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Testers Wanted: s2album storybook viewer –w- html blog export

by roachandlazygirl Posted 29th Apr 2005 at 7:10 PM - Updated 27th Nov 2013 at 9:28 PM by Nysha
141 Thanks  Thanks     18 Favourited
Notice: Please DISREGARD the “How do I install this .zip custom content?” link the moderators have kindly placed next to everyone’s zip file download. It does not apply to all zip files. It does not apply to this zip file. Once you unzip the installer just double-click the .exe file to begin installation! Thank you.

Title: Sims 2 Album (The Sims 2 Storybook Viewer)

Description: Convenient way to view and edit your family or neighborhood storybooks from outside of The Sims 2 game. Saves the storybook in a 100% compatible format that the game can also read and edit. You can save as a regular XML storybook file or HTML, exporting your storybooks as a BLOG for your own web site. The HTML export allows you to create your own web site for your family or neighborhood storybooks.

Beta Testers: Please note any verifiable glitches or bugs in the program. Please test that it is also fully compatible with storybooks created using the Sims 2 University Expansion Pack. I do not have the expansion pack and therefore only tested it with the stock game. Please feel free to offer interface suggestions and other improvement ideas.

Please NOTE THE VERSION you have when you report a bug or defect.

Feature Notice: Not all of the features are documented! Things such as ALT-Enter for “Full Screen” slideshow mode have yet to be documented in the help file. Explore keyboard shortcuts and extra features.

BLOG Feature: The HTML export uses templates. Only one template is currently available. More will be available soon. Please suggest html export layouts for how you want your Sims 2 Storybook BLOG to look.



During development this project was maintained under the following thread:
http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?p=244090

OFFICIAL WEB SITE:
http://www.transamerican.net/s2album

Help and Documentation:
http://transamerican.net/s2album/helpfile.html

A changelog is available here:
http://transamerican.net/s2album/changelog.txt

List of known defects available in the bug-track file:
http://transamerican.net/s2album/bugtrack.txt

DOWNLOADERS NOTICE: Most users will want to download _only_ the file with “install-exe” in the name. This is the FULL INSTALLER. Unzip it and then click on the install.exe file inside to start the installation process.

Notice: Once you unzip the installer just double-click the .exe file to begin installation! Thank you.
Download files
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
alpha0-8-2_install-exe.zip 2.53 MB 1,632 5th Jan 2006
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87 Comments / Replies (Who?) - 81 Feedback Posts, 2 Thanks Posts
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Field Researcher
#2 Old 29th Apr 2005 at 8:01 PM
cool thanx for this! :D
Field Researcher
#3 Old 29th Apr 2005 at 8:13 PM
thanks, i'll test this as soon as a get a chance :D
Test Subject
#4 Old 29th Apr 2005 at 9:23 PM
YEESSSS!
Thank you thank you thank you!
Lab Assistant
#5 Old 29th Apr 2005 at 10:04 PM
thank you i really needed something like this!
Lab Assistant
#6 Old 2nd May 2005 at 8:17 PM
this looks really cool!!! i wanted to create a story before but i thought it was too complicated... thanks for making it simpler!!
Instructor
#7 Old 3rd May 2005 at 12:44 AM
I have been using Sims2Blog without any problems but have often wished I could edit while reading outside the game. Look forward to testing this. Impressed with what I see, both the product, your website and your documentation. All very professional. Thanks for sharing.
Field Researcher
#8 Old 4th May 2005 at 5:48 AM
Wonderful!
:gidea: This is just what I was looking for -- thank you so much! I really look forward to trying it out. I hate to use the storytelling part of Sims 2 because my game tends to crash when I use it. I hate to even get started knowing my writing may get erased without saving. This will make album creation so much easier! :jig:
Test Subject
#9 Old 4th May 2005 at 7:41 AM
Thats way a looking for! Thanks! :D
Lab Assistant
#10 Old 4th May 2005 at 9:49 PM
Great idea, I hate seeing that after I upload the story to the exchange that I have to change an error that I might have accidentally mistyped.. this it great !!!
Test Subject
#11 Old 7th May 2005 at 11:01 AM
hi,
when I try to save, I get this message :

"Save operation failed
XML Integrity Check Failed !
Using backup file for recovery
Modifications will not be saved".

I have the University Expansion Pack, and I use the v. 0.7.1 of your program.
I use the French version of the game. And Sims2Blog doesn't work either with my game !!

