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This section of the site is better organised than the TS3 catalogues, but that's not a high bar to clear.
my sims diary
elsewhere here at vegetablearian's site
Me and The Sims
The Sims was the first game I remember being really excited about before it released. I loved reading the previews in my dad's gaming magazines. And honestly, it was the first time I remember being frustrated with the differences between me and the journalists. I have become deeply disillusioned with the way the Sims games are sold nowadays, definitely, but at the time? When the EPs were them actually making something new and not simply witholding it from the initial release? They were each the best thing since sliced bread and those reviewers Just Didn't Get It!
I still have a real soft spot for TS1, and I play it every few years. TS2 was my obsession from the time it came out until several years after TS3's release. I probably wouldn't have started playing TS3 if I hadn't been gifted the base game and Showtime, and I probably wouldn't have kept playing it if the game had still been lacking more features of TS1 and TS2 at that point. But that's my main sims game now!
"Mods" refers strictly to gameplay overhauls, from the simple tuning mods even I can make to more complicated scripted stuff.
"Modded object"/"hacked object" ("hacked" was more common in TS1/TS2 days) refers to an object with scripts. They could be brand new scripts, letting sims do something they couldn't do before, or just a new application of existing scripts, like tweaking them or adding them to an object that didn't have them before.
Everything else, like new clothes, furniture, wallpaper, worlds is "custom content" or more commonly "cc".
... but houses/lots and sims/pets aren't cc. And we do also group mods under cc more broadly. It's complicated! Good thing you had this guide!
I love the TS3 open world so much! TS4 is a complete step back and doesn't interest me at all. It's so fun to just wander around with your sim.
One big, maybe negative difference between TS3 and its predecessors is that moving between households is pretty much discouraged by the game itself. I used to be big on playing rotations in TS2 - that is, playing every household in the neighbourhood for a few days at a time so they all progressed together - and that's still possible in TS3 (and there's still the same ageing, seasons systems) but to do it properly you need a bunch of mods. Mods I probably have, but for some reason, I'm not so interested in playing like that now. I don't know if it's only because it's harder - I mostly played TS1 with one sim/household, too!
"Playing" the sims
Veteran simmers know that most of us spend as much time, if not more, managing custom content and mods as actually playing the bloody game. I'm no exception. I'm nearly always gearing up for a big reinstall... it's gonna be different this time...! Sometimes I have a specific goal, like a full medieval conversion, but mostly I'm just fiddling.
I'm gonna be better this time (that's what they always say) - I'm making a detailed plan of my community lots and I'm gonna be as harsh as I can stand with what I install. But, I want to install lots of store "premium content" (items with new interactions) because they're fun!
Current TS3 install
BG, WA, GEN, Pets, SEA, UL, IP. And Monte Vista :) Ooh... slender...
I've finished organising my store content, and now I can decide what to install, as I plan my community lots. I've also extracted a couple of EP objects to use as deco/same-functioning objects - you can read my mildly unhinged set of notes on the subject here. Some worked and some didn't, and I don't know why!