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Postal Package Editor (and API)

by Echo Posted 9th Aug 2009 at 4:27 PM - Updated 27th Nov 2013 at 4:14 PM by Nysha
176 Comments / replies (Who?) - 21 Feedback Posts
Postal is a DBPF3 package editor. That means that it can open up Sims 3 package files, let you poke at their innards, change things around, then save them back into new package files.

Can I run it?
Postal is built on top of Java 6, so if you can run Java 6 then the answer is "yes". That includes Windows XP, Vista and Mac OSX. If you can run the Sims 3, you should be able to run this.
There is one caveat though. Because I'm running Windows, I cannot test well on Mac. Please let me know if you experience any issues.

What can it do?
Postal can navigate all kinds of Sims 3 package files, and parse/display/write many resources, including OBJDs, OBJKs, STBLs, XMLs, CSTRs, GEOMs, NMAPs, DDSs, PNGs, VPXYs, Texture Compositors and the various text-based formats. As time goes on, the number of resource types it can edit is growing.

Postal also has a filetable which keeps track of all the resources that can be used in game. You can use this to search for resources by type, group, or instance, wherever they come from. Postal has a scripting console, and a plugin architecture to allow you to add your own functionality to the application.

The Postal API
The Postal Editor is built on top of the "Postal API". This is a library which speeds up the process of writing custom tools which can read from and write to package files and the resource types inside them. The API is available under a BSD license, which essentially means you can use it however you like in your own tools as long as you acknowledge the original creator and point to a place where the original source can be downloaded. (The full Postal GUI is available under a GPL license)

The Postal API has already been used in other tools, including The Sims 3 Mod Generator and Merlin . There is some documentation on how to use it to build your own applications and how to extend the Postal environment attached.

INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS
- Go to http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp and install the up-to-date version of Java for your operating system (if you don't already have it)
- Download the latest version of the Postal installer from http://sourceforge.net/projects/postal-sims3
- Double click on the file you have downloaded, and follow the Wizard. Make sure you put in the correct path to your Sims 3 installation when it prompts you!

* Mac OSX users, please see this post regarding running Java 6

Additional Credits:
Most of the behaviour here is based directly off the wiki pages describing file formats and resource structures. Thanks to Rick, Karybdis, Delphy, WesHowe, Inge, Peter, Atavera, Pescado and the many others who have contributed their knowledge to that collective effort.
Tags: #Postal, #DBPF, #editor, #api, #stbl, #dds, #geom, #xml

Operating System: Windows Linux Mac OS X
Utility Type: CC Editors
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 3
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
user-installation.rar | Install instructions (same as in post)

Size: 388 Bytes · Downloads: 21,137 · 10th Aug 2009
388 Bytes 21,137 10th Aug 2009
FOR-DEVELOPERS-ONLY-Postal-developer-guide-PDF.rar | Documentation for developers interested in using Postal in their own tools

Size: 308.1 KB · Downloads: 10,149 · 10th Aug 2009
308.1 KB 10,149 10th Aug 2009
Don't forget to Thank the creator after downloading! Use the Thanks button located above the screenshots above.
Quick Guide:

1. Click the file listed on the Files tab to download the file to your computer.
2. Extract the zip, rar, or 7z file. Now you will have either a .package or a .sims3pack file.

For Package files:

1. Cut and paste the file into your Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Mods\Packages folder. If you do not already have this folder, you should read the full guide to Package files first: Sims 3:Installing Package Fileswiki, so you can make sure your game is fully patched and you have the correct Resource.cfg file.
2. Run the game, and find your content where the creator said it would be (build mode, buy mode, Create-a-Sim, etc.).

For Sims3Pack files:

1. Cut and paste it into your Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Downloads folder. If you do not have this folder yet, it is recommended that you open the game and then close it again so that this folder will be automatically created. Then you can place the .sims3pack into your Downloads folder.
2. Load the game's Launcher, and click on the Downloads tab. Find the item in the list and tick the box beside it. Then press the Install button below the list.
3. Wait for the installer to load, and it will install the content to the game. You will get a message letting you know when it's done.
4. Run the game, and find your content where the creator said it would be (build mode, buy mode, Create-a-Sim, etc.).


Extracting from RAR, ZIP, or 7z: You will need a special program for this. For Windows, we recommend 7-Zip and for Mac OSX, we recommend Keka. Both are free and safe to use.


Need more help?

