Custom content is to Sims 3 what great shoes and awesome clothes are to a mannequin. Sims 3 gives you a good base but what you add to the game is what makes it really shine.
If you’ve been wanting to add custom content to your game but you didn’t know how, I can help you.
First things first, this assumes you installed your Sims 3 game in the default location meaning when you installed the game, you didn’t change anything when it asked you where to save – you just clicked “OK”.
Also, I run my game on a PC. If you’re running your game on a Mac, anything you ask me will be like you’re speaking French – I’ll have no idea what you’re talking about.
Step One: Get WinRaR.
If you don’t have a program that “unzips” files, you’ll need that. Download WinRaR if you don’t have it – you can use it for free during its trial period.
Step Two: Install Framework.
Read this post so you’ll know what you read, “framework for Sims 3.”
Before you go messing with anything with your game, download Dephy’s Framework Installer Tool [Monkey Bars]. This doesn’t install custom content; it gets your game ready for custom content. If you’re running Sims 3 on a Mac, you can download Marhis’s Framework Installer for Mac OS X. And that’s the last I can help you when it comes to Mac.
When you run the program, you’re going to see some red alerts. That’s OK. The program is checking for the framework and it shouldn’t find any. Click on “Install” and it will install it.
Now that you’ve done that, you’re ready to install your favorite custom content.
Listen carefully, do NOT install your custom content in My Documents. That’s wrong and if you put your custom content in My Documents, the content isn’t going to work and you might possibly cause the universe to implode.
Step Three: Find Your Packages Folder.
Head to: C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\. This is going to be the warm, snuggly new home of your custom content. If you have an Expansion or Stuff Pack installed, you’re going to go to that Expansion or Stuff Pack’s \Mods\Packages\ folder.
Step Four: Install Your Custom Content and Test.
Find the custom content you downloaded and either right click on it and then “Cut” [or "Copy" if you want to keep the original in its respective folder]. Right click in the opened Packages folder – which should be empty if you’ve never installed any custom content – and paste your custom content in that folder. You can select multiple custom content files at once and paste them as a group if you have a lot of it.
However, my suggestion to you is to install a bit at a time, test it in-game and then install some more if you’re game is behaving like a good little game.
Sidenote: Be sure to read the descriptions for the stuff you download. [Duh] If you see the words “default replacement”, know that custom content is going to replace the default Sim files. A good example of this is Hysterical Paroxysm’s Increased Texture Detail & Shine Skin Replacements. Personally, I don’t see why someone would want the default Sims 3 skins, but some people don’t have a problem with them – you weirdos.
Step Five: Have a Blast.
YAY! You just installed some custom content!
For super in-depth instructions as well as fixes if your stuff isn’t working, check out the SimsWiki from Mod the Sims – über helpful.
If I’ve left something out or have missed a step, let me know in the comments and I’ll fix mah mistakes.
*Edited on 10.21.10 to add new information*
Patch 1.12 and Later:
- Windows XP: My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
- Windows Vista/7 & Mac: Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
Before Patch 1.12
- Windows XP/Vista/7 (32-bit): C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
- Windows XP/Vista/7 (64-bit): C:\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
- Mac: Contents\Resources\transgaming\c_drive\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages\
Patch information from Mod the Sims.