The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

by PepsyQ

Original Post

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

@PepsyQ  I'm sorry for the late reply.  Your numbers looked odd to me in a few different ways, so I wanted to test myself, but that took more time than I intended for a couple different reasons.


Anyway, for comparison's sake, I started a new save in Sunset Valley and let the game clock run for just over a sim-day, then compared my list of sims to yours:


MC list 32h.png


Then I let it run until the summer holiday:


MC list 4d.png


As you can see, my save has nowhere near the number of sims yours does, but there isn't just one type of sim that's overrepresented in your game.  The single biggest impact is likely the fact that your save has more than double the residents mine does: resident sims will demand much more in the way of resources than NPCs or tourists.  But there are too many Local MiniSims, a category that can include both tourists (even if they're not listed as tourists in the filter) and homeless NPCs associated with the current world.


The current-world NPCs I generally don't worry about until their numbers get into the hundreds, but too many would-be tourists might be a problem if they're not actually instantiating as tourists and the game engine can't figure out what to do with them.  So the next step depends on what these sims are.  Run the Basic > Family Tree command again, choose Type of Sim (and) > Local MiniSim, and take a look at the list.  Let me know approximately how many stray animals, sims with "foreign" names (that sound like they're from one of the World Adventures worlds), and "regular" sims you see.  I'm not asking you to count them all out; just give me an idea of the composition of the list.  For example, mine has three stray dogs, half a dozen foreign names, and the rest are random sims.


The point here is to figure out where these sims are coming from and not only get rid of them, or at least limit their numbers, but prevent them from overspawning again.


On the subject of residents, did you do anything to add all these sims to your save?  Did you plop down a bunch of extra houses?  NRaas StoryProgression can do rapid immigration, but the game itself usually does not.  If you didn't do anything special, please check in Edit Town to see how many households showed up on their own, and how many existing households have grown in size, whether through adding sims or pets.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 21 of 31 (432 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

[ Edited ]
★★★★ Novice

Yes, I did actually. I had the StoryProgression mod by NRaas, but I didn't know how big the impact was. I removed that mod a while ago. I will run that command again and will let you know what the results were.

edit found somewhere around 83 locals and 40 tourists (I think) and only 1 animal- horse. The thing was that it was very fluid, the lag spikes weren't happening that often. I got my cc back (uninstalled many of it), installed a patch (lazy duchess) and now it is play-able. I really want to thank you for helping me this far. If it wasn't for you, I would've stopped playing Sims 3. Thank you very much! 

Message 22 of 31 (392 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

[ Edited ]

@PepsyQ  I'm glad to hear that, and yes, StoryProgression is definitely a resource hog.  That's why I mentioned not adding it back right away.  But you can probably use it if you let it run on one of the slowest speeds (slow or snail), perhaps in addition to lengthening the cycle of the skill manager, which is the most demanding among them.  The overall speed is under SP > General Options > Adjust Speed; each manager's speed can be adjusted further as well, for example SP > General Options > Options:Skills > Speed.  The speed is listed in sim-minutes, and a longer interval means a lower impact overall.


Having more residents means more sims to push around, meaning more work for SP and a higher impact on performance.  Homeless sims can also advance a little here and there, especially if they're chosen as coworkers for your active sims, but they have less impact per sim since they spend so much time off the map.  Their cumulative impact can still be high though.  And adding more SP modules will also raise the demands the mod places on the game, so it's best to only add those whose features you need or really want.


You may still see lag when an SP manager is running, but that will happen less often at slower speeds, of course, and the overall impact will be smaller with fewer sims to impact.  You can also disable certain functions, for example I don't allow my sims to move on their own and have home inspections disabled, so SP doesn't concern itself with figuring out whether each and every household should be living somewhere else.


Point is, with some tweaking, you can set up SP to work well for you.  And you can import your settings to new saves as well—exporting and importing mod settings are of Overwatch—so you'd really only need to go through the initial setup process once.


