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Cleaning up packaged lots

Lately I've been seeing quite a few sims 2 lots for download that are relatively small in lot size but ginormous in file size. I've been raging a lot about this and then it occured to me that, probably, not everybody (especially new-ish simmers) know that you can clean up lots? So, instead of silently fuming, let me try and spread a little knowledge :)

This tutorial is also available on my simblr.

What you need:

  • The Sims 2 (duh, obviously)

  • Clean Installer (abbr. CI)

  • a little time and patience, depending on how many "I'mma include myself in EVERY LOT hurr hurr" type of recolours you have (mostly mailboxes, trashcans and deco skies)

I don't mean to come off as "holier than thou"  and of course nobody has to take all the steps to a clean lot. This also isn't a pleading against CC - I use a ton of CC myself. But there's a bunch of very good reasons to do so.

Why this is important:

  • Unnecessary recolours blow up the file size in a ridiculous amount, especially deco skies. Don't get me wrong, I love those pretty stuffs as much as the next simmer, but seriously, they can be huge. Also, they can look borked / weird for games with lower-end graphics and in neighbourhoods with a much higher terrain level. Leave the decision to place them (or not) to the downloading person.

  • A lot with lighter amount on CC saves space on your hard drive, your hosting bandwidth and hard drive space / time / internet bandwidth of the downloading person. I have seen lots with 100MB and more for a very sparsely decorated lot; it only got so big because it was full of unused recolours.

  • A clean lot prevents people from hack and other CC conflicts (default replacements, anyone?).

  • I don't know about others but when I download a lot it's mainly for playing purpose (although I totally get the concept of photoshooting and highly customised lots, so this point doesn't apply to those). So when there's clutter everywhere, navigating those stupid Sims with their *ahem* artificial intelligence through there can be a real pain in the rear.

  • Preventing blue flashing objects (e.g. because of missing master meshes).

So, how do you do this, you ask?

First of all, no matter which way you take, DO NOT UPLOAD PREVIOUSLY INHABITED LOTS. Maxis kinda did this with a lot in Veronaville, 95 Bard Boulevard. Go ahead, load it. What do you see? Exactly, it's dusk. This is only possible if a lot had been inhabited once. Now, it's not that bad with an already-in-game lot because you'll most likely have all the data around anyway - but uploaded packaged lots may contain character data that might bork the lot, if not worse. I honestly don't know how bad the aftermath might be (and I'm not keen on finding out) but better safe than sorry. So, place a copy of the uninhabited lot in your lot bin and only then move Sims in if you so desire - but only share the empty copy (empty of Sims, not empty of objects).

One way would be to delete all the stuff that's not necessary in-game - like clutter, OMSPs and that darned sky object. This method can still lead to unused recolours being packed with the lot though, but it's a good starting point. If you don't use a lot of CC in the first place this might be all you need to do but it doesn't hurt to have a look at the CI data afterwards, just to be sure.

The other, more (admittedly) time-consuming but also more thorough method is to chuck out everything in Clean Installer. Untick every box of stuff you don't want in the cleaned up lot.

Stuff that's prone to be packed although you didn't even use it:

  • Recolours of Buggybooz's kitchens

  • Sky objects of any kind and recolours

  • Fake / hacked mailboxes and trashcans and recolours (especially recolours!)

  • Recolours of Numenor's recolourable wooden stairs

  • Artificial portals (I think they're somehow linked to hacked mailboxes but I'm not completely sure of that)

  • Recolours of Aikea Guinea's wall writing meshes

  • Recolours of a metric fuckton of other meshes that are actually usable and not just deco

You see, that's a lot of stuff that isn't needed for your lot to be pretty but still might be in its data. Why clutter up your file hoster account and other people's games?

This is what some textures look like in CI:

What's also important to know is that not every object that's highlighted red is a hack and / or a Very Bad Thing. Extracted stuff from Castaway / Life / Pet Stories and Store objects do that too. So it's always good to have a glance at the file names in CI - and to know what's in your Downloads folder of course! Yet another good reason to keep it tidy (not necessarily tiny, ahem) and organised.

After unticking those boxes, click "Save As..." at the bottom of the CI window. You will need to choose a new file name (no matter if you're saving it somewhere else or not), just adding _2 at the end will do just fine.

As a final step, install this cleaned up lot in a vanilla game (you can create one by renaming your current Documents / EA Games / The Sims 2 folder (again, just add _2 or similar), the game will create a new one - don't worry, nothing will be deleted! To get back to your usual game, just rename the folder again to what it was before). This will let you check for blue flashing objects, which are usually indicating missing master meshes in this setup. You will need to hunt those down in your Downloads directory and put them in a separate folder you should upload along with your sims2pack.

Known and popular master meshes:

This is also a reason why you should tell (in the download post) which EPs and SPs you have installed - you might have used addon sets based on EP meshes a potential downloader might not have installed.

Aaand... that's it!
All of this may seem like a lot of wasted time but you're saving everyone, including yourself, a lot of trouble and stress if you keep your uploaded houses nice and tidy. At the end of the day we all want the same: An awesome stress-free gaming experience. Happy simming! :)


( 3 Kommentare — Kommentar hinterlassen )
25. Okt 2014 23:26 (UTC)
I'm conscientious about packaging lots like this too but I was still interested to read your tutorial, thank you! Also it's just nice to find something else we have in common :)
1. Nov 2014 12:50 (UTC)
Really good tut
Yeah, This is a reason I upload lots very rarely. I packege the lot, than install it to a second game directory (clean testing game) unticking all those recolors, (or install this and get rid of all extra recolors by hand from a folder), than run the testing game, test lot if there is no flashing blue items, hunt them down and put in testing folder, test again, than finally package clean. This is time consuming, really.

I'll pop some more advices:
You should also remember about recolors of a maxis justa door, they spread out like rabbits everywhere with downloadable lots, as Mcbayou - something door.

When downloading a lot, I always view it in Clean Installer and untick all those crappy mailboxes, trashcans, doors, as well as other things I don't like. As I see by doing this, some people has incredible amount of actual duplictaes of this mailbox and stair recolors in their games.

People! This slow down Your game and loading time! Clean Your own download folder first! Run some program to check how many heck duplicates You have! As StephSim (who always is extra courious to package her lots safely) mentioned, it is good to check the files with strange long alphanumerical file names like 0988789787787796796767_001.package and files with filenames like mailbox_recolor.package.package.package.package

These are for 90% duplicates of something else You got in game. Or, these are the recolors of a mailbox or stairs You don't even need. Those strange filenames are generated by the maxis package installer, this is the case it is better to always use Clean Installer. If You downloaded CC from the creators site, You probably got the most up-to date version. The version with borked filename which came to Your game with someone's lot may be far old. Why should You have trash like this in Your game? Get rid of the alphanumerical strange borked files.

If You got M&G You don't even need those hacked mailbox at all! And it shouldn't even work because they were created for base game, where maibox was not recolorable. Say no to crappy maibox recolors!

That's all :)
1. Nov 2014 12:56 (UTC)
One more
Oh, I forgot to mention You should look in Clean Installer, if some of these strange filename files are terrain ground. You always should install all terrain paints, because not installing them may bork Your lot in some way. But if they got an insanely stupid filename, You can open them via SimPe, check the catalog description, copy the name and paste it to the file name. Than run folder search for it - maybe You already had this? If not - You will have the correct filename which will never cause any problems to You :)
( 3 Kommentare — Kommentar hinterlassen )