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C.O.R.I.M.A.P.S. - A Tutorial for SimCity 4

105 posts in this topic

Amazing method Cori! It looks like i could use this method to create come really good mountains for future map. It looks like it's 100% guaranteed to work, and that's something a lot of people could get behind. Is this the method you use to create maps? (I just can't build w/o flat terrain tho.)

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1 hour ago, TheLynx99 said:

Amazing method Cori!

Thank you! Thank you! It does my heart good to hear that. :)

1 hour ago, TheLynx99 said:

Is this the method you use to create maps?

Yep. So far it's the only method I've used, however, my earlier ones were not nearly as refined. I just recently came up with the idea of the Blur to smooth out the choppiness.


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Great work with this tutorial. Just had a read through and it looks like a very cool method for map creation. I'm sure it could lead to all sorts of possibilities -- using different images and techniques, etc. It does have an element of randomness, which would make each map unique. Maybe this could also form a possible challenge idea for next year... :golly:

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Good work, this tutorial is easy to read, follow and understand.  I think the method you've described actually allows a lot more creativity than the map making programs, it puts the user in the front seat, from selecting a picture or photographing one, to then manipulating the image to make it useful, and finally adding their own creative touch by adding rivers/streams.    So in the final result, the region one plays really is their own.   The element of randomness is as natural as what I think is normal in any creative process.   

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It's about time I popped in to say "Whoa, cool!" here. As others have said, what an unexpectedly simple way to make such wonderfully random maps. Along with some great step by step instructions, thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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This is a really neat and resourceful idea. I'm not very creative/artistic so I could never come up with a landscape that was convincingly realistic on my own. Grayscaling clouds actually makes for a pretty natural-seeming geography. Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you all for your kind words and for the Likes on my first post ! :blush:

I just now edited in a Further Refinement section near the end of post 1 which addresses changing the overall elevations of the map with a few simple mouse clicks.

Also, feel free to post samples of what you make using this technique. I'd love to see what everyone else creates. ;)

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On 8/28/2016 at 5:26 PM, Benvoliorus said:

Simple and brilliant like any genius thing!

IKR! :D Er... Wait. I mean, D'aww, thank you. :blush:


So, this morning these clouds were begging to be shot as the Sun was waking up:



I did the following in GIMP:

  1. Cropped to get rid of that telephone pole and wires.
  2. Converted it to grayscale.
  3. Scaled it to 769 x 769 pixels.
  4. Adjusted Contrast to +15.
  5. Added Gaussian Blur of 10.0.
  6. Rendered in game.

And here's what it looks like:



Then I painted Maxis Trees all over it:



I'd love to see what other peeps create using this method. Post them in this thread. ;)


(I've attached the Config.bmp and my final grayscale in case anyone would want them.)


Gray 3.bmp

Nile_TC, huzman, mrsmartman and 5 others like this

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    Nice tutorial , It is somewhat like what I did a long time ago (not the tutorial , but a map . For personal use ) That was three PC's ago or I would have posted an image . I used MS Paint and Landscape Designer . Your tutorial is straightforward and easy to understand , even a dork like me could follow the directions and have a new map to play SC4 . Nice job and the maps turned out pretty good too . You have inspired me to pull out the old camera and give it a try . :thumb:

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On 10/17/2016 at 8:16 PM, Yum said:

I made a map!

Very nice! And when I saw your water was not default Maxis I wondered if you entered every tile to update it or if that happened automatically. So, having finished my Terrain Shoppe, I decided to do another map.

I discovered another cool thing to do when editing the grayscale image. Use the Burn Tool to improve the river banks. (See my edit near the bottom of post 1 for details.) Here's what I created:






Edit: Per @BugeyedDragon's request, I've attached the grayscale and my config.bmp to this post. Note that I'm not using any height mod so the default scale of 3.0 is how mine was rendered.

P9280003b Gray08.bmp


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4 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

Very nice! And when I saw your water was not default Maxis I wondered if you entered every tile to update it or if that happened automatically.

