March goal: We're almost there! 03/20/2017Hi Community! We're almost there for our March goals! I just wanted to keep the momentum going so if you are able to help, please donate and get some gifts in exchange! Thanks so much to those who have helped out this month, we really appreciate it.
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Nominations Open March 13th -
The Trixies are here, the Llamas are here, and this time we're heading back in time!
It seems like an eternity since the Trixies were last held, and we can't wait to go all the way back to the start of 2015!
The Trixies are a celebration of all types of community contributions, ranging from STEX uploads to CJs, all the way to forum posts. It's the perfect opportunity to celebrate all the amazing content shared over the past two years, and give a special 'thanks' to your fellow members.
We last held the Trixies for the year 2014, so understandably, we have a lot to catch up on. So this year, things will be a little different. We won't be holding just one ceremony, but two at the same time: One each for 2015 and 2016. Since the previous awards were such a long time ago, there will be a prelude in the run-up to the start of nominations. Here we invite everyone to discuss content shared during 2015-2016. What were your favourites? Alongside this, we will also be posting special features, including retrospective lists of uploaded content, and interviews by some members, highlighting their experience over the last two years.
The purpose of this build-up intends to help everyone make informed decisions, with a broader perspective. Not be told who to nominate, but just reminded of who could be potential nomination candidates.
Over the next 3 weeks we will be holding a series of events to celebrate the content uploaded over the past two years. This will start here in the Trixies Forum with a community discussion of memorable content which you can recall, or may otherwise be overlooked. The discussion will be complemented by retrospectives on uploaded content, where we post summaries of 2015-2016 content. There will also be interviews with members, giving their thoughts of notable contributions over the period.
I can hardly remember what was for breakfast, let alone the memorable items some 700 days ago! So when trying to remember what happened in 2015 my mind goes blank. That's why we are hosting a way which everyone can discuss uploads, CJs, forum posts or just members in general who have shared amazing creations from the past two years. The principle behind this not to form a consensus on who or what is deserving of a Trixie. But instead, a place to discuss content we have admired over this time frame, or items which we think might be overlooked when thinking back on all the amazing creations from the past two years.
Use the link below to discuss content from the past two years.
We want to make sure that there is a place which you can go to find everything that has been uploaded from the past two years, specifically in 2015 which is a long way to look back through in the STEX. In the coming days we will feature a series of lists which highlight content uploaded to the STEX from each year. CJs were harder to list, so we ask that for CJ retrospectives the Community Discussion topic is the best place to remember your favourite CJ. These lists should help you find STEX uploads, and remember items which you may have forgotten about.
There will also be a series of interviews with different members on their experience with content from the past two years as well as their involvement with Simtropolis. We've tried to interview members which we haven't interviewed before, and these range from people you will have heard of and talked to before, to some members you might have only seen in passing. These interviews will try to highlight content which they have valued from the last two years, usually focusing on areas of the site which they are involved in. These are, at times, subjective, so we ask that you don't take their opinions as definitive fact, but rather as another view on what has been uploaded in the past two years. You'll find these uploaded in this forum, where you can comment on their interviews and they may respond to comments and questions that you have.
These are just opinions, and your final nominations can be of whom ever, and what ever, you feel deserving of the award.
Award Category Ideas
As part of the build-up, a suggestions topic will be opened for the award categories. Here we invite you all to share ideas for the various awards you'd like to see make up the default set. Last time the list was greatly simplified, and looking back, this may have actually made the process more restrictive. So now, let your imagination run wild! There are BATs, but what about styles? There are CJs, but what about variations?
We can't promise all ideas will be selected, but whatever they are, we'd love to hear them.
Changes to Nominations
For these Trixies we are changing how to nominate members, and how many times a member can be nominated. Since the site upgrade of 2015, the old nominations system was made incompatible. So this year, things are going to be slightly different. We will expand on these changes closer to the nominations opening, but a summary of the major changes are listed below:
Previously nominations would be submitted via a dedicated page with a category selector and a plain text description box.
But this time, nominations will be submitted in a special forum which will open at the start of the nominations. This forum behaves differently than others, in that no one else except the Admins are able to view your submissions!
