Welcome to another workshop of the MXM Master Class of Sims Art! With this tutorial i will close Part 1, the Introduction.
This time we have a look at some different file types, their extensions and the programs and tools that can handle them. Again, this is a very simple topic but you should pay attention on it anyway. Many failures happen only because fundamental knowledge is missing…
The most common File extensions and what they say
If you don’t know how you can see the extensions of the files on your computer (what comes after the dot) you must read the article “6 Simple Things You Should Know About Your PC” first!
I don’t tell you about each and every existing file extension, but some that are very common and close to our freaking work in “The Sims 2″…
Common Download Formats
A WinZip File. It’s a compressed package that can include many other files at once. A zip is used to make file sizes smaller and to put many files together into one package, what makes it easier to send/download it. Before you can use the included files you need do unpack (unzip) the zip-file. Zip is still integrated in Windows XP, but the full program is no freeware.
Does the same as zip by using another technology; it’s another program than WinZip at all: WinRar. It’s Shareware and great, but i prefer Winzip because it is still a standard tool on my Win XP.
Nearly all sims-related files have the ending .package. Such a package includes many other files and different types of information. While the normal download collector never needs to look inside a package-file, it’s the most interesting place for modders. Of course we will mess around with packages as well.
This is the standard export format of “The Sims 2”. When you create a Sims in “Body Shop”, and export it to send it to your friends, all required game files will be packed into a .Sims2Pack. Whenever you see a .Sims2Pack you first have to install it! It is never enough to just move it into the Downloads Directory. Click on the file (and wait), or better use the great Tool “Sims2Pack Clean Installer“.
A Windows Bitmap File. Nothing else than a picture. You should be able to open a .bmp with every graphic editor/picture viewer, like Photoshop or Gimp. I think every texture of the sims game is a .bmp: The clothing, the alpha channel, the normal map. We will see later what that means in detail.
File extensions for advanced tasks
I already told you about the most common file extensions and what they say in the post 6 simple things you should know about your pc. So better let us look at some file types that are interesting for advanced users. It’s only an overview, we’ll get into detail in later lessons:
This extensions already tells everything we need to know. It’s the format of the best sims-tool ever: SimPe.
A Sims 3D-Mesh File. While there are numerous 3D formats out there, .5gd is our choice. We will later extract it with SimPe, modify it in Milkshape-3D (using the fine plug-ins of Wes_h), load it in SimPose and/or put the modified mesh back into the game.
A texture format for advanced use.
Yet another 3D-Format. Possibly the most used 3D-format of all. Nearly every 3D-Editor can handle .obj-files, but the interpretation often varies between different programs.
This was only a little overview. But it can help modding-beginners to understand a bit more about different file-types and the right tools to use them.
Before i open Part 2 of the MXM Master Class Workshop, which is called “In-Game Standards“, i will publish a small test! Then you can check out if you really understood everything i wrote in Part 1.
I hope to see you again!