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JadeCat95

In-game plugin organization

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I read, understand, and utilize the sorting of folders explained on this forum, and I appreciate taking the time to give that information. However, I have a question about the possibility of even further organization of the DLC.

My question is this; Is it possible, either by folder organization or file modification, to have the addons more organized IN GAME? For instance, I would like to have, in the IN GAME menu, all the restaurants grouped together, all the gas stations grouped together, all the parks grouped together and so on. So all the restaurants would be, say, at the top of the sub menu for landmarks. Under that, the next group of landmarks would be the gas stations etc.

Is this possible?

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Well, JadeCat95 ...

You can create some objects in LM or others menu such as "Gas Stations 01", "Restaurant 033 " and etc.,but only one object with own icon ... and You can create it with excellent SC4Tool ... Another way is with DAMN ... try it, but this is a very difficult way ...

Thank You.


  Edited by Silur  

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For instance, I would like to have, in the IN GAME menu, all the restaurants grouped together, all the gas stations grouped together, all the parks grouped together and so on. So all the restaurants would be, say, at the top of the sub menu for landmarks. Under that, the next group of landmarks would be the gas stations etc.

Obviously you can't have any more submenus than what the game gives you, but you *could* change the order in which items appear within those submenus. I can't remember the process offhand, but things such as RTMT stations have its lots grouped together in one area.

Thing is, everything's asynchronous. Since there's no one single consortium agreeing on how to put these items in order (instead, it's many modding groups, each independent of one another), there is a potential for conflicts, or merely speaking, having menu icons for one thing be mixed with the menu icons of another. If you wanna resolve those conflicts, you'd need to do them yourself. Once again, I can't remember how.


  Edited by Ganaram Inukshuk  

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I agree, JadeCat95. Sometimes when I'm looking for something in the game menus, it takes forever to scroll through the entire list to find what I'm looking for. The alternative, which is to remove all the files from my plugins folder and only keep what I'm using in a particular game-building session, is unacceptable. So I just deal with it. It would really be great to view all the elements of the game in a grid, instead of a list.

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There is a property called 'MenuOrder' that determines in what spot lots appear e.g. in the landmarks menu. All lots that share the same menu order number are grouped by plop cost, from cheapest (top) to the most expensive lot (bottom). That's how I made all the HKABT landmarks I modded stick together in the landmarks menu. You can add and/or edit this property using iLive's Reader.

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JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Thank you for the quick responses!! I've looked around using SC4Tool and LEProp, but I didn't know what I was looking for. I will look around some more.

    I want to make sure I understand T Wrecks correctly here. Is what you're saying that I can, for instance, if I want, say, all the fast food joints at the top of the LM menu, I give them all the same low plop value, ie 100$, and then the next group would all be like 200$ and so on? Am I understanding that correctly? Or, if not, where do I find the "menu order" value? And what can use to edit that number?

    Again, thank you all for your answers. It'd be nice if you could just set the order by arranging the corresponding folders, but oh well :/

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    I would love to be able to create a system like this too JadeCat, so if you eventually figure it out and have success with it would you please create a thread with a detailed process of what you did?

    Also, I don't mean to hijack your topic JadeCat but it is relevant to maintaining the menu items so I'll just post my question here for anyone that can help. Is there a way to make items that are only being used as a dependency for another item to NOT show up on the menu? Example of this, I like to use Bipins retaining walls sometimes but it requires WMP Allotment Set and I don't even use those yet they take up a significant portion of the parks menu.

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    I want to make sure I understand T Wrecks correctly here. Is what you're saying that I can, for instance, if I want, say, all the fast food joints at the top of the LM menu, I give them all the same low plop value, ie 100$, and then the next group would all be like 200$ and so on?

    Not quite. They'll only do that if they have identical values in the MenuOrder parameter in their LOT Exemplar. The game will sort them by price first, then group them by MenuOrder value sequentially.

