MTS2:Creator Guidelines/CAS Screens
Creator Guidelines - Create a Sim Screens
Have you made a new Create a Sim (CAS) screen and want to share it? This guide will walk you through every step of what we require on MTS2. Please make sure you read these guidelines carefully, as our standards have changed over the years, and there may be some items you weren't aware of before.
At the end of the guidelines after full explanations of each item is a checklist, so you can make sure you've done everything you need to.
The first thing moderators look for when moderating uploads is quality - simply, is the item good or not?
Time and Effort
This is probably the hardest one to quantify, but it's something that is obvious whenever upload moderators look at an upload: have you really expended some serious time and effort on a creation? You can't just crank out a bunch of stuff in a short amount of time and expect it to be good. Nor can you spend a while just fiddling with something but not really trying and expect a good result either.
Most good creators spend hours upon hours on even simple creations. We understand that not everything has to be that difficult, but we do expect you to not just slap together something in 15 minutes and upload it and expect it to get accepted. Really try to put some serious effort into what you create, and it will show through in the quality.
No matter what style or design you choose, your CAS screen should be unique and different. A slight tweak to the existing screens really isn't worth anyone's time to download, so, along with the concept of time and effort, you should work to create an interesting and unique overall look.
CAS Screens should be nicely lit so that users can see their sims clearly. You don't want it too dark/dim, but you also don't want it too bright. Make sure to remove any lighting hacks before creating your CAS screens so you can be sure you're creating a CAS screen that is properly lit.
This is very, very important! If you have the Seasons expansion pack installed, you cannot make CAS screens normally! You MUST use the AnyGameStarter to create your CAS screen without Seasons! If you do not do this, any sims in the CAS screen will turn blue and freeze. There is no known way to remove the Seasons defect from an existing CAS screen - if you've already made one in Seasons, you will have to remake it without Seasons!
People want to see what they're downloading! Your screenshots sell your upload - if people don't like the look of your screenshots, they're not going to download - and if your screenshots are too bad, you won't get your upload approved.
All of the screenshot images below can be clicked for larger versions. You wouldn't want to upload them with as small of pics as are displaying here anyway - we're just using smaller pics so this thread loads quickly and is easy to read.
For instructions on:
- Taking large, clear pictures (bigger than the game will allow)
- Changing your in-game settings for best graphics quality
- Camera controls
See: Screenshot Basics
You need to make sure you have nice big, clear pictures that show off what you've made. They can't be too blurry or pixellated, and you need to know how to use the game's camera controls properly, so make sure you review the information on that link thoroughly before continuing.
Your pics should be large enough to see the detail of what you've made. Remember, MTS2 allows images up to 1280x1024 pixels and 195 kilobytes so you should be able to upload nice big pictures. See the information above under "Screenshot Basics" for info on taking larger pics than the game will normally allow.
And please don't take smaller pics and just make them larger in your graphics program - this just gives you a blurry pic that's bigger in dimensions with no additional detail.
These pictures are required for all CAS Screen uploads. Please make sure to take your pics with your CAS working as an actual CAS - that is, don't take pics while you're creating it, as they won't be of the right angles.
Sim Creation Part
While it can be tempting to get artistic with your screenshots in Photoshop, please don't. Screenshots need to be just as things look in the game, with no extra filtering such as contrast, sharpen, blur, saturation, etc. Also, please don't too crazy when it comes to adding text - make sure your text is in blank areas of the picture or covers an absolute minimum of your creation. Remember, you're showing off what you've made for the game, not your skill in Photoshopping your pics.
When posting images that appear in the text of the thread (these are called inline screenshots), please make sure to limit these images to no larger than 800x600 pixels (so it doesn't create a horizontal scroll on the page for people on lower resolutions).
Please also do not post more than 4 inline screenshots - having a lot of images that have to load on the thread makes browsing downloads very slow and can make the thread jump around as they keep loading.
You may host your inline screenshots elsewhere like Photobucket.com - however, these screenshots hosted elsewhere must be additional screenshots, and you must make sure to actually attach your required screenshots to the thread itself. If your Photobucket account runs out of bandwidth or you delete the pics, people still need to be able to get the required screenshots on your thread.
You can attach up to 8 screenshots to the thread itself, with the 4 additional inline screenshots hosted elsewhere (or attached) for a total of 12 possible screenshots. This should be plenty to show what you've made, even for fairly large sets. Remember, you can always collage several different images together into one image if you have a bunch of stuff to show off, or want to show multiple angles of an outfit, or the like.
No Pay Content
Do not use pay content in your screenshots! Do not use pay hair in your screenshots!
You MUST use free or Maxis hair in your screenshots! MTS2 promotes and supports free content, and using pay content in screenshots is basically like free advertisement for paysites. This includes pay content you found elsewhere for free - if it was pay originally, it's still promoting pay content.
