The Sims

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The Sims
The Sims cover
Developers
Maxis
Mac OS (Classic) Westlake Interactive
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
Linux TransGaming Inc.
Publishers
Electronic Arts
Mac OS Aspyr Media
macOS (OS X) Aspyr Media
Linux TransGaming Inc.
Engines
The Sims Engine
Release dates
Windows February 4, 2000
Mac OS (Classic) July 25, 2000
macOS (OS X) August 15, 2001
Linux March 12, 2003
Reception
Metacritic 92
Taxonomy
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view
Genres Life sim
Themes Contemporary
Series The Sims
The Sims on HowLongToBeat
The Sims on IGDB
The Sims guide on StrategyWiki
The Sims on MobyGames
The Sims on Wikipedia
The Sims
Subseries of Sim
The Sims 2000
The Sims Online 2002
The Sims 2 2004
The Sims Stories (series)
MySims 2008
The Sims 3 2009
The Sims Medieval 2011
The Sims 4 2014

Warnings

SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see Availability for affected versions).
The Mac OS X version of this game does not work on Mac OS X Lion (version 10.7) or later due to the removal of support for PowerPC apps.

Key points

Limited video settings.
DirectDraw emulation used on Windows 8 and later, causing low performance. See "Low frame-rate and graphical glitches"

General information

Official Website (archived)
The Sims Official Forums
EA Answer HQ
EA Answer HQ (OS X)

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SafeDisc v1 and v2 DRM[Note 1]. Disc check requires latest expansion installed.
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Linux
SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).
The Sims: Complete Collection includes the base game and all 7 expansions.
An earlier release of The Sims on Linux was included in the MandrakeLinux Gaming Edition package, released in 2001 exclusively for that distribution. This page covers the 2003 TransGaming release, released for all Linux distributions.
A faithful, higher quality icon can be found on Archive.org.

Version differences[edit]

List of all different versions and regions can be found on Wikipedia.

DLC and expansion packs

This is also the preferred installation order, installing expansions in other order may introduce problems or simply can't be installed. If installed in wrong order it's recommended to backup save data, completely uninstall the game and install again in correct order.
Name Notes
Livin' Large Released as "Livin' It Up" in Europe.
Windows
Mac OS
House Party
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Hot Date Requires Livin' Large to install.
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Vacation Released as "On Holiday" in the Republic of Ireland and the UK,
although installer still refers to it as Vacation.
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Unleashed
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Superstar
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Linux
Makin' Magic
Windows
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Linux

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Add the -skip_intro parameter to the exe shortcut.

Patches[edit]

Mousewheel Support Script[edit]

By default the game does not allow for zooming in and out using the mousewheel. Use the following to add in mousewheel support.
Add mousewheel support using AHK[citation needed]
1. Download and install AutoHotkey.
2. Rightclick an empty space in any folder and go to New > AutoHotkey script.
3. Rightclick it and choose Edit.
4. Delete all code and replace with the following:
wheelup::
sendinput,{+}
return

wheeldown::
sendinput,-
return

F10::
Exitapp
return
5. Save and run the file then start the game. When you are done, push F10 to exit the script and restore default mousewheel functionality to windows.

Low frame-rate, graphical glitches and crashes at high resolution[edit]

DirectDraw software emulation is used on Windows 8/10, causing performance and display issues in fullscreen.

Install a DirectX or DirectDraw wrapper[edit]

Stabilizes gameplay, increases frame rate to 60 FPS, allows for resolutions higher than 1920x1440 and fixes severe graphical glitches when using Alt+Tab .
Use a DirectX wrapper[3]
  1. Download the latest version of dgVoodoo 2 and extract the archive.
  2. Open the MS\x86 folder and copy the D3DImm.dll and DDraw.dll files.
  3. Paste the files into the game installation folder <path-to-game> where the game executable is.
  4. Run dgVoodooCpl.exe. Click the [.\] button below the banner.
  5. Under the DirectX tab, choose a Video card. Change the resolution to anything desired.
  6. Tick "Fast Video Memory Access".
  7. Untick "dgVoodoo Watermark"
  8. Click Apply.
  9. Run the game.

