Well maybe I’m bored or just have more time in front of the computer, hence the more frequent posts. Anyways, I think there are a few key problems that I wanted to mention about blueprint. No, not the techno-babble type problems (we all know what they are). I’m talking about some misunderstandings about what blueprint is and how it fits in the Simverse of utility programs.

There are really 3 key programs for making new content for The Sims. You have access to two of them.

Transmogrifier is a tool that will allow you to clone an object, edit some details and create a new version of that object. If you’re really skilled then you can use a paint or 3D program to create new sprites and replace them in the existing Sims object, creating essentially a new object. It’ll still be based on the clone you have to make (Transmogrifier will not make an object from scratch) but it will look different based on your new sprite. There are some people that have dived into the XML file that Transmogrifier pumps out and even gone so far as to adding new parts or updating old ones, but this is not what the program was meant for so you’re on your own if you go down that path.

blueprint is really an advanced version of Transmogrifer (sort of). It allows you to again clone objects from an existing one but instead of having to struggle with bitmaps, paint programs and the dreaded z-buffers, you just create or import a 3D object which is translated into the 2D images you need for The Sims. blueprint also (in the next release) will allow you to create an object from scratch and replace animations. This essentially means you can create brand new objects from just your imagination. Yes, bp has it’s share of problems and it’s getting there but it’s a start and there’s been some pretty cool stuff made with it already (check out the TSR database of objects and look for ones made with blueprint, some of them are pretty slick). Being a 3D program it does take some getting used to and yes, it’s my onus to create those much needed tutorials to help you understand the program. 99% of my emails are “How do I create an object?”. Sigh.

Edith is the last program in the holy trinity of editing. It’s a slightly different type of program in that it a) does not create anything from sprites or data files and b) runs inside of The Sims instead of being an external program. Edith lets you edit everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) about an object. Don’t like the hunger scores the object produces? Edit it with Edith. Want to add a new behaviour to that oh so boring table? Edit it with Edith. Want to change the sounds an object produces or modify the pop-up menu? Yes, Edith can do it. As one great thespian wrote, absolute power comes with absolute responsiblity. And in the case of Edith, absolute complexity. Edith is not a walk in the park and it can take a skilled programmer weeks to ramp up learning all the nooks and crannies Edith offers. However, the payback is that you do have complete flexibility with making your objects truely unique. Edith will be available with a new book I’m writing on The Sims and should be available for download from various sites sometime near the publication of that book.