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Friday, June 14, 2013

More on Using Custard to check for CC

As I posted previously, there are two versions of Custard which is a tool created by Delphy at Mod the Sims. The purpose of the program is to check Sims3Packs for CC. The first version is posted at the bottom of the first post here:

 Unzip the files and place them in a folder where you can easily find it, such as on your desktop. The unzipped folder will have the following files inside it:

Keep all these files together in this folder, as they're all needed to run the program. Double click on the last one listed, the one that says Sim3PackCleaner. This opens the Custard program, which looks like this:

Now click on file > Open, and navigate to where the Sims3Pack is that you want to check. if it is a S3P that you created and that you intend to upload, it will be in your My Documents / The Sims 3 / Exports folder. If it is an item you downloaded, it will be in your My Documents / The Sims 3 /Downloads folder (or where ever you downloaded it to on your PC). Find the Sims3Pack you want to check, click on it, and select open. I'm going to open a lot I created called Loft House Starter.

The pictures were taken with the older version of Custard that's on page one of the thread posted above, so the Thumbnails (the .png or picture files) will not show as corrupt. You also won't get that 'corrupt contains another DPBF' message on the first line when you use EA Store content, since as far as I've been able to tell, that's all it is identifying. I experimented with this by installing a lot I created into a new The Sims 3 folder that had no Store content installed in it. When I created a new Sims3Pack without the Store content, then I did not get the 'Corrupt' message on the first line when I opened it in Custard.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter which version you use, as far as my experience has been it will still identify CC. Just look for any other package files besides the first one listed. You may not see .package all spelled out, you may just see .p... It depends on how far over you move the column. But there should just be one package file so if you see more than one, that's a red flag. The above lot has no CC since there are no extra package files identified.

The other thing you need to watch for with S3P's of sims that you upload or download is if the words "CAS Part" are listed on the first line (it may be listed on other lines too). It will also usually say "eyeliner" or "facemask" or "face overlay" or whatever CAS CC item is identified.

Here is a screenshot of one of my sims that had a custom eyebrow on her. If anyone recognizes her, don't worry; it took what seemed like a long time to finally find it and get rid of it, but I managed to do it so when I uploaded her to my Studio she had no CC! CAS custom content like make-up and eyebrows are the hardest to remove from your game because the items are not listed separately from the sim, as you can see in this screenshot. You need the item number in order to search your PC for it so you can delete it. If a copy of the content remains in your DCBackup folder it will still be in your game!

So to repeat:
1. If you see more than one .package (or .p...) file, or
2. If the first line says CAS Part (it will probably also list the type of item) then you likely have a S3P that has CC on or in it.

Easy peasy, amiright? :-D

Now, next I will briefly discuss how to get rid of unwanted CC. Here is a sim that has a CC painting attached to him. We think this happened because the painting was placed in the house he was living in when the S3P of him was created.

If you don't want the painting any more, then first you need to make sure that you have deleted it from every lot that it's in. If it originally came in a lot that you downloaded, you'll have to edit the lot to delete it and then save the new version of the lot, then uninstall the original version of the lot. After removing it from your lots, then you should be able to go to the launcher and uninstall it.

If you try to delete an object that is still part of a lot or sim, you will get an error message when you try to install it. It will say something about a dependency and the game will not allow you to uninstall the item.

After you uninstall the painting, then open your DCBackup Folder that is in your My Documents/ Electronic Arts / My Sims 3 folder and find the following file and delete it:


If you look at the Custard picture above, you will see that this is the identification number of the chicken painting. And note that the first character is the number zero, not the letter o. It's good to
double check this number to make sure you are deleting the correct file. But not only must you uninstall the item to get rid of it, you also have to delete the item from your DCBackup folder or it will still be in your game.

Now you can put your sim in a house (one that has no CC!) and create another household SimPack out of him. He should be CC free at this point. Check it with Custard to make sure, especially if you plan to claim that he has no CC. I can't tell you the number of items or sims I have seen on the Exchange as labeled no cc, but they do in fact have cc.

Now, what if you like the painting and want to keep it?

