Author Topic: My game won't start up at all  (Read 32647 times)

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Offline simsfreq

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My game won't start up at all
« on: January 26, 2012, 06:34:38 AM »
When I click on the start bar (quick launch) icon, it gets the little box around it for a few seconds and then vanishes. Tried again, watching on Task Manager, and the process never even appears. I have also tried starting up via the start menu/All programs link, the desktop icon and the icon in the TSBin folder itself, and reinserting the disc (although I play with a no-cd usually) and the same thing is happening.

I tried restarting my computer and I have tried running as administrator. This doesn't make any sense - I was running the game fine a couple of days ago, and I have made zero changes since then, no new downloads, no new EPs/SPs. I've even tried deleting some stuff off my hard drive, since I was running low on disk space, but even then, it usually comes up with an error message rather than just refusing to start up.

I work in a second hand DVD/game shop, so the only thought I had was that I could perhaps get a stuff pack or something and see if installing that "resets" it somehow, but that's more of a random stab in the dark, because I'm puzzled here. And worried!  :nervous:

ETA: Running through the launcher has the same effect - the Launcher starts up but when I click "play" it just does nothing.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 07:04:46 AM by simsfreq »
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Offline BoilingOil

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 06:49:07 AM »
Did you delete the groups.cache and accessory.cache files? If not, then try that - it might solve your problem.

Deleting the neighborhoodmanager.package has also been known to help, but I wouldn't try that, unless everything else came up negative.

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Offline simsfreq

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 07:06:12 AM »
BO, you are a genius! That worked straight away - thank you so much! I never would have thought of that - I assumed those two only caused in-game problems.
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Offline BoilingOil

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 10:54:20 AM »
Hehe, I've been there, dear. Occasionally, when something is wrong in those files, Windows may issue and Access Violation error, but sometimes, like in your case, it doesn't even do that!

The first time that happened to me, I was really terrified that maybe my game had completely given up on me and I would need to reinstall.

Anyway, I'm glad it all was that simple this time :)

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Offline miros1

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 12:53:28 PM »
Yep, those files can cause crashes during game load too!  My tutorial lists several steps you can take to fix a crashing game and prevent future crashes. 

When I first read your post, I was thinking maybe your executable became corrupt somehow.  Do you run ScanDisk and Defrag often?

Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 08:27:44 PM »
Did you delete the groups.cache and accessory.cache files? If not, then try that - it might solve your problem.

I found that fix somewhere else a month or so ago. It does indeed work. What pisses me off though is I didn't know this for the last 4 years that I've been playing Sims 2. Every time my game stopped loading after I clicked Play on the launcher, I went through a very tedious process of renaming my EA Games folder (in My Documents, not the installation folders), running the game again, letting it install all the stuff again, then copying over certain parts that I needed to keep from the renamed backup folder. I had long since realized that simply copying everything over from the backup folders would result in the game not launching again. I had no clue that it was these cache files all this time. I was actually suspecting the Teleport folder!

/sigh

I am so glad I know about deleting the cache files now, as it's a much faster fix and always works. I just wish I had known about it 4 years ago. I have wasted so much time, energy and HD space doing it the long way. Basically my old way is exactly the same as this way in the end - it just takes 50 times longer to accomplish it. :cry:

Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 10:07:53 PM »
It's actually been a known fix since around NL, and was originally a tip given to the Maty community by Maxoid Tom (I think), so it's really odd you never read about it anywhere!

Doesn't always work, though.  Sometimes you have to look further, it happened in my game with a new graphics card that had been updated.  I had to revert to the original drivers for the game to load.
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Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 12:04:19 AM »
It's actually been a known fix since around NL, and was originally a tip given to the Maty community by Maxoid Tom (I think), so it's really odd you never read about it anywhere!
I'm not sure what xpac the game was on when I started. I never thought Sims would interest me, but my friend's girlfriend brought it over to play on my computer while her boyfriend and I played Halo. I watched her play one time and asked if I could borrow it for the weekend. Well, I was hooked hard. I bought everything that was out at the time and bought all the xpacs I could find as they came out.

