The Sims 3 brought a lot of new features and customization options to the franchise, including the option to customize the color of each piece of furniture. In addition, the game loads your entire neighborhood at once, eliminating the need for extra loading screens as you play. These amazing features, however, resulted in creating more work for your computer to do when you play. Even if you have a high-end computer, you may still face slow loading times and lag during gameplay. Fortunately, there are a few remedies that you can try to fix your issues.
1. Install Overwatch
Overwatch is a mod that works in the background to fix a number of issues that can cause lag in your game. For example, the mod can repair corrupted skill lists and purge missing coworkers from your Sim’s relationship list. The mod also cleans up your Sim’s town, including removing excessive vehicles and fixing stuck characters. Some players have experience significant improvements in their game’s lag after installing this mod.
2. Play Lag-Free Towns
Some towns have more lag than others, usually due to routing problems. Bridgeport, the town that game with “Late Night,” has elevators, subways, tons of vehicles, big buildings and a lot of other features to constantly process. If I play in Bridgeport, my game is almost unplayable. The same is true of Isla Paradiso, the town that came with “Island Paradise.” Moonlight Falls, from “Supernatural,” and the default towns that game with the base game seem to run quite well for me.
3. Uninstall Custom Content
Custom content is a great way to spice up your game with new clothes and hair. Unfortunately, it can also bog down your game’s performance. Try uninstalling your custom content and then playing the game. If you notice a big improvement, you probably found your problem. If you still want to keep using custom content, try installing each piece one at a time; individual pieces of custom content may be causing problems. Mods that significantly impact gameplay may also cause lag.
4. Exit Unnecessary Programs
Running “The Sims 3” while keeping your web browser and a few other programs will surely impact the game’s performance. Before you start playing, exit all of your other programs. Look for programs that may be running in the background as well. Resetting your computer before you start playing will close background programs and may help your computer run more smoothly.
5. End Background Processes
If you’ve ever pulled up your task manager, you may have seen a long list of processes running in the background. Some of these processes may be using up precious memory and affecting how “The Sims 3” runs. There are programs that you can download to help you temporarily stop these processes while you play your game. Personally, I prefer a DIY approach. After bring up the task manager, I look for programs I know I can close without any negative side effects. For example, “Windows Media Player Network Sharing” is not something that I need while I play the game. If you don’t know what a particular process is, use the Internet to see if it’s safe to disable while you play the game.
6. Turn Down Your Settings
Turning down your game settings to the lowest will make a difference in your game’s playability. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be looking at low quality textures on your Sims and their surroundings. Before your drop all settings to low, consider trying just a few at a time. Turning down reflection quality, for example, won’t ruin your Simming experience too much and may cause a small improvement in how the game runs. Other settings that are less important include tree detail and lighting and shadows.
7. Play a Smaller Family
When I played the Immortal Challenge, I noticed my game grew noticeably slower as I added new generations to my family. Having 8 people in a family (the maximum you can have without mods) forces the game to track a lot of information all at once. If your game is getting slow with a big family, consider moving some members out.
8. Uninstall Expansions You Don’t Use
If you don’t find yourself playing with the dogs and cats from the “Pets” expansion, consider removing it completely from your game. The fewer expansions that you have installed, the better your game will run. Some expansions are noticeably more taxing than others. “Showtime,” for example, added some careers but didn’t add many changes to the base game. Seasons, however, introduces new graphical effects that can cause lag.
9. Miscellaneous Small Fixes
These small tips may make a small difference in how your game runs:
- Reduce the use of complex decorative items that can slow your game, including fountains, pools and sprinklers.
- Excessive amounts of trees may also slow down your game.
- Regularly clean out your Sims’ inventories so that the game has fewer items to constantly track.
- Disable memories in the game settings. Again, this gives the game less data to constantly monitor while you play. You can find this option under General Settings.
10. Upgrade Your Computer
This is hardly the tip anyone wants to hear, unless you have a few hundred dollars lying around and don’t mind trying your luck with upgrading. Some Sim fans have reported that even with their high-end gaming computers, they still can’t run The Sims 3 properly. Unfortunately, “The Sims 3” is just not optimized well. If you do want to upgrade, spend some time researching known computer specs that run “The Sims 3” well. On Carl’s Sim Guide, you can find a whole thread dedicated to helping people pick out a computer to play The Sims 3.