Broken routing is the most frustrating issue to deal with when trying to fix your world. Below is a guide to help make the process go much smoother.

What is Routing and Why Does it Need to Be Fixed?

Routing is the system through which your sim decides how to get from one location to the next. For example, if you tell your sim, Silly Sally, to go to the beach from her house, the game looks at all the roads and travel options available and calculates how she can get there. Routing also calculates how your sims move from room to room on a lot. To use an example, when you tell your sim, Sally, to go from her kitchen to the basement, routing decides where she walks and what staircase she needs to use to get there.

Now, based on what I said, routing sounds pretty simple. Unfortunately, when you’re building a world, many things can happen to break it. When routing breaks, this is when your sim does the little angry stampy dance and complains, “I can’t get from here to there” or “There’s something blocking my way.”

Besides preventing your sims from going anywhere, broken routing is bad for another reason. It can create serious lag in your world to the point of making it unplayable. So, to help you troubleshoot your own routing problems and learn how to avoid them, I’ve listed the most common causes of broken routing.

1. Unconnected roads

The number one way that sims get around are roads. If for whatever reason there are breaks in the connections between your roads, your routing will also break. So your first order of business if you notice sims complaining that they can’t get anywhere in your world is to make sure all of your roads are properly connected with each other or end in an intersection piece.

▲ This road is not properly connected to the intersection.
▲ The road is now connected.
2. Failure to connect roads to bridges

If a road is not properly connected to bridges, the routing will break. How do you know if your roads are connected properly? There should be a little blue square on the bridge where it and the road connects. If you don’t see that square at all, they are not connected.

▲ The road is not properly connected to the bridge. This will cause a break in routing.
▲ The road is now properly connected. You can tell this because of the little blue square just a little bit up from the end of the bridge.
3.Glitched lots

For whatever reason, lots can become glitched. It’s nothing that you did. It just happens that every so often when you save in either EIG or CAW, a lot will get corrupted. When this happens, sims will complain that they can’t access it.

How can you tell if a lot is glitched? If there’s one particular lot that no sim can go to (for example, City Hall) but they can visit all the other lots fine, then that lot is definitely glitched. In a case like that you will have to replace the lot with a fresh one. However, don’t just bulldoze it in EIG; that won’t work. Do this instead:

  1. Save your building or house to library
  2. Go back into CAW, remove the lot entirely and put a fresh one in of the same size
  3. Go back into EIG and add the build from library back into the lot
4. Glitched train stations

When a glitched lot has a train station on it, this will break routing for any sims who don’t own cars. Unfortunately, figuring out whether a train station lot is screwing up your routing isn’t easy; it involves a little detective work. However, if you do a little play testing, you should be able to figure out whether a train station is the culprit.

For example, if you noticed that while Sally Sim can’t travel to a specific lot (like City Hall) but other sims can, chances are that it’s one of the train stations near her house is causing the trouble. This is especially likely if it looks like the sims who can travel back and forth to the lot all own cars.

So, what can you do to fix this problem if you suspect that a train station is glitching the routing? Replace all of the train stations in your world to see if that helps any, not just the one you think might be screwing up your routing.

5. Multiple markers in one apartment building room

There should only be (1) one public or hidden marker per room in any apartment building. The game actually prevents you from adding multiple markers but sometimes when you tear down walls you may accidentally get two or more markers in one room if you forgot to get rid of the ones in the rooms you tore down. When that happens, the sims will complain that they can’t leave the house, and the NPC sims won’t be able to enter their apartments.

If you see sims acting up in one of your apartment buildings (complaining that they can’t go anywhere), double check your markers and delete any multiple markers in any room.

6. Not placing markers in elevator shafts

If you’ve built an apartment building, you already know that you need to place public and hidden markers in rooms to get it to function.

