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Semi-guide to make CC for The Sims 3, Part 4.1


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.

  • Part 1 (Tools) here
  • Part 2 (How CC works) here
  • Part 3 (Textures) here

If I omitted something or need more help let me know.

Part 4.1, Meshing: General info

Because meshing involves lots of info I will proceed dividing the subject in several parts I’m counting you already read the previous parts or at least you are somewhat familiar with the modding tools. You can also start reading most of the tutorials located on modthesims. Inside the spoiler I included links to some of them plus informative posts:

Clothes aren’t “standalone” it includes body parts like neck, hands, legs and more depending how revealing they are and to make things trickier both share the same texture space/UV map; the only exceptions are hair and 3D accessories like watches, necklaces, earrings, glasses and alike. Yes, you can make an accessory jacket or even a full dress BUT this game is known to blurry textures from accessories and even with the HD mod and/or 4k textures the results can look plain ugly.

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Left. AfBodyRomanticSlip’ Mesh; Right. Its UV map

 

Also your mesh needs to be adapted to at least to 3 body shapes or “morphs” besides the “base” one: fat, thin and fit, the fifth one is optional and its meant for pregnant sims. The SAME MESH must be adapted for every morph or TSRW will throw an error. Cmar’s Mesh Toolkit and TSRW can autogenerate morphs if used with a reference mesh but the more complex your mesh is the more difficult will be for the tool to generate them correctly so most of the time you’ll need to make corrections manually afterwards.

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Morphs form AfBodyRomanticSlip, from left to right: group_base, group_fat, group_thin, group_fit

 

Talking about weight, every vertex has a bone value/bone paint/bone assignment allotted that is used by animations and sliders, cherry on top? There’s a limit on the number of bones you can include in your clothes, anything above 60 will provoke weirdness no matter what, the easiest way to deal with it is to divide you mesh in at least “two groups” (check most “full body” clothes made by EA to see an example of this). Mesh Toolkit/TSRW can also help you with bones but the same limitation applies

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This is how Sexy Rabbit works: (highlighted in red) the neck, tail, cuff and legs are separated in one mesh group, leaving the whole upper torso in a second one

 

The game uses two Levels Of Detail: LOD2 and LOD3, there’s some conflicting info around how the game uses them but it seems both are invoked depending on the camera distance and map view. As I said on the first part of this “guide” you only need to worry about LOD 2, for 3 you can “recycle” parts from the rest of the game. LODs aren’t linked meaning you don’t forcibly need to create LOD2/LOD3 for a piece of CC to show in the game, but it’s preferred to do so. Some 3D accessories (like glasses, earrings, rings and alike) don’t use morphs and some of them use a fourth LOD for better detail

GuideMeshing_04.PNG.87eebf356a3683afd371a5cbaf264ad1.PNG

LODs used on Impheels Gala, from left to right: LOD1, LOD2, LOD3.

 

Depending on your garment you will have to take care of seams on the neck, hip and ankles for every morph and LOD; this is the only part where you can’t deviate from the original sim-body design otherwise you will have visible and very nasty gaps on those areas or small but very annoying white dots. In short, every vertex located on the seams must coincide on the same place ALSO they need to share the same bone values or won’t synchronize during any kind of animations. Mesh Toolkit has a tool to fix seams but I can’t say if it works because I prefer to fix seams directly on Milkshape.

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Vertices on the top of the “Impossible Feet” coincide in position and bones value with those located on the legs

 

I heard several times there’s also a limit on the number or polygons you can include on a mesh, it seems it’s around 10k BUT I had seen all type of custom garments surpassing this limit from 20k necklaces to 40k shoes or 70k blouses so honestly I don’t know. Obviously a “slim” mesh is going to be easier to manipulate and fix if necessary but also modern tools like maya, modo or marvelous designer can modify gigantic meshes without effort. If you ask me I prefer to be on the “safe side”, specially with clothes because clipping is a VERY BIG problem that can cause countless headaches...

So in resume compared to other games The Sims 3 is not that complex to mod (if I did it so can you!) but the more ambitious you are the more you will be jumping through hoops to achieve it.

 

Edited by JoshQ
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