Welcome to the world of Custom Content for The Sims 4!
Hi everyone! There seems to be a lot of confusion from people who are having trouble getting Custom Content to show up in their game – so I’m compiling this as a comprehensive resource for installing all types of CC for TS4, across all available methods.
– You should keep your game up to date and patched at all times. Older content is usually forwards-compatible, but newer content is not always backwards compatible. When features are added to the game, older CC will be updated. Conversely, when newer CC is put into an older game, the game says things like “I don’t know what this code is,” or “I don’t know how to do that function” and you can get all kinds of weird issues.
– If you have any actual game modifications – things that change the behavior of the game, not just Custom Content – they typically break with every major update to the game. You will have to remove them until the creator updates them. If the original creator is no longer active, that particular mod may never get updated and you will have to simply stop using it.
– The game paths for where to install content are the same for both Windows and macOS. The CC Manager is also available for both Windows and macOS.
Table of Contents
00 – TLDR Overview
01 – Getting Started
03 – Required Items
06 – Further Support
Too Long, Didn’t Read: Overview
This is a long article that goes in-depth and very specific. If you simply need a very basic overview of how to install content:
– If you have a .package file, it goes in your Mods folder. (…\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\Mods)
– If you have anything else (.trayitem, .hhi, .bpi, etc), it goes in your Tray folder. (…\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\ Tray)
If you have a .zip, open it and see what the files are, extract them out of the zip, and then place them accordingly to the above.
If you are using our CC Manager program, everything is handled automatically.
The first step is to make sure that your game has Custom Content enabled. If you do not have this setting turned on, then no mods or CC will show up in your game.
This setting will generally automatically turn itself off after larger game updates. If this happens, you’ll get a message upon starting the game that it’s been disabled. You’ll have to re-enable it, and then immediately restart your game.
Do not save your game at any point while your CC is disabled. Doing so will save it in the state where the CC has been removed, and the only way to restore it after that would be by manually restoring a back-up copy of your game files.
There are a couple of different ways to go about getting the CC into your game.
The quickest and easiest way is that, if you are a VIP member, you can use the CC Manager to install content directly from the website into your game with a single click.
If you are not a VIP member, then you’ll have to learn how to manually install content – but don’t worry, it’s not difficult!
The CC Manager is available for both Windows and macOS.
Once you have the CC Manager installed, there is only one bit of set-up that needs to be confirmed – your game path. This needs to be set so that the program will know where to put the files so they show up in game correctly.
If you click on the “Settings” button at the top, that will take you to this window:
The “Current Game Directory” needs to be set to your base “The Sims 4” folder. The full path of this is, by default, C:\Users\*your username*\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\ – make sure you stop at “The Sims 4” and do not go any deeper.
|Do NOT point it to your Mods folder! Houses/Lots, Rooms, and Sims are installed into a different location than regular CC like objects, clothing or hair. The CC Manager will automatically recognize the type of content, and choose the correct subfolder automatically.|
Note that if you have OneDrive installed and if it is set to sync your Documents library, you may have a lot of trouble with both The Sims 4 and the CC Manager in general!
Once the CC Manager has been installed and the game path has been set, it’s time to install some content! There will be a button on every item on site that says “Install With TSR CC Manager” –
Clicking this button will open the CC Manager program, and it will then automatically download and install the item in question.
Depending on the browser in question, you may have to grant it
permission to open the CC Manager app, such as with Google Chrome:
That’s it! If the content has installed correctly, you should see it in the program listed under the “Library” tab.
|The “Library” tab contains all of the content that is currently installed in your game.|
|The “Downloads” tab contains content that you have downloaded, but is not currently installed into the game. If you try to install content while the game is running, it will instead go into the Downloads tab. If you “Uninstall” an item, it will also transfer over to sit in the “Downloads” tab.|
Note that the CC manager compiles all installed content into mass .package files. For example, 100 individual items may be end up as only 3 or 4 .package files, making manual file management of your CC impossible – or at least, very impractical. Content can still be disabled or removed at any time by using the CC manager, however.
If you need to manually install your content, not to worry! It’s a simply process once you’ve done it a few times.
