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TS4 Tuning Description Browser (Windows Only)

by scumbumbo Posted 20th Sep 2018 at 10:58 AM - Updated 20th Sep 2018 at 11:34 AM by scumbumbo
16 Comments / replies (Who?) - 7 Feedback Posts, 9 Thanks Posts
This is not a game mod, but a utility for XML Modders and those who want to become XML Modders.

Description

The Tuning Description Browser has been around since early 2015, but I've come to find lately that a lot of modders are (pleasantly) suprised to find out about it's existence. With the addition of a search feature for the program, I thought it was probably time to give it a bit more visibility instead of having it buried in an obscure forum thread here on Mod The Sims.

If you are at all familiar with the Tuning Description (TDesc) files, you will know they are a priceless source of information but horrendously difficult to read. For example, the override_convergence_value description from the screenshot above appears as such:

Ugly, ain't it? Trying to wade through thousands of lines of this XML to find out what a particular XML element means was enough to discourge many modders from even bothering with using the TDesc files.

But the information in them is absolutely invaluable, or in my opinion, critical for the XML modder who wishes to understand the XML code.

Features
  • Loads all the tuning descriptions contained in the TDesc files into an easy to navigate tree structure.
  • The detail window features the tuning's name, it's Python class, the full description, defaults and export modes.
  • Help links are available for various terms in the Detail window. The text for these help links was taken from EA's TS4 Custom Content Guide.
  • Tuning elements can be searched for by name, description and Python class.
  • Multiple versions of the TDesc files can be browsed.
  • Multiple windows can be opened to compare tuning descriptions from game versions side-by-side.
  • The version history for the tuning descriptions is indexed, tuning descriptions which have been renamed will have a clickable link to navigate to an old muid if available.

Installation

The program is available as either a standalone EXE file, or with a standard Windows MSI installer, so that portion of the setup is fairly easy. However, it is necessary to obtain a copy of the TDesc files from EA and extract them into an appropriately named subdirectory.

TDesc Files Directory Structure
  1. First, you will want to create a new folder for all TDesc files you wish to have available. This can be anywhere on your hard drives, likely targets being a subfolder of your Documents folder, or somewhere on your Desktop. Name it something appropriate, I gave mine the dull but descriptive name "Tuning Descriptions".
  2. Download the latest version of the TDesc files from the Mods & CC Technical Discussions forum at EA. The latest TDesc download should be in a sticky message at the top of this forum. You will have to search the forums for any older TDesc downloads if you want those (a search for TDESCS will do the trick).
  3. Inside the folder you created in step 1, you need to create a subfolder for each Version of the TDesc files you want to keep. This folder should be named with the proper version number.
    • You don't need to have multiple versions of the TDesc files if you don't want to be able to compare or reference back to older versions. However, for proper program operation you must have at least one appropriately named version folder.
    • The downloads from EA always have the version number in the filename, so for the latest TDescs at this time, 1.44.77-TDESC.zip, you should create a subfolder named 1.44.77.
  4. Now extract the folders and files from the TDesc file or files you've download into the appropriate version folders. Each version folder should then have subfolders named AchievementCategories, AchievementCollections, etc. that contain Description subfolders which house the .tdesc files.
  5. Once you have your TDesc folder structure and the files in place, you can start the program and it will allow you to select where your files are stored. You should select the folder you created in step 1 above.
  6. If necessary to move your folders at a later time, you can select a new data folder from the Settings menu of the browser.

Usage

Phew, after all that, luckily using the program itself is almost too easy to bother mentioning. Maybe just a few notes:
  • From the Window menu, you can select New to open a new browser window. Any tuning descriptions selected in the new window will create a new details window so that side-by-side comparisons can be performed.
  • Settings
    • Tdesc Root Folder allows changing the location where you have stored your TDesc files.
    • Auto-Expand Changed Nodes
      • When enabled, newly added or changed tunings will auto-expand in the right-hand tree so they can be quickly seen.
      • Tunings highlighted in yellow have been changed from when they were introduced.
      • Tunings highlighted in green are newly added.
    • Larger Fonts will increase the font size in all windows by 25% to make them more readable.
  • Search
    • If you have multiple versions of TDesc files installed, only the most recent version is searched.
    • Multiple search words can be entered.
    • AND Search mode requires each word in the search to appear at least once in any of the selected search locations.
    • OR Search mode requires at least one word from the search to appear.
    • Exact Match search mode will require an exact match for the element name or class. A description must contain the search words in the order listed.
    • Searches are always case-insensitive (even in Exact Match searches).
    • Searches which are not selective enough will return a large number of matches.

Additional Credits
  • All those over the years who have encouraged me to write this.
  • The code for the RichTextBoxEx was rewritten for Visual Basic from code by mav.northwind at codeproject.com, originally by Shibu Matthew. Links for the original authors is included in the sources.

Operating System: Windows
Utility Type: Miscellaneous
Plugin Type: Not Applicable

You must have the expansion or stuff packs listed below installed to use this custom content. Please see the post text for any exceptions.

