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Field Researcher
Original Poster
#1 Old 23rd Jun 2005 at 12:39 AM Last edited by frillen : 21st Apr 2009 at 1:34 AM.
Default Tutorial: Transparent Floor tiles
Update Feb. 04 - 2009:I've added a downloadable PDF version of this tutorial

Update: Some people have asked if this tutorial will work with future program version.
I did a test (december 20th 2005) using SimPE version 0.50 Alpha and Nvidia DDS Utilities version 7.83.0629.1500 and everything worked perfect, so this tutorial should work with future releases too!


3 Tutorial: Transparent Floor tiles


First of all I would like to thank RGiles for his wonderful tutorial on how to make transparent floor tiles, if it wasn't for him I probably never would have done this!

You will be able to make 3 different kind of transparent floor tiles like these:





From left to right you see:
A purple glass tile - Which can be any color you like and as transparent as you like.
A frosted glass tile with textures on - Again there's no limits in color options or how transparent you want it.
A partial transparent til with textures on - Once again there's no limit in color options, but you can't adjust the transparency in this.
However the great advantage of the 3rd one is that used outside in daylight shadows fall perfectly on it without cutting through the image, the first 2 don't work well with shadows outside a house.
All 3 kinds have one disadvantage: They don't support light, meaning they will always appear lit as if a light shines on them wether it's night or day, it's a minor thing we will have to live with for now.
Furthermore transparent tiles will produce a light blue color underneath if placed on the ground.

All 3 tiles have one great advantage, they don't mess up Homecrafter+, you can even export the tiles to a file, you can also clone them without Homecrafter failing, but then you'll loose transparency in the tiles and they become ordinary floor tiles again.

Before we begin the actual tutorials, I will list what programs and version I've used for making these tiles.

Programs you'll need: SimPE - (I've been using version: alpha, 0.40.1992.25042) Download SimPE here: http://sims.ambertation.de
Nvidia DDS Utilities - Download it here: http://developer.nvidia.com/object/dds_utilities.html
Homecrafter+ - Download it here: http://thesims2.ea.com/getcoolstuff/homecrafter.php
Paint shop pro 8 - Well this tutorial is made using psp8, but you can use a similar graphics editor.

After installing the programs you need, we have to set the right path in SimPE for Nvidia DDS Utilities:
Open SimPE Select Extra/Options...
A preferences window should pop up, if the Folders tab isn't selected then select it and press browse where you see 'Nvidia DDS Tools Folder' and select the path to where you installed it, press Ok when you're done.

We're now finished preparing our working tools, you may now select any of the 3 tutorials:

Part 1: Simple glass tiles
Part 2: Frosted glass tiles
Part 3: Partial transparent tiles


A notice from me about these guides:
The making of these tutorials have been a lot of trial and error, these tutorials are not considered perfect, use them at your own risk.
I won't pretend that I know what all those commands in both SimPE or the package files means or how they can affect the game, but they seem to be very stable and compatible with the game.
You may publish or link to these tutorials anywhere you like as long you don't charge people a fee to view them.
These tutorials may be updated from time to time.
If you have any comments or suggestions please make them here, so I will be aware of it.

Thanks, now go and try the tutorials!



----------
Tutorials:Transparent_Floor_tileswiki
Screenshots
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: rar Frillen_Tutorial-Transparent_Floor_tiles.rar (726.6 KB, 585 downloads) - View custom content
Description: This is a downloadable PDF version of this tutorial

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Field Researcher
Original Poster
#2 Old 23rd Jun 2005 at 12:40 AM Last edited by frillen : 4th Feb 2009 at 12:35 PM.
Default Part 1: Simple glass tiles -Tutorial-
Part 1: Simple glass tiles -Tutorial-

Make a new floor tile or clone one in Homecrafter+, make sure you fill out all the fields and set all options as you like them to be in the finished version.
The image for this tile isn't important, it can be anything because it won't be used, just remember: the bigger image = The bigger filesize.
Close Homecrafter+ after you've imported your tile to the game.
Browse your Downloads folder (My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Downloads) sorting the files by last created, this will make it easier to find your newly created tile.
Double click on the tile package file you just created or open it in SimPe, in the upper left corner you should see something like this:




In SimPE click on the file 'Material Definition'




Click 'Plugin View - Content - cMaterialDefinintion' and change the 'Type: Floor' to 'Type: StandardMaterial'




Now select 'Properties'
Change those Properties marked with red to those values you see here.
Note:
'stdMatBaseTextureEnabled' and 'stdMatBaseTextureName' represent the bitmap, but since we're not gonna use it for this kind of tile, then either set it to 'false' or delete both properties, however if you delete them and the bitmap file you'll get an error in Homecrafter if you try to clone them, it's your choice.
'stdMatDiffCoef' has 3 values, they represent the RGB values(Red,Green,Blue) , this will be the color of your glass tile.
In your graphics editor colors are represented by 3 numbers from 0 to 255, these numbers have to be converted using this formula:
eg. '200, 103, 255' becomes '0.76,0.4,1' once they are divided with 255 and rounded of to 2 decimals.
The value of 'stdMatUntexturedDiffAlpha' defines how transparent your tile will be enter a value between 0 and 1 with up to 2 decimals (0 being completely transparent and 1 being solid)

Properties added & changedFor easier use with copy/paste):
stdMatAlphaBlendMode blend
stdMatLightingEnabled 0
stdMatBaseTextureEnabled false
stdMatDiffCoef 0.76,0.4,1
stdMatUntexturedDiffAlpha 0.3


Press 'add' marked with blue twice and enter those Names & Values you see in the blue box (They will enable transparency)

You're done, well almost, we have to press 'Commit' button marked with green and save our changes to the package file by exiting SimPE accepting to save changes, now go check your new tile in your game.

This tutorial is based on RGiles tutorial, just done in a little different way, but they produce the same result.
Screenshots

Life's a game, so let's play!
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#3 Old 23rd Jun 2005 at 12:41 AM Last edited by frillen : 4th Feb 2009 at 12:43 PM.
Default Part 2: Frosted glass tiles -Tutorial-
Part 2: Frosted glass tiles -Tutorial-

Make a new floor tile or clone one in Homecrafter+, make sure you fill out all the fields and set all options as you like them to be in the finished version.
The image for this tile isn't important, it will be replaced in a later stage.
Close Homecrafter+ after you've imported your tile to the game.




Right click on the above image and save it on your hard-drive for later use.
Now open the image you just downloaded in paintshop pro 8 or whatever graphics editor you're using, from here on I will refer to psp8, but you'll get the picture.




Use the 'Magic Wand' and click in the read area of the image, make sure that only the red frame of the image is selected, if not you may need to adjust the tolerance of your 'Magic Wand'
Go to 'Layers/New Mask Layer/From Image...' Press Ok if you're asked to promote the target to a full layer.
A popup window should appear, select your image in source window, leave or set 'Create mask from = Source luminance'
Make sure 'Invert mask data' is deselected and now press ok and your image should look like the image above.

Now it's time to make some bevel effect to the frame.
Choose 'Layers/Merge/Merge Group' (this will flatten our image preserving the alpha transparency)
Click on 'Flood Fill' button and select a foreground color (RGB 128,128,128) and left click inside the selection.
This should turn the bright transparent red area into a solid grey area.
Now click on 'Effects/3D Effects/Inner Bevel' a popup window should open looking like this:




Make sure that all your settings are the same as in this window before you press 'OK'

Our image is actually finished, all we need to do is save it as a png image with alpha Transparency.
Choose 'File/Save as...' a new popup window should open, set filetype to Png and then click on the 'Options' button, a 'Save Options' window should open, clcik on 'Run Optimizer...'
A window called 'Png Optimizer' should open.
In the 'Colors' tab make sure that 16.7 million colors(24 bit) is selected.
In the 'Transparency' make sure that both 'Alpha channel transparency' & 'Existing image or layer transparency' are selected.
In the 'Format' tab make sure that 'Non-Interlaced' is selected.
Once you have finished the above settings, click 'Ok' and save your final frosted image with a suitable name and in a destination where you can find it again.

