Hi guys,

I was poking around on a few Sims sites and found (courtesy of the Wayback machine) this little thingy:

It was a website (probably manually done) that displays an inventory of all the objects in the game, separated by the Expansion Pack they were introduced with (you’ll have to excuse the broken links as the site doesn’t exist anymore).

I was looking at this and thinking about Simventory which was a program I was creating to inventory personal objects. While its still further down on the priority list, I wonder if there’s any value in generating a report like this (with object preview, name, price, description)? Inventoring your own items is one thing, but is there value in taking an inventory of Maxis objects and when they were introduced? Let me know.

Useless Comments in Code

I’m always pleased when I see developers commenting code. It means there’s something there that should be commented so the next guy will know WTF whoever wrote it was thinking. However much like any FOX special, there are times when “Comments Gone Wild”. I present some production code that contains some more, err, useful comments that I’ve found.

// Returns: Position of the divider

// Summary: Call this method to get the position of the divider.
int GetDividerPos();

Hmmm. Glad that was cleared up.

// Summary: Call this method to refresh items in the list.

void Refresh();

Again. Good to know.

// Summary: Call this method to remove all items in the list.

void RemoveAllItems();

Whew. For a minute there I thought we would have to spend some serious debugging time hunting down this method.

And my personal favorite…

/* this next part does something cool; don't even try to understand it*/


(i_love_lucy_is_on_tv turned out to be a boolean variable set to false). Go figure.

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The Other Guys

Thought I would mention a couple of other Sims sites that have been kicking around for quite sometime and worthy of mention here. These guys have been on the Sims scene almost (if not longer) than I have. As I dwindled to a dull roar in the past couple of years with the game, these guys have continued to press on and are producing some really nice programs.

SimPrograms is Judson Hudson’s site (I still can’t get over this guys name). He quietly churns out tools and ideas and is quite the 3D artist and programmer now (even if it is VB, someday he’ll pick up a real language . In the last week, Jud has pumped out 3 new programs for The Sims including a neat little thing that lets you change the T.V. screens in your objects. Very cool stuff.

Steve Bonham and his crew got things started up awhile ago as what was the biggest Sims site, The Sims Resource, was shifting gears. The Sims Workshop is probably the premier place to go and get new tools from now and what I consider the epicentre for cool stuff as it relates to The Sims (yes, even cooler than here). It was to created to bring all creative talents of the Sims community into one place, for discussions, learning and sharing knowledge and has done a fantastic job of it so far. Home to over 100 Sims programs, you can’t go wrong here. I’m just jealous I didn’t write them all, but we’re only human I guess.

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El-Super-Crapo-Interface Contest

I thought I would toss out a bit of a challenge for you gifted graphical designers out there. Here’s the current MP3 player that’s built into SimExplorer:

Pretty crap-tastic huh? So if you’re up for the challenge, come up with a better design (hell, anything at this point would be better) and submit it. Obviously it needs the basic controls like play, stop, rewind, etc. but be creative. Imagine what WinAmp for The Sims should look like.

It can be done with your favorite paint program or whatever (scribble it on a napkin and scan that for me). Best designs will go up on the site for voting and your design will become the new MP3/WAV/XA player for the new SimExplorer (full credit, free copy of the software, all that great stuff). I can’t promise I can implement any design, but I’ll do my best to be true to your graphical nature.

So get your crayons out and start scribbling.

PS This is news post #600 for SimsTools! Yay team.

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Tools moving forward and forums still here

Hi guys,

Just wanted to drop everyone a note that testing of the new SimExplorer is going well. Lots of feedback and some great discoveries by some people (it’s amazing what I miss when I’m staring at these things for hours on end).

I also wanted to say that the forums are still here and pretty lonely. Feel free to come in, chat, and do what you do best ask questions, suggestions, and make conversation.


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SimExplorer Sneek Peek

Or is it Sneak peek? Sneek peak? Anyways… here’s some screenies of the new SimExplorer that I shipped off to the test team tonight. It hightlights some of the new features including:

  • New Property Grid
  • Detachable, floatable, pinnable, Simable windows
  • Folder browser to view any directory, not just The Sims game dir
  • And more stuff I can’t remember right now because of some kind of mind-control device attached to my head.

Click on an image for the full size experience. Enjoy.



Tools for The Sims are F-U-N

Hi guys,

Okay, so maybe I’m just being annoying now but I’m really pumped about the new SimExplorer. I have a couple of things to do tonight but will be sending it out to the test group later (thanks to everyone who donated their time). Things have been going swimmingly and I think I’m over my Sims slump. Writing tools for the game is fun again.

First off, this is a rewrite (using snippets of code) from the previous version. All memory bugs and whatnot are gone and performance has been increased quite a bit. There are also a lot of new features like integration with the Windows menu (right click on a file and you can do whatever you would normally do with Windows Explorer to that file, send to a mail recipient, copy/cut/paste, etc.). Also some more resources support has been added and the ability to browse any directory is there now.

Basically it should have all the features people have been wanting for sometime. Yeah, I know it’s been like a coons age (whatever that amounts to) getting this stuff done but you get what you pay for right?

Now it’s off to the other 10,000 things I have on my Sims TODO list as well as cracking into the new Sims 2 file formats. Seeya.

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New forum for SimExplorer

I thought it was about time to split out and create a new forum for SimExplorer discussions. SimExplorer (based on download counts and talking to people) is one of the most popular programs on this site so I figured it deserved it’s down forum. I’ve been working on the new version of SimExplorer all weekend (the most Sims work I’ve done in a long time in such a stretch, usually it’s an hour here or an hour there) and would like to gather feedback and discuss things. It’s an open forum so the testers will be in there talking about the new version.

The big question with SimExplorer is HOW do you want to view resources? What I mean is, how should SimExplorer present the information to you to be most effective in whatever you do with it. That, I think, is the key to making SimExplorer the #1 tool for The Sims and making it worth your time using it. Let me know what you think by making your way to the forum and lets collaborate. See you there!

You can access the new SimExplorer forum directly via this link here.

SimExplorer Update

Hi guys,

I have the day to finish the release for the testers of the new SimExplorer. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to pursue a certain path of development, so I had to shift back to a more traditional way of doing things. Oh well. There’s still lots of neat stuff being updated in SimExplorer that people have been asking for (auto-interpreting BCF files is one of them) so it’s all good.

I get asked to make Mac versions of my tools all the time, (no, the screenshot below is not my program) unfortunately I’ve never been able to find the time to pursue this. I did however want to point you to a great site for what looks to be a great Mac tool. IFFSnooper has been around for quite sometime but it looks really impressive. Actually the update to SimExplorer uses a layout similar to the one below for previewing walls as I thought it was a better implementation than I did (hope Peter doesn’t mind). So if you have a Mac and want to poke around in your IFF files check it out here.

Best UI… ever

This thing called FileMatrix has been making it’s rounds on the blog scene. Personally I think everyone should build all apps like this. Just imagine the extra buttons you would get at 1600×1200 res? The uber-cool selling feature this guy publishes? “Manage files using up to 10 vertical columns”. Wow, I never thought about doing that.

UPDATE: Looks like the author is either seeing the light or found out everyone was linking to his site. The screenshot has been cleaned up since the original (as best as one can clean something like this up).

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