If you need more info, see:
 
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Test Subject
#76 Old 30th Nov 2009 at 3:45 AM
I don't get this program started... I've updated Java and then installed the program without problems, but when I try to start it, nothing happens (except of the typical windows error-sound). I even don't get a message about something going wrong.
- I have Windows XP

(sorry for bad English)
Test Subject
#77 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 1:28 AM
Hey Echo! Thank you very much for the program, it looks like it will be a great one. However, I've hit a bit of an impasse.

I'll start off by saying that I'm a complete noob and to make matters worse I'm on a Mac. I believe that I've gotten the program installed correctly, I've followed the directions that other helpful users have posted in this thread (went into packageeditorconfig and changed those settings) but now I can't get the console to open.

When I click "Plugins/Open Console" I'll get a progress bar, it fills up, then nothing happens, only the hogging of a lot of resources... The strangest thing is, before I fixed the packageeditorconfig file I would get a ton of errors but eventually the console would open. I couldn't do anything in it but it was open.

I can open existing .package files but I haven't been able to create my own, and I believe this is probably because that is done in the console part of the program. (Am I right on that one?) I've tried the "New Package" option but that doesn't let me do anything afterwards. So for the time being, I'm stuck just looking at other people's .package files and making my own edits which don't seem to be working. I've read several threads but haven't been able to make any real progress. Can you offer any suggestions?
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#78 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 3:53 AM
Hi Jizzy,

You're very welcome, and I'm glad you got it (mostly) working!

Because I don't have a Mac and it's illegal to emulate it on my PC, I unfortunately can't really test anything there myself. I'll do my best to help though!

How are you starting Postal? Are you using the .sh script, or just double clicking the jar file. If it's the latter, which one are you using?
Test Subject
#79 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 6:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
Hi Jizzy,

You're very welcome, and I'm glad you got it (mostly) working!

Because I don't have a Mac and it's illegal to emulate it on my PC, I unfortunately can't really test anything there myself. I'll do my best to help though!

How are you starting Postal? Are you using the .sh script, or just double clicking the jar file. If it's the latter, which one are you using?

I'm just starting it by double clicking the "Postal-gui.jar" file. I just tried the Postal.sh script and got a new text file with the following

And when I try the "start.jar" file I get an error. Thanks!
Retired Duck
retired moderator
Original Poster
#80 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 7:00 AM
Can you tell me what error you get when you run start.jar?

The most likely problem is that Postal can't access enough memory. Loading up all the package files takes a fair amount of memory, and by default programs are only allowed 64mb. The .sh script has the ability to give it more memory, which would normally fix the issue.
Test Subject
#81 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 7:10 AM Last edited by jizzyb : 4th Dec 2009 at 7:47 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo
Can you tell me what error you get when you run start.jar?

The most likely problem is that Postal can't access enough memory. Loading up all the package files takes a fair amount of memory, and by default programs are only allowed 64mb. The .sh script has the ability to give it more memory, which would normally fix the issue.


How much memory does it need? I've got 2gb and all I'm running at the moment is Firefox and Mail.

Ok, now I'm starting to fear that I have a problem with my Java. I can change the preferences in one area, but in the actual folder whenever I try to run webstart or run the preferences in there they quit unexpectedly... I'll try to reinstall Java and see how that goes.

And when I run Start.jar I get "The program could not be launched Check the console for possible error messages". Stupid Java...

Edit: Sigh... So there was a Java update for Mac today and I was hoping that it would get stuff going since I had accidentally downgraded earlier, but sadly no dice. I'm still getting the still inactivity and nothing when I try start.jar. On the plus side, it doesn't eat resources when I try to run the console!
Pettifogging Legalist!
retired moderator
#82 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 8:13 AM
jizzyb: to make sure you've got enough memory available, open /Applications/Utilities/ActivityMonitor and look at the bottom left to see how much is free. Firefox can be a terrible memory hog – I've seen it use more than 2GB on my machine.

Stuff for TS2 · TS3 · TS4 | Please do not PM me with technical questions – we have Create forums for that.

In the kingdom of the blind, do as the Romans do.
Test Subject
#83 Old 4th Dec 2009 at 8:17 AM Last edited by jizzyb : 4th Dec 2009 at 10:12 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasticbox
jizzyb: to make sure you've got enough memory available, open /Applications/Utilities/ActivityMonitor and look at the bottom left to see how much is free. Firefox can be a terrible memory hog – I've seen it use more than 2GB on my machine.


Otay! Will try and report back.

Edit: Still nada. I followed your directions on the second page, which stopped the errors from popping up when I opened the console, now it just won't open. Am I doing something horribly wrong?
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#84 Old 5th Dec 2009 at 11:08 AM
jizzy, I don't think there's anything wrong with your computer. It's a very old rule built into Java that says that if you just double click on a jar file, it isn't allowed to use more than 64 mb of memory.

