The Sims 4 was released internationally in the first week of September, 2014. Technical issues are always to be expected with any game, and there have already been a few game updates to fix bugs and glitches in the Sims 4. Players of any Sims game tend to get very attached to their little pixel people, and many grown people (including men) have actually been brought to tears over the loss of a favourite Sim at some point. It is my intention to help you prevent that tragedy, so here is my Sims 4 Technical Preparedness Plan (for Windows Only).
Step One: Make sure that Origin is not set up to launch whenever you start your computer. To do this, open Origin and click on the “Origin” link in the menu bar at the top, then select “Application Settings” from the menu list. A “Settings” window will open showing several tabs down the left side; click on the tab marked “General” and in the panel to the right, look for the heading Start Up Options. Make sure there is no checkmark next to the option “Automatically launch Origin when I log on to Windows” because you NEED the chance to perform Step Two! (The Origin program has a setting for automatic updating, and it has been reported that turning this off will not prevent the game from updating if you run Origin when there is an update available for The Sims 4.)
Step Two: Always check if there’s a new Game Update before you launch your Sims 4 game! This is absolutely imperative and cannot be stressed enough! Visit this page The Sims 4 Patch Notes before you launch your game–you should visit this page right now and bookmark it for regular, obsessive usage 😉 That page will always show you when the most recent game update/patch was issued and what changes were made. It is important to always know beforehand when a game update has been released because problems can arise during the game update process, so if there’s an update you must proceed to Step Three before you even think of launching Origin! If there’s no update, you can skip ahead to step five.
Step Three: Back up your entire Sims 4 folder from the “My Documents” folder before updating your game. Open the “My Documents” folder and the “Electronic Arts” folder, then right click on your “The Sims 4” folder and select “Copy” Next, find a suitable location for your back-up in another location on the computer (mine is on another hard drive, in a folder called “Sims Backups” for example) and then “Paste” the entire Sims 4 folder in that other location. This will assist you if something does go wrong during the game update process.
Step Four: Before you update you game, double check that the “Mods” folder is empty. If you are currently using mods or custom content, delete all the contents of the Mods folder before you update your game. Don’t worry, you made a back-up in Step Three, and you need all of that out of your game before you update! So just delete anything in the Mods folder. Then run Origin and allow your game to update. DO NOT add your mods or custom content back into your game yet. First load your game without any 3rd party content and make a fresh save by clicking “Save As” in the Game Options menu. Name it “Patched Vanilla” or something that will remind you that this is your first save after the big patch and there’s no mods or custom content installed. Then quit your game and gradually add your mods and cc back into the “Mods” folder, testing each time, according to the well-known careful cc practices you’ve probably heard of a thousand other times.
Step Five: Use the “Save As” feature to make a brand new file for your game from time to time. It really helps in case something glitches in your game, or otherwise goes terribly wrong. There’s an Autosave feature, but that isn’t for recovering from serious technical malfunctions. There may come a time when you need to go back to an earlier save, so you need to make sure you have an earlier save to go back to! If you play just one household, you might like to do another “Save As” every sim week, so you can go back a week in your game if something messes up. I play rotationally, so I make a new save whenever I transfer to a new household in my rotation.
Step Six: Make and keep a complete back-up of your “The Sims 4” folder frequently. How often you make complete back-ups of everything is a personal thing, based on how often you get to play and how much it would bother you if you lost some or all of your content. I prefer to make a full back-up every week because I play a lot, and I really like my sims. If I lost them, I would have a proper gamer flip out episode for sure!
Step Seven: Whenever downloadable content or expansion packs are made available, treat them as you would a game update, and follow steps two through four, just name your new save something like “Added New DLC” or whatever.
It would seem that Sims 4 is a far more stable release than Sims 3 was, but I’m still nervous about the well being of my beloved little simmies, so these are the basic tips I thought you should know if you’re like me and don’t want to lose a Legacy or repeat some other sad misadventure you experienced with a previous Sims game. I hope these things will help you to feel more confident about the safety and security of your digital darlings.
At this point, I haven’t run into any major difficulties and I haven’t had to restore a game from back-up. I haven’t had any corrupted save files or any error codes. I have spent some of my spare time trying to learn what to do to recover from problems I haven’t encountered, and I haven’t found information on that. I thought it would be unkind for me to pester the EA customer support to ask advice on how to fix something that hasn’t broken yet! If you’re having technical issues, please feel free to comment on this post. I might not be able to answer the question or provide advice immediately, but I will try to find out how to help you.
UPDATE: In addition to the Autosave function of the Sims 4, the game also keeps up to 5 back-ups of your saved games for you, automatically! Restoring from a back-up is quite similar to Sims 3 (in that it involves renaming your saved game file) but I put together a guide for saved game issues and restoring back-ups, etc. Please know that all saved game functions, including the Autosave and automatic back-ups require that you must first save your game manually. If you do not create a saved game in the first place, the game cannot make back-ups or an extra save for you at any time. In addition, you should continue to make your own back-ups of your complete Sims 4 folder, as described in this post, even with this awesome feature they added for keeping back-ups of your earlier saves. Just always be extra careful with your Sims 😉
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