Category Archives: The Sims

The Sims House Party

The second expansion pack for The Sims that allows them to party (or Partay)

Objects

Some of the objects that come with House party, there are other items like chairs and tables that are not listed here since they have a similar function to the base game objects.
Granny Raymond’s Holiday Cookies: A plate of cookies you can buy direct from buy mode. If you leave them on a table next to the fireplace, along with a Christmas tree from livin It Up, Santa will appear.
Birthday Cake: Another buyable food item, kids can choose to blow out the candles, although this does not age them up however (You need a charm in makin magic for that)
SimFarm Turkey Dinner: A piece of turkey sims can buy and carve up
Punchucopia Extraordinaria Punchbowl: sims or their cater can refill to keep guests satisfied at parties
The Elegant Chef Buffet Table: Used to serve a starter, main meal and desert from one table, excellent for parties or for large gatherings.
Fancy Feet Cake Treat: Spawns a male or female dancer (Stripper), or if it’s a kids party, a giant bear. Give a boost to the fun motive.
KampRite Instant Campfire: Sims can sit round the camp fire and sing songs, tell stories or roast marshmallow
Spazmatronic Plasmatronic Go-Go Cage: A Dancing cage, boosts fun. Best place with the dance floor and the DJ booth
Turntablitz DJ Booth: Used for the dance floor but can also function as a radio, has access to all radio stations in the game.
Jukebox: Two versions of this seem to exist, the first is just labelled as the Jukebox and has access to only the fault radio stations in the game. An updated version comes with Hot Date that can select all music tracks House party has to offer.
Bounce My Booty Dance Floor: The dance floor where sims can get their groove on. It’s a 2×2 tile than can be combined together in various patterns. When sims are dancing, the floor will light up in various different patters and colours.
Porta-Parody Costume Trunk: A costume trunk that can be used to give your party a fancy dress theme. When one sim changes their costume, all sims will change to that costume theme.

Screenshots

Sims carving some turkey, which is buyable from buymode. When carving, sims will stand round and clap until its served.

The dance floor, in the front of someone’s living room. Puts Dance Central to shame

The costume trunk, ideal for themes parties. Available themes are Western, Disco, Toga

Here sims are rocking the disco theme

The buffet tables and the hireable caterer, sims can restock the table themselves at a cost of §20. A punchbowl can also be restocked.

The campfire, sims can tell a ghost story, roast marshmallows or sing a folk song.

Neighborhoods

The expansion pack adds support for multiple neighbourhoods if you’ve not installed Livin It Up, Neighbourhoods 6-8 are added, since the game assumes Livin it Up has been installed and takes the place of 2-5. Its easy to add custom hoods. More hoods an be added by going into the games directory in the Program Files folder, and adding a new UsedataX folder, where X will be the new number (since the game creates 8 hoods, you would start at 9) and can support up to 99 unique hoods.

NPCs

The Mime: Appears when you are throwing a shit party, sometimes tries to steal your items. Leaves automatically once your party score has increased
Party Crashers: Appear when you are throwing a good party, these two (Pete and Pauline Dropinsky) will arrive and will try to wreck anything in the party, including breaking objects as they use them. Best to get rid of them as soon as possible.
The Caterer: Can be hired through the phone, main purpose is to restock the buffet table and the punch bowel. He will also socialize with the guests if he has nothing to do. You must have a buffet table or a punch bowel or he will leave.
Drew Carey: Some American celebrity who appears when you have thrown a great party, arrives in a limo of which sims will rush to it upon arrival. For those who don’t know who Drew carey, he was a popular late night show host, like Jimmy Kimmel back when late night talk shows weren’t biased towards a specific political party.

Some new NPCs have additional roles:
Police Officer: If you throw a party after 8pm, Officer meddling will appear regarding about a complaint by one of your neighbours regarding the noise. You are supposed to disband and end the party by asking the guests to leave. Should you fail to do so she will reappear after 2 hours (10pm) and will fine you.

Install

The games installer will pick up from the previous install, and will automatically install the game patch.

Disc read error upon install, caused by a scratched CD.

HTML view of the The Sims House Party, listing sims that are currently moved into the neighbourhood. Sims could be viewed here before they were uploaded onto the Sims exchange, which was a place where families and houses could be downloaded.

The Sims Bustin Out

The first exclusive console release of The Sims, and sequel to the original console port. The Sims Bustin Out reuses a lot of assets from the original game with many objects returning along with their animations, however a revised user interface for both Live and the Build/Buy modes. Sims themselves have been redesigned along with new hairstyles, customizations and clothes styles.

The game builds from the previous console instalment and a lot of objects looks familiar. An improvement is the lighting engine, sunrise and sunsets are gradual and look more natural comparted to the previous title, which would blank the screen whilst it switch to day or night mode. The lots themselves are more details with various background elements that set the environment, like moms house being set on a barn, Clubb Rubb being set in a city downtown, Shiny Things Labs being set in a waste plant and Casa Caliente set on a beach.

Bustin Out Mode

The main game mode that is similar to Get A life mode from the first release. You start off at Mom’s house and then progress onto different lots, gaining several job promotions along the way. As you gain promotions and unlock goals you will unlock new objects and social interactions, many of which were exclusive to The Sims Bustin out.

Goals

Like the previous game, Most levels had a few common goals that most be completed in order to unlock new locations, social interactions and objects

Parties can be started by using the Throw Party option on the telephone, which is available from 8am to 11pm. Once started, a random collection of sims will arrive to your house (Just like the MySpace bulletin parties back in the day). To throw a good parties you have to keep your guests needs satisfied. Complete this by serving a few meals (Pizza, BBQ burgers or a meal from the fridge), have plenty of toilets of which you may want to build more outside the house since some lots only have one bathroom. A large table with plenty of room, a few free counters and a dishwasher are also highly recommended. A hot tub is a must, although its quite expensive to buy. Lastly have some music in the background and some entertainment objects. Either a good TV, the unlockable game console,

Its worth noting that if your guests motives fall low, your guests will leave automatically. You can call sims individually if you require a specific guest, which is needed for a few goals. A little cheat you can do is using the Aromaster, and choose the Juniper and Rosemary setting in increate your sims energy in that room.

