Game Help:Avoiding Hood Corruption

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This guide, written for The Sims 2 game series, explains how some actions that occur in-game can lead to your neighborhood or game files becoming corrupt. These issues have never been fixed by EA & should be avoided by you, the player, to ensure a longer lasting game experience. Some issues listed below have been fixed or patched by community modders throughout the years to help prevent accidental corruption. This list below may be incomplete. Any new information regarding neighborhood or game corruption will be filled in as new knowledge comes to light.

Symptoms Of Neighborhood Corruption

The following is a list of some symptoms that could occur from neighborhood corruption. Some of these symptoms may not necessarily be signs of corruption, but may be of other types of problems, most commonly bad custom content.

  • Children & toddlers with long-term wants other than Grow Up.
  • Wants that don't fit the age group (e.g. a toddler who suddenly wants to go on a date).
  • Memories & thought bubbles that contain squiggly lines.
  • Memories being lost or totally random.
  • Disappearing Sims.
  • Disappearing lots.
  • Sims losing family members in their family tree.
  • Sims becoming unplayable.
  • Lots becoming unplayable.

To Avoid GAME Corruption

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DO THE FOLLOWING. These actions will not only corrupt your neighbourhood(s), but will corrupt your game installation files, resulting in corruption in all neighbourhoods. If for some reason you are desperate to do the following, back up your neighbourhoods first and set your installation files to read-only. Failure to do so will result in you losing your neghbourhoods and having to reinstall your game.

  • Interact with Mrs. Crumplebottom, the Charlatan, the Grim Reaper, etc. in any way OTHER THAN their intended in-game purpose.
Why? These characters do not have playable data. These universal non-playable characters (Universal NPCs) are objects, not sims, and they are shared by all your neighbourhoods. By interacting with them in any way other than what the game intends, you will create changes in your objects.package file. Errors associated with changing the objects.package file will effect all of your current & future neighborhoods, & could result in needing to re-install your game.
You can avoid game corruption by following these instructions to make your objects.package files read-only
Here is a thread which discusses this issue further
Here is a wiki page on Playing NPCs and Adding them to Households. Some are unsafe & adding them can cause issues.

To Avoid NEIGHBORHOOD Corruption

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING. Although these actions will not corrupt your installation files, and will not force you to reinstall your game, they will corrupt the neighbourhood(s) you perform them in. This can result in your neighbourhood becoming unplayable, and the only way to fix neighbourhood corruption is to restore an uncorrupted backup.

