EA’s new policy statement on 3rd party content creators

Update 02.08.22 – EA have now clarified that Early Access is acceptable for a “reasonable amount of time”. Not sure what timeframe they’re thinking of but at least they’ve confirmed that Early Access is ok.

EA have clarified, somewhat, their stance on 3rd party content creators hiding their stuff behind paywalls and early access here https://help.ea.com/en-gb/help/the-sims/the-sims-4/mods-and-the-sims-4-game-updates/

I hate the greed and entitlement that some creators display when releasing content but I also understand that those who are damn good at what they do deserve support as it takes a lot of time and effort to make CC/Mods AND keep them updated and supported (just look at the mess the July 2022 patch has created, PC: 1.90.358.1030 / Mac: 1.90.358.1230). Without some of this amazing content The Sims 4 can be pretty dull if you want certain aspects in your game.

I sometimes use a lot of alpha CC in my game depending on the aesthetic I’m going for and what mood I’m in and have done for years now. A lot of it is hidden behind ghastly Adfly or similar links which nearly always download crappy files in the hope that an unsuspecting user will open them, often masquerading as an Adobe Flash installer (who even still uses Flash?). But my enthusiasm for this type of CC was dampened when I approached various creators asking if they were going to update their objects due to game updates causing glitches such as awful shadow lines or just not working anymore. Most of the responses I received were along the lines of “no, I can’t be bothered to update my old stuff, I’m putting out new stuff through Patreon where I can make more money”. Even then not all of these creators update their Patreon content so their poor Patrons are paying for stuff that invariably becomes obsolete in their games.

But not all creators are that greedy thankfully and genuinely want to create and share incredible content – I’m not naming any here but their reputations precedes them and they are VERY well known in the community, in a very positive way. None of them hide their stuff behind paywalls, whether that’s dodgy advertising links or subscription services such as Patreon. Let me be clear, a lot of them do use Patreon but payment is optional, you can subscribe to support them but you don’t have to pay to download content.

Aaaaaaanyway, back to EA’s statement. It is a bit ambiguous and open to interpretation. The interesting bit is in The Sims Policy on Mods section:

We do not object to Mod developers continuing to share their amazing content, subject to the following:

  • Do not promote your Mods in a way that suggests they are endorsed by or affiliated with The Sims, Maxis, or Electronic Arts. This means you cannot use any game logos or trademarks, including versions of the plumbob, or key art designs to promote your Mods. You may state that your Mods are for The Sims 4 and/or for a specific game expansion pack.
  • Mods must be non-commercial and distributed free-of-charge. Mods cannot be sold, licensed, or rented for a fee, nor can Mods contain features that would support monetary transactions of any type. However, Maxis recognizes that creating Mods takes time and resources. Accordingly, Mod developers may recoup their development costs via passive advertisements and donations as long as:
    • Passive advertisements and requests for donations must be limited to the Mod website or distribution site, and not appear within the Mod itself.
    • All users must be able to access the Mods in full for free regardless of whether they donate.

I interpret that last point as the end of early access. If someone hides their content and makes it only accessible to paying subscribers or donators for any length of time, whether it is one day, two weeks, one month or any time-frame, they are breaking EA’s User Agreement because the Mods are not available to all users, even if only temporary.

That’s only my interpretation though. I’m no legal expert and of course at the end of the day it’s down to EA to enforce the EULA. If they don’t enforce this updated policy then nothing will change. But they also need to clarify it further because at the moment it’s open to interpretation.

macOS Monterey issues and The Sims 4

This post is probably months overdue I know, I’ve been a little tardy of late. Anyway, over the last 8 months or so there have been a couple of Monterey specific reports of issues with the game. The reports are intermittent and aren’t affecting everyone running Monterey but still, Monterey and the game don’t seem to play nicely with each other. Reports over at Answers HQ include:

Game freezing after updating to Monterey:

This seems to affect Intel users mainly although there have been a few issues on Apple Silicon equipped Macs, they may or may not be related. The active thread is here. EA are actively requesting users experiencing this to upload their entire Sims 4 folder to help find the cause (page 5).

CAS/Build Buy/Live mode camera not working as expected:

This issue has been around for years but does seem to have been exacerbated in Monterey. Users report that the camera in CAS doesn’t move in the direction they expect it to or lags excessively. In Build Buy and Live mode the camera almost seems to move in the opposite direction. The active thread is here and EA are aware of the problem. Rather frustratingly, I haven’t managed to repro this and I don’t think it is affecting everyone playing on a Mac running Monterey. If you are experiencing it, please post in the thread. I wonder whether it could be players using a mouse vs trackpad?

