LONG FIX FOR DUMMIES
1. Ask yourself: Do you really need to do this? Could you junk my whole Photo Album and start over? Could you rewrite my story to fit the messed-up out-of-order photos? Could you delete some particularly messed-up photos and see what you get? Of course you can! How do you think I write Flamingo Court?!
2. But if you can't live with the ingenuity of forced circumstances, you need to understand WHY albums get messed up. It's not your fault. You are just an Enabling Co-Victim. It's a glitch in the game which apparently the makers couldn't or wouldn't try to eliminate.
You see, when you delete a photo in your game's Photo Album, it's like pulling a tooth. What is left is a gap. And what fills in this gap is the next photo you take, and NOT the very next photo in the sequence you have established yourself as you are shooting your album. So if you take 33 photos, and go back and delete photo no. 6 in the Photo Album, and then shoot no. 34, no. 34 will slot into fill the gap in spot 6, not slot no. 34 -- it will not renumber automatically and invisibly to keep "your" order. It only "knows" its order. And that puts your album out of sync.
In Livin' Large, additionally, when you delete a photo in the Album, the mechanism that handles the Photo Album files in userdata ONLY deletes the jpg and txt files for that photo. It does NOT delete the thumb, for some reason. And it is this flaw -- the piling up of extra, un-deleted thumbs -- which causes you to have thumbs that don't correlate with your photos when the Album is up on the Exchange. In HP, this glitch has been eliminated.
3. Exit the Photo Album, save your game, and exit the game. This is important, because the photo album in the game has some kind of cache which holds pictures in its memory even if you manually delete them from the files, as you will see for yourself if you don't do this.
4. Go to c:\Programs\Maxis\Userdata\Photo Album (assuming your Sims files are located on your c: drive and you have the game installed under "programs" which is usually the case). The folder called just plain "Userdata" with no number is actually level one in your neighborhood, Userdata2 is level 2, and so on, so choose the userdata file where the family is you want to work on, e.g. level 7 is userdata7 in HP. Inside "Userdata" you will see "Photo Album" and "Web Folders" which you will need for this exercise.
5. Make an empty folder called "WORK" or something that has a unique name on your desktop. Go inside userdata\Photo Album on your c:drive, find the folder with the name of the family with the messed-up album, and holding down ctr-shift on the left-hand side of your keyboard, mouse-click to highlight all your family files. Be sure you don't press too hard and open up the jpegs because it's a nuisance to close all those windows and start over again!
6. COPY your Photo Album files by using the pull-down menu up top for "copy" or typing "ctr-C" -- don't just drag and drop them!. Leave the originals inside the folder, and go over to your "WORK" file and paste them into there by selecting "paste" or typing "ctr-V". Be sure they just "copy" and "paste" and make files identical to the originals, not with the name "Copy of" file x. Do it over if you get "Copy of" in the file name. For extra precaution, make another folder called "SAFETY" and re-copy the original set of messed-up Photo Albums inside that folder.
7. When you are satisfied that you have saved one if not two sets of copies of your Photo Album, go back into c:/programs/maxis/thesims/userdata/Photo Album and delete all the photo
files for that messed-up family.
8. Your Photo Album "WORK" file now should should have files that look like this: Flamingo Court_6_0000 with a little photo or paintbrush icon, Flamingo_6_0000 with a little notebook or text icon, and Flamingo_6_0000_thumb, Flaming Court_6_0001 etc. When you list them or transfer them, they will look like this: Flaming Court_6_0000.jpg and so on, as extensions. They don't have to stay in the sequence jpg-txt-thumb but it helps if they do, so go to "view" and select "list by name".
Please note: there is NO correlation between the number your family happens to have here in this file, and that family's house actual lot number. Any correlation is accidental. There is some other consecutive numbering system at work for these files unrelated to the lots.
9. Now you're going to have to re-number all your files. Right about now is when you take another big slug of Diet Dr. Pepper or Stoli or do 10 push-ups or whatever it is you need to do to concentrate your mind wonderfully. If you just have a lot of "gaps" from your photo deletions and re-slottings in the wrong place, it's just a pretty straightforward re-numbering job. But if you have more serious sequencing problems caused by promiscuous shooting of scenes in your game without a thought to your story line, you'll need to take a pad of paper or open up Notebook to keep track of what you're doing, it helps, e.g. write notes to yourself like "Flamingo_Court_6_0023 is the one where Bella hops OUT of the hot tub, so I need to put that AFTER the photo now numbered Flamingo Court_6_0024 that has her still sitting in the hot tub and re-number it to Flamingo Court_6_0022." *You will need your wits about you.*
Go through and methodically re-number each and every file. You have batches of 3, remember, jpg, txt, thumb. They all have to match, and they all have to be numbered exactly, e.g. Flamingo Court_6_0001 the jpg then Flamingo Court_6_0001 the txt and so on. Make sure to catch that underscore "_" in the Maxis file names. REMEMBER: 0000 is your "no. 1" slot in the Livin' Large Sims Photo Album. You absolutely must start with 0000 and make sure all four digits are in these numbers of your album will mess up again, 0000, 0001, 0002 then 0010, 0020, etc.
