Difference between revisions of "Game Help:What are Hacks?"

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==What Are Hacks... and How Can They Effect My Game?==
  
==What Are Hacks And How Can They Affect My Game?==
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Hacks (also called mods) are custom content files that change something about the way the game works.  An individual hack may change something incredibly small (like allowing you to cancel the action when a sim is trying to make the bed), or may change lots of things in your game (like adding teen pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, etc.).  The more things a hack changes, the more likely it is to have a conflict, but even the smallest of hacks potentially can conflict or be incompatible.
  
===Explanation===
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===What is a hack conflict?===
  
Almost all of the problems I read about people having with the game are caused by hack conflicts. People don't realise that hacks aren't so much addons to the game, as modifications to it, and they can cause problems. This page gives you a brief insight into how a computer works, and how hacks work - and more specifically, how they can upset the game.
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A hack conflict occurs when you have two hacks that are trying to change the same thing.  For instance, if you have two hacks that change the way sims handle food when they take it out of the fridge...  The first hack says "serve = 1" and the second hack says "serve = 0" ... the game doesn't know how to handle two different settings for the same thing, so you may end up with the food going "poof!" and disappearing when your sim goes to get it.
  
===Terminology===
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* You may be able to detect hack conflicts by using the Hack Conflict Detection Utility by Paladin at http://www.simwardrobe.com - while it is not 100% reliable it may help if you are running into problems that you believe may be due to conflicting hacks.
  
To clear things from the start, the CPU is a little chip inside your computer, that does all the processing. Think of it as your brain - a small part of the overall system. And as with your brain, other parts are needed to complete and make the system work.
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===What are incompatible hacks?===
Also, the word "hack" and "game modification" is virtually interchangable, although "game modification" can also refer to changes that aren't created by hacks. In this post, treat them both as the same.
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===Answer===
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You may also run into incompatible hacks... most hacks (especially complex ones with many functions) are designed to be compatible with only one version of the game, i.e. a certain set of expansion packs must be installed for that hack to work properly.  If you don't have all the needed expansion packs, or if you get new expansions and keep in old hacks, you can run into major problems.  This is especially true with mega-hacks like the [[InSIMenator]] and the [[InTEENimater]] but this can also happen with any hack.  You never know what has been changed, updated, or tweaked in the code for a new expansion, so the only safe thing to do is to remove ALL your hacks until they are updated, or you can confirm with the original creator that they're okay to use in the new expansion.
  
To really understand what a hack is, you need to understand how a computer program works.
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* There is no utility that will detect incompatible hacks in your game.  You must assume that all of your hacks are incompatible with any new expansions you get, and remove them before installing the new expansion.  For more information, see: [[Game Help:Preparing for the Next Expansion]].
  
==Computer programs==
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===Other hack-related problems...===
  
A computer is not intelligent. That's not lining up a joke, it really isn't intelligent in the true sense, a computer has to be told exactly what to do.
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You may also run into issues with perfectly working hacks if you have certain functions of them in use in your game and you remove the hacks from your Downloads folder... For example, if you have a hack that allows for teen pregnancy, and you have a teen in your game that is pregnant, if you remove the teen pregnancy hack, you may run into game crashes, freezes, or other issues when trying to load the house with your pregnant teen.
  
When you first switch it on, a piece of software tells the main CPU how to handle each of the system components.
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For this reason, you should make sure that any functions of any hacks you're using are not currently in use in any of your lots before you delete them or remove them from your Downloads.
  
Then the Operating System (e.g. Windows XP) takes up the task of loading itself in. To do this it merely follows instructions in a set way.
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===Why should you care?===
 