Unfortunately my online experience for the Sims 2 for the first couple of years consisted almost solely of downloading and finding out basic stuff like cheats. I didn't start learning about the many helpful websites (and the tutorials, and the do's and don't's for Sims 2) until much later. I guess I just never thought to check, or I didn't check very well. I ended up having to clean up my downloads and restart my neighborhoods 3 or 4 times because of the mess I'd made of everything.

It was only recently, maybe a month or so ago, that I found out about the "deleting your cache files" fix, and so far it's worked every time. At least it works for the error where you click the PLAY button on the launcher, the mouse cursor turns to the disc icon, and then... nothing. Not even a message box or anything. The game just poofs from Task Manager. That error has always been fixed for me by simply deleting the cache files now that I know about it. Very useful to know! It's sad that EA didn't just incorporate auto-deleting-cache-files in future xpacs after you shut down the game since they obviously knew about the problem. Fortunately I haven't had any other game-running problems so far besides that one.

Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 12:16:03 AM »
Yes, it is a bit typical of EA to know about a problem and not bother to fix it.  However, the cache files, if not deleted, can improve loading time, so some people prefer to delete them maybe once a week, not every time they play.  With 10GB+ in their Downloads folder, you can see why some people would prefer the loading time decrease and accept the risk of a crash.
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Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 12:51:09 AM »
I'm just under the 10GB mark after I cleaned stuff out I never used. It takes me about 5-7 minutes to load the game up. I can live with that. I guess I don't really need to delete the cache files every time though.

Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 01:41:00 AM »
I usually do, although occasionally I forget and don't have a problem, but I'm running with around a tenth of the cc you have.  I imagine you must have a pretty fast system for the game to load that quickly, many people with that amount of cc have time to collect the kids from school while the game is loading! 

I'd say, the more cc you have, the more likely you are to experience a problem with a corrupt cache file, but you will soon know if you have, and as I said, it does speed up loading time a little if you don't delete them.
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Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 02:05:21 AM »
Well ironically my new computer, which isn't anything special, is incredibly faster than my old custom gaming rig that I spent a fortune on back in 2008. My gaming rig took about 15-20 minutes or so to load the game. I haven't timed it exactly, but this one can finish loading the game by the time I finish a smoke. I'll never buy top of the line again. Such a waste of money. And it was an Alienware to boot. Sigh. I just had to have a cool case, eh?

I guess there's no rhyme or reason to when the cache files will become corrupt. I've gone for weeks of fairly heavy playing with no issues, and then I've had the game stop loading two or three times in as many days - even had it happen twice in the same day, almost back to back. I've always been pretty heavy on the downloads. I trimmed it down to stuff I just really didn't want to live without. That's the 10GB I've got right now. LOL. Am I sad or what?

Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 02:15:35 AM »
I'd suggest you use the Compressorizer on all recolours and particularly skintones - some older ones can be enormous.

DJS Forum is here: http://forum.jfade.com/viewforum.php?f=11

Computers in general have really got a lot faster in the last couple of years, I guess with all the extras that come with W7 they just about had to speed up a bit!  I believe there are plans in the pipeline to replace the BIOS with something new and shiny that should speed up actually starting up your computer (the BIOS is evidently so out-of-date it's surprising it still works, :lol: )
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 02:18:23 AM by zephyrzodiac »
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Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 03:28:18 AM »
I'd suggest you use the Compressorizer on all recolours and particularly skintones - some older ones can be enormous.
Recolors probably represent the majority of my downloads in regards to file size. Especially cars. Dang good-looking cars!

But I'm rather nervous about messing with the compressorizer. I checked it out before but after reading the thread for it, I got turned off. Too many people were saying that after they compressed stuff, they couldn't use things like Paladin's Categorizer and other stuff to edit the files anymore (which I like to be able to keep doing), and there were many complaints of CC no longer appearing in-game. Some were even getting mysterious crashes after compressing.

In fact I just looked again, and jfade stopped responding 2 years ago to questions/problems so I think it's safe to say that it's definitely unsupported now. But what really turns me off is when jfade basically told someone "oh well, I'm not going to do anything about the fact my program makes your files incompatible with other, older, previously made, well-established programs; they are going to have to make their stuff compatible with my new file format." Wha? I've had respect for jfade and use a lot of the DJS hacks, but that response really rubbed me the wrong way.