Upgrade or make improvements: Just spend a certain amount of cash on new objects, or sell and buy new objects to replace the old ones.

Get to know (Sim) Better: Make friends with the named sim, this normally unlocks a new social interaction or a item of clothing.

Lots

Dream Club: The opening dream sequence where you are in a nightclub. You have to kiss your admirer, who turns out to be Candy/Peter from Free Street. This lot is very similar to 3 Free Street in Free play mode judging by the environment surrounding the lot. Sadly this lot does not appear again, the closest to it would be Club Rubb.

Mom’s House: the starting level, House is like a cottage barn. No bus will arrive here for work but is a great place to upgrade your skills, and if your money goes under 200 you will receive a phone call will a reward as a way to earn money. The only annoying bit is Mom like to turn the jukebox/radio on at night.

Mimi’s House: Unlocked after you get a job, some careers will branch here. It’s a decent lot with two bedrooms so there’s plenty of space. Mimi herself is annoying and will constantly make meals and try to interact with out, often standing in the way. The house on the other hard is pretty much complete with little to no improvements needed, its just a bit too .. pink? Probably just purchase a computer or a skill building item, and change the carpet to a more masculine colour.

Dudley’s Trailer: Also unlocked after you get a job, this lot is used for certain careers and is set on a desert trailer park.  Like Mimi, Dudley will also try to interact with you and will cook food constantly. As for the lot itself it’s a bit shit, but not the worst the game has to offer, you will have to clean up the entire lot since there’s a lot of trash. You will want to improve the kitchen area, and replace the couch for a more comfortable one. Also build or expand the bathroom, since sims tend to get stuck in there due to how cramped it is, maybe create an outhouse keeping with the trailer park theme.

Goth Manor: Remember the Goth family from the first Sims game? They reappear here albeit without Cassandra. This might mean the game was set before Cassandra was born, or they just abandoned her. Bella and Mortimer are present, along with a large synthesizer that they love to play at 2am of the morning, thankfully this is in a separate room and won’t wake your sim which is surprising considering how loud it is. You can only control your sim and Mortimer (or Bella if your sim is female) so one if them is guaranteed to be playing the synth. Also if you invite guests round, they start playing the synth too.

Like other Goth households in the sims, this one is haunted and has a chance of ghosts appearing at night. There is even a mission goal for communicating and convincing the ghosts to leave by using the crystal ball.

Studio 8: This is supposed to be an art gallery although I found it a pain to live in since half the lot is dedicated for the gallery. Not much fun items here so you will need to buy a TV or have your sim paint on the easel to increate their fun, which wont be possible if they are in a bad mood. Just don’t sell the art items, since they tend to increase in value over time.

Toane’s Gym: Another crap lot to live in since this is supposed to be a gym but you only have one back room for all sims on a lot to sleep in. It would make sense it this game supported two-story buildings so you could at least have an apartment on the second floor instead of having a couple of rooms squished at the back.

At this point its worth mentioning some of these levels from this point forward have goals relating to marriage, you only have to get married once and it will unlock on every lot you move in. Same applies for the children goal.

Casa Caliente: Some sort of beach shack, set on a tropical beach. You will need to purchase two beds since Malcom will take the existing (unlockable) bed. Overall this is a nice lot to play on since its set on a beech and you have background noise of the waves to listen to.

Club Rubb: A nightclub, this is similar but not the same as the club in the dream sequence when you first started the game. Sadly Malcom takes the dance floor and the laser thing. There are also no bedrooms, and there is some hut at the back of the lot with a recliner and a toaster oven. There are also no bathrooms or showers.

Shiny Things Labs: My favorite lot, this is themed after a desert laboratory, like the Curious family from The Sims 2, Strangetown neighborhood. Its also well equipped with beds, proper bathrooms. Only thing its missing is a living area but there’s plenty of items to increase your sims fun rating.

This maid is fearless

Tinsel Bluffs: looks like a Hollywood themed house, with a garden that overlooks the city. Plenty of well equipped items on this lot although Malcom does take the high end TV.

Pixel Acres: A nudist colony, bet you’d never thought you would see this on The Sims. Thankfully the sim themselves are censored. A gripe with this levels is there’s near to no fucking rooms! That means if you purchase a TV or a stereo , ensure it is turned off otherwise it will wake your sim, since it and the sims beds are in the same room (Outside, which the game considered to be one large room). Also make sure you hire a maid, or ensure you clean up after your sim since dirty plates will cause the room score to plummet. Honestly this is one of the worst levels of the game since there are little rooms built. I ended up building a small hut just for my sim and partner. Chase and Ying were left outside however, if they choose to live like that that’s their choice.

The Octagon: This is a military themed lot, similar to the Grunt family in The Sims 2, you might want to upgrade some of the objects here since the beds are quite basic. Everything else seems to be Ok.

Malcom’s Mansion: The final level of the game, and it’s a nice one being set in a typical mansion. Still only one floor though. The good news is Malcom gets kicked out of the house, allowing for your sim to move in freely.

Free Play Mode

This is the sandbox mode of the Sims game and is quite a downgrade compared to the previous release. You only have three lots to play with on this game, compared to the six on the previous console instalment. And you have a different set of careers in this mode which we will talk about later.

The game save for this mode is intertwined with the bustin out mode which means sims from that mode will appear once your sim progresses to a certain point. The intention is that your player sim can marry and have one of those free play sims move in with your sim, rather than being stuck with your premade sim.

Up to 8 save games can be made, when you take into account the three lots per sim you have up to 24 different sims that can be saved. However only three can be interacted with at a time, its not possible for sims from one save file to appear in another save. Also each save games will have its objects locked again, unless you unlock them again in Bustin Out Mode.

