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The Sims 3

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
The Sims 3
The Sims 3 cover
The Sims Studio
Expansions EA Salt Lake
macOS (OS X) TransGaming Inc.
Electronic Arts
The Sims 3 Engine
Release dates
Windows June 2, 2009
macOS (OS X) (Cider) June 2, 2009
Metacritic 86
Monetization One-time game purchase, Sponsored, DLC, Expansion pack, Subscription gaming service
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, Farming
Sports Fishing, American football, Water sports, Horse, Table tennis, Football (Soccer)
Vehicles Robot
Art styles Stylized
Themes Contemporary, Zombies
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 May 2023,[2] and the modding scene remains active.

General information

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


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
CD key
Can only be used x times
Requires online activation
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
macOS (OS X)
Includes Late Night and High-End Loft Stuff.
macOS (OS X)
Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store
Starter Pack. Included exclusively with Xbox Game Pass for PC as part of its version of EA Play.
Included with EA Play.
macOS (OS X)
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (notes may include more details)
Included with EA Play (Steam).
Icon overlay.png
Games for Windows Marketplace (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
The 64-bit macOS version is separate from the Windows and 32-bit macOS version. Contact the EA Support if the 64-bit version is missing from the Origin library.

Version differences

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


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.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.
Sponsored Certain Stuff packs and Store items feature products from real-life companies and celebrities.[4]
Subscription gaming service Available via EA Play.


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.

DLC and expansion packs

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

Essential improvements


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


Smooth Patch 2.0

ASI mod by LazyDuchess. This mod adds FPS limiter, borderless windowed support and alters the speed at which the game's processing threads runs, which improves the overall performance of the game and some loading times. Most noticeably in Create A Sim, Create A Style and Buy/Build.
This mod alone will not improve the performance issues with the game and recommends using NRaas and other mods for improved performance.

SMAA injector 1.2 (direct download)

SMAA injector 1.2 (original source)

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.


Skip intro videos[5]

Download and install No Intro mod

Bypass the launcher[6]

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 VRAM allocation limit

The game can only use up to 2 GB of VRAM by default. However, it's possible to make the game utilise the VRAM the graphics card has.
Edit GraphicsRules.sgr[7][8]
  1. Open <path-to-game>\Game\Bin\GraphicsRules.sgr in a text editor.
  2. Change seti textureMemory from either 2048 or 32, to actual amount of VRAM in mebibytes.
Calculate the actual amount of VRAM your graphics card has in gigabytes, then multiply by 1024. (i.e. 6 GB of VRAM × 1024 should equals 6144, etc.)

Increase how much CPU power the game will actively use

Edit GraphicsRules.sgr[7][8]
  1. Open <path-to-game>\Game\Bin\GraphicsRules.sgr in a text editor.
  2. Change both seti cpuLevelMedium and seti cpuLevelLow from 2 and 1 respectively, to 3.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

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

Save game data location

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

Save game cloud syncing

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


Video settings
Video settings

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Use The Sims 3 FOV tool. HUD Position Affects Gameplay.
Vert- scaling.[9]
4K Ultra HD
UI does not scale with resolution, and thus will be extremely small at 4K.
Field of view (FOV)
Use The Sims 3 FOV tool.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
The Sims 3 Smooth Patch gives the option to enable borderless windowed mode.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Applied an unknown amount when Texture Quality settings set to High. For better aniso. filtering quality, force it via GPU driver control panel/utilities.[10]
Anti-aliasing (AA)
MSAA, labelled as Edge Smoothing.
Off, Low (2x), Medium (4x), High (8x) options available.[11]
Vertical sync (Vsync)
No vertical sync present at all; forcing vertical sync and/or triple buffering via graphics card's control panel or D3DOverrider is highly recommended.
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[12] at 60 Hz, to[13] at 160 Hz), and Buy/Build Mode scrolling may be janky.[8]
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.
Ray tracing (RT)


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

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
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 household/lot names and cheat codes requires a keyboard (An on-screen virtual keyboard would likely suffice).
Controller support


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.[14]
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
Royalty free audio
Parts of the OST is listed on streaming services, but have not been known to trigger auto-DMCA systems. The rarely encountered "Custom" speaker genre uses commercial songs by default, but its songs can be replaced or removed manually.


After the initial installation, further language changes must be done in the Windows registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Sims\The Sims 3Locale. The process is explained at Crinrict's Sims 3 Help Blog, although its listing of en-GB is not a valid code.[15]
Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Free choice between 12- and 24-hour clock. If Seasons is installed, there is also a free choice between Celsius and Fahrenheit in the settings.
Traditional Chinese
Brazilian Portuguese

Issues unresolved

Screenshots are overly dark

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

Frequent framerate drops and stuttering

Savefiles that have lasted for several generations, or which have many residents, can encounter problems like framerate drops, stuttering, slow response to camera movements, and slow 3x-tier time.[16] There is no single problem or fix for it, but it occurs most commonly when the game loads (or struggles to load) lots, textures, outfits, and notifications.

Error Code 16 while trying to save the game

Delete some or all lots where moveObjects on have been used[17]
The exact trigger for the error is unclear, but it seems to be more common when a world has many lots where moveObjects on have been used.
Not to be mistaken for the much more common Error Code 12.
  1. Close and start the game.
  2. Load the savefile.
  3. Go to "Edit town".
  4. If there are any lots in the world where it is known that moveObjects on was used during editing, delete those lots.

(Late Night) Error Code 12 when trying to save after a band gig

The error is especially prone to happening if the name of the NPC that the band is supposed to talk to after a gig, is empty in notifications, e.g. "Talk to to get the reward."
Saving may occasionally work immediately after a gig if the NPC still exists.

