Texture maps for The Sims

Hi guys. Found something else that might be of interest to some. Some of you might be into the whole skinning thing. That is, creating skins (2D bitmaps) for your Sim characters. Most of you might make them in Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop, then fire up SimShow to see your work, edit, rinse, repeat, etc. etc. You might be interested in checking out a tool called Ultimate Unwrap3D. This program lets you load up the SKN file (and bitmap) and edit it in the program, showing you the results immediately. Yet another tool for your collection and if only I had enough time to write all the tools in the world. Unfortunately, it isn’t freeware and the save feature is disabled in the demo but if you want to take a look you can check it out here. Also remember to grab the Sims plug-in to load up your SKN files. Let me know how it works (and if it works, some programs claim to work with SKN files but fail miserably with the UV mappings that Maxis uses). Enjoy.

Posted in CDX

Grow your own Sims?

On a somewhat interesting game development front, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has released a program called Virtual U, a virtual university simulator. Virtual U is designed to foster better understanding of management practices in American colleges and universities. If you check out the screenshots, it looks like The Sims (or maybe closer to SimCity) and offers various levels of micro and macro management. The program is used by more than 35 schools to train next generation of university leaders. The kicker is that it comes with complete source code and can be easily compiled with a copy of Visual C++ 6.0 and DirectX. I haven’t looked at the source and I’m sure it might be a little overwhelming to some but if you’re looking for a complete simulation engine, you might want to check it out. Who knows, maybe you can tweak it to make the next great Sim game? You can find the game here.


Posted in CDX

Update (CC-2 etc)

Hi folks,

A little update from me. I’ve been busy this week doing some philosophy and a lot of math. Result: 44 pages about GPS and a lot of calculations in it. We had to include all calculations and information sources we had used so that adds up another 60 pages… Lucky me I did this with two other classmates.

Finally, I’ve finished Career Creator 2. I’m now working on a little tutorial to get you started. NOTE: I’m not going to release the program right now. I want it beta tested first. I’ve already got a lot of beta testers, only need to get some nice agreements out. Have to write these up as well. I’ll be having two weeks off school next weeks. So that gives me plenty of time. My plans: write a little tutorial, have you keep some thumb rules in mind, write beta test agreements, spread the tool to the testers, have them test, after testing have it released and have the careers my beta testers hopefully made online at TSR if Steve cooperates a bit. Then you have the tool and some careers you can download as well. Sounds like a plan, eh?

Just to clear some things up. Some of you used Career Creator 1. The new version will do lots more. Then the export/import format of Career Creator 1 is old and not to be used. Things Career Creator 2 will do:

· change the salary, the car, the begin and end hours

· change the amount of friends and skills needed

· change the skins and textures and accessories associated with a job (no preview)

· change the mood changes due to work

· change the names and descriptions (male and female) of the careers and jobs

· change the icons of the careers (both the large blue one as the ones in the queue)

· change the chance cards, these sudden job transfers or bonuses, the sound it plays and this text that pops up

· and all of this can be done in any language…. with a “Set All” button

· importing and exporting careers to be distributed to other people

Something you won’t be able to do is adding new careers. You can only replace existing careers. I added a career track, made the icons array larger, copied some texts etc etc… made sure the data for a new career would be there. I poked around in the Neighborhood.iff file to get Bob Newbie to do my new added career track. The Sims had him be unemployed instead of earning money. So this means we’ll be stuck with 15 career tracks, school and household chores. You’ll also not be able to change the school ‘career’. The reason: it is not the same kind of career track as the adult tracks. It works differently and would make my program a lot more complicated.

So…. Any suggestions what I should add to the new tool? I think all you need is in there. Though I’m sure the first thing everyone does is changing salary to $10.000, you should (that’s not must, but should) follow some thumb rules, guide lines regarding making careers. Haven’t made them all up yet, but these will be written in such a way that it will keep the game the way it used to be: funny, addictive, realistic, but with just that little bit of exaggeration that keeps it all cool.

Hey, catcha later!