Browse your Downloads folder (My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Downloads) sorting the files by last created, this will make it easier to find your newly created tile.
Double click on the tile package file you just created or open it in SimPe, in the upper left corner you should see something like this:




In SimPE click on the file 'Texture Image'
Now click the 'Plugin View' tab in TXTR Editor below, right click the image and select 'Build TXT...' a popup window should show looking something like this:




Click 'Open Image...' and browse for your final frosted image, make the settings as shown above.
Click on the 'Build' button and next step is to click on the 'Commit' button in the main screen. (this will save our changes in that file)




Click on the file 'Material Definition' and click 'Plugin View - Content - cMaterialDefinintion' and change the 'Type: Floor' to 'Type: StandardMaterial'




Change the selected to 'stdMatDiffCoef: 0.9,0.9,0.9'
'stdMatDiffCoef' has 3 values, they represent the RGB values(Red,Green,Blue) , this will be the color of your glass tile.
In your graphics editor colors are represented by 3 numbers from 0 to 255, these numbers have to be converted using this formula:
eg. '200, 103, 255' becomes '0.76,0.4,1' once they are divided with 255 and rounded of to 2 decimals.
The value of 'stdMatUntexturedDiffAlpha' defines how transparent your tile will be enter a value between 0 and 1 with up to 2 decimals (0 being completely transparent and 1 being solid)
Click on 'add' 3 times(in blue box) and set 3 new properties like shown in the red box..
Once you're finished click the 'Commit' button

Properties added & changed (For easier use with copy/paste):
stdMatDiffCoef 0.9,0.9,0.9
stdMatFillMode solid
stdMatAlphaBlendMode blend
stdMatLightingEnabled 0


You're done, well almost, we have to press 'Commit' button marked with green and save our changes to the package file by exiting SimPE accepting to save changes, now go check your new tile in your game.
Screenshots

Life's a game, so let's play!
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#4 Old 23rd Jun 2005 at 12:42 AM Last edited by frillen : 4th Feb 2009 at 1:17 PM.
Default Part 3: Partial transparent tiles -Tutorial-
Part 3: Partial transparent tiles -Tutorial-

Make a new floor tile or clone one in Homecrafter+, make sure you fill out all the fields and set all options as you like them to be in the finished version.
The image for this tile isn't important, it will be replaced in a later stage.
Close Homecrafter+ after you've imported your tile to the game.




Download the above image and save it to a location where you can find it again.


Browse your Downloads folder (My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Downloads) sorting the files by last created, this will make it easier to find your newly created tile.
Double click on the tile package file you just created or open it in SimPe, in the upper left corner you should see something like this:




In SimPE click on the file 'Texture Image'
Now click the 'Plugin View' tab in TXTR Editor below, right click the image and select 'Build TXT...' a popup window should show looking something like this:




Click 'Open Image...' and browse for your the image you've just downloadet(multicolor-trans.png), make the settings as shown above.
Click on the 'Build' button and next step is to click on the 'Commit' button in the main screen. (this will save our changes in that file)




In SimPE click on the file 'Material Definition'




Click 'Plugin View - Content - cMaterialDefinintion' and change the 'Type: Floor' to 'Type: StandardMaterial'




Click on 'add' 3 times(in blue box) and set 3 new properties like shown in the red box..
Once you're finished click the 'Commit' button

Properties added For easier use with copy/paste):
stdMatFillMode solid
stdMatLightingEnabled 0
stdMatAlphaTestEnabled 1


You're done, well almost, we have to press 'Commit' button marked with green and save our changes to the package file by exiting SimPE accepting to save changes, now go check your new tile in your game.
Screenshots

