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

Month: January 2002 (Page 2 of 8)

Gak! No Friday post. Sorry guys. Just got caught up in the fascination of electronic trading we call eBay. Oh well. 30 hours and $3000 later at least I have some nifty new things to clutter up the place. Anyways, recharging my batteries this weekend so no news posts. Back on Monday when sanity sets in. Have a good one!

Well it seems to a bit of bruhaha in the Sims community tonight, and perhaps I’m partially to blame.

For SimDay this week, Maxis released a patch for Hot Date. The patch, among other things, removes the ability to have visitor-enabled objects in the downtown section. Okay, take a step back. Awhile ago (pre-Hot Date) I released a program called MenuEditor that I thought was a nice addition to your Sims toolset. This was an enhancement over the “official” Maxis menu editor as it supported the various languages, advertisement values for objects (how loud an object asked Sims to come do something with it) and extra flags. Among these flags was the ability to enable visitors to interact with the object. At the time, nobody from Maxis said anything (and hasn’t yet to me) about it so who am I to know what was to come?

Skip ahead to the release of Hot Date. Most user created objects don’t show up in the downtown area (or more specifically they can’t be used by your Sims). Someone (not me) comes up with the idea to use the visitor flag on the objects and voila, objects work downtown. Of course with the release of Hot Date, Maxis made a slight adjustment to their file formats and the saving of objects through the menu editor didn’t always work and could potentially lead to errors in the game. At the time I had two options. First I could remove the functionality and put the new version up on the site but the damage would be done and people could get the old version from other sites or users. Second I could get more information about what changes happened and update the program so objects edited with it could be more “safe” for the game. Basically I did neither because the program was already out there and I couldn’t find out what changes were made to the file formats and didn’t have time to walk through them byte by byte and figure it out (call me lazy if you want).

So now the lastest patch from Maxis removes this functionality completely. Apparently (and this is second or third hand info so take it as you will) Maxis removed the ability for several reasons. The next expansion pack, The Sims Vacation, will allow most of this and they believe enabling it now will cause problems when folks go to install and run the pack. They also said that visitor enabled objects might cause runtime errors so removing it should solve most problems.

What this means. It means anything you downloaded or cloned previously that was visitor-enable will a) not show up at all or b) it will be there but you can’t do anything with it, you can’t even “View” the object. This includes Toliets, sinks, flowers, chairs, tables, beds, showers, etc.

According to some posts on the forums, you have a few options:

1. Don’t install the patch

2. Install the patch and do without custom objects downtown

3. Install the patch but remove from your downloads all clones of the pool cabana, eating booths and tables, clothing racks, food carts, Hot Date windows (like the bay window, that some had prior to this patch)

Feel free to vent your anger towards me if you choose. Originally the menu editor was never meant for what people were using it for (enabling objects downtown) because there was no downtown area when I created it. However it would be nice to update it to be compatible with Hot Date so I’ll see if I have time for this. With the patch I’m not sure if it’s worth the time and effort. Also please note, the Maxis object organizer lets you make objects available for purchase in the downtown area, but doesn’t enable the visitor flag so your cloned objects still cannot be used.

In any case, a bit of a mess and some people are screaming about it (rightly so if you spent hours and hours editing objects only to have all that wiped away). Well, I’ll leave it at that and let you be the judge.

Busy last couple of days for me. A few things to share with the class. Some Sim related, most not…

A service opened up last October that was going to go out and cache the entire internet, creating an internet library of sorts. Yes, Google caches pages and such, but this place was going to cache the entire internet everytime a site was updated. Didn’t matter who you were. Big or small. It would cache it for later retrieval. Okay, so now it’s February 2002 and I just find out about it. They have a funky service called WayBack that lets you surf the web as it was back then. With caching websites, they also modify the links so if you click on a link from a page back in 1996, it takes you to their version of that page. Okay, so what does this have to do with anything? Not much but I got to thinking. I’ve been spread on the net for the last 10 years or so, making a bunch of websites but they slowly evaporated from the net and in some cases, evaporated off my hard drive. So lo and behold, I entered www.simbabes.com/blueprint into the search engine and there was blueprint in 1999 staring me in the face. I also tried a few other sites like the old Simz online (anyone remember that?) and got to see what it looked like again. They also have a neat toolbar you can install in your browser that (among other useful things like looking up the stats/owner of the page you’re on) has a WayBack button which lets you see what the site looked like back in time. I installed it and started poking around on websites like TSR and The Sims.com and took a look at them how they were back in 1998. Pretty nifty. So if you’re interested in surfing the web the way it used to be, check out The Internet Archive site and plug in your favorite URL. Very neat.

Okay I’m going to discontinue FarEdit shortly with the next update to SimExplorer. I have a new FarExplorer program but looking it over, SimExplorer basically has the functionality it does. I just need to add the ability to extract and create Far files in SimExplorer and FarEdit/FarExplorer really isn’t needed. So I’ll get going on SimExplorer 2.2 at some point and add this functionality. I’m also adding new formats and resource types all the time and with the additional Far functionality in SimExplorer, this will hopefully be the ultimate Sims tool for content management. Keep your suggestions flowing in the forums too! I’m always looking for new ideas.

Lastly, just some info on my tainted comic book past. A few people have been asking or wondering what that’s all about. Basically years and years ago (about 15) I used to draw comics for a living. My work was published in some indy and low-run titles and sold at conventions. Nothing major and never got around to doing Marvel or DC work (although I was offered a job at Marvel which was cool). I also worked in animation doing some features and tv shows (okay, so maybe I’m not the best web designer but I sure can put together a wicket Conan sketch). Anyways, the last few years I’ve been heavily involved in programming and while I still really enjoy it and won’t stop, my first love has always been drawing and sequential art (comics). So I’ve been getting the itch for the past few months to get back into it. I’m revamping my personal site to house all my work, some new pieces and rekindling that old flame. I’m also setting up tutorials on how to draw comics and what goes into the making of them. On top of that (whew) I’m building a comic book studio program that will allow budding artists to create, scan, draw and compose their work into a publishable form. This all with a web based comic book organizer that lets you keep track of your collection. In any case, I’m returning to comics and once I get the site up and running I’ll be doing some contract work and maybe a few conventions here and there.

Sheesh. I must have been smoking crack last night when I did the news post and release. I meant to say that objects now face SE insted of NE. Somehow that came out “Objects now face NE by default instead of NW”. Sorry for the confusion.

I also got one report that the patch didn’t work. I checked it against my version and it seemed okay but I’ll do some digging tonight and maybe have to put together an update to the patch (boy does that sound redundant doesn’t it? A patch for a patch).

Also just a quick note about the career information display. I have it ripping apart the CARR resources and displaying them but the information is minimal (career name, job names, description). I’ll have another update later that displays things more like the way the CareerEditor I showed you awhile back has. Then you can select individual jobs in a career and display the details (starting pay, work hours, vehicles, etc.)

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