xml tool request

For discussion and help on modding and customizing the game
LisaMockingbird
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:52 pm

xml tool request

Postby LisaMockingbird » Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:31 pm

Ok I read the xml "how to" pdfs at the EA SCS site. In order to create packages to upload to the exchange you have to write an xml document. Right.........Their directions are as clear as mud to me LOL.

Couldn't someone make a nice little tool that would write the xml file for us using like check boxes or fill ins for our type of item and filenames?

Seems like there has to be an easier way...

Clearly I don't read/understand xml cause everytime I start SCS with my xml file in my export folder I get a "exception" and the game crashes cause it doesn't like something in my xml file - but I've no clue why since no specific examples were given for what I want to do/upload. I'm trying the old Guess and Try method - but waiting for the game to crash is just a total turn off and takes 5 minutes everytime I want to test a new xml.

I know some of you probably speak this xml like a 3rd language... so I just thought I'd ask :D

Kuplo
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Postby Kuplo » Sun Nov 18, 2007 5:08 pm

You know unless you are doing a complete mod from scratch like adding new buildings with models, and animations etc, then the xml files is the easiest thing to do because it's plain language text created in just about any text editor (I use a program (FREE) called Notepad2) and for the most basic of mods it's only a couple lines to insert the files, for more elaborate mods it's still only a matter of writing the lines to be like the example shown in the pdf document.

Post the contents of your xml file and let's have a looksee at it and maybe we can see if there is a mistake as simple as a missing " or / or > or ? etc.

However, I sure wish they would provide a tool that would just convert the xml file to a SCSPack file without having to start the game, it takes just too long to start up the game each time only to find out that I goofed somewhere in my xml file and it didn't convert it over to a scspack file.

LisaMockingbird
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:52 pm

Postby LisaMockingbird » Sun Nov 18, 2007 5:52 pm

well you still have to know labels and syntax.
Their building example just is no help since all I wanted to do was upload a height map. I don't know why I need to create this tedious install thing. And it doesn't go in the data directory and their pdf does not give a full example so there are all these things implied but not shown. Do I use the stuff in [] or <> or are those place holders...I just can't figure it out. heightmaps on the exchange should be in a different category with different upload directions. IMO

Also dumb that I gotta start and crash the game taking 5 minutes to test my xml export - so yeah that should be separate from loading the game.

Kuplo
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Postby Kuplo » Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:14 pm

I think your problem is simply that you are trying to add a file that is not in a subfolder of the Data folder, the HeightMap folder resides at the same level as the Data folder and I think that is possibly where the game is choking. But if it is allowed then the xml file would look something like this:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package>

<FileAdd name="\SimCity Societies\Height Maps\YOURMAPNAME.TGA" />
</Package>

But it might also just need to be like this:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package>
<FileAdd name="\Height Maps\YOURMAPNAME.TGA" />
</Package>

I think that "should" add your tga to the right folder, but again the folder you have to put height maps is on the same level as the Data folder so that might be the problem you are experiencing.


Now with all of that said I just tried to add a map from the heightmap installation folder to the mod folder and while the game didn't error out, it wouldn't create the scspack out of the xml file so my guess above is still what I'd be guessing at this point. But I've certainly known to be wrong.

Since the game has created each scspack out of my xml files when I have files that need to go into one of the subdirectories of the Data directory is why I am assuming (guessing) all of this, since it isn't making a scspack out of this particular xml file that I just tried.

Just my guess.

LisaMockingbird
Posts: 187
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:52 pm

Postby LisaMockingbird » Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:24 pm

Kuplo wrote:I think your problem is simply that you are trying to add a file that is not in a subfolder of the Data folder, the HeightMap folder resides at the same level as the Data folder and I think that is possibly where the game is choking. But if it is allowed then the xml file would look something like this:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package>

<FileAdd name="\SimCity Societies\Height Maps\YOURMAPNAME.TGA" />
</Package>

But it might also just need to be like this:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package>
<FileAdd name="\Height Maps\YOURMAPNAME.TGA" />
</Package>

I think that "should" add your tga to the right folder, but again the folder you have to put height maps is on the same level as the Data folder so that might be the problem you are experiencing.