Honestly this mode seems to restrictive and feels like it was tacked on at the last minute. For open ended gameplay you are best of sticking with the PC version of the Sims, or if you prefer playing on s console or like 3D graphics, the original Sims release for consoles.

Lots:

Tutti: A sausage party consisting of four males, intended to be married by a female sim in Bustin Out mode. If you have played the previous console instalment you will recognise some of the names

Frutti: All female version of the Tutti family

Careers

There are seen new careers in Bustin Out mode and five new careers in Free Play mode. These careers remain exclusive to the game and do not appear in the PC counterpart. I’m not sure why the careers are separated by the game mode, as it would have been fun to play this in both Bustin Out and Free Play mode.

Bustin Out Mode:

Paramilitary, Movie Star, Mad Scientist, Jock, Gangster, Fashion Victim and Counter Culture.

Free Play Mode:

Slacker, Swindler, Rock Star, Computer Geek and Artist.

Objects

A few unique objects that are exclusive to the game, many of these are related to skill building

Tumultech Sim-Phony Synthesizer

Like the piano it increases the sims creative skill. The tune that it plays depends on your sims creative level. Bella and Mortimer love to play this at 2am of the morning

Crystal Ball

Can be used to tell your sims fortune and to communicate with the dead, required to complete a goal at Goth manor.

Gene Genie Incubator

Use this to create your sims logic skill and to create a mutant plant which will eat your sims trash. Unlocked after being promoted to virus breeder in the Scientist career.

Sham-Shag Polar Rug

A carpet for your sims to relax on, required to complete a goal as Casa Caliente

Diving board

Sims can perform a single, double or a triple flip, which is required for a later goal. Sims can die if they perform tricks if their needs are low.

Tappan Yakki

Great for parties since it can serve 5 people at a time and is very satisfying for hunger. This can also be used for an outdoor table

Ping pong table

Another fun group activity that raises fun and social with other sims.

Tetherball

Multiple sims can play with this. Unlocked by promotion to Love Guru in the Counter Culture Career Path

Drink’s bar

Also good for parties, sims can make and serve drinks for other sims and builds the cooking skill

Floyd Co. laser Light Show

Emits laser effects and can boost your sims mood. Unlocked at Fingernail Painter in the Fashion Victim Career path.

Kraftking Potters Wheel

Like the artist block, finished pots can be sold. Higher the creative skill, the more valuable the pots will be.

Miss Gyrotic

A programmable robot, similar to the Servo object in The Sims Livin Large. Can be set to clean, socialize and guard. Unlocked after being promoted to Robotician in the Scientist career.

Gyrosport Abdominator

Looks similar to the one in The Sims 2, builds the body skill the fastest. Unlocked by completing the “Seek and Destroy Bioweapons” goal

Hellagraphix 1024 Diamond Edition

A holograph powered game console, does not require a TV and good for playing with multiple sims. Service NPCs can also play with this in a group session. Unlocked following promotion to Boot Polisher in the Paramilitary career.

Sonic Shower

Also in the first console game but not the PC release. Supposedly vibrates all the dirt of your sim with sound, ideal for sims with low neat personality since it does not flood.

Nostalgico Microphone

Fastest way to build the charisma skill, unlocked after getting promoted to Sex Symbol in the Movie Star Career Path.

Information Overload by Bu Butubu

A TV with 9 screens and a snack dispenser, unlocked after reaching Head Coach in the Jock Career Path

Console Specific Features

PlayStation 2 – Online Weekend: Exclusive to the PS2 version, this was an online mode that used the PS2 network adaptor to connect online. This has since ben shut down, but has been resurrected using the same netcode as the Sims Online ran on.

Strangely the Xbox version lacks any sort of online play, which is an odd decision by EA since every Xbox has an ethernet port and was designed for online play, whilst older PS2 units require a network adaptor to go online (The PS2 slim wasn’t a thing when this game was released) Therefore the install base for online play would have been smaller for the PS2 compared to the Xbox, despite the PS2 selling much more consoles.

Xbox – High Definition: The Xbox version is capable of running in high definition with the use of a component cable for the NTSC version of the console. PAL/Europe consoles have this feature disabled since HD wasn’t a standard until the launch of the Xbox 360, but can be enabled by softmodding the console and changing the consoles EEPROM to NTSC and using the component cable. The only issues is the UI does not scale very well with the opening FMV being centered in a pilliarbox, but the 3D environment itself does and is a noticeable improvement with the higher resolution.

(How does this compare to emulated Gamecube/PS2 versions? that are upscaled)

Gamecube – Gameboy Link: The Gamecube version can link with the GameBoy advance version to exchange minigames.

Screenshots from the Gamecube version, captured on the Nintendo Wii using DIOS MIOS. Textures are slightly downgraded, but is hardly noticeable compared to the Xbox version.

Common Annoyances

Lights – They keep breaking. Literally after a few days of your sim being on a lot all the light will be out, with the interaction ‘Replace Bulb’ needed to fix the light. This is common amongst all three console versions and require your sim to constantly repair the lights otherwise the lot will be in darkness. Hiring a handyman will help, but they will soon break, one by one. I even had one break a couple of seconds after it was fixed.

Gossip – This social interaction is a huge pain. First is every sim loves to do it, it’s the most used autonomous social interaction so your sims will often be doing it. The second issue is the time it takes to perform the interaction, sims will often gossip 3-4 times per interaction. Lastly its hard to cancel, literally nothing can stop this interaction once it starts. I’ve had sims miss work because they were stuck gossiping with a sim

Dialogue Boxes – Affects Bustin out mode. NPC sims will often try to tell to you directly though the game, usually by telling you a certain hints on how to complete certain goals or general game mechanics like taking care of your needs. Usually this is fine if there was a way to disable them, but you can’t.