Life's a game, so let's play!
Doilyrific Diabolical Disagreer
#5 Old 23rd Jun 2005 at 9:02 AM
I see the thank you button for tutorials has not yet been implemented, so thank you!
Lab Assistant
#6 Old 26th Jun 2005 at 2:32 PM
I have a problem with Simpe.
Through this Tutorial I'm trying to do some Transparent Floor tiles , but I can't insert code, there are hyphens

Excuse me for my English

Can you help me?
Screenshots
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#7 Old 26th Jun 2005 at 3:04 PM Last edited by frillen : 26th Jun 2005 at 3:10 PM.
Hyphens
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronja
I have a problem with Simpe.
Through this Tutorial I'm trying to do some Transparent Floor tiles , but I can't insert code, there are hyphens

Excuse me for my English

Can you help me?


Hi Ronja if understand you correctly seeing your added screenshot:
Those are not hyphens, they are colons which will be inserted automatically when you enter new or edit properties.
They only serve the purpose of separating the name and the values of properties.
Left click on the colons and enter the name and the value of those new properties in the input fields in the right corner SimPes window.
It should all work fine, if it doesn't please write back and explain what goes wrong for you :D

Life's a game, so let's play!
Fluffy
staff: retired moderator
#8 Old 2nd Jul 2005 at 10:57 PM
frillen,
could you ask a mod to put this in the tutorial forum?
I hardly found it in here and this looks like a very handy tut, I've been looking for a way to make your third tile
so thankyou
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#9 Old 3rd Jul 2005 at 6:51 PM Last edited by frillen : 4th Jul 2005 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Tutorials are now in the right section
Tutorials have been moved
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lethe_s
frillen,
could you ask a mod to put this in the tutorial forum?
I hardly found it in here and this looks like a very handy tut, I've been looking for a way to make your third tile
so thankyou

Thanks for the tip, however I did ask Psion(moderator) to do it and he promised that he would, maybe he has forgotten to do it.
I think I better pm him again about it just to make sure :nod:

UPDATE:
Psion has moved this tutorial to General Modding Tutorials for easier finding :D

Life's a game, so let's play!
Test Subject
#10 Old 4th Jul 2005 at 6:17 PM
Reflecting Walls and Floors?
Frillen,
I love the transparent floor tiles but I have another problem...
My fiance' is actually the one who came up with the idea and wanted me to ask if it was at all possible. He is wanting walls and floors that have a slight reflection to them. Do you have any idea how one would go by doing this?

Thanks for your time,

~Mera~
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#11 Old 5th Jul 2005 at 2:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mera
Frillen,
I love the transparent floor tiles but I have another problem...
My fiance' is actually the one who came up with the idea and wanted me to ask if it was at all possible. He is wanting walls and floors that have a slight reflection to them. Do you have any idea how one would go by doing this?

Thanks for your time,


I totally understand him, I want reflections too
I'm not sure if it's possible to make reflections on walls & floors, they support lights, shadows & transparency(not walls - yet), but no reflections :confused:
Maxis must have had a reason for leaving out the possibilities, but I'm no quitter, I still search for a way, but no luck yet - sorry

Life's a game, so let's play!
Test Subject
#12 Old 5th Jul 2005 at 7:46 PM
Yes, keep trying and we will keep hoping ^_^
It would be nice if it could work.
The ModFather
staff: retired moderator
#13 Old 5th Jul 2005 at 7:54 PM
I've just stepped in to thank you for the big effort you obviously have put into writing this tutorial. The modding Community needs people like you.
Keep up the good work!

I've finally started my Journal. Information only, no questions.

My latest activity: CEP 9.2.0! - AnyGameStarter 2.1.1 (UPD) - Scriptorium v.2.2f - Photo & Plaques hide with walls - Magazine Rack (UPD) - Animated Windows Hack (UPD) - Custom Instrument Hack (UPD) - Drivable Cars Without Nightlife (UPD) - Courtesy Lights (FIX) - Custom Fence-Arches - Painting-TV - Smarter Lights (UPD)


I *DON'T* accept requests, sorry.
Lab Assistant
#14 Old 9th Jul 2005 at 6:16 PM
Thankyou, this is a fantastic tutorial, I can't wait to make some invisible floors and such for my fantasy stories.

