These are tips that can help your game stay running smoothly, and help avoid stuck sims, crash errors, or other problems
Tip 1: Use an Optimized world
It should go without saying that using an already-optimized/fixed world like Sunset Valley 2020 is going to help your game run smooth and stay that way. It contains a .world file from EllaCharmed (fixed world routing), and every lot was meticulously optimized, to make it easier on the AI & pathing systems.
EllaCharmed has also done fixed versions of the vacation worlds & University, which you can find on her Wordpress Blog. They do require separate installation to run properly, so be sure to read their instructions carefully.
All three of these mods automatically help keep your game free of clutter, and can help avoid fatal crashes.
- Overwatch in particular is useful due to the nightly cleanup it runs in-game.
- ErrorTrap will catch fatal script errors and avoid CTDs.
- Traffic can be configured to reduce the random taxi traffic (traffic delta), and can also turn off career limos which are problematic. You can also (if you don't like seeing them) turn off the food trucks and ice cream trucks to reduce a little bit more AI.
Tip 3: Use NRaas' Register mod to control animals, paparazzi, etc.
Wild animals can be very heavy for the routing/AI computations on a world while you play. Many people prefer to use Register to disable all kinds of animals (stray cats/dogs, wild horses, racoons, etc). With SV2020's world routing fixes, you may find this is unnecessary since most of them will wander without getting stuck, but they still put a burden on the game's AI due to routing, and when Sims interact with them. If you find you want less burden on your CPU, this is a good place to start by disabling them.
Paparazzi can be limited in number, or completely disabled with the Register mod. Many people find their interactions annoying, and just like other sims in the world they add to AI load on the CPU.
Tip 4: Use NRaas' Relativity mod to reduce AI load
Many people don't realize it, but the vast majority of AI processing in Sims 3 happens on timers that periodically fire off depending on how many sim minutes have passed. With the Relativity mod, you can slow down the speed that time passes in the game, lowering the AI/pathing load on your system and making gameplay smoother & more stutter-free. With a setting of "19", your game will run at half speed, and give the AI/routing system more real time to do it's work.
Tip 5: Use NRaas' Master Controller mod to do a regular weekly full-town reset
As part of a regular clean up routine on your game, using MC to do a full town reset once a sim-week is highly recommended. We suggest doing it at night after the Overwatch cleanup pass happens (after 3 am), since most sims are sleeping at that time (4-5 am). It will go through the town and reset all sims & objects, and can vastly improve the performance of the game when done regularly.
Tip 6: Use NRaas' Retuner mod to disable certain auto-actions sims perform
There are some actions sims choose to do automatically that can be extremely hard on the AI/routing engine. We recommend disabling (or reducing) these actions so that their impact on your game is much less.
- Disable the "Relax Here" action - it is especially hard on resort and beach lots with numerous sims present.
- Disable the "Play in Sand" action - (for all sims that aren't children/teens) it has a similar impact to Relax Here.
Tip 7: Use mods that help improve sim routing and routing failures
Sims deciding where to go, how to get there, and getting block or stuck on the way can be a major cause of slowdowns in The Sims 3. There are some mods which can help with this and help them get where they are going.
- TwoFtMama's Route Fixes (Route Fix Flavor 4 v9) - This mod reduces the amount of time sims will stand around with their thumb up their butt trying to figure out how to get where they are going, checking for obstacles, and waiting on other sims to move before going around them and should help alleviate the crowding at school entrances. Sims will only use the subway if it will save them some time.
- No Route Fail Tantrum - Fixes the all-too-common tantrum that sims throw when their routing fails.
Tip 8: If using NRaas' Story Progression, choose a slower setting
NRaas Story Progression is a fantastic mod to control the overall progression of sims in your neighborhood. The default setting can be rather heavy on your CPU however, so we recommend changing the speed on it to either "Slow" or "Snail". If you slow it down, you may want to consider increasing your sims' lifespan lengths a little to match.
Tip 9: Disable Memories in TS3 options
Sims that accumulate memories during gameplay have a negative effect on the saves - they tend to bloat up quickly, and it can impact your gameplay. Use the Options menu in-game to disable memories for all Sims, and after saving/exiting the game, use Kuree's Save Cleaner to permanently get rid of the extra game bloat.
Tip 10: Periodically clean out your Sims' inventories
It is easy for sims you play to gather a lot of items over time - harvestables, collectibles, etc. When a Sim's inventory gets really cluttered, it can hurt game performance in a big way. Try selling extra items, or stashing them in the Fridge or a storage box or shelf. Even moving them to Family Inventory can really help.
Likewise - clean out your fridge on a regular basis. There's no need to keep 50 of different cooking or harvestable items in there, and it definitely hurts AI performance when they consider what to use from the fridge. Just treat it the same way you do all of your Sim inventories and keep it clean!
Tip 11: Disable Online Mode & Store shopping while playing
Allowing The Sims 3 to stay in "Online Mode" while playing can increase the work it has to do, the number of communications with sometimes slow Origin servers, and increase memory consumption which may lead to out-of-memory errors (fatal crashes). It is recommended to turn off Online Mode while you are playing, unless you absolutely need it (i.e. using Sim Port).
It is also advisable to keep the Store Mode turned off while playing, as it similarly adds a lot of unnecessary client-to-server communication attempts, and burns extra memory.
Tip 12: Turn off TestingCheatsEnabled, BuyDebug, and MoveObjects when done using them
These three console commands can be very useful while playing to help you manage your game. But when you are done using them be sure to turn them off. They can add processing overhead to the game which isn't needed, and can sometimes cause issues if left active.
Tip 13: Always use "Save As", never use "Save" or "Save & Exit"
Less of a performance tip, but just as important to keep your save games free of corruption. Always use the "Save As" menu item to save your games, and give them new save names every time so you never overwrite old ones.
A common practice some people use is adding on three digits to the end of the save name. Something like "SV2020_Vanilla_001" will allow you to simply increase the number every time you use Save As.
Additionally, when using NRaas' Saver mod, it will automatically pick up on the numbers on the end of your save, and auto-increment them for you when it does new auto-saves. This can be a great combination to keep your saves corruption-free, and save you lots of time in the event of a save error or fatal game crash.