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[personal profile] simgaroop
When I had to re-create my Strangetown, I realized it was time to take some measures to prevent my game from spawning more characters than my computer could handle at the same time. So, I read through several tutorials at MATY and messed up plenty of times when I tried to follow them.

Unlike what you might think, creating a totally custom neighborhood is actually pretty easy once you've figured out exactly what you want to do with your game. After reading several comments from people who consider this is a very hard or annoying task, I decided to write this small tutorial depicting the method I followed to create my new neighborhoods.

Of course, I'm not an expert simmer or modder, so your best option for technical advice in this matter will ALWAYS be the "More Awesome Than You" forums and the plenty of useful tutorials you can find at the Peasantry section: http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/board,11.0.html

In short, I'm basically collecting the several links that were lost among the 15-18 pages of each tutorial at MATY, while trying to explain this process as clearly as possible.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures to illustrate this tutorial. My Windows OS is in Spanish, so I was afraid I'd confuse you if I posted pics with the common terms in Spanish (they are quite different from the English version, of course).

Nonetheless, I hope you'll still find this "tutorial" useful.



1. BACK-UP YOUR GAME FILES
Why do you need to create a back-up? If you make a mistake while following this tutorial, you can revert your game files to the way they were. And also in case a patch or new EP won't install correctly if you have clean/empty templates.

Remember that installing clean/empty templates involves messing around with the core game files (in C:, not in "My Documents"), so you can seriously bork your game if you are not careful (and perhaps you'd be forced to re-install everything).

- Create a new folder in your "My Documents" folder. Name it "Back-up Neighborhoods" (or something you might remember).
- Now, look for the hard drive in which you have your "Program Files" (usually C:) and then look for the "EA Games folder".
- You'll see a list of folders, each one named after each of the EP/SP files you have installed.
- Open the folder of the base game (The Sims 2).
- Open the TSData folder.
- Then, look for the Res folder and open it.
- Open the UserData folder.
- Open the Neighborhoods folder.
- Copy the N001, N002 and N003 folders and paste them in your "Back-Up Neighborhoods" folder in "My Documents" (the one you created previously).

Repeat these steps (following the Main Folder -> TSDATA -> Res -> UserData -> Neighborhoods path) with:
- "The Sims 2 University Folder" (copy and paste the U001, U002 and U003 in your back-up folder).
- "The Sims 2 Nightlife" folder (copy and paste N001 in your back-up folder)
- "The Sims 2 Open for Business" folder (copy and paste B001 in your back-up folder)
- "The Sims 2 Pets" folder (copy and paste P001 in your back-up folder)
- "The Sims 2 Seasons folder (copy and paste G001 and G002 in your back-up folder)
- "The Sims 2 Bon Voyage" folder (copy and paste V001, A001, M001 and T001 in your back-up folder)
- "The Sims 2 Free Time" folder (copy and paste F001 and F002 in your back-up folder).

By the way, in case you were wondering what each of these folders includes, here's a short list:
- N001: Pleasantivew (Lots, Playable Families like the Brokes, Bin Families like the Burbs, NPC's like Kaylynn the maid and townies like Marsha Bruening).
- N002: Strangetown (Lots, Playable families like the Grunts, Bin Families like the Singles, NPC's like Vicki the maid and townies like ReneƩ Andrews).
- N003: Veronaville (Lots, Playable Families like the Summerdreams, Bin Families like Antonio Monty and children, NPC's and townies).
- G001: Riverblossom Hills (Lots, Playable families like the O'Mackeys, Bin Families like Alexandra O'Mackey, NPC's and townies like Chris B.)
- F001: Desiderata Valler (Lots, Playable families like Natasha Una, NPC's and townies).
- U001: SimState U (Lots, playable YA like Castor Nova, NPC's like Cows and dormies).
- U002: La Fiesta Tech (Lots, playable YA like Frances W. or Stella Terrano, NPC and dormies).
- U003: Academie Le Tour (Lots, playable characters, NPC and dormies).
- D001: Downtown (Lots, Default townies like "Hot Blond Downtownie" and "Opal Turner", NPC, plus a few "Semi-playable" characters like the dead vampire Trikous (?) ).
- B001: Bluewater Village (Lots, Playable characters like Wanda Tinker and Malcolm Langraab IV, a few townies and NPC's).
- P001: Pets (Bin Family like Cyd Roseland, stray pets and a few lots with playable families like Tara Kat that are installed in each new neighborhood).
- G002: Seasons (Ottomas and Ramaswami families, plus a few NPC or townies that are installed in each neighborhood).
- F002: Free Time (Picasso and Cooke families, Hobby leaders, secret Hobby lots, installed in all neighborhoods).

