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    • Dirktator

      Please help us for July   06/30/2017

      This month we're hoping for a little bit of a boost this month or next, in addition to covering the regular bills, we could benefit from some hardware upgrades. STEX Collector's Set gifts can now be sent to you via digital download as well as regular mail if you wish! Every donation dollar goes toward keeping Simtropolis online and humming along. Your contribution counts! Hardware Upgrades As our website community software improves with more and more features, and as we bolt on additional features such as chat, the increased load to handle all these new toys is taking the server a bit to task. You may have noticed that we'd been forced to temporarily disable the chat as we worked out allocating resources for more optimal performance. Following this, we've applied a number of 'soft' changes such as caching options and experimented with server configurations (nginx as proxy, for example), so the hardware aspect is also an area we'd like to focus on. The last time we upgraded hardware was back in 2012, prior to the release of SC13. Your contribution means a lot! Your donation will go toward helping us to 1.) migrate to a newer server or 2.) at least get some ram/cpu/storage updates and any other infrastructure hardware or services. Donate and Get a Gift or Donate Any Amount Thanks so much! - Dirktator & The Admins
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    • By RippleJet
      Credit goes to all people mentioned in this thread; RalphaelNinja, SimGoober, Andreas Roth and DarkMatter.
      I appreciate all comments, corrections, additions and updates to the guidelines and lists below.
      Note! There is nothing to be ashamed of if you find your own buildings among those listed here.
      After all, those blank RCI lots are still available for download...
        Background (Below content list in this post.) 2.
        Building Families, Parent Cohort and related properties 3a.
        How to remove a landmark's Building Family association 3b.
        How to add missing properties (Missing post in the original -Cori)  4a.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CO$$$ (A-L) 4b.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CO$$$ (M-Z) 5.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CO$$ 6.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CS$$$ 7a.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CS$$ (A-L) 7b.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CS$$ (M-Z) 8a.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CS$ (A-L) 8b.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: CS$ (M-Z) 9.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: I-HT 10.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: I-M 11.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: I-D 12.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: I-R 13.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: R$$$ 14.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: R$$ 15.
        List of buildings, that might grow on empty lots: R$ 1. Background
      Anyone who has downloaded landmarks with jobs (also called functional landmarks, ploppable RCI's or ploppables with jobs) has probably occasionally noted that they might be growing on empty (usually smaller) lots. Whenever such a landmark starts growing you will hear the familiar sound of a landmark being plopped. The lot will function in game, providing jobs and looks good when you query it. However, empty lots will not improve your skyline... This behaviour stems back to the release of RalphaelNinja's Plopable RCI Blank Lot Set in august 2003. A short history for those interested follows:
      With RalphaelNinja's Plopable RCI Blank Lots, modders were for the first time able to make ploppable landmarks with jobs. Every object on those lots had to be a prop, not a building. The release of all Maxis Buildings as Props made it possible to include them as props in the lots. A wide variety of RCI Ploppables started to appear on the STEX. Soon it was also realized that they might be growing, albeit on empty lots. At first this was thought of being a break-through and a way to make lots that were both growable and ploppable.
      With the release of the Plug-In Manager, modders finally learnt how to correctly make independent growable buildings (that were not part of in-game families) and through that eventually also how to correctly make ploppable buildings with jobs. However, several BATters and modders continued to use the old blank lots, even with BATted buildings, which were converted into props with the Plug-In Manager. Despite SimGoober's tutorial, buildings are still every now and then released based on RalphaelNinja's ploppable blank RCI lots. And several old, very beautyful creations from 2003 and 2004 are still downloaded over and over again.
      The forums of Simtropolis are full of questions relating to these empty lots. This thread is aimed at being a central place to get answers, guidelines and solutions relating to these lots. Correcting these lots will require a little modding. If you are refraining from modding, you always have the option of deleting those landmarks that grow on empty lots.
      In order to delete growing landmarks, you first need to find out which file to delete. This is where the lists in sections 4-15 further down come handy. Once you have identified the container file, you should first delete all instances of empty lots with that landmark in your cities. Exit SimCity and locate your file (use Window's search function if your plugins folder is a mess). If you can live without the landmark, you can safely delete the corresponding .SC4Lots file. I do not recommend deleting a .DAT file though, since they might contain more information than just for the landmark (such as actual growing lots that have already grown in your city).
      If you want to keep the landmark, you need to edit its Building Exemplar using either SC4Tool or, preferably, iLive's Reader. You should also read through everything in these guidelines, starting with section 2, explaining properties called Building/prop Family and Parent Cohort, which are the essential part in correcting growing empty lots. After knowing what a Building Family is, you should move on to section 3, with detailed instructions on how to correct these landmarks. The landmark's Building Exemplar is in a container file, which is the actual file name seen in directory listings of Windows. To find this container file, jump directly to the lists in sections 4-15. You may also perform a search (Ctrl-F) on this page for the building you've had growing on an empty lot.
      Mod Edit: Fixed Contents Linkys to go to the right posts. -Cori
    • By Cyclone Boom