Assuming that you still want to upload your sim but free of CC, the easiest way to fix it is to rename your The Sims 3 folder to something else - like The Sims 3 Play. Then open the game so that it creates a new TS3 folder. Now your game will not have any Store or any custom content in it at all. Install the S3P of the sim, painting and all. Right away you can go to your Installed content tab on your launcher and you will see the painting there. Uninstall it. You don't have to worry about it being on any of your lots because you have no custom lots installed in this version of your game. Now open up the game, put your sim in a house, and create a new Sims3Pack out of him and check it in Custard. The sim should now be CC free.

Exit your game and open the launcher back up - upload your CC-Free Sim to your Studio.

Now close the launcher, and go back to My Documents / Electronic Arts / The Sims 3 folder and either delete it or rename it if you want to keep it for future use. Then rename your The Sims 3 Play folder back to The Sims 3 and then your old version of your game, complete with all your custom content, will open the next time you start your game.

If it is CAS CC like makeup it probably will not be installed through the launcher. So immediately after installing the sim with the CC to this clean folder, go to your DCCache and DCBackup folders and you should see two items installed. They will be identified by those long numerical names so you just have to figure that the larger of the two items in size is (most likely) your sim. The first thing you need to do is to make a note of the numerical file name of the smaller sized item; you will probably need to write it down (yeah, it's a pain). Then delete file, and do the same thing to that item in both folders.  If you want to delete this CC in your regular 'play' folder, the one you renamed, you'll need to know the file name of the item so you can delete it again in the DCCache and DCBackup folders in that one, too. Now place the sim in a house and create another S3P and check it to make sure that the CC is gone, as in the steps above.

By the way, let me repeat that I do not blame cc creators, no, I blame EA for not making it easier to use and manage CC in TS3. As I said before I believe they were trying to prevent the use of CC with TS3 but that is just dumb. If they get rid of the ability to customize this game I believe they will lose many, many customers because that is what most people find fun about The Sims - the ability to play any way you want to, not just the way the developers want you to play. Because frankly, in my opinion most of them don't really seem to understand this game at all.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Funny DLC Video

OK, this short video totally cracked me up. It's from, of course. ;)

In other news, I've been working on putting together a showcase thread for my lots to post on the Creative Corner at the official Sims forum. Still missing a few pictures that I need to take of some of them but hopefully will get that finished by the weekend.

I've added two more houses to my studio since I've updated this blog last; need to get better at keeping up!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

NOLA Italianate Victorian Take 2

NOLA Italianate Victorian (Take 2!). You can get it here:

That asymetrical front porch - where the posts weren't evenly spaced out - bothered me on the Italianate Victorian Gem I uploaded, but changing it would have made the house uneven across the back. I had already made the house a little bit wider than the actual picture showed to accommodate the front door I wanted to use, so I ended up letting it go in the first version of this house. But since I'd had enough time away from this build to not be sick and tired of it any more, the other day I finally extended the house by one tile on the left side just to see how it would look. I thought the back of the house still looked fine but I simplified the back porch, and adding one tile changed the look of everything on that side of the house so I also re-did the interior spaces on the left side.

By extending it on the left side, the library became longer so I shortened the width a bit - and since the powder room would have been too long the way it was I shortened that, and ended up creating a two-tile wide niche in the kitchen which I filled with the Teppanyaki (I always have to look up how to spell that - too bad they didn't pick a simpler name!) Grill. I also rearranged some things, added an island, and put shelves over the grill and the stove.

Here is an overview picture of the main floor showing the layout now.

And an overview of the second floor. Mainly all that's different is that the upstairs landing became a little larger as did the guest room, and the guest bathroom got re-arranged. I also added a chess set that wasn't there before.

In the back patio area, I added the Pizza Oven from Monte Vista which was not in the original upload. So my sims are going to eat well while living in this version of the house. :-)

OK, so now I am done with the house. I think. ;-)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Custard and TS3 custom content

Delphy of Mod the Sims made one of the most valuable and popular tools for The Sims 3 - you can open Sims3Packs (S3P's) with it and (theoretically at least) it will identify if there is any custom content included. It's known as Custard. To see more information about this tool, check out this link at MTS:

As time has passed and EA has changed the way their files are coded, it has sadly become a little less reliable. All the thumbnails will show as corrupt now if you check a S3P after downloading it to your PC, for example, because now all thumbnails show as corrupt. It's still an immensely valuable tool that I would never go without, especially since we have no alternatives! But identifying custom content has definitely become more of a challenge.