Sorry got off on a tangent there. :blush: I think between my decent load times - and it's not bad at all in game except when I first open the car catalog - I can get by without the compressing the files. I know it might help some, but I'm not crazy about the idea that it might not let other programs access the files anymore. And apparently there's no going back once you compress them.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 04:24:34 AM by JCSpencer »

Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 05:13:17 AM »
There is a problem with meshes, but Sims2Cat doesn't bother with recolours, which work fine.  The only problem I found with compressorizing meshes was that many, though not all, would lose their description and revert to the default.  Sims2Cat doesn't sort this out, but opening the object in SimPE and looking at the Catalog section usually does, you just need to stick the description of the object in the top (empty) section, commit and save.  Usually after doing that the object will display correctly in the Menu.  Other edits, such as recategorising an object seem to me to work fine with Sims2Cat.  Just back up your Downloads folder somewhere, and give it a try.  If you aren't happy with it, then delete the folder and replace with the back up.

BTW, JFade basically stopped bothering with Sims a while back, but has very kindly kept his stuff available.
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Offline thetigerking83

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 08:34:30 AM »
There is a problem with meshes, but Sims2Cat doesn't bother with recolours, which work fine.  The only problem I found with compressorizing meshes was that many, though not all, would lose their description and revert to the default.  Sims2Cat doesn't sort this out, but opening the object in SimPE and looking at the Catalog section usually does, you just need to stick the description of the object in the top (empty) section, commit and save.  Usually after doing that the object will display correctly in the Menu.  Other edits, such as recategorising an object seem to me to work fine with Sims2Cat.  Just back up your Downloads folder somewhere, and give it a try.  If you aren't happy with it, then delete the folder and replace with the back up.

BTW, JFade basically stopped bothering with Sims a while back, but has very kindly kept his stuff available.

I had this problem but it wasn't the compressorizer it was the categorizer that caused this to happen. I compressorize everything and don't normally have this problem. I don't use the categorizer anymore though, at least not to edit. I use it to browse (I like the thumbnails) and then edit things myself in SimPE.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 08:36:09 AM by thetigerking83 »

Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2012, 09:39:58 AM »
I tend to compress everything now, apart from object meshes - I use a fair number, and having to edit so many of them in SimPE just takes too long!
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Offline miros1

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 09:46:17 AM »
Actually, it's not jFade's "new format."  It's an application of stuff already in the DBPF description, namely applying compression to texture resources and such.    It would have been nice if he'd fixed the missing description bug, however.

The problem is that other programmers never saw the compression flag on any of those resources in Maxis files, so they assumed those resources would never be compressed.

Offline KierneM

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2012, 12:26:20 PM »
For my reference, what is the cigen package, and does it too need to be deleted, especially in case of game borkededness? Thought I'd ask before I had a problem...
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Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2012, 12:30:10 PM »
I had this problem but it wasn't the compressorizer it was the categorizer that caused this to happen. I compressorize everything and don't normally have this problem. I don't use the categorizer anymore though, at least not to edit. I use it to browse (I like the thumbnails) and then edit things myself in SimPE.
I guess from what I was reading, including a thread here I believe, it's not even really working correctly anymore. Lots of people have been reporting errors with W7 and a lot of the functions in Categorizer just throw errors. Oh well. It's a really great utility. Too bad he moved on to Sims 3. There's nothing else like it out there.

What I liked about it is that it gave a great graphical interface to help you do basically what you could do in SimPe, but in an easier-to-understand format and layout without having to search for all these things in the sometimes confusing information-rich layout of SimPe. I've been playing with SimPe a bit more lately (due to an issue in another thread), but it's still pretty daunting. I think Categorizer easily saves me 75% or much more time when I compare doing it the Categorizer way or the SimPe way. It really was a great tool.

For my reference, what is the cigen package, and does it too need to be deleted, especially in case of game borkededness? Thought I'd ask before I had a problem...
From what I know of it, that's created by BodyShop and can safely be deleted as well. I always get one in my base Sims 2 directory after running BodyShop, and I think it's basically a cache file just for that program. I know I had to delete it in order for changes I made to clothing to show up each time I loaded BodyShop after making an edit.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 12:31:54 PM by JCSpencer »

Offline KierneM

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2012, 01:19:53 PM »
Thanks for the info - I didn't know what it was for, and wether or not to "read only" it, or delete the silly thing. Woot!
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Offline miros1

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2012, 04:39:34 PM »
@JCSpencer: Many programs work better under Win 7 if they aren't installed in Program Files....  Just a stupid thing left over from Win 7's descent from Vista.