As of 21 July 2007, MTS2 no longer allows the use of pay content in screenshots. This includes (but is not limited to) hairstyles. You must use free or Maxis hairstyles on your models! Do not use pay or donation hairstyles on your models when uploading here. For more information, please see the Site News article on the subject. MTS2 has an extensive collection of free hairstyles in our Downloads section, and you can look in the Sims2Wiki Hair Gallery for more free hairstyles. You'll be able to find something you like.
MTS2 is not an adult site. We do have an adult site affiliated with MTS2, Sexy Sims 2 where adult content may be uploaded. But because MTS2 is a PG-13 site, no adult content may be uploaded to MTS2 itself.
Other Adult Content
Content with swear/curse words or sexually suggestive themes may not be uploaded to MTS2. Please upload these items to the adult site instead.
Items relating to illegal drugs do not belong on MTS2. You -may- post items relating to prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as alcohol and tobacco on MTS2, but items related to illegal drugs should go on our adult site.
For more information and a further list of items we do not allow on MTS2, see: Uploads Not Allowed on MTS2.
Right Info/Right Files
Once you have your creation made and screenshots taken, you need to make sure you have all the fiddly bits in order.
Your CAS screen will be a .package file. You will have put it in your Downloads folder to test it - but you should know that as you made it in the first place!
Please also do not include any thumbs.db files (Windows thumbnail database files, which can cause folders to crash if they become corrupted) or DS_Store files (Mac system file, also not needed).
Please do not rename your CAS screens. Regular CAS screens will be called CAS!.package and young adult/university CAS screens will be called YACAS!.package - please leave these filenames as they are. Users should only have one CAS screen of each type in at a time, and leaving the names as they should be makes it easier to find them should they wish to remove them later.
ZIP or RAR
You will need to put your CAS screen .package file into a RAR or ZIP file to upload here. Please see here for instructions on doing so. Please do not include both a ZIP and RAR with the same contents - just choose one.
Please do not double-compress your files - you should not have a ZIP inside a ZIP or a RAR inside a RAR. This does not compress the files any more and just makes an extra step for downloaders.
Upload in Sets
If you have created several similar CAS screens at the same time, please upload these together in a single set, all on one thread (instead of all separately, one by one, on different threads). This is easier for everyone: on our upload moderators, as they only have one thread to review rather than several... on you, as submitting a single thread is much quicker and easier than several... and on downloaders, as they can get everything they want all in one place rather than having to hunt around.
It is strongly recommended you do not use custom content for your CAS screens!
Though CAS screens are technically lots, you cannot package them up with their needed custom content in-game the same way you do lots. Thus, if you use any custom content for your CAS screens, you must create a "shopping list" for all custom content used in your CAS screen, and downloaders must follow each link and download the content you used separately. This is a hassle for everyone involved - you, downloaders, and the moderators.
If you DO use custom content, you must provide a link and credit for every single item you used in the CAS screen, and make it clear exactly what users need to get - i.e. name the particular items used if the link is to a whole set. If you cannot provide a direct link due to the site using frames or Flash, you must provide detailed instructions on how to get to the proper page. Please also make sure to put a clear heading in bold above the list of required content so users know that they will need to get that content separately.
Content Required (You must download these items separately!):
- Couch from Adele's Persianesque Living Room (Persianesque Loveseat)
- Candles from Buggybooz's Candid by Candlelight (5 Candlesticks)
- Pictures on shelf are Holy Simoly's 'Wall of Memories' Picture Shelf (Mesh and light wood version from recolour pack needed)
- Mirror from Reflexsims's Lamar Bedroom Set (Downloads - Bedroom - Page 3 - Lamar Bedroom... You only need the mirror)
Expansion/Stuff Packs Required?
If you use items from expansion packs or stuff packs in your CAS screen, users will need those EPs/SPs for those items to show up. They should still be able to use your CAS without the EPs/SPs - it's just that the items you used won't show up properly. So it's up to you to know which EPs/SPs the items you used are from, and to mark those EPs/SPs as required on your upload.
You can look up which expansion is required for a certain object in the following ways:
- The CEP Documentation - Download the Manual Installation file. Look in the "CEP_Documentation" folder, and you'll see files with object lists in XLS (Excel spreadsheet) and PDF (Adobe Reader) format.
- The CEP Database - A searchable online database similar to the CEP documentation, only you don't have to download anything. This may be easier than using the CEP documentation, but it is not updated as frequently, so it may not include the newest EPs/SPs.
Unfortunately, neither of the above methods work for walls/floors!
Make sure you only mark the EPs/SPs required that your upload actually needs! Don't just mark them all please!
You'll need a good title for your upload - something descriptive... like, "Kids' Bedroom CAS" or "Medieval Garden CAS" is good. Something non-descriptive like, "My First Upload!" is not.
