This is for littlemotorkitty;, and anyone else with a passion for The Sims :D
Setting Up for Custom Content (CC)
Unzipping - Basics
I'm going to be lazy and link you to pages that will tell you what to do. They're very easy to understand.
So first, if you don't know what 'extracting files' or 'unzipping' is, go here.
You should now know how to unzip a file and have a program that does this (like 7zip, winzip...)
Setting Up the Folders
Now go here. This will tell you how to set up the folders you will need for downloading custom content (CC).
Now you need to start your game to make sure your folders are set up right. Once you start your game there should be no intro before it loads, and when you're in game, there should be no sparkles when you are building walls.
If these things are still here you have done something wrong. Carefully reread the instructions and look at the pictures to make sure you have done it right. Do not continue if you haven't, because it won't work.
How to Add Custom Content
You should now have been in your game, and the intro should have been gone and the sparkles when you build walls should not have appeared.
Now, here will explain how to add CC to your game, but there's a lot of crap in there that you don't need to know so I'll just explain here briefly the rules of downloading CC.
Rules of Downloading CC
1. Make sure that what you want to download is for SIMS 3. If it is for sims 2 and you place it in your sims 3 game, it will slow it down and might cause it to crash. It's an easy thing to confuse sometimes but trust me, once you've been there (like me), you will never ever forget to check what game the CC is for :P
2. Make sure that what you are downloading is a .package file. Sims 3 packs and individual sims do not need to be installed in the same way. Here is how you install sims 3 packs, and here is how you install downloaded sims.
3. What I do is I find what I want to download, save it in Documents - Electronic Arts - The Sims 3 - Mods, then I extract it into this same folder. Then, delete the zipped files, and move the unzipped/extracted files into the packages folder.
4. It is a really good idea to organise your Packages folder before you start. Inside the Packages folder, I have folders for Hair, Clothes, Objects, Poses, Other and a folder called Keep Up To Date.
Put any hair you download into the Hair folder.
Put any clothes/accessories/makeup/eyebrows you download into the Clothes folder.
Put any buy objects/building objects/decoration objects into the Objects folder.
Put any poses/animations you download into the Poses folder.
Put anything that doesn't fit elsewhere (such as the nosparkles and the nointro packages already in there) into the Other folder.
Very important - put anything that requires being updated every version in the Keep Up To Date Folder. If something you are downloading says it is a core mod, or that it changes the core mod, place it in here. If it's anything that is going to change things around in the game (relationships, censoring, faster skill building, more recipes, more maids, glitch fixes, etc), put it in here.
5. If your game does not load or is looking weird, go to your Keep Up To Date folder first. Although it is possible that hair and clothes can be broken files, it is not likely. Objects can sometimes cause trouble, but not as often as core mods, or things that change the game around.
Generally speaking, if your game will not load at all it will be something in the Keep Up To Date Folder. If your game loads but freezes, or there is strange stuff happening, it will be something in your objects folder.
So if your game is not loading or locking up frequently, move your Keep Up To Date folder into your Mods folder (or anywhere outside of the Packages folder).
Test your game.
If it loads, then there is a file in this folder that is causing your game to screw up.
If it doesn't load, then it is somewhere else. Remove your Objects folder and try again. Repeat with all other folders if necessary until it works.
Once it works, it will be the last folder you took out that has the problem file in it.
Start putting back a few files at a time from the problem folder and reloading your game. When it starts having problems again, it will be the last few files you put back in the Packages folder that are causing the problem. It's a bit of trail and error. Hopefully you never have to deal with this :D
6. Lastly and VERY IMPORTANT, before you install a new sims 3 expansion pack or stuff pack, or do ANY of the patches, remove all of your custom content and make a backup of your save game.
You can then update your Keep Up To Date package files and then add in the custom content once it is done and load your game straight up and most of the time, it should work.
Before you delete any custom content, it is essential that you back up your save game before hand. If you do not do this, it is possible you may never see it as it was ever again. I've been there, and it sucks.
It is a good idea to take note of any CC that needs to be uninstalled in a specific way. Many CC requires that you delete anything to do with it in game, including interactions, before you delete it from your Packages folder.
My Favourite CC
Right! Now for some really good downloads and my personal favourites. :)
Mod The Sims is a brilliant site for CC. The following is mostly from there. I don't remember if you have to register to download, but it's free and it's safe. Also, this site saves a list of what you have downloaded before so you can find it again if you need to update it.
Make sure when you are searching for CC that you are searching for Sims 3 content.
Make sure that if you go to a user's account to find their downloads that way, that you check if it is for Sims 2 or Sims 3. It will say so under the 'download' tab, under expansion/stuff packs required when you hover over the icon.
Make sure you have the expansions/stuff packs required.
IMPORTANT Note Regarding Downloading Objects
This is REALLY IMPORTANT if you patch your game and keep it up to date (I think the base game is up to 1.33 now. You can find out what version your game is by opening the Sims 3 Game Launcher, and then hovering over the tiny Sims 3 icon in the bottom lefthand corner. It's the first 3 numbers.).
Some CC objects such as beds, counters, sofas, windows, etc. that people AND pets can interact with will not work in your patched game if the CC is older and has not been fixed by the creator. It does not matter if you have Pets or not, this problem comes in the patches and not in the Pets expansion itself.