If you have any issues you think are Monterey specific please report them in the Mac forum over at Answers HQ. EA are active in the forum and read the posts. The more info provided the better. If your game is crashing don’t forget to include the lastCrash.txt file from your Sims 4 folder in your post.

Using Terminal to locate your Sims 4 files and folders

Are you looking for your Sims 4 folder or any of its subfolders but can’t find them? Maybe because you’ve been moving stuff around on your Mac and got a bit lost or have turned off iCloud Drive and trying to find your archived Sims 4 folder locally. Whatever the reason, sometimes using Terminal to search your Mac for specific files or folders is a whole lot easier and quicker, especially as by default the Electronic Arts, and subsequent Sims 4 folder, that is created in your Documents folder when you first launch the game is hidden from a Spotlight/Finder search (more on that further down).

Using Terminal

To search in Terminal for the Sims 4 folder open Terminal (Applications > Utilities), copy and paste the following command into the Terminal window that opens then hit Enter/Return:

find ~ -type d -name "*The Sims 4*" 2>/dev/null

After a few seconds it should return the results of the search and will look something like this:

/Users/bluebellflora/Desktop/The Sims 4
/Users/bluebellflora/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/Desktop August 19/The Sims 4 20.54.25
/Users/bluebellflora/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/Desktop 31.01.21/The Sims 4
/Users/bluebellflora/Google Drive/The Sims 4
/Users/bluebellflora/Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 4

The results will show the exact file path to all folders named The Sims 4 in your user account on your Mac. Each separate file path will begin with /Users/[your user account name] and then the rest of the file path. In the results above you can see five Sims 4 folders in different locations.

If the search doesn’t seem to be finding the correct Sims 4 folder you can widen it to include all user accounts and external drives by substituting the tilde for a forward slash:

find / -type d -name "*The Sims 4*" 2>/dev/null

This search may take a little longer as it is looking in more locations but it will eventually provide the results.

Once you have found the location of the Sims 4 folder you’re looking for, select and copy the line from Terminal and then in Finder, click on Go in the menu bar then Go to Folder…:

A window will pop up, paste the line into the window then click Go:

A Finder window will open in the location you pasted into the previous search window, taking you directly to the folder and its contents.

Searching for other folders using Terminal

If you are looking for another folder, such as the Mods folder, or any other folder on your Mac, simply substitute The Sims 4 in the search command for the name of the folder. For example, if we wanted to search just for the Mods folder because you moved it out of the Sims 4 folder but can no longer find it, you would enter this command:

find ~ -type d -name "*Mods*" 2>/dev/null

or

find / -type d -name "*Mods*" 2>/dev/null

depending on how wide you want to search using ~ or /

Searching for specific files such as saves and CC items

You can also narrow the search down to individual files or file types. For example, you’ve been moving save files around on your Mac but can’t find them all. For this search we need to change the command slightly to tell Terminal to look for files, not a directory as before, beginning with Slot_ which is what all save file names start with in the game.

find / -type f -name "*Slot_*" 2>/dev/null

Or you could search by file types. For saves this would be all files ending in .save:

find / -type f -name "*.save*" 2>/dev/null

Similarly, if we wanted to look for a specific Mod or CC item, and we knew the file name, we could search for it:

find / -type f -name "*BluebellFloraRugSet1*" 2>/dev/null

Or if we only knew part of the item name, or the creator we could enter a partial name:

find ~ -type f -name "*RugSet1*" 2>/dev/null

You may be thinking, why am I explaining all this when you could just do a Spotlight or Finder search? Good question! It’s because for some reason the Electronic Arts folder and contents are hidden from a search in macOS IF it is located in the Documents folder. If the Electronic Arts folder is stored anywhere else on your Mac then Spotlight/Finder will find it. This isn’t usually a problem but if you have stored any files in an erroneous location within the Electronic Arts folder, and you can’t find them, you will need to do a Terminal search.

The hidden Electronic Arts folder

If you open a Finder window and look in your Documents folder you should easily see the Electronic Arts folder:

But if you try to locate the folder using Spotlight or Finder you won’t be able to find it. If you’ve never tried it, give it a go – either click on the Spotlight icon (magnifying glass) in the menu bar or open a Finder window and type in Electronic Arts or The Sims 4.

Having This Mac selected in this search shows the Electronic Arts folder in the Library folder which is often the folder many users mistakenly use when trying to add Mods to their Sims 4 folder:

If we click on the Documents search option there is apparently no Electronic Arts folder on this Mac:

This is why using Terminal to search for Sims files and folders is so much quicker and easier, because no results are hidden from the search.