Blue Mars Sandbox Interior Editor
From Blue Mars Developer Guidebook
Sandbox Interior Editor is a tool for creating interiors on Blue Mars, both commercial (Shops) and residential (Apartments).
Recently added or changed features:
- Added Chair entity.
- Added Flow Graph (no upload yet).
- Added support for animated models in CGA format.
- Removed non-functioning controls for ARShelf entity from RollUp bar.
- After packing, clear object selection.
- Enabled wet and frozen material layers.
- For complete list of new features, please see Release notes
- Navigate in the Editor
- Set up a shop interior: Example
- Set up an apartment interior: Example
- Pass upload data checks (technical limitations on uploaded content)
- Pass Q/A checks (quality control guidelines)
Interior Editor can be used for creating both Shop and Apartment interiors. Both types of interiors can be packed, previewed and uploaded to Blue Mars. Their intended purposes, however, differ.
Shop interiors are created and used by developers for setting items for sale and decorating their shops in Blue Mars; Shop interiors are owned and managed by developers themselves and can not be sold or shared (not at this moment, at least). The workflow for creating Shop interiors is almost identical to what was performed with Shop Editor, with better interface and object manipulation controls, such as snapping to grid and angles. Shop editor will eventually be discontinued and replaced by Interior Editor.
Apartment interiors, unlike Shops, are purchasable commodity: they can be created, uploaded, set up for sale in a shop and eventually purchased by players. Players can use purchased apartment interiors to decorate their apartments, which were recently introduced to Blue Mars, to allow players have their own private space. Apartments are initially empty and generic-looking. Apartment interiors provide means to customize the apartment, according to owner's taste. Note, that purchased apartment interior can not be changed, it is meant to be used a whole set.
Below, both parts of Interior Editor (shops and apartments) are described in detail.
Shop part of the Interior Editor allows shop owners to set up and arrange shelves, lights and decorations inside a shop. As part of the shop leasing process, a shop owner will receive an exterior model of his/her shop from the block owner, stored in what is called a B2S file, or "shop file". Each shop file typically has multiple shops, defined by their locations and volume, which match the room layout of the building, where the shop is located. By selecting one of the available shops, the shop owner can enter the shop and arrange it as desired. Note that geometry elements of the shop (walls, ceilings, floors) and all its surroundings are provided only for reference: they can not be modified in any way. In fact, they can not even be selected. This restriction is implemented to ensure that owners of neighboring shops do not accidentally overwrite/modify the shop layout, for example, by moving walls inside the building.
Creating a Shop interior using Shop Editor dialog commands
As in most Blue Mars Editors, the work flow of creating a shop is split between two command groups: menu commands, listed in "Shop" menu group (left) and the dialog window, pictured on the right, in the "Shop Editor" window. "Shop Editor" window must be used to build a new shop interior, while the "Shop" menu allows to pack, check and upload a newly created shop to Blue Mars.
To create a new shop shop interior, use "Shop -> Make Shop..." menu command, as pictured above. A "Shop Editor" dialog window will appear, with the following controls:
- Load shop file
Before doing anything in the Shop editor, you must obtain and load a .B2S file, using "Load shop file" command. This file contains the geometry layout of your shop (or shops). One example is provided in "MyData/test_shop/ShopSample.b2s" file. After loading a .B2S file, Shop Editor will check its content, and depending on the number of found shops, will perform the following steps:
1. If the B2S file contains a single shop, this shop will be automatically selected.
2. If the B2S file contain multiple shops, "Select Shop" command will be executed, showing a drop-down list of avaialble shops.
3. If the B2S file contains information about a pre-assigned shop, this shop will be auto-selected, for convenience. This selection can be changed at any time, using "Select shop" button.
- Select shop
This command opens up a drop-down list of all available shops in the loaded .B2S file. Select one, click "OK", and you will be relocated to the center of the selected shop. In the upper-right corner of the screen, a shop name, a shelf-counter and a light-counter will appear, which show the number of currently installed shelves and lights. These counters are initially empty. WARNING: when a new shop is selected, the content of the current shop is lost.
- Add shelf
Use this command to add and place shelves inside the shop. A "shelf" is a place holder for a single item that you are planning to put up for sale in this shop. The content of a newly added shelf is expected to be in XML format, that should be created beforehand, using "Pack for upload" command, either in Item Editor (for static items) or Cloth/Body/Animation Editors (for wearable items). Please refer to Item, Cloth, Body and Animation Editors wiki pages to learn more about these tools. The content of the shelf can be later changed from the Developer Web page (Property -> Shops section), so you can remove old and put new items for sale in the same shelf. After adding a new shelf, the shelf counter will increment up to the maximal allowed value, which is calculated for each shop individually. This limit is based on the size of the shop; you can not change it. After adding a shelf, it can be positioned and oriented inside the shop as desired, using "Edit -> Editing Mode -> Move, Rotate" commands. The shelf must stay within the shop limits. Note: "Add shelf" command is identical to "Place items which you want to sell" menu command in the old Shop Editor.
