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Semi-guide to make CC for The Sims 3, Part 2


JoshQ
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This isn't a detailed guide for that go to modthesims, thesimsresource, tumblr, youtube, etc. I'm just sharing whatever I've learned while making stuff.

If I omitted something or need assistance let me know.

Part 1 (Tools) here.

Part 2: How CC works?

First, what's the difference between a sims3pack and a package? Both are containers but the former supports encryption so EA use it to sell stuff, also sims3packs are installed via the launcher while a package can be copied or deleted directly from the "Mods" folder (just remember to clear your cache afterward).

Back to how CC works: in short you clone a garment from the game and replace its textures and/or meshes, in the process you modify the internal hash so the game recognizes it as a complete new object or if you use the same hash the game replaces the original with yours.

Tops, Bottoms, Shoes and Full Body clothes are composed of meshes and textures, accessories like stockings only use textures but some accessories also use a mesh. The best way to determine what clothes to clone is to open them in TSRW and check what they use, also you can export them to examine it closely.

Can you make your own package from zero? If you're an expert maybe, otherwise cloning is easier and at least on TSR Workshop is straightforward the only thing you need to take care of is the name you input here:

semiguidePt2_01.PNG.86b5a377e49c5b1393017b7f5bb7b1ab.PNG

The more complex name you choose the less chances the hash it produces is going to conflict with someone else CC, so instead of selecting "My stuff123" as name you should always try to be descriptive. When you clone with s3oc the program will generate a hash using your computer's name or the one you select on the "Creators Name..." under the "Settings" menu (sadly some of those packages are incompatible with TSRW).

The information below is not essential, is just for those who want to know a little more:

Now lets open one of my CC with s3pe: 

semiguidePt2_02.PNG.49f996925e64ffa5e31a421ea537ae2e.PNG

The extensions located on the "Tag" column tell us what kind of files we are looking some are self-descriptive:

CASP: this controls the categories for the CC and more, is tempting to try to experiment but it's best to leave it alone if you don't know what you're doing (talking from experience...)
_IMG: the textures the CC use 
GEOM: this is the main mesh and its LODs
BGEO: the mesh group for every body type: fat, thin, fit and special (aka pregnant)
BOND: this file has coordinates for every bone available so you can controls its position according to the CC you're making, also best to left alone if you don't know what you're doing
THUM: is the thumbnail you will see on CAS, normally is a 256x256 png pic. In its absence the game will generate its own
ICON: is the thumbnail you will see on the launcher, TSRW automatically generates it

I don't know what the rest does but in the time I've been doing clothes, accessories and body replacements I never had the need to modify them. 

One way to better distinguish each resource is using Cmar's Mesh Toolkit, go to "Package Tools" and then to "Name Those Files", select your package and then "Add Names" a window will appear with the name of the original item the CC was based on (in this case afShoesAnkleCHiHeelRound00_pumpLeather) just press "OK". Now you can overwrite the package or generate a new one, once open in s3pe the "Name" column will have a description:

semiguidePt2_03.PNG.1b5465710fb07124db6315ea7d7ba6e8.PNG

Packages generated by s3oc are already named.

So using s3pe can you replace everything including meshes right away? Yes and No. Remember we're cloning a pre-existing piece of clothing that has its own characteristics on meshes and textures. Meshes alone need their own bones and morphs to work correctly and all the textures (overlay, mask, multiplier, specular and normalmap) need matching UV coordinates or hilarity will ensue. So unless you're an expert modder (and for reference I'm not even close to be one) is best to use s3pe for preview or extract meshes and textures and to make basic edits to CASP.

EDIT:

I made a mistake, indeed you can make CC with only s3pe mixed with s3oc and paint.net/gimp. You just need to select objects or clothing with very simple or "static" textures, like for example a painting. I cloned "Painting Fishing" in s3oc (select "include thumbnails") and exported this texture using s3pe (don't change the name):

semiguidePt2_004.thumb.PNG.62148e3184ea9a370ac1cd8d7dc89326.PNG

Using paint.net or gimp you can change the original paint to whatever you want:

semiguidePt2_005.PNG.3551310883598ca542a4a83a861537fc.PNG

Once finished save it as DDS and overwrite the file:

semiguidePt2_007.PNG.801c8a8064a5b3ad55f603aa8e3a6965.PNG

Then just drag it back to s3pe and press Enter. Because we used the same name as the original s3pe will replace it:

semiguidePt2_006.PNG.0f0e40dfa82346fc2bfe5e45a71c4f17.PNG

You can do the same for the thumbnails or just allow the game to generate them (I prefer to make my own for easy finding), finally save your package and its ready to use. In Part 3 I will talk about textures and clothing in detail.
 

Edited by JoshQ
Correcting some info
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7 hours ago, ritualclarity said:

Dam, wish I gotten the Sims 3 instead of Sims 4... :P

Making stuff for Sims 4 is easier (at least the stockings part) and the tools are more advanced, the problem is the game still lacks compared to S3 and EA has a lot of bugs to fix plus other things so is just a matter of patience.

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21 hours ago, JoshQ said:

Making stuff for Sims 4 is easier (at least the stockings part) and the tools are more advanced, the problem is the game still lacks compared to S3 and EA has a lot of bugs to fix plus other things so is just a matter of patience.

:D thanks as always for the explanation.

My comment was more along the lines that Sims 3 seems to have a more mature modding community. Might not be as advanced but more refined... :)

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