Thought I would regale you with what’s up with blueprint, how all the tools fit together and the process for creating objects with the new version.

First off, version 2.0 will *not* support multi-tiles. I know, groan, moan and all that. I’m sure you’re about to compose that lovely hate mail and say “What’s the point of the program if it can’t do that!”. Unfortunately, it’s just not in the cards right now. The engine is *almost* there to allow for this type of thing. To create multi-tile objects, the 3D image has to be sliced up in 3D world space. For Maxis, this is currently done with a 3DS plugin and the 3D Studio API is much more full featured than my own (obviously), so they have cool things like 3D bitmaps with depth values and such and fully integrates to their ray casting engine when it does rendering. blueprint just does simple rendering for now (but belive me, it looks nice 🙂 but in the near future the ray casting engine will be beefed up a bit and you’ll be able to do multi-tile objects. When? I don’t know exactly but it’ll come. The sprite editor also gets way more complicated to handle this too.

Okay, so what will this version do and how does it do it? Basicallly the sequence is: Create (3D), Clone, Assign (Sprites), Edit, Export.

So first you have to create some 3D content (import, build, whatever). At some point (before any other object functions take place) you have to pick the base object for your creation and clone it. This is done through the ObjectCloner program (via a menu in blueprint). blueprint passes it the name of the current document (so you have to save something first, even if it’s a blank document) and the object is cloned into the blueprint directory with this name. You can go back and change the base object at any time (however you’ll loose any changes you’ve made in the Object Editor).

The object editor lets you change the text and property values of the object (name, price, description, etc.). Just like the current one in blueprint and accessed through the object menu.

The sprite editor is for assigning sprites to blueprint images. Before it’s run, blueprint exports all the sprites for the current scene. Each mesh generates a separate sprite for each rotation/zoom so it’s grouped by meshes right now . So if you have say a table with metal legs and a wood top, you’ll be exporting two sprites for the table (with 12 images each made up of 4 rotations and 3 zooms). In the sprite editor, you have a list of the sprites to replace in the object file, a sprite preview, a list of meshes to select and a blueprint preview. You pick a sprite to replace, select “Replace this sprite” and then pick the mesh(es) to replace the sprite with. For the table example, you’ll have to select both the table mesh and legs. The bitmap is assembled on the fly and you

can combine whatever meshes you want to create the final sprite image. When this is done for each sprite you want to replace (you don’t have to replace them all if you don’t want to) then you click OK and a sprite control file is created describing what meshes replace what sprites is created.

Once youre done then you choose export and the sprite control file is read, the blueprint mesh bitmaps are regenerated (you might have changed the mesh since the assignment), the zbuffers and alpha channels are created and it’s all imported into the sprite. Then once that’s done, a preview of the assembled object is generated from the IFF file and then the catalog and speech icons are created from these and inserted into the IFF file. At this point, you’re all ready to go into The Sims and check it out.

That’s about it. Figured I’d give you some idea about how all this stuff works. If you have any specific questions let me know.

BTW, yesterdays somewhat obscure post was a reference from a movie. Obviously the majority of the you didn’t get it. 10 points to the first one that guesses it. Leave a comment and post your answer. I’ll tell you what it is tommorow.