Well, not only do you need them for your apartments, lobbies and hallways, you need to place a public marker inside any room where you’ve placed your elevator. Otherwise, the tenants won’t be able to use the elevator or enter their apartments. A tell tale clue that this is what’s causing routing issues in your world is if you see NPCs camped out in the lobby crowded around the elevator or if you see them standing outside their apartment door complaining that they can’t enter.

▲ Above, you can see that a marker has been placed inside a very small room. This is the shaft for the elevator.
7. Badly placed routing paint

Routing paint is what tells your sims what areas to avoid when they move around your world. If you paint routing incorrectly, you may cause your sims to get trapped in certain parts of your world. You will know this is the case if you see a bunch of sims clustered in one area of your world, unable to go anywhere. So be very careful where you lay down routing paint, especially around the opening of bridges. Also, make sure you leave no gaps in your paint whatsoever.

Don't leave gaps in routing paint or you will suffer lag and routing errors
▲ Don’t leave gaps in routing paint or you will suffer lag and routing errors.
7. Routing paint under bridges and roads

I have heard people say that it’s okay to paint routing under bridges and roads. This has definitely not been my experience. Painting under bridges will definitely break routing and it may even cause serious lag if the bridge is the only way sims can access a certain location (like a remote island). So whatever you do, don’t paint under bridges and roads.

Don't paint under bridges

7. Glitched hidden room

This is the mamma jamma of PITA routing glitches that is so difficult to find if you don’t know about it. What happens is that for whatever reason, a hidden room in an apartment building you’ve built becomes bugged. NPCs that live in this apartment either become trapped inside of them or can’t route back to their homes. This results in massive lags and freezes. I don’t know why this bug happens but I have a suspicion that it can be created if you go back into an apartment building you’ve completed and start tearing down and rebuilding apartments with markers in them.

Now, like I said, tracking down this glitch can be a little difficult. However, there are some clues you can look for:

  1. If an NPC you invite to your sim’s house either vanishes into thin air when he’s ready to go home or complains that he can’t leave. (You’ll see a door and the “can’t route” footprints inside the thought balloon.)
  2. If the game heavily lags or freezes in the dead of morning, like 4-5AM. This is a major clue that an NPC apartment is bugged. Why? Because this is the time when all the nightclubs close and the NPC sims (pianist, bouncer, mixologist) go home. If they can’t route back to their apartments, the game will freeze.

How can you track this glitch down? One way is by using Twallan’s Overwatch mod, as explained at Sims 3 New York. However, this method isn’t entirely fail safe. If the glitch causes a hard freeze or shutdown, the mod won’t have a chance to alert you as to which apartment is causing the issue. But it’s always best to try this method first anyway, to catch trapped sims.

If you don’t like mods, you can try tracking down the problem by doing some investigative work. For example, sometimes a door appears in an NPC’s thought balloon when he or she complains about routing. If you used different doors in all of your apartment buildings, you can look for the apartment building that has the doors that appeared in the balloon.

▲ Sometimes when a sim complains about routing, the thought balloon will show a picture of the door to the room that is bugged. Use this picture to help you figure out which room is glitched.

Also, if you note the name of the NPC (he or she should be in the active sim’s relationship panel as an acquaintance), you can send a sim to each building’s call box to find out where he or she lives. Of course, this can be a little tedious going from callbox to callbox trying to track the NPC down but this is one surefire way of finding out the source of the problem.

Once you’ve tracked down the apartment building, examine it to see if there are any issues (like accidentally placing two markers in a room or not putting public markers in any elevator rooms). If worse comes to worse and nothing you do fixes the problem, then rebuild the apartment from scratch.

To avoid creating this problem in the future, be very careful editing apartment buildings in which you’ve torn down or built extra rooms. Even though things look normal when you’ve added or removed markers, the old settings for the areas you edited will remain the same. So whenever you edit an apartment building, go back out into Edit Town and then go back into Build and Buy mode to reset the lot. Also click on each marker a few times to make sure they’ve been set properly to each room.