  • Delete sims from the Family Bin.
Why? The game doesn't delete the sim entirely. It deletes some of the affected sim's information and saves the sim as a 1 kb character file in your neighborhood's Characters folder. Other sims from the neighborhood who have memories of the deleted sim, who gossip about him or her, or who have other links to the deleted sim will try to spread missing information to other sims, which can create errors in the long run.
Here is the correct way to delete a Sim from a neighborhood
  • Delete character files (from Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 <X>\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Characters folder).
Why? Information about sims is stored in both the Characters folder and the neighbourhood's main neighbourhood.package. Without the character file of the sim, your neighborhood will be left with half a sim, and will not work properly.
Here is the correct way to delete a Sim from a neighborhood
  • Delete lot files (from Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 <X>\Neighborhoods\<Hood>\Lots folder).
Why? Information about lots is stored in both the Lots folder and the neighbourhood's main neighbourhood.package. Without the lot file, your neighborhood will be left with half a lot, and will not work properly.
If you wish to delete a lot, move out all sims or sell it if it is an owned business, use Cyjon's Lot Inspector to verify that the lot is safe to delete, and then bulldoze the lot.
  • Move an inhabited lot (lot with family) or an owned lot (owned business) to the Lot Bin.
Why? The game transfers your lot's sims out of the neighbourhood, but does not completely erase your sims' information from the neighborhood. Sims living in the neighborhood will continue having memories of the binned lot sims, and may gossip about them. This will lead to errors in the long run. Also, placing your binned lot back into the neighborhood, or into a different neighbourhood, will create new character files which are also incomplete, instead of overwriting the previous ones.
For the safest way of moving sims between neighbourhoods, see Game Help:Moving Sims. However, bear in mind that even the safe method is not 100% safe, and you should back up your neighbourhoods before moving any sims.
  • Install an occupied lot (lot with family), including packaged lots that you download with families included.
Why? If the sims had any relationships with any sims not living on the same lot in their original neighbourhood, placing the lot in your neighbourhood will create partial character files of all the sims that the lot's residents used to know. This will cause errors in the long run. You may find some occupied lots available for download which the creator has 'cleaned' to make them safe: it's up to you whether or not to risk downloading such lots, but you should be aware that the cleaning process is not 100% reliable. Occupied lots from EA which are properly patched are safe.
If you want to install someone else's sim, they should export the sim itself by following the instructions at Tutorials:How to Extract Born In game Sims EASILY.
If you want to move sims from your own neighbourhood to a different one, you should follow the instructions at Game Help:Moving Sims.
  • Use the DeleteAllCharacters cheat.
Why? This will partially delete all of your neighbourhood's sims, leaving junk incomplete information in your neighbourhood's neighbourhood.package. This incomplete information will cause errors if you continue to play the neighbourhood.
If you want to start a new neighbourhood without any sims, use empty templates such as Tarlia's.
  • Delete lots that have graves present.
Why? Graves are sims. As with deleting living sims, deleting dead sims (graves) will result in your neighbourhood containing incomplete information on those sims, which will cause errors in the long run.
  • Bin lots that have graves present.
Why? Graves are sims. Moving a lot which contains graves to the lot bin will transfer the dead sims out of the neighbourhood, but does not completely delete the sims' information from the neighbourhood. This will result in the neighbourhood containing partial information on those sims, which will cause errors in the long run. Placing a lot with graves into a neighbourhood, even if it is the same neighbourhood the lot came from, will create partial sims in the new neighbourhood, which will also cause errors in the long run.
  • Allow a Sim to die with tombstones or urns in their inventory.
Why? When a sim dies, their inventory items are deleted, as everything is treated like objects. Tombstones and urns are sims and have character file data associated with them. As mentioned, deleting a sim destroys the character file data and will cause errors in the long run via memories and gossiping from other sims who encountered the deceased sim.
  • Remove multi-pollination technician or multi-plantsim mods after they have been used in your neighborhood.
Why? Multi-PT and Multi-Plantsim mods consist of one package which affects the selection of the parent and a number of packages which are the new pollination technicians or plantsims. When removing this mod, only remove the package which affects the selection of the parent. If you remove one of the pollination technicians or plantsims, then you are basically deleting their character file, which will corrupt your neighborhood.
Here is a thread which discusses this issue further
  • Put tombstones or urns on any of the shelves that come with Open for Business and are used to sell things.
Why? When a tombstone or urn is placed on an OFB shelf, it will be duplicated. The duplicate tombstone will still be connected to the sim. This may cause the sim to become corrupted.
  • Bin empty lots that have been lived in without getting rid of the Off-World Loiterers.
Why? Off-World Loiterers are sims that attach themselves to the lot, temporarily & invisibly. They could appear through phone calls, for example, as the living sim on the lot communicates with the sim outside the lot. As with living sims, binning the lot will carry the invisible sim with the lot, and will cause long term errors.
Pescado's Lot Debugger has an option to get rid of Off-World Loiterers, but it will only appear when they are present.
  • Rezone a lot with active Sims living or staying on it.
Why? The game sets different commands for the types of lots involved. Some lots do not allow the lot to be saved, others could make the lot disappear from the neighborhood. Only perform such a task on empty, preferably new & unused lots.
  • Remove custom careers/majors while a Sim is using them.
Why? This will cause an error to the households for the sims who use them. Your household will not load, and could cause problems when the sim visits your other lots.
  • Save with Sims on the telephone.
Why? This will cause problems when the game is reset, for example when installing hacks or a new EP/SP. The sim on the other end of the phone is visiting the lot, although they are invisible - they are an off-world loiterer. If the sim making the phone call is reset, the phone call will end but the loitering sim will not be properly 'sent home'.
  • Save with ghosts active on a lot.
Why? If you save with ghosts active on a lot, the game may delete all of the tombstones on the lot.

