Game Help:TS3 CC Basics
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The Sims 3 Custom Content Basics
This guide explains the basics of downloading and installing custom content for The Sims 3. It is not a full guide to every little detail, but a general overview to help you get started. It will also link you to other pages with more information, where needed.
Zip and Rar Files
A zip or rar file is what is known as an "archive" file. An archive is sort of like a folder on your computer. It has its own name and location, and it can contain other files and folders inside of it. An archive is a bit better than a folder, though, as the files inside it are compressed, so the space taken up on your computer is smaller. This also makes it faster to download, as there's less data being sent.
Opening an archive file and uncompressing the contents to use elsewhere is known as extracting. You will usually need a special program on your computer to extract from most archive files (though your computer may already know how to do this with zip files). There are many programs that can extract from archives, some better than others.
Before you get started with Sims 3 custom content, you should download and install one of these programs to extract from archives. Just save the program to your computer and double-click it to run it and install it like any program.
Windows XP/Vista/7:We recommend the use of 7-Zip. For more information on installing 7-Zip and extracting from archives using it, click here: Extracting from Archives Using 7-Zip.
Mac OSX:We recommend the use of Keka. For more information on installing Keka and extracting from archives using it, click here: Extracting from Archives Using Keka.
Read About the Content
It may be tempting to just go and download a whole bunch of stuff, but it really is important to read the info about each item before you choose to download it. There's some specific things you should look for:
Certain content may only work with specific expansion or stuff packs, and may only work with certain patch versions. This is especially important with hacks/mods (things that modify game behavior - for example, allowing kleptomaniac sims to steal stuff whenever instead of only after 7 PM) as the game's code may have changed.
A mod that worked with a previous version of the game may have unwanted behavior in later versions (for example, outdated mods might prevent your sims from doing anything but mean interactions with each other).
Make sure the thing you're downloading is compatible with the rest of the content you have. Read carefully about what you're downloading, so you know if there are any known conflicts with other items, or if you can only have one of that type of thing.
Some content overrides (temporarily replaces) game content. For these types of things, you can only have one replacement - one set of default replacement eyes, one set of default replacement skintones (though often creators split them so you can choose only the female skins or only the face skins or whatever), etc.
Mods and hacks can also conflict. Things like core mods (such as Awesomemod) can often conflict with other core mods, and possibly tuning mods. Most creators of content of this type will list things that are known to conflict with their creation.
Where to Look In-Game
Most content will show up in a particular place in-game. Read the creator's description to see where - for example, a custom pattern might say that it shows up under the "fabric" category. A decorative object might say it shows up in "decorative - misc." Knowing where to look in-game means you'll know whether the item is showing up once you put it in your game, as you're looking in the right place for it.
Some content may be non-standard in the way you have to install it. Sometimes you'll need to delete cache files, start a new save, or otherwise do something a bit different than usual.
Types of Sims 3 Files
There are three main types of files that you'll encounter in TS3