Recovering Sims 3 Content

September 23, 2011

It looks like I have not updated this blog in a while. Well, I recently got, The Sims 3: Ambitions expansion pack and have been playing that a lot. I'll probably be better about this blog next month. Today's post deals with this game, but it is not a review. Remember in an earlier post when I talked about the importance of backups? Well, even in a game like The Sims, it can be quite boring, if you need to max out certain or all skills of new sim families. This is especially true, when there are more than 10 skills to max out, which would be the case if one has more than one expansion pack installed, like I do. However, if a need arises to reinstall the game, one could possibly lose that family that is a chess grand master or has a family member in the sims that will never fatigue unless they get low on energy (which is the case if one has their sims exercise for a total of at least 135 hours, when combining the requirement to never fatigue after a cardio workout and the same for a strength workout). The latter especially helps when no other sim in their world has any skill levels in martial arts, otherwise after reaching only level 1, they could just spar until the reach level 10. Fortunately, all is not lost, there is a way to backup and recover that sim, which I will cover in this post.

Could I not just use the exchange that is provided by EA? Technically, you could, but there are few a downsides. First, unless you play the game in Windows, or under WINE in Linux, he game will need to be updated, in order to get the exchange. The recovery process that I will be discussing also has this limitation too though, so there is no point in allowing you guys to say I just contradicted myself later. From my own experiences, all that is technically needed is in this case is the World Adventures expansion pack, but the game will probably not play, nor will the launcher show, unless you update. Second, EA's system deletes anything that has not met certain conditions from the exchange. I have experienced this myself, when I uploaded some houses and only the families I uploaded remained. Perhaps, I do not make interesting houses. Third, an internet connection is required to download the saves on the exchange, so it is not good for times when one is not on either a wireless or wired network or the signal is weak. To use the exchange, one must have an Internet connection, uploaded content must meet certain criteria, and players that do not use Windows or Linux must update, in order to install new content.

There is a better way to back up families though. In fact, it is as simple as moving files to an external hard drive or thumb drive or SD card. Also, it does not require an Internet connection, in order to bring data back, except for the case of a needed update in order to make the installation on computers that do not run Windows or Linux. I'm assuming Linux can do it out-of-the-box, but feel free to correct me below, as this may or may not be correct, as I have not fully explored the info for Sims 3 in WINE, nor done my own investigation. First, go into The Sims 3 and export the family or sim(s) you want to back up as if you were going to put them up on the exchange. What will happen at this point is that a file will be created with the extension of Sims3Pack. These are the things actually being uploaded and downloaded from the exchange and/or store, not the kind of things that would have been downloaded in the original game's exchange. Once, that is complete, move or copy the Sims3Pack files from /Documents/“Electronic Arts”/“The Sims 3”/Exports. This would be the path in the Mac environment, but it is not much different in Windows. When ready to reinstall, just double click those files and the launcher will install them for you, provided the launcher and game is updated to appropriate versions, if on the Mac platform. Using this method, Internet is only required if updates are needed and content will never be lost, unless one loses the backup media or the media fails or is corrupted.

In retrospect, one could use the exchange to backup content, but updates maybe needed as well as the fact that Internet is required to obtain the the stuff, and EA has files that do not meet certain conditions deleted. By going only part of the way of uploading families and homes to the exchange, one can bypass all of those flaws, except for when updates are necessary, which is the case on the Mac platform.

What is your opinion on the topic? Am I mistaken on my claims? Feel free to comment.

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