As for Bon Voyage, I'm not really sure. I read that V001 has the Vacation townies (installed in all neighborhoods) and the Traveler Family, while the other three subhoods include special NPC's, Vacation Locals (the ones that teach local greetings) and Big Foot. I don't have BV, though.

Ready?


- Now, open "My Documents" and create a new folder called "Current Neighborhoods".
- Go back to "My Documents" and look for the "EA Games" folder. This is a DIFFERENT folder from the one you've just browsed at the "Program Files" folder (in C:), and this is where you place your downloaded content, music and sims.
- Look for the Neighborhoods folder. Here you'll find the folders for the neighborhoods you've been playing with all this time. Remember that the changes you are about to make with the new templates WON'T affect current neighborhoods (unless you haven't attached a downtown, university, vacation hood or shopping-district like Bluewater to them yet).
- Copy and paste these folders to the "Current Neighborhoods" one.
- If you are planning to start over your game, delete the contents of your "Neighborhoods" folder. If you still have your Maxis neighborhoods, remember that N001 is Pleasantview, N002 is Strangetown, N003 is Veronaville, G001 is Riverblossom Hills and F001 is Desiderata Valley. Any other name will correspond to a custom neighborhood folder.
- If not, leave your files alone, but your game won't generate new clean/empty Maxis neighborhoods or change your current ones. On the other hand, if you create a new neighborhood, it'll be as clean/empty as you wanted it.


____________________________________________

2. WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS

A PROGRAM THAT LETS YOU EXTRACT 7-ZIP, RAR AND ZIP FILES
- I currently use Win Ace Archiver and 7-zip.

MODS

- One of the advantages of installing clean or empty templates is that you'll keep your game files free from un-needed character files. If your neighborhood has a high number of characters (from townies, playable, etc.), there's a high chance it's stop working eventually. My old Strangetown had over 1000 characters, because I attached two Universities, downtown, BlueWater, a custom Shopping Village with characters, the random townies the game adds when you install Seasons/Free Time and of course, my playable families and all the sims I imported with SimPe.

That was a very bad thing, game-wise :(.

- All the Maxis sub-neighborhoods add a lot of character files to your neighborhoods. Besides, Pets, Seasons, Bon Voyage and Free Time include "stealth" neighborhoods that add even more characters (like the garden club members, the hobby leaders, a lot of tourists) when you first load or create a Neighborhood (when you see the "Creating Pets, Seasons, Hobbies... etc.", screens, the game is adding these characters to it).

- So, a good way to control the amount of characters in your new neighborhoods is installing the following mods from More Awesome Than You:
http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/samples/ffs/

a. Notownieregen: As its name says, it'll prevent your game from creating new townies at all. If you want customized townies in your neighborhoods (creating them through CAS and adding them with a teleporter), you'll need to keep it in your downloads folder at all times (before creating or loading the neighborhood for the first time and afterwards). I usually just let my game generate new random townies on its own and add this hack a few gaming sessions later to stop the "townie production".

b. Antiredundacy: It prevents your game from creating unneeded NPC's (like maids, bartenders, paperboys, etc.). By default, the game creates three of each kind of NPC's so, if you have most EP's, you may end up with a lot of NPCs you won't even see at all! This hack only lets the game to generate ONE NPC from each kind at a time. And if you have Bon Voyage, I read this is a very important hack. I really don't know.

c. No Stray Respawn. Only if you have Pets, it keeps your game from creating strays and other random pets in the game (that also count as character files).

d. No SS Respawn. Only if you have University. Instead of creating new dormies to become Secret Society members, it forces the game to actually use current dormies as SS members.

e. No Dormie Respawn. Only if you have University. It keeps your game from creating dormies. I don't really use this hack, but it might be useful for those who want to create specific YA sims to become dormies. You can only find this hack in the Director's cut zip.

f. A teleporter, if you are planning to create custom townies from CAS (I'm not explaining this in the tutorial, though). I like the one from Simlogical :)
http://www.simlogical.com/sl/Sims2Pages/Sims2_Teleporters.htm


GENETIZED CUSTOM CONTENT AND DEFAULT REPLACEMENTS

Most people who install new templates want to get rid of the "ugly" Maxis default faces, skins, eyes and clothing.
There are a lot of ways to force your game to create new townies with custom skin, eyes, hair, faces and even names!

