The Sims 3

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The Sims 3
The Sims 3 cover
Developers
The Sims Studio
Expansions EA Salt Lake
macOS (OS X) TransGaming Inc.
Publishers
Electronic Arts
Engines
The Sims 3 Engine
Release dates
Windows June 2, 2009
macOS (OS X) (Cider) June 2, 2009
Reception
Metacritic 86
IGDB 83
Taxonomy
Monetization Sponsored, DLC, Expansion pack
Microtransactions Currency, Cosmetic, Finite spend
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Free-roaming camera, Bird's-eye view
Controls Point and select, Multiple select
Genres Life sim, Sandbox, Building
Sports Fishing, American football, Water sports, Horse, Table tennis, Football (Soccer)
Vehicles Robot
Art styles Stylized
Series The Sims
The Sims 3 on HowLongToBeat
The Sims 3 on IGDB
The Sims 3 guide on StrategyWiki
The Sims 3 on MobyGames
The Sims 3 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

The Sims 3 is a life simulator game, with aspects of town management and adventure. It is noteworthy for having the other households age alongside the active household, the high ability to interact with the entire neighborhood without loading screens, and the extensive character trait and Create-a-Style systems.

After a pre-release beta was leaked in May 2009,[1] the game was released in June 2009, after which it received expansion packs and frequent fix patches until 2014. Afterwards only functionality-critical patches have been released, such as one for adding Origin support in 2015, and a 64-bit macOS update in 2020.

The game has few or no compatibility issues on Windows 11 as of November 2021,[2] and the modding scene remains active.

Key points

Strong modding community
Lacks native V-sync functionality. It is advised to force vertical sync via the graphics control panel to lessen the strain on the GPU.

General information

The Sims 3 Official Forums
Answer HQ for The Sims 3 at EA.com
Answer HQ for The Sims series at EA.com (OS X)
Steam Community Discussions

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
CD key
Can only be used x times
Requires online activation
Origin
SecuROM 7 and SecuROM PA DRM, unknown machine limit. A De-Authorization Tool is available.
Dropped starting with patch 1.2.7.
Later expansions add Origin DRM.
Icon overlay.png
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Origin
Origin
Included with EA Play.
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Steam
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (notes may include more details)
Included with EA Play (Steam).
Icon overlay.png
Windows

Version differences[edit]

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

Monetization[edit]

Type Notes
DLC Stuff packs contain sizeable additions to content already available in the base game.
Expansion pack Expansions contain major gameplay additions not present in the base game.
Sponsored Certain Stuff packs feature products from real-life companies and celebrities.[3]

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
World Adventures Expansion 1
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Ambitions Expansion 2
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Late Night Expansion 3. Included with EA Play.
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Generations Expansion4
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Pets Expansion 5
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Showtime Expansion 6
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Supernatural Expansion 7
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Seasons Expansion 8
Windows
macOS (OS X)
University Life Expansion 9
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Island Paradise Expansion 10
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Into the Future Expansion 11
Windows
macOS (OS X)
High-End Loft Stuff Stuff pack 1. Also known as Design and Hi-Tech Stuff in Europe
Included with EA Play.
Windows
Fast Lane Stuff Stuff pack 2
Windows
Outdoor Living Stuff Stuff pack 3
Windows
Town Life Stuff Stuff pack 4
Windows
Master Suite Stuff Stuff pack 5
Windows
Katy Perry's Sweet Treats Stuff pack 6. Not available digitally anymore, presumably due to license expiration.
Windows
Diesel Stuff Stuff pack 7
Windows
70s, 80s, & 90s Stuff Stuff pack 8
Windows
Movie Stuff Stuff pack 9
Windows

Microtransactions[edit]

Type Notes
Cosmetic SimPoints are spent on additional clothing and furniture.
Currency Real money is exchanged for SimPoints which are spent in the Sims 3 Store. SimPoints are not available to be earned in-game.
Finite spend Once all Sims 3 Store items have been bought, the limit has been reached.
Unlock Stuff Packs are sold which consist of additional clothing and furniture. Additionally, other maps and gameplay elements are sold piecemeal on the Sims 3 store.

