The Sims(TM) 3

The Sims(TM) 3

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[FAQ] Save Errors (Error 12, 13, 15, 16)
By Obersturmbannführer Todesengel
If you play The Sims 3, like I do, you might have come across Error Codes when saving your game. Just so you know, this has nothing to do with the state of your actual save game file, it actually has something to do with the world file your save game is based on! Actually, it has nothing to do with that either, more so, it has something to do with the copy of the world file that is stored within your save game file (which is actually a folder, but the game sees it as a file), which might have been corrupted or deleted or something which makes it unreadable by the game (renaming, deletion, corruption, etc.).

By now you may be thinking "Oh great so my save game is permanently damaged", guess what, YOU'RE WRONG! The Sims 3 is so smart that when it loads the save game, it loads EVERY SINGLE FILE inside of the save game folder, so not all hope is lost, however, we have to manually trigger the restore mechanism, and I'll show you how to do that now.
While saving I get the error message: Error 12 (or 13 or 15 or 16). Please see Read-Me for more information.

Meaning of the Errors
Error 12: World file save failure. Mostly Memory related
Error 13: Post-save callback failure. Unclear what that means. They fixed an error that was causing this and it seems to not occur as often.
Error 15: Open failure. You probably don't have enough rights to write in the folder.
Error 16: Loose file copy failure. The file cannot be (over)written.
Avoidance & Limitation of Possible Loss
  • Since Error 12 seems to be caused by memory issues, a 64-bit operating system and at least 4 GB of RAM might help avoiding this error. EA altered the executable file with Patch 1.17/etc so that the game can allocate 4 GB of RAM. It helps to upgrade your system.

  • Make sure your Computer fulfills the minimum requirements (EAs minimum requirements are a little low, especially with all EPs).

  • Save often and in cycles (5-10 savegames with different names.

  • Regularly make a backup of your user files in documents.

  • Check the folder CurrentGame.sims3 in documents before starting the game. It should be empty. It only contains data during gameplay. If your game crashed, this folder might still contain something. Move or delete it's content.

  • Make sure your saves Folder in documents doesn't contain any saves with the extension .bad. Delete those, they are unusable.

  • Increase your virtual memory.

  • Start your game in compatibility mode and/or as administrator.

  • If you are running Direct 10 or 11 (Windows Key - R, then type dxdiag), try installing DirectX 9 as well.

  • Make sure you have enough room on your hard drive.

  • Defrag your System.

  • Don't play long game sessions. Quit and restart the game in between.

  • If the error occurs regularly in one game but not so much in others, move your sims to a new town. This will lose all relationships to other Sims but you can keep your family with all their progress.

  • Custom Content and Mods can cause all kinds of Errors.

  • The memory system introduced with Patch 1.21/1.22 bloats your save game enormously. This can become heavy on your RAM. Delete memories for your active/inactive Sims that you don't need.
The Sims™ 3 Minimum Hardware Requirements

You can try the following suggestions while the game is running and then try saving again. As soon as you get the error, the save is written to a folder with the extension .bad. You'll find it in your saves folder. Delete that folder before continuing.
Error 12 & Error 13
  • Use save as and a new name instead of save.

  • Try saving in Edit Town mode as well as live mode.

  • Try saving your game paused and unpaused and at different speed levels.

  • Move your saves folder to the desktop.

  • Never use save & quit. Always save your game first and then quit the game without saving.

  • Don't use spaces or special chars in your save game names.

  • If you have lots of stuff in your inventory, reduce it.

  • If all fails, quit your game without saving and restore a backup.
Error 15
Error 15 occurs when you don't have enough rights to access the saves folder. Make sure you have full access to the folder your saves folder is in and it's not hidden. If nothing helps, start your game as an administrator.
Error 16
Error 16 occurs because of a file system failure which can occur if you try to overwrite a file in use or that is corrupt. Saving as with a new name should solve the issue.
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Good Luck and Happy Simming!
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Trudeau ❤ Cannabis Apr 19 @ 7:34pm 
how can i delete memories?
Lockdown Apr 21, 2016 @ 7:29pm 
Why is Ted Cruz on here
Marrine Apr 21, 2016 @ 3:15pm 
Awesome !
Obersturmbannführer Todesengel  [author] Jan 17, 2016 @ 9:37am 
Thank you very much. I've run into these issues myself and said a guide was needed since there wasn't one out there yet.
Operator-Chan Jan 17, 2016 @ 3:04am 
Guide was very helpful, keep up the good work.
Hanyu💜 Jan 24, 2015 @ 6:04am 
thankies <3