|The Sims||The Sims 2||The Sims 3||The Sims 4|
- This tutorial is for The Sims 2 only.
As mentioned in the avoiding corruption game guide, deleting a Sim in the family bin will corrupt the neighborhood the Sim was in. This is due to the fact that Sims deleted in the family bin are not removed entirely; their character file is unlinked but leftover bits of data is still left to drift around the neighborhood files, attaching themselves to other Sims and eventually throwing a monkey wrench into the works. Even if no Sims are deleted, the neighborhood can still be in danger due to its character file limit (1000 files for base game and University users, 32767 in Nightlife and later). Since deleting Sims in the family bin doesn't remove the character file (and still corrupts your neighborhood in the process!), one might ask, "How do I *safely* delete Sims without causing any sort of corruption?"
This article will cover the safest known method of removing Sims from a neighborhood. It is by no means perfect and may still cause problems. Please back up your neighborhood before attempting.
What you will need
- SimPE. SimPE is a program that allows editing of the game's files. It is commonly used to create and clone objects, create game mods, or to change the stats and personalities of Sims. SimPE is free software.
- FFS Lot Debugger. It's an object that can be found in Buy mode > Miscellaneous > Miscellaneous. For instructions on how to install custom content, see this page.
- HoodChecker (optional). The HoodChecker is a program that attempts to fix neighborhoods that are corrupted. It will not fix all corruption, and in the majority of cases it is not a permanent solution. However, it is still recommended to keep neighborhoods healthy.
How to delete a Sim
Before we even begin - BACK UP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD! Instructions on how to back up your saved games can be found here. Do that first, and then read on.
- Step 1. Identify the Sim you wish to delete
Identify and record the name of the Sim you wish to remove. Make sure that deleting the selected Sim(s) will not instantaneously corrupt your neighborhood or game. Specifically, Sims that have been known to be dangerous and universal Sims are never safe to delete. See Game guide:Which NPCs are safe to play as for which NPCs are and aren't safe. If a Sim cannot be safely made playable, they are not safe to delete.
Once you know who you're going to shred, sell any owned businesses the Sims may have, if you have Open for Business. Also sell any vacation homes that the Sims may have, if you have Bon Voyage. If you don't have either of these expansion packs, or if your Sims don't run a business or own a vacation home, then you're good to go.
- Step 2. Start up SimPE and load your neighborhood
Pretty straightforward. If you don't have SimPE, download and install it (links are on this page).
Now look at the top of the screen. The file's directory path should be listed. Write down the letter and number that appears there, which is circled in the image below. It looks something like "N001", or "G001", or "E001". It's typically a letter followed by three numbers. Write that down - that's your neighborhood's folder ID, which you'll need later on. In this case, our folder ID is "N007".
On the panel to the left, go to "Family Ties", "Family Ties", and find your Sim in the list on the bottom left. The things on the right is the Sim's family tree. Any Sim that is attached to the current Sim via family ties will be displayed.
Click on the Sims and click on "Remove" at the bottom (it got cut off in the screenshot).
In this case, I am removing Jason's family tie with Alex.
Since this only works one-way, you'll need to go to the other Sims in the family and remove their ties to the to-be deleted Sims. So I need to go to Alex and remove her tie with Jason.
Repeat for all the other Sims you plan on deleting.
Click on the "Commit" button, then Save, and close SimPE.
- Step 3. "Debugger" the Sim
Load the game and enter the neighborhood where the target Sims live in. Enter any residential lot (it doesn't have to be the one where the Sims are being deleted), go into buy mode, and purchase the FFS Lot Debugger as mentioned earlier.
Press ^ Ctrl+⇧ Shift+C. A text box should appear at the top of the screen. Type in
boolProp testingcheatsenabled true and press ↵ Enter. This will enable the "testing cheats", or "Debug mode" as some players call it.
Now, press ⇧ Shift and, while still holding down ⇧ Shift, click on the FFS Lot Debugger. A pie menu of options should pop up. Select "Prep Sim for Delete".
Find your Sim. They are organized by household names, not last names. "Default" contains all the universal NPCs and Sims that have died. The household names for all the other NPCs, such as Downtownies, townies, maids, vacation locals, strays, etc. all appear to be randomized. You may need to use the "More..." button or the Tab ↹ key to cycle through the list of names.
Finding the "Head" family is pretty straightforward...
Once you get to the Sim you want to delete, click on their name. A dialog box with "You are on the way to destruction" should appear. Write down the number that appears next to their name. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you have not missed a step. Also make sure the Sim you wish to delete is the one you want to delete, and make sure it is not a universal NPC/unsafe NPC - deleting those can cause corruption.
Click "Yes" once you've read everything carefully.
Wait a little bit. There will be an interaction queued on your Sim. Don't cancel it! Once it's done, a notification should appear at the top-right. If other Sims have relationships or memories of the deleted Sim, they may appear. Don't panic.