Essential improvements[edit]

Patches[edit]

The following are the latest patch versions for each edition of the game.
  • Retail/DVD and Steam - 1.67.2. The link provided is for the retail version. Steam version is already patched.
  • Origin (Windows and macOS 32-bit) - 1.69.43
  • Origin (macOS 64-bit) - 1.70.305
  • The patch notes can be found here here.

Utilities[edit]

Smooth Patch[edit]

ASI mod by LazyDuchess. Alters the speed at which the game's processing threads run, which improves the overall performance of the game and some loading times.

SMAA injector[edit]

Universal fix for most D3D9 and later games. Should provide better anti-aliasing especially with objects that use alpha effects e.g. hair and foliage; the default FSAA implementation unfortunately does not cover such effects.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Skip intro videos[4]

Download and install No Intro mod

Bypass the launcher[5]

Rename the executable.

  1. Go to <path-to-game>\Game\Bin.
  2. Delete or rename Sims3Launcher.exe.
  3. Rename TS3W.exe to Sims3Launcher.exe.

Increase how much VRAM the game can use[edit]

By default, the game limits itself to 2 GB of VRAM. It is possible to make it use the full amount of VRAM the graphics card has.
Edit GraphicsRules.srg[6][7]
  1. Open <path-to-game>\Game\Bin\GraphicsRules.srg in a text editor.
  2. Change seti textureMemory from either 2048 or 32, to the GPU's VRAM multiplied by 1024. For instance, 6 GB = 6144.

Increase how much CPU power the game will actively use[edit]

Edit GraphicsRules.srg[6][7]
  1. Open <path-to-game>\Game\Bin\GraphicsRules.srg in a text editor.
  2. Change both seti cpuLevelMedium and seti cpuLevelLow from 2 and 1 respectively, to 3.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\Game\Bin\Sims3.ini[Note 1]
<path-to-game>\Game\Bin\GraphicsRules.srg
<path-to-game>\Game\Bin\Default.ini
macOS (OS X)
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/47890/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves
macOS (OS X) ~/Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3/Saves
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/47890/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Origin
OneDrive
Requires enabling backup of the Documents folder in OneDrive on all computers.
Steam Cloud

Video[edit]

Video settings
Video settings

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Multi-monitor
Use The Sims 3 FOV tool. HUD Position Affects Gameplay.
Ultra-widescreen
Vert- scaling.[8]
4K Ultra HD
UI does not scale with resolution and is extremely small in 4K.
Field of view (FOV)
Use The Sims 3 FOV tool.
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
The Sims 3 Smooth Patch gives the option to enable borderless windowed mode.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Some physics effects are tied to the monitor's hertz setting. On ≥120 Hz monitors, elevator shafts are harder to snap in place, item previews spin faster (Compare [9] at 60 Hz, to [10] at 160 Hz), and Buy/Build Mode scrolling may be janky.[7]
High dynamic range display (HDR)
Ray tracing

Input[edit]

General settings, including camera invertion
General settings, including camera invertion

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Mouse acceleration
No mouse acceleration.
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Touchscreen optimised
Moving the camera around in the neighborhood, would require either mouse cursor emulation, or right mouseclick emulation. Entering cheat codes requires a keyboard.
Controller
Controller support

Audio[edit]

Audio settings
Audio settings

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Voices, Sound effects, Music, Background noises, Sound quality
Surround sound
4.0 and 5.1 can be chosen for when zoomed in. Tries to force sound through individual speakers that have been set in the Windows sound settings as being non-present.[11]
Subtitles
No intelligible dialog. All in-game dialog uses the fictional Simlish language.
Closed captions
Sound effects accompanied by visual effects.
Mute on focus lost
Can be turned off

Localizations

After the initial installation, further language changes must be done in the Windows registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Sims\The Sims 3 → Locale (On 32-bit Windows installations it's at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Sims\The Sims 3). The process is explained at Crinrict's Sims 3 Help Blog, although its listing of en-GB is not a valid code.[12]
Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Czech
Traditional Chinese
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
Russian
Spanish
Swedish
Thai

Issues fixed[edit]

Various fixes can be found in this Steam Community Guide.
Many performance issues can be fixed with mods. These include Overwatch, ErrorTrap, Traveler, Mastercontroller and DebugEnabler

Poor performance[edit]

Turn off online functionality[citation needed]
  1. Open the in-game settings
  2. Go to general settings
  3. Turn off shop mode, lessons, usage sharing, memories and interactive loading screens
  4. Go to online settings
  5. Turn off online notifications

World Adventures Region Error[edit]

Incorrect Region Codes can be fixed with a simple registry tweak.
World Adventures Region Error[citation needed]
  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\The Sims\The Sims 3
  2. In the right hand pane, double-click on SKU
  3. Change the value to either 1 or 2 or 3 or 5 or 7 (depending on the user's version of the expansion pack).
  4. Try to install the expansion pack again.