THINGS NOT TO DO, unless you are willing to fix them using various tools & hacks...

  • Delete custom or geneticized/townified skins or eyes.
Why? This can cause a corrupted skin tone for Sims using them. Unless you are willing to fix their DNA using SimPe.
  • Delete custom foods.
Why? This breaks want trees for Sims that had it as a favorite food. Unless you install Pescado's1 Lot Debugger and are willing to reset all Sims that had a custom food set as their favorite, and are willing to remove all memories about the custom food using SimPE.
  • Let Samantha Ottomas’ pregnancy come to term.
Why? Samantha Ottomas is pregnant with babies that do not have complete data, unless you fully patched your Seasons game prior to creating the neighborhood using the Seasons EP, or prior to porting your existing neighborhood to the Seasons EP.
  • Delete tombstones/urns.
Why? As discussed previously, tombstones and urns are treated as sims with character file data, and not objects. Unless you have Pescado's1 noUnlinkOnDelete hack installed, you should not delete the tombstone/urn.
In regards to a deceased sim's tombstone/urn being damaged/smashed in-game from another sim, as long as the ashes or damaged tombstone is not deleted or trashed, that deceased sim's character file remains intact. If you do not have this hack installed, DO NOT SAVE YOUR GAME. Instead, quit back to the neighborhood WITHOUT SAVING, and play back to the time before the tombstone/urn was damaged/smashed.
  • Resurrect dead pre-made Sims that shipped with the game.
Why? Most deceased sims have missing character data (e.g. Skip Broke, Darleen Dreamer etc.).
If you fully read and follow the proper instructions in the following guide, you can then perform resurrection of these deceased sims

Suggested Mods, Hacks, & Programs To Help Reduce Hood Corruption

Some actions listed above can be prevented or remedied by using mods created by skilled programmers. The following is a small list of items that are suggested to be placed in your game's Downloads folder for safer & easier game play. Although some items listed may not be needed, they help fight unintentional doings by the player. As an important precaution, always back-up your neighborhood's folder prior to using or testing these mods, in case something goes wrong.

This mod prevents shredding of a deceased sim's information when their tombstone or urn is deleted in-game by the player selling the object, or if the urn is smashed AND swept up by a sim to a trash bin. It is highly recommended to preserve the sim's character file data in the event other sims gossip about the deceased sim, in case of resurrection, or in case of sim DNA needed for future generations of sims born in-game.
This mod will move your apartment lot's graves to a community lot of your choice, in the event you decided to kill off your sim's household in your game's current apartment cruel, cruel player, you! The program also allows you to keep said graves on the lot, if you choose to do so.
This mod prevents unnecessary quantities of certain NPC sims, such as preventing several Tour Guides, or preventing several Unsavory Charlatans for spawning. Instead, the game will call upon those already made NPCs.
This is an object that can be found in the Miscellaneous/Miscellaneous section of the Buy Mode catalog. This object provides several debugging options that can be used to trash memories, fix off-world loiterers, and can be used for deleting a sim the correct way. The options for the object can be seen in-game.
This is a program created to detect any unusual references & instances in your neighborhood's folder. It attempts to fix most instances relations to Family Ties, Sim Relations (SREL), Sims Wants and Fears (SWAF), and Memories. It also reports missing sim character file data, misplaced graves, and other items of interest, as found in the link above.
This is a program created to properly install lot files packaged as ".sims2pack" files into your game via the Teleport folder. It is used as a replacement to the game's default installer. This program will show you the lot's likeness, any custom content, any Sim family living on it, the family's associated Sims, along with other data that may not be recommended to install to your game.

Other Items Of Concern To Maintain Safe Game Play

You should also be aware that the neighborhoods which are shipped with the game have some problems. Strangetown is particularly problematic. You can solve some of these problems by installing clean templates, such as these clean and fixed templates from Tarlia:

You may also want to install empty templates for the stealth sub-neighborhoods, to avoid unnecessary townies and Family Bin sims:,13382.0.html

The discussion thread for this article can be found here:

1 Pescado's hacks can be found at MATY in the hacks directory under your most current EP:

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