I think the reasons are that reflections seriously bog-down the computer's processing, so having something as large scale as floors and walls would be difficult for a computer to run.
Test Subject
#15 Old 10th Jul 2005 at 8:07 AM
I just wanted to thank you again, I just did the tutorials #1,#2, and #3. And I did a clear glass the first time but when I played it in the game and it came up as a black tile, well I knew I flopped somewhere. So I redid the tutorial and now I have clear glass, and I have a very nice frosted glass and a partial transparent glass. Very nice instructions, once I reread it again. Thank you so much!
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#16 Old 13th Jul 2005 at 6:53 AM
Thank you all :howdy:
Hackster Manic you're probably right about floor reflections, that's what I think too, as I said earlier Maxis must have had their reasons for not including it to the game.
It probably would have been a serious slow-down, but I'm still searching for a way to do it
I thought that examining the mirrors would give a clue to how it could be done, but no luck so far, they also show to much reflection to be used on a floor, remember there's no ceiling so it probably would reflect everything on the above floor too
The Resident Bunny
staff: retired moderator
#17 Old 13th Jul 2005 at 9:37 PM
I've also been trying to figure out how to make shiny floor tiles, but with no luck. Either there is no kind of change on the floor tile, or it turns dark in the game.

If we were able to edit the specularity value successfully we could make shiny floors without having the surroundings reflected on them. The reflectivity and specularity are separate values.
Test Subject
#18 Old 10th Aug 2005 at 1:58 AM
Thankyou!
Lab Assistant
#19 Old 11th Aug 2005 at 10:42 AM
Frillen

What can I say but a BIG thankyou!

I was delighted to find RGiles' early tutorial and it was the most ambitious thing I'd ever tried with SimPE. It was great, wonderful, but all my floors turned out jet black.

But I'd latterly seen other tiles about where they weren't black, so I figured it could be done.

And your tutorial worked wonderfully. I now have my first, non-black grid thanks to you. I am so very, very grateful!

Thanks!
Test Subject
#20 Old 21st Aug 2005 at 10:28 PM
Whaaaa!!! I tried to make a wooden bridge flooring with spaces between the boards, and it didn't work. I two, one going in each direction. One of them came out black, the other had the texture but no transparency! I am using the most recent version of SimPE: is that the problem? I was so excited about finally having this floor... If someone can help me I'll be so so grateful! Thanks for the easy to follow tutorial, at any rate. I'm sure I'll get it to work eventually.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#21 Old 20th Dec 2005 at 4:26 PM
Saphos I'm so sorry for this late reply, but are you sure that you're importing your image through the DDS utility exactly like I described?
It's extremely important that you follow the tutorial exactly, even the smallest error might result in no transparancy!

Maybe you already have found the solution to your problem, but here's a little gift from me to all of you:

36 Transparent floor tiles

32 Transparent floor tiles

There's even a wooded bridge tile connected with rope!
The pages that are opened is in danish language, but it's quite easy to figure out how to get them, there's a big download button and a picture of all the tiles with a roll over feature to show the transparency better.
The file you'll download is an EXE file which when executed will install all the floor tiles in the proper download-folder, making them all play ready in your game at once :santa:

Life's a game, so let's play!
Test Subject
#22 Old 23rd Dec 2005 at 4:54 PM
Thank You so much for this update and your gift.
Test Subject
#23 Old 29th Dec 2005 at 3:24 PM
Thanks for the tutorials Frill. I've always wanted to learn to make transparent floors.
Object(ive) Investigator
staff: retired moderator
#24 Old 4th Jan 2006 at 6:55 AM
Great tutorial frillen.

I had a thought on reflective floors: reflective rugs.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#25 Old 24th Jan 2006 at 10:06 AM
Thanx a lot folks!
I'm still working on wall transparency, but it's a little harder and more complex to work with than floor tiles.
Reflective floors and reflective rugs would be cool though they probably would be as hard on the game performance as mirrors are :moose:

Life's a game, so let's play!
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