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oppie

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  1. What is SimCityPak? Simply put, it's a work-in-progress tool that will hopefully eventually be the iLive Reader equivalent for SimCity 2013. It will eventually allow you to view and edit the game assets contained in .package files. What does the tool allow us to modify? While there are still some file formats that need to be reverse-engineered, property files and text files (javascript, json) can already be modified and saved back into the game. What will we eventually be able to modify? Nobody knows - the only way we'll be able to find out is through experimentation. People have expressed concern that because the game partially runs on Maxis' servers, we won't be able to modify anything at all - although experiments have revealed that the city simulation runs only on local machines and that Maxis has no systems in place that verify wether a file is modded or not. Will I be banned for modding? This is a hot topic that I've seen come up in almost every discussion about modding so far. Despite being asked repeatedly, Maxis hasn't given any straight answer yet. On the other hand, they've said in the past that they appreciate the modding community and (probably the biggest sign that they're tacitly allowing mods) so far, nobody has been banned for modding yet. So, the best answer we can give so far is; use mods at your own risk, even though that risk is very small. How can I contribute? There's still many things to do, so every contribution is more than welcome. If you think you've got what it takes, take a look at the Issue Tracker (http://simcitypak.codeplex.com/workitem/list/basic). Also, experiment! There are already many possibilities for mods - all it takes is dedication and a lot of digging into package files. However - remember to make backups often and to always test in a non-public, disposable region. ---- First of all, this tool was born when I realized that SimCity uses the same DBPF version as Spore, and that there were already a few Spore Modding tools out there that I could base my research on. I was lucky to come across SporeMaster (https://code.google.com/p/sporemaster/), an open-source .NET based tool. While this tool was made specifically for Spore (and there are quite some differences between the .RW4 model files for example) I managed to reuse a lot of the underlying object model to build my own tool from the ground up (I've been in contact with the creator of SporeMaster and have permission to use his work). From there, I've been trial-and-error'ing my way through the files to see what I can open and how. For those of you who want to help building the tool (which is in C#/.NET/WPF with a dash of Xna thrown in), I've uploaded the source code over at https://simcitypak.codeplex.com/ . I'm not sure if anyone can just download the source code using TFS, but if you need access, give me your codeplex account and I'll make it so. I've also uploaded an executable version of the tool. Let me know if it doesn't run or if anything goes wrong when opening a package. There will undoubtedly still be hundreds of bugs but most of them will be caused by unexpected data in the package files. LINK TO THE LATEST VERSION: https://simcitypak.codeplex.com/releases/view/107793]https://simcitypak.codeplex.com/releases/view/107793 BASIC MODDING TUTORIAL: https://simcitypak.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Modding Tutorial&referringTitle=Documentation Changelog: 0.003 Added Hex view to all file types (even the already identified ones)Added Hex view to subsections of a RW4 file to identify the unknown onesAdded 3D preview for RW4 Mesh sections (warning, meshes aren't read correctly yet, so it still looks like crap)Fixed most bugs when loading properties. Only 'Transform' type properties still have some issuesAdded a context menu to Key Properties so that you can open the file it links to in a new window (right click the value and select "open in new window..."Ability to export textures. From the RW4 Texure view, you can select a file and save it to the .dds format.0.004Added 3D view for RW4 meshes0.005Added first attempt as a viewer for RASTER files (which are surprisingly not building textures... wondering where those are hidden)Added instance regisrty (Add custom names and comments to specific instances by right-clicking on the instance number in the main grid to make identification easier)Modified properties view to be easier on the eyesNOTE: While the properties files are being read a lot better than in previous versions, it still has a few bugs that I hope to be able to iron out soon.0.006Export to package - export one single TGI index to its own seperate package fileProperties files will now be read correctly - all properties will be readAdded relevant information to RASTER and PNG file displays (should be expanded)Started refactoring of back-end object model code0.1.0.0Added textures in 3D viewer for vehicle modelsAdded Loading of Locale files from Settings screen (will load localized strings for PROP files)Added About window0.1.0.1Added search for specific values in property filesAdded first attempt at saving modified data to a property file (warning, still buggy)0.1.0.2Ability to edit Text files (JSON, Javascript etc...)Ability to edit property files (still preliminary)Advanced Search for property filesAbility to export multiple assets at onceAbility to save packages to a new file0.1.0.3Allows opening multiple package files at onceIncludes editors for most propertiesImproved user interfaceViewers for 8-bit mapsImport function for PNG's0.1.0.4Added Lighting Editor (first version)Added