And sorry for my bad english.
Bye :howdy:
Forum Resident
#12 Old 27th May 2005 at 1:58 AM
Cool finally I found this missed it some how. I am glad you did this. Thank you so much 10 stars to you too.....
Lab Assistant
DELETED POST
Original Poster
27th May 2005 at 9:52 PM Last edited by roachandlazygirl : 30th May 2005 at 9:07 PM.
This message has been deleted by roachandlazygirl.
Test Subject
#13 Old 1st Jun 2005 at 8:39 PM Last edited by naschev : 1st Jun 2005 at 9:06 PM. Reason: I almost forgot!
I have to say, I tested this yesterday, and it worked very nicely. No problems to report on it's usability. There was only one little (very little) thing I didn't like, and that was how the title appears on the top of the page. It shows "the family album for the (whatever) family living in the (whatever) neighborhood, as opposed to showing the actual title of the story. The story book title appears at the bottom of the page. Most people need to use "dummy" lots to create a second chapter to a story, so the title's lost, and the family name, and neighborhood name are unimportant. Also, not completely related to the program itself, but I don't know if anyone else is having a problem with the links to your web pages in your post, but when I click on them, any of them, I get a web page not found, and my browser takes me to a search engine instead.

BTW-I have university, and the stories I tested on are from that, so there were no issues to report there.
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#14 Old 3rd Jun 2005 at 7:49 PM
Default Web Page Not Found Issues
I have received reports that some people are unable to access the official web site. I believe this is an issue with my hosting provider. Apparently, some areas are blocked. Anyone unable to access the www.transamerican.net/s2album official web site should post the first part of their IP address. For example, if your IP address is 208.47.200.9 then only provide the 208.47 portion. This way you remain anonymous and secure and I have something to give to my hosting provider to make sure they are not blocking access to your area.

Thank you!
Test Subject
#15 Old 6th Jun 2005 at 9:02 PM
I am unable to access the official web site, it keeps telling me "Connection Refused". My ISP is 71.32.

Also, I would like to request a new feature - the ability to Start New Album. (This would be particularly useful when starting a new Family Chapter).

I'd also like to request a larger picture browser (so I can see details in the pics before I add them to the album. It also would be helpful if the picture browser "remembered" which family I was choosing when returning to the photo browser. (I like to add about 10-20 pics when I work on my albums, and it gets tedious to remember each family's "number").

(Speaking of which... would it be possible to assign aliases to the hexadecimal family number, so it would be easier to remember which was which?)

And one last item... I've created "cover pages" for each generation/family, which I'd like to insert at the beginning of the story. I've named them as such:
Gen001_GG001.jpg
(Generation 001, Global Generation 001)

Unfortunately, the storybook viewer doesn't "see" them or present them as photos to add to the story. Do they need to be renamed to match each family's Family Number?

This is such a great program, thank you for creating it!!
Test Subject
#16 Old 6th Jun 2005 at 9:18 PM
One more suggestion, based on University.

If you weren't aware, University creates new photo albums for each "household" (group of sims) that goes to college. These are completely separate from the Family albums. (In fact, you can't even access University photos from the Family albums while inside the game). Thankfully, your program does!

The only problem I am running into is this:
I've already created several albums for my sims who went to college (within TS2). Now, I'd like to integrate their stories into the main family album.

For example: The next generation of album starts in the teen years, and Janie Smith has gone to college. While at college I record her significant events.

I'd like a way to merge her University album with her existing Family album.

I'd suggest something like the following:
1. Open Family Album
2. Import Pages from "______.xml" (dialogue box chooser)
3. Mini album opens up, and allows to choose pages to be imported.
Click to put a green mark on the first page, and click on another page to place a red mark.

If a later or earlier page gets clicked (after initial choosing), the markers would move accordingly.
4. Choose OK. (and pages and text would be imported.)

Perhaps another option to specify the location of the importation. Like "At End," "At Beginning," or "Insert Before Page __"
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#17 Old 7th Jun 2005 at 10:29 PM
So much valuable feedback, thank you kindly! I will attempt to address each question/suggestion as I go through them.

> I am unable to access the official web site, it keeps telling me "Connection Refused".

Contacted my host and you are no longer being blocked. I apologize for the block.

> Also, I would like to request a new feature - the ability to Start New Album.
> (This would be particularly useful when starting a new Family Chapter).

Good suggestion, I will try to work it in before the beta release. There are considerations such as the game’s generated naming convention for family albums that will have to be considered.

> I'd also like to request a larger picture browser

Currently, the picture browser uses the actual thumbnail generated by the game. It was in the original specification to have a “zoom” feature using the snapshot. I have had to scale back some features in order to meet a realistic release goal for version 1.

> if the picture browser "remembered" which family I was choosing

Good suggestion. If you are working only on one particular family’s album, the browser should probably default to selection for that family’s snapshots. I agree.

> would it be possible to assign aliases to the hexadecimal family number

I’ve looked at the options for automatically detecting the family name and there isn’t really a ‘clean’ way to accomplish it. I had planned for this in the original specification. I hadn’t considered user defined aliases. The alias to hex relationship could be recorded in the registry. This is worth considering.

