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Fixed Maxis Strangetown

by Dorsal Axe Posted 7th May 2020 at 8:59 PM - Updated 15th Aug 2021 at 11:08 PM by Dorsal Axe : Documentation update
62 Comments / replies (Who?) - 13 Feedback Posts, 12 Thanks Posts
Fixed Maxis Strangetown
It's no secret that Strangetown is the buggiest of the three neighborhoods that ship with The Sims 2. I'm not quite sure what happened during development, but a substantial amount of data is corrupt or missing, which leads to the neighborhood effectively blowing up after playing it for a period of time.

So I set out to create a "fixed" version of Strangetown, where various issues have been addressed, logical inconsistencies have been rectified, and missing data has been replaced or restored. No other attempts at this that I could find on the web suited what I was personally looking for as they either alter or lack content that originally comes with the hood, or still contain issues were never addressed. This is my attempt to take the vanilla Maxis Strangetown in its entirety and simply fix everything wrong with it under the hood. I've aimed to keep it as much possible like the original version that comes with the game.

You're probably wandering what makes this Strangetown different from some similar projects out there (there's been a few different ones over the years). This one has all of the following::
  • All Sims are intact. That means all townies and all ancestors are here. The ancestors have been fixed so that they can be safely resurrected and played.
  • Factory-fresh. This hood has never been loaded in a retail game, and all editing has been done with external tools. It's still effectively in the uninitialized state that Maxis released it in, and you can experience the scripted household scenarios like you can with the original hood when you first play it.
  • Extensive fixes. I've gone through and removed sources of corruption and fixed identifiable issues. I've also run it through HoodChecker, and other than the initial clearing of junk no issues have come up. It's been tested amongst players for about two years. This Strangetown is safe to play.
  • Maxis-match. Broken faces have been corrected using face data hidden away in the character files. Updated portraits have the same poses as the originals. As a purist, I went to a lot of trouble to keep things as close to how Maxis shipped it as possible, or at least, how they intended things to be.

You can check out the complete list of changes below.

Complete Changelog:


Requirements:
As I have added an EP1 memory ("Very First WooHoo") an expansion or stuff pack is required to be installed to use this hood. Although I've put University in the requirements, this can actually be any pack (excluding Happy Holiday Stuff, which isn't actually a proper pack) as this memory is included with all expansions and stuff packs for the game.

Installation:
It is highly recommended to replace the original N002 template in your The Sims 2 installation directory (make sure to back up the original template first!) and then allow the game to generate a new save game folder by temporarily moving or renaming your existing one. Once the new save folder is generated you can move N002 to your existing save game folder and then restore the original save folder to its original location/name.

The reason I recommend doing it this way is because copying the new N002 folder directly to your existing save game folder can result in neighborhood stories for all of your neighborhoods being wiped out. The base game had a single storytelling folder for every neighborhood, but with EPs installed the game will separate this into individual folders for each hood. Although cumbersome, following this method allows the game to carry out this process as intended. The _Extras folder does contain the N002 Storytelling folder should you wish to try directly importing it into your existing save folder, but do so at your own risk.

Installing the template:
1. By default, the installation directory is: C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\The Sims 2. This will be different if you specified a different path when installing the game. The neighborhood templates are located in the following subfolder: \TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods. Open this folder.

2. Rename or move the original N002 folder to somewhere safe (i.e. don't delete it). I would recommend renaming the folder to avoid confusion with my version of the hood. Once you've done this, place the downloaded N002 folder into this subfolder.

3. Close this folder. You won't need to come back to this one.

Generating a new save folder:
1. By default your save game directory will be in the following location (replace **user** with your Windows username): C:\Users\**user**\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2. Rename this directory or move it to a different location temporarily.

2. Load up the game to the main menu. Then immediately quit the game, and you'll find a new save directory has generated in the original location. Find and copy the N002 folder from the Neighborhoods subfolder to the same-named subfolder in your original save directory.

