Sims 2 Houses come in a installable sims2pack file. By default The Sims 2 will open sims2pack files and allow you to install them into your game. Unfortunately the game does a really bad job of both creating these sims2pack files when creators export their houses, and also when downloaders try and install them when the houses contain custom content.
If the game installer finds a custom content item that is already installed it creates a copy - if you install the same item in several different houses, you'll get several copies. It gives these copies long incomprehensible file names so it's very hard to idenitify what these files actually are when managing your Downloads folder. These copies can become corrupt when they are created and the game will use these copies in preference to the original file you already had in your Downloads folder! If you are a house builder who likes to share your lots online then it's important to be aware of this issue because these copies easily get circulated.
To avoid this problem when installing houses with custom content I recommend you use one of these alternative methods to keep your game tidy and your files in tact:
The second method is to use a separate program called The Clean Installer
It is a small program which opens sims2pack files, allowing you to install any custom content that comes in a sims2pack file; typically houses and complete Sims but sometimes also walls, floors and terrain paints. It can also help view and organize custom content (instructions for that are available from CPI website)
The game installer works fine for installing custom content provided you do not have any of the included files in your game already. Instead of just skipping over existing files, or asking you if you want to skip or replace them, the game installer will create a copy which has a long and incomprehensible filename. These copies can sometimes also be corrupt, worse the game will often use them in preference to the real files.
When house creators export a custom house from their games, if the house has custom objects, walls or floors in it, the game does a bad job of creating the package and will often include lots of items which are not actually used. This can also mean that hacks or overrides wind up in the house sims2pack file along with normal items.
If the creator has been using the game installer to add other houses with custom content to their own game, they can not only wind up with the junk copies I mention above, but because the game uses them in preference, it will also often package these junk copies instead of the original objects which are used in the lot. Someone downloading the house can then end up with corrupt copies instead of the originals. The same problems also happen with complete Sims which use custom hairstyles or clothing.
The Clean Pack Installer addresses these issues by:
This method is easy and requires no additional programs - just a little organization.
If you get asked to overwrite an existing file I would generally advise choosing no unless the new file has a newer date than the old one, in which case pick yes to overwrite).
This is also an easy way to find and delete any included items which may have started out as junk copies accidentally included in the lot instead of the real file. Any filenames you don't recognize, or items you don't want to keep, you can delete before they wind up with all your other downloads.
Sadly this method does not tell you if the files you've just acquired from the house are possibly problematic hacks or overrides, nor does it allow you to see any other information about the files other than the filename, which is why I also recommend another method detailed below.
Once you have downloaded the installer zip to your computer, unzip it and double click on it to run the executable, follow the on-screen instructions. When you install the Clean Pack Installer it will automatically associate the sims2pack file format with itself meaning you can double click a sims2pack file and it will open with the Clean Pack Installer by default. If you accidentally associate sims2pack files with the game installer simply reinstall the Clean Pack Installer to fix the problem.
If you have problems with a house but you can't delete it in game without The Sims 2 crashing then use the method described in this tutorial - you will need the Sims2pack Clean Installer:
Some of our custom apartments contain furniture. If you install and use the apartments normally you will not see this, however it will be used by NPC Sims living in those apartments.
You CAN use this furniture for your Sims using the Testing Cheat:
Use Ctrl Shift and C to open the cheat console. Type in:
Before agreeing to rent the property, hold down the Shift key and right click on the front door of the apartment you want to move your Sims into. Select Rent Furnished from the menu.
Renting the apartment furnished will not cost any extra above the normal rent so the furniture is essentially free.
All our beachfront lots are made using the neighborhoods that come with the game rather than custom ones.