Object Limiter: See the bar on the left when you’re in buy mode? That’s the object limiter since these console has a restriction on the amount of objects that could be placed because of the limited Ram these console had. It’s the same throughout despite the console having varying amounts of RAM (PS2 had 32MB, Xbox 64MB)

The Sims Livin It Up

Also known as Sims Livin Large, not sure why they changed the title but Livin large sounds like a fat acceptance movement slogan…

The first of many expansion packs for The Sims, and a must have since the base game was quite barren for content. Lets see what’s been added:

Multiple neighborhoods can coexist, and the expansion ships with 5 extra goods for up to 50 different lots/families. More can be added by navigating to the games system directory, and creating a new Userdata folder (up to 99 supported). Each hood has its own set of lots and families, and with later expansions they also have unique NPCs what show up on their lots. Sims from one neighborhood will not appear in another, and the appearance cannot be customized, unless you mod and load an altered bitmap has the hoods background screen, but I think the game only allows one background bitmap to be set for all hoods. You would still be stuck with the name neighborhood background.

Objects

Genie Lamp: When rubbed, will summon a genie who give the choice of two wishes. Unfortunately they have a chance of going wrong.

Here you can chose between two random choices

A nice result, our wish was granted and we got a free high end TV

Unfortunately it was the exact same model that we have already had.

Wishes can go wrong, I’m not sure on the change (Possibly 50/50) but when a wish backfires it can result in something drastic, like an object being set on fire or overdue bills being spawned. Always save before making a wish

Vibromatic heart bed: A bed that increases comfort and is where the magic happens. Costs 20 to use the vibration function each time which sucks considering its an expensive bed.

Telescope: Can be used to increase the logic skill and satisfies the fun meter. There is a chance your sim can be abducted by aliens. When this happens they will be returned with a new randomized personality.

When an abduction occurs, all sims will walk to the telescope, cry for a minute and then go back to what they were doing.

Moosehead: Shows the current mood of the lot, its ankers are based on the average mood off all sims and is useful for later expansion packs like House party to judge if a party is going well.


The Concatenation Station: A chemistry station where sims can make potions. This is created at random.
Blue: The most likely potion to be made, fills 3 needs bar which are chosen at random
Orange: Sims become invisible for the next 12 hours
Light Green: The one to avoid, this causes nearly all needs to plummet to low levels
Dark Green: Makes an evil clone of your sim who will perform bad interactions with other Sims, causing their relationship to suffer
Red: Makes a random sim fall in love with them
Purple: Turns your sim into a monster
White: Will cure any sickness, only creatable by a sick sim
Yellow: Inverts the Sims personality for all points
Creating any potions runs the risk of a visit from the police complaining about the smell, and you may be fined. The chemistry table also has a risk of exploding and must be repaired before it can be reused, this will not cause a fire however.

Servo: A robot that acts as the Maid, Gardiner and repairman all in one NPC, one of the most expensive objects in the game. However he has to manually turned on by your sim, he doesn’t come out automatically when a mess has been made but he can be instructed to serve meals.

Voodoo doll: This can be used by sims to annoy or frustrate another sim which results in their comfort level dropping. Useful to get rid of unwanted guests (Not NPCs)

The little bugger itself (not the sim), be careful when you own this

The gerbil painting, which helps cure the disease.

Whilst your sims cannot communicate with the dead, or look into the future, Instead your sims will be given a quest, of which they will be rewarded with a change of personality.

NPCs

Grim Reaper: Appears when a sim has died, can be pled with who will either ignore, resurrect the sim, or resurrect them as a zombie.

Monster: Resembles Frankenstein, Should your sim drink a specific potion, they will temporally turn into a monster and will break all items on the lot and will need to be repaired, however they seem to like painting. If there is an easel on the lot they will paint until they turn back.

Tragic Clown: Appears when your sims has the tragic clown painting and your sim is in a bad mood. If installing on a fresh install, his painting will appear on prebuilt lots.

The tragic clown in action. The only advantage he brings is you can socialize with him to boost your social motive, otherwise he will become a hindrance since he will wake your sim up if they’re sleeping.

Other additions

New floors and walls have been added that allow you to theme your Sims houses as if they were from a certain period, there’s a medieval look, or a retro 50/60s look to a interpreted future theme, complete with teleports that act as stairs or spaceship like doors.

Sickness: Guinea pig, this was one of the more controversial features that was added to this expansion pack, since its possible for your sim to get sick and die which was not known to many players at the time leaving them to wonder why their sims kept randomly dying since the game only informer when your sim has died, but not the cause of death. This disease is caused by having your sim play with the guinea pig whilst its either hungry or if its cage is dirty. Once your sim has been bitten their energy motive will begin to decay faster, and sims will start coughing and sneezing. To cure, the ill sim must have plenty of rest and motives should be kept as high as possible.
The disease is contagious, and can be passed to other sims via contact.

Roaches: Another annoying feature, they appear if your lot is dirty. If there’s dirty dishes or a lot of trash on the lot.

The Sims Deluxe Edition

This SKU was introduced in 2002 and replaces The Sims, And the Livin It up Expansion pack since it combines content from the two games. This became the new base game as the previous titles were discontinued, and further deluxe bundles were introduced in specific markets that combined certain expansion packs, like Triple Deluxe which bundles House party and On Holiday.

The neighborhood screen has been slightly altered with the top bar being added for for use with future expansion packs (Hot Date and On Holiday)

Deluxe Edition also comes bundled with the Sims Creator which is used for creating Sims faces for use in the game. You can also import a photo and paste it onto a Sims head for use in the game. Also most downloadable objects that were released on the EA website were included, but not the downloadable families like the Hatfield’s or the Jones. Deluxe edition still ships with the premade sims, including the Mashuga’s from the Living It Up expansion.

Version information and the build date

Fun with the Sims – Console Version – Part 3

GameCube edition

With the Xbox version of The Sims I discovered a way to load story mode sims in the normal sandbox mode of the game,which would allow all Story mode lots and sims (Landgrabb, Roomies, Peacock, Party Guys/Girls) to be fully playable. Normally you are not able to control and play these sims directly except for Dudley/Mimi and whichever Roomies/Party sims you have picked to move in with. There is a way to trick the game into loading these lots and treating it a a normal sandbox mode save by renaming some ngh files around.

