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Sims 3, Whovian Challenge Day ADDRESS VIOLATION ERROR

Starting from where we left off yesterday, I stayed up until 3am (real life time) to rebuild Dr. Whom's mansion, better than ever.
Naturally, I ran out of money before I got around to adding the siding again.
The improvement was a lot more roomy, each pod re-sized to 8x8, leaving more room for a lawn between the "pods" thanks in part to integrating the pods partly into the fence.  I was now looking forward to a bright future of being able to easily build all 8 pods and have a fair amount of lawn to play with besides.

The second story of each pod was pretty challenging, from a design standpoint, because it had to leave access to a bridge in the middle of two sides.  That leaves only 3x8 and 3x3 areas, and also requires a (bare minimum) 2x2 area for a stairway or an elevator to get into the first floor of the pod, but I actually sort of enjoyed the challenge.

Good thing I got that screenshot because, wouldn't you know it, Sims 3 crashed again when I tried to save.  After getting a fair night's rest, I decided to try to solve this issue by becoming an impromptu Sims 3 beta tester.  So began Dr. Whom's Adventures With Maxis Programming:
  • Deleted the fence surrounding the lot in case that was a factor.  Deleted the initial building.  Saved and quit the game.  Deleted all the cache files, relaunched the game.  I now just had a lot with a few statues in front of it and $32k to spend thanks to cashing in everything I had.
  • Created the basic structure of the main "pod" connected to two satellite "pods."  Saved the game before bothering to add anything to the walls - crashed again!  
Okay, so the cache file isn't the issue here.  Nor is any of the content I have installed, because at this point all that had been placed was walls, pillars, maybe a few windows and a couple of double doors.
  • Sold my statues off the lawn, built only the first floor.  Saved successfully.
  • Deleted the roof.  Saved successfully.  Just added the second story walls to each "pod."  Saving... crashed!  
  • Alright, so something that happens with the addition of second story is causing the crash.  Tried adding a second story to just the main "pod."  Still crashing. 
Maybe the issue was that the game needed to identify what the main structure was first?
  • Poked a hole in the walls of the first story of the other "pods," thereby preventing them from being identified as rooms anymore.  
  • Added a front door and a back door to the main pod.  Didn't add the second story yet, saving... so far, so good.  
  • Designated a door as the front door, walked my sim through the front and back doors.  Added a second story to the main pod, crashed on save.
Alright, this lot is probably corrupted, because I know I can create a second story house without crashing The Sims 3 in this neighborhood because I did so in another game I had going on just a couple days ago.
  • Deleted everything, moved Dr. Whom out 1138 Merchant Way to 89 Horseshoe Bend.  Decided to stay in 89 Horseshoe Bend, just in case.  
  • Converted 1138 Merchant Way into a community lot and put a Live Show Venue there: take that!  You're lucky I didn't turn you into a junk yard, 1138 Merchant Way.  Edit town saved alright.  
  • Now in 89 Horsehoe Bend, I started by building a first story pretty much identical to how it had it in 1138 Merchant Way, without the second story yet... CRASHED ON SAVE.
Arrgh!  I can't even create a first story anymore?!  SCREW YOU, SIMS 3!  Alright, so in the crash log, the error I'm getting is, "ACCESS_VIOLATION reading address."  Googled that for solutions and found out that unfortunately that seems to be caused by all sorts of crazy things.
  • Most of the Google hits on this suggest that user-created content installed may cause the issue.  I have no custom content installed, not unless you count content installed via the Sims 3 store. 
  • Some have suggested it's a hardware problem related to RAM access.  That's not an impossibility, but if it happened, it would have had to have cropped up very recently, within the last day.  Considering none of my other apps have had opportunity to crash, and I just got done blowing out my motherboard of dust when I moved it to a new case a little while ago, it seems more and more unlikely.
  • Could I be running out of memory?  Possibly, even with 8gb of RAM installed on Windows 7 64-bit, Sims 3 is still just a 32-bit application.  This does make some sense: if I placed a new building where my old building was, and attempted to place a new building in a new lot, wouldn't that create an overall greater town memory overhead?  This would explain why before I couldn't build a second story building, and now I couldn't even build a one-story one.  Then again, I'm pretty sure Sims 3 is built to swap most lot information out of memory on the fly, and this map was distributed with several empty lots that have thus far remained empty.
  • I decided to set up a DEP exception for the Sims 3 files as listed here, but it probably didn't do me a whole lot of good because Windows 7 does not allow the Sims 3 launcher to be added to the list.  (FYI, I'm already running the launcher in administrator mode.)
  • I also disabled a IOUUM setting in the system BIOS because there's a potential that this memory remapping is confusing Sims 3, which predated the existence of that feature.
  • I doubted this would change anything.  Upon restarting Sims 3 and rebuilding the first story of the home at 89 Horseshoe Bend, I learned that I was right.  Crashed On Save.
Hell, I didn't even bother to make rooms out of the side pods, just the main one.
Screw this.  It's not a problem with the lot.  It's not DUP related (the error in the crash file should be different and it was working just fine before).  Best guess?  It's probably file corruption somewhere, such as on the Dr. Whom sim or maybe some kind of glitch in the main Sims 3 package file itself.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I found more relevant results to my problem by combining my "sims 3" searches with "crash on save" instead of "access_violation reading address," which is almost as generic as errors can get.  Apparently I'm not the only one having this problem, it's been going on since November 2012.  Some people have reported that moving out with Edit Town (keeping the house), demolishing the lot, then placing a copy of the household from the clipboard seems to solve the issue.  That would vary from what I did only in that it would involve demolishing an empty lot that originally came with the Sims 3: Supernatural map, unless maybe the process of placing from clipboard runs some code that fixes the issue.  I hope it'll work with an empty lot, because that's all I've got at this point.