You'll need to write up a little basic description of what your upload is... you don't have to get too fancy, but you do need to write something to get people interested. For instance, "This CAS screen is designed to look like a cute, gender-neutral kids' bedroom." Something like, "This is my first upload... I don't know what to put here..." really doesn't make it sound like you've put any effort into it - and will reflect poorly on your creation. You don't have to write a novel, just something that makes it sound like it's worth taking a closer look at.
This is a checklist of everything gone over above so you can be sure you've done everything you need to do to ensure your submission is correct. This is just for your own use - checking these boxes doesn't actually -do- anything, just is an easy way to keep yourself organized.
Time and Effort - You have spent a substantial amount of time and put a good deal of effort into creating what you have made.
Painting Recolours - If you are uploading painting recolours, they are not just pics you've found somewhere, but in the game's style, or your own artwork.
Highlights and Shadows - Your textures are not just a flat bucket fill, but have shading and highlighting.
Not Too Bright - Your textures are not over-saturated, so they don't look blinding in-game.
Black and White - If any part of the creation is black or white, those areas are not true, pure black or white, but shades of light or dark grey.
Photoskinning - If you have used a picture or image to create your graphics, it is a high quality image which works well on your recolour and isn't just straight copy-pasted.
Crisp/Unpixellated - All textures look crisp and clear, with no blurriness or pixellation.
Undistorted - Your textures are not stretched, distorted, repeating strangely, or made to look weird by the object you're recolouring.
Materials - All the parts you have recoloured are appropriately coloured - there's not fabric spilling over onto the couch frame, etc.
Car Recolours - If you have made car recolours, they are normal factory recolours. If they are exotic/weird paint jobs, your car is a sports car, muscle car, or other car where exotic paint jobs make sense.
Bedding - If you have made bedding that is generally for a child's room (cartoon/anime characters, etc.), then your bedding works well on single beds.
Big Enough - Your screenshots are large enough to clearly see what you have made - limits are 1280x1024 pixels and 195 kbs.
In-Game - Your screenshots are taken from within the game, and are not just pictures of your textures.
All Items in Set - If you are uploading a multi-item set, you have in-game screenshots of every item in the set - not just texture swatches.
Angle - Your pictures show what you have made from a "sim's eye view" and not a strange high angle (bedding excluded).
Show the Whole Thing - Your screenshots show the entirety of what you have made and you haven't cropped off the sides
Close Enough - You've shown your creation nice and close, so it fills pretty much the whole picture and can be clearly seen.
Enough Light - Screenshots taken outside are taken during daytime - or screenshots taken inside have the lights on, and enough of them so your creation is clearly visible.
No Over-Photoshopping - Your screenshots show the item as it appears in-game, with no additional filters applied which change the look of the image, and any added text does not cover your creation.
Try Neutral Backgrounds - The backgrounds in your shots are neutral, or do not detract from the appearance of the content you've created.
Detail Pics - If your textures have interesting details, you've zoomed in nice and close to show off those details with additional screenshots.
Bedding - If your upload is of bedding generally for kids, you have shown your bedding on a single bed, and your shots are generally overhead so the whole bed can be seen.
Inline/Attached Screenshots - Your inline screenshots are no more than 800x600 pixels, you don't have more than 4 of them, your required screenshots are actually attached to the thread, and you don't have more than 8 screenshots attached.
No Pay Content - You do not have any pay content in your screenshots, and any sims in your pics are wearing free or Maxis hair. No other content in your screenshots is pay.
No Adult Content - Your content doesn't have any swear words, nudity, or illegal drugs.
Right Info/Right Files
Right Files - Your files are .package files - not a .sims2pack as part of a house.
ZIP or RAR - You have compressed your files into a zip or rar archive (but not both).
Upload in Sets - If you have created a set or several similar/related items, you have uploaded them all together in one thread, rather than on separate threads.
Meshes Needed/Included - You have checked to see if any meshes are needed, and if they are, you have either included them in accordance with the creator's policies (along with any needed readme) or linked to where the mesh can be found, with sufficient instructions so downloaders know which one to get. If you have included the mesh, you have stated that you have, and you have also provided a link and credit to the creator in the text of your post. If it's a mesh hosted on MTS2, you have linked to it rather than including it, regardless of the creator's policies which may allow you to include it.
Expansion/Stuff Packs Required - You know which expansions or stuff packs are required for your content, and have marked only the required one(s) as required.
In-Game Names Included - If you are recolouring Maxis items, you have included the in-game names of the items so people can find your recolours.
Permission/Credit - If you editing someone else's creation, you have checked their policies to see if you can, and gotten permission (and stated you have permission) if needed. You have also provided credit and a link to the original creator in your post.
Good Title - You have given your creation a good, descriptive title.
Good Description - You have given your creation a nice description that makes people want to download it.