      General Feedback Thread - 

      To help pass the time until the Awards Ceremony, here's a place to share your experiences of the new Trixies format. 
      What went well, and how can they be improved for next year? 

      As you're likely aware, this Trixies introduced various changes. Not only being the first time multiple years (2015 & 2016) were combined, but notably nominations were accepted in a special forum, allowing you to post and edit them in private. Based on your ideas, the Default Awards List was also created, and intended to provide a suitable baseline to cover the wide range of site contributions.
      In summary, here's a few possible possible topics of discussion:
      Award Categories
        Total available default awards: 101 Custom Content: 34 City Journals: 40 Community: 27
        Too little?  Just right?  Too many? Spread between categories. Coverage of types/themes? Any confusion or conflicting awards? Did the descriptions help or hinder?

        Nomination Process
        How did you find it compared to years gone by? Were the instructions clear and easy to follow? Was it helpful to edit and view your nominations? Any issues along the way?
        Duration of nomination period: 23 days (including the 2 day extension). Too short?  Just right?  Too long?

        Trixies Build-up
        Interviews To what extent were they helpful / enlightening? Types of questions asked? Format / presentation. More for next year?
        Content lists (2015 / 2016) Did they help with your decision making? Were they a useful reference? Should all content have been included in the lists? Grouping per author or per category?
        Community discussion How could this work better in future?
        Anything else which could be done in build-up?

        Trixies Promotion
        Too sparse?  Just right?  Too excessive? When did you first become aware of the Trixies this time? How useful was the info banner at the top?  Should anything else have been included? Were the countdown timers helpful? Visibility of the Trixies forum. Should any other banners have been added? Homepage features -- were they useful or too repetitive?

        Anything else?
        Post away!  
      We're always looking to improve the Trixies, and this was really a learning experience for everyone. Hopefully it worked well as a comeback after being absent for such a long time. But like anything, there's always room for improvement going forward.
      So if you've any comments or suggestions (even not on the above list), big or small, please post below and we'll take them into consideration. Feel free to post multiple times in this thread to your heart's content.
      And of course, you don't have to answer all the above questions -- they're just pointers.
    • By Hamish
      As part of the upcoming Trixie Season, the Staff team have been interviewing various prominent members of the community and asking them about their favourite STEX files and City Journals over the past two years, inspiration and creative workflow, along with life outside of Simtropolis. So without further adieu, please welcome our next guest @simmaster07, which many of you will seen around the forums, or you may have downloaded one of his many mods.
      An Interview with Simmaster07
      Hi Simmaster07, how are you?
      Fairly busy but otherwise pretty well, thanks for asking!
      What is your earliest memory of the SimCity?
      Oh jeez, I was tiny back then, maybe six years old. I think I was walking through Target or some sort of department store and I was bored, so I dragged my dad to the video games section while my mom did some shopping. For some reason SimCity 3000 was the game that caught my attention, and I guess my parents had no issue with it since it was pretty innocuous.
      Of course as soon as I found the disaster menu I spent a good amount of time spawning locusts and toxic clouds. So much for learning about city planning — though I did manage to get SimCity 4 not long afterward, and that was a pretty good long-term investment.
      Has this game helped inspire you at all in real life endeavours?
      Not directly, but I did learn a lot from Simtropolis after finding it through the SimCity BBS. A lot of aspects of modding tied into my interest in programming in some way, and some of my early content was making tools for things like creating NAM packages for Mac installations or automating city backups. In retrospect a lot of the code was absolutely awful, and that content is deleted now since I didn't feel confident that it would function properly now. Still, that was a big part of the process in allowing me to learn more about programming and create the more advanced mods I've made recently.
      Recently you've been pushing the boundaries of what mods can bring to the game, specifically around features which were left out of the game. What inspires you to create these mods? How much time and effort goes into researching and developing these files?
      The effort to get DLLs capable of modding the game to work has been an effort that dates back to over six years ago. I was in way over my head but heard that Paul Pedriana was the one of the development leads for SimCity and figured I'd email him about how to implement DLLs like the extra cheats mod.

