[identity profile] sushigal007.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] randomsushi
So... that post about cleaning out your Downloads folder is possibly the most popular thing on my blog and every time it gets reblogged, I gain a couple of new followers. And I feel kind of guilty, like you're all expecting more words of wisdom from me and instead, all you get is Doctor Who gifs and social justice posts. Which are good, but maybe not what you want all the time.

So it's time for another tutorial! Today, I will be showing you how to sort your CC into collections and hide it from Build/Buy mode. And I'm putting it on LJ because there's too many images for Tumblr.



CREATING COLLECTIONS

First, open your game and grab a notebook. You're going to go through your horribly cluttered catalogue and make a list of possible collections. Go with the obvious to start with. Beds, sofas, tables, stuff like that. If it looks like they're still going to be completely enormous collections, break it down a bit more. Single beds, double beds, bunk beds, loveseats, chairs, desks, end tables, dining tables. List collections that aren't in the EAxis catalogue. Science, for all that lab deco you downloaded for Strangetown. Arts and Crafts, for all that stuff you got to clutter up Natasha Una's home. Books, a collection entirely separate from Bookcases. Vases. Sculptures. Deco food. Office clutter. Gnomes. Graves. Children's toys. Music. Pose boxes. Tea. If you intend to tidy up Build Mode too, head over there and jot down the names of wallpaper and flooring sets. Once you think you're done, exit the game.

The next step is making icons. If you want, you can download some, but I prefer to make my own, with basic black font on a white background. If you make your own, they'll need to be 28x22, which yes, is tiny. I use a 5-6pt font. Save them as jpeg in My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Collections/Icons.

Next, we'll be using Collection Creator - but not for making the final collections. Well, I guess you can if you want, but I personally find it much easier when I can see what items I'm adding. And I've never quite been able to get the program to work well with collections that need constant editing. No, what we'll be doing here is using the program to add folders full of meshes to collections. "What's the point of that?" I hear you ask. Well, you could go through every page of your catalogue and add stuff to collections there, but your CC will be mixed up with EAxis stuff and it's very easy to zone out and forget to add a thing because your eyes glazed over the CC star. Also, there are some objects that only show up on community lots and if you're adding stuff to collections on a residential lot, you're going to miss them. So that's why we're going to use Collection Creator to create a bunch of collections first.

Do you still have Delphy's Download Organiser from my previous tutorial? If not, go and get it and scan your Downloads folder. At the end, click on Type to sort everything by type, and move all your object files into separate folders. Plumbing, Lighting, Appliances and so on. You may want to make several Deco folders if yours is anywhere near as overwhelmingly huge as mine (more than 3000 items at present). If you're sorting Build Mode too, move your doors and windows and wallpapers and floors to individual folders.



Now we're ready to add the contents of those folders to their own collections.

To the Collection Creator! Click on the star to create a new collection. Give it a name, choose whether you want it to be for Residential, Commercial or both (you'll need Pets or higher for that) and click on the +Folder icon on the lower right. Then you can browse to your first folder.



Once everything's been added, click the big Save button at the bottom right to save your collection. It may show up if you save it in your Downloads folder, but to be certain, save it in My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Collections.



NOTE: the Collection Creator cannot make collections for walls and floors. They use different internal data and nobody's quite sure yet what the game uses to put them in collections. You'll need to do it manually when you're in the game.

Now it's time to load the game and start making your collections. Get a cup of tea and put on some music. Or better yet, a podcast or audio play because I'm sorry, but this next bit is going to be tedious.

Enter a lot and open Buy Mode. Underneath the options to Sort by Fuction and Sort by Room is the icon for Collections. From here, there are two ways to start making your own collections. The first is to simply hit the button at the bottom that says Create New Collection. The second is to choose your first object. Underneath the item description, at the side of all your available recolours is the button to add the object to a collection, which will give you a pop-up allowing you to choose an existing collection or create a new one.




Once you've chosen to create a new collection, you will be able to choose the icon and whether you want it to be residential, community or both (again, Pets+). Then you can add your first item.