Repeat for any other Sims you wish to delete. In this case, we need to destroy, I mean, delete, Alex.
Save your game, and then exit the game.
- Step 4. Delete the SDSC (Sim Description)
Enter SimPE and load your neighborhood. Select the "Sim Description (SDSC)" filter on the left. The numbers you wrote down earlier are on the column to the right (Instance). Click on the "Instance" tab to make it sort by numerical order. Find the file that matches the number(s) you wrote down earlier - in this case, the numbers for Jason and Alex were 386 and 387, respectively. Click on the "More" button and write down the "Character File" number. You will need this to completely remove the Sim and their file.
Repeat for all the other Sims you wish to delete.
Right-click on the Sim Description and select "Delete". The file should be
Repeat for all other Sims you wish you delete.
- Step 5. Resetting the Sim Creation Index
On the panel on the left, select "Sim Creation Index". Click on the only item there and then select the "Hex" tab on the bottom.
Here's the tricky part. You need to click and hold on the value in column 0c, drag it onto 0d, and then let go of the mouse. This will select both of the values. Here's a GIF to show you how it's done. The circle that appears indicates the mouse being clicked. (view full-sized image)
At the bottom there should be boxes with numbers and hexadecimal values in them. Change "Byte" to 0x01 and "Short" to 0x0001. Click on "Commit". The 0c and 0d fields at the top should say "01 00".
Save and exit SimPE.
- Step 6. Deleting the character files
Locate the character files of the deleted Sims. Remember the "Neighborhood Folder ID" we wrote down earlier? Go into "My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Neighborhoods/<neighborhood folder ID number>/Characters/", and then, using the character file number(s) written down earlier, find the character files and delete them.
To keep things clear, we'll start at the "Start" menu, click on "My Documents", "EA Games", "The Sims 2", and "Neighborhoods". If you are using Windows 7, make sure you are not going to the Shared folder, which is empty when you open it.
Our neighborhood folder ID was N007, so we click on that. Inside there is a folder called "Characters".
Now find the character file numbers that we wrote down earlier, and delete those files.
- Step 7. Checking for Damage
Note: This step is optional, but recommended.
Start up the HoodChecker, links are provided at the top of the page.
Find your neighborhood and then select "Check".
Click on "Finish" and wait. There will most likely be some errors that pop up. Don't panic! Sometimes these may not necessarily be a sign of corruption, or even something to worry about. Click on "Restart".
It will redirect you back to the main menu. Click on the neighborhood again, and then "Remove". It will warn you about whether you have a back up or not. Hopefully you've backed up before attempting to delete Sims. If you haven't... well, back up now.
Hit "Finish" and let the program work its magic on your hood. Any visible signs of corruption should be fixed.
Action Sim Delete Plugin
Since the original tutorial was written, a modder by the name "Theo" wrote a plugin for SimPE that made the Windows Explorer and SimPE steps a bit easier. Instructions on how to use the plugin can be found here. The plugin can be downloaded here (login required) or here (no login required, archived via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine).
Please note that this technique is not perfect. While this is nonetheless safer than the in-game delete button, it still has the potential to leave your neighborhood unplayable. Always remember to back up your neighborhood before attempting. If you are simply trying to get rid of an unwanted Sim, simply kill them, click on their urn/gravestone, select "Move to Community Lot", move them out, and then load and save the destination lot to make sure the graves were delivered safely. It's best to have a designated "cemetery lot" that you can send the graves to. Graves sent to these lots do not have to be visited, and the ghosts can't leave the lot to cause any trouble!
If you are using this method to reduce the amount of Sims in your neighborhood - keep in mind that the best way to keep the population count low is to not create so many Sims in the first place. There are mods that can help with this:
- NoTownieRegen, prevents the game from generating new townies.
- Anti-Redundancy, prevents the game from generating new NPCs, only allowing 1 Sim to be generated per NPC type, instead of the standard 3 Sims per NPC type per neighborhood.
- NoSSrespawn, prevents the game from generating new secret society members.
- NoDormieRespawns, prevents the game from generating new dormies.
- NoStrayRespawn, prevents the game from generating new strays.
- CJ-ThereCanOnlyBeOneProfessor, forces the game to only generate one professor instead of two per major.
- midgethetree_apartmentresidents, allows the game to pick safe NPCs, regular townies, and downtownies as apartment neighbors and roommates instead of social class townies, eliminating the need of generating them.
Deleting all Sims from a neighborhood
Some players may wish to remove all Sims from a neighborhood, while simultaneously keeping the lots and neighborhood decorations intact. While it may be possible to use the aforementioned method of deleting Sims to empty out a neighborhood, it is tedious and lengthy, and may cause corruption anyway. A much better alternative is to follow these instructions, which involves creating a new neighborhood and then copying the terrain and lots over.