods add names rather than replace the default ones.
  • chann_AwesomeNames.package requires AwesomeMod, otherwise it won't do anything

CREDITS
  • Peter and Inge Jones for s3pe/s3pi
  • Tiger for describing the process of loading a partial STBL with a unique instance.
  • Digitalchaos for the STBL Duplicator
  • Everybody that put in the hard work deciphering the file formats

CHANGELOG

Version 3 (2010-11-16)
  • STBLs made multilanguage with STBL duplicator
  • Added a non-replacing, smaller version which can be used with AwesomeMod's loader
  • Fixed the instances, because a later patch changed the way STBLs load. I don't exactly know when the 'old way' of loading strings stopped working - may have been the release of Ambitions? Try it and see.

Version 2 (2009-08-06)
  • Repackaged files to be much smaller and use the override method (thanks to Tiger for describing it)
  • Fixed the instances, because a later patch changed the way STBLs load.

Version 1 (2009-08-01)
  • Initial release. Uses the "total STBL replacement" method - Unlikely to even work anymore.

Type:

You must have the expansion or stuff packs listed below installed to use this custom content. Please see the post text for any exceptions.

Sims 3
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
chann_AwesomeNames_v1.zip | Newest version of BetterNames mod - download this if you have AM!

Size: 1,019.0 KB · Downloads: 1,977 · 14th Nov 2010
1,019.0 KB 1,977 14th Nov 2010
chann_BetterNames_v3.zip | Newest version of BetterNames mod - download this!

Size: 1.93 MB · Downloads: 3,620 · 14th Nov 2010
1.93 MB 3,620 14th Nov 2010
BetterNames_version_2.zip | does not work with base patch 1.17

Size: 76.5 KB · Downloads: 6,735 · 6th Aug 2009
76.5 KB 6,735 6th Aug 2009
BetterNames.zip | Old version of BetterNames mod - only use if newer ones have problems

Size: 1.04 MB · Downloads: 2,742 · 31st Jul 2009
1.04 MB 2,742 31st Jul 2009
Don't forget to Thank the creator after downloading! Use the Thanks button located above the screenshots above.
Basic Download and Install Instructions:

See: Game Help:TS3 CC Basicswiki for a full guide!
 
89 Comments / Replies (Who?) - 75 Feedback Posts, 10 Thanks Posts
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Inventor
#26 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 3:08 AM
Actually, I rather like some of the odd choices the game comes up with. But yeah, I'd love to have that tool and the template! :D
Lab Assistant
#27 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 3:26 AM
I think it would be cool if you could make a mod like this, but where we could input our own names into it. I personally have no problem with the names you picked, but others would like to different ones and I personally think I would like more name choices then listed. Anyways it would be cool if you made something like that.
Instructor
#28 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 5:34 AM
Thanks for this. I had something similar in TS2 (can't remember who created it) and it was awesome.
Test Subject
#29 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 6:04 AM
Thank you for the mod, I am looking forward to all the "regional" naming mods that may come out of this. Thanks so much for this fun alternative.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#30 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 8:04 AM Last edited by channTL : 1st Aug 2009 at 8:05 AM. Reason: errant bracket
Everyone interested in making name mods:
The tool that I made this mod with can be found here for the time being. I'll post a .zip in that thread shortly that contains the proper STBL keys for male, female and last names. What you need to do is compile a list of names (keep in mind that about 1000 male and female and 3000 last names are needed), then simply replace the names in the .CSV file with your own and import them using the tool.

The order of names doesn't matter as long as you have enough to match the number of hash keys.

@gomezismycat: No, many more names will appear than in the pictures, those are just random townies I spawned with testing cheats.

@jordi: LOL, I wasn't trying to steal your thunder! You can have your throne back now.

@toyou1214: Yes, a lot of them are ugly names. But consider these 4 things:

1) Coming up with thousands of names is hard! After picking just the ones I liked, I barely made it to about 500 male and 600 female names. After that you've got no choice but to throw in the esoteric names.

