Avatar Content Tools and Drivable Cars!
Since the last blog post, we’ve been busy adding a ton of object types to the collection of upgradable ones. This has enabled a ton of objects to be used for greening that were not usable before, and allows for much more freedom in designing themed properties. Here’s a list of everything we’ve covered:
- Fridges, Stoves
- Baths and Showers
- Fun Objects (PCs, televisions, bubble maker, pool table, basketball… etc)
- Chairs, Armchairs and Sofas
- Some “fun” upgrades. Not the category, just ones that do weird things…
- Drivable Cars
Wait – you never announced that last one! Oh, but we did… on Discord! That’s right, the blog fell behind again, but better late than never.
In this post I’ll be talking about what drivable cars mean, and about some new tools I’m introducing to Volcanic to help content creation in the future.
(the accessory and animation in the above picture are not an actual thing we will be distributing (pls no sue disney), though it is inevitable that custom accessories will make it to the game at some point!)
A while back, we introduced some decorative car objects as “premium” items in the decorative category. Immediately there were requests to make them drivable to other lots, but alas! Technology simply was not there yet.
With a recent update, I introduced a new controller object (and a few extra inventory systems) which activate when a player joins the lot. Through some smart engineering, I made a system that can look for “vehicle keys” in your inventory, which contain a reference to whichever car you’ve set as drivable. When you join a property and it finds these keys, it spawns the vehicle at the edge of the lot and you drive in with it, rather than just appearing at the mailbox! This is especially effective for showing off how ridiculously rich you are, if you’ve shelled out the big bux for the limo.
You can start driving any one of the purchasable cars – but first they must be upgraded. Upgrades to make purchasable vehicles drivable can be as much as the vehicle itself, so you should be prepared to shell out for the most premium vehicles! When you upgrade the vehicle, clicking on it should reveal a number of interactions that let you get keys for it, or return them. When you get the keys for a car, they will appear in your inventory til you clear them out. As long as these keys are present (and you still own a car of that type), you will drive into any properties you join with your selected car! Pretty cool, right?
Currently the selection is limited, as the other non-remeshed cars look super chunky in 3D or with any 3D effects that might be applied to them (more on that in the next updates). However, in future it may be possible to recolour some types of car as well, giving you even more opportunities to make things personal.
Could there be cheaper vehicles in the future, for people to “get started” with? Absolutely yes – as remeshes become available for existing carpools they will become purchasable in the catalog, and you will be able to upgrade them to get car keys. We will also be creating some of our own original vehicles, some of which you might only be able to obtain via an event! They don’t even have to be cars, or have an engine at all? Stay tuned for more on that.
The Avatar Tool
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a tool within volcanic that gives you more control over the avatar content system. With the Avatar Tool, you have the ability to create new Animations and Accessories for use in interactions. This is possible thanks to a new GLTF importer/exporter that can import and export meshes, animations, textures and skeletons from the game! Export existing avatar+accessory+animation combinations, edit them in blender to change or add more, and export back to GLTF to put into the game.
I’ve created a few guides for creating content like this with the Avatar Tool, available on the FreeSO Wiki on Github. You could also just go for the pictures. Check it out here:
Right now we don’t yet support adding character outfits, handgroups or purchasable collections, though that will likely change very soon. The focus right now is on extending the possible interactions we can add to the game – particularly the ability to add new person to person interactions to the game via new animations!
This will give us a lot more freedom when making new objects for the game, and give animators or character artists a way to contribute to the project. Eventually, you will also be able to create animations and skins for TS1 as well!
With the upcoming update to add Hybrid 2D/3D graphics and various optimisations, I’ve prepared quite a few changes to Volcanic that should make creating content and even reading it a lot easier. A lot of them are bugfixes, though quite a few features have been added to improve object creation!
The most obvious thing is support for comments, labels and gotos. Comments can be added to primitives individually, but can also be placed by themselves at any place in the tree. Labels/Gotos allow you to avoid large arrows that cover the entire BHAV by pointing them instead at a goto, which teleports execution back to the corresponding label.
But what is support for these two things without being able to save the actual layout of the tree? Yes, now the layout no longer resets when you re-open the BHAV editor, which will make it a lot easier to edit complex trees over multiple sessions.
All of this is actually mirroring what the Maxis internal format “TREE” was capable of doing, which managed layout and comments for their BHAVs. Unfortunately most of these have been stripped from TS1 and TSO, but they are still present in the TSO Pre-Alpha… and, would you believe it, The Sims Bustin Out? Yes, Volcanic can now read iffs from that game too. If you have any lying around, you can open them up and check out some TS1-derivative trees with their original layout and comments.
Finally, we now support object creation for TS1 in Simitone. It’s a little rough right now as there are so many more rules for objects to not crash in the original, but we’re excited to see what this enables for modding TS1 and potentially even The Sims Bustin Out.
When this version is released, our Water Balloons objects will have all of their scripts fully commented, making them a brilliant place to start learning about the more complicated features+uses of SimAntics. Hopefully this should inspire some more of you to give object creation a shot!
New supported characters!
Not the sim kind of character, the font kind of character! Recently we’ve seen a surge of Thai language players, which was quite surprising when none of the characters they type with appeared ingame! To help with this a little, I added support for multiple character sets to the game, through “extension fonts”. This is still a work in progress, but should allow extra characters from other fonts to be included in addition to the ones in the main font, ideally with users able to drop in their own extensions as needed. Future improvements regarding unicode characters in lot descriptions and direct messages are still a work in progress.
Additionally, Cosmatevs on Github has recently contributed a pull request adding many latin, cyrillic and greek characters that the original font did not have! This should greatly help with UI translations, and object translations when they are fully supported. Check it out here:
Whater bout Water Balloons???
As mentioned previously, water balloons are a seasonal catalog item that only lasts for the summer. We’re already a little into autumn, but I figured I’d give you a little more warning before RIPPING them from the catalog. You’ll only have a few days more to purchase them, so get your orders in!
As always, seasonal catalog items will not disappear from your inventory when they are removed from the catalog. You can hit santa with water balloons if you want, but I doubt he’ll be impressed.
That’s all for now. I hope you’re all doing well, and I’ll see you in the next blog post!