The following tutorial offers a useful guide to what you'd need to generate "pretty townies" in your new neighborhoods. It was written before the release of the Wardrobe Wrangler, though. The WW is a program that lets you genetize skins, eyes and clothes, so any new townies will be generated with them. And you don't need to mess with SimPe either.

Tutorial, by Zarkan:
http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,6174.0.html

Wardrobe Wrangler by DJS Sims.
http://forum.djssims.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=303&sid=808759693bc989f776056df874a781fb

I'm currently using a mix of Selzi's and Spookymuffin's face templates, default eyes by Lyran, default skins by RenSims (plus a few genetized ones from Pooklet and Lin's Edition of Louis #7 Skins), several custom hair styles (binned in their respective colors), default make-up files (that use Bruno's lipsticks as defaults), default eye-brows from RenSims and I'm trying out a "default names" mod by HP (although I miss laughing out loud when the default naming list generated a townie with my last name! :D). I also "townified" a few clothes with the Wardrobe Wrangler.

You'll need to place all your default replacements and files in your Downloads folder BEFORE creating or loading your new neighborhoods for the first time.


CLEAN OR EMPTY TEMPLATES

Finally, you'll need to download the new templates.
Basically, there are two kinds of templates:

Clean Templates: These include the Maxis playable sims (with fixed DNA in the case of Strangetown and Veronaville, for example), but get rid of the townies and NPC's. These templates include a neighborhood file (labeled as "N001_Neighborhood", for example) and a folder with the new and fixed playable characters.

Empty Templates: These get rid of ALL the character files, so you'll start your new neighborhood/subhood with NO sims. They just include the neighborhood file (labeled as "N001_Neighborhood", for example).

You should choose your new templates according to the EP's you have installed, and your personal gaming preferences.

I compiled a simple guide to make your election easier:

How do I like to play the Sims 2?

a. "I love to play with the Maxis Neighborhoods, their playable characters and the default townies/dormies. Besides, I don't mind playing with Ben Long and Marsha Bruening in each of my custom neighborhoods. I guess I'd miss them if they were gone from my game..."

If that's how you usually play the Sims 2, you can go ahead and close this tutorial and keep enjoying your game.

b. "I love to play with the Maxis Neighborhoods, their playable characters and the default townies/dormies/tourists/downtownies, but I'd prefer if my custom neighborhoods had different townies, instead of Komei and Goopy."

In this case, you are going to need clean templates for:
- Plesantview (N001): http://www.mediafire.com/?dvntyo1mw3x (by Sysa, just install the N001 folder)
- Downtown * (D001): http://www.box.net/public/fmb791itc0 (by SaraMK)
- Bluewater Village, from Open for Business (B001): http://www.box.net/public/x3hvomc3yq (by SaraMK)
- The "stealth" neighborhoods of Pets (P001): http://www.box.net/public/v87395s8z6 (by SaraMK)
- Seasons (G002): http://www.mediafire.com/?09xnmmxeov2 (by Sysa)
- Bon Voyage (V001): http://modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=249166 (by IamTheRad, install the Maxis Only version to keep the Traveler Family)

And an Empty template for:
- The stealth neighborhood of Free Time (F002) (there are no clean templates for this EP yet, so you WILL lose the Picasso and Cooke families in the lot bin).

You DON'T need new templates for Strangetown, Veronaville, the three universities, Riverblossom Hills, the Vacation subhoods and Desiderata Valley, though.

* In the case of Downtown, you won't be able to keep the default downtownies for your Maxis neighborhoods if you install a clean template.
There are two solutions to this issue, though:

1. If you don't mind having the default downtownies in your custom neighbrohoods, just don't install the clean template.

2. BEFORE YOU INSTALL THE NEW TEMPLATES go to your "Back-Up Neighborhoods" folder (in My Documents) and copy the N001, N002, N003 (G001 and F001) folders.
- Go back to My Documents. Then look for the "EA Games" folder and paste them inside its "Neighborhoods" folder (Make sure you don't have older neighborhoods with the same names, or they will be over-written).
- Run the game.
- Go to each of your neighborhoods and attach a Downtown to them (so the game will generate the default downtownies).
- Quit the game.
- You can now install your clean templates as shown in the instructions below.


c. "I love to play with the Maxis Neighborhoods and their playable characters, but I'm sick of their default townies/downtownies/dormies/tourists. I'd also like my custom neighborhoods to have new townies."