> I've created "cover pages" for each generation/family… Gen001_GG001.jpg…
> storybook viewer doesn't "see" them or present them as photos

Because the name does not begin with “snapshot” or “thumbnail”. Originally did this to eliminate confusion for people that may sloppily mix Sims 2 storybook files in with other images that are not valid for a storybook. The negative consequence manifests when users attempt to create custom graphics of the appropriate specifications and they are not visible due to the name filter.

Which brings me to a question I have for you that I will ask in a subsequent post.

Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hrhqoroses
I am unable to access the official web site, it keeps telling me "Connection Refused". My ISP is 71.32.

Also, I would like to request a new feature - the ability to Start New Album. (This would be particularly useful when starting a new Family Chapter).

I'd also like to request a larger picture browser (so I can see details in the pics before I add them to the album. It also would be helpful if the picture browser "remembered" which family I was choosing when returning to the photo browser. (I like to add about 10-20 pics when I work on my albums, and it gets tedious to remember each family's "number").

(Speaking of which... would it be possible to assign aliases to the hexadecimal family number, so it would be easier to remember which was which?)

And one last item... I've created "cover pages" for each generation/family, which I'd like to insert at the beginning of the story. I've named them as such:
Gen001_GG001.jpg
(Generation 001, Global Generation 001)

Unfortunately, the storybook viewer doesn't "see" them or present them as photos to add to the story. Do they need to be renamed to match each family's Family Number?

This is such a great program, thank you for creating it!!
Test Subject
#18 Old 8th Jun 2005 at 5:52 AM
Oh, I've been waiting for this - thank you sooo much. Testing now
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#19 Old 8th Jun 2005 at 8:55 PM
Character Limitation Issue Resolved
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrhqoroses
Quote:
Originally Posted by roachandlazygirl
The limit is 999, (rtbViewer.MaxLength = 999) characters per snapshot caption. I will increase this to 1024 to match the game if you are positive that is the upper limit. I don’t believe MS Word correctly counts ASCII characters. WinVi does an accurate character count including LF’s which go into the actual XML file. Thanks for providing me with the character limit of the game, I will make the Storybook Viewer match it accordingly.


I did use MS Word for both of my counts (both on the truncated page in Storybook Viewer and in the TS2 test limit page), so I double checked on the TS2 limit.

I don't have WinVi, so I counted by hand. (Basically typing a-z, copy & pasting until I ran out of room, then multiplying by 26). Indeed, 1024 seems to be the actual limit for characters. (I also tested non-printing characters, but I was unable to fit a single carriage return after the 1024). I don't know what LFs are, so I couldn't account for those.


LF is Line Feed. CR is Carriage Return. In the UNIX world only LF is used for an ASCII text file, including _most_ modern Macintosh OS editors. Old Macintosh used only a CR. Micro$oft, chose to use a CRLF combination. The Sims 2 game saves the XML storybook files with only a LF, which is the most common system. Storybook Viewer complies with LF’s only in the XML, despite Micro$oft’s text control. If a user modifies and saves the XML using M$ Windows notepad, the LF’s are converted to CRLF’s but the Sims 2 Game doesn’t seem to mind and joyfully opens the storybook, then saving it with only LF’s again. CRLF usage will increase the character count, however, since they only occur at the end of a paragraph the overall increase is nominal.

Other readers may find this interesting so I am going to copy it to the forum thread. Also, I have already increased the size to 1024 and it will be available in the next release.

Thank you!
Lab Assistant
#20 Old 8th Jun 2005 at 10:29 PM
So let me clarify. If I edit my story in this thing, you can still upload it AS A STORY on the website?

Or you can package it as an htm file and put it in a blog on your website?
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#21 Old 8th Jun 2005 at 11:32 PM
Correct!

Quote:
Originally Posted by katiebface1
So let me clarify. If I edit my story in this thing, you can still upload it AS A STORY on the website?

Or you can package it as an htm file and put it in a blog on your website?
Test Subject
#22 Old 9th Jun 2005 at 4:04 AM
This is the best thing I have downloaded from here ever!

Wow This is just what I need to post my stories on my page I cant thak you enough!!!!!!

I want to be just like you when I grow up.
Lab Assistant
#23 Old 9th Jun 2005 at 1:01 PM
Well thank you! **runs off to mess with the program**

I will let you know that everything works okay after i do some testing!
Scholar
#24 Old 12th Jun 2005 at 4:19 AM
This is sooooooooo cool thank you I always hated having to go into the game to make a story and then have to get off the game to get online and then have to get back on the game to post it on the Sims 2 website and then get off the game to get back online to sign off! Thank you sooooooooo much!
Test Subject
#25 Old 12th Jun 2005 at 11:42 PM
I'm using the latest version. For some reason, most of my albums either give me an error message that reads "KeyWordList: Unexpected Length" and others don't seem have anything in them. I realize that might not be the fault of the program, but I figured I'd point it out.

But, I did see enough of the program in action to say that it's top of cool.
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Operating System: Windows
Utility Type: Miscellaneous
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