About This File
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION MOD - WALL-TO-WALL INDUSTRY
Base Pack - Lots based on Maxis buildings & IRM props
1 - INTRODUCTION/OVERVIEW
What is this mod?
The Industrial Revolution Mod - Wall-to-Wall (IRM W2W in short) is an extension to the existing IRM. If you don't know about the IRM yet, I recommend getting an idea of it first - you can find it here.
This extension was inspired by earlier wall-to-wall BATs made by BSP members, by the work of the Manhattanville Project (ABBT) and, of course, by the real-life environments these artists strived to recreate: industry in an urban setting!
These days, we are used to regarding industry as something that's outside of the city. However, this has not always been true. Historically, many factories have been pretty close to the city centre. Depending on density and real estate prices, no space was wasted and these industrial buildings were built right next to another - or wall to wall, just like rowhouses. Wouldn't it be nice if we could recreate such a scenario in our SimCities and bring the past back to life in SC4? If that's a "yes" in your books, then you may enjoy this mod, which will act as a starter pack and provide you with a selection of 131 lots based on 42 buildings! (The screenshots only show the buildings on one lot each, but there's much more variety.)
Since this is still not enough to really get something going, I'm working on a bunch of industrial BATs to add to the IRM W2W. While I'm typing this, I have about 50 industrial BATs in the works that will probably sit on ca. 100-120 lots when finished. This should provide you with enough choice and variation to really take advantage of the IRM W2W.
Just like the original IRM, this is intended to be used with Toroca's Industrial Jobs Quadrupler. If that seems excessive to you, remember the following aspects:
- The IRM W2W is not intended for huge coherent areas, but for smaller patches of W2W industry in urban environments
- Any IRM mech and out lots to grow around your anchor facilities have been enlarged in surface area (=lower density)
- Best & most realistic visual appearance can be achieved by making use of the filler lots, and these don't hold jobs
The resulting job density will, in fact, be not that excessive - especially not if you compare it to commercial buildings!
Biggest problem when I made this: There were few BATs out there that were suitable for wall-to-wall (W2W) development. Then again, many of the default buildings and many props contained in the dependency packs I used for the regular IRM had the necessary features to make them W2W-compatible. And so I spent 2 years on and off scouring Maxis files and dependency packs, listing suitable buildings, tinkering with the concept, making first drafts and editing countless spreadsheet rows and file properties... and this is the result.
What does this mod offer me?
This mod is intended to be used as an extension to the IRM. It is not a standalone download! Now, the IRM enabled you to segregate "dirty" and "clean" industry by reserving medium-density zones to old-fashioned, smoke-spewing factories and high-density zones to those polished high-tech facilities. The IRM W2W keeps this basic logic - with the following twists (detailed instructions see below):
- The IRM anchor lots (i.e. the main buildings around which ancillary stuff - the "mech" and "out" lots will grow) for all industry that grows on medium density (i.e. the old-fashioned brick factories) can be blocked using the included blocker. This ensures that only the W2W anchor lots can grow from now on.
- Now you can lay out separate medium-density industrial zones of pre-determined sizes right in gaps of W2W residential and/or commercial. You can be sure that a wall-to-wall industry will develop there if you did it right. This building will ideally fill the gap and complete a consistent row of wall-to-wall buildings.
- Once the anchor building has grown, you can zone some regular medium-density industrial adjacent to the anchor lot. This will enable the regular IRM "mech" and "out" lots to grow around it. You can also dress up the surroundings using the IRM Filler Sets for dirty industry (download here) or for manufacturing industry (download here).
- As per the usual IRM logic, modern manufacturing industry and high-tech industry will only grow on high-density zones, so now you can zone old-fashioned W2W industry in your city and modern industrial parks in the outskirts! This was the main point of the IRM W2W. Using it can result in a city where some old facilities remain in a dense urban environment whereas new industries have settled down in more spacious suburban areas, just like in real life.
Once again, this mod is not recommended for beginners. It is important that you know what you do. You should be clear about the way plugins work, and you should feel comfortable with manual file handling. You should know your way around your plugins folder and be able to find things you are looking for. You should have the IRM and be familiar with it.
Its purpose is to recreate a very particular industrial style, so if this style is not a priority for you, then I recommend sticking to regular BATs.
How does the mod work? How does it achieve the changes mentioned above?
If you intend to use this mod, some basic knowledge about industry will be very helpful. The following sections will provide you with the required background knowledge and with a step-by-step instructions so you can make the best out of this mod.
TECHNICAL BACKGROUND - ANCHOR, MECH, AND OUT
Industry is divided into three sub-tpyes: "Anchor", "Mech" and "Out" lots. The three types together form industrial compounds that are treated as one facility by the game.
- Anchor lots represent the core of an industrial compound. They grow first, and only after they have grown can the other two sub-types grow around them.
- Mech lots can only grow next to an existing anchor building. Typical examples of this sub-type are storage tanks, silos, gas holders, etc.
- Out lots also require an existing anchor building to grow. They represent outbuildings such as warehouses, sheds, storage buildings, and cargo handling facilities.
Whenever you lay out industrial zones, one or more anchor lots will grow first. Afterwards, Mech and Out lots will grow next to an anchor lot and attach to it. The jobs provided by these Mech and Out lots will be added to the jobs of the Anchor lot they are attached to. You don't see this attachment directly, but when you use the Route Query tool and click around a bit on your industrial areas, you will see that Sims only travel to a handful of buildings directly. You will also see that some structures share the same commuter and freight arrows. This is because they have been joined to form a single facility in terms of game mechanics.