So when you download objects, if your game is up to date, you must be careful to note whether the object has been 'fixed for pets' or whether it 'works with all expansions'. As a general rule anything created mid December 2011 - present should be fine, but anything else you might want to check up on. A great way of doing this is to click on the 'comments' tab, go to the last page, and see if anyone has been having problems with the object. If nothing has been written there since 2009, I'd avoid it. It won't be compatible. Your game will crash.
More about this issue can be read here.
Ze panda, it's on yo' (Teenage, Young Adult or Adult) head! Cute panda hat.
Boots for Boys. This user makes the only clothing for crossdressing men that I can find for Sims 3. Dresses, skirts, and more heels are available from their profile.
Buy Set - DIY. I haven't used this yet but it looks AMAZING. Basically, it allows for you to make really unique kitchens and cabinets throughout your Sims' homes.
Modular Skylight Kits. This is a custom skylight for your Sims' roofs.
Cast Your Own Artwork. I love this CC. It allows you to create your own artwork sets, in a way.
Planters: Floor and Wall. These are objects (pots, hanging baskets, etc.) that allow for plants to be placed in them.
Plant Pack Part 1: Water Plants. I'm not sure if these can be planted in the planters (haven't tried), but they are lovely free-standing plants.
Plant Pack Part 2: Bushes. These can be planted in the planters or free-standing.
Plant Pack Part 3: Shrubs. These can be planted in the planters or free-standing.
1973 Volkswagen Beetle. This user makes a LOAD of detailed, driveable cars and some strange things like a UFO and a rideable dragon. Very cool.
Hedges and topiaries set from the Sims 2. These are the hedges you could buy in Sims 2.
"More Slots!": Electronics Edition. This is not a mod because it does not alter the objects in the game. Instead it creates copies of TVs, etc. with more slots to place tissues, fruit, gems, etc., to make your Sims' homes homier.
Mood-Lite Candle. This is a candle that can be recolured and lit.
Clutter - Livingroom. This is a collection of clutter for the livingroom. Very cool for people like me that love slowing down their PC with random junk that has no use.
7 Small Vases - Glass And Solid Versions. These are nifty vases for decorating your Sims' homes.
Playable Sesame Street Friends. These are adorable! They are a recolour/new mesh for the teadybear toy for children, and are useable.
Grass and Weeds. Very useful for creating a nicer-looking backyard or park.
Decorative Giant Mushrooms. Recolourable, and very groovy.
Glass Floors with Matching Ceilings. This is found under 'rugs' in game. You can use this to create the look of an indoor pond beneath your house (with many cheats enabled to build it).
Trunk of Poses. This set contains a load of random poses.
I haven't included many poses here because it comes down to personal opinion and what you are using them for.
Keep Up To Date:
Animation Player. This allows for you to set your sim to play a sequence of animations.
Pose Player. This allows for you to set your sim in a pose.
One More Slot Please. This is a very cool CC item that allows for you to place objects/sims at a different hight. So, if you wanted your couch on the roof for some reason, you could place this slot there and then place the couch on the slot. It's great for decoration purposes and movie making.
Cooking And Ingredients Overhaul. This needs to be updated for the latest patch, but still kinda works. It hasn't crashed my game yet, but it's doing weird things in others. What this does is it adds more ingredients to the game and changes what you need for the recipes you make, and adds more plantable fruits and vegetables such as oranges and dragon fruit. It is ideal for a gardener or for someone wanting a more realistic game.
Nraas Master Controller. This always has to be updated when you patch your game. No exceptions. What this does is allows for amazing control of your sims in game. You can change their appearance without a dresser, change the memory updates, kill your sim, force them to age up, and just... it does a lot.
This creator has some other amazing mods too, like reading books only once and autosave features, all found here.
Hidden Skills Unhidden. There are a number of hidden skills in The Sims 3, such as dancing and chess, that this CC will reveal under the Skills tab in game. I love this because otherwise you really have to pay attention to your sim's dancing, etc., to gage what level they're at. It's great for those with obsessions over making their sim the best of the best ;)
The Sims 3 Booty
The Index of Booty for The Sims 3 is a fantastic site. What this site does is it takes material from sites such as Peggy Sims and The Sims Resource that you would otherwise have to pay for, and uploads it for free. It is somewhat illegal for them to be using EA's source codes, etc., and selling their products, so I say f*ck them. Things like this should be created out of enjoyment, and not for profit.
I use this site for almost all the clothing, hair, and accessories I download. I use it for some objects, like furniature and things for building, but I don't recommend it. A lot of the time you'll find you have to download a complete set for one thing you want, and it clutters up your game too much. The more CC you have in your game, the longer it takes to load and the more can go wrong with it. Also, many of the objects from the sites on this one are not interactable, not updated, and so they're pretty useless.
I hope that someone found that useful! I'm obsessed with CC in The Sims 3. I couldn't play the game without it since I started using it. It's really not as hard as it seems to get it working.
I made a video using a few of these mods, etc., here, and if anyone would like to know exactly how I did something then here is the place to ask :D
I might make another journal for hints and tips on making Sims 3 videos, because at the moment there seems to be a load of very useful things on the net about this, but not all in one place.
If you have any awesome CC yourself, please share it with me. :)