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RugOMatic Documentation and Tutorial: Drag-and-Drop Sims Objects

I've written some documentation and a tutorial for RugOMatic!

RugOMatic uses another tool called The Sims Transmogrifier 2.0 to create Sims objects. It's a lot easier than using Transmogrfier directly: you just drag and drop images and text, and press a button! Soon I'll release RugOMatic along with The Sims Transmogrifier 2.0, as soon as Maxis's legal department finishes reviewing it (soon now, I hope).

The Sims RugOMatic lets you quickly and easily create rugs for The Sims, with your own pictures and descriptions! Simply 'drag and drop' a picture, name, price and description into RugOMatic, and press the 'Weave My Rug' button. RugOMatic automatically manufactures a new rug, with a text description that you can read in the game!

RugOMatic also writes a web page describing your rug, including the name, price, description, a picture preview, and a link to the downloadable "iff" object file, to help you keep track of your objects, and share them with other people on the web.


Designing User Interfaces to Simulation Games

Designing User Interfaces to Simulation Games.
A summary of Will Wright's talk to Terry Winnograd's User Interface Class at Stanford, in 1996.
Written by Don Hopkins.

Will Wright, the designer of SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, and other popular games from Maxis, gave a talk at Terry Winnograd's user interface class at Stanford, in 1996 (before the release of The Sims in 2000). At the end of the talk, he demonstrated an early version of The Sims, called Dollhouse at the time. I attended the talk and took notes, on which this article elaborates. I was fascinated by Dollhouse, and subsequently went to work with Will Wright at Maxis for three years. We finally released it as The Sims in 2000, after several name changes: TDS (Tactical Domestic Simulator), Project-X (everybody has one of those), Jefferson (after the president, not the sitcom), happy fun house (or some other forgetable Japanese placism).

At the talk, he reflected on the design of simulators and user interfaces in SimCity, SimEarth, and SimAnt. He demonstrated several of his games, including his current project, Dollhouse.

Here are some important points Will Wright made, at this and other talks. I've elaborated on some of his ideas with my own comments, based on my experiences playing lots of SimCity, talking with Will, studying the source code and porting it to Unix, reworking the user interface, and adding multi player support.

RSS 2.0 Sims Module, and MySim tool for Radio UserLand

Thanks to the guidance and patience of Dave Winer, I'm designing an RSS 2.0 module for describing The Sims objects [[Download mySims.root], which will make it easier to advertise and distribute Sims object online, and enable the development of automated tools for assisting in this process.

The first tool I'm developing for blogging Sims objects is the "MySims tool" for Radio Userland. It lets you drag and drop a Sims object into a directory to publish it on your blog. It automatically creates a preview and a description, pastes the text into a blog entry, and uploads the preview and Sims object to your blog along with the descriptive text, so people can see, read about and download your objects.

Naturally I will integrate this with the ShowAndTell ActiveX control, so you can view live objects on blogs, and other tools like RugOMatic, so you can easily create object by dragging and dropping text and images, then automatically publish them online!

ShowNTell ActiveX Plug-In for Previewing Sims Objects

I'm developing another Transmogrifier based tool called "ShowNTell", which is an ActiveX control for displaying a live preview of a Sims object file on a web page (or wherever you can plug in an ActiveX control). You can drag-and-drop iff files into the window to view them, change the rotation and zoom, and read the name, price and description. It also gives you control over the background color and grid, to match your web page and objects.

"What is ShowNTell for?", you might ask. I want to make it easy for people to distribute and download Sims objects over the web, as well as view and manage their own objects offline. Players should be able to quickly look at objects before installing them and restarting The Sims. ShowNTell displays a live interactive preview of a Sims object, right on the web page!

The Sims Transmogrifier 2.0, and RugOMatic

I'm working on releasing a new version of The Sims Transmogrifier 2.0, soon. The web site is: http://www.TheSimsTransmogrifier.com

It supports all 7 Sims expansion packs, up to Makin' Magic, and has a bunch of bug fixes and convenience features.

The Sims Transmogrifier 2.0 is currently undergoing unamerican outsourced quality assurance, and cruel and unusual animal testing, so it will be ready to release soon!

I've also developed an easy-to-use add-on to Transmogrifier called RugOMatic, which lets you create rugs by dragging and dropping pictures and text. It's much easier to use than Transmogrifier. RugOMatic automates the Transmogrification progress, so anyone can easily put their own pictures and text into the game, as colorful rugs. More types of objects will follow!

The custom rugs that RugOMatic creates have a special feature: you can read their text description in-game by selecting "Describe" from the pie menu, so rugs are useful for much more than just covering up the floor and decorating the room. You can use them to publish your own pictures and stories as objects within The Sims.

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