    For example, take these six example LOTs. It's assumed that they're set to appear in the one menu.

    Name: Bremer Accounting | Price: $200 | MenuOrder: 1

    Name: Crossing Apartments | Price: $100 | MenuOrder: 2

    Name: Embankment Equity | Price: $150 | MenuOrder: 1

    Name: Wattle Tree Estate | Price: $300 | MenuOrder: 2

    Name: Caravan | Price: $50 | MenuOrder: 1

    Name: Storage Shed | Price: $50 | MenuOrder: 2

    The game will order them by Price first (you won't see this step), then my MenuOrder, so the order they appear in the menu is as below:

    Name: Caravan | Price: $50 | MenuOrder: 1

    Name: Embankment Equity | Price: $150 | MenuOrder: 1

    Name: Bremer Accounting | Price: $200 | MenuOrder: 1

    Name: Storage Shed | Price: $50 | MenuOrder: 2

    Name: Crossing Apartments | Price: $100 | MenuOrder: 2

    Name: Wattle Tree Estate | Price: $300 | MenuOrder: 2

    I hope that helps.

    ----------

    Also, I don't mean to hijack your topic JadeCat but it is relevant to maintaining the menu items so I'll just post my question here for anyone that can help. Is there a way to make items that are only being used as a dependency for another item to NOT show up on the menu? Example of this, I like to use Bipins retaining walls sometimes but it requires WMP Allotment Set and I don't even use those yet they take up a significant portion of the parks menu.

    It greatly depends on how the creator packaged the lots. You can delete the lot file (It will not effect anything else you have installed), however for a lot of lots this won't work as they're all packaged as a single DAT.

    If that's the case, you'll need to open the DAT in ilive's Reader, then sort out which of the exemplars are the LOT exemplars. The LOT Exemplars you want to delete will have the properties for the button in them, look at the PNG files or LTEXTs in the DAT, take note of their TGI, then look for that TGI in the different Exemplars in the file. This is the most reliable method to finding the files you need to delete so they cease to appear in your menus.

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Thank you jdenm8, I think I understand. One thing though, when I look at the file in iLives Reader, I don't see "Menu Order", but I do see "Item Order". Am I correct in assuming this is the same thing? And, if so, the value is listed as "0x0000000xx" where the "xx" is, I assume, the order number. I just edit those "xx" numbers, correct?

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    Ah yes, it's probably "Item Order". I often reply while I'm not at my game PC to take a look, so I occasionally mix up things.

    Yes, if you set the "Item Order" property from 0x00000000 to 0x00000007, you would have changed the order number from 0 to 7.

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    Thank you jdenm8, I think I understand. One thing though, when I look at the file in iLives Reader, I don't see "Menu Order", but I do see "Item Order". Am I correct in assuming this is the same thing? And, if so, the value is listed as "0x0000000xx" where the "xx" is, I assume, the order number. I just edit those "xx" numbers, correct?

    Yes, that is basically correct. Keep in mind that those numbers are in hexadecimal. So if you think you are setting something to number 50, it would really be 80 (crazy computer programmers). You can check the right conversion using you computers calculator - just make sure the view is in "programmer" (at least for windows based machines). It is confusing at first, but you will get the hang of it.

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Huge thanks to all of you who offered assistance!!! I greatly appreciate it! I wish I was talented enough to repay this group with some mods, but I'm not that smart. :-) If I can figure out a way to make this project easy for everyone, I will most certainly come back and share it with everyone.

    Thank you again!!

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    It greatly depends on how the creator packaged the lots. You can delete the lot file (It will not effect anything else you have installed), however for a lot of lots this won't work as they're all packaged as a single DAT.

    If that's the case, you'll need to open the DAT in ilive's Reader, then sort out which of the exemplars are the LOT exemplars. The LOT Exemplars you want to delete will have the properties for the button in them, look at the PNG files or LTEXTs in the DAT, take note of their TGI, then look for that TGI in the different Exemplars in the file. This is the most reliable method to finding the files you need to delete so they cease to appear in your menus.

