- How do I save a family?
Not tested, but I read this on the official website.
Go to the userdata folder of your neighbourhood and copy the .FAM file of the family, then paste it into userdata/import. (If you play e.g. in neighbourhood no.2 the folder userdata2 is the right one.) This will allow you to import that family into your current game or to another neighbourhood. If you place several copies of the file and just increment the number in the file name you can even have the same family several times! (Useful if the family is rich and you like the marry-and-kill-off-partner technique.)
Take note though, that the family file also stores on which lot the family lived, so if there is a new house/family in your new neighbourhood on that lot, it will be erased!
- How do I make Santa Claus appear?
You must put a fireplace and the original Christmas tree in a room, close to each other. Then you need the Maxis cookies. They are available from their website, I think they are already included into Deluxe too. Buy them at *exactly* 11pm and place them on a table near the tree. Make sure all your sims are asleep!
Then Santa or his female helper will teleport in and leave nifty presents. I got a chessboard!
- I downloaded a dress with gloves, but they don't show up. What can I do?
When Hot Date was introduced Maxis changed the way skins work. There is no way anymore to add gloves to formal wear, and as far as I know you can't use custom nude meshes anymore either. (I never managed to have e.g. a mermaid keep her tail when taking a bath. Adding a custom nude skin so she keeps her scales is possible, but the custom mesh is ignored by my game.)
So you need to use a trick.
If your sim is supposed to wear a wedding gown with white gloves you have to install a casual skin with white hands first, e.g. a Sailor Moon skin, a golfer or whatever. Now have your sim change into this casual dress and her hands will be white. If you change into the wedding gown now the hands will stay white and you have the glove effect.
Note though that her hands will also stay white when naked or wearing swim suit or pajamas, so you'll have to change her casual dress again after the wedding if you don't like that.
In my opinion having gloves is just not worth it.
- Can I add a bio to a finished sim?
Yes, that is easy.
Ever adopted a stray and were bothered by the empty character bio? Just hold down ctrl (string) and click on the icon of a family member and you can change the bio. Works for pets, adults and children all the same.
- How do I make money fast without cheating?
If you have Makin' Magic, the best way to go is growing wine or berries in my opinion. Buy a butter churner and have one sim work on his/her cooking skills (gaining up to 70$ for the butter in the process). Also go to magic town and buy a berry or grape vine (or both) and plant them. Buy sugar in magic town, loooots of it. Of course you will also need the winemaker. Now the better your sim gets in cooking the more you get for the wine. Very soon wine will sell for 300 simoleans or more. It's easy to make 700 or more per day this way, and your sim will have lots of spare time.
You can also sell the fridge and buy a simple conservatory. Put your spare grapes or berries in there and your sim can have full meals for free! If you always water your yard well you can harvest twice a day.
If you don't have Makin' Magic the best shot is to go for garden gnomes. Buy a work bench and make one sim work on it all day long, unless he needs a break. The gnomes start out very cheap, but the sim gains mechanic points and will produce better and better gnomes. When he gets really good you will make good profit, but your sim is doing a very hard job that takes up a lot of his time and energy.
Sell your gnomes fast, my sims have a bad habit of cannonballing on gnomes on parties, and then they will all explode and gain you nothing!
- How do I make money fast with cheating?
With the good old cheat box. Press "shift", "strg" and "c" at the same time and the cheat box opens.
To gain money type "klapaucius" (US version) or "rosebud" (Europe) and press enter. (Without the quotation marks!) That gains you 1000 simoleans. You can add ! to gain more money in one go, like "rosebud!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!" gains you 8000.
- What is move_objects on and what can I do with it?
Press "shift", "strg" and "c" at the same time and the cheat box opens.
Now type "move_objects on" and press enter and you will activate the cheat mode, which has many, many uses. It only works on residential lots and in the buy/build mode of any community lots, but not in the live mode when a sim is e.g. in the city. With "move_objects off" you can deactivate it again (or by closing the game).