So post without hesitation in that forum knowing that your nominations will remain incognito. A major benefit of this method is that you are able to edit any of your posts throughout the submissions period. So as you keep remembering people to nominate, you can continue editing or adding new nominations until the closure date. While in previous Trixies you could continue submitting new nominations, this method means you see all of the nominations you have made, so it's easy to remember what/who you have or haven't nominated yet. An simple and straightforward way to stay on top of everything. So say goodbye to spreadsheets!
Once the categories are finalised, we'll provide a full list so that you don't miss any awards to choose from. Of course, you may also create custom awards which aren't included in the default set.
It may seem weird at first, but everything will stay private, we promise.
This year we are making a slight change to how many times you can nominate a member. Traditionally you could only nominate any given member for one award. But this time, this rule is being expanded. It used to be that someone would only create amazing buildings, or only write beautiful CJs. However, now we have members who cover lots of different parts of the site, for the previous Trixies it was increasingly difficult to nominate them for just one award.
This year we are making the change to allow you to nominate a member for up to 3 different awards. We hope that you submit multiple nominations for a single member to awards in different sections of the Trixies, but we aren't making that a specific rule as there are awards in sections which relate to very different skill sets. Use this new ability wisely…
It's time to welcome the latest city-builder to our great Trixie Awards! This will be the first year C:S participates in our great ceremony.
Just remember, the Trixies are a celebration of Simtropolis contributions, so only items here on the site are eligible to be nominated for an award. Understandably, there are thousands of Workshop items, so C:S content on the STEX is only a fraction of the overall selection. Considering this, Workshop items can be nominated, as long as they're created by an author who is a member here at Simtropolis.
We can't wait to start sharing the love and celebrating what our community has to offer!
Here's to another memorable Trixies, let the party begin!
By Cyclone Boom
Our friends at GOG.com had a special City-Builder discount sale! (Closed as of February 13, 2PM GMT)
As part of this, Simtropolis has been given a bunch of free keys to selected games to give away!
Winners announced here!
If you want one of these games, simply reply to this thread by answering ONE of the questions below:
What's your favourite city-building game, and why will you always be fond of it? Write a creative and entertaining review (good or bad) of any city-building game. The ways in which custom content has transformed the city-building game you play. Tell us about your most memorable city-building experience, funny, tragic or otherwise.
There is no minimum or maximum, but aim to write at least 50 words.
Q: How are prize winners selected?
A: The Admins will pick their favourite replies below, so don't delay, post away!
Q: How many times can I reply?
A: Just one reply per person please.
Q: Can I add images or video to my post?
A: Sure! Feel free to be creative to make your post stand out.
Q: Does it have to be written in a certain style?
A: No, not at all. Just aim to make it creative and entertaining, whether fact or fiction...
Q: How long does this run for?
A: The closing date to enter is Monday 13th February at 23:59 (EST).
Winners will be able to select ONE of the following City-Building classics, to add to their personal collection:
SimCity 2000 Special Edition
Pharaoh + Cleopatra
SimCity 3000 Unlimited
Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom
Lethis - Path of Progress
Whatever your experience with a City-Builder, we'd love to hear it.
The NAM Team has encountered quite a few tech support cases recently, with users who have recently gotten around to picking up the latest version, and subsequently finding that some transit item in their city has gone missing. In every case, this has been the result of users heeding long-outdated advice from 5+ years ago, that suggested uninstalling the old version before installing the new one. This, however, is no longer the case, and since the NAM 31.x series of releases in 2013, it has been the official advice of the team that users should NOT uninstall their previous NAM version while upgrading to a new version.
The NAM installer was completely overhauled for the move to the "Monolithic" package that has been the norm since NAM 31.0 in March 2013 (thanks to z1), and it is a lot smarter than the NAM installers of yore. Namely, just as it can read whether or not the game has been patched, it can locate a user's NAM installation, and is able to determine which options were installed. With the old installation in place, the installer can then read the files, and will automatically select the same components that the user had previously for the new installation. Additionally, many of the old issues with outdated controllers and the once-dreaded "red arrow bug" have been solved by the current package as well.
If one instead follows the outdated advice of uninstalling the old version, the old NAM installation is no longer there for the installer to reference, and it is then entirely on the user to ensure that they select the same options they were previously using. With as many options as there are now in the NAM, that is no small task, and the possibility for installation error increases exponentially.
If you happen to be concerned about outdated/conflicting files, there are mechanisms in the installer to handle this now, including running the built-in version of BSC Cleanitol.
