Gonzo blogging from the Annie Leibovitz of the software development world.

Month: November 2001 (Page 5 of 9)

Okay, I find this whole issue of cloning objects for use in the downtown section for Hot Date a little confusing so maybe this will clear things up.

1. If you clone an object, after installing Hot Date, that was part of the original Sims game (The Sims, Living Large, House Party or Hot Date) then the clone can show up in the downtown area. There are still some restrictions like beds and such, but cloned objects can be used downtown, given the right conditions. I’ve cloned the aquarium and it’s there. There have been a couple of reports of other objects that people cloned but they do not show up in the downtown area so if you come across one, please let me know via email as I’m trying to piece together what makes an object available for downtown.

2. Objects that were cloned prior to you installing Hot Date or objects cloned from objects downloaded from the web will not appear downtown. In other words, Hot Date doesn’t convert any existing objects except those shipped with the original game and/or expansion packs. It does convert/update the objects that are already installed if they’re part of the original game. That’s why Hot Date replaces and/or updates the ExpansionPakX.far files during the installation process.

At least that’s what I figure so far. So my two projects this weekend are:

1. Build a tool to allow pre-HD objects and user made objects from the web to be allowed downtown. Maxis says this can’t be done at this time but I think that’s just because you don’t have a tool to do it. There have been some rumours that they are making a tool or a means to do this, but I don’t know the specifics. The question would be, if they knew this was a problem, why didn’t they release the tool with the game (at least as a SimDay download).

2. Allow you to alter existing objects so they can be placed into the various new sub-catagories Hot Date offers. Still trying to figure out what governs the sub-catagories Hot Date offers but this will allow you to put your objects in groups instead of the “All” catagory, which isn’t very useful for object organization.

Hope that helps. Off to watch the meteor shower, away from the city.

Just a quick note. The screenshot of SimExplorer is from the current publically available version, hence that’s why the caption says “Simplorer” and not “SimExplorer”. Just to show you that you can still view Hot Date objects with the current version, that’s all.

Greetings! Well, this is going to be a fun filled weekend. Got my hot little hands on my hot little date, so I’m pulling, twisting, prodding and otherwise messing around with the files right now. The FAR files haven’t changed format nor have they introduced any compression, so Far Edit will work fine with them. I am releasing an updated version of Far Edit, now called FarExplorer, this weekend that will let you do a few more things and give you a little better view of the contents of Far files.

You might have heard about issues installing Hot Date. Well, I thought I’d be smart and completely uninstall my system and re-install everything just to be sure. The install didn’t go too badly. There were a few rough spots. During the install, the CD was ejected and I got a nice big BSOD (blue screen of death) but after closing the CD drive and continuing the install, it completed without any other problems. When I launched it for the first time though, I got a message “Could not find Sims directory”. So The Sims couldn’t find itself, which was bad. I got dumped back to the desktop but decided to reboot to see if that fixed things. It did and everything worked fine from there. I will say that I’ve never had any issues installing the previous 2 expansion packs, and an install should be just that. Plain and simple. Oh well, I’m not bashing Maxis for it, although I suspect things like this might cause some extra emails and phone calls to support.

Object files, again for the most part, haven’t changed much. In fact SimExplorer will browse them perfectly fine. There is however a new file with the .STX extension that’s never been there before. From what I can tell so far, these are duplicate files that contain the string resources and a couple of other resources (enough to make it a valid IFF file). Again, these are resource files for the game but they seem to contain the same data that the original does (but I haven’t looked completely into the format yet, have to modify my routines for reading these things to support the new extensions which is a bit of a pain). These files (I believe) will let your objects be available downtown, but I’m not certain yet. Just have to brew up some new files, tweak a few things and hopefully we’ll be good to go.

I guess with Hot Date, Maxis had to make some fairly sweeping changes so if you’re poking around looking at the files, you might notice some changes. Anyways, below is a screenie from SimExplorer browsing one of the new objects. I know, not much but what the heck. Back over the weekend with more news, discoveries and other good stuff.


Hiya. Haven’t got Hot Date yet (but it’s on the way) but I found out the nifty new sub-catagories for the objects are part of the Far files. Soooo… the first thing I’m updating (due out later this week once I get HD to test it) is a new version of FarExplorer with a modified Far wizard. This will let you do two things. First, you’ll be able to create new Far files but also it’ll let you convert files in existing Far files and put them into catagories. So for those of you that have large collections of objects and want to get your own creations out of the Misc catagory and into where they belong, just hang in there and I’ll get you the tool to do it shortly.

I’m also going to look at how to get your user created objects into the downtown area and see what I can do there. Damn I wish I had more heads up on this. Oh well. The good thing is that for European users, the programs will arrive just in time. They’ll be other updates in the next few weeks as I scramble to make everything HD compatible. Seeya.

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