Ngh files are like an archive or the character files and house files used by the game. If you are familiar with the PC version of the original game they are equivalent to the Userdata folder, but in the form of a single file. ngh files on the disc serve as the default savegame when the player starts a new game, and are then converted/signed and saved to the memory card of the console, or the hard drive in the case of the xbox. Since the game stores template ngh files on the disc, we swap the files around , ie the default and story files over we can load story lots in the sandbox mode of the game. Sadly ngh files cannot be extracted, unlike the ARC files so we cannot manipulate the files individually as we would with the PC version.

To do this on the GameCube, it s a bit more complicated, since the Gamecube deals with ISO files for its backups, as opposed to the xbox which lets you rip and store the files as is on its hard drive, no ISO images needed. and since most modded dashboard have a file manager built in you are able to manipulate the game files on the xbox itself. Gamecube images on the other hand have some sort of protection mechanism which makes editing no so straight forward without some additional software. That being GCRebuilder.

You will need a Gamecube capable of loading backup game, or a soft-modded Nintendo Wii with a Gamecube controller and memory card support. At least with the Gamecube have the option of using the Dolphin emulator which makes it easier to test the game. I’m using both Dolphin and a Nintendo Wii with DIOS-MIOS installed to run Gamecube backups.

Editing the Gamecube ISO images

GCRebuilder is a Windows based utility but will work with wine or lutris. For this we are going to trick the game by renaming a few files that the game uses to load the default neighbourhoods. Since the files us the same format, we can rename then if we want to load lots in another mode.

  1. Select Image, Then Open
  2. Select the iso file, in this case it would be Sims backup iso
  3. Once loaded, Right click root (near &&SystemData folder), then select Export
  4. Once it has fully extracted, close the image by selecting Image, then Close
  5. Choose the folder to export it too, this will export the contents of the disc to the folder for editing
  6. Navigate to the folder with the extracted contents, there should be a root, and within that a Runtime folder where the files are located.
  7. Swap the chall, default and story files around by renaming them
  8. Rebuild the image

chall.ngh – used for the 2 player challenge mode

default.ngh – default neighbourhood for the play the sims mode

story.ngh – default neighbourhood used for the get a life game mode. Most of the sims and lots are hidden are available in a level based format. There are some sims here that were never meant to be controlled with.

You will want to backup the default.ngh file, and rename the story.ngh or chall.ngh to default.ngh to trick the game into starting a new file with the swapped ngh file. Once you save the game, you can restore the original iso/disc since the lots/sims will be saved onto the memory card.

  1. Select Root, then Open, and then navigate to the folder that has the extracted sims files and select the root folder.
  2. To rebuild the new iso file, choose Root, the Save
  3. Finally, Choose Root, then Rebuild
  4. Test the image using the Dolphin emulator

Pre Made save-files

Download (Box)

Download (OneDrive)

The save files have both the story and the challenge mode sims and lots into pre-made neighbourhoods that can be loaded in ‘Play the Sims’ mode

Unfortunately you can only have one save file per memory card unlike the Xbox or PS2 versions, this means that unless you have two Gamecube memory cards that you can swap, you can only have one neighbourhood installed along with one story mode save. This is probably due to the Gamecube memory cards having only 512KB, versus the 8MB PS2 and the 4GB user formatted storage in the Xbox.

With a real Gamecube, you can use an Action Replay, or a equivalent device to copy the save file. With the Wii, depending on if the Wii is soft-modded and what home-brew the Wii is running to run Gamecube backups, DIOS-MIOS and Nintendont allow you to create virtual memory cards or you can use home-brew utilities to copy save files from a FAT32 memory stick to a real Gamecube memory card, providing your Wii console model has Gamecube memory card slots.

The Sims Xbox 2002

Fun with The Sims – Console Version – Part 2

Last month I looked at the console release of The Sims in depth, mainly studying the game files and the format they are saved in.

One type of file that took my interest was the ngh files, specifically the story, chall and default.ngh files. I know these had some bearing on how the game stored the default neighbourhoods.

The Sims Xbox
The level 3 house
The Sims Xbox
Party Girls household in the level 5 house

The story and chall/challenge files were essentially customized neighbourhood’s, even to an extent we were able to extract and load them on a standard PC copy of the game, albeit with some workarounds but the lots and to some extent, sims were mostly playable, minus some missing objects that were exclusive to the console version.

I wonder what would happen if we swapped these files around, like if we tricked the game into loading the story neighbourhood in play the sims mode, in theory it should allow us to play the story mode sims and their respective lots in a sandbox style mode, along with full customization. What happened if we added the challenge/multiplayer lots into the mix?

The Sims Xbox, Roomies
The Roomies

To do this we need access to a modified console, since we will be modifying the games data files, and its easier if the game is stored on the Xbox hard drive rather than having to compile / burn a disc image.

File List

Story.nghDefault files for ‘Get a Life’ mode
Chall.nghDefault files for the Bonus multiplayer modes
Default.nghDefault neighborhood for the ‘Play the Sims’ mode

Getting Started

For this I used the Xbox version of the game, purely due to the fact it is running a soft modded dashboard with FTP access, which makes it easier to manipulate the files without having to rebuild iso images. Before we start. Ensure you have backed up your games files, specifically the ngh files that we will be swapping around.

To to this we simply rename the ngh files to the one we want to trick the game to load, so to create a sandbox neighborhood with story lots and sims we simply rename story.ngh to default.ngh. We might have to change the original default.ngh to default2.ngh to prevent file conflicts.

Loading Story lots in Play the Sims mode

Possible – Works well and all story mode sims appear without any issues. The level 4 house does exist and appears in the map screen but cannot be selected since this lot is not accessible directly from the game – the lot appears on 4 Sim Avenue which was disabled by the game quite late in development, I’m not sure if they’re is a way to access the lot with cheats or debug actions. It does appear for a short second before moving away to the next lot.

