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A SimCity 4 Tutorial
Cloud Oriented Region Import Method Adding Painted Streams
In this guide I present a method to create a grayscale image from which to render a random rolling hills terrain map that has water streams and rivers added.
Here's a random sample of a map I created using this method:
Note: The following is merely an alternative method to create a semi-realistic, fictional region map for SC4. Before you waste any time reading this please be aware that the defacto standards for map making are: SC4 Mapper, SC4 Terraformer, and Landscape Designer. Use them if you want something better. Also, as mentioned by @RobertLM78 in a reply in this thread there is another one by Ordio called Simcity 4 Region and Config Creator.
However, many peeps have said they cannot run those programs on later versions of Windoze or other OS's so what I'm presenting here is simply another method by which one can make a decent map with minimal time and effort. I'm using GIMP for this guide because it's free to anyone. Any good image editing program will have the same tools I use in this guide.
The method is quick and easy.
1. Load your SimCity 4 Rush Hour or Deluxe game and create a new region. Name it whatever you want. For this tutorial I'll use Cloud Map. Exit the game, or at a minimum, exit the new region by opening a different region. This is so the existing config.bmp file is not in use.
2. Create a new config.bmp file. For this tutorial mine will be 12x12 pixels. See Config.bmp: How to Make it Yours if you are not already familiar with it.
3. Save that config.bmp into the new region folder you just made. (Overwrite the existing one.)
4. You should now have region.ini and your config.bmp in your new region folder.
Making the Grayscale Image
1. Go outside and take a picture of some clouds.
2. Load the picture into a decent imaging program.
3. [Optional] Crop it if there are cloudless parts you don't want in the image. In Gimp it's the Rectangle Select Tool over in the upper left of the tools box. Or you can press R. Draw a box around the part you want to keep.
Then go to the Image Menu and select Crop to Selection...
4. Scale the image to the appropriate size based on the config.bmp you will be using. As we learned in @Birdin's config.bmp guide we multiply the dimensions of config.bmp by 64 and add 1. So 12 * 64 = 768 + 1 = 769. The height and width are the same since my config.bmp is 12 x 12.
Go to the Image Menu and select Scale Image...
That brings up this Scale Image dialog box. First click the little linked chain to the right of the Width and Height boxes to break the chain. This tells the program that we are not concerned about keeping the cropped selection proportional to the original image. Type in the Width and Height dimensions that you calculated in the beginning of this step. For this tutorial I entered 769 in both boxes. Then click the Scale button.
5. Convert to grayscale. Go to the Image Menu and select Mode --> Grayscale.
6. Export the image as a .Bmp file. Go to the File Menu and select Export As ...
When the export dialog box comes up, look in the lower left for the little bitty plus sign in a box by the Select File Type (By Extension) and click it. That will open up the File Type selection box. Scroll down and click Windows BMP image.
In the upper left in the name box, type in Gray 1 in front of the .bmp. Note only the name portion is pre-highlighted in blue indicating what part to type over. (Brilliant programming imo.) Remember which folder you export (save) the file to. That's indicated by my arrow in this next pic. Mine is going into My Documents. Click the Export Button.
The next dialog box has some options. I simply click the Export Button. (I believe one could select the Run-Length Encoded to reduce the file size. I haven't tested that, so I leave it unchecked.)
And here's what I created:
8. Close all files. I personally do not let it save my original clouds with the cropping and changes so that way I still have my unaltered original.
9. Close your imaging program. (Or if your comp has plenty of memory, just minimize it.)
(These interim steps are what I did when learning. I skip them now I know what I'm doing.)
1. In SimCity 4, open the new region you created. Mine is called Cloud Map.
2. Press the magic key combination of Shift+Ctrl+Alt+r. This brings up the file selection box.
3. Drill down to where you saved your grayscale image file and select Gray 1.bmp then click Ok.
4. Now wait while the map is rendered. You will see Creating New City like this:
And here's our first draft render. Note that it's way too choppy. We will fix that soon. The reason I did this preliminary render is to see what part is water.