For this method, you can either download items individually, or if you are a VIP but don’t want to use the CC Manager, you also have the option of using the Download Basket.
If you download one single item, note the type of content it is and the format of the file you get.
Anything you download from TSR will either be a .package file, or a compressed .zip file.
If you get a .package file, then you want to move that file into …\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\Mods.
|Note that the game does allow subfolders in the Mods folder. You can create subfolders up to 5 levels deep.|
If you get a compressed .zip file, then there are a couple different things that can happen.
1. If you have downloaded a set of content (such as objects) then you will get a .zip file that contains .package files. These need to be extracted from the .zip file and placed into the Mods folder.
2. If you have downloaded a house, lot, room, or a pre-made Sim, you will get a .zip that contains a handful of other random file types – things like .bpi, .blueprint, .room, .hhi, .sgi, .householdbinary, or .trayitem. Any of these files need to be extracted out of the .zip folder and placed into the Tray folder – NOT Mods. The Tray folder is located at …\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\Tray.
|The game does not allow subfolders in the Tray folder.|
3. If you download a gameplay mod, you may get a single .package file, or you may get a .zip. A gameplay mod zip may contain .package files, or things like a .ts4script file. These files need to be extracted from the .zip and placed into the Mods folder, as with normal CC.
If you are using the Download Basket feature, you will get one large zip containing the files for all of the creations you have added to the basket. If you have mixed lots, sims, and standard CC, you will have to manually separate out the package files from the other files and install them as described above according to the file type.
For your information, there are some advanced Mods out in the community that are zips containing Python code files. Python files actually need to remain in their zip in order for the game to read them.
Any such mods will come with installation instructions from wherever you have downloaded them.
As of the time of writing this article, TSR does not have any of this type of Mod.
Some content – rooms, houses, and sims – might often have extra required CC in order for the item to show up in your game. This is indicated on site by the presence of the “Required” tab, which will list all such content that is needed. Required Content is also indicated by a small icon on the preview images.
If you are a VIP, then upon downloading the item that has requirements, you will get a prompt asking if you want to download all required items:
By default, all items will be selected. Clicking “Download” will (after a moment of processing) give you a .zip of the original content you tried to download, as well as all of the required CC files.
Once you have this zip, you’ll have to manually separate the content and place it in the correct folder.
Any .package files that come in the .zip file need to be extracted and will go into the Mods folder as usual.
Anything that is not a .package file should instead go to the Tray folder. Depending on if you have a room/house/lot or a sim, these misc. file types will generally consist of some combination of things like .bpi, .blueprint, .room, .hhi, .sgi, .householdbinary, or .trayitem.
If you are not a VIP member, you will have to manually and individually download any required items and install them before to trying to use the house/sim that you have downloaded.
If you do not download the required items, you can still use the content you are trying to download, but, any CC that was used that you do not have will simply disappear.
If you do not have a kit, stuff pack, game pack, or expansion pack that was used, the game will replace that content with other items that you do have.
If you do not have a Custom Content item that was used, it will not be replaced. If a sim has custom hair that you do not download, your sim will simply be bald. A house with custom doors that you do not have will end up with no doors, etc. Missing CC will be removed from the creation, not replaced.
The final step is knowing where to find your new content at!
New meshes will always show up as new catalog entries for both Create-A-Sim content as well as Build/Buy content.
On the other hand, if an item is a recolor of an existing mesh, that recolor can either:
A – Show up as a new “stand-alone” catalog entry;
B – Show up as a swatch listed under the original mesh item.
Also pay attention to what category you are in, and any flags that may set. Items may not always be in the category you expect. Older content may not be tagged for styles or colors correctly.
Specifically with Create-A-Sim content, note the outfit categories like “Hot Weather” or “Cold Weather” might be active, which could hide a significant amount of content. Likewise Masculine or Feminine frame settings.
Finding lots, rooms, and sims is a bit of a different process however, as they go through the Gallery.
Sims, lots, rooms, and houses will be found in “My Library” –
To place a downloaded sim into the game, first make sure that you are either in world mode, in the world where you want to place the sim, or in Live Mode in the household where you want to add your Sim. From there, open up The Gallery and go into the “My Library” tab.