Or you could skip SP entirely.  It's certainly not necessary to enjoy the game, even if it does make things more interesting for a lot of us.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 23 of 31 (532 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

★★★★ Novice

Yeah, won't be adding SP again, runs much better without it. Lag spikes aren't that often anymore and don't last too long. Screen tearing still happens (found out how it's called, also found out that my display is connected to the Intel UHD graphics card). Updated the graphic card driver multiple times, but screen tearing is still there. Do you have any idea how to fix this problem? Sorry for bothering again Standard smile 

Message 24 of 31 (315 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

@PepsyQ  The usual fix for screen tearing is to enable vertical sync.  However, most gaming laptops run graphics output through the integrated chip, and one of the unfortunate side effects is that enabling vertical sync in the Nvidia Control Panel doesn't work properly.  So you'll need to use an outside tool.  This is the only one I know of that works with Sims 3:


It's based on RivaTuner Statistics Server, a popular and lightweight app for capping fps, but you don't need to install RTSS for this to work.


In case you're not aware, vertical sync only works in fullscreen mode.  If you'd prefer to play in windowed mode, you can try setting your fps limit to 60 or 59 in the Control Panel, but that doesn't always help either.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 25 of 31 (295 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

★★★★ Novice

@puzzlezaddict Hi there, I'm sorry to necropost but I was having this exact problem and thought I'd post another possible solution for the "I've tried everything" folks. For reference, I'm running on 1.69 with Smooth Patch installed. I've never run the Super Patch, but I did go through all of the recommended steps to get the game running smoothly, including removing SP for the time being. Those things helped, but the stuttering was still a major issue and the load times were a little ridiculous for the specs that I have. Reminded me of the days you would boot up the game in the morning so it'd be ready for you by the time you got home from school, lol. 


My CPU was out of control (>98%) when the game would run.  I decided to look more into your note about the game being optimized to only use two cores, and saw that multiple people corroborated that. Someone on another forum noted that "Sims 3 can't make a lot of use of multiple cores or anything like that so you get better results out of processors with fewer cores but higher base frequencies." 


I have a laptop with a quad-core Intel processor, and based on the numbers I was getting, I speculate that the game was trying to use all four cores (not sure why, just making semi-educated guesses at this point). So, I found this decade-old tutorial on the official Sims forum that demonstrates how to instruct the game to use three cores instead of all four:


Following these instructions resulted in immediate improvement  for me - my game loads significantly faster, the stuttering has been greatly reduced to the point that I am now grateful for the game's "unavoidable" but most importantly OCCASSIONAL lag, and the load on my CPU has been reduced. It now hovers between 65% - 80% when the game is running and depending on what's going on. The lowest I've seen it get to in the game with this fix is 35%, but that's only when not much is happening (i.e. I'm messing around with menu settings, Nrass, etc).


There a few extra clicks you have to make in Windows 10 to complete this tutorial (go to "Details" in the task manager instead of "Processes" and follow the instructions from there). I didn't notice any significant difference in performance when running the game on two cores vs three in this instance, so I think I'll just leave it on three cores per the linked tutorial.


I really hope this is acceptable to share. I'm not sure if it's a band-aid solution, but it's the only solution that's worked for me thus far.

Message 26 of 31 (101 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

@INeedNAdult94  That's interesting.  (And it's not really a necro either, since this thread is only a few months old.)  It's true that Sims 3 can only use two CPU cores, but Windows or perhaps the processor itself can shift the load around to a considerable extent, and that shouldn't affect performance.  For example, I have an eight-core CPU and don't see this kind of stutter unless I run the game at triple speed with NRaas SP in the mix.


I have been wondering though if the Task Manager misreports CPU use in cases like this, where the total load in any given instant should be no more than two cores but the fact that the load shifts makes the TM think all the cores are constantly that busy.  Out of curiosity, what exact model processor do you have, and what TPS setting do you use with the Smooth Patch?  Have you ever used a more precise monitoring tool (hwinfo is my go-to, but there are others) to measure CPU load?  Is your processor running hotter than it should?