Sims 4
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
TS4 Tuning Description Browser (Visual Studio 2015 Sources).rar | TDesc Browser v0.5 - Source Code

Size: 345.7 KB · Downloads: 637 · 20th Sep 2018
345.7 KB 637 20th Sep 2018
TS4 Tuning Description Browser (MSI Installer).rar | TDesc Browser v0.5 - Windows Installer

Size: 137.9 KB · Downloads: 1,456 · 20th Sep 2018
137.9 KB 1,456 20th Sep 2018
TS4 Tuning Description Browser (EXE Only).rar | TDesc Browser v0.5 - EXE Only

Size: 26.4 KB · Downloads: 2,630 · 20th Sep 2018
26.4 KB 2,630 20th Sep 2018
Don't forget to Thank the creator after downloading! Use the Thanks button located above the screenshots above.
Basic Download and Install Instructions:
1. Download: Click the File tab to see the download link. Click the link to save the .rar or .zip file(s) to your computer.
2. Extract: Use WinRAR (Windows) to extract the file(s) from the .rar or .zip file(s).
3. Cut and paste the file(s) into your Mods folder
  • Windows XP: Documents and Settings\(Current User Account)\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\Mods\
  • Windows Vista/7/8/8.1: Users\(Current User Account)\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 4\Mods\
Need more information?
  • Anyone can use both .rar and .zip files easily! On Windows, use WinRAR.
  • If you don't have a Mods folder, just make one.
 
16 Comments / Replies (Who?) - 6 Feedback Posts, 9 Thanks Posts
Hide Thanks Posts for this thread (Show only feedback)
Deceased
Original Poster
#2 Old 20th Sep 2018 at 11:24 AM
Just a quick note regarding the most recent TDesc files version. Although the latest TDesc version released fully by EA is for game version 1.44.77, there is a change for version 1.44.88 which available from the same message thread. Only one file was changed, so they decided to save some time and just toss us the one changed file.

You can install this latest version by copying (or just renaming if you don't want the multiple version functionality) of the 1.44.77 folder to the 1.44.88 folder and replacing the PortalData.tdesc file in 1.44.88\Snippets\Descriptions. This is a significant and worthwhile change, so you will want it if you plan to be doing object tuning for doors!
Instructor
THANKS POST
#3 Old 20th Sep 2018 at 12:24 PM
Thank you for sharing, great
Lab Assistant
THANKS POST
#4 Old 20th Sep 2018 at 12:52 PM
I do not understand a word, but it sounds great. Maybe somewhen, I'll be able to use this tool.
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#5 Old 20th Sep 2018 at 3:30 PM
Thanks for all your hard work! Much easier to find things now. Especially the hidden stuff not in the XML's.
Lab Assistant
THANKS POST
#6 Old 20th Sep 2018 at 5:42 PM
Thank you. I screwed up the update to 1.44.88 when it was released but at least I put the replacement file in the right place. Your efforts are most appreciated scumbumbo.
Field Researcher
THANKS POST
#7 Old 20th Sep 2018 at 6:56 PM
Yessss! I've been doing XML mods the hard way, because I hadn't known about this. This will make it SO much easier! I certainly hadn't known of its existence before, so thank you for bringing this to the front!
Scholar
THANKS POST
#8 Old 23rd Sep 2018 at 4:19 AM
This will be so helpful when the next patch rolls around - thank you so much!
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#9 Old 23rd Sep 2018 at 6:58 AM Last edited by darkuria : 23rd Sep 2018 at 7:29 AM.
I was wondering if something like this exits since I always have to guess, this is so helpful.
Lab Assistant
THANKS POST
#10 Old 25th Sep 2018 at 7:54 AM
thanks :) , this is a must have for modders in my view
Top Secret Researcher
#11 Old 20th Nov 2018 at 6:17 PM
@scumbumbo I tried sending you a PM but it said you exceeded your quota so I thought I'd ask here. I have been trying to figure out script modding for the Sims 4 since it came out and I haven't figured it out yet. I followed the tutorial on here for the get pop script and I was so confused about it. I'd like to make a mod to disable vampires in my game and I haven't figured out how to do so with ts4script. If you could help me, if you have the time, I'd be eternally grateful. Thanks.
Deceased
Original Poster
#12 Old 20th Nov 2018 at 6:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by claudiasharon
@scumbumbo I tried sending you a PM but it said you exceeded your quota so I thought I'd ask here.


Yeah, I saw your message pop up on Discord so answered there. I've let my PM quota fill up here until the hubbub of "When will mod 'x' be updated?" and "Can you puhleeze update 'modders' mod he abandoned it?' requests die down.
Test Subject
THANKS POST
#13 Old 6th Dec 2018 at 8:49 PM
Great work!
Field Researcher
#14 Old 18th Dec 2018 at 4:56 AM
I just updated this, for some reason everything is highlighted red yellow and green with the tooltip "invalid folder" over the red. I can still read the descriptions, guess it's bugged? with the latest TDesc 1.47.49
Deceased
Original Poster
#15 Old 31st Dec 2018 at 12:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by flerb
I just updated this, for some reason everything is highlighted red yellow and green with the tooltip "invalid folder" over the red. I can still read the descriptions, guess it's bugged? with the latest TDesc 1.47.49

Those appear if you do not have your tdesc files in a valid "version numbered" folder. See the installation directions in the mod description.

Even if you only have one version of the tdesc files installed, they still need to be in an appropriately numbered folder.
Field Researcher
#16 Old 23rd Jan 2019 at 3:50 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by scumbumbo
Those appear if you do not have your tdesc files in a valid "version numbered" folder. See the installation directions in the mod description.

Even if you only have one version of the tdesc files installed, they still need to be in an appropriately numbered folder.


oh thanks! as always a dumb thing getting me in the end. I just extract out with the same name, for example "1.48.90-TDESC" I had never altered previous folder names so didn't even consider that could be an issue.
Deceased
Original Poster
#17 Old 23rd Jan 2019 at 6:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by flerb
oh thanks! as always a dumb thing getting me in the end. I just extract out with the same name, for example "1.48.90-TDESC" I had never altered previous folder names so didn't even consider that could be an issue.

Leave off the "-TDESC" part for the folder name, just use the version number itself. For instance, my tdesc root folder looks like the attached screenshot. I have several older versions that can be accessed through the browser, but the really old ones are all packed away into a rar file that the browser just ignores.
Screenshots