I spent yesterday doing a quick errand that took all day - in my Sims. (!)
If you're addicted to The Sims (and I am) and you run them on the Mac, you know going in that there will be an occasional conflict in the game that you can't do anything about - if I download any home-made goodies, I know there's never any guarantee that it will work in my game. That could be something as simple as a chair. When I was still playing Sims 1, people were always recommending fixes for my problems, and the fixes were always windows only - which was the problem, as I wasn't (To the best of my knowledge, I've never even *seen* windows run.) It was not unusual for the game to freeze up into a wimpering, un-playable ball that would take months to untangle. Sim-North and her household have been sim-hostages for more than a year, and it seemed easier to just start over when Jim bought me Sims 2.
So, I have been cautious about adding things to my new game, and I'm only running University and Nightlife because I wasn't sure my powerbook could handle more than that. But I still seem to be playing in the Bermuda Triangle - and I don't mean the alien abductions that are actually part of the game.
It started with a single SIm (North, that trouble maker) freezing up over at the Gondor-household while life went on around her. (I managed to delete her using the move-objects cheat, and she showed up later at home, no worse for wear if a little disoriented.) One night she was snogging The Raven in the hot tub, and they both froze up while Aragorn and Boromir continued to barbeque. I decided she was a risk, deleted her and made a new model, and things seemed ok.
About a week after that, another pair of my sims (in a different neighborhood) vanished. Their "head shots" showed up, but there was no sign of them on their lot. I had to bulldoze their house, and then they reappeared and seemed fine. Everything then ran fine for months.
About two weeks ago, I had my first actual crash. When I reopened the game, three random families (yes, North and the boys) were missing. The houses are there, everything is still in them, but they are deserted and list as "for sale." But aside from Jim threatening to rename my neighborhood Marie Celeste, everything else was ok, so I backed away, and moved into a different neighborhood where things seemed normal - two of my young simmies went off to college and got engaged, and made the deans list.
Since things seemed to be working as expected, I moved over to neighborhood three on Friday, re-created North, and moved some of the NPC's in.
Last evening, I popped my game open while we were doing the dinner thing, and though the game opened, I realized the neighborhood never had. We managed to quit, and when we restarted everything opened as expected but all the created families in the neighborhood were missing. (This is neighborhood 2 - North has never been there)
We switched to neighborhood 1, and everyone was gone, even the npc families. We switched back to 2, and Jim tried to talk me through a troubleshooting plan he had picked up using the tombstone of life and death. No luck, though we did notice that the npc household we were using listed three sims, but inside there was only a headshot for one of them (even though they all show up in the loading screen).
We decided to try again in 1, and when we backed out to the neighborhood menu, we could see that all the houses were missing in 3. Completely wiped.
We went into 1, and tried the tombstone cheat again (no luck) and when we backed out to the main neighborhood menu, the three overviews showed polygon maps - not even a pretense at neighborhoods. I can open them, and they seem to be there, but no buildings of any kind are left.
Jim suggested I replace the neighborhood manager and restart, which resulted in the neighborhoods being restored, but no sims of any kind are anywhere, not even in the frat house of the university. Backing out, I had polygons in one of the neighborhood views again. Arrrrgggghhh.
This troubleshooting took all night, because loading the game on the powerbook is not quick, and there was lots of incidental time searching some of the sim sites for suggestions. So, one of those useless days where you are further behind the more you do.
Sometime tonight, I'll try a clean install and see how long that works.....