Post by orangemittens on Dec 28, 2014 15:42:04 GMT -5
This is documentation going over the various resources present in a Sims 4 object.package and how they are represented in Sims 4 Studio. It is not meant to be an exhaustive, in-depth description of each resource but, rather, an introduction to each resources with a general description of the purpose that resource fills. While this document will touch on ways of editing those resources using Sims 4 Studio the editing of specific types of resources is covered more fully in tutorials devoted solely to the discussion of editing a particular resource . There is a full list of all Sims 4 Studio forum tutorials HERE.
The Studio Tab
This is the Catalog Screen you will see when you clone an object either to recolor it or to make a new 3D mesh item.
1. The model viewer shows the EA item and will display any swatches that item has. A swatch is a different color/texture that can be displayed on the item in the game. You can rotate the view and zoom closer or further away from the model in the model viewer.
2. This is the Swatch Panel. It contains all the swatches an EA item has and each is represented by a colored square. You can see what the swatch will look like on the model by clicking on the swatch in this panel. You can also add and delete swatches from the .package using the Remove Swatch button to the right of the panel. The panel has a scroll feature to allow you to see all the swatches EA made for the item easily. When importing new swatches to overwrite EA's swatch the one which is overwritten is whichever one you have currently clicked on.
3. The object's Name. This shows what EA named the item but you can change it to whatever new name you want your recolor/new mesh to have.
4 The Description: This shows whatever description EA gave the item but you can change it to your description.
5. Price: This shows whatever EA decided the item should cost. You can change this to any new price that is greater than 0. This number will be used for purchase and sale of the item in the game.
6. This is the Warehouse tab. Clicking this gives you access to every resource in your object.package. More on this later.
1.This is the Texture Screen you see when you click the texture tab.
2. Note the Model Viewer and swatch thumbnail boxes stay in place.
3. You can use the Add and Remove Swatch buttons from all tabs also.
4. Swatch thumbnails can be changed from this tab. You can include up to 3 colors on a thumbnail. Right clicking a colored box in the Swatch Thumnail Colors box will bring up a color eyedropper that can be used to select a color from the model in the viewer or anywhere else on the Studio screen. Left clicking brings up a color picker box if you prefer to type in specific colors. Note that this only changes the thumbnail and will not affect the texture on the model.
5. The Diffuse Image, enclosed here by the black rectangle, is the image which you see on the model that makes it look like different colored fabrics, wood, metal, and etc. Directly to the left of the image are the import and export buttons that allow the EA image to be exported, edited, and then reimported with your new texture showing in place of the one EA put there. While many EA items have only one diffuse image type that comes in different colors there are some that have more than one type of diffuse image. If an item has more than one diffuse image they will all be listed in the Textures box and they can all be separately exported/imported. An example is an EA bed. Many of these have a diffuse image for the bedding and a second diffuse image for the bed frame. Each of these two diffuse image types comes in many colors so the item can have its colors changed in the game.
A diffuse image can be imported as a .png or as a .dds.
1. This is the Meshes screen you will see when you click the Meshes tab.
2. The drop down LODs menu lists all the LODs in the .package. LOD stands for Level of Detail and each LOD is a resource set that includes meshes and data that governs the behavior of the LOD in the game. EA uses the LOD system to speed up render times. When a player is close to the object in the game and can see fine detail LOD 0 is displayed. This is the highest poly mesh in the .package. When the player begins to zoom out from the mesh LOD 1 is displayed instead. This mesh is lower poly and, thus, isn't quite as detailed. This speeds game render time but doesn't affect the appearance of the game much because the mesh is only seen from a distance that is too far for fine details to matter much. EA items have varying numbers of LODs depending on what type of object it is. Some outdoor plants, for example will have many LODs with the lowest consisting of a single plane or two.
When you select any given LOD from the list you can export it as a .blend for editing in Blender. You can import edited or brand new meshes in to overwrite the original on this tab as well. Both of these steps can be taken using the Import and Export buttons that are directly below the drop down menu.