Quote
I know I had to delete it in order for changes I made to clothing to show up each time I loaded BodyShop after making an edit.

Um, by edit, do you mean changes to the flags via SimPE, or just changes to the bitmaps that you're importing into BodyShop?  If the second, you can just click the circular arrow and see  your changes.  I'd have to kill something if not for that button!


Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2012, 06:12:35 PM »
I couldn't seem to get BodyShop to let me use .png's with partially transparent outfits (and I have no clue how to do the alpha thing), so yeah I was editing the image, updating it with SimPe, and then checking it out in BodyShop. But I had to delete that cigen.package to get my changes to show up or else it just looked the same as before I edited it.

Offline miros1

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2012, 08:04:57 AM »
Basically, alpha bitmaps work like this:

White is opaque, black is transparent, shades of gray are translucent.

You could probably copy your layer mask from Photoshop and paste it into a new same-size image and save it over the alpha bitmap for BodyShop consumption.

Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2012, 11:15:32 AM »
Well I kind of understood that part, but where the problems came in was knowing exactly how much gray I needed to achieve a certain transparency, and if I edited the actual size of the clothing, not just the recoloring (say, to make the shorts shorter or to remove the sleeves) I couldn't figure out how to make identical changes to the alpha that BodyShop exported with the texture. Also making sure the grayish parts of the alpha exactly matched up to the parts I was adding transparency too. That's why I ended up just using SimPe because I could see exactly what I wanted in Photoshop rather than having to guess at the alphas myself.

That said, I still did something wrong (or maybe using SimPe really isn't a good way at all) because my retextures I made this way look terrible. They are all grainy and pixelated and I dare not zoom in close to a Sim while wearing them (in fact sadly I don't even really use my own clothes because of it). But the textures look absolutely great in Photoshop, so I'm baffled. I'm very much an amateur at this stuff though. I only started learning to do my own stuff in the Sims 2 recently. The only thing I'm good at so far is painting recolors because that's hard to screw up and Wizards makes it easy.

Offline miros1

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2012, 11:31:54 AM »
You can experiment with different DXT settings on the import.  You definitely need to import through  "Build DXT" not just "Import."  There is a PhotoShop plug in to directly save DSS files, which you can import into SimPE without building the DXT there.  Try http://www.insimenator.org/showthread.php?t=11026 for more tips.

As for lining up your modified texture with the alpha, you can copy the layer and bits of the corners (using the circle or rectangle selection tools) and paste it over the alpha bitmap as a new layer.  The bits of corners will keep it lined up.  You can actually shorten sleeves or pants by just blacking in parts of the alpha bitmap.

Offline JCSpencer

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2012, 11:37:22 AM »
You can actually shorten sleeves or pants by just blacking in parts of the alpha bitmap.
I thought about that, but still the problem was I wanted to make sure I had it exactly the same as my picture. For example I had a midriff shirt with shorts full outfit I downloaded somewhere. Well, actually it was more like 80s style short shirt, and I wanted to make it a midriff. So I didn't touch the shorts part of the texture and just raised the bottom of the shirt. I wasn't sure how to get an identical match up in the alpha, so instead I just imported it to SimPe and it created the alpha for me.

I'm totally lost on the "DXT settings on the import" part, but I do have the DDS plugin for PS. I needed that when I was doing recolors and modding for Morrowind back in the day. And I just clicked Import, Commit, Save in SimPe. I did't Build DXT, because I don't understand what that means. Hm. So that's why my recolors look like crap I take it.

Obviously I'm very much an amateur when it comes to this clothing recoloring and alphas and stuff. It's not my area of experience when it comes to Photoshop and recoloring.

Offline miros1

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2012, 01:34:27 AM »
Yep, that's the problem.  Look at the tute I linked -- BeosBoxBoy says it better than I can!  (Yes, it's intended for skintone tweaking, but most techniques are applicable.)