Notes

Causes high input-latency
Use a DirectDraw wrapper[4]
  1. Download the DirectDrawCompat wrapper.
  2. Extract the contents from the .zip file into the game's installation folder.
  3. Run the game.

Notes

If the game only shows a black screen, G-SYNC must be disabled (either globally or manually)
When overriding the games DPI, the cursor can disappear in the phone call UI.
Run the game in a window
  1. Create or use an existing desktop shortcut for the game.
  2. Right-click the shortcut and go to Properties.
  3. Add the -w flag to the end of the Target field, with a space before the flag.
  4. Run the game.

Notes

Doesn't fill the entire screen, can be difficult to see

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\UserData\Options.iff[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)
Linux
Configuration files are encrypted.
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\UserData\[Note 2]
<path-to-game>\UserData*\[Note 2]
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)
Linux
Game saves are in form of neighborhoods instead of a single household. Save folders are numbered (the first neighborhood is numberless).
Initial setting up of new neighborhood and household may take several minutes even with higher end machines, and it takes longer as more expansion packs are installed.

Video[edit]

General settings.
General settings.
Graphics settings.
Graphics settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Natively available resolutions are 800x600 and 1024x768.
Change through the game's launcher. See Widescreen resolution.
Multi-monitor
Ultra-widescreen
Resolutions above 1920x1440 crash. See Install a wrapper
4K Ultra HD
Resolutions above 1920x1440 crash. See Install a wrapper
Field of view (FOV)
Windowed
Use the -w command line argument.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Use dgVoodoo2.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
60 FPS
Frame rate is capped under 30 FPS. Can be changed to 60 FPS using DDrawCompat
120+ FPS
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Unable to zoom in as close as the default resolution.
Can see more at once.
Patch widescreen support[5]
The following fix requires a No-CD patch.
  1. Download The Sims: Complete Collection Widescreen Patcher
  2. Extract and run the patcher.
  3. Browse to the Sims.exe at <path-to-game>
  4. Select the desired resolution and wrapper: dgVoodoo2 (compatibility) or DDrawCompat (performance).
  5. Click "Patch" and close the patcher.
  6. Run the game normally.

Notes

  • To change the resolution or wrapper after patching, select "Uninstall" in the patcher, select a new resolution and patch again.
  • If DDrawCompat is installed, the game must be excluded from using G-Sync if using a G-Sync monitor. Also in the phone/clothes UI, the cursor can disappear if overriding the games DPI.
  • If the game is still running at a low resolution, ensure the launch flag -1024x768 isn't present in the desktop shortcut.
  • For manual patching, follow the WSGF guide, however some HUD elements may become difficult to read due to rendering errors, such as the employment screen.

Input[edit]

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support

Audio[edit]

Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Effects, music and speech.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 Surround. No positional audio. Center speaker is used for in-game sounds (such as voices and sfx). Front speakers are used to reproduce songs, while side and rear channels are used to reproduce background noises.
Subtitles
Speech is fictional language called Simlish.
Speech is subtitled with generic icons, important speech e.g. phone calls are given as popup window.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Pauses the game on Alt+Tab , option to disable. However audio still stops.

Localizations

Game has to be installed with desired language option.
Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Starting from Vacation expansion pack.
Installing that or later expansions changes language.
French
German
Hebrew
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Norwegian
Brazilian Portuguese
Portuguese
Polish
Spanish
Swedish
Thai

Issues fixed[edit]

At the time The Sims was released, it had the potential for crashes and issues. With each expansion, the game became less stable, and even on properly configured systems would crash periodically. This has not improved over time.
Problems may vary from not being able to install the game, from not being able to launch the game, instability along with performance issues and lastly not being able to save the game. This is especially prevalent on Windows 10, when disc-based DRM was completely dropped along with broken DirectDraw emulation. See "Low frame-rate and graphical glitches".

