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Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

by Darens-Stuff
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Original Post

The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

[ Edited ]
★★★ Guide

PLEASE NOTE THAT, IN THIS POST, I WILL GO OVER FIXES THAT WORKED FOR ME AND LET ME PLAY THE SIMS 3 WITH LITTLE TO NO LAG! I OWN ALL PACKS AND ALMOST ALL STORE CONTENT, ALONG WITH A DECENT AMOUNT OF CC/MODS, AND MY GAME ALMOST NEVER LAGS, EVEN ON HIGH SETTINGS.

 

PLEASE, BACK UP EVERYTHING THAT YOU MODIFY, SO YOU CAN ROLL BACK IN CASE AN ISSUE POPS UP!

 

We all love The Sims 3; the gameplay, the customization, the amount of content is so massive that everyone has something to do. However, another reocurring feature is lag, freezing and generally unstable performance. There's a lot of different guides, fixes and options scattered around the Internet, I also made one (on Twitter, of all places!), but these forums seem like a logical option, especially since many players come here anyway to look for help with issues that they experience. I hope that this helps players shave off at least some lag, so we can all enjoy a more stable Sims 3.

 

The main reason I'm writing this now is the release of The Sims 3 (64-Bit & Metal) for Mac, which has left many Windows users wondering if Windows version is getting the same treatment. This thread has been the main source of information about 64-Bit release for Mac players, but many Windows users have recently expressed concern about a Windows version of the update. As of writing this post, NO UPDATE FOR WINDOWS VERSION OF TS3 HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED. Please, don't go there asking developers about it. Let Mac users enjoy playing the game that they could never play without issues before.

 

Now that that is out of the way, I want to state and repeat several things:

  • I own all Expansion Packs, Stuff Packs and Store Content with the exception of Roaring Heights and Barnacle Bay. 
  • These fixes should work for CD, Origin and Steam installations of The Sims 3 for Windows.
  • Although these fixes worked for ME, I cannot guarantee that they will work for everyone else. 
  • I am currently using version 1.67 of The Sims 3, but the game performs similarly to 1.69 that I also tested. Using version 1.67 is a matter of personal preference and convenience.
  • I am playing on Asus X560UD laptop, with the following specs: 
    • CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U (4x1.8GHz)
    • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB)
    • RAM: 8GB
    • Storage: 480GB SSD
    • OS: 64-Bit Windows 10 Pro
  • This thread is, obviously, meant for Windows users. I don't know how The Sims 3 (64-Bit & Metal) for Mac will perform, or what fixes will be compatible.
  • BACK UP YOUR SAVES! BACK UP EVERYTHING YOU MODIFY!

1. INSTALL THE BASE GAME, ALL YOUR PACKS & UPDATE THE GAME IF NEEDED!

  • If you prefer to install your games from CD, first install the base game, update the game with 1.67 superpatch for all regions, and install all your packs. Once you run the superpatch, it should do its thing and give you a "success" message. Open the launcher and check that the game version is correct.
  • If you own the base game and packs on Steam, install it from there, and you should be updated to 1.67; Steam version does not have the 1.69 update.
  • If you own the base game and packs on Origin, install it from there; and you should be updated to 1.69 automatically. 

2. RUN THE GAME ONCE AND UPDATE YOUR GRAPHICS RULES AND GRAPHICS CARDS FILE SO THE GAME RECOGNIZES YOUR CARDS

If you have just installed the game, run it once to create user files in Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 (or another location, if your Documents folder is somewhere else), since you will need some info from there; specifically from DeviceConfig.log file. If you've already played the game and have those files, you don't have to run it.

Default locations for your GraphicsRules.sgr and GraphicsCards.sgr file are:

  • CD: C:\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Game\Bin\
  • Steam: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\The Sims 3\Game\Bin\
  • Origin: C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\The Sims 3\Game\Bin\

This is a good, detailed tutorial which can guide you in adding your graphics card info into your game's database. They also have an attached .zip file which contains GraphicsRules.sgr and GraphicsCards.sgr files that already contain many recent cards. Download them from that thread and check if your card is included there; if it is, you can use those files. As I've said before, BACK UP those files before you modify them.

 

3. LIMIT YOUR FRAME RATE!

The Sims 3, by default, runs without frame rate limitations. On any decent card, it is likely to go past 100 FPS. While that might seem desirable, the game doesn't actually display that many frames per second, but it still puts more strain on your graphics card than needed. Over time, it might damage your hardware, so it is necessary that you cap the frame rate. 60 FPS is enough for The Sims 3.

At the moment, I'm only able to provide step-by-step instructions for players with Nvidia cards, as I don't own an AMD card. I believe there are guides for AMD cards available, though.

  1. Open Nvidia Control Panel. To do this, right-click on your desktop, and select the option Nvidia Control Panel and wait for it to load.
  2. On the left, select 3D Settings -> Manage 3D Settings.
  3. In the center window, you will see 2 tabs: Global Settings and Program Settings. Select Program Settings.
  4. Under Select a program to customize, click on the drop-down menu and look for Sims 3 (ts3.exe)if you installed the game from Origin, or Sims 3 (ts3w.exe), if you installed from CD or Steam. If you don't see the game listed, click Add and look for TS3.exe or TS3.exe in locations specified in Step 2, or somewhere else if you customized your installation locations.
  5. Under Select the preferred graphics processor for this programselect High-performance NVIDIA processor
  6. Under Specify the settings for this program, look for Max frame rateand change it to 60 FPS. Then, look for Vertical syncand turn it On
  7. Save those settings.