      To my complete and utter surprise, after a bit of back and forth, he did respond with some source code. It was incomplete, but Paul said that it should've been enough to pull it off. My main motivation, up until I got something working, was trying to decipher how to take this code and and get a working program. It took years upon years of accumulating knowledge about programming and debugging to figure it out, and it definitely seems to have been worth it.
      Perhaps most helpful was the community's prior efforts to learn about the game's internals, and I stumbled upon a post from GoaSkinmentioning how the PowerPC Mac port of the game had a lot of debugging information left in the final version. Because of how the game's architecture was modeled, this was actually incredibly helpful in learning about the Windows version and the generic APIs, so I'm extremely grateful that the community documented their findings as well.
      You also created a patch for SimCity, a game more than ten years old,  which fixes a substantial issue that was only found after significant modding. What amount of work goes into finding a fix for such a frustrating crash which so many of us experience?
      Again, it takes a lot of cumulative knowledge from both personal experience and the community. SC4Fix requires some understanding of how assembly language works and how to debug a program without any reference code before you can start to build it. Once you have that, it's not a terrible amount of work to build that patch — especially since the TE lot crash is pretty isolated from the rest of the program — but it's still a good amount of work to get to that point.
      How rewarding is it when you have this idea and toil away until you eventually get the patch working?
      The very first thing I did when I got SC4Fix working, even in a primitive and virtually unreleasable form, was post on the forum, because I was incredibly excited about the prospect of fixing one of the biggest remaining issues with the game and sharing that with as many people as I could, so it was very rewarding to say the least. Even now, over a year after having released it, it still comes up in other threads with people hailing it as a must-have mod now, which is pretty heartwarming.  
      Your work is a source of inspiration for many.  Who's work inspires you?
      Insofar as SC4 modding goes, I've always been inspired by the work of some of my friends and fellow modders here — @Wahrheit, @meister1235, @z1 are a few that come to mind, as well as and especially the NAM Team, which has been here iterating on their work for as long as I've been here, if not longer. They and many other people here piqued my interest in modding the game, and even though I haven't been able to get into BATing or network modding I am glad I've been able to carve out my own niche and contribute that way.
      More broadly, I've been inspired by entrepreneurs like Bill Gates who managed to lead revolutions in how we live and have given back to the global community after achieving that kind of success, as well as programmers like Dennis Ritchie and Linus Torvalds who haven't made billions of dollars but have still contributed with their code and their openness to and advocacy for sharing information.
      (I couldn’t find a way to @ mention bill gates  )
      A lot of the work on mods happens behind the scenes, who has been someone that's helped you the most during development in the past two years?
      I only know of one other person who's tried to pull off DLL modding, and they acted independently for the most part, so I can't say there's anyone or anything in the past two years specifically that has helped me. Unfortunately most resources I used go even further back, especially the forum threads that I used for reference.
      Do you get to sit down and actually play the game very much anymore?
      Sometimes on really long plane rides, but I find myself more fascinated by the game's internals than by the game itself now and so I don't ever really play the game so much as I have it running in the background while I use a debugger and a code editor to dig deeper.
      I used to have a huge Plugins folder with over ten gigabytes of content, but looking at it now it seems I just have the NAM, a few lots, and the extra cheats DLL, which is probably a good analogy for how much I play the game properly now.
      What's a quality piece of work from the last two years which you think has been overlooked?
      I wish I could answer this but I haven't been watching the forums or the STEX closely at all. Generally speaking I notice @CorinaMarie and @rsc204 contributing regularly and probably deserve some recognition, but I might also be just a tad biased since they've tagged me at least a couple of times and their posts usually give me an excuse to investigate some part of the game internals I hadn't considered looking at before. 
      Has here been a STEX file review/comment from the past two years which you absolutely love, or find incredibly funny?
      Not particularly, but it is also generally nice to see people like @T Wrecks consistently offering positive and constructive comments.
      Lastly, what would be your perfect Sunday?
      A good Sunday would probably just be doing something new with my friends.
      Thank you for joining us! We can’t wait for the opening of the nominations which is now just a couple of days away 
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