Setting Up a Shop as a Block Developer

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Contents

Overview

In addition to simply leasing a Shop to sell your items, you can also create and manage Shops by becoming a Block Developer (also known as a Block Owner). Owning a Block will allow you to place multiple Shops in that Block, enabling you to sell a lot more items without having to lease multiple Shops.

NOTE: There are more benefits to becoming a Block Developer--see the Developer titles and roles page for more information.


Image:MultiShopsDisplay.PNG


IMPORTANT NOTE! At this point in time, we do not allow "Subleasing" of Blocks--that is, if you lease a Block from another City Developer, you cannot lease out the Shops you create inside that Block to yet another developer. So the only way to utilize your Shops is to use them yourself, to sell your own items. This tutorial will cover the steps necessary to lease a Block from a City Developer, place your Shop in it, and use the Shop by yourself to sell your items.

Once you become a City Developer, you will be able to build your own Blocks and Shops, and then you will have the option of using those Blocks and Shops yourself or leasing them out to other developers. See HERE for more information on how to purchase your own City.


The steps involved in setting up a Shop as a Block Developer is slightly different from those of a Content Creator:

(The following steps are unique to the Block Developer)

  • Find and Lease Your Block
  • Add Shops to your Block
    • Downloading a Block (.BLD) file
    • Load the .BLD file into the Block Editor
  • Uploading your Block data (.B2C) to the City Developer
  • Assigning a Shop to yourself

(From here, you would go through the same process to set up your Shop as a Content Creator.)

  • Downloading a "Block to Shop" (.B2S) file
  • Editing a Shop interior
  • Uploading your Shop interior to Blue Mars
  • Setting your Shop interior to your Shop
  • Setting items on your Shop Shelf


You will be using the following tools and websites to set up your Shop:


First Steps

To become a Block Developer, you would need to go through the following steps:

Become a Blue Mars Developer

1. Login
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2. Left-click DOWNLOAD to open the Tool Download page.
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3. Download the free Developer Toolkit and other necessary plugins.
Image:ToolDownloadPage.jpg



Create and Upload Items

  • Once you become a Blue Mars Developer, use the various free tools you downloaded to create clothes, accessories, furniture, and custom avatar bodies.
  • Next, upload your content to the Avatar Reality database. Once submitted, the content will go through a technical check before being released and distributed to everyone in Blue Mars.


Find and Lease Your Block

You are now ready to put your items on display for sale! To do this, you will first need to lease a Block and place Shops in that Block.

NOTE: If you are a City Developer and want to use your own Blocks to set up Shops, you won't need to lease a Block from someone else. You can use the Use By Myself command in your Developer MyPage to assign a Block to yourself.

See Setting Up a Shop as a City Developer for more details.


Add Shops to Your Block

Once you have your Block, you can place Shop Entities on it for the City Developer to incorporate into the City.

NOTE: The Shop Entity works as a marker to tell the Avatar Reality database and the City Developer (your landlord) where your Shop is located, so you need to make sure that the data you have on your local environment is always synchronized with the data on the database.

You should only move or rename your Shop Entities in your local environment when you're ready to upload an updated .B2C file to your City Developer, so you can be sure that any changes you make locally will be reflected in the database.



Downloading a Block (.BLD) file

  • In the Developer MyPage, go to PROPERTIES > Block (left tab) > Leased Blocks.
  • Select the Block you just leased, and from the pull-down menu, select Download .BLD File.
  • Download this file to your \MyData directory.
Tip: To make it easier to identify your .BLD files, make a new and separate directory under \MyData specific to your particular Block.
<Install Location\Blue Mars City Developer Tools\Game\Objects\MyData\<CityName>\<BlockName>\<BlockName>.bld




Load the .BLD file into the Block Editor

Image:BlockEd_icon.jpg


  • Go to File > Open Bld... and select the .BLD file you just downloaded. This will load the level and take you to your Block.


Image:BlockEditor_OpenBLD.jpg

NOTE: At this point, if you want to build an Apartment instead of a Shop, please go to the tutorial on Setting up an Apartment in the Block Editor.

Load your Shop building on the Block

NOTE: In this step, the "Shop building" refers to a .CGF file of the actual, physical Shop structure. This may already be provided by your City Developer and included in your Block, or you may need to build your own using 3D modeling software (like 3ds Max, Maya or Google SketchUp) that can export to a Collada(.DAE) format, which can then be converted to a .CGF file. Please read the Asset Creation Tutorial to learn how to build your Shop structure(.CGF).

Load a Shop into your Block via Asset Browser

  • An easy way to get your assets to your \MyData directory is through the Asset Browser. In the Block Editor, go to View > Open View Pane > Asset Browser and a window will appear.




  • The Asset Browser can only see files that are within the same directory as your .BLD file, so be sure to select the correct directory for your .BLD file: \Game\Objects\MyData\<CompanyCode>\<CompanyCode_CityName>\<BlockName>\<BlockName>.bld.




  • To avoid clutter, create a new directory within your Block directory for the assets you are going to be importing into this Block and remember to keep only one object or model (.CGF) per directory.

