Okay, okay. The gig is up. Yesterday’s page was really my April fools joke. If you paid attention then you would have noticed that the page was meant to resemble the Internet Explorer error page that some of us are so familiar with. In reality, it was a mock-up page that just looked like it and you could download blueprint from the page on a link near the bottom.

So enough of that. blueprint is out. Yup, at long last it’s available for object creation (although some may argue that the release itself is the April fools joke). Yes you can create objects but of course with a .0 release, there are some caveats. First, there’s no multi-tile support. Splitting 2D images into 3D shapes isn’t complete and still needs some work. If you remember old T-Rex from awhile back, he’s my first victim for muti-tile objects but only works in one rotation. Some more patching is needed to figure out how to make sure humpty dumpty gets back together. Second is the z-buffer generation. Due to some time constraints, I had to cheat a little and use a similar routine that Tmog uses to create the z-buffer channels. This works and does produce valid objects, but anyone who’s created objects this way knows it’s not quite right. Chairs for example might not always work since parts of the chair is supposed to be in front of the Sim when they’re sitting in it. Again, more work here for the next release to create much better z-buffers so all your objects are perfect!

Like I said, the objects created are perfectly valid and happy little objects. 3DS support is pretty good and I haven’t found any files yet that simply crash the system. You might not get all the materials/textures imported that are defined in 3D Studio but that’s generally because blueprint isn’t 3DS. Since there’s no multi-tile support in this release, you won’t see any sofas or large objects for cloning. I am happy to report though that blueprint is House Party compatible, so you can create new objects based on those if you have the new expansion pack. Please remember to let people know if they need Living Large or House Party to use your new objects.

blueprint is slowly rolling up various tools into itself (like a big blue hole in space if you will). The FAR compiler is a new tool built into blueprint. You can access it via the Tools menu. This dialog will allow you to create new FAR files (just like the FAR utility on the site here). The FAR files created with this tool are correct and do not contain the full paths so FAR creation should be a snap. Watch for more tools to be added in future releases like the object browser (SimExplorer) with FAR viewing capabilities. As well, I’ll be spending most of this week writing some tutorials on making new objects using 3DS files and creating ones using the tools blueprint provides (you can make some pretty neat stuff without any 3D knowledge). With each tutorial posted, I’ll post the files used to create it so you can learn by example.

Am I taking a break? A rest? A relaxation period while blueprint churns away? No way! Now that you have it your hot little hands, I’m stepping up development and adding new features (and bug-fixes) on a weekly basis. So jump right in and contrinbute in the forums. Bug reports are always welcome. The program can only get better from here on in (well, unless I’m a complete idiot but we’ll see where things go from here). The big picture? The long term goal? Besides the fact that I have a few other secret projects cooking away that will be revealed in due time, the long term goal of blueprint is simple (or complex, depending on how you look at it). To be a swiss-army knife for The Sims and provide you with many different ways to customize objects, animations and other good stuff.

So welcome to the beginning…