You need clean templates for:
- Pleasantview (N001)
- Strangetown (N002)
- Veronaville (N003): http://www.mediafire.com/?dvntyo1mw3x (by Sysa, it includes the three Main Maxis neighborhoods).
- Downtown, from Nightlife (D001): http://www.box.net/public/fmb791itc0 (by SaraMK)
- Bluewater Village, from Open for Business (B001): http://www.box.net/public/x3hvomc3yq (by SaraMK)
- The three universities, from University (U001, U002, U003): http://www.box.net/public/7yfr117d9d (by SaraMK)
- Riverblossom Hills, from Seasons (G001): http://www.mediafire.com/?bzmg112xs4c (by Sysa)
- The "stealth" neighborhoods of Pets (P001): http://www.box.net/public/v87395s8z6 (by SaraMK)
- Seasons (G002): http://www.mediafire.com/?09xnmmxeov2 (by Sysa)
- And Bon Voyage (V001): http://modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=249166 (by IamTheRad, install the Maxis Only version to keep the Traveler Family)

And an empty template for:
- The "stealth" neighborhood from FreeTime (F002), so you will lose the Picasso and Cooke families from the bin: http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,4306.msg317272.html#msg317272 (by IamTheRad)

* There are no clean templates for Desiderata Valley -F001- yet, so you'll still play with the default townies from this neighborhood.
* There are no clean templates for the BV subhoods (A001, T001, M001), or perhaps I couldn't find them. I don't have BV, though, but I read that you don't need clean templates for these subhoods, because they only include the default Vacation Locals (the ones who teach the local greetings, etc.) and the NPC's.


d. "I HATE the Maxis playable characters and default townies, but I'd like to start a Legacy/Prosperity Challenge/Whatever in one of the default neighborhoods because I like their lots/terrain/etc with new/custom townies/downtownies/strays/tourists/etc. I'd also like to add the default Downtown, the Universities and Riverblossom Hills subhoods without dealing with Emo!Teen, Castor Nova or Wanda Tinker. And of course, I'd also like my custom neighborhoods to have new townies.

You need empty templates for:
- Pleasantview (N001): http://www.box.net/public/q51a8g3pr9 (by SaraMK)
- Strangetown (N002)
- Veronaville (N003): http://www.box.net/public/g4vy23xec9 (by SaraMK, includes Strangetown and Veronaville)
- Downtown, from Nightlife (D001)
- Bluewater Village, from OFB (B001)
- The three Universities (U001, U002, U003): http://www.box.net/public/rhnaxge14b (by SaraMK, includes Downtown, Bluewater Village and the Universities)
- Riverblossom Hills, from Seasons (G001): http://www.box.net/shared/pj0l8rspi6 (by SaraMK)
- The "stealth" neighborhoods of Pets (P001): http://www.box.net/public/0g2fvth4pb (by SaraMK)
- Bon Voyage (V001) and its Subhoods (A001, T001, M001): http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,4306.msg264144.html#msg264144 (by Argon)
- Seasons (G002): http://www.box.net/public/d6j78gvmxk (by SaraMK)
- And Free Time (F002): http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,4306.msg317272.html#msg317272 (by IamtheRad)

* There are no clean or empty templates for Desiderata Valley -F001- yet, so you'll still play with the default townies and playable characters from this neighborhood, except for the Picasso and Cooke families. None of these characters will appear in your other Maxis or custom neighborhoods, though*

e. I couldn't care less for the Maxis neighborhoods, so I deleted them as soon as I start a fresh game. I only play with fully customized neighborhoods with NO default townies/downtownies/tourists/dormiers, etc. And I don't plan to play with Pleasantview anytime soon.

You need empty templates for:
- Downtown, from Nightlife (D001)
- Bluewater Village, from OFB (B001)
- The three Universities (U001, U002, U003): http://www.box.net/public/rhnaxge14b (by SaraMK, includes Downtown, Bluewater Village and the Universities)
- The "stealth" neighborhoods of Pets (P001): http://www.box.net/public/0g2fvth4pb (by SaraMK)
- Bon Voyage (V001) and its Subhoods (A001, T001, M001): http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,4306.msg264144.html#msg264144 (by Argon)
- Seasons (G002): http://www.box.net/public/d6j78gvmxk (by SaraMK)
- And Free Time (F002): http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,4306.msg317272.html#msg317272 (by IamtheRad)

You ALSO NEED the VERY empty template for Custom Neighborhoods, created by Argon, that replaces the Pleasantview neighborhood in your game (and fixes some bugs):

http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,4306.msg218734.html#msg218734

Keep in mind that if you install this template, your game won't be able to regenerate Pleasantview (unless you place it back) so, DON'T FORGET TO BACK-UP YOUR PLEASANTVIEW FOLDER (N001) BEFORE INSTALLING THIS TEMPLATE!

