Wrapping up the blog

Hi guys,

Just wanted to say that I’m going to be wrapping up the blogging on this site shortly (but not the site itself). Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to blog on a regular basis so I’m just going to turn the news here into a static page. I do have a list of things that I’m going to get to someday on this site and the software here. Namely:

  • Updates to the current tools with the latest expansion packs
  • Whatever little Sims 2 capabilities I can add in (probably only to SimExplorer, not looking to build any new tools)
  • Add whatever technical specs that are not available on the Sims 1 formats that I can

I don’t have time for any Sims 2 tools, but from what I’ve seen out there, there are plenty of smart guys doing great stuff with this right now. These days my focus is now on doing some work with Microsoft products (and some public speaking at user groups and events across the country) and some new game development. I’ll still plug away at the Sims stuff as I can find time but can’t commit to any schedules or tools these days. In the meantime, enjoy what’s here and keep on Simming!

Sims 2 Recolouring

Besides the fact that some people will say I mis-spelt colour, someone has put together a recoloured object for The Sims 2. No details on what he’s done but stay tuned. You can check out the thread here over at the Hackers Resource forums. Enjoy.

Sims 2 Modding

My Sims 2 install has stabilized and now I get to check out all the cool stuff in it. Still never have time to play it (but then nobody really “plays” The Sims, I consider it more of a toy than a game). Interesting stuff going in in the modding community as people pick apart file formats and talk about mods. As for any Sims 2 software coming out of this shop, I still need to wrap up on my previous updates that I can return to now.

I’ve added 2 new forums, one on general discussions and one on file formats for The Sims 2 to the forums here. Check it out if you’re interested in these things. Also be sure to check out ModTheSims2.com for lots of great Sims 2 techy info.

No game for you… if you have CD burning software installed

Very interesting thread of conversations (and anger) happening in The Sims community these days.

EA says The Sims 2 will refuse to run if you have Nero, CloneCD or Roxio’s EasyCD installed on the same PC. Although they link to a patch to bypass this, a lot of people are upset by this. One person in the thread has filed with the BBB of San Mateo county. Some people are experiencing the problem, others don’t see it so it’s a crapshoot. A lot of people had the same problem with Doom 3 and CloneCD.

It’s interesting as I don’t have my normal software installed yet, after a few bouts with re-installing XP, I just haven’t got around to it. Normally I would be running Daemon tools so I can mount images that Microsoft sends me and I have Nero installed for burning data backups. I also find it interesting that the Sims 2 support message found here says that the game will not run if it detects “CD/DVD Emulation Software”. They list CloneCD, Nero, and Roxio as some titles. Maybe I’m just green but CD emulation software is what Daemon Tools or Virtual CD offer. Something that lets you mount an ISO image as a real image. I don’t see Nero or Roxio being these as they just offer you the ability to burn CDs.

I do agree with some of the masses. You should not have to uninstall legally purchased software to be able to run a legally purchased game title. I’m somewhat on the fence in that Maxis support is trying to do a balancing act here, but as one posted put it, the warez kiddies and crackers already have a fully working version that doesn’t have this problem. So now I can see there being a large number of legitimate users out there that are in the dark.

Feel free to add your pithy observations about this incident.

Sims 2 – First Impressions…

Well, not much to see because of this:

Yes, I have the lasted video drivers, DirectX, OpenGL, service packs, etc.

So far it looks slick. They’ve done a great job on the production value and the look is very slick. The system crashed on me when I first installed it. I did manage to get in and create a new Sim. The creation process is nice with some nice touches as you create your character (and having it react to what changes you make). Another crash. Then I tried to load him up into a new home. Crash again. I did turn off my real-time virus scan as that sometimes causes problems but c’mon. I’m not turning off my protection from that thing we call the internet when I play a game. So it’s back on again and I can’t get much farther in the game.

Very descriptive crash messages. No logs that I can find. Anyways, maybe as more people find things I’ll get back to actually trying to get into the game and playing it for a few hours. For now it’s off to check out the file formats and start messing with those.

Sims 2 object creation

Sims 2 seems to be out (seeing the Future Shop ads and checking the website here in Cowtown). I’ve been very passive with The Sims for the past few months and haven’t got any information about the formats used for objects, etc. so you guys know as much (if not more) than me. I am looking to pick it up and seeing what they are offering as tools. There’s been talk of people using Maya or perhaps GMAX for The Sims 2 but that has yet to be seen. If you do have any info let me know. From the buzz, people are saying that Maxis is going to be releasing more tools but again, I’ll believe it when I see it. Happy Simming!

Quick Update

Hi guys,

Just a quick update on what’s happening. Yes, things are still moving on this side of the fence. I just haven’t spent a lot of time lately with The Sims as lots of Work 1.0 stuff is being released and that’s consuming my brain matter right now.

As for the plan, the release of the new SimExplorer is imminent so that’s needs to happen soon. Also some other tools are coming. Not sure what’s going to happen to blueprint itself and The Sims 2 but don’t think it’s a big concern so I haven’t given it too many neurons.

I’m just spending the better part of the next few days rebuilding my system. When you upgrade your motherboard and processor, Windows XP decides that it won’t boot and makes you reinstall everything. Of course on a 80gb drive, it’s really hard to back everything up to do a clean install so it’s a juggling act. It only happens once or twice a year when I make a drastic upgrade but this time it’s my development system so now I have to go through the bother of reinstalling all my development tools, libraries, etc.

Anyways, things will be back up and compiling at the blue household shortly. Just wanted to let everyone (all 3 of you that visit this site) that I’m still alive and kicking. Same old story and all that crap. You know the drill. Nothing to see. Move along citizen.

Simventory Update

Hi guys,

There seems to be a pretty big value in advancing Simventory so in between bug fixing on SimExplorer I’ve taken a stab at getting Simventory off the ground. Below is the initial screenshot (click on it for a larger version that will open in a new window). Once the files are scanned, you select the game filter from the side bar. I think I’ll add a “User Created” filter or something that will let you only see the items that you’ve downloaded. The file list isn’t complete as right now it’s only tearing through IFF files so I have to load them up, count the objects and insert them instead of just the file resource, but you get the idea. Let me know if you have any ideas on where this should go as I’m just trying out different approaches to get the most effective use for the tool. I spent most of this morning looking around for other “inventory” type programs to see how they presented info so grabbed a few ideas from those. Reports and charts are next on showing you things like the total value of the objects or breakdown of object value by category.

UPDATE: I’ve updated the program to scan through IFF files and list the objects within and their price in the main display. The images below reflect this.

Simventory?

Hi guys,

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

http://web.archive.org/web/20030418000824/www.wwasims.com/ItemsTable/Electronics/

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.

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.