Tweaking the Grayscale Image
1. Reopen Gray 1.bmp in your image editor. We will paint in our rivers and streams before we smooth out the rough, choppy bumps. Select the Paintbrush tool and set it to Acrylic 05. Leave the size at 20 point for now. I selected Acrylic cause it adds a random pattern to the edges of what you paint.
2. Click the foreground color selection box. It's right under all the tools on the left. That brings up the Change Foreground Color choices. Type 40 in Red, Green, and Blue. Yes, I already hear peeps saying: Wait, that's too dark. Stay with me on this.
3. Now paint in streams / rivers. A twitchy hand actually improves the realism.
4. Now to smooth out the choppiness of the hills. From the Filters menu select Blur --> Gaussian Blur... This also blends the rivers and streams so that's why I picked color level 40 (which equates to 120 meters height after rendering but doesn't count the blur merging). This'll be an area to experiment on your own based on your original cloud picture.
5. In the next dialog box change the Blur Radius to 10.0. Or pick your own number. Higher numbers means more smoothing and lower ones give less.
6. Export the image as Gray 2.bmp. Here's my new grayscale:
7. And here it is rendered:
The map is now ready to paint trees in game or load your favorite terrain and tree and other landscape related mods. Or, tweak it some more.
1. Let's say I want everything to be a little lower elevation to get a bit more water. From the Colors menu select Levels...
2. Then I adjust the Gamma Level to 0.85. (I derived this number thru trial and error for this particular cloud image.)
3. Here's the new Grayscale image I exported as Gray 3.Bmp:
4. Here it is rendered:
5. And then I painted Maxis trees in every tile:
I've discovered a couple new things. I started with this cloud picture:
Then in GIMP I did the normal stuff outlined above and then I used the Burn Tool to lighten the banks of the rivers:
And I blurred it after that. Here's the grayscale I created:
Another new thing I noticed is having mods for terrain, rocks, water, and beaches already installed means the import rendering colors the region view with them so I don't have to go into each tile to do that. Here it is rendered:
Then I did go in and paint Maxis trees as thick as the program would allow:
^ What I really like is the banks of the rivers seem more realistic to me inasmuch as they show the effect of previous flooding. Also my heavier use of Gaussian Blur means the map is much more friendly when using a slope mod to lay out the transportation network.
Where to go from here
1. You can alter the gray shade of your paintbrush to a lighter one and paint along the sides of the streams to create gentler slopes if you like. It's best to do that before adding the blur cause the blur does a bunch of evening out. (See my edit above. Using the Burn Tool works even better for this.)
2. If your cloud picture has a much lighter blue sky you might want to play with brightness, contrast, or color levels to darken it before for you start any other part of the editing. Use the Color Picker Eyedropper to see what shade any given area in your grayscale is. Providing you have not installed a Height Mod with an alteration to the scale factor and/or sea level, grayscale 83 is slightly below sea level. Lower values are farther under water. Grayscale 84 is slightly above water. Higher values are then higher elevations up to a max of 255 (white).
3. Experiment with various options in the imaging program. Render and see what you get. Learning by doing is loads of fun.
4. Experiment with altering the moisture content as discussed here to change the ground texture appearance.
5. Extract the Terrain Properties exemplar from Simcity_1.dat and play around with the variables there like ImageImportScaleFactor and SeaLevel or the Erosion settings.
Feel free to post your map creations in this thread. Ideally, post both the final grayscale image and then a region screenshot. Reply with what you've discovered that might be useful to other peeps.
By Chief ZDN
While I don't visit the simpeg.com in my life, I sad with the 2015 SimPeg.com fatal error. The site data is gone. However, Pegasus fans gives the Pegasus' and his friends' mods to the PLEX & STEX staff. But, there is no new mod created by the SimPeg again, The Prop Pox bug maker in the some mods still unfixed (Sorry SimPeg, I'm not hate you. I just send the fact that is on SC4D). We don't see the CDK development again. We don't see the new SPAM that support the CAM, officially.
But, the reality is changed. I'm not a modder. But I can make the SimPeg revive again. We don't want the SimPeg staff is retired from making the quality mod (if they still can make a mod). We want the SimPeg staff making the mod, again. In this plan, I will show you how the new SimPeg led, what are the vision, what mods we make, and the challenge that we need solved.