Issues fixed

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
Tips for better game performance and fixes for various bugs(for advanced users) NRAAS-Better Game Performance.

Game won't launch on Intel Alder Lake processors

Patch the game with AlderLakePatch.[19]
  1. After download the file, extract the zip, rar, or 7z file.
  2. Unzip the tool anywhere, then execute the AlderLakePatch.exe file. You will be prompted to locate the game's executable in <path-to-game>\Game\Bin.
  3. The program should patch the executable, and will create a backup of the executable and an IntelFix.dll file, which the game now uses.
For Origin version, or if the game has been patched to version 1.69, patch TS3.exe.
For Steam and retail version without Origin, or if the game has been patched to version 1.67, patch TS3W.exe.

Poor performance

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

Incorrect Region Codes can be fixed with a simple registry tweak.
World Adventures Region Error[citation needed]
  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\The Sims\The Sims 3.
  2. In the right hand pane, double-click on SKU.
  3. Change the value to either 1, 2, 3, 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)

When loading a savefile, the error message "A critical error occured when loading (…)" shows up

Load a different savefile first, then load the intended one[20][21]
  1. Load a different and smaller savefile and play around in it for a minute.
  2. Go back to the main menu, then load the savefile you intended to load.
  3. If the intended savefile is then loaded correctly, save normally to ensure you have a working backup, then save with "Save as…" (Preferably to a new savefile name, to avoid the possibility of losing the savefile entirely) to reduce the chance of possible cache issues on future occasions.

(World Adventures) When going on vacation, the travel's loading gets stuck at 98% for more than 2 hours

Sell the private house that the household owns in that world[22]
Occasionally, one can open a vacation house in Build Mode from Edit World even when it is being owned by a household that is currently not on vacation, which can make the game confused about who owns the house and causing vacation world loading to get stuck.
  1. While in the household's regular world, choose a household member's cellphone → Property & Travel → Check the Property Market → the vacation house → sell it by clicking on the coin button in the lower left of the popup window.
Use the NRaas Traveler mod[23]
  1. Download NRaas Traveler.
  2. Extract the downloaded ZIP file.
  3. While the game is not running, place the extracted .package into %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages.

Very long loading times in excess of half an hour

Update, replace, or remove custom Buy/Build/Create-a-Sim .package files[24]
When trying to load savefiles with many lots, the game can hang up for quite some time due to what seems to be problems reading info on some custom items that are included in mod packages. Looking for a package update, finding an equivalent package from another creator/site, or simply removing the packages, can bring loading times down to less than 5 minutes.
  1. In Windows, open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages
  2. (If applicable) Search online for an update/replacement for one or more of the custom item .package files.
  3. Move or delete the old .package files out of the folder.
  4. Paste the new .package files into the folder.
  5. Start the game and load the savefile. It can still take a while to load the first time around, but hopefully not quite as long.
  6. (If you receive a message about "Some items couldn't be found and have been replaced") Look a bit around in town and see if the replacements can themselves be replaced with the new items in "Edit town" mode. If they can, continue on with the guide.
  7. Choose ••• → Save as… → Choose a new filename (for example "[Existing filename] 2"). It is not advised to overwrite the old savefile, in case that problems would occur with saving the game or with regretting the new item files.
  8. If the saving succeeds, close the game, start it again, and load the file that has the filename that was picked. If this guide worked well, the loading time should likely be under 5 minutes.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9.0c
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
macOS (OS X)


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

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.



These tools were created by EA and are hosted on the games official website.
Create a World (Beta) (direct link) (for patch 1.67)
Create a World (Beta) (direct link) (for patch 1.69)
Create a World (Beta) (more info)
Create a Pattern (direct link)
Create a Pattern (guide)


More tools can be found on ModTheSims.

Better performance


Automatic removal of junk and cache files

CleanStart The Sims 3

Recommended mods

NRaas Overwatch[8]

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 Supernatural's 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

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.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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).
  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.


  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. Welcome to Games for Windows Marketplace - Games for Windows - last accessed on 19 August 2022
  4. Diesel's Sims website on Wayback Machine - last accessed on 2022-02-08
  5. Verified by User:Aaronth07 on 2019-10-10
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-10-31
  9. Anyone here playing Sims 3 on 3440x1440 ? - last accessed on 2020-05-30
  10. Verified by User:Fudgesiclesxd on 2022-09-07
    Found the string EnableAniso within GraphicsRules.sgr inside game's installation folder.
  11. Verified by User:SargeCassidy on 2022-07-17
    Checked using Special K's Framebuffer Setup.
  12. Sims 3 2021 11 15 20 51 14 01 - last accessed on 2021-11-16
  13. Sims 3 160Hz monitor item spin - last accessed on 2021-11-16
  14. 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.
  15. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 2021-11-14
  16. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 8 July 2022
    I think my savefile had run for 1,150 in-game days and had 140 housed residents.
  17. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 7 December 2022
    I spent several weeks researching this, and I hope I'm even close to having found the cause of it.
  18. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 22 December 2022
    The band career is wildly broken even with NRaas Master Controller manual opportunities. Quite possibly the most broken career in Sims history.
  19. Re: Sims 3 won't open: Alder Lake (Intel 12th-gen) CPU - last accessed on 2022-07-16
  20. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 5 October 2022
  21. Patched, then most saves don't load. - last accessed on 5 October 2022
  22. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 12 October 2022
  23. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 13 October 2022
  24. Verified by User:Dandelion Sprout on 12 December 2022