2) In TS3, all names have an equal chance of appearing. Ideally, each name would be weighted for frequency so common names like "Jack" and "Emily" appear a lot more. What you get in-game is the odd names coming up much more often, which is why they often look "unnatural".

3) The game's random name engine is finicky and loves to pick the same name over and over. And it will always be a name that you hate.

4) Many of the names (especially for girls) came from Australian state birth records. Blame the parents of today for giving their kids crazy names.

@Cheapncheerful: No, this is an English mod only. Also, there's two Portuguese STBLs (Portugal and Brazilian), so name mods made in one dialect won't work in the other.

@ingeli: Did you know the 1.3 patch fixed the male Amanda? Along with about five spelling mistakes in the whole game

@ibCONNOR-: That's OK, the names can't be to everyone's taste, but more will appear than the ones in the example screenies.

@mosbyte: I understand, it's a real broad-brush treatment. I feel that "neutral" Americanized names fit dark-skinned Sims better than the out-of-place Hispanic or Asian ones any day. There's not really an easy solution to it, in the end; the game will always indiscriminately pick names. However you might be interested to know one of my sources was a list of common Black American surnames.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#31 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 9:06 AM
Name templates have been uploaded to the first post in the TS3 String Importer test thread.
Scholar
#32 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 11:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by channTL
1) Coming up with thousands of names is hard! After picking just the ones I liked, I barely made it to about 500 male and 600 female names. After that you've got no choice but to throw in the esoteric names.

2) In TS3, all names have an equal chance of appearing. Ideally, each name would be weighted for frequency so common names like "Jack" and "Emily" appear a lot more. What you get in-game is the odd names coming up much more often, which is why they often look "unnatural".


I think a good idea might be to add duplicate entries for common (first) names. This way you won't have to use esoteric names to fill the list, and it doesn't really hurt, if there are a few people with the same common name in the town, does it?
Instructor
#33 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 12:04 PM Last edited by Anshin Lanugo : 1st Aug 2009 at 6:50 PM.
channTL - Awesome! Thank you so much for giving us the tools to create our own lists!

For inspiration, here's an wonderful name site which includes many international top name lists:

http://www.behindthename.com

Not buying TS4 until Terrain Sculpting is back and cheatless Split Levels are added!
Here's an idea: Stairs Pitch Slider.
"...We've always been at war with EAstasia."
Test Subject
#34 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 12:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draken777
lol amazing name "Peter Littlejohn" is a name :D


I used to have a boss with that name in real life!

So definitely two thumbs up for realism channTL.
Instructor
#35 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 12:39 PM
Thanks again, also for the tools. I just finished my own version
Mad Poster
#36 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 1:13 PM
the names in ur sample still seem strange and unnatural.
Scholar
#37 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 3:16 PM
Totally Agree!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eniwa
Why would someone post something like this on someone else's board? Be thankful at least they created the mod, that can now be learned by others, and open the doors to options of custom content on TS3, even if you absolutely abhor those names.

But at least my thanks to whoever created this. Contrary to ts2, I fail at figuring out custom content/mod creation on ts3.
xD


I guess I'm nosy;
it bothers me when someone doesn't just thank
the individual that took the time to make/share their product.
I was taught that if you can't find something nice to say,say nothing at all!
so I'll say thanks...,I sooo needed this!

"What we say is good for nothing, if we say nothing for good.".
Test Subject
#38 Old 1st Aug 2009 at 8:29 PM
Ohhh.. I would also loooooooove if there was a mod that made asian names, mostly japanese, I name all my sims some japanese names, and I would like to make a whole neighbourhood with only japanese looking houses.. that would be soo neat
Test Subject
#39 Old 2nd Aug 2009 at 12:16 AM
Oh thank god!

