Hey ho bluefans. Okay, so here’s the deal. A long time ago, on a hard drive far, far away lived an idea. A suite of applications for The Sims called blueprint. Originally I had planned to put together a whole suite of applications for The Sims which blueprint was one of them. Okay, so maybe things are sort of like that now. SimExplorer, blueprint, Far Edit, etc. however I envisioned more of an integrated suite, not disjointed applications that didn’t know about each other.

Well, thing took a turn last month with blueprint. I was hobbling together the pieces that make up blueprint and lo and behold I ran into a wall. The advanced 3D functionality that I had been adding didn’t mesh (no pun intended) with the Sims stuff. So I was at a crossroads. No matter what I did it just wouldn’t work. I didn’t want to abandon my 3D stuff since it was coming along nicely. Then it hit me. Did blueprint really need all the Sims stuff inside of it? Not really. It was really just a transport to get your 3D objects into 2D images and get those images into the IFF files. Sure there were other things like menu and object editing but again, this really wasn’t necessary to be included inside of blueprint (like it is now). So I started putting together and ripping apart code to make this all happen and it went very well. I’m pleased to announce that the initial components are done and will be released shortly (this weekend).

These are things I call mini-apps. They provide a single point of functionality all wrapped up inside a single application. For example, the object cloning that happens when you start a project is now in a separate app called, amazingly enough, Object Cloner. The menu editor, sprite editor and other apps are packaged this way as well.

So what does this mean? Plenty. First off, it means that I’ll be releasing this little things starting this weekend and over the next few weeks (there are a bunch of them). You can use them if you want on their own. They’re meant to be used with blueprint, however, if you feel you want to just edit an object’s name, price, description or (tada) motives, then go to it. You just pass a filename on the command line and poof, instant object editing. True, you could still use Tmog for this, but it just seems a little cleaner this way. However, one of the other payoffs is the fact that you can associate the IFF extension with these gems, so double click on an IFF file and poof, instant object editing. Also, I’m adding context menus to SimExplorer and Far Edit (soon to be renamed FarExplorer) to integrate with these tools as well. So object, menu and sprite editing will all be possible from inside these programs as well.

All in all, it’s pretty slick and makes for a more flexible system than is in place today. Like I said, I’ll be releasing one or maybe two modules today with more coming every few days over the next couple of weeks. Then finally the release of the new blueprint 2.0 that will incorporate all these tools and give you a pretty powerful suite of applications for object creation at your fingertips. Well, that’s the plan anyways.