SimMetamorphoser

SimMetamorphoser allows you to do the following: Change a...

SimMetamorphoser

SimMetamorphoser allows you to do the following: Change a sim's... first name, head model and skin ,gender and skin tone.

1. Introduction

Metamorphose - verb - 1 a : to change into a different physical form especially by supernatural means b : to change strikingly the appearance or character of : Transform

SimMetamorphoser - noun - 1 A program to change strikingly the appearance or character of your sims. :)

SimMetamorphoser allows you to change the following attributes of your sims:

- The head, both model and skin.

- The sim's first name.

- The sim's gender.

- The sim's skin tone.

Note: As of version 2.0 the ability to change a sim from child to adult was removed. Changes made by Vacation made this feature unable to work correctly.

2. Legal Disclaimer

The software is provided strictly on an "as-is" basis, without any warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, including without limitation any warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement or compatibility with your computer hardware or software. The author has no liability of any kind or nature in connection with your use of the software (including without limitation liability for any consequential or incidental damages), and the entire risk of use (including without limitation any damage to your computer hardware or software) resides with you.

3. Installation

SimMetamorphoser should be installed into a directory all by itself. It should not be installed into the same directory as SimWardrobe. Create a directory under The Sims, copy the file to and run it. It doesn't get any easier than that.

The program requires Visual Basic 6 runtime files. The VB 6 runtime files may be downloaded from the following locations:

http://www.tweakfiles.com/misc/vb6.html

http://www.softwarepatch.com/windows/vbrun6.html

http://download.microsoft.com/download/vb60pro/Redist/sp4/win98/EN-US/VBRun60sp4.exe

No additional files are required by SimMetamorphoser.

Note: The program should not be run from the windows desktop. The program creates temporary files and storage folders in the location that it is run from.

4. Using SimMetamorphoser (A Quasi-Tutorial)

DO NOT USE THIS PROGRAM WHILE THE SIMS IS RUNNING.

The first thing that you need to do is select a neighborhood. The neighborhood selection list is in the upper left corner of the main window. SimMetamorphoser will remember the last neighborhood selected and will display it the next time you visit this window. Selecting a neighborhood causes the sim selection panel (the giant square on the right) to populate with the sims living in the selected neighborhood.

The sim selection panel displays the portrait and name of each sim in the selected neighborhood. If there are more than 49 sims in the selected neighborhood (both housed and unhoused), the sims will be displayed on multiple pages. The [Previous] and [Next] buttons below the sim selection panel allow you to change the page displayed. The current page and number of pages is displayed in the text box between the [Previous] and [Next] buttons. The currently selected sim is indicated by a flashing white rectangle. Clicking on a sim's portrait selects that sim.

A question mark icon may be displayed in place of the portrait for some sims. Please see the known issues section for details on this anomaly. A large "X" on a red background is displayed for sims which can not be loaded. The files of sims that can not be loaded contain errors or anomalies that prevent their being loaded successfully.

Once a sim is selected their name and several pictures of them will be displayed in the text box and picture box in the lower left quadrant of the window. Clicking the [Edit This Sim] button will load the selected sim and bring up the Edit Sim window. Double clicking a sims portrait in the sim selection panel will select the sim and cause it to be loaded immediately.

After a sim has been loaded, their pictures will be shown along the top of the Edit Sim window. The rest of the screen will populate with the other changeable information.

Note: SimMetamorphoser is only able to see custom heads and head skins that are in the \gamedata\skins directory.

Version 2.0+ Note: SimMetamorphoser can now see all head meshes in the Maxis FAR files. Head skins in the FAR files will also show up in the Edit Sim window, but not in the Select Head window. This should ease the whole "default mesh / skin not found" issue.

Changing a Sim's Name

You can enter any string up to 24 characters in length in the Name box. This is the maximum length that The Sims allows in the "create a family" screen. Using any non-text characters is not recommended.

Changing a Sim's Head

Clicking the [Change] button in the Head frame brings up the skin selection window. The skin selection window allows you to select any head model and matching head skin for the sim being edited. The head models are listed in the upper left corner of the window in alphabetical order. Selecting a model causes the skin selection panel (the giant square on the right) to populate with head skins that match the selected model.

The skin selection panel displays a thumbnail of each skin that matches the selected model. If there are more than 49 skins that match the selected model, the skins will be displayed on multiple pages. The [Previous] and [Next] buttons below the skin selection panel allow you to change the page displayed. The current page and number of pages is displayed in the text box between the [Previous] and [Next] buttons. The currently selected skin is indicated by a flashing white rectangle. Clicking on a skin's thumbnail selects that skin.

Once a skin is selected, it's name and a full size image will be displayed in the text box and picture box in the lower left quadrant of the window. Clicking the [Select] button will close the window and load the selected skin. Clicking the [Cancel] button will close the window without taking any action. Double clicking a skin's thumbnail in the selection panel will select the skin and cause it to be loaded immediately.

Changing a Sim's Gender

"Hey kids, auntie Joe... er... Joanne is coming to visit. He will... er... she will be staying with us for a while."

I'll resist making and further gender bender type jokes. Why exactly you would want to give a sim a sex change is beyond me. This affects walking animation and baby making. Gender does not seem to have any other affects in the game.

