View Full Version : Tutorial: Making seasons-friendly trees

18th Aug 2007, 9:20 AM
By frequent request, I have finally, finally written this up properly. Dedicated to Reyn who originally requested it, and also to Corvi who re-requested it a few weeks later. ;) It's not all that broadly tested as yet, but in the absence of any other tutorials on the subject it will have to do!


Seasons brought with it tonnes of really cool stuff, including trees which could change colour in autumn, fall barren in winter, then green up again for spring and summer. Yet when we clone one of these great trees, the darn thing stays green and boring all year round. This can be handy in some situations, but most of the time it's just irritating. Now, it is possible to fix these trees, although it's a bit tricky and error prone so I wouldn't recommend it to beginner meshers or SimPE users.

The first step is to select a tree to clone. If possible, try to get a clone which already has the correct number of states (that is, if you want a tree which looks different in winter and summer, but not in autumn, try to find a tree which already behaves that way). Also, if you want a tree which drops leaves which need raking, try to get one which does that already too. While it is most likely possible to enable these things for different trees, it's much messier and not described here.

This is a short tutorial, not extremely detailed in the hows or whys, but should be detailed enough to for a competent mesher to clone seasons trees.

For this tutorial, I'll be cloning the "Cupressus Sempervirens" tree here:


Now, when you clone the tree, you'll get the scenegraph wizard as usual. You need to be a bit sneaky here, and instead of letting it rename it to a game safe name, you want to deliberately set it to match the in-game file names like so:


You may not be able to get it absolutely correct. If you're not sure which version to go with, match the _cres line as closely as possible and hope for the best with all the others. Finish the cloning and save the file.

Now, open the cres file and copy all the text before the "_cres" part. This is almost certainly the same as the text you had to enter in the scenegraph wizard above. You'll need to use this to find the missing files in a minute.


Now comes the scary and drastic bit. Go through and delete any files with one of the following types: CRES, SHPE, TXTR, TXMT, GMND, or GMDC. Delete the lot of them! You'll be replacing them in a minute, don't panic, but for now we want them gone. Your files list should look a bit like this now:


What you've got now is a completely scenegraph-free file. Save it and leave it as is without closing. Open up another copy of SimPE. It's time to get the complete scenegraph back out of the game. And this time it will be the complete set, not just the ones that SimPE is pulling. Open up the "Finder" tab, and make sure "in Namemaps" is selected in the "Find" bar. Paste the text you copied earlier into the "match" area (in this case, "treeCypress") and change the type to "begins with" (That will slightly speed up the search). Hit start, and go make yourself a cup of coffee, it's very slow! Don't interrupt it while its doing its thing, it's looking through every file it can find for resources which start with "treeCypress", so it's allowed to be slow.

Eventually you'll get a list of files which looks a bit like this:


You want to open each of these files in turn and extract them to a file. Put them all in the same directory, so you can grab them all in one go once you're done. Just as a reminder, here's how to do it. Double click on the name of the file. This will open up the appropriate package and jump to that file. Right click on its name in the file list and select "extract".


Put it somewhere easy to get at and all's well. Rinse and repeat for all remaining files that the search turned up. (Side note: You can extract multiple files from the same package at one time if you want to save time. Just make sure you get them all!) LIFOs are generally optional if you're going to be using "build DXT" to load your own texture images, but the files will provide a large sample texture to work with.

Now, close the finder and any files you've got open, and go back over to your scenegraph-free file. Right click on a blank part of the file list and select "import". Use this to import all of the files you just extracted. The scenegraph files should be in your file again. Now, run "Fix Integrity" from the tools menu, and given them a proper name (like the kind you normally would, and hit "Update". This should fix the imported files so they work in your object and don't conflict with anyone else's.


Save and be merry, because your package is now fixed! To be absolutely certain though, open up each of the GMDCs in turn and preview them.


If any of them fail, then something is disconnected in the scenegraph. You can generally figure out which part using the "Scenegrapher" under the Tools menu, if you've got a bit of patience. As long as you've followed these steps though, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Now, the lod90 files are long distance views (neighborhood view, next door etc). Make sure that these are lower poly versions and use smaller texture images, since they need to be low demand on your system. Other than that, you should be able to tell which set of files is being used for which seasons by looking at the textures and meshes they're using.

Now just edit your meshes and textures as you normally would. Good luck!

17th Mar 2009, 12:32 AM
This is an amazingly useful tut and I use it frequently. :P

17th Mar 2009, 10:08 AM
Thanks! I'm glad it's been of some use. :)

15th May 2009, 10:25 PM
I'm trying this tutorial on the SimCity Midbiscus but after saving I went to check the GMDCs like you said but al I get is a purple picture. So I think somethings wrong.I did click on the scenegrapher but I don't know what to do next.Can you tell me please.

16th May 2009, 12:47 AM
can you post the package?

16th May 2009, 1:24 AM
Thanks for your reply.I'll try to attach it.

16th May 2009, 10:09 AM
The game doesn't like spaces in the TGI name, it should be something like
SimCity Midbiscus-Seasons-by fem[suefemme-15.5.2009-16b1c]

Try that, see if it fixes it. :)

16th May 2009, 5:09 PM
Thanks for taking a look at my package.I changed the name but I still don't think my it's any good because when I go to check the GMDCs I still only see a purple picture instead of an image of the tree like in your last tutorial picture.If I export the file and open it with milkshape I do see the mesh of the hibiscus tree.If I click on the scenegrapher it says false with 2 things but I don't know what that means because I have never used that feature of SimPE.I'll admit I'm new to meshing and only made a few objects but just could not wait to try and make a smaller hibiscus tree that works in winter :) .

16th May 2009, 8:58 PM
Okay I'm back to tell you how stupid I am :lol: .Because I did not know what went wrong with the Hibiscus tree I decided to clone the cypress and try again.This time everything works fine.Turns out I just forgot to click on the preview button.That's why I only saw a purple picture.I feel so stupid.Anyway thanks for helping me and posting this tutorial.

10th Sep 2011, 10:51 AM
Will you be updating this tutorial at anytime soon? SimPE has changed since this was written, which makes following the steps very difficult.

Thank you so very much,

10th Sep 2011, 1:47 PM
Hi Debra,

Yeah, SimPE has changed a little, but not a lot, since this was written... I don't think any of the screens I've used have changed though. Could you tell me which step you're having trouble with, and I'll check it against the most recent version. :)


12th Sep 2011, 12:28 PM
Hi Debra,

Yeah, SimPE has changed a little, but not a lot, since this was written... I don't think any of the screens I've used have changed though. Could you tell me which step you're having trouble with, and I'll check it against the most recent version. :)


Edit: I found it, Echo! - it was renamed to "Scenegraph Resource Finder". Thank you so much for helping me.

The Namemap and the Resource Finder, I can't find anything that looks like that screenshot. It may be right under my nose, but I just can find it. Thank you for your help, Echo. I hope I am not being a nuisance.


25th Feb 2017, 7:52 AM
Because I couldn't tell just by reading if this was the right tutorial for me to follow when I first found it, I thought I'd mention that this was, in fact, the process I needed to use to make new recolours of the base game rosebush that wouldn't flash blue in snow. I did have to clone the bush and then apply my recolours to the clone instead of the original. Perhaps there's a better way, but I'm a total novice at anything beyond recolouring, so when my efforts to apply the recolours to the original gave the real, in-game rosebush a custom star (and presumably made it delete-able), I figured the clone was a much safer bet.

Anyway, yes, this method worked for the rosebush clone and recolours.