This distinguishes them from "hacked objects". Mods mainly alter gameplay values or add/change already existing features. For example a mod could allow children to cook, or teenagers to WooHoo and become pregnant.
With regard to The Sims series, the term entered common usage with The Sims 2. Modifications to The Sims generally worked through "hacked objects"; even when they didn't, the term "mod" was generally not used.
Examples of small mods would be phone plugins for The Sims, mods such as the Less Addictive Espresso Bar mod[TS2] that affects how strongly an object advertises, or mods that allow Sims to do homework faster.
Since recent Sims games make more menu items available when using Testingcheatsenabled, many mods from older games have been seen as not worth remaking.
Some mods, such as hacked cameras for The Sims 2, are not in package format and are not installed in the player's downloads folder, but somewhere else. These mods are known as config(uration) mods.
Dangers of Using ModsEdit
Mods, when they are programmed, installed and used correctly, can be safe to use without risking damage to game data or saved games. However, improperly installed mods or mods that do not work correctly can result in corrupt data, saved game losses, and severe glitches. That's why it is always good to take extra precautions and backup saved game data, like whole neighborhoods.
Some mods can corrupt objects or even cause malfunctions in the game code, resulting in one or more of the neighborhoods disappearing, which requires the game to be re-installed completely. See Load game error for problems related to neighborhoods. Some Mods can also cause a Game Crash or save game error.
Many mods, when installed, conflict with other mods. This is especially true for core mods; only one core mod can be installed at a time. A mod designer may or may not be aware of these conflicts, so it is important to be careful when installing multiple mods. People playing The Sims 2 on PC can use the Hack Conflict Detection Utility to look for possible conflicts.
Additionally, some mods may corrupt saved games or game data if they are uninstalled incorrectly which will either result in a load game error or Game Crash. If a mod must be uninstalled in a particular manner, the documentation that accompanied the mod should explain this. Mods that add additional skills in The Sims 3 are known to cause damage to Sims who have earned a skill which was recently deleted. This will cause the player to have to delete their saved game.
Also, players are advised to check for updates every time they buy a new expansion or stuff pack. Out of date mods can cause save game files not to be loaded properly. Also, there is a chance that the game will be destroyed if it is ran with and out of date core mod. Patch 18 fixed the issue at some rate by not prompting the player if any out of date mods are installed.
As with some cheats, mods which allow users to use "illegal" actions, or which make features available in areas where they normally are not, may cause problems in the game. But unlike Mods, cheats do not crash the game if they allow illegal actions although some (such as Moveobjects and testingcheatsenabled) can cause problems if used incorrectly.
Another issue is that mods created with The Sims 2: Pets would cause an older game to crash. For example, if a player's game was loaded with an object created with the Pets expansion pack, it would crash an Open for Business game. This issue has reportedly reappeared in The Sims 3 with The Sims 3: Pets.
Modders are not generally malicious, and trouble with mods is as likely to arise from problems such as those listed above as it is to arise from errors made by modders. For example, Awesome Mod's Configuration Tool is designed so that players who do not take the time to read instructions have the option to select a checkbox that will turn their installation of The Sims 3 into a "Big Fiery Ball Visible From Space", or "BFBVFS". Basically this is a trick for catching out irresponsible Simmers. Players should always read the instructions surrounding a mod, and never use options if they're not clear on what they do.