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#1 Old 10th Dec 2020 at 8:43 PM Last edited by Jawusa : 12th Dec 2020 at 8:44 PM.
Default Tutorial: How to Safely Delete All Characters From a Neighborhood (Improved Version)
About The Tutorial
This is an adaption of Mootilda's original tutorial on How to safely delete all characters from a neighborhood, but taking an essential extra step to also further clean the sim references from the lots.

Mootilda's original tutorial was written back in 2012... it's 2020, soon 2021 now and we've learned MUCH more about sim references and corruption in general), for instance,  back in those days, one major misconception was that, we thought it'd be alright to just let the sims move out from the lots and let the furnitures vanish. But today, we know that, this won't help much. Actually, we can even KEEP the furnitures if we wish to! It's all about the leftover sim relationship files that have caused trouble for years! Not the furnitures themselves!

Note: Not all SREL files are related to sims, they can relate to objects too!, like connecting counters, etc., but since it's completely safe to remove these SREL files anyway, we can just remove all of them and the game will re-generate fresh SRELs (which are completely clean from sims and ONLY relate to objects) as needed. Actually, this method can help you to significantly reduce the file size of your lots/neighborhoods, so you might consider cleaning sim references from the lots every now and then.

By the way, this is exatly the SAME method I used to do the clean and empty neighborhood templates

Disclaimer:
I'm not claiming that Mootilda's original tutorial is bad; much the opposite! It's quite helpful actually and quite suitable to get rid of all the sims in a neighborhood, which only consists of lots that were never occupied before. She's done an amazing job and helped us a lot! But unfortunately, there's still some leftover sim references in the lot files IF they were occupied before. In this tutorial, we are going to take care of the leftover sim references too, which the original tutorial didn't acknowledge.

Additional Credits:
- Obviously a big thank you to Mootilda for writing the original tutorial and being such a great help to the sims community. We've learned so much more about game corruption, thanks to her.
- Joandsarah77 for writing the tutorial on how to remove sim references in a neat way. Thank you!
- But I'm also very grateful that Chris Hatch adapted Mootilda's LotCompressor in such a way, that sim references can literally be removed within seconds.

Let's get started...
Now for the tutorial, you'll need the following utilites:

- Mootilda's HoodReplace
- Chris Hatch's Modified LotCompressor
- Any rename utility as you wish (I use Bulk Rename Utility in this tutorial)
- SimPE

Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
My Simblr
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#2 Old 10th Dec 2020 at 9:35 PM Last edited by Jawusa : 11th Dec 2020 at 8:46 AM.
Step 1: Cleaning Up The Neighborhood

Step 1.1) Load your neighborhood you wish to clean and empty in-game. In this tutorial, I'll be emptying Aileen Landing (the neighborhood which I was working on in the last few days, lol)


Btw, for the next few steps, you MUST have "nounlinkondelete" and "nocorruptdeath" installed, because we'll be deleting tombstones and as you know, deleting tombstones without any mods is NOT a safe thing to do.

Step 1.2) Select an occupied lot in the neighborhood and load that lot.



Step 1.3) Once you've loaded the lot, make sure that there are no visitors, no phone calls, everyone's at home, ie nobody's at work or at school, etc. This is VERY important as otherwise, this might corrupt the lot when we remove the sim references later.  IF you are unsure whether there are any incoming visitors/walk-bys, unpause the game for a few seconds until you made sure that there're absolutely no sims around your lot.



Step 1.4) Now, it's time to remove ANY crafted items related to a specifc sim (such as pottery, homework, photobooth pictures, drawn paintings, written books, cooked dishes, sewn goodies, crafted robots/flowers/toys, etc.) this is important, as these objects CANNOT work properly without sim reference linked to them, so that's why they need to go. Otherwise, you'll end up with untouchable objects which will haunt your lot forever.

Most importantly, you NEED to get rid of any tombstones or sims on the lot. To do that, you may use the Stuck Object Remover to mark the to be vanished sims/tombstones. You may have to convert community lots or any other lot type to residential in order to remove the tombstones properly from the lots.



Note: It's RECOMMENDED to remove tombstones with Stuck Object Remover, since there might be leftover tombstone markers.
(See this or this post)
I'm not quite sure what's causing this, but in a previous test, apparently, there was still some linkage found to sim references in these tombstone markers. I also removed all the tombstones using the Stuck Object Remover method when I did the clean and empty neighborhood templates.
 

Step 1.5)
Unpause the game and let the sims vanish, you'll receive tons of notifications, ignore those.



If you did everything correctly, the tombstone AND its leftover tombstone marker should have vanished. You may check with Cyjon's Lot Inspector if you wish to double-check whether the lot's fine. This would also detect any tombstones or invisible walk-bys, stuck phone calls etc. if there were any. As we can see, this lot is good to go. Now we can save and exit to neighborhood.