Let me just add here that I am not anti-CC in the least, and use some myself, but I prefer to use package versions in my Mods folder because I have a lot more control over it that way. I am very disappointed with how EA has dealt with CC in TS3. Or more accurately, how they've NOT dealt with it. I'm quite sure they are purposely making it difficult to manage because: 1) they want players to buy their custom content from the EA Store instead; and 2) they want to wean players off of CC since they are probably heading toward an all online TS4. But all that is another story for perhaps another day!

Back to Custard and trying to identify CC in S3P's before installing them. The original version of Custard is on page 1 of the above thread; there is another version of it on page 9. I used both versions of Custard to conduct a little test with a lot that I downloaded from the Exchange.

First I downloaded the file using "Save File" so it was saved to a folder on my PC and then checked it with the original version of Custard (which from now on I'll just call Custard 1). The screenshot below shows what Custard 1 identified. All the red corrupt files are png or picture files - it's normal for Custard to show pictures/thumbnails as corrupt now. But it also mentions an "UrnstoneHuman". EA certainly has urnstones in the game, so is this really CC? All of the .png (picture) files are mentioning the urnstone. Also, I believe this lot has some photographs from a photographer sim and if one of them shows an urnstone, it will be identified by custard as if it is CC. I have tried uploading lots with photographs that my tester sim took and they were also identified as if they were CC. This is very frustrating since photographs would be much less expensive (and there would be more variety) than the paintings in the game. I do wish there was a way to avoid having Custard identify photographs as CC. Anyway, the last 3 files are .package files and are CC (or something) that has camped onto this lot.


Here is a shot of the exact same lot using the version of Custard from page 9 of the above thread (I'll call it Custard 2 from now on). Now it is no longer identifying the urnstone as CC. Picture files are still showing as corrupt, of course. And it is still identifying the last 3 files as package files.


So next I added the lot to my TS3/Downloads folder by clicking on "Add to Game" instead of Save File. This opens up the launcher and downloads the S3P. On occasion things will automatically install but most of the time it is not installed to my game until I click on the little box next to it and press the Install button in the launcher. So I can still check the file with Custard before checking that box and installing the lot to my game. The picture below shows what Custard #1 found when I checked the file in my TS3 Downloads folder. It is still identifying the urnstonehuman, but now there is another package mentioning trees, as well as a pattern and a Glove.

As it turns out, the trees thing is a lot that is also available on the Exchange. It has no CC in it, I checked. But somehow it has attached itself to this lot and is installing itself along with the lot we are testing. I've never seen that happen before!

 And finally, here is the same S3P checked with Custard 2, which is showing the Christmas tree lot as corrupt along with the 'package in a package' message. Very bizarre, but at least it does still show the custom content that is in the lot. Both the pattern and the glove were created using TSR Workshop. I know this because someone else on the EA forum installed this lot and showed those items that were in her launcher and installed in her game.

So I guess the lesson to be taken from my little experiments is that it is best to use the "Add to Game" option when downloading from the Exchange so that the S3P can be checked with Custard before installing it. I guess whether someone wants to take a chance on something like the urnstone being an in-game photograph would be an individual decision.

If in doubt, you could always go in your My Documents/Electronic Arts folder and rename your The Sims 3 folder to something else, such as The Sims 3 Play. This will make the game generate a brand new The sims 3 folder. If in doubt about a S3P, you could install it with the launcher (it will go to your new folder but anything else you have downloaded/installed, Store content and all, will not be there) and then look to see what all got installed with the lot by switching the launcher to the Installed Content tab.

To delete any unwanted CC from your game is another topic that maybe I'll try to explore/address in another post. I've certainly experienced the frustration of trying to get rid of some custom content, but I have found ways to do it most of the time. You can also always start over with deleting or renaming your TS3 folder as mentioned above, but if you have a lot of Store items or lots and sims that would mean installing them all - AFTER you figure out which ones have the CC you're trying to get rid of (you don't want to install it all over again in your new TS3 folder!).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vieux Carre Venues

After my virtual tour of Bourbon Street, I decided to remake the House of Voodoo and Magic along with half the block that is located next to it IRL. Here are the results - it uses quite a bit of EA Store content (the Elixer Store in particular features the Old Town Kit, The Magic Set, and the African Inspirations Collection - with a little Gothique thrown in). It was play-tested and has no CC (checked with Custard).

