Fixed Maxis Strangetown

SCREENSHOTS
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Uploaded: 7th May 2020 at 8:59 PM
Updated: 25th Jul 2022 at 9:52 PM - New version with minor fixes
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 generally 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 it appears they intended things to be.

You can check out the complete list of changes below.

v1.3 Changelog (2022/07/25):


v1.2 Changelog (2022/07/22):


Complete Changelog (original version):


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 template for the original N002 in your The Sims 2 installation directory (not to be confused with your save directory). Make sure to back up the original template first!. Then allow the game to generate a new save game folder by temporarily moving or renaming your existing save folder. 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 conversion 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 any other version of the hood. Once you've done this, place my version of the N002 that you downloaded here into this subfolder.

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

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 brand new save directory has generated in the original location. Find and copy the N002 folder from the Neighborhoods subfolder in the new save folder to the Neighborhoods subfolder in your original save directory.

3. Delete the new save directory, and restore your original save directory to its original 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, you are welcome to do so but 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, these 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. This way if people have issues, it can be clearly 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 (by Mootilda)
The Sims 2 Body Shop