The Sims Xbox menu
Unoccupied families, some debug sims appear here

Some sims are duplicated (Dudley/Mimi Langrabb) and some test sims exist such as Jane House. In the xbox version there is a sim called DJ Tooter who never appears in the actual game, and seems to be slightly corrupted as is thumbnail uses an image from the Pc version.

The Sims Xbox Create a Family
This surprised me, the games CAS is normally limited to 4 sims per family, but here we have up to 8 sims without any issues
The Sims XBox create a sim
Editing pre-made sims causes them to lose their custom thumbnails

All of the above sims and lots can be moved in and played without any restrictions. No issues with saving or loading lots.

Loading Story lots in Challenge mode

Varies a lot, some lots work but you cannot complete any objectives. Some lots don’t load correctly

Loading Challenge lots in Play the sims mode

Possible – outcome is the same as when we imported the files into the PC version, only this time we have access to all objects and sims looks the way they are intended instead of the default face/skins. Interesting is some families have more than 4 sims, in fact one family has 8 sims, yet the game runs fine although switching between them is far from ideal since you have to spawn the button multiple times to cycle though the sims. Normally the game limit’s you to a max of 4 controllable sims per lot. Some sims here are copies of the story mode sims, with some differences with the personality points. There are a lot of unoccupied sims, which serve as the NPC’s for these mode’s.

The Sims xbox original
You can see the a house on 4 Sim Avenue, which is not normally accessible from the game

Not all lots are playable, one lot appears (The Frat House) in the neighbourhood view but we cannot access it despite there being a family that is occupied in the lot. They don’t have a telephone so you are unable to call or invite them round but they do attend party’s and will walk by the lot occasionally. Other lots don’t appear on the screen, because there are only space for 6 lots and this mode has 8. We are missing one of the Handyman/maid lots which exists in the game but we cannot make it appear since they are mapped to houses 08 and 09 which do not show up in game, the console neighbourhood only holds up to 6 lots.

Loading Challenge lots in Get A Life mode

This one works somewhat, the game tried to load the Dream House at the start of the game, but loads the Maid’s house instead, and we are unable to complete any of the objectives needed to progress through the level the game also ends after a minute and quits back to the main menu screen.

On the Gamecube version though the dolphin emulator, if we use the level skip debug command, we can load the first level, however sadly we hit another road block where we get endless dialogue boxes from MOM. The script gets stuck in an endless loop since the sim in question does not spawn on the lot. Unfortunately we are unable to continue past this point, even with the debug commands.

Loading Sandbox/Play the Sims lots in Challenge mode

Only some lots load, many load a blank lot with no sims. Sadly we are not able to complete any of the challenge mode, and some lots load to a blank lot with the game stuck at 3x Speed, since there are no sims on that lot and the build and buy modes are disabled in this mode.

Loading Sandbox Play the Sims lots in Get A Life mode

Not much luck with this one, game crashes when trying to load the dream mansion lot. Possibly because this hood does not have enough sims to populate, or the lot does not exist.

Downloads

Xbox Premade Save Files

Works best on a modded xbox with an FTP supported dashboard,

There are two files, one for the Story mode sims and the other for the Challenge mode sims. Both neighborhoods have all playable families and lots with a couple being inaccessible due to limitations with the ‘Play the Sims’ mode of the game

Xbox: copy to E:/UDATA/4541002F/

If your Xbox is not modified you need to use software that can write to FATX volumes, along with a supported USB drive and a XBOX to USB cable or Action Replay. You will then need to use the Xbox dashboard to transfer from the memory unit back onto the hard drive.

Download Link:

https://app.box.com/s/qxdhk0ivy6uivypnxn3hrgybz0qyv7ul

Can the same be done on The Sims Bustin Out?

Probably Not.

The NGH files look to be embedded into one of the many arc files, which is a customized format used by the game. We can extract the game files using the same QuickBMS script, however I have yet to come across a NGH file. It’s possible Bustin Out uses its own structure that makes it incompatible with the format that the PC and console versions use.

If you look at the Bustin Out lots, they seem to look similar to the first console release in terms of build mode tools, but some lots have custom backdrops, like Tinsel Bluffs having a city/mountain backdrop and Casa Calente having a seaside backdrop. The original console version however had a standard stone wall surrounded by green grass, in style with the neighborhood theme.

The sims themselves however may be compatible, they both have the same personality system, and the create a sim items are mostly the same in terms of customization.

To be frank with the Sims Bustin out, as much as I liked the game, the free-play mode was disappointing compared to the previous since console installment. With only 3 Freeplay lots there isn’t much room for a proper sandbox style game which limits what you can do. Also EA had designed 5 careers that were exclusive to Free Play mode

I can’t understand why the other Bustin out premade sims were not fully playable, whilst you could control them you they were unable to progress through their careers, or where you able to marry or move them out or switch them to a different career. I understand that those sims are tied to some goals but surly if you have completed all goals you should be able to unlock the ability for proper control of these sims, since they are no longer needed to fulfil your sims goals. Some sims were not controllable at all (Dudley/Mimi Landgrabb, Bella and Charity if your sim was a male) It seems like EA wanted to focus on the story mode of the game rather than the sandbox as to not distract from the PC version of the game, which had it’s seventh expansion pack around the time of Bustin Out’s release, as-well as the upcoming Sims 2.

See it in action

The Sims – Story mode sims in Freeplay mode – YouTube

Fun with The Sims – Console Version

When the sims was released for consoles in 2002, it was not a straight 1:1 port of the PC game. Whilst the PC version played using a 2D isometric perspective with the sims themselves being rendered in 3D. This was mostly since 3D capable graphics card were not that common in most desktop PC’s, and because The Sims being considered an experimental game, Maxis wanted to keep the minimum specifications as low as possible.