Many EA meshes have shadow planes that appear as white squares or rectangles below or behind the main mesh. These white squares/rectangles will not appear as white squares or rectangles in the game. Instead they will appear as filmy greyish alpha elements below items sitting on a surface and behind items that are placed on a wall. In this way they serve as a stationary shadow that increased the illusion that the player is looking at a 3S scene instead of pictures on a flat computer screen. Shadow mesh groups are mapped onto an image that is shared by all EA items that have shadow plane meshes. This image, sometimes called the blob sheet, will be pulled into the .blend along with the diffuse image and the meshes themselves so that you can alter the shadow plane mesh/map to fit your new item.
3. Below the Import and Export buttons is the mesh vertices and poly count data. As you select different LODs from the drop down these numbers will change reflecting the different poly counts of the mesh sets in the various LODs. These display the total vertices and polys for all the meshes in the LOD added together.
4. This section contains a list of all the meshes within a LOD and the shader that the mesh uses. The numbers represent the vertex and poly count for each mesh individually. The dropshadow shader will automatically map to the EA shadow sheet, aka, blob sheet. There is a more complete discussion of the dropshadow shader in the tutorial on how to edit/fix an object's shadow. This shader and the Phong shader (solid texture as you see on a sofa or table, etc.) are among the most commonly used shaders in the game.
5. The Footprint section contains the Update Design Tool height check box. In the game the design tool allows players to select different swatches to be displayed on the object. It appears as a box that EA usually has show up directly above the object. If you have cloned the item as a 3D mesh the footprint section will show up and it will be checked by default. If you leave the check in the box Studio will calculate the height of the design tool's placement for you based on the highest vertex in your mesh. If you don't want the design tool height to be calculated for you you can remove the check from the box. If you clone the item as a recolor the Footprint section will not show up because you do not need to change the design tool height or the footprint.
6. The Footprint section also contains a button that allows you to direct Studio to generate a footprint for you based on the size of your mesh. Depending on the type of item you're working with you may want to have Studio automatically generate this and you may not. If an item has complex routing footprints it is best to not auto-generate a footprint because Studio is not able to retain special footprints while it's calculating the standard footprint. In the game a standard footprint determines where the "edges" of the item are for the purpose of placing the item and blocking Sims from walking through something that is supposed to be solid. So, for example, if two items have a normal object footprint they will not allow themselves to be placed on the same tile in the game unless the "move objects on cheat" is engaged.
7. This is a closer look at the LODs list. This list will vary by item. Generally, but not always, an EA item will have a Shadow LOD for each of the standard LODs. Shadow LODs are not visible in the game except when the item is placed outdoors. Then it is used by the game as the "shadow caster" to create the sun shadow that is seen on the ground when sun shines on the object. Often, but not always, EA will make the shadow LOD lower in poly count than its corresponding standard LOD.
1. This is the Tags page you will see when you click the Tags tab.
2. You can change the item's color tags by altering which boxes have check marks in them.
3. You can change which catalog/subcatalog the item will be displayed in by altering the function check boxes. Note that changing these tags will only affect where in the catalog the item shows up (ex. comfort vs. surfaces). Tuning determines the item's behavior tags do not. (more on that further on).
4. You can pick broad category tags like Sofa as well as narrower categories like Chair (Dining).
5. If you have added swatches before doing your tags you can click the Apply To All Swatches so that all the swatches have the same category tagging without having to scroll through each swatch individually.
1. This is the page you will see when you click the Rig/Slots tab.
2. The rig box will contain a list of all the bones in the .package.
3. Bones are displayed as various primitive shapes in different colors. Deco bones are cylinders. As shown below the selected bone will light up in the model viewer.
4. Most bones are parented to another bone...often to the transform bone.
5. Below the box showing parenting is the box listing the x,y, and z coordinates of the bone. These numbers determine where the item will show up in relation to the mesh in the game.
6. This is the Warehouse tab. Clicking this will open Studio's resource (aka package) editor so that you can see all of the resources in the .package. Some .packages will open automatically on the Warehouse tab instead of the Studio tab. If this occurs it means that the .package lacks resources needed to form a complete .package able to display in the model viewer or that it is not a single .package. For example, if you browse the FullBuilds with Studio this happens on the Warehouse tab instead of on the Studio tab.
The Warehouse Tab
StringTable: the String Table lines, here enclosed by the blue rectangle on the left, are what allow EA's catalog names and descriptions to show up in multiple languages. They have theirs translated for a lot of languages so there are a lot of StringTable lines. You can tell what language each is for by the small flag shown on the far left side. If you want to expand the small flags to see them more clearly you can drag the line just to the right of the flags further to the right. Currently, Studio recolors display only the language the creator uses for the catalog description. The String Tables must be maintained however because otherwise people using a language different than that of the creator would see the word "Debug" in place of the name and description.