To list some common uses:
- It allows you to move any object on the lot.
You can place trees and plants outside of the lot boundaries this way. Don't block the street though! Also don't block the lawn directly adjacing to the road on the boundaries of the screen because that's where guests and service personnal show up. Leaving at least 3x3 empty fields on both sides of the street is a wise choice. If you find an invisible object there (or on the street) - hands off! Those are the controllers for visitors and cars.
Invisible objects in the middle of the lot are quite possibly junk that your dog created thanks to a bug in the game. Dogs leave junk data after playing and this junk can one day make your game crash and the lot become unaccessible. It never happened to me (especially since most of my sims rather have cats for this reason) but a good number of simmers check the lots of their doglovers from time to time to delete invisible objects from house and garden. As said though - at the borders of the lot and on the street its way more likely to have found an important controller file.
You can also move the trashbin into your kitchen so El Bandito can't get to it anymore and the sims don't have to go all the way down to the street to get rid of their trash. Be careful you don't delete it though, else the lot will be broken! You can move the postbox closer to the house if you want. Don't delete it either or the lot will be broken! The sim can get his post easier this way, newspapers will be placed around the postbox, so they are closer to the house too. When a sim comes back from work he/she will appear right next to the postbox. That looks a bit strange, but this way the sim doesn't stand in front of the work car and blocks the street. I mostly use the cheat to decorate the lot boundaries and to arrange trash bin and postbox a bit so they match my garden path (a bit to the left, a bit to the right, some more space between them...).
- It allows you to delete any object on the lot.
My sims often get stuck playing charade, and they don't snap out of it for *days*. If your sim gets stuck, just delete the object. You can also delete El Bandito and Claire Bear so they don't bother you. And you can delete dirty dishes, cockroaches and flies, and if you do so at "night" you often get money for the flies and roaches! I heard you can even delete invoices this way and live for free, but I haven't tested that.
- It allows you to delete any sim on the lot.
You can delete a sim. If it's a guest, he will be gone but not dead. Kinda like a virtual kick so to speak. If it's a family member, he will disappear and there will be a small red icon on his portrait. Click that and he will reappear, with all stats refreshed. So if your sim feels really miserable, delete him and have him come back. Two notes though: When that sim is the only family member time will start to run, just as if the sim were sleeping. So quickly press pause or just don't do this when you're waiting for the carpool or your sim might miss work. The other note is that a sim often forgets what he has learned before the deletion, so save the game before you use this cheat. An example: Sally had 3 cooking points when I started, I made her study until all her stats were red and she had cooking 6. Then I remove her and make her reappear refreshed - her cooking is back at 3. If I save before removing the sim her cooking will stay at 6.
- It allows you to kill annoying family members or guests.
Build a swimming pool without any equipment, so sims can neither jump in nor climb out. Then move the sim(s) you want to get rid of into the pool. If they were busy with an action you might have to repeat this, sometimes several times before they finally stay in the pool. Then just wait. Since they cannot climb out they will keep swimming until they tire and then die. Sell their gravestone and they're gone forever.
If you do this to a townie (a NPC controlled by the game) the game creates a new one on your next visit to the neighbourhood map. In this way you can slowly clean your city from unwanted sims by throwing a lot of parties without the help of external tools. In my game the KI often creates hideous townies, like sims with magician's robes who wear woolies or the other way around they have the head of a time-honoured elder but wear skater clothes. No way. If you occasionally delete skins you might run into the famous headless sims too which you can also get rid of with this method.
It's not advised to use this method for replacing all sims in the neighbourhood, e.g. if you want a themed city with only elves or fairies. This can take veeeeeeery long if you don't use external tools instead or make sure that the game only has access to matching heads before you start the neighbourhood for the first time.
Of course the rather... err, practical Sims can get rid of their rich spouse in this way too.
- My sim keeps sneezing and is very ill, what can I do?