When The Sims was ported to consoles, the developers had the opportunity to render the game fully in 3D, a first in the series. There were however some gameplay secrifices that had to be made, mainly due to the reduced memory of the consoles. First is that you are limited to a single story building – no upstairs, probably to make the game more simple and because it may have been awkward to switch between the two stories using the game controller without resorting to a key combination, as all the buttons had been mapped for other uses. Another annoying limitation was the object limiter, which limited the amount of objects you could have on a lot, due to the amount of memory on the consoles.

The Gamecube release, captured from Dolphin Emulator

Despite the differences with the graphics, the gameplay was mostly intact with many of the objects from the PC base game being included, along with some console exclusive objects. Many of the pre-made Sims appear here with the same members, The Goths with Mortimer, Bella and Cassandra, The Roomies with Chris and Melissa, the Newbie, Pleasant and Bachelor families still being present. The only major difference is the Sims and their world being fully rendered in 3D. The lots are mostly the same with the absence of the second story, although the mansion from the first game is missing.

A new addition to the game was the ‘Get a Life’ mode, which was a single player level based mode where you create your own Sim who has to progress through a rags to riches style of gameplay. Your Sim would basically start from their parents house and would have to get a job and upgrade their skills, after two promotions they would progress onto the next stage in a new lot, along with certain other challenges. The en goal being to reach the top of their career ladder and to get married. Players would also have to upgrade the lot by purchasing new furniture, meeting new friends and hosting many parties. The Sims Bustin Out would later expand on this formula greatly, and would be the basis for the Urbz and would influence The Sims Life Stories spin offs.

Another console exclusive feature was the two player mode, where two players could control two different Sim’s on the same lot by using a second controller,this would split the screen and allow each Sim to be controlled by both players. There are also mini games (Challenge mode) that are centred around this feature were two players would compete to get the most friends, or to get the cleanest house.

Because of the Similarities of the PC and console versions, I wondered if they were both compatible with each others data, as in you could extract a lot from the PC version and load it on the console version. There are a few challenges to this, since the PC version used 2D graphics compared to the 3d models that the console uses, and the Sims themselves are rendered differently. It’s worth looking at the console disk images to see if there are any similarities to the PC version.

PC Version (The Sims – Base Game only)Console Version
Two story buildingsSingle Story building
Can only choose from a selectionCan customize hair, face, eyes, mouth, makeup
Can only choose from a selectionCan customize top, bottom, shoes and colour of each item
10 lots selectable6 lots selectable + 1 hidden/disabled
8 selectable sims per household4 selectable sims per household
Cannot edit lots without a family moved in until Unleashed EPCan enter build/buy without a family moved in
One PlayerUp to two players with two controllers
Near unlimited objectsObject limiter (may vary on console)
Online Exchange support – Now OfflineNo Online support for DLNS/Xbox Live

The ARC

I started with the Xbox version, since the XBOX was built on the PC architecture with it’s Intel processor,and since it’s possible to ftp directly into a modified Xbox rather than having to extract and recreate an iso image. First obstacle I ran into were these ARC files, which were also present in the Gamecube and PS2 versions. They were quite large files and contained a bulk of the games size. These files store a bulk of the games content.

In order to extract data from this you will need a custom utility with a plugin that understands these formats. From a bit of research ARC was a older compression format what fell out of use once zip took over. Nintendo also used ARC format as a container format for their games similar to the CAB format used on Windows however this seems to be a different format only used by Nintendo. There are also several different ARC formats that are incompatible with each other, which makes it hard to extract files form this format, and makes it harder to inject files into an existing ARC file. i’m not sure if these formats are different format that share the same extension, or there is some encryption/passcode involved.

What’s interesting is each console has a different file size for their respective ARC file, with the Gamecube being the largest. Maybe they are duplicating the files on the Gamecube version in order to reduce loading times? or the Xbox version might be compressed more? This would make sense for the sound and cutscene since they would be using the wmv and wma format for audio on the Xbox, the PS2 may have used MPEG2 since the Emotion Engine had an onboard MPEG2 decoder for it’s DVD player. The Gamecube does not have an onboard decoder so it needs to decode video and audio in software, which would affect the codec’s being used, and in turn affect the file size.

Runtime Folder

Looking on the Gamecube disc there is a Runtime folder that holds data for the default neighbourhoods, along with the sims, lots, and occupied objects (but not the objects themselves, or the skins, wall or floors). At first I assumed this was where the game pulls the default neighbourhood data from when creating an new memory card file, and would act as a template, however closely inspecting a batch files, it seems this folder is used to create the .ngh file which is kind of like a zip or cab archive of the above folders. The runtime folder is not present on the Xbox or Playstation 2 versions, but the ngh files are.

Folders

ChalData – for the 2 player lots

StoryData – a neighbourhood for the get a life mode

UserData – a neighbourhood for the play the sims mode / sandbox

These are template folders, I assume they get created to the memory card upon creating a new game, and the memory cards hold an ‘zipped’ or arced copy of the files.

There are 4 batch (.bat) files that were used to create the ngh files, here’s what exportstory.bat looks like;

..\bin\SimsNghExport.exe @allcharacters.rsp -iWallsFloors.ini StoryData story.ngh

pause

SimsNghExport.exe – program used to create the ngh files, sadly not on disc

allcharaters.rsp – this file lists all the NPC and playable sims that shipped with the game, what gender/age and their skin-tone and clothing but NOT personality or job. I’m guessing that specific data is stored in the respective userXXXX.iff file, with the console specific stuff being referred to in this ngh file. The key field looks to the the sim name since I cant find any userid?

iWalllsFloors.ini – not sure, just a bunch of numbers, might be remapping the PC walls to the console version?

StoryData – folder, contains character files and house .iff files, basically the equivalent to the Userdata folder on the PC version

story.ngh – the output file

need to look the this ngh format, is it an archive? Is it compressed? Can we add and remove data with it?

This got me thinking if we could take this data and load it into the pc version of the game? After all, the extensions are the same (.iff) although the file sizes are smaller. In order to investigate further we need to call a old friend called Windows…

For this we are using the original unpatched sims base game, with no expansions.