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Once Windows is loaded and you start loading programs or games, again all that's happening is a set of instructions are being followed. This involves data being flowed around the various parts of the computer system (CPU, Memory, Hard disks etc) and the output to you, the user, is what you see on the monitor. Any input from you, the user, is made by mouse/keyboard/gamepad etc.
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To grab a true understanding of this, think about how you'd make a cup of tea. It doesn't *just happen*, you have do things to make it happen.
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* Get a cup.
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* Fill the kettle with enough water.
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* Put the kettle on to boil.
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* Put teabag in cup.
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* Wait for kettle to boil .. etc.
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That's what a computer has to do to produce something on screen. This document your reading probably took the processing of tens of thousands of individual instructions to be displayed.
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==Hacks==
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As well as being told what to do, a computer has to be able to keep track of certain things. For example it needs to make a note that it has filled the kettle and that it has put the teabag in. This is done by keeping certain values in memory. In the English sense, this means putting something like set teabag = true in the instruction list. It gets a lot more complicated than that, but that's basically what happens.
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Everything that does something in The Sims 2 has an 'identifier', which is remembered as a value. So lets take the mailbox for example, it has an 'identifier' and a set of instructions that are attached to that identifier.
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Now lets say you download a hack that adds certain things onto the mailbox. The game is designed to scour through your downloads folder (among others). It will read your new mailbox hack and see that the identifier matches that of the game's one. By design, it will then read in the instructions from your downloaded mailbox and you will get all the extra things that it's designed to do.
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Because it is read at a "game level" (rather than specific to any house) all your houses across all your neighbourhood will be affected by this hack.. they will all have the modified mailbox.
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Now there are two real problems that can occur.
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* If you execute a particular command on the hacked mailbox that is not on the original mailbox, and then you remove the hacked one from your downloads, the saved file can become screwed up because it's looking for something that isn't there. This is why you sometimes get screwed up houses (it's not the only reason of course, sometimes it's just because of a bug in the software)
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* If you have multiple hacks, they can 'cross' each other. It's all very technical but basically things can clash together, perhaps when hack 1 says set bills = 2 and hack 2 says set bills = red. When hack 1 comes looking to see what bills is set at, it will be set at something completely unexpected. And when something unexpected happens, unless the computer has been told a specific way to deal with it, it won't know what to do. And because it's not intelligent, it will do something unexpected, such as freeze or crash the game.
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''Over 95% (probably) of all problems that users have with The Sims 2 are caused by hacks conflicting with each other, and hopefully now you should understand why.''
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'''About 90% of problems users have with The Sims 2 are caused by hack conflicts or incompatible hacks!'''  Keep the hacks you download to a minimum, know what hacks you have by [[Game Help:Organizing Custom Content|organizing your custom content]], and when/if you run into problems you believe are caused by incompatible hacks, try our [[Game Help:Game Problem|Game Problem FAQ]].
  
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==Related Links==
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* [[Game Help:Game Problem]]
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* [[Game Help:Finding Problem Custom Content]]
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* [[Game Help:Preparing for the Next Expansion]]
 
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[[Category:Game Help]]

Revision as of 08:05, 1 May 2007

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Contents

What Are Hacks... and How Can They Effect My Game?

Hacks (also called mods) are custom content files that change something about the way the game works. An individual hack may change something incredibly small (like allowing you to cancel the action when a sim is trying to make the bed), or may change lots of things in your game (like adding teen pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, etc.). The more things a hack changes, the more likely it is to have a conflict, but even the smallest of hacks potentially can conflict or be incompatible.

What is a hack conflict?

A hack conflict occurs when you have two hacks that are trying to change the same thing. For instance, if you have two hacks that change the way sims handle food when they take it out of the fridge... The first hack says "serve = 1" and the second hack says "serve = 0" ... the game doesn't know how to handle two different settings for the same thing, so you may end up with the food going "poof!" and disappearing when your sim goes to get it.

  • You may be able to detect hack conflicts by using the Hack Conflict Detection Utility by Paladin at http://www.simwardrobe.com - while it is not 100% reliable it may help if you are running into problems that you believe may be due to conflicting hacks.

What are incompatible hacks?

You may also run into incompatible hacks... most hacks (especially complex ones with many functions) are designed to be compatible with only one version of the game, i.e. a certain set of expansion packs must be installed for that hack to work properly. If you don't have all the needed expansion packs, or if you get new expansions and keep in old hacks, you can run into major problems. This is especially true with mega-hacks like the InSIMenator and the InTEENimater but this can also happen with any hack. You never know what has been changed, updated, or tweaked in the code for a new expansion, so the only safe thing to do is to remove ALL your hacks until they are updated, or you can confirm with the original creator that they're okay to use in the new expansion.

  • There is no utility that will detect incompatible hacks in your game. You must assume that all of your hacks are incompatible with any new expansions you get, and remove them before installing the new expansion. For more information, see: Game Help:Preparing for the Next Expansion.

Other hack-related problems...

You may also run into issues with perfectly working hacks if you have certain functions of them in use in your game and you remove the hacks from your Downloads folder... For example, if you have a hack that allows for teen pregnancy, and you have a teen in your game that is pregnant, if you remove the teen pregnancy hack, you may run into game crashes, freezes, or other issues when trying to load the house with your pregnant teen.

For this reason, you should make sure that any functions of any hacks you're using are not currently in use in any of your lots before you delete them or remove them from your Downloads.

Why should you care?

About 90% of problems users have with The Sims 2 are caused by hack conflicts or incompatible hacks! Keep the hacks you download to a minimum, know what hacks you have by organizing your custom content, and when/if you run into problems you believe are caused by incompatible hacks, try our Game Problem FAQ.

Related Links

Sims 2 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Expansion Packs  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Body Shop & Homecrafter  | Miscellaneous Issues  | FAQ Index

MTS's Sims 2 Q&A Help Forums

Search: 

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