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    • Dirktator

      Urgent Request: Simtropolis Needs Donations To Keep Going   12/05/2016

      Hi Community As Simtropolis turns 14 years old this year, we're asking your help now more than ever to help us keep the site and everything you love about our Community and STEX up and running. A donation goes a long way to help us offset the costs of keeping the site up and operational. As you know, we're a completely community-driven not-for-profit website, but we do have to deal with some modest real-world expenses from month to month. Lately, we've been feeling a big pinch with a slump in donations, and we're hoping to drive that up so we can continue to keep the site running. In return for your donation, we're offering several STEX Collection Discs which you can learn more about here, if you wish to receive one. We would really appreciate your support by way of a donation of any amount in order to keep the site up and running. Of course, as always, we'll send you a gift with a minimum donation as a Thank You. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to PM me!  Donate Any Amount Here To Receive a STEX Disc(s) Donate a Specific Amount Here Sincerely; Dirktator & The Admins PS. Thank you to those who have stepped up and donated -- we really appreciate it!

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    • It's not related to any type of file, moreover packing files helps improve the loading times of the game. Why? Well, it's actually nothing to do with SC4, but a result of how Hard Disks handle data. So if you copy a very large file from one drive to another, that will be much quicker than copying the same amount of data, but in many smaller files. This is because there is much less work for your computer to do. Typical "spinning disk" based drives also need to seek out a space to put/read data, much like a Cassette, it can't read/write just anywhere, it needs to find a given point of the disk before it can do so. With multiple files, they may not be located in the same area of the disk, resulting in more time needed to seek the data. In practise, hard drives are very quick at this, like a CD, you don't notice a delay when skipping a track, but the drive/laser does have to do this in practise. Find your plugins folder, right click it and select properties. Windows will tell you how many files and folders you have for SC4 mods, I suspect it's a lot, many thousands, possibly 10's of thousands. So whilst it's quick to seek out one file, with so many, it creates a lot of work for your hard drive to do. SC4 needs to index your entire plugins folder the first time you start the application. So it must find each one of those files and read from them. DAT-Packing them makes this operation more efficient, since the drive has to seek less files and can read the data quicker. In the same way, use of an SSD speeds up the process, because they are much quicker at accessing data than regular hard disks are. In fact, sometimes so much so, that most of the benefit of DAT-Packing is made redundant. Especially since how SSDs work can make handling lots of small files almost as efficient as a few larger ones. The real problem with DAT Packing is load order. If you have things that need to load after each other, but they all get packed into the same file, that can quickly cause problems. When DAT Packing, files with duplicate IDs are overwritten based on the load order of the files you are packing. But if you are not careful, you may find things don't work as expected. This is why it's not recommended to DAT-pack the NAM for example. There is also a limit to the size of a DAT-packed file, after which they tend not to work correctly. I think generally speaking files of between 100-200MB in size are probably optimal.
    • Talking about flat ... a long while back when I was working years ago . A truck driver told me that if you flattened out West Virginia , it would be as big as Texas . 
    • best never sleep again just to be safe. hehe.