3. Remove the new save directory, and restore your original save directory to this same location.

Important notes:
  • This is a standard neighborhood. I will not be making subhood, merged, etc. versions of this. If you wish to undertake making this yourself, please read the usage section below before you proceed.
  • It should go without saying, but this game just loooves to corrupt itself in just about every way imaginable. Just because this hood is healthy doesn't mean you should get complacent. Keep a backup of your neighborhoods, always.
  • Knut Futa is the one Sim who is still isn't quite right, which isn't surprising given that he is the most utterly broken Sim that Maxis has ever created in any of their games. Although I've set interests and a personality for him, they will always be randomised on initialization for unknown reasons. To be safe, I recommend leaving him as a ghost and to not resurrect him, as he's likely beyond true fixing.
  • I highly recommend running the late Mootilda's excellent HoodChecker on a regular basis to monitor the health of all your neighborhoods and clear out any problematic data that it detects. It's a tried-and-tested utility and will definitely keep your neighborhood going for the long-haul.

Disclaimer:
Although I've removed all sources of corruption that I can possibly find with the tools available, I cannot guarantee that this neighborhood is *100%* free of it. There's the possibility of something remaining that no tool can detect. I *can* guarantee however that this version of Strangetown is a hell of a lot safer and healthier than the hood Maxis shipped with the game.

Usage in other projects:
Feel free to make variations of this version of Strangetown (e.g. merged or subhood versions), but if you do so you must make it very clear that you are using my version of Strangetown rather than the original one. That way if people have issues, it can be identified which version is being used.

Special thanks:
  • Maxis, for always giving us something broken to fix
  • Elddie and Nopke, for providing translations for the Singles surnames
  • frogz2007, for assisting with the Specter lot fixes
  • Everyone in the Creator Feedback Forum who has tested this neighborhood for the past two years to ensure it doesn't blow up. I appreciate all of the help and feedback, and I hope having a healthy Strangetown has brought much enjoyment.

Additional Credits: SimPE HoodChecker
The Sims 2 Body Shop

You must have the expansion or stuff packs listed below installed to use this custom content. Please see the post text for any exceptions.

Sims 2 University
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
Fixed N002 - v1.1.7z | (2021/08/15) Updated documentation

Size: 22.31 MB · Downloads: 328 · 15th Aug 2021
22.31 MB 328 15th Aug 2021
Don't forget to Thank the creator after downloading! Use the Thanks button located above the screenshots above.
Basic Download and Install Instructions:

1. Download: Click the download link to save the .rar or .zip file(s) to your computer.

2. Extract the zip, rar, or 7z file.

3. Place in Downloads Folder: Cut and paste the .package file(s) into your Downloads folder:
  • Origin (Ultimate Collection): Users\(Current User Account)\Documents\EA Games\The Sims™ 2 Ultimate Collection\Downloads\
  • Non-Origin, Windows Vista/7/8/10: Users\(Current User Account)\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Downloads\
  • Non-Origin, Windows XP: Documents and Settings\(Current User Account)\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Downloads\
  • Mac: Users\(Current User Account)\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Downloads
  • Mac x64: /Library/Containers/com.aspyr.sims2.appstore/Data/Library/Application Support/Aspyr/The Sims 2/Downloads
Need more information?
 
62 Comments / Replies (Who?) - 41 Feedback Posts, 19 Thanks Posts
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Forum Resident
THANKS POST
#2 Old 7th May 2020 at 9:52 PM
I remember that this project had already been underway when I first started playing the sims 2 back in 9th grade. I'm really glad that it was finally made a reality! Congratulations!
Scholar
THANKS POST
#3 Old 8th May 2020 at 1:27 AM
Wow! That's an enormous amount of work; thank you so much for doing all of that!