Offline simsfreq

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2012, 05:16:33 PM »
I tend to paste the alpha layer over the top of the texture as a new layer, set the transparency so that I can see the texture through it and adjust as needed, then cut and paste back into the alpha document and flatten all before saving.
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Offline ilikefishfood

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2012, 03:32:11 AM »
Caleb_71 was created an empty, read only file to replace the groups cache.  I've been using it for months and have never had the no-start up problem again...ever! 

I still periodically delete the neighborhood manager, and accessory files etc.  But in terms of not having to constantly delete the groups.cache, this little baby rocks!  :thumb:

Oh, by the way Miros1...your tute has had my game working at a nice clip ever since I discovered it.  Many thanks!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 03:36:17 AM by ilikefishfood »
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Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2012, 03:52:12 AM »
Thanks for the link!  BTW, use the copy/paste option to download, the clickable link doesn't seem to be working.
"All the world's a Neighbourhood, and all the men and women merely Sims."  ZephyrZodiac with apologies to Willie Waggledagger.

http://www.4shared.com/u/yCrnLoEP/Zephyr_Zodiac.html

Offline BoilingOil

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2012, 05:17:56 AM »
Yeah, the link is touched by ad.fly, and is no longer functional. But in fact, this download isn't required at all. There are other options which have the same effect:
  • Just make an empty txt-file, name it groups.cache, and make it read-only.
  • Open the existing groups.cache in a good text editor and delete all content. Then save and make read-only.

The effect is the same: a groups.cache file that has no contents, and that blocks the game from creating a new one. Of course, you lose the advantage of the faster access to certain data that groups.cache was offering. Because that's what the file was supposed to do. And that's the reason why I keep simply deleting it when required! Just a matter of preference.

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Offline zephyrzodiac

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2012, 06:57:30 AM »
It's also a better indicator of how unwieldy your Downloads folder has become than simply checking the number of MB/GBs.  I try to keep my groups.cache for a theme at below 500kb, which still allows a fair amount of cc. 
"All the world's a Neighbourhood, and all the men and women merely Sims."  ZephyrZodiac with apologies to Willie Waggledagger.

http://www.4shared.com/u/yCrnLoEP/Zephyr_Zodiac.html

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2012, 08:23:34 AM »
That is, indeed, another usage of groups.cache, ZZ. The more CC one has, the bigger this file tends to be. And at some point you must *know* - simply by the size of this one file - that a pruning session is in order to keep your game running at an acceptable speed.

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2012, 08:56:58 AM »
Or just a new theme.
"All the world's a Neighbourhood, and all the men and women merely Sims."  ZephyrZodiac with apologies to Willie Waggledagger.

http://www.4shared.com/u/yCrnLoEP/Zephyr_Zodiac.html

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2012, 11:13:33 AM »
That's a damn good advice! :thumb: Hopefully I'll remember it the next time.

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2012, 05:17:45 PM »
Caleb_71 was created an empty, read only file to replace the groups cache.  I've been using it for months and have never had the no-start up problem again...ever! 

I still periodically delete the neighborhood manager, and accessory files etc.  But in terms of not having to constantly delete the groups.cache, this little baby rocks!  :thumb:

Oh, by the way Miros1...your tute has had my game working at a nice clip ever since I discovered it.  Many thanks!

Glad it helps!  I added the Caleb_71  download to my tutorial since  people seemed to miss it in the comments.

BO, thanks for the info to make your own file!  May I swipe it for my tute?   I figure the read only file is for people who tend to panic (I know far too many, and I was  rather freaked the first time my file became corrupt) and people whose games corrupt that file "every time."

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2012, 05:40:37 PM »
Sure Miros, knock yourself out, and copy it. The more people can get to that info, the better. :thumb:

And also include the pros and cons, if possible. :)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2012, 05:44:28 PM by BoilingOil »

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2012, 05:07:43 PM »
Added!  (It's in the famous "Reinstall?  Why?" tute.)

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2012, 05:15:34 PM »
Yeah, that's where it belongs anyway :thumb:

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Re: My game won't start up at all
« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2012, 06:00:05 PM »
Added!  (It's in the famous "Reinstall?  Why?" tute.)
Just read that the other day. I don't know if it was part of the problem I'm having, but figured it wouldn't hurt.

 

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