There are two main types of file you’ll download for The Sims 3; sims3pack files and package files. Most of these will be downloaded as compressed files, either zips or rar files and the first step will be to extract them.
Once you have done this, the installation method differs for each type.
These are installed via the launcher, and can be installed individually or in batches. If your game is fully patched, you can even install these while the game is running.
Double click on the sims3pack you wish to install. This will start the launcher and install the item.
Good for: installing one or two items, installing while the game is running.
Bad for: installing multiple items, as you would need to double click each individual file.
Copy all the sims3pack files you want to install to your downloads folder. For Windows, this will be in My Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3/Downloads – the exact path may vary slightly depending on your exact OS, and I have been reliably informed that the path on a Mac is similar.
Once you’ve done this, open the launcher and click on the downloads tab. You’ll see all your sims3packs there, ready to install. Click select all, then install. Depending on how many files you’re installing, it may take a few minutes, so just wait.
Good for: installing multiple files
Bad for: installing a lot of files can take time to process.
In both cases, you’ll get a dialogue box letting you know once the files have been installed, click ok, then you’ll be ready to start the game and play. In game, this type of content will appear with a purple star to indentify it as CC.
If you’re used to Sims 2, it’s worth noting one big difference here; the downloads folder is not the final destination. It’s simply used as a holding place until they are installed to the database in the DCCache folder. This is why having a lot of sims3pack downloads doesn’t impact loading times. Once you have installed your files, you can remove them from the Downloads folder and keep them some place safe as a backup.
If you want to remove content installed via sims3pack you need to locate it in the launcher under installed content, select it and click uninstall. You can do this for multiple items. Although most custom content is categorised and can be found under the appropriate tabs, some might have a blank category and can only be located under the all tab.
Package files, more often than not, will be mods and hacks, although some creators will offer normal custom content in this format.
Make sure that your game is patched up to date, as that affects where they go. So long as you are patched up to Ambition or higher, then you can place them in your documents folders.
You’ll need to add a couple of folders for them, along with the resource.cfg file you’ll need.
In your The Sims 3 folder, you need a Mods folder, and within that you need 3 thing -a DCCache folder, a Packages folder, and a resource.cfg file. You can download this from various sites, or create your own by pasting the following text into a notepad file
File>save as>resource.cfg , making sure that save as type is set to all files. You can now place package files in mods/packages and you can subfolder them up to 5 levels.
Keep in mind that package files do act like they did in Sims 2, and the more you have, the more they can slow the game loading times.
One other file you may find is a SIM file – this is a Sim which has been shared directly from the SavedSims folder, rather than exported into the launcher. These should be placed directly into you SavedSims folder.
Both package files and sims files will appear with a folder icon, which identifies them as custom content, same as anything you save within the game.