Those default names were horrible!
Test Subject
#40 Old 2nd Aug 2009 at 4:12 AM
Really, couldn't you have made normal first AND last names beacause the names are very strange usually (Keenan Flashman comes to mind) and almost nobody has a name like that.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#41 Old 2nd Aug 2009 at 6:30 AM Last edited by channTL : 2nd Aug 2009 at 6:41 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitromon
the names in ur sample still seem strange and unnatural.


Quote:
Originally Posted by corn!
Really, couldn't you have made normal first AND last names beacause the names are very strange usually (Keenan Flashman comes to mind) and almost nobody has a name like that.


This mod is not perfect and never will be. It's quirky. Instead of "Better names", it could be called "Not as bad as EA names" because that was my intention in making it!

Remember that such changes to the game are subjective. I have provided the tools I used to create this mod. If this one is not to your taste, wait for/use an alternative mod that you do like, or stick to the EA names. Criticism/feedback is fine by me, but it isn't really productive in this sort of situation. I don't plan on changing this mod's design. I feel providing the means to do it yourself is enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonha
I think a good idea might be to add duplicate entries for common (first) names. This way you won't have to use esoteric names to fill the list, and it doesn't really hurt, if there are a few people with the same common name in the town, does it?


Good idea, I thought about this too, but came to the conclusion it would be "wasted space" in the end. I decided to put variety over realism and not worry about balancing the overall number of names with the number of duplicates.

Unrelated aside: "Littlejohn" is actually a default EA name! I used WinMerge to compare my initial list of names with the default STBL list -it must have been one of the duplicates
Instructor
#42 Old 2nd Aug 2009 at 11:25 AM
(duplicating common names)

Quote:
Originally Posted by channTL
Good idea, I thought about this too, but came to the conclusion it would be "wasted space" in the end. I decided to put variety over realism and not worry about balancing the overall number of names with the number of duplicates.


I've not duplicated any names, but for common names I included several variants. So besides John there's Johnny, besides Michael there's Mike, Mich, etc.. For more uncommon names (not in the top 300) I picked only the most common variant.

I'm going to check if, combined with an XML mod, it is possible to extend the namelist to include more male, female, and last names. Hopefully it will be.
Pescado also mentioned he might be able to allow an STBL 'plugin' for Awesomemod to work, which should remove the need to hack the common STBL altogether and do away with the size limits.
Lab Assistant
#43 Old 2nd Aug 2009 at 9:18 PM
This looks really cool, but I think I'll try and make one myself with my own names. I hope it isn't too hard...

At the moment I'm finding female names I like, right now I'm just starting on G and I have 185 names
Test Subject
#44 Old 3rd Aug 2009 at 1:12 AM
Thank you so much for making this, some of those default names were awful. I know nothing about modding, but I was able to figure out how to get in and change half of the girls names(I wanted some gaelic names thrown in there), and it took me forever. I can't even imagine having to redo them all, for girls, boys, and surnames! So I(and my sims) really appreciate all your work. Thanks again!
Field Researcher
#45 Old 3rd Aug 2009 at 4:24 AM
I'm afraid the selection of names is not appealing to me at all. You didn't even just use "Western" names -- I see no French or German names (Darcy = French (ish), Katz = German, so don't claim that they're not "normal" names), which would be (and are) prevalent in places like England or American. You used a large number of Irish or Scottish last names, and some which are purely British, and even a few that are just two English words mashed together. The last type, of course, I find dreadfully unappealing.

As well, you chose very... "modern" names. "Kym", for instance, is VERY 1990s/2000s, and despite my being born in 1993, it does not appeal to me whatsoever. The name "Stevan" makes me cringe, and pity the poor child given such a name -- it smells horribly like a lack of spellcheck on the part of the parents.

And lastly, you really can't tell someone's ethnic background very well by looking at them, despite what you may think. It's ridiculously easy to make a Sim that fits the names "Jeanette", "Samia", and "Yukiko" about equally well, and even moreso when you consider that people from Iran occasionally do move to Sweden or Germany or China or wherever have you. An Arabic-looking "Sanja", "Mingmei", or "Helga", therefore, isn't something to be considered bizarre at all, in my opinion.
It's kind of like how you would consider a somewhat Asian-looking Sim named "Steve Johnson" not to be all that odd, no?