 

4. NRAAS MODS (aka LIFESAVERS)

Nraas mods allow players to customize their game even more than an unmodded game allows. Some of them are very helpful with errors, and can improve performance and help with routing issues and other errors that the game produces no matter what. Only three are necessary: MasterController (base and MC Integration)Overwatch and ErrorTrap.

  • With MasterController, in addition to being able to manipulate many things in your game, you can force CAS to show up only one swatch per item, to make loading content faster. You can also right-click on any CAS asset (if you open CAS through Nraas) to hide it if you don't use it.
  • Overwatch and ErrorTrap do what their name says, maintain your game and track errors. I recommend that, when they find an error (especially routing errors), you check what causes them and try to resolve them (perhaps a rogue object, or a poorly build house caused the Sim to get stuck).

Nraas mods mentioned here can be found on the list of the common game fixing mods.

 

5. ELLACHARMED'S FIXED WORLDS

As you might have noticed, EA worlds are filled with routing issues, which can contribute to lag more than any other error. As more Sims are generated, there are more ways they can get stuck and slow the game down.

By default, worlds that come with packs are installed into:

  • CD: C:\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3/The Sims 3 Pack\GameData\Shared\Non-Packaged\Worlds\
  • Steam: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\The Sims 3\EPX\GameData\Shared\Non-Packaged\Worlds\
  • Origin: C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\The Sims 3\EPXX\GameData\Shared\Non-Packaged\Worlds\

First, BACK UP original .world files, then place the fixed files in their appropriate locations.

Store worlds, by default, go to: Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\InstalledWorlds\Of course, back up the original ones and place the new ones in there.

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE WORLD FIXES WILL ONLY WORK FOR NEW SAVES, NOT FOR THE EXISTING ONES. YOU MIGHT NOTICE THAT SOME FEATURES IN PRE-FIXED SAVES MIGHT LOOK WEIRD. CONSIDER MOVING YOUR SIMS TO NEW SAVES IF YOU DECIDE TO INSTALL THESE FIXES.

 

6. DISABLE BLOOM EFFECT

Ok, this might not be the biggest performance boost, but it removes the obnoxious shine that some objects have. So might as well recommend it.

  1. Find your GraphicsRules.sgr file, back it up, and open it in text editor (Notepad will do). You might have to move it to your desktop first, or else it might not let you save the changes.
  2. Look for option AdvancedRenderingThis determines settings when you enable/disable Advanced Rendering in game options.
  3. Find the line: prop $ConfigGroup RenderPostProcessEnabled false. It should be under setting $Off by default. Highlight and copy it.
  4. Paste the line under setting $On so it is used when you enable Advanced Rendering in-game. Save the changes and place the file in Bin folder (if you moved it out of there in step 1).

7. DISABLE ONLINE FEATURES

If you don't use Shop Modedisable it in game Options. Log out of your Sims 3 account if you don't use it. Also, it's a good idea to disable interactive loading screens, as they might prolong loading times for worlds.

 

8. INSTALL STORE CONTENT THE SMART WAY

For years, I installed my Store content by dropping everything in Downloads folder and installing everything all at once. As you might expect, that sometimes didn't work really well. Now, I use this guide to organize and install my Store content in manageable batches and I know what each one contains. I only installed it once and backed it up. Now, if I ever need to reinstall, I just copy and paste it into my user folder and it's all there.

 

9. DELETE CACHE FILES

It is a good idea to delete cache files every once in a while. They will regenerate when needed, and that can help in case they ever get corrupted.

Cache files are located in Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\ :

  • CasPartCache.package
  • compositorCache.package
  • scriptCache.package
  • simCompositorCache.package
  • socialCache.package

10. SAVE AS INSTEAD OF SAVE

Whenever possible, use option Save As instead of just Save. This will create a brand new save file for your world, instead of overwriting the same one over and over, which might lead to issues in the future. With Save As, you'll always get the cleanest save file possible, and you will have backups to go back to in case something goes wrong.

 

 

I hope that this guide helps players with lag in their games. These fixes have helped me run my game on High settings with no issues, and I hope they help others experience The Sims 3 in its full, lag free glory. I might update this if I use something new for my game, but for now, I hope that this is enough.

 

Stay safe and Happy Simming! 

Message 1 of 7 (4,302 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

★★★ Guide
@mate54 this is a good post I will provide the links for manually adding the gpu's in for TS3 links are from youtube that is safe to view.
Nvidia Gpu's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnclXKySQ5w&list=PLBW0vNiY7a4K-XT1s3TBJ0S9_e2zKH4YZ&index=2

AMD Gpu's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0OPNYj47ik&list=PLBW0vNiY7a4K-XT1s3TBJ0S9_e2zKH4YZ&index=1
Message 2 of 7 (4,212 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

★★★ Guide
@TheSuperWolf100 Thank you for linking these! I linked the text tutorial because it includes some ready-made files for many mainstream cards, but it's great that there is also a video tutorial just in case someone needs it.
Message 3 of 7 (4,206 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

★★★ Guide
@mate54 Your welcome at least people can add the cards if they need to
Message 4 of 7 (4,197 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

[ Edited ]
★★★ Apprentice

[Removed - CM]

 

this is a useful application that magically enhances your GraphicsCards.sgr with the newest database

EA_Blueberry: Removed link to mod

Message 5 of 7 (4,172 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

★★★ Guide
@Darens-Stuff Thank you for linking it, I actually forgot about it! Is it alright if I link it in the original post? It does require a login to download but I can note that down.
Message 6 of 7 (4,161 Views)
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Re: The Sims 3 - How to Minimize Lag and Stabilize the Game

★★★ Apprentice
@mate54 of course! i am just another player
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