How to Install Custom Content in Sims 3 (PC & Mac)

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#1 Simulation Game

The Sims franchise has been going strong for over 10 years and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon.

With over 100 million copies of Sims games being sold by 2008, one of the main characteristics that have allowed it to be so successful, beside the obvious ability to play God and run your own world, was the customization for the PC version.

From the very first Sims title released in 2000, people who play the game on the computer were able to easily customize their own clothing, people, objects, and more, as well as download other custom content (also known as CC) from websites that allowed Sims fans to upload their work for others to enjoy.

The popularity of custom content only continued to grow with the release of The Sims 2 and the rise of Sims machinima, sparking whole websites created by anyone and everyone who felt like it, some of these sites often demanding some sort of payment in return for the custom downloadable content that they spent their time creating for others to use. Not everyone was pleased with the idea of paying for custom content, so other websites that hosted free custom downloadable content became more frequented.

One of the most well known and highly visited websites to find Sims 2 and Sims 3 custom content is modthesims.info, where users are able to upload and download as much custom content as they please for their Sims games. Installing the custom content can prove to be a bit tricky however, and many people end up having to erase their game files from wrongful installation.

This guide will take you step-by-step through the custom content installation process and show you exactly what you need to do in order to install custom Sims 3 content for both Mac and PC computers.


Sims 3 File Types

It's important to know the different file types that you'll be dealing with:

  • .package
  • .sims3pack
  • .sim

Getting Ready to Install Custom Content

Installing CC in the Sims 3 might seem a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it after installing a file or two, it becomes second nature. Before you start downloading anything though, make sure you have a folder designated specifically for your Sims 3 download files. Keep this on the desktop for now where you can keep tabs on it easily.

Update Any Game Patches

You need to keep your game updated with the latest patches to ensure smooth game play, and some downloadable CC doesn't even work properly if your Sims game isn't up to day. Likewise, some mods and CC wont work if you do update the patch. It's not a good idea to neglect game updates though, and in most cases if it's not a universal game mod, you'll be fine.

To check and see if your game is up to date, open the Sims 3 Launcher. Usually if there's an update, you'll be prompted with a pop-up. Sometimes though, this doesn't occur. In these cases you'll need to click on the bottom left-hand button that says "GAME UPDATES". You'll be informed of any updates available there, and will be able to install them.


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Download an Archive Extracting Program

Some CC that you'll download from the website are contained in zip, rar, or 7z files, especially those that might have a lot of stuff that comes with it (multiple wallpaper designs, eye color packs, t-shirts with many different styles, etc.). These are what are known as "archive" files, and what they do is compress the files so that they take up less space and are quicker to download.

In order to retrieve the CC from these archive files, you'll need an extracting program. These are some free archive extracting programs that you can use for this process:

Windows XP/Vista/7: Winrar.

Mac: StuffIt.

You should be able to extract your archived files to specific locations on your computer. Set this location to the desktop folder you created for your CC earlier in the guide so that you'll easily be able to find the files.


Installing Custom Content Files

So you've downloaded your first few custom content files, unzipped them, and you're ready to install them. Great! Depending on the file type, how you install them will vary.

.SIM Files

.sim files always contain Sims. Once you've got the .sim file extracted from the archive, right-click on the .sim file and choose copy. Next, you'll need to find your SavedSims folder which can be found at one of these locations:

  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\
  • Windows Vista or 7: C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\
  • Mac: /Users/ <username>/Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3

Find an empty spot in the SavedSims folder and paste the file. That's all there is to it!

Note: In some cases, you might not have a SavedSims folder. If this is so, just create one in the location there should be.

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.PACKAGE Files

.package files are the most complicated to install because you need to create a folder to allow your game to accept custom content. The first thing you'll need to do is find your The Sims 3 folder in the My Documents section of your computer. You might need to click on Electronic Arts from the My Documents window first in order to find the Sims 3 folder. Open this folder.

You'll need to download this FrameworkSetup.zip file. Right-click the link and choose "save link as..." and save it to the Sims 3 folder you should have open at the moment.

Next, right-click the file and extract it by choosing "extract here" and a new folder titled "Mods" should show up. Open this folder, and you should see three things: an "Override" folder, a "Packages" folder, and a Resource.cfg file like in the photo below.


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If everything looks right, open the "Packages" folder. Here you should see two files: a NoBuildSparkles.package file and a nointro.package file.

If for some reason you don't see these files or any of the others, delete the Mods folder and start again from the beginning as you must have made a mistake. Otherwise, load your game up. Since you've already got two .package files downloaded and installed, you'll be able to see if everything is working properly.

Everything look good? Now you can start installing some of your own downloaded CC. To install .package files from here on out, just place the extracted files into the "Packages" folder. You're done!

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.SIMS3PACK Files

.sims3pack files are pretty easy and straight forward to install. If you just want to install one .sims3pack file, simply double-click on it and the launcher will start for you to install.

If you want to install multiple .sims3pack files at once though, you'll need to place the files into the Downloads folder, which could be found in the same location as above in the .sim files installation section.

When you're finished placing the files in the Downloads folder, open the Sims 3 game launcher and click on the Download button which you can find on the left. Check each box of Custom Content that isn't installed, and then click install. Done and done!


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