10. Helpful hint: if you have only a few jpegs that are "off," when you try to re-number within one folder where there is already a file with that number, you'll get error messages saying you can't do that. So create yet another temp file called "FIX" and put your files in groups of 3 or 6 in there to re-number away from the others with the same number until you can get them all re-numbered consecutively. This "FIX" file is helpful if you have out-of-order jpegs that you want to save outside your work and insert into the story at a certain place so that you don't mix them up. Another helpful hint: the way to save time and prevent your Internet browser closing due to the opening of a jpeg, a problem on some computers like HP Pavilion, instead of randomly opening up jpegs, to find a picture in a story you've already captioned, search through the "txt" files instead -- they're easier to open and close than jpegs.
11. When you have painfully and carefully finished renumbering everything, make sure they are listed by "name," read them over to make sure you have jpeg-txt-thmb numbered exactly sequentially. Now you're ready to clean out the files which REALLY messed your album.
Go into "Web Files" which are located in userdata along with the Photo Album files, and you probably never noticed them. Inside, you'll find the folders named for your families. And inside that family folder, you'll see a set of files with names like "family" and also a lot of files in html with a blue E (if you have Microsoft Explorer) that say "scrapbook." If you want to be on the extra-safe side, save copies of all of these "scrapbooks" in a separate safety folder. But really, in 99 percent of the cases, you can go in and highlight and delete all of these. Don't be excessively worried about losing them, as long as you have a saved copy of all your original Photo Album jpgs, txts, and thumbs, you have the materials to re-generate your Album Web Pages for the exchange (the one percent failure factor is related to games with broken web page generation mechanisms, and then it might be nice to have a set of those HTML pages to put up on the Web somewhere to remember your family, but it's unlikely you'll be able to get them working in the game again anyway even after game reinstallation).
You must delete these files because the system will automatically regenerate them with deleted photos or changed texts when you open and then re-save your game, si you don't want copies or extra ones floating around. *Leave all the other files in this folder alone*. Don't move them or delete them unless they are called "scrapbook_popups" and "scrapbook1".
12. Now burrow deeper into your album guts, inside this selfsame Web file, and see the "Family GFX" file, next to the "Stock GFX" folder. I don't know what Stock GFX is, and I've always wanted to know. For that matter, who knows what Family GFX stands for? But it is these guts of Family GFX that account for the actual appearance of your album on the Exchange, because these picture files slot into the html frames made in the Web Page file, and together, they make the Album up on the Exchange. If you ever find an album on the exchange where the photos are simply missing, or you see html pages with numbers and text and just an X where the photo should be, that's a sign that something is amiss with these very folders, and their correlation.
The best, fastest, and most reliable way of dealing with these issues is to delete all the scrapbook.jpg and scrapbook.thumb files in this folder completely. *But be careful not to delete any of the other named files in this photo that are the default files used to frame the album during teleportation, e.g. "family" or "yellowback". *Just leave them alone.* I sometimes save these "scrapbook.jpeg" files in a separate folder in case of extreme emergency something, but usually it's not necessary.
Note: alas, it is not possible to fix album problems by just going into this section and deleting some or renumbering scrapbook files. Don't waste your time. What happens is that as soon as you go into the game and save again, the Photo Album mechanism will generate a brand-new set of photos ON TOP of these, and your work will be for naught. You'll either be facing double sets of photos or overwritten photos still messed up, so just delete all these scrapbook pictures.
13. Now go back to your "WORK" file where, in step 8, you have carefully re-numbered all your files. Pull down "select all" and "copy" or "ctr-C". Go back into your userdata/Photo Album folder and paste or ctr-V all of these newly-renumbered files into the folder. You can select "list by name" to put them back in the right order. If you get a message about overwriting, that means you didn't empty out the folder properly back in step 7. It is OK to overwrite, you have your copies in "WORK".
14. Now, go back inside the game and to that lot and family, and open up the Photo Album. Page through it, and if you have been faithful about renumbering and re-inserting correctly, all your pictures will be in the correct order. You could carefully add new photos now--IF you're sure that you are not going to mess up again and forget again about the "tooth gap" of photos deleted and forgotten!
15. If this didn't work, go up to the "Quick Fix" and try SimMasterTiann's method of emptying out the Photo Album file first, then snapping one picture in the game again, then going back and renumbering everything after that one snapped picture. Experts disagree as to whether this "works" or not and one drawback is that the snapped picture needs to fit with your narrative, because deleting it later could mess up the album again.
16. You need to save your family, go outside to the neighborhood and go and click on the mouse icon in the upper right-hand corner to get to your newly-created web pages (hopefully). When you pull up the web pages, don't hit "teleport" yet. Go into "family album" and check to see whether the front page has the photos in order, and the album runs in order. If you see no pictures at all or Xs, that means there's something wrong with the web-page saving device in your game. See our other tutorial "TROUBLESHOOTING TELEPORTATION" on this site for more recommendations.