    Hey thanks jdenm8. Removed any exemplars with menu item properties in the .dat files and it worked like a charm. That was my first foray into the Reader, so that was cool.

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Ok, I just spent the last few hours going through all my LM plugins and reordering the "Item Order" and "Plop Cost" values, but when I started the game, the menu order hadn't changed. I don't know what I did wrong???

    My first group was "Fast Food" which I gave all the lots a "Item Order" value of 0x00000001 and then plop priced them in the order I wanted them to appear. I then did the same thing for the next group with a menu value of 0x00000002 and continued this through all my groups up to a value of 0x00000015. After the first 5-6 groups, I wasn't worried about the order of the lots anymore, I just wanted them grouped together, so I didn't change any of the "Plop Cost" values.

    From my understanding of the instructions given, it seems it should have worked. Any ideas what I did wrong, or why it didn't work? :???:

    Thank you.

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    This may seem obvious, but are you 100% sure you saved your changes?

    Also, the City File may still be using outdated values from the Internal Exemplar Bank (The game stores internal copies of all LOT exemplars from all non-maxis ploppable buildings plopped in a city). Make sure that they appear in the menu in the intended order in a completely new city (One that's never been opened before), not an existing one.

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Yes, I saved each file as I finished editing it. I was testing on a square that I had previously used, but there was no existing city on it. It has been my "test city". I will try it on a new region and see what happens.

    Thank you.

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Yes. I have even gone back through my plugins and gave them all sequential "item order" numbers starting with 0x00000001 and they still aren't showing in that order in the menu. The LM that was at the top of the menu, I went in and gave it an order value of 1000, far above the rest of them, and it's still at the top of the menu. <shrug>

    Is there a .dat file that I can safely delete and reinstall to dump the menu order memory? I've tried going to other Regions and checking the menu, but it's the same order everywhere.

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Thank you zimmie! Yes, most of that was the same as here except for the negative numbers. I wasn't aware that you could use negative numbers, so I *DID* learn something new. :D

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    JadeCat95    1
  • Original Poster
  • Eureka!! I figured out what I was doing wrong. I was editing the "item order" number by simply changing the last 3-4 digits (ie; 0x00000000 -> 0x00000012). After reading the link that zimmie just posted, I tried again, but this time used the method in that link, which was to delete that number (0x00000000) and then use a regular number to replace it (10 or 100 or 500 or -500 etc). Using iLive's Reader, once you type it in that way and hit APPLY, the program automatically converts it to hexadecimal and looks more like 0xFFFD0CC (NOT a real entry, I just made that one up). After doing a few fast food joint this way, I started SC4 and sure enough, my fast food joints were at the top of the list!! I used -10000 for the national chains (McDonalds, Wendy's, BK etc, and -9000 for the more local ones. To put them in the order I wanted, I used sequential plop costs (ie; McD's=$5000, BK=$5001, Wendy's=$5002 etc.). This put McD's at the top and then the others.

    In case anyone wants to use my method, here is how I separated my lots:

    Fast Food Joints (-10000 & -9000)

    Dine-In Restaurants (-8000)

    Gas Stations (-7000)

    Bars/Pubs (-6000)

    Banks (-5000)

    Retail Stores (-4000)

    Shopping Malls (-3000)

    Lodging (-2000)

    Factories (-1000)

    Entertainment (bowling, NIMBY, Theaters etc) (-900)

    Car Dealerships (-800)

    Residential (-700)

    Office Bldgs (-600)

    Civic Bldgs (Museums, PD, FD etc) (-500)

    Misc Lots (-400)

    As suggested in the guide, I used negative numbers to put the mods above the stock Maxis files.

    Many thanks, again, to all of those who helped me with this project!! I so wish that I was talented enough to make some lots or something to repay everyone. I will work on writing up a more detailed guide on how I did this and post it when I get it done.

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