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btsfan

Simcity 4 too troublesome to create cities

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Hello,

 

I want to make a realistic region with a few multi tiled cities.

 

The problem is that most mods are too time consuming. For example, NAM is just fine, but LA rivers, RHWs, custom seaports and airports etc are just unmanagable. It even takes ages before the terrain hights are acceptable to plop one object (such as a piece of road), just imagine how long it takes to finish. Another problem is that growing a multi tiled city is very irritating, because you have to switch tiles like every minute..

 

I have some very nice cities in my head, and I want to show them to the world. But it's just too much to recreate them in simcity 4 properly.

 

Does anyone have any ideas for me? Like extra's to make it easier for me? Or even totally another game with easier customization maybe?

 

Thank you in advance.

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Well, with mods like the RHW, you need patience to use them. Remember, SimCity 4 is a game of patience, not quick results. A few tips:

  • Don't switch between city tiles all the time, but to focus on one tile at the time. When that one is finished enough, move on to the next tile. You can come back later when you think it needs some improvements
  • Start out with the main infrastructure like railways, avenues and RHW first. Saves you from some headaches later on.
  • Industry is a great way to boost your city growth in the early stages.
  • If your PC specs allow it, play in a region containing only the largest of the three city tile sizes, namely 4x4 km. This allows you to focus on a larger area and makes the region easier to manage.
  • Plan big. Don't be afraid to fill up large portions of the map with one zone type.
  • If you really want to create a certain look and don't care too much about money, use the ExtraCheats.dll from the STEX and use the "Moolah #" cheat, where # is the number where you want to set your budget to. I often find that 10 million is more than enough.

Hope it helps!

 

Best,

Maarten

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I take a different approach, perhaps it could be called organic.

 

First I generate/render a region.

 

Next, I examine the region's topography to find a starting point.  Having chosen a starting point I open the city tile, make any slight extra terraforming I want, add trees and forests, then name the region switching to Mayor mode.  I turn off UDI at this point.

 

I always play in turtle speed, hard mode.  I only step up to rhino speed when development becomes slow.  Cheetah speed is reserved for quick bursts in specific areas depending on running out of patience.

 

I have a large plugins suite of some 67 directories containing files that take up 898.3 MB containing 4374 items.  These include NAM (custom, no RHW, no GLR in 21.4%), SPAM (base set only), and a lot of stuff from BSC (32.7%).  All carefully selected and monitored.  No garbage.  My Pegasus productions folder includes SPAM, CDK3 and takes up 11.5%.  The rest are insignificant individually.

 

Now, depending on whether I intend to have a seaport in this tile, I take one of two approaches:

 

  • No port:  I start a small village at a cross-road (streets) by laying down some low density commercial, then enough low density 2 x 1 residential, a small water source and a wind generator.  I run this for a while then add at least four farms.  Usually this will come to profit fairly soon.  I then add fire protection, work to pay for that; police and pay for that; school and pay for that; hospital and pay for that.  At the end of this cycle I want to be back in the black.  Build some treasury on this with a few tweaks as needed. 

    Then outside the farms I add some medium industrial, work back to profit, etc.  Eventually I have to export production, and this leads to a neighbour connection.  This is not allowed to stagnate.  I move to the next tile and get something going on the other side of the neighbour connection.
     
  • Port:  Add 400,000 to the treasury (moolah 500000) and build a CDK3 Port.  This requires carefully engineering the shore-line and may require some restarts (don't forget to save along the way).  After a little practice you become quite adept with the Mayor mode tools, usually the levelling tool.  The leveller can both cut away and increase the land on a very local basis, more like a scalpel than a bludgeon of the god mode tools.

    After I get my port built, I then immediately connect the rail to a passenger station.  (Most of the CDK3 ports are enabled for rail and road (not street)).  Then follow this with a default of medium density industrial with some commercial (usually mixed) solidly across the road from the port.   With a buffer of commercial, I start zoning workers with my usual 2 x 1 single occupancy residential.

    With this scenario, it takes a lot of work to get into the black, and it is important to get there.  After that, growth proceeds as normal.  Since I have a sea coast, I quite often include a PEG garbage dock along the coast as a solution to this tile and any adjacent tile's garbage problems.  After that, as the Brits say "Bob's your uncle.".

 

No rush, all in good time, and remember this is not a game for instant gratification.  It is for the old bulls among us who want to have all the cows.

 

Slow and steady builds a pretty city.