I'm sorry for you if you don't like negative feedback, but the last part of this, especially, needs to be said.

Edit: I'm no longer irritated with you upon seeing your latest comment (I do hate how it only shows a certain number at a time, with you having to change pages to see the rest...), but I'll leave this here anyways. And thank you for the guide and program -- I am actually somewhat interested in making "Mingmei" a default Sim name, now. xD
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#46 Old 3rd Aug 2009 at 8:37 AM
If this mod only contained the names I like, there would be no way I could "fill" the entire name list without duplicates!

I'm glad you took the time to read the comments anyway thiafy - I don't take negative feedback to heart, if that's what you mean. Names are very personal things and inclusion/exclusion of them seems to be surprisingly provocative.
Test Subject
#47 Old 7th Aug 2009 at 1:31 AM
I'm not sure whether to post this here in your naming mod comments, or to post it in your string importer comments, in the end I decided it might be a bit more relevant here. I hope I am correct!

I thought I could pull this off, but I guess with no previous modding experience I need a little more help making my own naming mod. I haven't patched my game to 1.3 yet because I don't want to "fix" what isn't broke, so where exactly is the .package file I need to open with s3pe? What is the name/type/instance of the resource I need to be looking at?

So after I find it, export it to a STBL file, I open the string importer, select that particular file, the revised .csv templates you posted and import? That is my best guess anyway... haha

Then I save and import into S3PE with the correct type/instance combo and save it as AnythingIdLikeToCallIt.package and install it to my mods folder?

I think I understand the overall concept, but if you could help answer my questions that would be lovely of you. This is a wonderful idea for a mod (if only I weren't so programming-illiterate)!
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#48 Old 7th Aug 2009 at 2:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by a-wenzel
I think I understand the overall concept, but if you could help answer my questions that would be lovely of you. This is a wonderful idea for a mod (if only I weren't so programming-illiterate)!


Hi, I just uploaded a new version of the tool. The new version generates STBLs from scratch instead of needing to copy the strings from an original STBL. The good news is it will work with or without patches, and if you JUST want a name mod you don't even have to extract the STBL anymore!

But just in case you want to, the original STBL is in FullBuild0.package:

Type: 0x220557DA
Instance: 0x000F16B00BA8342F
Name: Strings_ENG_US_0x00F16B00BA8342F

Anyway, the new process is to open the new version of the tool (STBLizer) and click "Compile", then select your modified CSVs in the dialog. The tool will run through them and prompt you to save a new STBL.

After that you go back to S3PE and import the new STBL. Use the same type, but choose a NEW instance (read the first post in the STBLizer thread for details). I use Snaitf's FNV Generator to generate the instance, then I change the last 4 bytes so they come in below the "magic key". For example, if the last 4 bytes generated are 8A9FABD7, I change it to 009FABD7.

Apart from the changes I've mentioned, you're on the right track.
Test Subject
#49 Old 22nd Aug 2009 at 3:41 AM
Wow, I applaud your hard work going through all those names. Some of EA's names are just plain ridiculous. I'm trying to create my own name file for personal use, but I'm a little stuck. I've completely edited all the names I want to have and used the stblizer to create a new stbl from the csv files. But now I'm not sure what to do next. Do I need to import the file into s3pe? I thought that was next, but the import option is grayed out for me, and it wouldn't let me just open the files either.
Lab Assistant
#50 Old 20th Sep 2009 at 1:37 PM Last edited by jonayla : 20th Sep 2009 at 2:42 PM. Reason: made some changes
Hi, just a quick question: some of my newly story progression created sims have a weird name and I was thinking is this a side effect of the mod or should I be looking at different direction? [img=http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/2563/clipboard01jo.jpg]

I love your names, btw

God loved the birds and created trees. Man loved the birds and created cages -Jaques Duvall
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