Posted in CDX

Tick tock, tick tock…

Hi guys. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. My new job has me managing all the development services at CP so I’m being wined and dined by vendors, flown all over the place to see new products and generally treated like a geek king. Hence I haven’t been able to get much work done in blueland, answer my emails or generally be of much use to anyone. Anyways, I’m just delving into all the emails now and getting back into my compiler to get some fun stuff (this site) done. A short absence but I’m back. Please lock your trays in their upright position and fasten your seatbelts. The movie is about to begin…

Posted in CDX

Spider-Sim, does whatever a normal Sim can

Rob Bennett (no relation to Tony) over at UselessCreations has put together a 3D screen saver with Spider-Man as the main character. While this may sounds like Spider hype with the movie fast approaching, the interesting thing is that Rob used The Sims as the basis for his creation. It started when Rob found a cool Spider-Man skin for the Sims. After being a little snuffed by the skin creators, he put together his own and began looking at the character file format for the 3D mesh information. It wasn’t hard to figure out so he put together a little key-frame type animation program of his own and thus his screen saver had life. I find it interesting yet another outlet has made use of The Sims. Maybe you can take the animations Rob created and put them back into the game (you’ll have to get them from him first as they’re not included in the screensaver). It would be pretty slick to see Spidey crawling around on the walls of your game. I installed the screensaver and it’s pretty cute. The animations are a little rough as Spidey looks like he’s diving into a pool (where did that animation come from??) when he leaps off a building but he does run, jump and swing around in a downtown environment. A fast 3D card is required but you shouldn’t have too many problems with it. Anyways, you can find the screensaver page here where you can download it.

Posted in CDX

Career Creator 2 progress

Hiya. Thought you might be interested in this. I’ve solved most of my problems and hope to finish it within some days. After that I’ll have my beta testers handle it. Hope I can still remember whom I promised the test by MSN….. 🙂 (I forgot to write them down) but if it all goes well I might be able to release it somewhere in the beginning of May.

OK, some other thing now. I’ve just read an interesting e-mail about a new website with programs. Though the site is still being worked on (and there are some things not complete yet), it looks promising. Seems he made a nice tool for compression. Might be interesting for some people. He’s begun at some technical data as well. You can find the new site here.

Hey, I’m going to finish the Career Creator 2 now. I’ve only to make the import/export thing work fine now. The icons, chance card (those sudden transfers at the end of the career), the job data with the hours and the car they drive, the requirements, the texts in the game, it’s all done now. Do you miss something in this picture? Just suggest it by mailing to me. I’d be grateful if you see something that should be included. After all, we don’t want to wait another 2 months for Career Creator 2.1 that should cover missing features, don’t we? We want Career Creator 2 to have these features! But I hope it already does.

OK, Catcha later. Hope you have a nice day.

Posted in CDX

Winding down for the weekend

Hi guys. No much happening today. I’m just catching up on some blueprint stuff. Tom and I are looking at some projects together but nothing is finalized yet. We’re both pretty busy with programming, school (him) and work (me) however look for some cool stuff soon.

Posted in CDX

VB Modules, forums update and release dates

Hiya. I’ve put the Visual Basic modules (provided by Judson Hudson) online so you can check it out. They include 3 sample programs (I could only compile 2 of them though) that use the modules and show you how to open IFF files and display some of the contents. Please note that these are not supported by Tom or myself so please don’t email us about them. You can find them on the Tech Data page at the bottom.

Also the forums have got the final facelift and are now seamlessly integrated with the site. Gotta love cutting and pasting dozens of lines of HTML onto another persons site. Anyways, looks pretty cool so check it out (and feel free to post a message while you’re at it).

Lastly, please stop emailing me about when a certain program is going to be released. Sorry but lately I’ve been getting swamped with these. If you go to a page with a download link, then the program is ready and you can download it. If it says “Coming soon” then it means just that. And soon is of course a relative term as some people will attest to. When a new or updated tool is released, you’ll hear about it here first. Thanks.

Posted in CDX

Look kids, content!

Yeah, cheap shot yesterday in a vain attempt at filling a news post. So cut me some slack. Anyways, there’s an interesting article over at Salon that talks about user created content for games and how simple mods for games has blossomed into an industry in itself. Given the amount of programs we have floating around here, I wonder why nobody talked to us but hey at least Will Wright had something to say about it:

“I was always impressed by the community that formed around ‘Quake II’ in particular,” says “The Sims” creator, Will Wright. “At some point the mod authors not only made new stuff for the game but also new tools for content … [It’s] a great example of how the hardcore fans can totally surprise you with their creativity, given the chance.”

Guess he was talking about some of the stuff we do around here with that new tools for content but again, no booby prize. Oh well. Check out the article here as it’s a pretty good read (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Posted in CDX