- Add decoration
Decorations are simple non-interactive geometry models, specified in .CGF data format that may be placed inside the shop to make it look attractive. Also, decorations may serve as billboards, with product photos of the items that are set for sale in this shop. Billboards are especially useful, when the actual items are very small, for example, ear-rings or sun-glasses. A large billboard might help players to notice and appreciate these items better. Decorations also may serve as stands, pedestals, manikins for cloth, hangers, et cetera. There is no hard limit on the number of decorations. However, the total number of lights and decorations must not exceed 100. Hint: when positioning objects in a small shop that actually has walls and a ceiling, increasing camera field-of-view may be helpful. Wider field of view allows to see more of the shop interior, without actually moving the camera outside the shop bounds. To change the camera view, use Control+Arrow Up (wider, zoom out), Control+Arrow Down(zoom in), Control+Home will restore the default camera settings. More about camera control can be found in Navigate in the Editor page.
- Add light
Each shop can have up to three point light sources, regardless of the size of the shop. Lights also must stay within the boundary of the shop. These lights do not cast shadows.
- Validate and Preview
This command checks that all shop elements are valid: their number does not exceed the limits and they are placed inside the shop. After validation, preview mode is initiated, where you can walk around the shop, using an avatar.
Toggle preview/edit modes. In preview mode, an avatar will appear, so the current shop layout can be checked against the human size. Generally, it is a good idea to place shelves where avatars can easily "see" them. To return from preview mode, you can click the same button or hit Escape key.
- Open folder
This command opens the project folder, where the shop interior is assembled. The project folder is set, when a .B2S file is loaded, using "Load shop file" command.
Packing and uploading shop interior using Shop menu commands
Once the shop is created and validated in the Editor, it can be packed and uploaded to Blue Mars for quality assurance check and release in game. The following commands are provided, in the "Shop" main menu group:
- Pack folder for upload...
This command packs the all shop interior elements into itemdata.zip file, which is placed in the same folder, where the .B2S file is located. This folder is called project folder. Also, this command creates display.xml file, which contains information about all shelves, lights and decorations in the shop, their position, orientation and other properties. Packed data can be re-opened, if you want to continue working on this shop later. To do that, use "File -> Open zip..." menu command and select the "itemdata.zip" file. Before opening the a zip file, please open the .B2S file and select the same shop, if not done that already.
- Check shop in Blue Mars...
After packing data, the shop interior can be checked in Blue Mars client. You will not be able to see the walls and other exterior elements, as defined in B2S file, but this command is still useful to verify rendering of internal shop elements (decorations), as they will apear in-game.
- Capture icon
This is the final step, before the shop can be uploaded to Blue Mars. It creates a 512x512 icon.jpg file with the current view of the shop. This icon file will be for uploading your shop data. Before calling this command, make sure that the shop interior is clearly visible. You can repeat "Capture icon" command multiple times, overwriting the icon.jpg file. This icon will represent your shop interior in your inventory, accessible from Developer Web page, "Contents" section.
This command will re-position the camera at the center of the selected shop.
- Open upload page
Opens the Blue Mars Developers Login Page where you can upload your data, check the status of previous submissions and manage your account. If you are planning to upload your shop interior, make sure you have itemdata.zip file ready (created by using "Pack folder for upload" command) and have icon.jpg file (created with "Capture icon" command).
An example: setting up shop interior
In this example, we will start with an empty shop and add functional and decorative elements to it.
- Start the Interior Editor, by clicking this icon:
- Use "Shop -> Make shop..." menu command. The "Shop Editor" dialog window will appear, which can be docked to one side of the main window, as shown in all images below.
- Click "Load shop file" and select a provided "MyData/test_shop/ShopSample.b2s" file. This file contains four shops. While the file is loading (it may take a few seconds), you can watch the progress in the status bar.
- When loading is finished, a drop-down shop selector will appear. Select "ShopBlue" entry, click "OK" -- you will be placed in the middle of that shop, facing entrance. The image below shows the left wall of the ShopBlue, where we are going to place shelves. As the image shows, initially the shop is totally empty. For better viewing, set HDR option "on", using "Display -> Lighting -> HDR" menu command (keyboard shortcut H). HDR option is always turned on in the game, thus, it's better to use it in the editor, too.
