Gonzo blogging from the Annie Leibovitz of the software development world.

Month: April 2002 (Page 1 of 7)

Texture maps for The Sims

Hi guys. Found something else that might be of interest to some. Some of you might be into the whole skinning thing. That is, creating skins (2D bitmaps) for your Sim characters. Most of you might make them in Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop, then fire up SimShow to see your work, edit, rinse, repeat, etc. etc. You might be interested in checking out a tool called Ultimate Unwrap3D. This program lets you load up the SKN file (and bitmap) and edit it in the program, showing you the results immediately. Yet another tool for your collection and if only I had enough time to write all the tools in the world. Unfortunately, it isn’t freeware and the save feature is disabled in the demo but if you want to take a look you can check it out here. Also remember to grab the Sims plug-in to load up your SKN files. Let me know how it works (and if it works, some programs claim to work with SKN files but fail miserably with the UV mappings that Maxis uses). Enjoy.

Grow your own Sims?

On a somewhat interesting game development front, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has released a program called Virtual U, a virtual university simulator. Virtual U is designed to foster better understanding of management practices in American colleges and universities. If you check out the screenshots, it looks like The Sims (or maybe closer to SimCity) and offers various levels of micro and macro management. The program is used by more than 35 schools to train next generation of university leaders. The kicker is that it comes with complete source code and can be easily compiled with a copy of Visual C++ 6.0 and DirectX. I haven’t looked at the source and I’m sure it might be a little overwhelming to some but if you’re looking for a complete simulation engine, you might want to check it out. Who knows, maybe you can tweak it to make the next great Sim game? You can find the game here.


Update (CC-2 etc)

Hi folks,

A little update from me. I’ve been busy this week doing some philosophy and a lot of math. Result: 44 pages about GPS and a lot of calculations in it. We had to include all calculations and information sources we had used so that adds up another 60 pages… Lucky me I did this with two other classmates.

Finally, I’ve finished Career Creator 2. I’m now working on a little tutorial to get you started. NOTE: I’m not going to release the program right now. I want it beta tested first. I’ve already got a lot of beta testers, only need to get some nice agreements out. Have to write these up as well. I’ll be having two weeks off school next weeks. So that gives me plenty of time. My plans: write a little tutorial, have you keep some thumb rules in mind, write beta test agreements, spread the tool to the testers, have them test, after testing have it released and have the careers my beta testers hopefully made online at TSR if Steve cooperates a bit. Then you have the tool and some careers you can download as well. Sounds like a plan, eh?

Just to clear some things up. Some of you used Career Creator 1. The new version will do lots more. Then the export/import format of Career Creator 1 is old and not to be used. Things Career Creator 2 will do:

· change the salary, the car, the begin and end hours

· change the amount of friends and skills needed

· change the skins and textures and accessories associated with a job (no preview)

· change the mood changes due to work

· change the names and descriptions (male and female) of the careers and jobs

· change the icons of the careers (both the large blue one as the ones in the queue)

· change the chance cards, these sudden job transfers or bonuses, the sound it plays and this text that pops up

· and all of this can be done in any language…. with a “Set All” button

· importing and exporting careers to be distributed to other people

Something you won’t be able to do is adding new careers. You can only replace existing careers. I added a career track, made the icons array larger, copied some texts etc etc… made sure the data for a new career would be there. I poked around in the Neighborhood.iff file to get Bob Newbie to do my new added career track. The Sims had him be unemployed instead of earning money. So this means we’ll be stuck with 15 career tracks, school and household chores. You’ll also not be able to change the school ‘career’. The reason: it is not the same kind of career track as the adult tracks. It works differently and would make my program a lot more complicated.

So…. Any suggestions what I should add to the new tool? I think all you need is in there. Though I’m sure the first thing everyone does is changing salary to $10.000, you should (that’s not must, but should) follow some thumb rules, guide lines regarding making careers. Haven’t made them all up yet, but these will be written in such a way that it will keep the game the way it used to be: funny, addictive, realistic, but with just that little bit of exaggeration that keeps it all cool.

Hey, catcha later!

Tick tock, tick tock…

Hi guys. Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. My new job has me managing all the development services at CP so I’m being wined and dined by vendors, flown all over the place to see new products and generally treated like a geek king. Hence I haven’t been able to get much work done in blueland, answer my emails or generally be of much use to anyone. Anyways, I’m just delving into all the emails now and getting back into my compiler to get some fun stuff (this site) done. A short absence but I’m back. Please lock your trays in their upright position and fasten your seatbelts. The movie is about to begin…

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