The Sims 3 Guide - Mod Guide
Modding The Sims 3
While EA's Store is a nice feature for The Sims 3, and there are some free items in there, the first two Sims games were made great by the user-generated content that numbered into tens of thousands of items – all free on the internet. EA have implemented the Store to provide items themselves (effectively creating a monopoly on objects, to stop people from providing their premium items for free). Thankfully, there is a way around this. After downloading a few files and moving a few things around, you are able to put mods and new objects into The Sims 3, and this guide aims to show you how to do this!
NOTE: Do not use this guide to download premium content for The Sims 3 for free. The instructions below are intended to allow you to use community created items.
The Sims 3 uses .package files for the majority of its extra content.
NOTE: This guide only provides instructions for Windows versions of the game.
First of all, there are a few files that must be downloaded and put in the correct location on your computer before your game will accept new content. The mega-hub at ModTheSims.com has a download that automatically does all the foot-work for you (as well as making it so you just double click the mod files and it installs them for you once you download them), which you can get here. We will cover the manual way too, however, if you don't want to change file associations or alter too much of your system.
Step One: Download the 'Framework' here. You will need WinRar or an alternative to be able to extract the files. Click 'Save' when the box appears, and put it somewhere easy to access, like your computer's Desktop.
Step Two: Right click the downloaded 'Zip' file and click extract files (this option will only appear if you have downloaded WinRar or an alternative!). Navigate to the game directory, which will be C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3, or something to that effect. Click OK to complete the extraction. You can check the destination on your computer to ensure both the Mods folder and the resource.cfg file have been added to your system.
You are now ready to go on installing new items and mods.
Go to the linked website and download the Zip file. Extract it to the right folder, check the files have been added, and you're good to go
Installing New Items
Most gamers will be happy with The Sims 3 and just want new items to extend the life of their game. The following tutorial will show how to go about doing this.
The best place to download new items from is ModTheSims.info. You need to register before they let you download anything, but it's well worth it (and it's free!). Use their site to select an object you wish to add to the game. For most things, such as new lots or items (anything really with a .package extension), you will be putting them in the same place. Go to Downloads ? Sims 3 ? and then choose your category – Buy Mode will give you in game objects and items. Pick anything that takes your fancy.
Installing new, free content is easy, once you know how
After using the link to download your chosen item, save it somewhere such as your Desktop with easy access, and extract the files to C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages. Once done, your item should now be available in game! Start up The Sims 3 and check it out – for most things the download page will tell you how to access them, but for something like a table, it should be self-explanatory – just go to the location in Buy Mode where you would usually expect to be able to purchase such an object.
NOTE: While the vast majority of items you download from third-party sites such as ModTheSims.info come in .package format, others (such as official The Sims 3 items) are Sims3Pack files. Luckily, these are even easier to install, and just require double clicking or activating from The Sims 3 Launcher.
Installing New Lots
Lots are downloaded in exactly the same way as items, but take a little more manoeuvring to get it into the game. Having downloaded the file to your computer and moved it into The Sims 3 folder, load up The Sims 3 and access Edit Town mode (you have to access one of your saved games and then go into the menu while in game to do this). Depending on whether your download was a community or private lot, you will need to open up the respective type of space on your game map. If you select a lot and try to pick your building from the menu, it will give you the plot size. Find a suitably sized location, change it to community or private depending on the downloaded file, and drag it in – you now have your new lot!
Putting one of the Sims 3 community’s impressive lots into the game.
There is a huge wealth of mods available already for The Sims 3, most designed to correct what some see as errors in the original release, or to add life to the game with new challenges. Most mods work simply by putting their .package file in the usual folder, but some require a different set of actions to get them up and running, so your best bet is to just follow the guidelines attached to each. As long as you have the ‘Framework’ in place, as described above, you shouldn’t have too many problems.
The first mod many people download is the AwesomeMod. This fixes many of the game's flaws as well as adding things like new traits. It is also a good way to test out how to install mods.
First, download the files here. Extract the .package file into your C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages directory and you should be good to go! You can only have one ‘core’ mod at a time – that is to say only one which dramatically alters the game like the AwesomeMod.
There is also a wizard to tailor the mod to your own specific needs. Check out the AwesomeMod Configuration Tool to create your own mod! You can then run it alongside the main AwesomeMod with your own unique settings in place.
As well as the AwesomeMod collection, the previously mentioned ModTheSims.info community have a good selection of mods – varying from minor alterations such as a change in animation or an invulnerable fish-tank, to alterations to many of the games functions in one package.
Apart from the AwesomeMod Configuration Tool outlined above, those hoping to design their own items, textures or entire mods for The Sims 3 have a bumpy road ahead. Depending on what it is you are trying to do, knowledge of programming, 3D design, meshes and texturing and generally a lot of work goes into making the game’s community content. The usual resource, ModTheSims.info has extensive tutorials on this side of the game, so it is recommended that you begin there.