I'm also pretty surprised that load times would decrease, not that I'm doubting your observations, just that it seems like an odd result to me.  When you compared load times, was it with exactly the same user content (mods and cc, store stuff, plus the same save) in both cases?  How bad was it before you made the change?


It's definitely fine to post the suggestion here: you're not linking a random third-party download, and you're not suggesting anything that could damage a person's computer or can't easily be reversed.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 27 of 31 (84 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

★★★★ Novice

@puzzlezaddict I was using the built in Windows Game Bar to track my CPU. I kept an eye on it while playing other games and observed that the load was not nearly as heavy.


My processor is a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7. Not sure what processor model OP had, but the affected users in the thread I linked to appeared to have Intel processors as well - not sure if there's a link there. My processor did run hot (~190* F) before implementing the fix, even when I kicked up the fans manually -- usually within the first 5-10 minutes. Between that and the lag I was experiencing, I never got a chance to build up a huge save file because I'd quit the game. Now when I run the game post-fix, the temps are much more manageable (~160* - 170*).


My TPS setting is at 1000, but that's because I have a decent computer. I also run the game in borderless window mode. I think I've seen you mention to someone on this forum that windowed mode is more resource-efficient than fullscreen, and I wonder if the borderless setting has any effect on CPU usage as well. I'll try one day. 


I did load the games every time with all mods / CC - I don't use Store content. Pre-fix, it would take about 45(!) minutes to load a new save and around 30 to load an existing one (again, not very huge because I was never able to get much done). This is after an initial wait time of ~10 minutes for the game to actually load to the start menu.


Now, from Maxis logo to neighborhood takes 10-15 minutes. Still a pretty long time but with 45 minutes as the benchmark, I was just grateful for improvement. 

Message 28 of 31 (72 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

@INeedNAdult94  I'd still like to know which exact model processor you have, for example an i7-11375H is very different from an i7-8550U.  And 1000 tps might be a bit high for your laptop: even if the CPU can technically handle the load, the cooling needs to keep up as well, which is unfortunately not a given in a laptop chassis.


Windowed mode is actually slightly more demanding on the system as a whole than fullscreen mode because in windowed mode, the OS needs to keep track of everything else running to a greater degree.  In fullscreen mode, the game itself has exclusive focus in certain ways.  Improvements to Windows have closed the performance gap in recent years, but it's still there.


As for loading times, I'm curious to know how long it would take to get into a new save in a clean user folder.  If you don't want to take the time to test, that's totally fine, but it might be a useful benchmark for you to have.  If you're running the game from a mechanical drive rather than an SSD, that would explain the 10-15 minutes of loading, although not the 45.  It should also not take nearly so long to load to the Main Menu; I think it was only a minute or two even on my old 2010 laptop that was never all that powerful to begin with.


I don't work for EA. I'm just trying to help fellow players with their games.
Message 29 of 31 (66 Views)

Re: The Sims 3 lag after multiple tries of fixing

[ Edited ]
★★★★ Novice

@puzzlezaddict Finally found some time to test. I think information is helpful so I'm happy to contribute. 


I'm running on an SSD and my processor is an  i7-8569U CPU @ 2.80GHz. Per your recommendation, I lowered the TPS back to 500. 


Clean folder, New save, no CC, pre-fix

40 sec menu load

2:15 town load  (Sunset)

CPU load 20%-40%


Clean folder, New save, CC, pre-fix

40 sec menu load

15 min town load

CPU load 20%-40% - noticeably worse performance, massive frame drops, in-game clock skips ahead 4-6 seconds at a time 


Clean folder, New save, no CC, post-fix

42 sec menu load

2:52 town load

CPU load rarely exceeds >30%


Clean folder, New save, CC, post-fix 

1 min menu load

8 min town load

CPU load 20% - 40% - but better performance, fewer frame drops, in-game clock doesn't skip


I noticed that you have to go into the task manager and implement the fix every time before you play, but that may be alleviated by running the program in admin mode. Small potatoes, though. I hope this information is helpful.

Message 30 of 31 (28 Views)
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