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I do have to concur with the above suggest of taking it a bit slower.  But I feel'ya on the fact that sometimes, you just WANT that city. Especially if you browse through the show me section of the forum. All the beautiful pics just inspires you to want to recreate the world......but that's not happening over night.

 

There are definitely ways (mods) that can speed up (Demand boosters, Extra Cheat DLL) the process, but they too will come with their own learning curve (cough cough CAM cough). 

 

Don't forget, learning how to use the modular content should be part of the fun of SC4, not par of the frustration.   And DON'T try to bite it all off at once, you'll definitely overwhelm yourself and then SC4 won't be so fun. Remember, it's not going anywhere and will be there when you're ready to tackle the project. Not all cities have to have such large airports or seaports to function since they're just mostly eye candy anyways. 

 

Best piece of advice, just continually work at keeping your city's budget in the black and progressing, and you'll appreciate the journey more than the goal.

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Once you've got your fancy city, what will you do with it? infamousjibe is quite right.  It is the journey, not the destination.  Not only that, but learning to put up with and/or avoid the bugs in this legacy program is a challenge, especially if you know anything about programming. 

 

I never cease to be amazed at what happens to a perfectly good program when it is forced onto the market before it is fully debugged.  Not only that, but the faster hardware we have these days reveals some things that probably couldn't be found in 2002.  As a programmer for a very long time and having done a lot of Q.A., I firmly believe there is at least one "off by one" queueing problem in this program that causes most CTDs.  Since saving the program causes a garbage collect (apparently) this problem is somewhat overcome by regular internal saves (CTRL+s).

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Some of the modifications do indeed have a big learning curve. It is a slow process, and can take a while to fully get to grips with them -- but patience is key.

 

Keep trying and experimenting. It's a good idea to use a blank sandbox region for this purpose. Here you can test things out before using them in your main cities. Obviously there are some limitations to this game, such as with the grid (though there are techniques to limit this). Recreating a city isn't an easy task, and you will have to use some "artistic licence". It does depend though what you want to replicate. For example, there's a selection of European W2W buildings available on the exchanges. Also reddonquixote has created some excellent BATs based around Melbourne, Australia. There's lots of useful stuff out there, just have a good look round and see what fits your liking.

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It took me months to learn the ins and outs of searching for then downloading and ultimately installing plugins that I wanted or needed.  After that it took me two years to learn how use them.  Lastly, along the way I learned how to modify certain attributes of the custom content to make them fit either with me or with the game.

 

One thing I never could get a grasp of though is creating my own content, still working on that one, and at that, I may never achieve this.  Sometimes I think the only way I will learn is if I was to get on Skype or something with one of the great batt'rs to have them walk me through it, I don't see that happening though.

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Take your time. This is how I do it:

 

-Get the essential mods.

-Build out your highway/rail system first or at least have an idea of how you are going to build out your city. You can always redo them.

-Build a regular RCI city adjacent to the future city centre. This is to get demand up.

-Expand that city to the adjacent square but not the city centre one. Repeat until the city centre is surrounded by developed tiles or have the demand to support a non-industrial tile.

-Now fill the city centre tile with your city centre.

-Expand outwards and have fun!

-Patience! Tempest Lake took me 2 years to what it is; Greiphean Cove took 3 years.

-Don't switch tile constantly. Step 3,4 should avoid the demand problem enough to let you focus on one city.

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btsfan    2
  • Original Poster
  • Thank you very much for your tips and suggestions.

     

    I want 4 big tiles for one city. The tiles on the south for an industrial area (dirty southeast, manufactering and hightech on the southwest), The tile on the northeast mostly for residential zones, and northwest mostly as an commercial area.

     

    -Does anyone know any good mods for easier growing different wealth and density buildings?

    -Besides some nice roads and RHWs, I want the city to also have lots of mass transit (buses, subways and trains). Does anyone know wich traffic simulator is the best for this?

    -I want the city to have a nice big airport and harbour, however downloading a bunch of stuff makes it very hard to keep mods ordered. Wich basic mods do I need for this, without downloading 99999+ mods?

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    One thing I love about this game is that there is no end to it, you can keep on going and going so getting impatient is kinda funny to me at least. There's no time limit, but there are ways to help speed it up a bit. The NAM is chief! : ) With all the new draggable curves and FAR, I can build 4 times as fast. Mandlesoft has great advice, especially with setting RHW's and basic infrastructure. Slope mods help tons with your land prep, plus many times I'll drag just the basic RHW around, then follow it with level and softening tools to get the grade right. Can run a 4km highway in less than 30 minutes that way. Will still need it's amenities, signs, lanes, and such.