Step 1.6) Now, we can move out the family in neighborhood view using the move-out button.



Step 1.7) Repeat the previous steps 1.2 -1.6 for all the other families until you moved out every family in the neighborhood.



Horray! We've just finished doing the most tedious part of the tutorial. The sim references are still in the lots, and so are the sims in the neighorhood, but we'll come to that in a minute! Now, treat yourself to some coffee before heading over to the second part of the tutorial!

Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
My Simblr
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#3 Old 10th Dec 2020 at 10:47 PM Last edited by Jawusa : 10th Jul 2021 at 2:51 PM.
Step 2: Setting Up The Neighborhood

Step 2.1) Create a new empty neighborhood using Mootilda's method. I'm not going to show how to create an empty neighborhood, as this would just make this tutorial even larger than it is, and Mootilda's explained it quite well, too!


If you can't use AnyGameStarter, again, Mootilda has an alternative method too. You can also manually disable the NeighborhoodTemplate folders in the Program Files in order to prevent the game from adding sims to your neighborhood. More info on that here.



Step 2.2) Now, the following steps are pretty much identical to Mootilda's original tutorial, the only difference is that I'll be adding pictures to Mootilda's method.
If you done everything correctly, you should end up with an empty neighborhood without any sims. Quit the game once you've created the neighborhood. Don't worry much about the appearance of the neighborhood, we'll fix that later.



Step 2.3)
Now, open up Mootilda's HoodReplace program, choose your occupied neighborhood on the left-hand side and the empty neighborhood on the right-hand side. Untick "Fix Elevation" for lots, since there are none in the neighborhood, and hit "Copy".



If you go check your neighborhood in-game, you should see the exact copy of your original neighborhood BUT without the lots, like this:



Step 2.4) Here, we are slightly going to deviate from Mootilda's method and do an extra step. Yeah, you guessed it right, we are going to clean the sim references now! Yayy, the most exciting part! In the past, it was a tedious process, having to go into each lot file individually and manually delete all the sim references, but today, we've got a fancy tool for that! Which makes it all exciting! :D

Open up Chris Hatch's modified LotCompressor program, choose your neighborhood and you'll see all the lots in your neighborhood in the list. Tick "Remove Weather" and "Remove SimData". Optionally, you can also compress the lots if you want to. I'd recommend you to do so. Who says no to smaller file sizes?



Step 2.5) Here comes the SimPE part! Yay!! As an reminder, always backup your neighborhoods first before using SimPE. Just in case something might go wrong. Let's assume you backed everythig up, now open up your old neighborhood in SimPE and extract all Text List (STR) files with instance numbers of 0x8000 or larger. You may have to sort by instance first if it's all mixed up. The other text list files refer to the families and are not needed.



Step 2.6) Optional, you may skip this step if you want to...
By the default, the game will swipe out all the furnitures once a sim moves out of their lots and a new sim moves in. However, if you wish to KEEP the original furnitures of the lots in the neighborhood, one single change can make the furnitures stay in your neighborhood!

Go to Lot Description (LTXT) files and look for the U0 field. There, you'll see a hexdecimal number (recognizable by the 0x suffix). Subtract 8 from there and hit commit.

If you don't quite understand, which number you should type in, use this website to convert decimal numbers into hexdecimals (and vice-versa). In our example, we have the value 0x0000002B. If we convert "2B" into decimals according to the website, we get 43. Now we can subtract 8 as usual and get 35. Let's plug that new number into the website and it'll throw a "23" back to us.

How crazy is that? Ever thought 35 = 23 is a correct equation?
Anyway, let's just... accept that and type in 0x00000023 into the U0 field and hit commit.



Step 2.7) Repeat 2.6 for all the other lots you have in your neighborhood. Usually, it shouldn't differ much from the other lots and you should just be able to copy/past the same value into U0 all over again.

Step 2.8) Once you're done, select all Lot Description (LTXT) files and extract just like you did with the Text List files.



Step 2.9) Open up your new neighborhood, right click and choose "Add" to add the extracted text list files (STR) which you've hopefully saved into a folder in the previous steps. Once imported, save the file.

Note: If you did everything right, your new neighborhood should not include any other Sim Description other than the universal sims (such as the Grim Reaper, etc.)



Step 2.10) Repeat the same step but with the Lot Description files. Save the neigborhood once you're done.



Phew! Now, all the SimPE part is done and you may close SimPE now. The rest of the tutorial is pretty much done within minutes, trust me!

Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
My Simblr
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#4 Old 10th Dec 2020 at 11:28 PM Last edited by Jawusa : 10th Jul 2021 at 2:50 PM.
Step 3: Fixing Up The Neighborhood

Step 3.1) Open up your old neighborhood's folder, which can be found in Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2 (Ultimate Collection/Neighborhoods. There you'll see a folder named "Lots". Copy it and paste it into your new neighborhood's folder.



If you want to, you may also copy the preview picture of your old neighborhood and replace it with your new neigborhood's picture. The new neighborhood's Characters folder SHOULD be empty, btw.



Step 3.2) Once you've copied over the lot files into your neighborhood. Use a rename utility (I use Bulk Rename utility) to match the file prefixes with your neighborhood's folder name. You may rename the prefix anything you want, as long as it's 4 characters long; it doesn't strictly have to follow the N### rule. BUT don't change anything else, ONLY the prefix!

In this tutorial, I'll just rename the neighborhood folder from N002 to TEST.

In Bulk Rename Utility, tick "Subfolders", select all files listed above and type in the old neighborhood's folder name in the upper "Replace" box and in the lower "With" box, type in the new neighborhood's folder name. You may have to repeat this twice if you want to rename your new neighborhood's folder name as well.



Step 3.3) Double check within the neighborhood's folder whether everything's renamed properly. All of your files should have the prefix of your neighborhood's folder name. Just like in the picture below. This is important! Otherwise, they won't show up in the game! You may also remove any left over .bkp files if there are any to keep the neighborhood clean.



Step 3.4) Test in-game! Horray! YOU DID IT! You shouldn't be surprised if you open up your neighborhood and end up with an empty, but fully built neighborhood.
 

Well, we literally wiped out everyone's existence in this town... didn't we?



The neighborhood, in all its glory... but without the sims!

If you decided to keep the furnitures in the lots, you may want to load a few lots to see whether the furnitures are still there and look, tadaa! They are all intact! All the good ol' stuff... yet, no tombstones, no sims anywhere!

And if you let the game unfurnish your lots, well, it's always good to start afresh, isn't it?



To end this tutorial, let's just enjoy the view of this magnificent planetrise in the sky, which nobody's ever seen... before! Yes, you heard it right! LITERALLY NOBODY!! Which is.... good!


Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
My Simblr
Mad Poster
#5 Old 16th Dec 2020 at 6:26 PM
Thank you so much for writing out this tutorial! OMG - that must've taken forever! {{{hugs}}}

I have been setting up the "standard" hoods in my new Laptop, the last couple weeks; and, I think I'm ready to try moving over an older hood of mine - one that I started creating, gosh, 10 years ago? Anyway... I've never really 'played' it much, but I do have it all built out - with a few custom families, plus ALL the EAxis premade's (because the hood was started soooo long ago!) I don't mind losing the few families I made - I can recreate them easy enough. I do NOT want any EAxis bin families in this hood! So, this tutorial sounds like exactly what I need to do. I will try it .

Believe me - I will come back here when I need help Thanks!

Please ~ support my TS2 habit! Shop at my Etsy shops:
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#6 Old 18th Dec 2020 at 8:48 PM
It was actually pretty fun to write this tutorial, so lol! :p
I hope I could help you with retrieving that neighborhood, good luck!

Having stealth families isn't a bad thing, they're actually charming! But them having in every neighborhood is kinda creepy. In my own game, I just made a huge megahood with all the EA neighborhoods merged. This is the only neighborhood where I let the game add the stealth families.

Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
My Simblr
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#7 Old 18th Dec 2020 at 10:39 PM
Thanks for this tutorial @Jawusa

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#8 Old 19th Dec 2020 at 6:32 PM
Hm, I'm thinking of doing this to the neighborhoods that I shared, but I'm not sure if I need to do this at all. If I've never entered live mode/created a sim in that neighborhood, then there shouldn't be any sim references there, i.e. there's nothing to clean, right?

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#9 Old 22nd Dec 2020 at 7:29 PM
@topp

If you never moved in any sims into the lots, then you should be absolutely safe.
In this case, you can even follow Mootilda's tutorial since your neighborhood only consists of uninhabited lots which were never occpied by a sim.

But you could still run Chris Hatch's Modified LotCompressor to double-check if it's really clean or not. If you open up the lots in SimPE, you might still notice that there are some SREL files, but don't worry. These sim references actually refer to objects, but are mistakenly recognized as SREL files in SimPE. There's no such thing like separate OREL files, unfortunately.

Catalogue of Custom Neighborhoods for TS2
All Hood Building Group neighborhoods are available here
Want to get rid of EA's sims in neighborhoods? Check out my Clean and Empty Steatlh Hoods and Clean and Empty Neighborhood Templates
My Simblr
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