TECHNICAL BACKGROUND - INDUSTRY ZONING QUIRKS
Unfortunately the game doesn't handle industry zones the way it handles residential (R) and commercial (C). While the game offers pre-determined lot sizes for R and C, industrial zones are just one yellow surface that's not divided into separate lots by default.
Likewise, the game differentiates between "straight" lots and corner lots for R and C, depending on road orientation. Much to my dismay, I had to find out that corners don't matter for industry, i.e. you may have corner lots growing at a straight road section, and "straight" lots growing at corners. This is most probably hardcoded in the EXE, and I cannot help it.
Finally, the only way to make really sure that you get anchor lots only is to keep industrial zones separate from another. Remember that the anchor always grows first. If there is just one 1x4 zone not connected to anything, the game MUST grow an anchor lot there. If there is a large connected zone (let's say 12x4), the game will grow some anchors and begin to fill the rest with a wild mix of other anchors, mech, and out lots.
2 - USE
HOW TO USE - STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTION, BASIC PROCEDURE
It is entirely up to you how if you want to develop some nice W2W industry first and then zone W2W residential around, or if you prefer to use the IRM W2W to fill gaps between existing W2W residential/commercial developments.
I will demonstrate the fundamentals using the latter method, i.e. first W2W residential, then IRM W2W to fill gaps. This is how it works in a nutshell:
Of course, there's only so much you can do with Maxis stuff. This mod will be interesting for people who use existing W2W BATs from artists like the NYBT and BSP members, and others... this can give you results like those shown in the main demo screens - and remember that this is without any industrial BATs and only one collection of W2W rowhouses. I've conducted some tests with a handful of BATs added to the plugins, and that's when things start to become interesting.
Can I simply add this mod to a pre-existing city/region?
If you already use the IRM, yes. And since this mod relies on the IRM, that's the only way to use it sensibly.
What will happen to my regular (= non-W2W) IRM lots?
The anchor lots will be blocked by the included blocker so that only W2W anchor lots can grow from now on. Lots that have already grown before you added the IRM W2W, however, will stay in your city and will remain functional.
What if I want to go back to non-W2W?
If you have used the IRM W2W to get some nice wall-to-wall stuff, but now would like to continue with regular industry, this package also contains an IRM W2W blocker that will prevent all lots contained in this IRM W2W base pack from growing after you added it.
This means that you can use the two blockers as a manual switch to toggle between IRM and IRM W2W anchor buildings:
- IRM anchor lot blocker in your plugins folder: only W2W anchors grow, existing regular lots will remain functional
- IRM W2W anchor lot blocker in your plugins folder: only non-W2W anchors grow, existing W2W ones will remain functional
How to install this mod?
Simply unzip the IRM folder and copy it into your plugins folder (or into a sub-folder of your plugins folder). I recommend keeping the folder structure inside the IRM folder.
What if I want to de-install this mod?
It's pretty much the same as with any other download:
- Delete all lots pertaining to this mod
- Save all the cities and exit the game when you're done bulldozing
- Remove the IRM W2W base pack folder from your plugins
Hint: Just to be sure, I recommend moving the IRM W2W Base Pack folder somewhere else and doing some checks before you delete it permanently. This way, if it turns out you forgot to bulldoze something, you can add it back in temporarily until you're done.
3 - DEPENDENCIES
This is an extension to the IRM, so all the dependencies of the original IRM base pack still apply. In addition to this, you'll need the following:
NOTE: You must be registered and logged into the BSC File Exchange over at SC4Devotion in order to see the download button. Please bear in mind that there are separate logins for the forums and for the file exchange.
RECOMMENDED DOWNLOADS (read: shameless self-plug)
Industrial Revolution Mod I-D Addon Set 1 for more I-D mech & out lots
Industrial Revolution Mod I-M Addon Set 1 for more I-M mech & out lots
Industrial Revolution Mod I-D Filler Set 1 to dress up I-D areas to your liking using ploppable fillers
Industrial Revolution Mod I-M Filler Set 1 to dress up I-M areas to your liking using ploppable fillers
4 - FINAL WORDS
Two more years of mind-numbing grunt work - the actual lot editing was the least unpleasant part, although knowing you'll have to do so many more (or knowing that now you'll make a "mirrored" version of the same) kinda takes the fun out of it, too. Then there are those test sessions where nothing seems to grow the way you like, and that's when motivation really takes a plunge. However, some tests with added W2W BATs were quite a pleasant surprise and yielded some industrial zones worth looking at, so I believe this has some potential. The number of takers will probably be low seeing how this caters for a very particular taste and is everything but carefree. I hope some of you guys will appreciate it nonetheless!
After this base pack, I'm planning to upload a bunch of I-D BATs customised and lotted for IRM W2W use. A pack of I-M stuff is also in the planning stage (got it all sorted out and prepared to be modded and lotted). So stay tuned!
Once again, I would like to thank all the fine people who made the tools, the props, and the textures that I used, as well as the entire SC4 crowd for keeping this game alive, and for having me around.
Should you want to share and/or modify this, be my guest - just try not to be a jerk and give credit where credit is due. In case of doubt, just contact me via PM here on Simtropolis.
T Wrecks, Jan 14, 2015