1 Installing SimSheet
If you just want to run the program under Windows, installing is very simple - download SimSheet.zip from here, and unzip it into a folder somewhere on your computer using WinZip or WinRar. In the zip file is a .exe - as long as everthing that was in the zip file stays in the same directory, running the .exe starts the program.
If you don't run Windows, or you just feel like compiling from the source for some reason, it's a little more complicated. First, download the SimSheet source zip from here, and extract it into a folder on your system. Then you'll need to get the Qt Framework for your OS, and install it. Then navigate back to the directory you unzipped the SimSheet source into using a command prompt, and type the following commands:
make (or nmake)
You should now have a SimSheet.exe in that directory, which you can then move someplace else if you want. If you are running Windows, you should make sure that the extract.bat file stays in the same directory, or importing from SimPE will not work.
2 Managing Sim Lists
2.1 Creating Sims by Hand
The simplest (and most time-consuming) way to get an initial sim list is to generate your sims by hand. This is probably mostly obsolete by now as most people have huge hoods and just want to import them from SimPE. However, if you are starting a new hood and just want to start with one or two playables, it's going to be a lot faster to create those sims manually rather than waiting for SimPE to generate their information.
Before you start adding sims, you should click on "Settings" and check next to the EPs you have installed, so that the right options will be available. Then click on the "Add New Sim" button on the first tab, and you will get this dialog:
Most of this is pretty self-explanatory. Ghost color is irrelevant for living sims, as it will be set to the correct value when they die. Note that availability of many of the fields is determined by the age of the sim, which can be changed from the Age spinbox, and also the species spinbox, and by checking "Plantsim", since dogs, cats, and Plantsims have different lifespans from normal sims. 30 days old for a normal sim is 29 days from Elderhood; for a Plantsim it's 3 days from Elderhood; for a cat it is 1 day from Elderhood, and for dogs it is after the Elder transition. If you change the age of your sim by typing numbers into the spinbox rather than by using the up and down arrows, check boxes and aspiration boxes may reset, because the first number you type will probably be something low like 1 or 2 or 3, which are ages for babies and toddlers that will cause the dialog to choose relevant values for them (such as "Grow Up" or "None/Unknown" for aspiration). So, you should probably set the age before setting everything else. The semester spinbox will only be available to human sims who are 30 days old - that is, sims in the first day of adulthood. If you then change it to something other than 0, the sim will be considered a young adult and the Major box will become available. The Alignment box is only available for witches, and the aspiration boxes and paranormal check boxes are only available to human sims of the correct ages. You should also enter a Household name for your sim - you can type in a new one or choose an existing household. Households with the same name are not distinguished; if you enter "Smith" as the household for two different sims SimSheet will consider them to be living in the same house, even if in your game they are not.
2.2 Importing Sims from Your Game
The other way to get an initial sim list is to use SimPE to read .package files in your game and generate a list of sims for you to pick and choose from. The benefit is that you can import large numbers of sims at once, without you having to enter most of the information. The drawbacks are that it will take a while for SImPE to run, and then you will have to sort through many pages of possible sims to pick just the ones you want to track. Also, ages of Elders cannot be exactly determined, so you will have to change those later if you want them to be accurate.
You will need the proper version of SimPE to do this, which at the moment has only been released as a QA. In order to get it, you need to make an account at the SimPE forum, request QA access from Inge, and then download the latest QA version from QA subforum. (Note from the future: the previous information is out of date, and I believe the current non-QA release should work just fine.) Unpack the .7z file somewhere on your on hard drive. Now, open SimSheet and go to Settings; there is a field called "Default location of SimPE" with a "Browse…" button next to it. Click on "Browse", and navigate the explorer window to the folder where you unzipped SimPE. You can also do this in the Manage Lists dialog, but this way the setting will stick and you will not have to re-enter it every time you start SimSheet.
Next, click on "Manage Sim Lists…" from the first tab. You will get this dialog:
All that is relelvant now is the bottom right hand box that says "Import Sims from SimPE". The first field will have the path that you entered into the Settings dialog in it; if you navigated to the correct folder, then the "Import Sims" button below it should be enabled. Choose your hood's folder in the Neighborhood box - this is the name of the folder under My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\ corresponding to your hood. Pleasantview is N001, Strangetown is N002, Riverblossom Hills is G001, custom hoods you added will be N004, N005, etc. Do not check "Import from previously created ouput." Click the "Import Sims" button.
A command prompt will then pop up, telling you to wait while SimPE runs. Eventually, SimPE will finish running and the command prompt will ask you to press a key to continue. SimSheet will pop up some dialogs to confirm that found the output file, and to tell you how many sims it found in the neighborhood (not including uneditable NPCs like the Grim Reaper or Mrs. Crumplebottom). You will then be presented with the Import dialog:
Playables (including dead sims), townies, and NPCs are each grouped into a different section, each of which is divided into pages which each display some brief information about five different sims. You can select or deselect all sims in any one of these groups by click on the buttons at the top of the dialog, navigate manually between pages with the Previous and Next buttons, or jump directly to a page or section with the Jump button. The sections are sorted in alphabetical order by first name, so if you are looking for a particular sim you can use Jump to try to get to approximately where you think they might be. For each sim you want to import, locate them in the list and check the box next to their name. You will have to check any paranormal flags that apply to them, and choose alignment for witches. You also have the option to change the household name, although in most cases you won't need to; the one case where it might be useful would be if you have two households in your game with the same name, in which case you should change the household name of the occupants of one of those households to differentiate them from the occupants of the other household. The household names of townies and NPCs will automatically be set to something useful, like "Townies and Dormies," "Mountain Locals," "Jocks," "Garden Club," etc. You should leave these alone as well. When you are done selecting which sims you want to import, click "Import". That's it, you're done.