Now, check out the different filter options on the left side of the window.
For a sim, you’ll want to filter the Category by “Households.” Then under Advanced, make sure that the “Include Custom Content” option is checked. Optionally, if you’ve made a ton of Sims, you may want to also set the “View Content By:” filter to “Others” in order to hide your own Sims.
(Note that “Include Custom Content” is a completely separate option from the “Enable Mods and Custom Content” setting in your game options.)
Once you find the Sim you are looking for, select them, and there will be a “Place Household” button on the bottom right:
|If the “Place Household” button is grayed out and you get a message about being unable to place in the current game mode, make sure that you are either in the World Map view, or on a lot in Live mode. You can not place a sim not in Build or Buy Mode.|
To find a lot, it’s a similar process. For houses and lots, filter “Category” to “Lots” and again, make sure that “Include Custom Content” is checked.
If you have saved a large amount of your own builds, you may want to set the “View Content By:” filter to “Others” in order to hide your own creations.
Once you find the lot you want to place, there is a “Place Lot” button on the bottom right:
You can place a lot in either Build/Buy or Live mode if you are currently on the lot, or you can also place a lot from in World view.
When placing a lot, it will ask you if you want it furnished or unfurnished. If you are on a lot, this will be a pop-up dialog. If you are in World view, this will be a drop-down menu.
Provided that you have installed any required CC prior to attempting to placing the lot, choosing the “Furnished” option will give you the lot as pictured when you downloaded it.
If you choose the “Unfurnished” option, then the lot will be placed as an empty shell – and at a cheaper cost.
If there is already a house on the lot you are trying to place it, it will ask if you to confirm that you want to bulldoze the existing house with a warning that this cannot be undone.
If you are in World View, you will not get this warning. Any existing lot contents will simply be overridden by the new lot.
Custom Rooms are not found within the Room panel in Build Mode, but rather, they are also found within the My Library tab of the Gallery.
Set the “Category” filter to “Rooms” and as always, make sure “Include Custom Content” is checked.
Optionally, you can set the “View Content By:” filter to “Others” if you have a lot of your own saved rooms in the way.
The “Place Room” button will at the bottom right of the screen:
|You must be on a lot in Build/Buy mode in order to place a room.|
The room will then attach to your cursor with a preview of how it looks along with a green outline indicating the footprint, along with how much it’s going to cost to place. You can rotate the room by using the “<” and “>” keys.
Rooms are built to a specific wall height! If the level you are building on is set to shorter than the height the room was originally built at, any content that was placed above the height limit will be deleted upon placement.
If it appears that content is missing, you can select the entire room and delete it, raise the wall height for the level you are building on, and then try placing the room again and see if any more content appears.
I would personally suggest setting the room height to the tallest setting before placing a room. Once the room is placed, you can lower the height and see if anything gets deleted – and if so, you can then simply undo back to the tall height.
Most builders on TSR will include the wall height that the room was built with in the description on site, and the height may or may not be mentioned in the in-game description as well. Obviously you won’t remember every height of every room, and so that is why I think it is easier to start with the tallest wall height.
Downloaded some shiny new content, but now you can’t find it? Here are some of the most common issues we see.
Unzip the content before placing it into the game folders. Neither the Mods nor the Tray folder will read regular Custom Content if it is still in a zip.
Documents vs. Program Files
Ensure files are going into the correct location, and into the correct folder. The game creates folders in both Program Files (which are the core installation of the game itself) and in Documents (which are your person saved game data files.) The Mods and Tray folders need to be in the Documents game folder, not in Program Files. The game will not read Custom Content from the Program Files path.
Tray vs Mods
Package files will not be read if they are placed in the Tray folder, and likewise, files that should go in the Tray folder will not be read if they are in the Mods folder. Make sure you place the correct type of content into the correct folder.
The Mods folder will only allow up to 5 levels of nested subfolders, unless you manually add more to your resources.cfg file. The Tray folder does not allow any subfolders at all.
Black/Red Checkerboard and “?” on Sims
This means that the item you are using is a recolor of another mesh, and the required original mesh is not present in your game. Check the “Required” tab on site to find the needed mesh for that recolor to work.