possibility to add/remove propertiesIdentified many more properties/instancesNew Viewer for 3d filesMany general UI tweaksMany general bugfixes0.1.0.5Lighting editor expanded to simple Lot Editor that allows editing of lights,props and decals (note; work in progress)Fix for searching property filesAdded Copy Key, and Delete to context in main listAdded fuction to delete indicesMore identified properties/instancesMany general bugfixes and UI tweaks0.1.0.6Export/Import TexturesExport meshes to .obj format (no import yet, though)0.1.0.7Import .OBJ format 3d models. When importing, make sure that the model file contains normals and texture coordinates. Materials are not needed. Tangent and binormal for normal maps are exported.Save button in hex editor0.1.0.8Import BMP color palettes for vehiclesImport RASTER file (uncompressed 8.8.8.8 DDS files)View different channels of RASTER files or preview of all layers combinedFind text in javascriptsTGA viewerGround textures added to lot editorMany additional identified instances and properties
  2. Looks great! Feel free to create menu items for any of my mods you might want to add, although I'll reserve the right to create my own custom menu's in the future.
  3. Using a WIP version of SimCityPak (which I will be releasing after I some more UI tweaks) I made my first mod; I managed to create a menu item for the university pedestrian path in the roads menu. Note that this one has the same behavior as the university one - power/water will not travel along it and it won't intersect with other roads. To use, unzip the attached file and place it in your \Origin\SimCity\SimCityData folder. NOTE: Use at your own risk. This mod is a change to the game files and we do not yet know the effects this has on the game or how Maxis will deal with them. PedestrianPath.zip
  4. As you might have seen on the STEX () I've recently had great success with a proof-of-concept custom building, which served as a test to see whether I had successfully identified all the different elements that make a SC2013 building. This is a very significant development since it marks the point at which I can not only confidently say that I know how to create a custom building model from scratch, I can also actually get a model from my 3d software into SimCity. However, as it stands this process is difficult and cumbersome, as a lot of the 3d modeling software and intermediate file formats (.obj, collada) don't support the very specific features I need to make our dreams a reality. I'll go into the technical details in a bit, but first I'd recommend reading Ryan Ingram's blog post about how SimCity's buildings work in the first place. (http://www.simtropolis.com/omnibus/_/simcity-2013/building-and-rendering-simcity-2013-r247). This might seem extremely difficult (and it is), although a lot of the most difficult work has already been done - right now what I'm looking for is a way to bring everything I've learned over the past few months together into a tool that supports building a completely new custom model from scratch like Maxis' gmax-based BAT did. Techical Details I'm going to skim over a few of the more nebulous concepts that aren't really necessary for understanding how buildings work. Essentially, each building model contains of three distinct texture layers - I'll call them the 'interior', 'exterior' and 'decals'. These layers are textured using 'sprite sheets'; a large square texture that contains all the smaller textures to be used on a single building. These smaller textures are then defined in each model element by defining the coordinates of the top corner, height and width of the sub-texture that needs to be extracted for the specific element. You'll notice that even the sprite sheet that defines the color (the left one) only contains a masked area for each individual color of the element. The actual color is drawn from a palette that is attached to the model as a separate image. In essence, each 'element' of a model is defined as follows; Each vertex contains multiple UV coordinates for each layer, so in essence each vertex will have three sets of UV's; one that defines the interior layer (the rooms), one that defines the exterior layer (base texture layer) and one that defines the decal layer (top texture layer). The colors are drawn from the Color1, Color2, Color3 and Color4 values. The Problem All of this has knowledge combined has enabled me (through a lot of trickery and hard labor) to create my first new building model. However, as you can probably tell a lot of the requirements for a SimCity model are hardly covered by any 3d modeling software or export format. This is mainly where I'd need help - first of all I need to be able to create a new building model in any 3d modeling software according to these specifications and then I need to be able to import it into SimCityPak. The requirements are as follows: One mesh must be able to have multiple UV and texture layersNormals, Tangents and UV coordinates must be able to be exported per vertexTextures should be 'croppable' and cropping dimensions should be exportablePreferably colors should be chosen in the modeling software itself according to an imported paletteAs you can imagine, hardly any 3d modeling software I managed to get my hands on supported all of these features. Blender (http://www.blender.org) seems to be the best candidate since it's free and it supports multiple UV channels (and a very rudimentary cropping feature), but I'm not very familiar with it and I would probably need help with writing plugins to display the palette, make cropping easier etc. Any help is appreciated, and if you need more information, I'll see what I can do.