*If you don't play with the Maxis neighborhoods (just delete them), there's no need to download empty/clean templates for them. Otherwise you can download wither clean or empty templates and install them, but keep in mind you won't be able to play with Pleasantview (unless you have a backup placed in the Neighborhoods folder) and also these Maxis neighborhoods won't have the default townies.

______________________________________


3. INSTALLING THE TEMPLATES.

Now that you have the mods and default replacements in your "Downloads" folder and everything else backed-up, it's time to install the clean or empty templates you've just downloaded.

- Look for the hard drive in which you have your "Program Files" (usually C:) and then look for the "EA Games folder".
- You'll see a list of folders, each one named after each of the EP/SP files you have installed.
- Open the folder of the base game (The Sims 2).
- Open the TSData folder.
- Then, look for the Res folder and open it.
- Open the UserData folder.
- Open the Neighborhoods folder.
- Open the N001 (Pleasantview)
- If you have a "Clean Template", delete the contents of the "Characters" folder. Then, replace the "Neighborhood template" file with the one you've just downloaded. Finally, copy and paste the character files from the clean template to the "Characters" folder.
- If you have an Empty Template, delete the contents of the "Characters" folder and replace the Neighborhood template file with the one you've just downloaded.
- If you are using the VERY EMPTY TEMPLATES FOR CUSTOM NEIGHBORHOODS by Argon, delete the WHOLE N001 folder. Then, paste the new N001 folder you've just downloaded in its place.

- Repeat these steps with N002 and N003 (if you downloaded empty/clean templated for them).

Repeat these steps ( following the Main Folder -> TSDATA -> Res -> UserData -> Neighborhoods path) with:
- "The Sims 2 University Folder" (U001, U002 and U003).
- "The Sims 2 Nightlife" folder (N001)
- "The Sims 2 Open for Business" folder (B001)
- "The Sims 2 Pets" folder (P001)
- "The Sims 2 Seasons folder (G001 and G002)
- "The Sims 2 Bon Voyage" folder (V001, A001, M001 and T001)
- "The Sims 2 Free Time" folder (F002).

Remember: If you are installing CLEAN templates, you need to delete and REPLACE the files from the "Characters" folder (with the new ones)
and the "neighborhood template" file.
If you are installing EMPTY templates, you just need to delete the files from the "Characters" folders (they should be left empty) and replace the "neighborhood template" file.


________________________________________

4. RUN THE GAME

- Now, run your game and create a custom neighborhood. Attach your subhoods, universities, etc.
- Look for My Documents -> EA GAMES -> Neighborhoods -> The folder of your new custom neighborhood (usually N004 if its your first one).
- Open the "Characters' files".
- If you installed ONLY Empty templates, your folder should be empty (unless you didn't download notownieregen, and then you'd have one file).
- If you installed clean templates, you should have few character files (these are the playable characters). Plus, you should be able to play their lots in game.

Now, it's time to generate the new townies/NPC/downtownies, etc. There's already an excellent tutorial at MATY, by Berney, so I won't explain this process, though.

Just follow his instructions starting from Number 4:

http://www.moreawesomethanyou.com/smf/index.php/topic,10798.0.html

An easier option would be to get rid of the MATY hacks and just let your game generate new townies/NPC etc. as they are needed.


I usually "batch create" a new set of townies for my Neighborhoods with the help of the Testing cheats. I read that it's important to have a more or less complete set of townies (custom or default) before going to a secret hobby lot for the first time, otherwise, the game will use NPC's like the maids and burglars as the "Hobby leaders" and judges instead.

Good luck with your new neighborhoods and have fun!

CREDITS:

Thanks to:
- SaraMK
- Sasy
- Argon
- IamTheRad
- Berney
- Zarkan
- Jordi
- Pescado
- DJS Sims

And all the members of the MATY forums, whose tips and questions helped me a lot while I was trying to save and re-create my Legacy Neighborhoods.

Edit: Fixed the link for the custom townie creation tutorial. Thanks, [insanejournal.com profile] simplode!

May 2009

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