Then you can start putting all your CC in collections. Open the first collection folder you made with Collection Creator and start sorting it all out. You may find some things that don't need to be added, such as diagonal window and door meshes, tokens for mods and meshes for individual food servings. You may also find that some objects are greyed out because you're on a residential lot and they're only enabled for community lots, but you will still be able to put them in new collections. And don't forget, this is where you'll be making your collections for wallpaper and floors too.

NOTE: Fences can't be added to collections. I don't know why. Fuck fences.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Once you've finished, go back and check that everything is in a collection because once we hide things from the main catalogue, you will not be able to find them again if they're not in a collection. It may be boring and it may take a long time. You may need several game sessions to get it done. You may need to make icons for more collections than you originally intended. But stick at it, it'll be worth it in the end.

HIDING STUFF FROM BUILD/BUY

NOTE: If you often make lots to share, don't do this bit. Your lots will show up just fine in other people's games, but any CC bundled with them will be hidden from Buy Mode, which is why I don't share lots. Just do your decorating from collections and avoid the whole mess in the main catalogue.

First, go and play your game for a while. You thought that first bit was tedious? Well, things are about to get EVEN MORE TEDIOUS. And trust me, you do not want to hide 3000 object meshes immediately after sorting them into collections, you want to lob your computer out of the window and dance on its carcass and that will be a huge waste of all your hard work. Go and enjoy your game before you attempt the next step.

OK. That done? It's time to hide shit. First, open SimPE. Then resize the window so it only takes up half the screen. Next, open Windows Explorer and find the first folder of things you want to hide. Again, resize it so it only takes up about half of the screen. You're aiming for a layout like this:



Why are we aiming for a layout like this? Because then you can drag and drop each new file into SimPE rather than hitting File/Open in the program and hunting for the next file. It may not seem like that much extra work, but trust me, when you're opening 3000 files one after the other, it is.

When you have your first file loaded, click on the Object Data (OBJD) in the Resource Tree and make sure you have the Plugin View and Catalog Sort tabs selected. For each item listed in the Resource List, untick anything in Function Sort. DO NOT UNTICK ANYTHING FROM ROOM SORT. If you untick everything, you won't be able to place the objects, they'll just be greyed out in your collection. Then hit Commit and save.



While you're doing this, you might also want to have a look at the RAW Data tab and see if the object is enabled for community lots, especially if you have OFB and have Sims run a lot of stores. There's very little more annoying than loading the game, building a toy store and then discovering that half your CC toys can't be placed on community lots. So switch to Decimal view, look down in section 03: Catalog Sorting and see what's there. Change any zeros to something like 132 or 128 and don't worry about clogging up one single part of the catalogue - you're hiding everything, remember?



When it comes to Build mode, things are a little different. Ignore the Catalog Sort tab and click straight on the RAW Data tab. You'll need to change whatever's in build Mode Subsort to 0. And that's it.



Walls and floors are different again. There is no OBJD, here you'll be making changes to the Object XML (XOBJ).



See where it says subsort? Just delete whatever's in that line, commit and save. The neat thing about floors and walls is that although they're hidden from the separate categories in the catalogue, they'll show up if you tell it to display everything. So if you think you hid a thing and missed adding it to a collection, you can find it again.

Anyway, continue doing this for as long as it takes. Take frequent breaks if you need to, it doesn't all have to be done in one sitting. Now there's just one last thing to do, which is check you really hid everything. So! Go back to the Download Organiser and rescan your Downloads folder. When it's finished, go down to where it says Filter Options and change the Download Type to Objects (*) and the Subfolder to (*)



All the items displayed will now be everything object related. Click on Type to sort, then scroll down to see if you missed any. As you can see, I still have two ObjectSeating ones, but I'm leaving them alone because one is Life Stories stuff and the other is a default override I made to make Murphy Beds more lethal. If you did it right, you should just have Objects, ObjectRecolours, maybe ObjectAspiration if you have any CC aspiration rewards, and exceptions like mine. Anything else, just open in SimPE again and remove the necessary flags. And that's it! Your catalogue should be nice and clean, you should actually be able to find stuff in Deco/Misc again, and all your CC will be in sensible collections. The only downside is that you'll need to sort out any new downloads to actually keep things tidy. Personally, I put all my new downloads in a folder conveniently named Z-New Stuff and sort it out once a month or so.

So, thank you for reading, and I hope this helped some of you.
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