Transmogrifier Renovation Plan

Transmogrifer Renovation Plan

Don Hopkins (dhopkins@DonHopkins.com)

Transmogrifier Web Site

Expansion Pack Support

Windows XP Fixes

Installer

Update License Agreement

User Requested Features

Expansion Pack Support

Transmogrifier needs to be upgraded to support all of the expansion packs, in a way that will also support any future expansion packs.

Windows XP Fixes

There are incompatibilities with the old version of Transmogrifier that make it unstable on Windows XP, which has caused much frustration to many users. Any bugs need to be fixed and the libraries upgraded to fully support Windows XP.

Installer

Because Transmogrifier is distributed as a Windows executable in a zip file, many users have problems installing it, because they don't have the proper software to decode it, or didn't install the files in the right place. The solution to this and other problems is to create an automatic installer that displays the license agreement before properly installing Transmogrifier in the right place, adds Transmogrifier to the start menu, makes a shortcut on the desktop, opens up the documentation, etc.

Update License Agreement

We need to incorporate any changes or updates to the licensing agreement desired by Maxis. I read on the net that Maxis decided to change the terms of the Transmogrifier license to permit pay sites to offer transmogrified objects to their subscribers. However I have never seen or been notified of the new policy, so I still display the original license agreement on my web site. I would like to update it to reflect Maxis's current policy, and request some useful changes to that policy.

According to the terms of the original Transmogrifier license agreement, I am only permitted to distribute Transmogrifier from my web site, after displaying the license agreement and requiring users to agree before downloading. But I don't have to right to distribute it on CD, and third parties don't have the right to redistribute it in any form.

Many other people have requested to redistribute Transmogrifier on their own web sites and CDs, and I have turned them down, but some do it anyway (or never asked in the first place). Outside of our control, Transmogrifier is widely available for download from many unofficial sites, that don't require the agreeing to the license agreement before downloading. Consequently, many people have never seen the license agreement.

The ideal solution is an installer that displays the license agreement and requires the user to agree before installing. The application can check that the user has agreed before running, so the using the installer and agreeing to the license is always required. Everyone who gets the installer through whatever means (official or unofficial) will still be required to agree to the license before installing. This solution makes it reasonable for Maxis to update the license agreement to allow wider distribution of the Transmogrifier installer itself, without requiring it be downloaded from one particular web page. So more people could easily obtain Transmogrifier, and all of them would see and agree to the license, which would be better than the present situation.

I'd like permission to sell a CD with the new Transmogrifier installer, including some good example content, documentation, tutorials, video demos, and other useful tools.

User Requested Features

A few key features would go a long way towards making the fans and object creators happy, and ensuring the stability of the game. There are many other features which users have requested, so I would like permission to continue developing future versions of Transmogrifier and distributing updates, to support the requirements of Maxis and the user community.

Incorporate The Sims File Cop rules, checks and conventions from managing objects and verifying validity. Detect, repair and prevent conflicts and crashes.

Export composed picture previews and text descriptions of objects, for use on web pages. So object creators don't have to switch between Transmogrifier and The Sims to take snapshots of the objects in the game -- they could just export them as gifs or jpegs directly from Transmogrifier. This will save lots of time for people who create web sites for downloading objects.

Make a statue of a Sims character. Nobody requested it yet, I just think it would be cool. Transmogrifier could render a posed character into the bitmap of an object, to make a 3d statue! Select from their natural skin color, or a variety of marbles and other textures.

Stop the flashing 12:00 button. That originally meant that the Sims.exe binary had been cracked, but one of the expansion packs faked out the crack detector. In the early days before expansion packs, this was meant to annoy people with a cracked version of The Sims. They would complain to the newsgroup about the flashing 12:00 button, and those in the know could tell them to "read the manual that came with the game to reset the time on the alarm clock", and confuse them into actually buying The Sims. But now it thinks the expansion pack is a crack, so it confuses everybody, although it's otherwise harmless.