  5. I've had some problems with my internet connection for the past few days (my modem died) but in the meantime I've been making some decent progress on making the process of creating buildings easier. I'll first create another building from start to finish myself and then release the tools here so people can start testing them and create their own custom buildings in the process. I expect that this'll probably only be another week, so keep an eye on this thread!
  6. Your .dds file probably isn't in the right format. Make sure that it's in saved in the DXT5 format. If that still doesn't work, can you attach the .dds file so I can try myself?
  7. For those interested in creating custom buildings - Below I'm going to dump some details that might be interesting to anyone who wants to create their own models. First of all, for the time being I'm focusing on 3d studio max and creating integrated tools for exporting models to a format SimCityPak can read. Crimsondesigns is providing great help on this. Obviously models will have to be low-poly and will eventually need multiple LOD levels I'm using OpenCollada (https://github.com/KhronosGroup/OpenCOLLADA) to export models from 3ds to SCP. The .obj file format that I was using before doesn't really provide the flexibility needed, such as including multiple UV channels and other parameters. The textures can only be a cropped section of the sprite sheets mentioned in the first post. There are multiple sprite sheets already included in the game; look for RASTER type files in SimCityPak Colors for the textures are chosen from predefined palettes The interior (rooms) are mapped using UV channel 1, the exterior layer also uses UV channel 1 and the top layer (decals) uses UV channel 2 For the time being animated models are not supported If you have experience with 3ds and think you have what it takes to start modeling, let me know - I'm interested in helping some experienced modelers get started to see if my process is adequate.
  8. I don't know where else to bring this up, so I'll do it here. Why I understand that a lot of the long-time members here are disappointed with SimCity 2013 and Maxis/EA, I've noticed that the articles on the front page (which I think should be objective, not an opinion piece by one author) have a pretty clear bias against the game. The most recent case is this news post (http://www.simtropolis.com/news/_/simcity-2013/ea-takes-20-cut-from-new-red-cross-dlc-for-charity-r563) where the headline "EA Takes 20% Cut From New Red Cross DLC-For-Charity" does not reflect the content or the spirit of the article it links to at all - it's a very obvious jab at the only thing that might be framed as questionable about this specific DLC. Another example is this post (http://www.simtropolis.com/news/_/simcity-2013/simcity-2013-earns-a-spot-among-the-most-disappointing-games-of-this-generation-r560) which originally had the title from the article it linked to changed to "The WORST games of this generation" (instead of disappointing) until someone called the author out on it. Once again, while I accept that many people here are biased against the game and while I'll defend anyone's right to criticize it, in my opinion front page news posts should reflect the actual news objectively rather than putting the author's personal spin on it (which I think would be rather tacky).
  9. I think I might have misunderstood your question the first time I read it - I guess what you mean is that you clicked on the blue link when the "no results" dialog popped up? To shed some light on your problem; the link is merely a pointer to a different PROP entry in the package file. The 'network' property in the file you exported is merely a pointer to a certain 'TGI' combination - clicking it will trigger a search in the currently opened package file for the entry referenced by this property. If it's not found (which it isn't since you probably closed the SimCity_Game.package), a box saying that there are no results will pop up. In short, to modify the network property, you will also need to export the PROP entry that defines the network appearance into its own package.
  10. Nice video! Being shown how something is done is always better than merely reading it off a tutorial page, so I'm hoping that this video will help people who want to get into modding.
  11. It's absolutely correct that Maxis uses Maya. Ryan Ingram said as much in a reply to one of my posts on Reddit: However, since what ends up in-game is just triangles, vertices and a bucket load of metadata, in theory we can use any 3d modeling software we want as long as it can provide an easy way to create such models and allows exporting them. This gives us a lot of freedom (I've considered using Sketchup at some point) although of course I'll be looking at the option that's the easiest to implement first.
