Moon Sims

Objects Fundamentals - Part 2
Objects are actually flat pictures

Caddy with flat table

Rattle, clankety clankety.>Thump!<


Pasiphae calls from the kitchen. "Caddy! What are you doing in there?"

"Oh, nothing! Nothing to worry about! Really! Just go ahead and fix lunch. I'll be right there!"

"Nothing I can't fix," Caddy mutters under her breath. "I hope."

She takes a couple of deep breaths and turns her attention back to you.

"Here's what I wanted to show you. See? This big, massive table is just a cardboard cut-out! In fact, in reality it's just an infinitely thin, flat image. Don't tell Carla about this. She gets terribly upset when something shakes her grip on reality.

"When you make an object for The Sims, you're really just working with flat images. That's why you can only rotate the view to four locked positions, and you're always looking down from exactly the same angle. If you count up the four possible rotations and three levels of zoom, that's a total of twelve images in all, and the game needs all of those flat images for every single object in the game.

"All those flat images take up a lot of memory in your computer, but it's important because they save a heck of a lot of computer processing time. Back at the beginning of the 21st century, most people had only a single-CPU computer. Even the fastest home computers only had a single G4 CPU, and chances are you're running The Sims on something slower, like a G3 or a Pentium.

". . . if you can find a set of flat pictures . . . you don't have to fool around with 3D modeling at all."

"There's even a good chance that you're running Windows, so more than half of your computer's processing time is eaten up by your operating system. When you run The Sims, your computer is already working as hard as it can. You simply don't have the processor power to calculate the perspective, lighting, shading, and hidden lines for the dozens of objects that appear on your screen when you're running The Sims. Graphics boards help a little bit, but you would need a dozen of them to keep up with the workload.

"Huh? Windows? Oh yeah, I remember that. My teacher used it as an example in a class on software quality standards and market manipulation. But hey, you can only use what you've got, so for now, you don't have much choice but to learn to live with it. Don't worry; it won't be long.

"Nowadays, at the beginning of the 22nd century, we use Vast Array CPU chips supported by Matrix Cube Geometry Engines to calculate our real-time entertainment programs, and feed the data into our Virtual Presence bonnets; but those things weren't even invented before my grandparents set the first charge in the Luna City Cavern. In fact, the major driver for perfecting the technology was our use of telepresence here on Luna to control the mining and exploration robots.

"Now, getting back to objects in The Sims, the important point here is that if can you find a set of flat pictures of an object you want to make for the game, all taken from the right angles, you don't have to fool around with 3D modeling at all.

"In fact, the only 3D objects in the game are the terrain, us characters, and the things we carry around. Everything else is just a flat picture.

". . . the only 3D objects in the game are the terrain, us characters, and the things we carry around."

"Anything we wear needs to be a 3D object because it has to move with us. You will be viewing stuff we wear from just about all possible angles, so there's no choice but to use 3D objects for those. Like my backpack. As I move around, bend over, and twist and turn, you will see my backpack from all sides. It's just a simple box, made by master object-maker himself, Chad "Claw" Authier at the 7 Deadly Sims, but it gets the job done.

"But except for things we characters carry around, the only reason you need a 3D modeling tool is to create the flat images that get imported into the game. Once you have the flat images, you're ready to do some work with Transmogrifier to convert those images into an object for The Sims.

"Speaking of my backpack, I'd better take this off so I can wiggle into some tight spots for the next thing I want to show you. Just let me push this thing back into position before Carla sees it--"

Clankety clankety, clankety.>Thump!<

"Um, you'd better not watch this next part. It's not going to be very pretty.

"Let's see now . . . where did I put my chainsaw?"

Back Back to Part 1 | Continue to Part 3 Forward

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