As with changing a sims age, you should select a new head when changing your sim's gender. If you do not select a new head, The Sims will randomly select one for you. Your sim's body will be reset to the defaults that are appropriate for the gender of your sim. This includes the normal, swimsuit, nude and formal bodies, as well as all of the hands. This was required to compensate for a defect in The Sims. Please see the known issues section for details on this anomaly.

Changing a Sim's Skin Tone

There's a Michael Jackson joke in here somewhere, but I just keep it to myself. You could use this feature to give a light skinned sim a tan for the summer, if you had the right medium toned skins.

As with changing a sims age or gender, you should select a new head when changing your sim's gender. If you do not select a new head, The Sims will randomly select one for you. Your sim's body will be reset to the defaults that are appropriate for the skin tone of your sim. This includes the normal, swimsuit, nude and formal bodies, as well as all of the hands. This was required to compensate for a defect in The Sims. Please se the known issues section for details on this anomaly.

Saving a Sim

Once the program saves a sim, all the bitmaps in it are deleted. This is the same exact thing that Character Makeover Studio does. If you load a sim after modifying it, all of the sims images will show up as a question mark.

After you run The Sims and go to the neighborhood that the sim lives in, all of the bitmaps will be regenerated. The sims will then show up with their new head bitmaps, including the portraits. Using a teleporter on a sim insures that they will have their bitmaps redone by the program.

Backing Up / Restoring Your Sim

There is a menu option located on the Options menu labeled "Create Backup File". As you may have guessed, checking this will cause the user IFF file to be saved in a backup directory when changes to a sim are saved. The backup directory is created in the directory where SimMetamorphoser resides. The backup files have an informational name format. The file's name looks like this:

User00005.iff_Ima_UserData4_20010811_203333

From the above file name we can determine the following:

The original file name was User00005.iff

The sim's name is Ima.

The sim lives in neighborhood 4 (in \UserData4\Characters\)

The sim was saved on 8/11/2001 at 8:33PM. (the date time stamp on the file is not accurate because the file is a copy of the original user iff file and retains the original date time stamp)

To restore the above file:

Make sure The Sims is not running.

Delete or move User0005.IFF from \UserData4\Characters\.

Copy the backup file to \UserData4\Characters\

Rename the file by deleting the first underscore character and every thing that follows it.

The Head Preview Feature

Version 2.0+ includes an automatic head preview feature. This feature takes certain bitmaps from your sims and copies them to the HeadPreview folder. This operation takes place in the background when your sims are displayed in the sim selection panel. It is not necessary for you to take any action in order for the head previews to show up.

Optionally, you can page through every neighborhood and every page of sims in order to get the maximum number of preview bitmaps right away.

Tools Menu - Export Skin Names

This option may be fairly useless to most of you, but I use it to find any sims with duplicate heads. (my party neighborhoods have 200+ sims!) All this option does is dump the names of the head skins and normal outfit skins to a text file. All of the sims in the currently selected neighborhood are listed in this file. The file is a semicolon-delimited file that can be easily imported into Excel. (I sort by skin name so the duplicates are listed together.)

Tools Menu - Extract Head BMPs From FARs

The Maxis head BMPs will not show up in the Select Head windows unless the have been extracted to \GameData\Skins. This menu item will extract all head bitmaps from all Maxis expansion packs and the original game. There are approximately 385 head bitmaps in the game and it's four expansion packs. No files are overwritten by this procedure. There is a log displayed of the files found in each Maxis FAR file and the number of files actually extracted.

6. Known Issues

SimMetamorphoser Defaults Bodies When Changing Gender or Skin Tone

If you changed the Sim's gender or skin tone, The Sims was resetting the defaults for nude, swimsuit and formal, as well as randomly assigning a normal body and skin. This was good except for the fact that The Sims was corrupting the data in the bodystring segment when it was changing the values. Specifically, the old data and the new data was being combined into one large string that caused numerous load errors every time a modified sim was loaded by The Sims.

To prevent the load errors from occurring, SimMetamorphoser defaults all of the bodies and skins to one appropriate for the sims age, gender and skin tone.

No Portraits for Some Sims

There are 18 sims that come with The Sims that have no web_image bitmap inside their User IFF files. All of the sims that are user created have this bitmap. Bob and Betty Newby have this bitmap. The two sims that come with Living Large have this bitmap. Some people have suggested that at least some of these people are the ghosts that live on the Goth property. If you load and save these sims their bitmaps will be regenerated.

Some Skin Files Can't Be Loaded

Visual Basic programs are unable to load some bitmap files. These files have an internal structure that causes the load to fail. SimMetamorphoser preloads all skin files before they are displayed in the skin selector. If files cause errors while loading, SimMetamorphoser will present you with a list of the files that it was unable to load. Loading these files in a program like Paint Shop Pro and re-saving them will "fix" the files.

7. Q & A

Q: What guarantee do I have that your program won't mess up my sims?

A: In life there are no guarantees. I was extremely careful when creating this program. I did not want to mess up my own sims. The program loads and saves the user IFF files in the much same manner that The Sims does. The resource map is rebuilt properly when the file is saved. The old file is not altered in any way until the new file is written successfully. There is always the backup feature.

Q: What programs can I use to extract bodies, heads and skins from FAR files?

A: The two old favorites for this are FAR Extractor and FAR Edit. My personal favorite is FAR Out, mainly because I created it myself. FAR Out will even convert BMF files to SKN files on the fly.

8. Support

You can find the SimMetamorphoser support forum at:

http://pub46.ezboard.com/bsimwardrobehome

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