Now with all of that said I just tried to add a map from the heightmap installation folder to the mod folder and while the game didn't error out, it wouldn't create the scspack out of the xml file so my guess above is still what I'd be guessing at this point. But I've certainly known to be wrong.

Since the game has created each scspack out of my xml files when I have files that need to go into one of the subdirectories of the Data directory is why I am assuming (guessing) all of this, since it isn't making a scspack out of this particular xml file that I just tried.

Just my guess.



see - I read their directions and figured the directory needed changing but didn't get any of that stuff like
the <package> start and end labels or
the file add bit from it LOL

really - only someone who knows xml format would get that I think.

I thought their pdf help file was totally obtuse. :/

Thanks for trying tho

DhevynStarr
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:57 pm

Postby DhevynStarr » Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:27 pm

One thing that might help a bit is when you are done creating your xml file, double click it and Internet Explorer should try to display it. If any of your 'tags' are not correct it will usually complain at you. At least that would be a quick way to rule out some problems before you start the game.

The paths you put in the install xml file are relative to the actual simcity societies directory, or the SC directory in your all users folder.
For example, you wouldn't want to use <FileAdd name="\SimCity Societies\Height Maps\YOURMAPNAME.TGA" />
because the 'SimCity Societies\' directory is already implied. You would use
<FileAdd name="Height Maps\YOURMAPNAME.TGA" />

Once you get one working install created, all you should have to do is copy the working line and then add the path and filename for the new files and make sure the mod files are in the paths you specify.

I ended up creating a spreadsheet to track my mod changes since you can actually place a file path in a cell and set it to a hyperlink. Then I just open it up and make sure the file is there and if I need to make any other changes, I don't need to go digging through directories. When I am done, I have a column which automatically creates the xml tag for the install. Worked pretty well.
Hope that helps a bit.
D

Grumpus
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Postby Grumpus » Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:39 pm

Is it possible to take an existing building such as the dive bar, rename it, and then have it appear in the venue gallery as a new venue?

I think the game lacks some common neighborhood shops such as:

Mom and pop grocery
drug store
Produce store
coin laundry
Shoe repair
etc etc

Also would it be possible to mod an apartment building with the ground floor containing a shop?

DhevynStarr
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:57 pm

Postby DhevynStarr » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:09 pm

I took a Frat House which is a home and turned it into a Venue. So yes, it is doable. You just have to change the structure of the xml file to use the tags of a Venue.

D

Morpheus121073
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Postby Morpheus121073 » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:47 pm

indeed we need some more buildings, thanks to this girl on the SCS exchange we already have an insurance agency and a travel agency but yeah where are the shops that grumpus said those are some shops we would like to see, anyone up to some graphical modding ? lol

Kuplo
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Postby Kuplo » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:57 pm

Morpheus121073 wrote:indeed we need some more buildings, thanks to this girl on the SCS exchange we already have an insurance agency and a travel agency but yeah where are the shops that grumpus said those are some shops we would like to see, anyone up to some graphical modding ? lol


Has anybody figured out yet how to mod the buildings beyond simple reskinning the mesh? I know I havn't.

DhevynStarr
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:57 pm

Postby DhevynStarr » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:13 am

I've been able to take a Frat House, turn it into a Venue, add the ability to make people ill. (Drunk college students) Then added a script ability to send out streakers and every once in awhile a visitor becomes a streaker. I still want to make it so that police will arrest the streakers if they catch them. Right now everyone runs away from them screaming. The mod is a combination of features of serveral mods, some custom skins, with some script customization to get the results I wanted. Has anyone actually figured out how to make new models or animations yet?
D

Agamemnus
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:21 am

Postby Agamemnus » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:07 am

Looks like models were made using 3D Studio Max 9 (see Data/Graphics/Models)

The texture maps for the models are stored in Data/Graphics/Textures. It looks like each model specifies where all the textures are stored and their names. All buildings appear to have 5 textures:

[name].png -> the name of the basic texture PNG.
[name]_amb.png -> greyscale png specifying something. Perhaps light reflection data on each polygon?
[name]_bump.png -> PNG specifying the bump map of the object.
[name]_ems.png -> Another texture of the object. An overlay texture for when the simulation depicts night-time, perhaps?
[name]_spec.png -> PNG depicting some other version of the object --a "closed" building/venue?


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