  12. That sounds great! I've looked into the possibilities of 3dsmax myself, and while the multi-layered approach seemed slightly complicated to me, perhaps with the proper scripting and plugins, we can make a proper toolkit that will in the end allow us to seamlessly export buildings from 3dsmax to SimCityPak. I was thinking of the following roadmap towards creating a set of tools; First of all we'd need a proof-of-concept .max file that contains all the necessary elements which we can use to base our exports on. Secondly we should make sure that all these elements are exported to a file format that SimCityPak can read (this is probably where a lot of scripting comes in). The last step would be making the process of creating the .max file in step 1 as easy as possible. If we can accomplish this, I can add the necessary code into SimCityPak to make the process of importing the building model into the game easier.
  13. Why True Modding will never come to SimCity 2013

    Right now the only thing that stands in the way of "True Modding" is the server-side validation that's being done to prevent cheating on the leaderboards. If we can convince Maxis that it's worth putting development time into removing this restriction, the possibilities for modding will increase exponentially.
  14. Bias against SimCity 2013

    First of all, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about SC2013; I understand why you're disappointed and that's fine. However, this site is also a destination for those who do enjoy the game, and I'm sure Simtropolis wants to provide a home for those fans as well. I think the admins and moderators here have done an excellent job thus far, with possible exception of a certain bias regarding news reporting. Here I disagree. I understand that charity is a sensitive topic politically (which is why I don't think it should be a point of discussion on a game site in the first place), but I just don't see the problem with Maxis/EA trying to recoup some of their development cost for the DLC. Especially taking the following points into consideration: They state up front that some of the money will go towards recouping development costs. In fact, the article states that the Red Cross will be getting "a minimum of eighty percent (80%) of EA’s proceeds"; this means that the actual percentage can end up higher if the development costs are recouped early on. Even if you'd accept that Maxis/EA will take 2 dollars from every purchase, that still means that 8 dollars is going to the Red Cross from a person who might otherwise have donated nothing. Consider if they would have created a DLC called "Sims' Cross" that cost 2 dollars, would you still have a problem with it? I'll leave it at that; like I said, I don't think a game site is the place to fight over social justice issues.
  15. DLC-For-Charity: Partnership Between EA and Red Cross

    I'm getting very tired of the bias against EA and Maxis that has been displayed on Simtropolis lately. There are plenty of good things about this DLC but the headline is the one thing that might be construed as negative if you're already biased against SimCity 2013?
  16. I must say that while I immensely enjoy SC2013, I'm not sure if I'm happy with expansion packs that are based more in fiction than in reality. It seems that they're releasing this futuristic scenario as a tie-in to the "into to the future" The Sims 3 expansion pack that's being released a month earlier Nevertheless, even though someone already mentioned that the premise to this expansion pack is identical to Anno 2070, I'm probably going to buy it.
  17. Even ignoring the issue of legality, expanding the city box is way beyond our capabilities right now - there is an excellent mod by ProcsKalone that lets you build outside of the boundaries, but as you'll notice using that mod, the terrain outside the city won't conform to your roads, won't have lot textures and doesn't have any 'maps' (such as water/pollution/resources) attached. This is the problem we're facing with city size. In any case, it's not as simple as it might seem. Short answer; don't expect modders to give you larger cities any time soon.
  18. It's been a while since I added any updates to this thread - but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on the tool. I'll quickly sum up the progress on several of the areas I've been working on. Note that while I've got a lot of important information on hand that should enable us to do some exciting things, I'm very limited in time - if there's anyone here with some 3D, .NET and WPF experience who'd like to help on some of the graphics programming, I'd gladly share all of the technical details. Anyway, these are the things currently in the works; Custom Buildings This one's a biggie and progress is slow - I'm fully aware of the basic file structure but all of that is so complex that exposing all of those possibilities to the user through the tool is very complicated. I think I've stretched the possibilities of WPF 3D and the .obj file format to their limits and need to look at alternatives. I'm going to attempt to retool the importing of 3d models to the COLLADA intermediary format, but that's a long term goal. RW4Model decoding In my attempts to reverse engineer the file format for the buildings I've identified most of the important elements of the RW4 file format such as the vertexformat and parts of the materials. The vertexformat in particular is interesting because it identifies each element of the mesh, where in the vertex it's located and in which format - for example the vertex position which is always the first element and usually in a FLOAT3 type. This means that in theory I should be able to create an importer/exporter that works with every mesh and I've already updated the viewer to work with the new information RASTER images and decals I'm fully aware of how these work but they're finicky to work with because of the fact that each color channel is a different layer, and the actual colors are defined by a decal atlas. Like I've shown in a picture previously posted in this thread, I know how to modify them, but the process to do so is still more tedious than it should be.