Rig: The rig contains an object's bones (aka joints) and IkChains (if it has any). If you click on the Bones (Collection) the Editing Bones box will pop up giving you the list of all the bones the object has. Clicking on a bone in the bone list will allow you to see its properties. As discussed above much of the editing needed for a standard rig edit can be done in the Rig/Slots tab on the Studio side.
One thing to be aware of is that items having a "generic" rig may be referencing a rig that EA has many other items referencing...that is they all share the same exact generic rig resource.
Slot: The Slot resource contains all of the slots in a .package. Slots serve a variety of purposes and each has a corresponding bone. If you edit the rig using Studio's rig/slot editor Studio will automatically update your slot transformations (changes to the x, z, y coordinates that determine position) so they match the corresponding bone. If you edit them through the Warehouse instead you will need to use the Tools/Modding/Rigsync feature to match them up. Some examples of slot types include container slots, effects slots, and routing slots.
One thing to be aware of is that items having a "generic" slot resource may be referencing a slot resource that EA has many other items referencing...that is they all share the same exact generic slot resource.
DST Images: DST images serve several purposes and their appearance reflects the purpose they have. For objects, these images are referenced from within the Model LOD and Model resources (shown below in the Model LOD section).
DST Image: Specular - This image serves to alter the level of shininess the object has. EA sometimes includes more than one specular if they want some textures to appear differently on a given item. Unlike the Diffuse images these are currently edited through the Warehouse tab and view rather than the Studio tab and Texture view. If you click on the DST line for the Specular you will see the image itself on the right along with its dimensions.
The import and export buttons for the Specular are below the image but for recolors it is rarely necessary to edit this unless you want to increase or decrease the shininess EA put on the original texture for the object. An example is removing the shiny glass appearance on many of the EA paintings. For new meshes it is usually necessary to edit the specular because otherwise EA's pattern of shininess will show up on your new object.
A specular can be saved as .png or as .dds for import into Studio.
One thing to be aware of is that items with a "blank" specular may be referencing a specular that is shared by other objects.
DST Image: Bump - The bump image is used to enhance the visual illusion of surface variation. It increases the object's ability to look 3D instead of flat. For example, a bump can increase the illusion that a flat plane is really wrinkled fabric. Unlike the diffuse image, but like the specular image, the bump is currently imported and exported from the Warehouse tab and view rather than the Studio tab and texture view. When you click on the DST Bump line the bump image will be displayed on the right along with its dimensions. The import and export buttons for it are below the image.
For a recolor altering the bump is not recommended in general unless you are drastically changing the texture of the item (ex. you're changing a wood surface to a tile surface). This image is made to match the mesh and if you aren't altering the mesh in any way there is usually no real reason to alter the bump.
For a new mesh it is almost always desirable to create a new bump even if you make it a completely flat bump.
Bumps are alpha images and can be saved for import to Studio as .png or .dds.
One thing to be aware of is that items may be referencing a bump image used by other items in the game.
DST Image: Diffuse - This is the image that is altered to make something look like dark wood instead of light, or floral fabric instead of plaid, and so on. Editing this is best done through the Studio tab rather than the Warehouse tab. EA items contain variable numbers of diffuse Images. Some, like the sofa used for this thread, have over 20 while others have only one. Diffuse images can be alpha images if they require transparent areas or non-alpha images.
They can be saved as .png or as .dds for import back into Studio.
As discussed above the Model LODs contain meshes and other data that determines the behavior of the LOD in the game. Studio has 3 tabs for them in the Warehouse. The 3D Preview tab shows the item with a checkerboard pattern displayed on it rather than the diffuse image that is displayed in the Studio model viewer. The Warehouse 3D preview, like the Studio tab model viewer, is a dynamic 3D preview that you can use to scroll around the object and zoom in and out.
Clicking the Data tab brings up identification information (Group, Type, & Instance values) and the Meshes section of the LOD.