I've actually never played Strangetown, because I'd heard it was broken. So after a zillion years, I can finally play it for the first time -- how cool!
Scholar
THANKS POST
#4 Old 8th May 2020 at 2:03 AM
I'm sorry to be stupid, but I'm having trouble figuring out where to put this. I tried going to the place where the game is installed (which is the F drive on my particular computer), so I went here:
F:\Program Files (x86)\EA GAMES\The Sims 2\TSData\Res\NeighborhoodTemplate
That folder contained only a .png file, no neighborhood files.



There are neighborhood folders in my C:\Users\MyName\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods folder, but I thought those were the saved games. So where are my neighborhood templates?

Thanks!
Needs Coffee
retired moderator
#5 Old 8th May 2020 at 4:26 AM
Wow, this must have taken you ages, great job.

"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." - Unknown
~Call me Jo~
Field Researcher
#6 Old 8th May 2020 at 7:53 AM
@Corylea The templates are in \TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods.

Trying to speak English well.
Q&A on Tumblr | Discord | Latest updates of my mods
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#7 Old 8th May 2020 at 9:55 AM
This is huge! Thank you all!

I didn't even know the Singles were supposed to have different surnames. I thought it was part of the limitation of the game only allowing same-surname people in a household in CAS.
Alchemist
THANKS POST
#8 Old 8th May 2020 at 1:27 PM
Finally! An official version! This is so awesome! I've been recommending your "tester" version as my favorite for ages! Great work. Thank you!
Scholar
#9 Old 8th May 2020 at 4:04 PM Last edited by Corylea : 8th May 2020 at 5:41 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nopke
@Corylea The templates are in \TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods.


@Nopke Oh, thank you!

After all, why would EA put them in a folder explicitly labelled "Neighborhood Template" when they could bury them under "UserData." *head desk* :-)

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." -- Gandhi
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#10 Old 8th May 2020 at 5:44 PM
Thank you so much! I've been looking for so long for a Strangetown that was not only clean, but also came with townies and ancestors and such. Thank you for undertaking what I presume was a difficult project.
Test Subject
#11 Old 8th May 2020 at 5:44 PM Last edited by nosferatuman : 10th Jul 2020 at 10:39 PM.
Thank you, Dorsal Axe. I always assumed meetmetotheriver's releases were free of all these issues. It's also great to have the original townies back.

I do have a question, however. You said we should "allow the game to generate a new save game folder. From there you can move it to your existing save game folder," and that "copying the new N002 folder directly to your existing save game folder can result in losing neighborhood stories for all of your neighborhoods, as well as some other weirdness".

I'm guessing this is a newbie question, but the only instructions I found on a google search for resetting premade neighborhoods was to simply copy and paste the template files, which is exactly what you instructed us not to do. By "new save game folder" did you perhaps meant we should delete the entire TS2 folder found on My Documents and not only the saved neighborhoods folder?
---//---
And hopefully this isn't off topic and someone can tell me:
I'm about to start a Pleasantview save, and after seeing this post I decided to run the Hood Checker on river's templates. The analysis found "incorrect subject" for Dina's memories of Michael Bachelor and Darren Dreamer's memories of Darleen. (fixable with the "fix corrupt memories" function of Pescado's FFS Lot Debugger/BatBox)

As for the subhoods (Bluewater Village, Downtown and SSU), seems like all playable families' memories, including those of the dead Tricous, were marked as "incorrect subject". Besides adding the subhoods, I haven't even played with this save file yet.
EDIT: This is not an issue with MeetMeToTheRiver's templates, but with the game itself. As it's mentioned in her clean template releases, "adding any and all subhoods ingame partially corrupts the memories of added sims. Always run the Hood Checker on a neighbourhood after adding any subhoods to fix this." I just made this edit in case someone comes across my comment and thinks her subhood templates are somehow not safe, which is not the case.

Does anyone know is this could be a sign of serious corruption, or is it something easily solvable (hopefully with Pescado's BatBox)?
Instructor
Original Poster
#12 Old 8th May 2020 at 6:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nosferatuman
Thank you, Dorsal Axe. I always assumed meetmetotheriver's releases were free of all these issues. It's also great to have the original townies back.

