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Converting strings to ASCII/single byte?

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I'm trying to figure out how to ensure that all strings passed to my function use single byte characters. I read somewhere that python uses unicode by default. Anyways I'm trying to write a string packing function that will save my strings in a binary format readable by my C++ engine. I use this function:

def packString(str, data):
	data += struct.pack('I', len(str))
	for c in str:
		data += struct.pack('c', c)
	return {'FINISHED'}

Whenever this function gets called though, I get this error:

struct.error: char format requires a bytes object of length 1


I'm writing this script for Blender 2.66.1. My game engine expects strings that are stored in binary files to have an unsigned int for the number of characters in the string followed by that number of chars.


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