Download here:

On the left you will find Simfritzel's Jazz Club. This is where all the musicians in town like to come jam and where sims like to hang out listening to R&B.

The upstairs to the Club has some dancing and entertainment of it's own, including access to the balcony for sim watching.


In the center of the block you will find the Bourbon Street Resale Shoppe (consignment store).

And on the right is Cherie Simveaux's House of Voodoo and Magic (also available as a separate download in my studio; the design is similar but slighly different).


So now that the latest lots are uploaded and posted, I guess I will go update to the latest patch. ;)

Google Earth and the House of Voodoo

Over the weekend I figured out how to use Google Earth to view pictures of an area I'm researching. It was pretty cool - I took a "virtual stroll" down Bourbon Street in New Orleans. :D

I got this idea to create an Elixer Consignment Shop for The Sims 3 using a New Orleans theme. So I present to you Cherie Simveaux's House of Voodoo and Magic.

Download here:

It may not look like much on the outside, but on the inside, it is something else! ;)

Come visit and learn all about local legend Cherie's life and beliefs; and don't forget to pick up some potions and souvenirs for all your friends!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

House Hunters New Orleans: part 2

So the second part of this contest is the actual house. Someone posted a picture of a colorful house in the Garden District and I just got inspired to build it in The Sims 3. In my research of the city I learned that this area of New Orleans, the Garden District, was originally a town called Lafayette. When the new "Americans" came to the port city of New Orleans to make their fortunes, they were snubbed by the 'old money' elites in the French Quarter so they started their own community, competing with one another to build the most elaborate homes.

I wasn't sure what to do with the interior so I spent some time looking at some New Orleans homes that had rooms to rent out on Since the outside of the house I wanted to build was so colorful, I choose to go with the colorful interior colors that some homes in NOLA have  (NOLA stands for New Orleans Lousiana in case you don't know - I didn't!). I'm sure the layout I ended up with is not really accurate but I wasn't able to find any online examples of floor plans from that time period (circa 1860).

I originally made the house on a 20x30 lot but I needed to extend the house by one tile in order to make the front door that I wanted to use work. So I ended up moving it to a 30x30 lot so that I could also provide a parking space "with a secuity gate".

The reason I put that last thing in quotes is because it turns out that this house is really for sale! Someone on the thread posted a link to a NOLA house for sale on a real estate site and after looking at it I did a search for homes in the Garden district, and there it was! There were a handful of photos provided and I was kind of shocked to find out that the house does have rather colorful interiors, although the colors are more muted than the ones I choose. I made a few changes as a result of the online pics of the real house - I changed the color of the dining room (but decided not to go with wallpaper), made the kitchen red, and created a faux fireplace area to place the stove, based on a photo of the kitchen. I also added a parking space "with a security gate" and changed the molding to a painted white color based on the fact that they typically paint wood there to help preserve it from mold.

Based on a picture I accessed on Google Earth, I may someday rebuild the place on a larger lot. The real house has 5 BRs and bathrooms, not 3, and the backyard is larger. Granted the scale is off in TS3 and adjustments have to be made for that, but for my house to feel like a grand mansion to me I would like to make it larger. Of course if I do that I may not be happy with the house scale! LOL The house also has what looks like a one-story addition on the back of the house that probably includes a family room and maybe a bar...somewhere. I guess I would have to make that part up. ;-)

Here are the pics of the house that I am entering in the contest:

Front Entry Hall

Living Room

It's not shown in these pictures but I actually ended up switching the sofas - the green is now in front of the fireplace, and the grey is off to the side where the green one was. Every time I even look at the house I think of something else to change. (rolls eyes)

The Library

The kitchen, of course.

Dining Room

Main floor powder room

Now for the upstairs; here is the landing. Through the yellow door straight ahead is the second floor outdoor balcony.

Through this door on the opposite side of the landing you will find the laundry room.

Through this door there is a small second floor balcony at the back of the house.

To the right of the laundry room is the bedroom that is being used as an art studio.

Here is the guest room for visitors and out of town family members.

Upstairs/Guest Bath

And here is the Master Bedroom.

And the Master Bathroom.

And that wraps up the tour of the house interior. Now we finish the tour with the back of the house.

The tour wouldn't be complete without a look at the back patio and garden.

Thank you for touring this Garden District house in New Orleans. Call me if you want to make an offer on the house. :-D