Select all the assets (from your asset directory, which can be anywhere) and drop your assets into the proper directory location of the Asset Browser. All the asset's components must reside in the same directory. The Asset Browser will make sure the .MTL file will have the new correct paths with its particular model, and it will only bring in the necessary files for that model.



  • Now you can bring in the Shop (.CGF) to the location of your choice as a Brush from the Asset Browser. You can also use the RollupBar > Objects > Brush if the asset is available there (to open the Rollup Bar, select View > Show Rollup Bar).


Image:Moveto.PNG


Make your Shop structure usable

To make your Shop structure recognizable as a Shop to the game engine, you have to place the ARShop Entity on your Shop structure.

  • While your entire Shop structure is selected, click on BlueMars > Make > Make Shop From Selection. This process will place and fit ARShop Entity to your Shop structure (the ARShop Entity will also be renamed automatically with the Block name as a prefix).





Tip: To bring up the Select Object(s) list, click on the icon shown below.



  • Now you should see the text "Shelves = X / X" on the top right corner of the screen. The number on the left is the number of Shelves in the selected ARShop entity, and the number on the right is the total number of Shelves in your Block.


Tip: To change the number of Shelves in ARShop entity, simply change the scale of ARShop entity and the number will change according to the scale.


Adjust the timing of data download

As you may know, every content in a Shop (including the interior) have to be downloaded from the server before being rendered in Blue Mars. And the data download starts only when an avatar approaches within a certain distance from the ARShop entity.
By using the radius property, you can control when this distance at which the content download will begin.

  • Select the ARShop entity (in this case BlockOne_house1_Shop3), and you can see its parameters in RollupBar > Objects > Entity Properties .
Tip: To open the RollupBar, select View > Show Rollup Bar

One of the properties is radius. Adjust this number to change the "downloading radius" you want for the ARShop entity.
All content within the Shop will be downloaded when an avatar walks within this circle set by the radius.



NOTE: A bigger download radius will make your Shop interior visible from a distance, but at the same time it will decrease performance.

We recommend that you make the Shop structure to be visible from far away but keep the radius of ARShop entity smaller for better performance.



  • If you want to reset the size of ARShop entity, simply select both the ARShop and Shop object, click on BlueMars > Modify > Fit Shop To Selection to fit the size of the ARShop entity to the structure.

Remember that the top right corner of the Editor screen shows the number of Shelves available in this Shop: This number will be reset as well.



Place Multiple Shops

  • You may have multiple Shops in your Block, up to the number allowed by the City Developer (your landlord) for your particular Block. This limit on the number of Shops is displayed in the Shop/Block Marketplace where you leased out the Block.
  • When placing multiple Shops in a Block, you should avoid overlapping one Shop's download radius with another, as that will lower performance.






Export B2C file

  • Once you're done adjusting the Shop properties, save your .BLD file by clicking on File > Save BLD.

Next, export to a .B2C file by clicking on File > Export B2C...
This .B2C file should be saved in your \MyData directory that you made for this Block (\Game\Objects\MyData\<CityName>\<BlockName>\blockdata.b2c).

Image:Export_B2C....jpg

Uploading your Block data (.B2C) to the City Developer

  • In the Developer MyPage, go to PROPERTIES > Block > Leased Blocks and select the Block you are working on.
  • From the pull-down menu, select Upload .B2C file. You should receive a confirmation message similar to the one below.


Image:Uploadgood.PNG


  • At this point, the City Developer (your landlord) is notified of your .B2C file upload. The City Developer will then review your Block and Shop data, and if there are no problems, the City Developer will send the City data (.CTY), which includes your Block and Shop data, to Avatar Reality. Once this City data is released in Blue Mars, your Shops will be visible and functional in Blue Mars.
NOTE: Currently there is no automatic notification system to let you know when the City data with your Blocks and Shops have been released in Blue Mars. We will be implementing this system soon, but in the meantime, please contact the City Developer to confirm the status of his/her City.

  • While you are waiting for the City data to be released in Blue Mars, you can still manage your Shops. However, you will not be able to see your Shop in Blue Mars until the City data is released. To manage your Shops, in the Developer MyPage go to PROPERTIES > Block (left menu) > Shops tab and you will find the Shop (or Shops) you placed in that Block. You can also go to PROPERTIES > Block > Leased Blocks tab and double-click on your Block, which will take you to the Shops tab displaying all Shops that belong to that Block.
  • You will notice that the "Tenant ID" column is not "0". This is because when you first upload your Shop, you are the default tenant. So as long as you are using the Shop by yourself, you can go ahead and set an interior to that Shop by following the steps outlined in the Setting Up a Shop as a Content Creator article. But remember, you will need to wait until the City data has been released until you can see your Shops in Blue Mars.


Next Steps

At this point, your role as a Block Developer is done. You will now switch your hat to Shop Owner to download the necessary files, edit and set your Shop interior, and set your items on the Shelves.


NOTE: The .B2C format will automatically be converted to the .B2S format after it has been uploaded to the server. So as a Shop Developer you will use the .B2S format instead of .B2C.






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