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Improving Sims 3 Performance

Does your game lag or jump around constantly? Can you barely make it through a sitting without your game crashing, distorted images, or the program freezing on you? Maybe your game performance has gone downhill from when you originally installed it. Or, maybe even you just want to know how to increase your performance to a higher level than it already is. If any of these apply to you, you have stumbled across the right article. This guide is meant to give you some tips for bettering the experience while playing "The Sims 3" and, maybe, your computer as a whole! Each one of the following subsections has a link to an article that will help you down the road to making the game more enjoyable. Go down the list and you could be playing a better quality game in no time!


Your System

Usually, general performance issues can be traced not to something wrong with the game's programming, but an issue with your computer itself in some way...

Your Specs

This is something you should have checked before you got the game in the first place, but if you're experiencing crappy performance, this may be something worth looking into - is your computer strong enough to run the game?

Game's Requirements

Once you know what your computer has under the hood, you need to compare that to what is required to run the game and expansions you want to use.

Your computer should not only meet the minimum requirements, but exceed them! Make sure to note all the recommendations on that page by MTS staff, indicating what will not only run the game, but run it well!

Upgrading (Optional)

If your computer does not meet or exceed requirements, you'll probably need to upgrade - this means either buying new components to spiff up your current computer, or, depending on your system, purchasing a whole new computer.

System Checkup

If your computer isn't brand new, you might need to do some general maintenance to keep it running its best. Even if you're not a "computer person" it is definitely worth learning basic computer tune-up skills... not just for your game performance, but in general!

  • For all kinds of info and links on maintaining your computer, see: System Checkup

Update Drivers

Sometimes, especially if you've recently patched/updated your game, you may experience decreased performance. This can be due to outdated drivers. Drivers are the bits of code that tell your computer how to use its hardware - like the part of the brain that helps interpret what your eyes see. Occasionally manufacturers of various hardware devices will release new drivers that help their products work better, and may fix known issues with certain games. Make sure to update your drivers regularly, even if you're not experiencing issues.


Custom Content

Check for Problem Packages

If you have downloaded anything in the .package file format, it's possible that specific files are causing issues with your game's performance. Even if you think your game runs okay, it can be worth checking to make sure that none of your packages are having a negative impact. This is quick and easy to do, using a program called Process Monitor.

Combining Packages

Though packages in general are not really a performance issue, some users may experience increased game performance from combining multiple packages into one. This means the game only has to open one file rather than dozens or hundreds, which may speed things up a bit.

Using Mods

The default EA StoryProgression being what it is, it is sometimes necessary to do some cleanup or at the very least use mods/hacks to do the job for us where the game engine has failed.

Some of the most useful are

  • Twallan's @ NRaas Industries
    • Overwatch (auto-cleanup of derelict vehicles, shutting off stereos in Inactive Households, etc)
    • Master Controller (finding invisible Sims, reseting on a global scale, some fixes, some tweaks, overall useful stuff)
    • StoryProgression (tunable and less random events than EA's, for anything that you might want to control)
  • Pescado's Awesomemod @ Maty
    • a core mod that is the inspiration for most other small spin-offs
    • has features and fixes available in various other hacks, all under one roof
    • features are geared to suit the modder's interest and quirks, so if you're just the kind of Sims player he is, this would suit you fine; otherwise use Twallan's mods
  • various other modders also has some useful xml tweaks and script mods from all over the Sims community:

The above list is in no way complete, or exhaustive, or mandatory. They just represent the mods most Simmers use to correct the most game-breaking issues in The Sims 3 to date. And it is entirely up to you if you want to use them in your game(s).

As with any CC, be sure to check for patch compatibility when downloading and using mods. Most of them also details specific methods of removal if you want to continue playing your save games after the mod is removed from the game. As always, do RTFM!


Related Pages

Sims 3 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Miscellaneous Issues

MTS Help Q&A Forums