Region Codes

  • North America (languages: en-US, fr-FR, es-MX)
  • Europe (languages: en-US, fr-FR, es-ES, de-DE, it-IT, nl-NL, sv-SE, da-DK, no-NO, fi-FI, pl-PL, pt-PT, hu-HU, cs-CZ, pt-BR, el-GR, ru-RU)
  • East Asia (languages: en-US, ko-KR, zh-TW)
  • Japan (languages: en-US, ja-JP)
  • Worldwide (languages: en-US, fr-FR, es-ES, es-MX, de-DE, it-IT, nl-NL, sv-SE, da-DK, no-NO, fi-FI, pl-PL, pt-PT, hu-HU, cs-CZ, pt-BR, el-GR, ru-RU, ko-KR, zh-TW, ja-JP, th-TH)

Issues unresolved[edit]

Screenshots taken with PrintScreen in fullscreen mode, have much darker color saturation than what they're supposed to have.[2]

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
DirectDraw
A ddraw.dll file is present in the game's folders.
Metal support
Requires macOS 10.13 (High Sierra).
Shader Model support 2.0
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows
macOS (OS X)

Modifications[edit]

The Sims 3 attracts 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.
AwesomeMod - A large compilation of mods and small tweaks. More information can be found at The Sims Wikia and Matywikka (archived)

Mod resources[edit]

The Sims 3 Exchange - The official website for sharing user-made content (sims, households, clothing, etc.). The website uses the Sims 3 launcher to download and install custom content. Both the exchange and Sims 3 launcher require the same account.
Mod The Sims - Also hosts mods for The Sims 2 and The Sims 4.

Tools[edit]

Official[edit]

These tools were created by EA and are hosted on the games official website.
Create a World (Beta)

Unofficial[edit]

More tools can be found on ModTheSims.

Better performance[edit]

SaveCleaner

Recommended mods[edit]

NRaas Overwatch[7]

Contains bugfixes for Sims that have walked into spots without outside path routing, empty cars that stand still in the road, superfluous/corrupt caches, NPCs stuck in-between life ages, and a bug involving a police station mission that can't be won, among other things.
Replaces Sims 3 Seasons' moon cycle with a more detailed one.
The mod will show in-game notifications when it has taken action to resolve the tasks above.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 7
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
AMD Athlon XP 2400+
System memory (RAM) 1.5 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7.1 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce FX 5900 series
ATI Radeon 9500 series
Intel GMA 3000 series
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 2.0 support
For computers using built-in graphics the game requires an Intel Pentium D 805 2.66 GHz or a Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz CPU, and 2 GB RAM.
VRAM requirements do not apply to integrated GPUs.
GeForce 6100 and 7100 cards are not supported.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.5.7 (Leopard)
Processor (CPU) Intel Core Duo
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7.1 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT
ATI Radeon X1600 Pro
Intel GMA X3100
128 MB of VRAM
VRAM requirements do not apply to integrated GPUs.

Notes

  1. 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).
  2. 2.0 2.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/47890/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (47890) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References

  1. Sims 3 leaked to torrent sites weeks before retail release - last accessed on 2021-11-15
  2. 2.0 2.1 Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-11-15
  3. Diesel's Sims website on Wayback Machine - last accessed on 2022-02-08
  4. Verified by User:Aaronth07 on 2019-10-10
  5. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1697342394
  6. 6.0 6.1 https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1131162350
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-10-31
  8. Anyone here playing Sims 3 on 3440x1440 ? - last accessed on 2020-05-30
  9. Sims 3 2021 11 15 20 51 14 01 - last accessed on 2021-11-16
  10. Sims 3 160Hz monitor item spin - last accessed on 2021-11-16
  11. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-11-13
    Tested by using the AUX twin-pair speaker guide I added to Glossary:Surround sound#Discrete surround sound.
  12. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-11-14