2.3 Saving and Loading Existing Lists
To save the current list, click on "Manage Sim Lists…" from the first tab and enter the filename (sans extension) into the drop-down box in the upper right hand corner of the dialog. Alternatively, you can choose an existing savefile in the directory where the executable file is. SimSheet savefiles have the extension .sls. To open a saved list, select the filename from the drop-down box in the upper left hand corner. Don't change the File Format drop-down box from "This version (0.5)" unless you last saved the list in a different version of SimSheet. Opening a saved list creates a savefile called filename.bak.sls (showing up in the file list as filename.bak). This is a backup of your list, as it appeared before you opened it, just in case something happens to your main savefile.
2.4 Editing Sims, and Adding Notes and Images
To edit a sim's general information, select a sim from the list and click "Edit Selected Sim," which will pop up a dialog which is essentially identical to, and works the same way as, the "Add New Sim" dialog, except that the fields contain the information for the sim you selected.
To add notes or an image to a sim, select them from the list and click on the "Add Image" or "Add Notes" button depending. "Add Image" will allow you to navigate to an image (.jpg or .gif) on your harddrive, and "Add Notes" will pop up a text box for you to type notes into. Images and notes will be shown at the bottom of the List of Sims tab while you have a sim selected in the list.
2.5 Filtering the List
The list of sims can be filtered based on seven different criteria. To filter the list, click "Filter…" in the first tab. You will get this dialog:
In order to block a certain type of sim from appearing in the list, uncheck the box next to the type of sim you want to block. Checking a box does not necessarily mean that all sims of that category will be shown, as they might be blocked if one of their other traits is unchecked. Unchecking all boxes in the same category will block all sims. In the "Life Stage" category, puppies and kittens are classed as "Babies", and grown pets are classified as "Adults". All pets are classed under "None/Unknown" for Aspiration. The state of the Filter dialog is not saved as a setting and carried over to the next time you start SimSheet.
3 The Households Tab
Clicking on the "Households" tab after you have added sims to the list will show you the names of all the households and whether they have been played during the rotation. Clicking on individual households lists the sims who live in that household in the area below the list. While the household is selected, you can also check the relevant checkbox to indicate that it has been played in the current rotation. To change the name of a household, select it and click the "Edit Current Household" button. If the new name already belongs to another household, this will have the effect of moving all the sims in the original household into the other one. If you just want to move one sim to a different household, change that sim's household in the List of Sims tab.
Certain households (e.g. "Townies and Dormies", "Adoption Queue", "Runaways") are special households for keeping track of which sims can be adopted, don't age, etc., and you can't mark them as having been played. Don't put your ordinary playables into those households (unless you want them to be counted as adoptable, or non-aging, etc.)
4 The Family Ties Tab
In the Family Ties tab, you can see every sim who is related to the sim you currently have selected in the List of Sims tab, no matter how distantly, although eventually it will just say "Distant Cousin, Many Times Removed". It will also show if the sim has multiple different familial relationships with the same person. You can configure whether or not you want sims that are dead or in special households (see the above section) to show up in the list using the relevant check boxes.
Clicking on the "Add or Edit Family" button will bring up the Family Browser, where you can set family relationships.
Clicking on the names of family members (or selecting them from the drop-down box and clicking "View…" for children and siblings) will show the immediate family of that sim in the family browser, so you can edit the family relationships of your whole hood without having to go back to the List of Sims tab and selecting someone else. If you add a spouse and then add children, the program will assume that the children are the children of both parents. If you want to add children that are not related to the spouse (e.g. children from a previous marriage or alien spawn) add the children first and then add the spouse. Adding family members should be reciprocal; that is, if you add Sim B as Sim A's spouse, than Sim A should show up as Sim B's spouse as well. However, the same is not true for removing or changing a family member; if you change Sim A's first parent to Sim C (where previously it was Sim B), than Sim B will still have Sim A listed as a child, and that will have to be changed as well. Note that siblinghood is not recorded anywhere in SimSheet - sims are assumed to be siblings only if they share parents. Therefore, unlike in the game, you cannot declare sims to be siblings if they have no parents; you will have to create dummy parents for them first. When you are done editing family relationships, click the "Close and Refresh Family List" button.
5 The Aspirations Tab
The Aspirations tab allows you to keep track of aspirations and LTWs, how close to completing an LTW your sim is, and how many LTWs they have completed. Like the family tab, the information shown pertains to whatever sim you have selected in the List of Sims tab. If you have Free Time checked in Settings, it will also show a box for "One True Hobby" but setting it does not actually have any effect in version 0.5, so you can ignore it. If you import your sims from SimPE, their LTWs may initially show up as numbers and you will have to change them into something more meaningful.
Normally, all of the aspirations are in "View Mode" as above, and you will be able to view the information but not edit it. Clicking the "Edit" button next to an aspiration will change it into "Edit Mode" where you can edit aspiration, LTWs, etc.
Rather than entering in the percentages yourself, you just need to put the total number of steps (for example, topping a career is 10 steps, for 10 job levels, 20 Best Friends is 20 steps, etc.) and then the number of steps the sim has completed. A "step" can be whatever you want; if the sim has a want to earn $100,000, you can count that as 100 steps of $1000 each, 100,000 steps of $1 each, 10 steps of $10,000 each, or whatever. When you go back to view mode, just the percent complete will be displayed.
If your sim changes aspirations via an event on the Update tab (see section below) a new aspiration will be added to the Aspirations tab, above the previous ones. If you edit a sim's aspiration from the List of Sims tab, you may have to edit the information on the Aspiration tab as well to correspond. Hopefully I will figure out why this isn't working right now and fix it for the next release.
6 The Updates Tab
7 The Achievements Tab