Thanks!  Yeah, you know, sometimes the rendered tiles sow up automatically on the region map, sometimes I have to go into the tile and exit before it shows up as not a plain tile in region view, and I've even seen a few times that some tiles are rendered while others are plain.  However, when the tiles do show up automatically as rendered in the region, they do show up with the correct water mod already active, so I don't have to go into city view.  I know you know which mod I use, but for everyone I haven't told yet, that's Pegasus' Hawaiian Holiday water mod and HD White Sands beach, found in the Water Shoppe and Beach Shoppe respectively.

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Hi Cori

As I was writing up that tutorial/custom content article I looked up your map making thread here.  Good Grief how did you make the leap from clouds to map making. :???:

because the connection is so obvious (not!)  As someone else said "genius" idea .  This is such a unique way of making maps I thought I would try my hand at it. However I am quite clueless about that config.bmp file....

Currently just started a downloaded map with 8 medium tiles that has flat terrain along with mountains and rivers.  I tried others but they were either too "lumpy" or very large city tiles, and since I play rural/small towns/farms not appropriate for me.  Your cloud map making has possibilities I would be interested in pursuing.

So, attached is a picture of  the green sandbox region, medium tile size, I use.   I've been terraforming the tiles as I need to for my towns/farms and the medium tiles are the right fit for me.     Can I copy over the config.bmp file to the new region I create with your method?  And can I change the size from 16 tiles to perhaps 8 medium tiles...Sorry I'm in the dark about how to actually create the config.bmp.  

I need the "dummies" instruction version.:rofl:

Hope you or someone else can direct me to the appropriate thread/instruction so I can read up on the "How To Do This" otherwise your instructions are very clear and easy to follow.   I'm just not computer savy enough to "get it".


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46 minutes ago, BC Canuck said:

Good Grief how did you make the leap from clouds to map making. :???:

It started in this thread. Where I made this map:


And at the time I was really happy with it. Then @T Wrecks gave me some good advice in this post (same thread). So I subdued the choppiness a bit and made this map using clouds:



Then a couple months (and several maps later) I had an inspiration to add Gaussian Blur and I re-did that first map and made this one:



Then a couple weeks later I wrote this tutorial. Next I started using a Slope Mod trying to make more realistic looking cities and I found even the map above was tedious to work on. So then I had another inspiration and came up with using the Burn Tool along the sides of the river banks and applying a lot more Blur. That's when I made this map (also pictured a couple posts up):




46 minutes ago, BC Canuck said:

I play rural/small towns/farms

Me too! Here's one of the tiles in the above map:


It's still a work in progress as my imaginary story line is the farms were laid out somewhat haphazardly except for the roads that will connect the tiles. No thought is given to where bridges will go as that's centuries in my Sim's future. Once I've filled my region with these farms and illiterate Sims, I'll then begin small centers with some industrialization. Public outcry over the pollution to their once pristine air will result in an elementary school and a move toward manufacturing. Right now I'm playing just for the fun of creation. I've already proven to myself I can handle the vanilla income vs cost and build bigger stuff, so now I'm playing more as if scripting my imaginary movie and so I've written my own cheat which gives me five times more income from the farms. This lets me have complete vanilla fire station coverage.

Anyhow, sorry. I got sidetracked there cause I'm having so much fun in my game.


46 minutes ago, BC Canuck said:

Can I copy over the config.bmp file to the new region I create with your method?  And can I change the size from 16 tiles to perhaps 8 medium tiles

Yep, you can copy any valid config.bmp into your new region. Just do the math to make sure the grayscale cloud image is the right size for the config.bmp you use. And yes, you can make the config.bmp whatever size you like. So, for 8 medium tiles you could use a 4x8 pixel config.bmp all painted green. Or a 6x6 painted green except 4 pixels in a square being not red, green, or blue to get just 8 tiles or paint it all green and you'd have 9 medium tiles arranged as 3 x 3. I believe it's explained pretty well in Config.bmp: How to Make It Yours.

If it's still unclear after reading that, just let us know and we'll see if we can explain it another way.


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This is the wierdest thing I have ever seen doing in this game... and yet it's genius!!!! :D


Clouds for maps! Who would have thought that!!!! Absloutely brilliant! :D


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