By Heather Castillo
|The Sims Community
|3D model or mesh
|Objects (2D Renders)
||Renders of Props
(Head or Body)
|Characters (3D models)
(Hats, Scarfs, Glasses etc.)
||Renders on yellow background
|Alpha Channels (A-Sprites)
||1x1x3 Square of the Grid
A lot of controversy has been floating around regarding the use
of 3D models for objects and characters. SimFreaks makes no secret
that we often purchase 3D models from the 3D community to make
Sims." However, the terminology from the 3D Community to The Sims
Community does not crossover, and this can cause quite a stir
of misunderstandings regarding usage.
The Sims is a hybrid game of 3D characters (Sims) in a 2D world
of Objects (2D Renders).
When converting over a 3D head, some of the model does go into the
Sim. The meshes we have used in the past were completely destroyed
with the conversion process making reverse engineering impossible.
secure permissions for redistribution of these models,
that are actually attached to original sim character heads.
|Fester Ghoul by Anton
Sim objects (2D renders) are completely different. The object models
are converted from a 3D Model to Sprite art. Sprite art comes in bmp
render at 4 angled views (sometimes mirrored, sometimes not). This
enables sims to walk through the 2D world from a fixed perspective,
How does this work? The game is set up on a grid (1), much like
in 3D. The grid assists in many things, such as routing and placement
(sprites). Sprites (2D renders) are created from each object (mesh)
and may be placed in a fixed position at one of four angles. This
creates the illusion of 3D. In image #1, we see a 3D Character, Fester
sleeping in a 2D Bed Render. This undoubtably confuses 3D artists.
How can we make this happen?
Each image is taken from 3D (or 2D images even) and
converted to interactive 2D renders though a series of sprite art.
be split over tiles to create anything that expands the 1x1x3 box
of a tiles space. The studio lamp in image (1, 2a, 2b, 2c) is a render
of 3D artwork. The lamp was rendered in an "on state" and "off
which enables it to light when the 3D character interacts with it.
Image 3a (below) contains the alpha channel which determines the
area the object will fill and created the anti-aliasing of the object
it appear smooth in the game.
Image 3b (below) contains the p-sprite image of the object at front
Image 3c (below) contains the z-buffer of the lamp, which helps determin
the depth of the object within relation to the grid and objects that
interact with it. This makes it possible for Fester to put his hand
behind the lamp (2c)(left) . Because the z-buffer has given the
lamp a depth relative to the space on the grid.
Same is the case of Fester sleeping in the bed (1a). The blanket
is part of the bed, but the sprite art allows for an illusion of
depth. The blanket z-buffers are darker than the matress and
pillow z-buffers, which allows Fester to sleep on top of the
pillow and matress, yet under the cozy blanket.
|3a - off
||3b - off
||3c - off
|3a - on
||3b - on
||3c - on
|3a - off (back)
||3b - off (back)
||3c - off (back)
See Objects Overview, Alpha Channel and Z-buffer tutorials
for more indepth information.