I do have a question, however. You said we should "allow the game to generate a new save game folder. From there you can move it to your existing save game folder," and that "copying the new N002 folder directly to your existing save game folder can result in losing neighborhood stories for all of your neighborhoods, as well as some other weirdness".

I'm guessing this is a newbie question, but the only instructions I found on a google search for resetting premade neighborhoods was to simply copy and paste the template files, which is exactly what you instructed us not to do. By "new save game folder" did you perhaps meant we should delete the entire TS2 folder found on My Documents and not only the saved neighborhoods folder?
---//---
And hopefully this isn't off topic and someone can tell me:
I'm about to start a Pleasantview save, and after seeing this post I decided to run the Hood Checker on river's templates. The analysis found "incorrect subject" for Dina's memories of Michael Bachelor and Darren Dreamer's memories of Darleen. As for the subhoods (Bluewater Village, Downtown and SSU), seems like all playable families' memories, including those of the dead Tricous, were marked as "incorrect subject". Besides adding the subhoods, I haven't even played with this save file yet.

Does anyone know is this could be a sign of serious corruption, or is it something easily solvable (hopefully with Pescado's batbox)?


Ah, I haven't explained it very well. I'll rewrite the instructions to make them clearer. Basically you should temporarily move or rename your saved game folder (usually under \Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2), this will cause the game to generate a new folder and copy over the template neighborhoods from the installation directory (usually under \Program Files\EA Games\The Sims 2). Then you can move the new Strangetown to your old save folder, swapping it over with the old Strangetown, then delete the new save folder and restore your old one.

In my testing I found that directly swapping the old N002 out for the new one would wipe my stories in all hoods, but following this more cumbersome process didn't for some reason. I couldn't tell you why

Regarding the other thing, my guess is that it's because those memories are pointing to invalid targets. There is a duplicate of Michael Bachelor and one of Darleen Dreamer, who are not properly linked, so that's possibly why that error is being thrown. I haven't really looked at Pleasantview much yet, so I can't say for certain. I'm also not sure about the Tricous. Issues with memory subjects can easily be fixed in SimPE though.
Lab Assistant
#13 Old 8th May 2020 at 7:01 PM Last edited by bulbash : 8th May 2020 at 7:29 PM.
Thank you, Dorsal Axe! It's great to have a chance to try playing Strangetown more or less safely.

There's an issue that pops up though. When I play the Curiouses and after Vidcund gets abducted and then returns, the want controller is throwing an error (testingcheatsenabled is on). If I reset it then Vidcund has 3 out of his 6 wants blank (I got him a university diploma), and if I delete it then everyone's wants are messed up. Does anyone know a way of fixing this issue? When Pascal delivers a baby, he loses all of the wants and fears, so does Lazlo
Scholar
#14 Old 8th May 2020 at 7:48 PM
I know that there's a "recommended" order in which to play the Pleasantview families if one wants to see all of the Maxis scripted events. Is there such an order for the Strangetown families?

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." -- Gandhi
Mad Poster
#15 Old 8th May 2020 at 8:23 PM Last edited by RoxEllen1965 : 8th May 2020 at 11:42 PM. Reason: typo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corylea
I know that there's a "recommended" order in which to play the Pleasantview families if one wants to see all of the Maxis scripted events. Is there such an order for the Strangetown families?

The Prima Guide recommends the following order:

1. Curious
2. Specter
3. Beaker
4. Smith
5. Grunt

I recommend you play the Beaker family before the Curious family. If you play the Curious lot first, you may end up satisfying some of Nervous Subject's wants (make friends with Pascal, etc.) before you even have a chance to play the Beaker lot.
Scholar
THANKS POST
#16 Old 8th May 2020 at 9:32 PM
@RoxEllen1965, thank you very much!
Alchemist
THANKS POST
#17 Old 9th May 2020 at 3:13 AM
I converted this to a subhood. Seems ok to me, but would anyone like to test it?
Lab Assistant
#18 Old 9th May 2020 at 4:09 AM
This is very nice but I'm very curious, what makes this different from Tarlia's clean templates? Not discrediting your hard work, I'm just genuinely curious. And will this make resurrecting Olive's "victims" be safe and not corrupt the neighbourhood?
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#19 Old 9th May 2020 at 4:37 AM
I've been playing StrangeTown for quite a while actually and i didn't know it was so buggy until now. Luckily I never resurrect dead sims.
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#20 Old 9th May 2020 at 6:36 AM
Awesome! i love this town and im glad you made a fix. Im curious however, do you plan on making a shopping district version of this so we can use it as a subhood?
Instructor
Original Poster
#21 Old 9th May 2020 at 12:12 PM Last edited by Dorsal Axe : 10th May 2020 at 11:26 AM. Reason: Comments based on old version of other project
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulbash
Thank you, Dorsal Axe! It's great to have a chance to try playing Strangetown more or less safely.

There's an issue that pops up though. When I play the Curiouses and after Vidcund gets abducted and then returns, the want controller is throwing an error (testingcheatsenabled is on). If I reset it then Vidcund has 3 out of his 6 wants blank (I got him a university diploma), and if I delete it then everyone's wants are messed up. Does anyone know a way of fixing this issue? When Pascal delivers a baby, he loses all of the wants and fears, so does Lazlo

I wondered if the expanded want slots were conflicting with the scripted scenario (since that forces certain wants on Sims IIRC), but I'm afraid I haven't been able to replicate this at all that on a clean game. Therefore, I can only assume it's due to a mod conflict.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiddypatches
This is very nice but I'm very curious, what makes this different from Tarlia's clean templates? Not discrediting your hard work, I'm just genuinely curious. And will this make resurrecting Olive's "victims" be safe and not corrupt the neighbourhood?

Pretty much what's in the description and changelog.

[EDIT: Removed some comments as I was basing my info on a now very outdated version of her project]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orpheus49
Awesome! i love this town and im glad you made a fix. Im curious however, do you plan on making a shopping district version of this so we can use it as a subhood?

I'm afraid I won't be making any variations of this hood, this was all a lot of work as it is. It looks like Sunrader up above has converted it to a subhood, so your best bet is to contact them about that or wait for them to release that version
Alchemist
#22 Old 9th May 2020 at 1:13 PM Last edited by Sunrader : 10th May 2020 at 12:53 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orpheus49
Awesome! i love this town and im glad you made a fix. Im curious however, do you plan on making a shopping district version of this so we can use it as a subhood?


As DA said, I converted it. I've tested it myself and it seems fine, but if you'd like to test it on a hood you aren't invested in, that'd be great. PM me for a link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiddypatches
This is very nice but I'm very curious, what makes this different from Tarlia's clean templates? Not discrediting your hard work, I'm just genuinely curious. And will this make resurrecting Olive's "victims" be safe and not corrupt the neighbourhood?


If you mean the new one released last year, MeetMetotheRiver does great work, but she doesn't list very many changes in Strangetown and she deleted all the townies, so if you want the hood close to the original, this is my fav.
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#23 Old 9th May 2020 at 8:10 PM Last edited by Biara25 : 9th May 2020 at 9:00 PM.
Awesome! Thank you so much! :up:
That's a fantastic job done here. Much appreciated. :gjob:
We can finally enjoy a proper Strangetown! :D
Test Subject
#24 Old 9th May 2020 at 8:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxEllen1965
The Prima Guide recommends the following order:

1. Curious
2. Specter
3. Beaker
4. Smith
5. Grunt

I recommend you play the Beaker family before the Curious family. If you play the Curious lot first, you may end up satisfying some of Nervous Subject's wants (make friends with Pascal, etc.) before you even have a chance to play the Beaker lot.


Wow very useful. I'll try that.
Lab Assistant
THANKS POST
#25 Old 9th May 2020 at 10:20 PM
Thanks for doing this... I am one of those few people that actually like the townies!
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