Clicking the Edit Items button in the Meshes section brings up a popup where you can see more data contained in the meshes. On the left you will see a list of all the meshes in the LOD and which shader they use. You can see if the item has Geometry States (separate meshes the item displays in the game under different circumstances. Ex. a toilet that has different water levels displayed depending on usage/flushing), you can see the Bounds (vertex data defining the size of the mesh), shader data, and more.
As mentioned above, the Model LOD (and Model) resource contains the reference to images that are applied to the mesh. To find this reference, first click on the mesh and click the Edit Items button in the Material/Entries section:
The Editing Entries box will contain a list of VariantIds. There is a VariantId set for each swatch in the .package. There is also a default set that EA includes in just about every object in the game. Skip the default set and select the first Diffuse VariantId on the list. Click the Edit Items box in the Material section:
The Editing Items box will contain all the data inside the VariantId for the clean, unburnt state of this object. One of the lines is the reference to the diffuse image that is applied to the mesh when the swatch corresponding to this VariantId set is chosen in the game:
The same is true for each Model LOD in the .package and for the Model resource as well.
The Model resource contains the lowest LOD the .package contains so which LOD it contains will vary by item. It the original item has only one LOD then that LOD will be in the Model Resource. If the original item has 3 LODs the .package will have two Model LOD resources and the Model Resource will contain LOD 2.
The Model resource also contains data that tells the game at what distance any given LOD should be displayed and this data is present as a range of values. When the player views the item at a point in a LODs viewing range that is the LOD they will see. If they move further toward the item to a point that is no longer in that range the LOD will disappear. EA has their viewing range values set up so that as one LOD disappears another takes its place so the player does not see the item winking in and out of view in their game. Overall, what this does is allow the player to see the highest detail mesh when close up and the lowest detail mesh when they're viewing the item from far away. Again, EA does this to speed up game render time.
The Model resource also contains data that says when an item should "fade" when the player zooms very close to it in the game. An example of this is some lights. As you zoom up to them in the game they fade out. EA does this to allow players to better view whatever it is they're trying to see instead of having the view blocked by items that are in the way. This property can, at times, be unwanted. If you don't want your item to fade the Model resource is the place to edit out that behavior.
The light resource contains any light sources the item may have. Even items with no light source contain a light resource but it will be empty. To see and edit the lights of an item click the Edit Items button in the Lights section. If the item is a lamp, for example, you will see the data that describes the type of light it is, how big the light cast by it will be, where it will show up in relation to the object's mesh, and what color it will be.
The light resource also contains Occluders. Many items do not have occluders and in this case clicking the Edit Items button here will show an empty popup. Occluders are resources that tell the game engine this item casts a shadow on walls indoors. They determine the size and position of the shadow that is cast. They can be edited or deleted from the Editing Occluders pop up box.
As discussed above, the footprint resource contains data that tells the game where the object's boundaries are for the purpose of keeping objects from colliding (occupying the same space) and to keep Sims from walking through solid objects that should be obstacles. It also contains data that determines where the design tool will show up in relation to the object. Both of these elements of the footprint resource are being handled on the Studio tab but, for special cases, you can edit these fields manually in the Warehouse.
There are two general forms that footprints can take. The first is a linked footprint. A linked footprint is a basic footprint that is shared by multiple items in the game. If an object doesn't have a linked footprint it has its own footprint that may or may not be referenced by another object.
This resource contains references to all the other resources in the .package and serves to link them all together. For example, as shown below, the Rig is listed and if you click the Edit Items button in that section it will bring up a pop up box showing the Rig's Type, Group, and Instance number.
The Object Definition also contains the Tuning and Tuning ID that determine the object's behavior in the game. If you want a table to behave like a chair these are the fields that need to be changed.
Note that changes made to the Object Definition should be made to every Object Definition resource in the .package. There is a separate Object Definition for each swatch the item has whether it's an original EA swatch or a new swatch you added. For this reason, if you're planning on making edits to this resource you should do so before adding a ton of swatches...otherwise you're making extra work for yourself.
The Object Catalog resource contains a variety of data fields ranging from DevCategoryFlags that determines if an item is buyable or not to checkboxes that let you change placement properties. It's a mixed bag and most of the features people want to edit have been covered by tutorials elsewhere in the Build/Buy/Tuning section here at Studio forums.
Note that, like the Object Definition resource, there is a separate Object Catalog resource for each swatch in the .package. If you plan to edit this resource it's best to do so before you add swatches if possible so you can save yourself some work.