Are you comfortable using the console? If so, can you open up a console and go to the directory where you have installed Postal, then run the following:
java -Xmx1024m -jar "Postal-GUI.jar" &

That should start Postal in a new window, but keep your console window open. If you get any error messages in your console, could you copy them and paste them here?
Test Subject
#85 Old 7th Dec 2009 at 5:58 AM
I'll try it out, thanks for the assist! Sorry for the noobness.
Retired Duck
retired moderator
Original Poster
#86 Old 24th Dec 2009 at 10:11 AM
Just a quick note, I put a new version up a day or so ago. This includes several long string fixes and the type 16 OBJD format which showed up in WA.
Instructor
#87 Old 1st Jan 2010 at 10:27 PM
Is there a tutorial for this program? I'm trying to use it to view CAS part packages without loading the game (CTU's preview doesn't work on Mac) and I cannot find the 3D preview option.
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#88 Old 2nd Jan 2010 at 12:26 PM
emhpb, the 3d preview option is available for most files with the type "geom". If your package has one of those in it, select that line then click the "preview" button.
Lab Assistant
#89 Old 13th Jan 2010 at 4:11 PM
I get "This application requires a Java Runtime Environment 1.6.0_06". I have 1.6.0_17, the latest from the site linked. Help?
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#90 Old 14th Jan 2010 at 3:10 AM
Hi Carina,
- Do you get this message when you are installing, or when you are running Postal?
- Are you running OSX, XP, Vista or Win 7?
Lab Assistant
#91 Old 14th Jan 2010 at 6:14 AM
edit, wrong window (I need to go to bed)

I get it as soon as I click the exe. Tried the jar file, too; same thing. Also tried re-downloading, no good.

Running Win7.
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#92 Old 15th Jan 2010 at 5:26 AM
Okay, can you go to the start menu, then in the little text box that shows up at the bottom of the menu, type:
cmd
and press enter. That should bring up a black command window. Into that, can you type this:
java -version
then press enter and copy/paste the response here?
Pettifogging Legalist!
retired moderator
#93 Old 15th Jan 2010 at 7:06 PM
How is importing a package meant to be working – is Postal supposed to read the group/instance from the filename, or is it normal that everything imports as UNK and then ngroup/instance need to be added manually? I'm not sure if this is a bug or just not implemented. I'm importing stbl resources that are named like "S3_220557da_00000000_00cce8975456cdc3.stbl" (exported from Postal) or "S3_220557DA_00000000_0000000000054515%%+STBL.stbl" (exported from s3pe).

There is a bit of an issue with adding entries to an stbl, as well – it works exactly once, after that the "Add" button just remains highlighted and nothing happens.

Stuff for TS2 · TS3 · TS4 | Please do not PM me with technical questions – we have Create forums for that.

In the kingdom of the blind, do as the Romans do.
Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#94 Old 16th Jan 2010 at 7:08 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasticbox
How is importing a package meant to be working – is Postal supposed to read the group/instance from the filename, or is it normal that everything imports as UNK and then ngroup/instance need to be added manually? I'm not sure if this is a bug or just not implemented. I'm importing stbl resources that are named like "S3_220557da_00000000_00cce8975456cdc3.stbl" (exported from Postal) or "S3_220557DA_00000000_0000000000054515%%+STBL.stbl" (exported from s3pe).

There is a bit of an issue with adding entries to an stbl, as well – it works exactly once, after that the "Add" button just remains highlighted and nothing happens.


The former (TGI) is a "not implemented on account of Echo's laziness".

The latter sounds like a bug. I'll take a look.
Test Subject
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16th Jan 2010 at 10:06 AM
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Retired Duck
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Original Poster
#95 Old 16th Jan 2010 at 11:19 AM
Sonic, I'm afraid I need a bit more information if you want me to help... In what way doesn't it work? It won't install? It installs but won't start? It starts but won't open packages...?
Test Subject
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16th Jan 2010 at 2:04 PM
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Pettifogging Legalist!
retired moderator
#96 Old 16th Jan 2010 at 7:35 PM
If you want Echo to be able to help you, you'll need to post a screenshot or the exact wording of the error message at the very least. How is she supposed to know what "something about screen i guess" means? =)

Stuff for TS2 · TS3 · TS4 | Please do not PM me with technical questions – we have Create forums for that.

In the kingdom of the blind, do as the Romans do.
Test Subject
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16th Jan 2010 at 8:22 PM
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