Build/Buy Object Can Not Be Placed Anywhere
This means the item you are trying to place is a recolor of another mesh, and you do not have the original mesh. Check the “Required” tab on site to find the needed mesh for that recolor to work.
Content Not Showing Up
Make sure it’s installed correctly, as stated above.
Check for any requirements when you download content. If content requires a pack or a kit that you don’t have, that content will not work in your game.
Check if it is a recolor – recolors of EA items will sometimes show up as swatches of the original item instead of a new catalog entry, which can make them hard to find.
Make sure that Mods/CC are enabled in your game options. You should get a pop-up listing all of the files that the game has found upon start up. If you do not see this pop-up, then that means the game is not reading the files for some reason, most likely one of the above.
If you are using a Windows computer, check to see if you have OneDrive installed. By default, OneDrive will want to sync your Documents library, which results in it continuously moving anything from Documents into OneDrive\Documents.
I have seen some cases where the system directory updates fine, and the game and the CC Manager will both load from OneDrive\Documents with no problems.
I have seen other cases where the the game continues to try to read from Documents, but OneDrive constantly moves everything to OneDrive\Documents. If this happens, your “The Sims 4” folder will get moved and the game will start over as a vanilla game every single time you launch it because of this.
If you do not need OneDrive, you may want to consider unlinking it from your computer. (Make sure you have backups of your game data, as well as anything else that has been put into OneDrive that you want to save.)
If you do need OneDrive, but it’s causing issues, you may be able to re-configure the settings so that it’s not actively syncing your Documents library.
If you have issues related to OneDrive, your best option would be to check the official Microsoft documentation for it, and/or Microsoft support.
Content shows up in game, but does not work
As EA patches and updates the game with new content, various functions change, or new functions get added. Content that was made in an older version of the game won’t always work in a newer version of the game.
If you have content that is broken, check to see if it has been updated since you last downloaded it. On TSR, there is a Download History option under the Account menu that will show you if any files have been updated since you last downloaded them.
If no updates are available and the item is broken, you can use the “Report This Download” option on site to let the site staff know what problems you are having with it, and they will look into getting it fixed.
It’s a slow process, but the easiest method of sorting through content is to simply remove it all, and then add it back in a few bits at a time to test and see if those files work or not. This is easiest to explain by example:
Let’s say that I only have 9 CC files, and my game is no longer working because of one of them.
Remove all files from the Mods folder. (You can put them wherever you want, as long as you can easily find them later – maybe make a new folder on your desktop, for example. )
Test the game with no CC to see if it works. If it doesn’t work, then the problem is with the game itself and not the CC. If it does work, then the problem is the CC.
Take a small batch of files – in this example, we’ll divide the 9 files into 3 sets of 3 files each. We will add one batch of 3 of the files back into the Mods folder, and start the game to see what happens. Let’s say that it works fine.
We go back to our Mods folder, and we’ll make a sub folder and call it something like “working CC” – that’s where we’ll put those three files we just tested, because now we know they are okay.
We’ll add in the next three files to the root Mods folder. (NOT in the “working CC” folder yet – we don’t know if it’s working!) and test the game again. Let’s say that it still works. At that point, we move those three files to the “working CC” folder.
Now we’ll take those last three files, and add them back into my root Mods folder. This time, the game does not start! So, take those three files back out, and now break them into smaller groups – in this case, since it’s only three files, we can test them individually. Add in one file, test the game to see if it works. If it does, move that file to the “working cc” folder. When the game no longer starts, now we know which file is the bad one that we need to remove!
Note that at times, this can become quite complicated if you have thousands of files and folders to sort through. Problems can also be caused by multiple files – you may have multiple bad files that need to be removed, you may even end up where two (or more) files are only bad when they are both in the game at the same time.
Whew! I think that just about covers it. If you have issues, problems, or questions not answered in this article, we have a Sims 4 help forum where you can post your questions. We also have a Discord server for our VIPs, for which information to join can be found under the VIP Info menu on site.
If you are experiencing:
– Technical issues with any function or part of the website;
– Issues with your account, or VIP status;
– Any problems using the CC Manager program;
Please contact [email protected] for assistance.