Blue shop interior, initially empty
- Before the shop can be packed and uploaded, it must contain at least one shelf. To create a new shelf, we will use the green jacket model, provided in "MyData/test_cloth/" folder. If you haven't done so yet, please create a wearable jacket, following steps outlined in the Cloth Editor Manual, available here. In Cloth Editor, the jacket must be created and attached to the female avatar and then packed for upload. After packing, a display.xml file will be created and placed in "MyData/test_cloth/" folder. Now, a shelf with the jacket asset may be created. Click "Add shelf" button and select "../MyData/test_cloth/display.xml" file. The jacket will appear at the center of the shop. Using "Edit -> Editing Mode" move and rotate commands (keyboard shortcuts 1 and 2), place the jacket closer to the wall, as shown below.
Added one shelf, containing a green jacket.
- Click "Add decoration" button and point the file browser to provided "MyData/test_furniture/footrest.cgf" model, which we will use as an improvised stand for the jacket. As every newly added object, the footrest will appear in the center of the shop. Using "Edit -> Editing Mode" commands, place the footrest model under the jacket, as shown below. You can clone loaded decorations using "Edit -> Clone" (Control+C) commands and arrange them as you wish.
Added footrest as a stand for the jacket.
- Use "Add light" command to add up to three light sources. If you know that this shop will be located in a city with changing time of day, you should check how this shop will look look at different times, by moving the "Time" slider () at the bottom tool bar. To find out if the time of day will be changing in game, open "View -> Open view pane -> Time of day" window and check the "Play speed" parameter, located on the left side of the window. This value is set by the city owner. If play speed is non-zero, the time of day will change in game. In ShopSample.b2s, the time is fixed at 17:32 hours, so there is no need to move the "Time" slider. If you zoom outside the building, by rolling the mouse wheel, you will see the sky of the destination city, at permanent sunset.
- During shop set-up, you may use "Shop -> Re-center" command anytime, to move to the center of the shop.
- Click "Validate and Preview" button to check if all added items stay within the shop limit and also see how they match the avatar hight. Generally, it is a good idea to place shelves where avatars can easily "see" them. You can move and rotate any item on the scene using "Edit -> Editing Mode" commands.
Previewing the shop: the jacket appears well placed.
- After validation, the shop is ready for packing and uploading. To pack the shop, exit "Preview" mode by hitting Escape key and use "Shop -> Pack folder for upload". After packing, the project folder will have additional:
- display.xml, the list of all shop elements and their positions inside the shop: shelves, lights, decorations;
- itemdata.zip, geometry models, materials and textures;
Finally, set the camera so that all important features are visible and use "Shop -> Capture icon" menu command. A screen shot of the current view will be taken (the editor screen will flicker momentarily). You are now ready to upload your Shop interior to the Avatar Reality database! You can find the tutorial for that in the Setting Up Shop as a Content Creator article.
An apartment interior is a set of geometry elements that give the apartment a unique look. The minimal apartment interior must contain walls, a ceiling, a floor, one SpawnPoint, that defines an entry point, and an Exit object, which provides a way out. All these elements can be geometrically as simple as textured boxes. More sophisticated interiors may include more elements, such as windows, window frames, wallboards, even bar counters and internal walls. All these structures will appear as static shapes in-game: players will not be able to move or change them in any way. Thus, adding excessive content to an apartment interior may complicate navigation inside the apartment. Apartments may also contain up to three light sources, implemented as spot-lights, to emphasize some apartment features.
Unlike Shops, with their flexible sizes and volumes, apartments on Blue Mars come in fixed sizes, for example, 6 x 12 x 3 meters. Each size has different capacity of concurrent avatars, allowed to enter that particular apartment, as defined below:
Type# = [Size X Y Z] (# of resident) Type1 = [ 3m x 6m x 3m] ( 3 people) Type2 = [ 6m x 12m x 3m] ( 6 people) Type3 = [12m x 12m x 3m] (12 people) Type4 = [12m x 12m x 6m] (18 people)
These numbers and sizes are provided only as preliminary guidelines, to help developers estimate the intended use of the apartment space and design the internal geometry accordingly. Initially, only some types of available apartments will be provided in the Interior Editor, more types will become available in the upcoming releases.
Creating an Apartment interior using Apartment Editor dialog commands
As in most Blue Mars Editors, the work flow of creating an apartment interior is split between two command groups: menu commands, listed in "Apartment" menu group (left) and the dialog window, pictured on the right, in the "Apartment Editor" window. "Apartment Editor" window must be used to build a new apartment interior, while the "Apartment" menu allows to pack, check and upload a newly created dataset to Blue Mars.