Installer program not starting[edit]

Start installation manually without launcher[citation needed]
  1. Go to main discs root and open folder Setup.
  2. With most cases simply open Setup.exe, however to make sure correct language is used run preferred Setup_Language.BAT that resides in the Setup folder.
  3. Continue installation normally.

Notes

Content of the Setup folder varies from game and expansion.

Installer becomes stuck (hangs)[edit]

Certain processes can cause the installer to freeze or hang at certain stages
Analyze wait chain

Installer gives "unknown error encountered - aborting setup" error[edit]

Remove InstallShield information[6]
Caused by an improper uninstall of the game, which prevents re-installation due to setup remnants.
  1. Enable Hidden files in File Explorer (under the "View" tab).
  2. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\InstallShield Installation Information
  3. Look for a folder named {F2527115-B8BF-4FDB-B5DA-5AADFB7C13E1}.
  4. If the folder doesn't exist, look through all folders for Setup.ini files, and check for a mention of The Sims.
  5. Ensure that the correct folder is selected, then delete it.
  6. Re-start the installer and install the game.

Notes

Different versions of the game may have a different folder ID name.
Be careful to not delete the wrong folder!

Installer gives "An error occurred while launching the setup. The remote procedure call failed." error[edit]

Disable beta UTF-8 language support[citation needed]
  1. Open Control Panel > Clock and Region > Change date, time or number formats.
  2. Open the Administrative menu and click the Change system locale... button.
  3. Uncheck Beta: Use Unicode UTF-8 for worldwide language support.
  4. Select OK and restart the system.

Stuck on first-time neighborhood loading screens[edit]

Set compatibility mode
  1. After installation navigate to <path-to-game>.
  2. Open properties of Sims.exe and open compatibility tab.
  3. Select Windows XP (Service Pack 2) compatibility mode and check Run as an administrator.
  4. Select OK and open the game via shortcut.

Issues saving when installed to the default location[edit]

Install game to a different location[citation needed]
  1. Start setup normally
  2. When asked installation location select different location. For some users simply removing (x86) from path, but it may be safer to install either root or another drive.
  3. Continue installation normally.
Set compatibility mode[citation needed]
  1. After installation navigate to <path-to-game>.
  2. Open properties of Sims.exe and open compatibility tab.
  3. Select Windows XP (Service Pack 2) compatibility mode and check Run as an administrator.
  4. Select OK and open the game via shortcut.

Windows Update KB3086255 blocks SafeDisc[edit]

Uninstall KB3086255 update[citation needed]
  1. If using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, uninstall Windows Update KB3086255 before the game installation.
  2. Open Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Installed Updates
  3. Select the update with the code KB3086255, and uninstall it.
  4. Install the game.

Corrupted Game Files[edit]

It is possible for the game files to become corrupt, requiring a complete reinstallation. The Sims CD contains a tool called SimsEraser that will clean all traces of the game left over after an uninstall. Uninstalling the game, running SimsEraser, and reinstalling will restore the game to its original state.

Mod-Related Issues[edit]

The Sims attracted a large modding community, allowing further customization features. Unfortunately, even properly designed mods could increase the chances of crashes and errors in the game. Mods have a major impact on loading time and stability, and should be used with discretion if you are having issues with the game.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 7 DirectDraw software emulation is used on Windows 8 and later
OpenGL 1 Mac OS only.
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows
macOS (OS X)
[7]
Linux

Simitone[edit]

Inactive since May 15, 2020.
An open source re-implementation of the game based on the FreeSO project. Currently available as a pre-alpha release; see the GitHub repository for details

Mods[edit]

Mods may require dependencies.

Official mods[edit]

These mods were created by Maxis and formerly hosted on the games official website.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 233 MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 300 MB
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM
DirectX 7 compatible
Windows NT is not supported.
Mac OS
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 8.1
Processor (CPU) PowerPC G3/G4 233 MHz
System memory (RAM) 64 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 3.5 GB
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM

Notes

  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[1] or Windows 11 and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[2]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).

References