    As for the modular content, it will always appear daunting at first, but what I like to do is open a Sandbox Region and plop every piece as a way of familiarizing myself with the kit. Seeing how the pieces line up help to come up with ideas on the fly.

    But most importantly, make a plan. The more detailed the better. If you check out the threads concerning the NORO Cooperative, which is SC4 gold!!, they start out by crafting a plan they all agreed upon. You will never craft a giant region without a well thought out plan. You center on one tile and by the time you get 4-5 tiles away, ideas won't match up right, definitely not like you want in the end. Unless you build super organic like the CSGdesign's  Natural Growth series, the plan is as important as having the NAM, you're game won't function right in the end...

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    As Archimedes said to Phillip of Macedon "There is no royal road to learning".  If you are in a rush, this game is not for you, yet.  Impatience will result in frustration and angst.

     

    To make a good city, you have to go with the flow and gradually twist things to suit yourself.  The game is programmed for mixed environments in a single tile and separating them, while not difficult to do, requires a thorough understanding of the algorithms you are working against.  It is, essentially, a labour of Sisyphus.  Pushing a rock up hill, forever.

     

    One of the biggest mistakes people make with this game is to try to get a city of all R$$$.  That can't happen because it doesn't happen in real life.  At most you should try to hold the line at not more than 15% R$$$ (executive types) because R$$$ won't take out the garbage.  Nor will they run the copy machines nor run around with the mail.

     

    Like all good fiction writers, the developers of this game wrote about what they knew.  This is mostly the urban situation in the Silicon Valley area of California.  Why do you think it is full of palm trees?

     

    Once you start to skew the demographics, no matter how many mods you use, there will be a fight to get back to the norms, and this game hasn't been maintained by the developers since 2003 so there is no point in crying about bugs.  Best we can do is offer work-arounds. 

     

    It is like trying to get along with an uncle from the "old country" who only has a few words of modern language.  It is stuck in the past because it is a computer program and cannot be changed.  In those days, so long ago and far away in computer generations, there were no consumer accessible fancy graphics cards with 3D options, which now interfere with the picture on your screen.  There were no cheap multi-core processors that you have to essentially disable because the program is single threaded, which was the only way to fly back then.

     

    The funny thing is that when I started out in the computer business multiprocessors were the usual thing if you were buying something with the power of a modern desktop.  All you needed was a few million bucks.  Older guys like me will remember Project MAC at MIT which produced the Multiplexed Computer Service (Multics) system with the GE processors (up to 8 per machine) that was open source (and still is if it is still alive somewhere) and included the world's first serious attempt at a general time sharing service.  The time frame?  Dr. Corbato's paper on this was published in 1958 and the joint project between MIT, GE, and Bell Labs went on the air sometime in the early 1960s.

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    • Port:  Add 400,000 to the treasury (moolah 500000) and build a CDK3 Port.  This requires carefully engineering the shore-line and may require some restarts (don't forget to save along the way).  After a little practice you become quite adept with the Mayor mode tools, usually the levelling tool.  The leveller can both cut away and increase the land on a very local basis, more like a scalpel than a bludgeon of the god mode tools.

     

    Please forgive my incompetence, but I very much struggle to make a decent seaport. I have both PEG and CDK3 ports, however I hardly ever manage to create something continuous and therefore satisfying. My main problem is that things like barges tend to place themselves in whatever way but towards the sea. Sadly it is standard for barges and piers to be directed towards the land instead of to water. Would you have any advice for this enigma?

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    If you are striving for something like this:
     
    Newport.jpg

    Then you need to remember the rotation keys Home/End.

     

    It also takes some diligence to get the shoreline straight and at the right elevation.  I've found the mayor mode engineering tools work best for this rather than the PEG flattening lots.

     

    Again, patience, grasshopper.  You'll get there in the end.

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    On top of what Mr. Moose has provided, I found it very helpful when building my airport and seaports to visit the show us section of the forum.  Both of those pictures were made by skimming through the pictures and replies in the show us threads because they generally talked about the best way to do things, as well as the most proper layouts of similar things.  I never would have guessed that bulk and containers weren't generally in the same port.  Or that there were certain runway lengths and exact tile spaces that were needed for certain planes.

     

    Of course theres a fair bit of stuff to download, but as long as you're aware of what you're getting and where you're putting it, your plugins folder should be easy to navigate when the time comes to remove something you find you hardly use.


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