A few other related pieces of advice, to help streamline your NAM installation and upgrade experience:
The Version Check and Switching from Disc to Digital
This one has come up a lot lately as well, and quite understandably so. Microsoft has been doing everything in its power to try to eradicate the secdrv.sys driver file, which disc copies of SC4 require, including the infamous KB3086255 update for Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1, and the complete omission of the driver in Windows 10. As a by-product of this, many users have been switching over to digital copies of the game, from Steam, Amazon, GOG.com, Origin, GamersGate, and other sources. The NAM requires the game's executable to be at least Version 1.1.638 (the version number of the disc copy with the EP1 Update 1 patch), and all of these digital copies are updated to Version 1.1.641, and do not need to be patched. However, if a user happens to have an unpatched disc copy (Version 1.1.610 or 1.1.613) still installed after installing the digital copy (or has a $%&^! installed in the folder for the original disc copy), the Windows Registry will still point the installer toward the old SC4 installation, not the new digital copy, and the installer will fail.
There are two ways to get around this. Probably the cleanest in the long run would be to uninstall both the disc and digital copies, and then reinstall only the digital copy, at which point the Windows Registry will then point to the digital copy, and the NAM installer will be happy. The one case where you might want to preserve the disc install is if you're planning on also installing the game's official Building Architect Tool, which, reportedly, at least some digital versions with DRM (i.e. Origin) apparently prevent. In that case, the best solution would be to patch the disc copy, at which point the NAM installer and the BAT installer would see it as valid. The disc copy may subsequently be removed once the BAT has installed. For more on the BAT installation matter, see rsc204's post here.
Edit as of February 2017 Regarding the Origin Version: There are confirmed reports of Origin retail customers being saddled once again with an unpatchable edition of Version 1.1.610, which will fail the version check, in addition to missing a number of stability fixes and improvements and BAT Nightlight support. If you purchased SimCity 4 Deluxe from Origin at any point (users who have redeemed CD Keys are apparently exempt), check your version number. Contact Origin (preferably in a visible, public place, like Twitter) if it is indeed the unpatchable edition. The NAM Team is presently trying to get Origin to go back to distributing a properly-patched version of the game.
DatPacking and the NAM
Another piece of advice that is of the same vintage as that uninstallation advice, that the NAM should not be "DatPacked", using a tool like wouanagaine's SC4DatPacker, or memo's JDatPacker, because of its negative impact on NAM upgrade installations.
In the case of Mac users, however, the number-of-files limit present on the newer digital versions of the Aspyr port requires DatPacking (using JDatPacker, which is cross-platform) in order for the game to run properly with a larger NAM installation. This limit on the Mac port is not impacted by the size of the files, but merely on their number--enough empty subfolders will trigger it. With respect to the Windows version, the improvements to the installer prevent a DatPacked NAM installation from causing a "red arrow bug" in doing an upgrade (this was the main reason it was discouraged in the past), but because some users have exhibited a tendency to discard the pre-DatPacked files, leaving just the massive "Network Addon Mod.dat" file created by the DatPacker tool, the same issues caused by uninstalling occur, namely that the installer will not be able to discern the contents of the massive single .dat in the way that it could with the original file architecture, making installation error far more likely.
Thus, for Mac users, DatPacking is recommended, but for Windows users DatPacking is still not recommended (unless you really know what you're doing).
Keep the Installer Handy If You Change Your Mind on Features
Particularly if you're on the fence on installing a feature, or if you're a new user who doesn't know what most of the options do yet, it can be to your benefit to keep the installer for the current version handy. If you decide you want to change options, leave your existing installation in place, and run the installer again. Just as with upgrades, the installer will be able to read your installation and the current set of options installed, which will help out immensely in determining which boxes to check and uncheck. And again, as with upgrading, it is not at all recommended to uninstall before running the installer again, as this makes re-installation a far, far more daunting task.
Hopefully, this proves to be a useful reference for those of you installing, re-installing, or upgrading your NAM version. Happy NAMing!
Here it is, the 20,000th file uploaded to the STEX. I would have done something far more amazing if I knew, but this humble little landmark of the Maxis Quantum Dish is all I had. It has a nice menu icon, and it functions as a landmark, and that's about all, but I suppose its a symbol, a symbol of great things to come, to be, for the awesome ability of communication, and our awesome human imagination, so let it be a symbol, of hope, of betterment of the world and of humanity.
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