Well, unless I can figure out a way to fix this, so ends my attempt at a "challenge" game.  Yet, I think I'm still too burned out from Skyrim to try out the newly-released (on PC) Dragonborn DLC, so I don't feel like I've a whole lot of choice in quality entertainment right now.  For whatever reason, Sims 3 seems to be entertaining me, even moreso when it's actually working correctly!   So I haven't given up on continuing Dr. Whom's saga quite yet.

However, in the spirit of making sure an improvement occurs over what I did last time, I think I'll reinstall Sims 3 on my SSD; if Sims 3 is going to be a crashy bitch, it can be a crashy bitch that doesn't take 5+ minutes to restart.  Wish I had that universal RAID 1+0 for all my files, though: several rather large Sims 3 cache files will be processed in the My Documents/Electronic Arts/Sims 3 folder whether I like it or not... but I wonder if a symbolic link would work?  Someone on the Internet thinks so.  I just hope the 90GB I have available on my SSD is sufficient to accommodate everything:
  • The main Sims 3 application (about 6.5 GB installed).
  • 8 expansion packs of about equal size (and price) of the main application.
  • The installers for the above, which I've told the Origin client to put on a different drive but it does not seem to be, but that's forgivable if it's being done due to a Sims 3 compatibility issue.
  • Any downloaded Sims 3 store content, which Sims 3 keeps an additional duplicate backup of.
  • The aforementioned cache files, the largest I've seen being about 500MB.
  • A couple of saved games that amount to 774MB.
I give EA Maxis a pretty hard time for not fixing what's broken about their fabulously lucrative game but, the more I play it, the easier it is to forgive them: Sims 3 is huge, a real behemoth in software terms, and this makes it easy for things to fall between the cracks.  Still, it'd be nice if there weren't game breaking issues that have been around for over 3 months.  I might have been right the first time when I said The Sims 3 Is Falling Apart, and it's all they can do to glue things back on again before too many people notice.


Seven hours later, Sims 3 was finally completely reinstalled on my other hard drive, which has improved performance in places albeit less than I thought overall - I guess the bottleneck wasn't entirely on loading.
This version of the Whom Mansion actually saved correctly, so I guess I'm stuck with it.
I'm sure I'll get around to finishing those side "pods" as soon as I can afford it... maybe I
should cash in some of those lifetime happiness points for some simoleans?
The problem I was having with crashing on saves was identical, too.  Fortunately, the community fix suggestion of moving out in the Edit Town mode worked.  I'm not sure if it's because it required re-writing a lot, leaving and rejoining my current household, or resetting all the other sims not of my household, but it worked.


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