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Missing Sims and/or User Interface

Most of the suggestions listed in Already Have the Issue? have solved this bug for many people. While many are affected by World Adventures and Sims going to or returning from vacation, it has also affected those without World Adventures. If you already have the recommended mods below, these will keep the town in tip-top shape by the auto-cleanup scripts in ErrorTrap or other mods. If they do not, you have the option of triggering the fix manually by following the steps stated.

Issue & Symptoms

  • click to enlarge
    You get Green empty Thumbnails where the Sims thumbnails are. The Portrait of the Sim is also missing in the HUD Panel. Not pictured is how the invisible Sim look like with just a plumbob floating over thin air. (First image)
  • click to enlarge
    Upon loading a save game, you find the HUD panel missing, and there are no Map Tags. None of the keys (F1, F5, or F10, etc) works. (Second image)
  • Upon traveling, from patch 1.22 onwards (with Generations release), you may also get clones (aka doppelgangers, as some call them) of your Sims
  • Upon traveling, you lose relationships with those in the Relationship panel. Or you suddenly gain a new family member or acquaintance
  • Upon traveling, Sims' ages get messed up


The most common cause for the Missing Sims bug is according to Twallan a "Missing or wrongly referenced outfits" issue. The missing or having clones while traveling to and from WA Destinations is due to the buggy EA StoryProgression. StoryProgression is also the cause of messed-up Relationships and Aging.


How to Avoid Issues

While a fix or workaround are still being sought, there are some things you can do to help prevent the issue from occurring in the first place:

  • Make sure your system meets the Minimum Requirements as well as the slightly higher recommendations from MTS
  • Make sure your Graphic and Audio Drivers are up to date, DirectX is up to date, and close all unnecessary programs running in the background (some even disconnect from the internet)
  • Run the game from admin user account or with admin privileges, doing so helps eliminate many user related issues.
  • Those that tend to stick with one family (don't switch active households) tend to have less issues and problems.
  • Do NOT use EA Story Progression especially if you have World Adventures. EA Story Progression is the default when you install your game. Even if you uncheck the box to disable it, it may still be running and corrupting your game. Try NRaas Story Progression, or AwesomeStory
  • If you find Sim(s) missing during gameplay, "Quit Without Saving" Yes, you will lose progress, but the alternative is losing the game entirely.
  • If you have World Adventures and plan on sending your sims on vacation, make extra backups of the save using "Save As" to save the game. Save often, and rename each appropriately so you know which is which. Doing so can minimize loss, if you experience game issues, computer crash, power outages, etc. Save the game before going on vacation, during vacation, and just before returning, etc. This will help you tremendously, should the Traveling Glitch make your sims or user interface corrupt or invisible. Twallan's Traveler mod also helps.
  • By default, the game allows teens, young adults, adults, and elders to travel to Vacation worlds. In contrast, children are permitted to return to the home world as well as the other age groups. Neither of which allow babies or toddlers to travel. While this may be changed in a tuning file, doing so may cause your game to have issues.
  • Also note at what day of their life cycle each Sim is on, before traveling. There were several reports of Sims showing up with an incorrect age appearance, even though they were in the correct age cycle.

Already Have the Issue?

As noted earlier, these fixes or workarounds work for most people, once the issues occur and even if you save the game once the issue has occurred. You can try the steps below to see if it solves your issue, but there are no guarantees. It should also be noted, there are various reasons for Sims to become invisible and or the user interface to become corrupt and each is treated differently. Some can be solved (if root cause is known), others can't.

  • You made sure you had not accidentally pressed the TAB key or F10 key to hide the User Interface
  • Try using Twallan's mods available @Nraas Industries
    • Master Controller mod: click on a Sim, Nraas > MasterController > Household > ResetLot
    • Debug Enabler mod:
      • click on a Sim (or City Hall), Nraas > DebugEnabler > Option:Sim (if Sim is clicked) > Fix Invisible Sims
      • open cheat console (Ctrl+Shift+C) and enter "forceHud" (requires "testingcheatsenabled true" first)
    • Error Trap mod: other users have reported this has helped them if they let the game run past its auto-cleanup time at 3am Sim Time, and
    • Overwatch mod: proven effective with removing items during gameplay which can cause lag and other issues.
    • Traveler mod: to help prevent missing Sims upon Arrival or missing UI issues.
  • Try removing All Custom Content Remove Sims3 Custom CC Wizard
  • Refresh/Delete the Cache Files especially when you add or remove custom content.
  • If possible, try using the cheat: "resetsim (first name) (last name)"; or "resetsim *" to reset ALL Sims in the world
  • If possible, save the current family to the library. Evict and delete the existing family, then place the saved family in the same house. Choose them as your default family in live mode. NOTE: doing this may allow you to play the family, but outside relationships, dreams and wishes, careers, etc will be lost. However, before doing this step, you might want to try ResetLot command as shown above first.
  • At the first sign of an invisible Sim/missing Sim or missing UI Panel, quit the game without saving. Then follow the Restoring Backup Saves Guide and attempt to load the backup save to see if you can continue with the backup. This, also, may not work as the backup may also be corrupted.
  • If after quitting and reloading the game, the UI Panel is still missing, you can enter "forceHud" in the cheat console. You need DebugEnabler for this to work.
  • Uninstall and Reinstall. Completely Uninstall the game, move or rename the User Files (Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder). Once you have completely uninstalled and removed all traces of The Sims 3, then reinstall and patch your game. From a Guru on Sims 3 Forum "The reason uninstall/reinstall is often suggested, especially manual uninstall, is that with the wide variants of systems, hardware, mods/no mods, exchange content, store content, etc. It is possible that somewhere along the way a file was changed or modified in a way that was not intended. Doing a completely clean install updating directly from install to the newest versions, and playing a new game or a for sure 100% clean save are the best ways to be certain that there aren't any additional outside programs/changes effecting the game and causing errors to pop up. "

Seeking further assistance

If the above suggestions do not work for you, please provide the answers to the following questions and then post in Help Forum.

  1. Which game(s) do you have?
  2. What is the game version/patch level for the base game?
  3. How many sims are missing/invisible?
  4. Do they have an icon or not?
  5. Do you have any UI issues?
  6. Were the sims traveling?
  7. How many traveling?
  8. How are all travellers related?
  9. Which country are the sims in?
  10. How many days?
  11. Did the sim(s) return via the phone prematurely or only when the vacation was over?
  12. Returning together or separate?
  13. Are you using Twallan's MasterController+Overwatch+DebugEnabler or AwesomeMod?
  14. Are you using EA Story Progression, Twallan's Story Progression, or Awesome Story?
    • If you're still using EA's Story Progression, that is buggy, use a mod. Several selections in the Content List.
  15. When did the issue start?
  16. What were your sims doing?
  17. What things have you tried
  18. What worked?
  19. What didn't work?
  20. Anything else you would like to add?
Sims 3 Game Help Categories:

Custom Content  | Installation  | Gameplay Guides  | Technical & Graphics Issues  | Miscellaneous Issues

MTS Help Q&A Forums