I’ve been playing the Sims 2 since launch, just about, and over the time I’ve accumulated a heck of a lot of custom content and stuff for the game. Here’s a list of content and mods which I consider essential to the experience.
Bug Fix / Anti-Corruption Mods
Clean Neighbourhoods / Stealth Hoods – The default neighbourhoods that shipped with TS2 are corrupt by default. Use these if you want to play them and not have to worry about your game slowly going rampant on you. Read the instructions carefully!
Smarter EP Check – Required for quite a few mods (e.g. Story Progression) to more accurately check for installed expansions and stuff packs.
No Corrupted Death Memory – Prevents corrupt memories of Sim deaths; important for keeping your neighbourhoods corruption-free.
No Unlink On Urnstone Delete – Prevents Sim data from getting deleted if you (accidentally or otherwise) delete a gravestone.
Vacation Fixes – Bugfixes for holiday-related activities.
UI Text Fonts Fix – For some reason, installing Apartment Life also makes the UI font really teeny tiny. This fixes that.
Kids & Pets Unattended – Self-explanatory, really; I’m including this because sometimes, the game won’t let you leave even if there’s a nanny on the scene.
No Sim Loaded – Deletes redundant data when loading into a lot. I personally use the ‘Special’ version, which leaves gossip untouched.
Sim Shadow Fix – Fixes shadows on modern systems. I use the 0.3 version. Not needed if you’re on a system from 2004, obvs.
Anti-Redundancy – Prevents the game from creating a million and one NPC Sims who do exactly the same thing.
Creature Fixes – Various bugfixes for different creatures, i.e. vampires, werewolves, that sorta thing.
Door Jam Fix – Prevents doors from getting stuck in an “in use” state.
Eggplant Juice Memory Fix – Fixes…erm, eggplant juice memories. Pretty straightforward.
FFS Lot Debugger (+ patch) – Lots of handy tools for fixing issues within lots – like, for example, if a Sim disappears, or you get blue flashing objects. By default, it’s a black cube with the Batman logo on it – the patch will modify it so it appears as a vase with flowers.
Sim Blender – Another mod with which to fight fires. Also useful for modifying existing Sims’ stats, relationships, and personalities.
Auto Save Game – Periodically asks you if you want to save your lot. Handy if your game crashes frequently.
Urnstone Spawner – Respawn gravestones which have gone missing.
Starship UI – A nice dark-themed UI for widescreen displays.
Macrotastics – Gives you a bunch of options for automating Sim behaviours, like skilling, cleaning, and grinding for talent badges. Super, super useful, particularly in larger households.
AutoYak / AutoSocialise – Adds automated socialising features, both for the phone and for in-person interactions. A great way of getting round the old “hey, you never call me!” popups.
NoHumble – Disables Rod Humble from appearing. I was never a fan of this as he straight up gives you a free high-end computer, and I’d rather…y’know…earn it?
Don’t walk away from stove while cooking – Prevents fires.
Cats Hunt Roaches – Restores Sims 1-style hunting behaviour in kitties.
Television Placement – Allows you to adjust the height of TVs, so you can have them higher up on the wall, on top of shelves, and so on.
Lighten Up! – Brightens computer screens.
Faster Uni Education – Because university is a serious drag. I use the 48-hour version.
Smart Beds – Sims stick to one bed, and one bed only!
Teddy Bear No Talk Through – Ever noticed your Sim following someone around while carrying a teddy? No longer!
Wants & Fears Sanity – Fixes a number of issues (not game-breaking ones) related to Wants and Fears. Basically eliminates unattainable Wants.
Coffee Cup Hack – Prevents Sims from walking across the entire house just to place a coffee cup on a surface.
Simply Leftovers – Allows you to put away leftovers as single servings.
Sims2RPC – Custom launcher for the Sims 2, which makes the game work a bit better on modern systems; and adds a few nice features like Discord Rich Presence and improved camera controls.
Graphics Rules Maker – By default, the Sims 2 can only recognise certain graphics cards, mainly those available around the mid-00s. Naturally, this isn’t much use on a modern system; so you’ll need this to tell the game that, yes, your graphics card is totally capable of running a 2004 game.
DXVK – Because it’s such an old game, sometimes you run into some serious graphical issues (like pink soup!) – this helps to mitigate some of those issues, and makes the game run a bit better on modern systems. Download the .tar.gz release, then unzip ‘d3d9.dll’ from the ‘x32’ directory into your TSBin folder.
SimPE – The SIMple Package Editor (hmmm…) – i.e. the Sims 2 modder’s toolkit. Good for altering game data (I’ve used it to change Sim surnames, ages, family funds, etc.) but be careful – you can very easily break things with this!
Colour Enable Package (CEP) – Required for any object recolours within build/buy mode. Basically, if you use a lot of custom content, this is essential.
HoodChecker – Checks your neighbourhoods for invalid memories – the sort that can lead to corruption – and removes them. Good to run every so often to keep your hoods clean.
Sims2Pack Clean Installer – A very old tool, but handy if you come across older custom content that’s distributed in .sims2pack files.