The new SimPeg is led by Pegasus or someone with good modding skill (maybe Paeng?). The SimPeg organization structure is (from the level, ascending) Leader, Co-Leader, Secretary, Webmaster, Admin, and Moderator. Co-Leader is needed when the Leader is not in working condition or the Leader leaves from the community. Secretaries are for writing what happened on the community, what the community needed, and more. Moderators aren't splited to 2 parts. SimPeg staff member is same as before, but with some tweaks. Our missions are:
Making a quality mods Host many of quality CJs Make researches about SimCity 4 and community Make innovation about SimCity 4 And our visions are:
As the world's biggest SimCity 4 mod creator As the biggest CJ hosting As the biggest SimCity 4 contributor Mod We Want Make
As a quality modder, we want make many quality mods. But for now, we just want to making the new SPAM that compatible with the CAM, new CDK that uses more modular architecture, and new Utopian BATs (I personally like the SkyFarm).
I am not a modder. And, I not a senior SimCity player. So, I can't be the SimPeg leader or co-leader. However, there is solution. Either as a member but plan the SimPeg or as a staff member on the SimPeg. You can decide. I'm not hunt the rank. I just want contribute. The experience can't be fully restored. By this, we need creating the new experience that more better than before. The SimPeg is around 10 years old. By this, we need create a new logo. However, my laptop currently not available, so there are 2 options: use the old logo or make the new logo, but created by someone Sorry if I breaking the rules. Sorry if I can't explain more detail. Thank you for your attention.
By Chief ZDN
Sorry if I breaking the rules and sorry if the board is incorrect.
As far as we know, SimPeg was shutted down in 2015. The cause of shutdown is a big website error and data corruption (this is made the error can't fixed). And now, SimPeg name is filled with other site. In Indonesia where I live, SimPeg is resulting to 'sistem kepegawaian' or in English, employee system, that is used by various institutions, including education institutions. The popular site, regardless of country, should rank first in the search. You can see the screenshot in the attachment.
Don't forget, the world sometimes not unique. And, I say thank you.
Decided to try and put together a youtube series which will follow the development of a pretty generic US city - probably somewhere on the mid/southern US east coast.
If you're relatively new to the game and frustrated with the level of realism people here, on youtube and on reddit achieves, the series contain quite a few tips and my reasoning for different kinds of development strategies - as well as balancing between detailing and functionality. You'll not find me spend +10 minutes detailing a small area, instead i try to balance it out differently with just enough detailing to give a realistic vibe - but not enough detailing to let one single neighbourhood steal 10 fps from me
In the first part i built the downtown core of the city;
And in the second part i built a simple low income and crime ridden neighbourhood in close proximity to downtown;
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By Jack_wilds · Postedit is a piece of Americana and Wisconsin that I miss even though I never really got to experience it... it is the rural country side, lake or river side family friendly tavern and/or supper club... a piece of Americana with this neighborhood bar with its own secret pizza that is beloved by all... excellent work over all... love that it fits in scale to most downtowns... great texture and detail... 5/5
Recent STEX Comments
These are 2 most powerful symbols in the universe. Shall we discuss? Nothing much to do with human experience really, except as morphology of primary differentiation, otherwise a sociocultural construct. If we accept natural selection as the first law, then sexual differentiation is the continuity of organic life above base simian hominids. all of which have gone extinct prior to the recent modern sapient form. Can the male and female dance a dance more complex and conscious than ever before? Can Life transcend the rodent, reptile, simian, savage? Time will well, my friend. Its all about the dance.
Yeah the facility has a dual purpose of providing a radical amount of water volume and also functions as a sewage plant. So both the large water pump and the connector in the middle have to be piped. I did have to make a change to another water pump to ensure that it appeared in the correct Occupant Group as a water building. This one is correct, but I do recommend using the utility radius mod to eliminate the need for tedious pipe-laying.
@ReshiramLover ... Before you leave a negative review, make sure you are using the lot correctly. You need to connect the pipes to the pump houses instead of the prop in the center of the lot that appears in underground view.Try this and see what happens... it worked for me.