  19. @kaiuaki - I looked into the Plant Forest tool a long while ago, when I had the idea that if the game writes to the forest map, it might as well be modified to write to the terrain height map (thus allowing terraforming). I abandoned this shortly after I realized that most of what I was after was in the scripts folder. The way I understand it, the Plant Forest tool works as follows - first of all, there's the visual of the planting tool - e.g., the circle of which you can modify the diameter and color etc. Secondly, there's the unit that plants the actual trees. If you look at the tool, it has a tiny square at the center - this is the indicator for the unit to be built. When it is built it runs its rules (add to the forest map in a certain radius) and then deletes itself again. So what you're looking for is not so much in the tool, but rather in the unit that is built - this will definitely be in the scripts packages. With a bit of luck,the values for its radius and strength may be available for editing, and with an lot of luck modifying them will not lead to rollbacks. With an extreme amount of luck, you might even be able to modify the map the unit writes to and make it a terraforming tool, resource refilling tool or even a pollution/radiation removal tool! For the record, I doubt that this will be possible without rollbacks, but it might be worth trying. Good luck!
  20. For the past few weeks I've been working on deciphering the building model file structure. I've made some major strides, but until now I haven't had much to show for it. However, today I finally managed to put everything together for a first taste of what's to come. My first goal, building recolors:
  21. I always figured Maxis was going to release the Roman Casino as DLC at some point.
  22. I've also been having a few issues with the latest version due to the Sqlite binaries not being found (I've only just loaded the latest sources) - can someone point me to the right binaries?
  23. This is something I've touched on before and something I feel quite strongly about; in my opinion, mods that regularly cause rollbacks should not be released. I'm already on the fence about scripts mods (since they have a tendency to not load properly and behave very randomly), but rollback-causing mods will definitely cause some huge problems sooner or later (I'm betting on sooner). I hope we're all on the same page on that front.
  24. Guys, Besides the path appearance mods I've released over the past few days, I've been looking into UI modifications - I've done a few tests, and there are some really interesting possibilities there. The specific thing I've been attempting is to display certain unit properties on the rollover windows. For example, showing the total workers and available jobs per wealth level - or in theory - every single property that's available on a unit (provided that we can access them.). My experiments so far have been mainly with the kPropUnitRolloverExtendedItemIDs property. This property contains a uint that somehow refers to a UI element which contains one or more properties in a certain display mode. I've been experimenting with the casino rollover, on which the green "profit today" text is referenced by a single uint - similarly, the "Hotel guests ($$$): '4/100'" data row is also one single uint - so, the piece of UI code that is referenced determines both the data and the display format of this data. However, so far I haven't been able to locate where these uints are defined or what they refer to. If anyone else has an idea on where to look (or perhaps knows where the kPropUnitRolloverExtendedItemIDs name was found), I'd be very happy to hear.
  25. I hate to be 'that guy', but I must admit I'm torn on this one - As much as I'm very impressed with the research and work that went into this mod and I'm always happy to see that things like this are even possible, I'm not sure if releasing it publically is a good move. Consider posts like this one by maxis developer ryani; http://www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/1gcfbn/animal_farm_debugged_city_inspired_by_sc_halby/caj5w3j - especially the line "if you're mod-friendly, you don't want to give any ammunition to people who would claim they harm the game". Whether we like it or not, we do require some level of support from Maxis because what we do has an impact on their 'multiplayer game'. This is why I've personally only released visual and non-gameplay affecting mods. Please don't take this as me telling you to remove your mods or anything - this is just a general concern I have with gameplay affecting mods and the reaction that might follow from EA/Maxis when they start affecting the leaderboards.
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