He caught the guinea pig sickness, due to long exposure to a dirty guinea pig cage. Clean the cage, always. Your sim can die from this illness, so you need to cure it. The simplest way is to buy the guinea pig picture. Hang it on the wall and have your sim look at it. 16 hours later he will be cured.
- Can my sim have weekend?
Not really, but kind of. A sim only gets fired if he misses work two days in a row, so you can miss every second day. Same goes for school. For longer holidays you need to visit vacation island (needs Vacation).
- Is there a way to start with some skill points?
Yes, there is a funny bug you can exploit. Create a new sim as a child. Then, before saving, click on edit, go back and make the sim into an adult. When you now save the family this sim will start with some random skill points, as the game randomly gives (unused) skill points to children. You will get a funny note when the sim wants to take his first job about "But I already have a job!", just ignore it. The game assumes he goes to school (which he doesn't do though, since he's adult). Just give him a job and he will be a "real" adult.
- Should I adopt strays?
It depends. With an adoption you get a dog or cat for free, which is neat, but still I would not recommend it.
First off I noticed that adopted dogs usually don't pee in the house, which means you can't scold them and thus they will not gain any points in house-trained. Bad for the pet show.
Plus, character stats of strays are always 0, which is sad.
And last but not least adopted strays do not get replaced by the game. Marry a townie and the game creates a new one, adopt a stray cat and there will be one less stray in town. But I noticed strays visit your lot way more often, so you or your pet can play with them and socialize. (I'm pretty sure that pets once were deemed family friends, but that doesn't seem to be the case in Makin' Magic anymore. Perhaps at least animals who make friends with other animals count as friends, but I never managed so far). I often adopted all strays and then my pets were lonely.
Unless, of course, you neither like strays nor having the unsightly "stray away" sign on your lot. In that case you could create a sim who adopts all the strays and then delete that family.
- Why does nobody visit the great community lot I made?
With a specific expansion (I believe it was actually in Superstar and not just in Makin' Magic) the game started to take your computer power into account when determining the number of npcs for city or cummunity lots. The more RAM your machine has and the better the processor is, the more people show up - in theory.
Anyway, if you have the problem that your sims feel lonely in the city and you don't want to buy new hardware, then reduce the service personnel. Everyone who works in restaurants and booths counts to the maximum, and I often think they even count double. Rethink whether you really need everything, especially on very large lots.
From my experience though even that sometimes doesn't help. On small lots I often have ~20 sims, in the city with some shops there are about a dozen. But a few times it happened to me that I bulldozed a very large community lot, built something and nobody ever visited afterwards, even after removing all the shops. It was as if the visitor controller had vanished... If that happens all you can do is copy the original lot from the template folder back into the game (you can identify lots by their house number, it's the same as the file name). Then modify the original lot instead of using a bulldozer on it. Luckily this is a rare occurence.
If however your problem is that many sims come but they take the next bus and leave right away, then go and add some fun objects to the lot. Once I had a Japanese garden. Looked great, but apart from a restaurant it was mostly for looking only. Everyone went home, until I added a bookstore to the museum.
- How do I make the game start faster?
I heard of several tricks to make your game start faster. Some work for me, some don't, some are just for WinXP and higher.
- Making downloads read-only.
I heard this should make the game start faster when you have WinXP or up and friends said it works greatly for them. Can't approve it since I run Win2k.
- Sorting object downloads into folders
Make subfolders in downloads (e.g. called like the websites you downloaded things from) and sort your downloads into them instead of putting them all loosely in the big downloads folder.
That helped me a lot, now my game starts 50% quicker again.
One more thing: Each game has an invisible limit to the amount of fanstuff it can take. How high that limit is depends on how good your computer is and also on your installed system. Nobody can say for sure. If you cross said limit the game will either start to crash all the time or it will refuse to start altogether. In that case take out fanstuff until it works again. On my old pc my personal limit was always around 1GB. I still have to find out how much I can stuff into my game on my virtual Windoze now.