First I started off by copying the entire userdata folder from the gamecube iso into the game files and started the game up. What greeted me was this error message;

The Sims PC missing files

It’s not much of an error since you can click OK and the game to continue to load. Interesting is the names referenced in the message box, Grimreaper, which didn’t appear in the base game, only in the Livin it up expansion pack (GrimReaper does exist in the console version). Monkeybutler which is exclusive to the console release (its part of an object like the Servo robot in Livin It Up, cleans the house and repairs), not sure about robot or officer2?

Also what is sourcesafe?

After loading the game I found not of the lots were accessible or even recognisable, clicking on them did nothing and no lot information data would appear. When I clicked on the family bin icon however I could see the two unoccupied families from the console version, the heads and faces looked to be missing and the game has loaded the default templates. Understandable since the console sims are in an incompatible 3d format, I’m surprised the game didn’t crash outright.

The Pleasant’s have not aged that all well
The Sims Willville
Meanwhile here is what they’re supposed to look like

I tried copying it again, this time leaving the neighbourhood.iff filers intact, this time a different error message appears;

The Sims PC missing files

I assume the neighbourhood.iff acts as some soft of database of which sims belong on a specific lot and also deals with NPC assignments.

Loading the Story mode families

What about the story mode folder? For this I did the same with the storyData folder, copied it to the game files and renamed it userdata and see how the game reacted.

The console sims, all can be moved in and loaded with their personalities intact, shame about their heads/bodies

Checking the family bin you can see all the sims used in get a life mode, all from the different households. Some are even listed twice like Dudley and Mimi landgrabb .

The same issue with the lots persist, and after copying back the original files from the PC neighbourhood, I tried moving one of the sims in and clicking on their control panels. The skills and personality points seem to be intact with what the console version would show, although the sim names are always in BLOCK CAPITALS, maybe this was deliberate since it was easier to read on a standard definition TV screens at the time?

Interesting is that there are multiple copies of some sims, the Landgrabs and Mom have duplicate versions. This may be because once you move to another level, the previous sims are deleted except for the langrabb’s and Mom, who’s relationship gets transferred to the other copy. Other sims like the Roomies are deleted once you move from stage 4 to 5.

The Sims PC Error Missing Textures

There are also two other families, the Tooter family with the sim ‘DJ’, and a ‘JANE HOUSE’. As these don’t appear in the game, they are either cut from the game or test sims. It’s worth noting than upon loading the families in a lot you will receive the below errors message, however this wont effect the game and will continue to load normally.

Loading the lots

The Sims 3 Sim Lane
Console version of 3 Sim Lane, missing it’s second floor. Known as 3 Sim Avenue in the console release.

To get the console lots to load you need to trick the game into loading them, since starting the game up the game would just ignore them and the lot would be undetectable from the nhood screen, however if you load up with the original pc lots, alt-tab out of the game and replace the lot and then alt tab back into the game and load the specific lot, the game will load the lot. You will receive a missing objects error message which is to be expected, any objects the game can match will be present in the lot. Walls and floors are slightly different, the game will load the respective one but it if it tries to load a wall that is not there it will default to as substitute, the same happens with floors, and sim heads and bodies. Swimming pools will be missing since the console version used fixed design swimming pools, the PC version instead allows you to build your own swimming pool.

Console version of the Goth house, even the grave stones are intact

Unfortunately this is when I started to encounter issues with the base game, as loading certain lots would just cause the game to crash regardless, lot 4 in particular was very problematic. Switching to the The Sims complete collection fixed this and was able to load all of the lots. It was also more compatible since the console games contains content that was also included with later expansion packs, It was defiantly better at matching the correct walls and floors. Unfortunately sims complete collection refused to accept the neighbourhood iff file or the characters/sims themselves, which meant I could not load the console sims directly. Perhaps the neighbourhood files have changed significantly since unleashed in a way that breaks compatibility with the older code. The Sims Deluxe Editions might be a good compromise to test out but for now lets continue with Complete collection.

This lot appears a couple of times, however i have never seen this in game

Userdata Lots – Play the Sims Mode

After loading a lot you must save before exiting to the hood or the game, as the game will crash. Em guessing there is incomplete data that the game tries to fill in when saving, or the game tries to load the 3D thumbnail used on the console version which wont render on the PC version.

FilenameHouseholdComments
House00It’s built but no doors or windows or any objects?
House01Empty
House02Empty
House03RoomiesOk
House04Empty
House05GothOk
House06Empty
House07Newbie
House08Empty
House09Empty
House10Mostly empty lot with a small house and two doors

No luck getting the occupied sims themselves to migrate over, must use a different format for sims that move into occupied houses. only family’s that are in the family bin.

Story Data Lots

FilenameComments
House00Exactly the same as House00 in Userdata
House01Level 1
House02Level 2
House03Level 3
House04Level 4
House05Level 5
House06Level 6
House07Blank level
House08The mansion at the start of the game, dream sequence
House09Vacant Lot
House10Mostly empty lot with a small house and two doors

After placing House10, a development time message keep appearing, selecting yes or no yielded no noticeable effect.

The Sims PC Development time message

Char Data Lots (Challenge mode)

FilenameComments
House00Exactly the same as House00 in Userdata
House01Maid’s House
House02The park
House03The Museum
House04The Frat House
House05Club ABHI
House06Club
House07Party Motel
House08Handymans House
House09Mostly empty lot with a small house and two doors
House10Empty Lot

Files

Links to both extracted Lots and Character files in separate archives

https://app.box.com/s/f8bafnxzrj35n4yiefjackevjw6dfket

The lot files were imported using The Sims Complete Collection, but should work with any game as long as you extract the HouseXX.iff file into your own UserData folder

The character files were created using The Sims (Base game) and may not work past Unleashed, these contain the sims from the ‘Get a Life/Story’ mode and Challenge , Play the Sims / Sandbox mode.

Gallery