To create a new Apartment interior, use "Apartment -> Make Apartment..." menu command. A dialog window will appear, with the following controls:
- Project folder
Use this control to define a folder where the new apartment interior will be assembled. This folder will contain all geometry model and texture files for this apartment, as well as packed data, icon and an apartment billboard, as will be explained later. The project folder must be selected under "Game/Objects/" directory, for example, in "Game/Objects/MyData/test_apartment".
- Apartment size
Select the size of the apartment, from the available options.
This command creates a semi-transparent box that shows the extents of the selected apartment and places a SpawnPoint in its center. The box itself is not part of the apartment and is provided only for visual guidance. The SpawnPoint defines the entry place where avatars will be entering the apartment. The SpawnPoint can be moved and rotated as desired, but it must remain inside the apartment.
- Add structure
A structure is a geometry model that can be one of the following: a wall, a ceiling, a floor, a decoration. The first three are required, the last one is optional. Every structural element is defied by its geometry model in CGF format. If the model is located outside the current project folder, it will be copied over into the project folder, along with all texture files, and its material file will be updated accordingly. It is highly recommended to use a single-piece geometry for floor and each wall. Use of tiles may result in problems with placing furniture on the floor and the walls. If the wall is intended to be used as a window, tiling is OK, as long as players are not attempting to attach furniture items to their surface.
- Add light
An apartment interior may have up to three spot-lights. Their properties can be controlled from the Rollup bar. To do so, select the light object and use "View -> Show Rollup bar" (shortcut 'E').
- Add exit
This command creates an exit, defined by it's geometry model in .CGF format.
- Create billboard
Billboard is a simple box shape textured with an image of the apartment interior. Billboards are used to display objects in a shop, when their original 3D shape can not be used for this purpose. On a shelf, an apartment interior would appear as a closed box, viewed from outside. Unless it has large windows, which would allow players to peek inside the room, this kind of display is not very useful. Thus, each apartment interior must have a billboard shape. "Create billboard" command takes a snapshot of the current view of the apartment and makes a billboard shape, textured with this image. Because a billboard is not really a part of the apartment interior, but rather an auxiliary data item, it will not be referenced in the usual display.xml file during packing process. Instead, the billboard will be referenced in its own display_shelf.xml file, which will represent this apartment interior on a shelf.
- Edit billboard
When a billboard is created, it is placed under the floor level, to make sure it does not obstruct the whole assembling process. Edit billboard command simply points the camera at the billboard. Note: you must have terrain collision disabled, before using this command. To do that, click "Terrain collisions" icon in the lower toolbar. When it's color is yellow, collisions are disabled.
- Assemble and Preview
When the apartment interior is ready, use this button to check your work. Assembly means validation, i.e., the apartment will be checked for completeness and all its elements will be checked for staying inside the apartment volume (except the billboard). If validation is successful, preview mode will be initiated.
Alternatively, these commands can be executed separately.
- Open folder
This command opens the current project folder.
Packing and uploading apartment interior using Apartment menu commands
Commands for packing and uploading an apartment are identical to those for [shops].
An example: setting up apartment interior
In this example, we will create a simple apartment interior from provided elements.
- Start the Interior Editor, by clicking this icon:
- Use "Apartment -> Make apartment..." menu command. The "Apartment Editor" dialog window will appear, which can be docked to one side of the main window. In "Project folder", click "Browse" button and select "Game\Objects\MyData\test_apartment" folder, as shown in all images below.
- Select "6m x 12m x 3m" apartment size and click "Initialize". A semi-transparent box of requested size will appear, showing the working volume for the new apartment interior. Also, a SpawnPoint will be created and placed in the center of the new apartment.
- Use "Add structure" to load walls, ceiling and floor elements, provided in the same folder.
- Click "Add exit", load door.cgf and place it close to one of the walls. To save time, you may skip "Add structure" and "Add exit" steps and load the pre-fabricated room layout by using "File -> Load interior" command and pointing your browser to "room.xml" file, located in the same folder. At this time, the apartment is nearly ready for assembly and should look as shown below:
- Click "Create billboard". The screen will flicker for a moment and a billboard with the current view will be created and placed below the floor surface. There is no need to relocate the billboard, it will be auto-relocated during the packing process.
- Use "Assemble and Preview" button to validate and check the apartment. The avatar will be spawned where requested. The Exit object will appear as clickable, with no apparent effect, which is normal.
- At this time, the apartment can be packed, checked in Blue Mars, and uploaded, using commands in "Apartment" menu group.
To post a discussion topic, or report a bug, please use the Blue Mars Developer Forum page. Please be as specific as possible and use screen capture of troublesome cases.