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Brooklyn81

Need dumbed-down instructions, game crashes to desktop.

49 posts in this topic

First of all, I am not 100% lazy, I did try to search and look in the forums to find out how to solve this problem, but there was one of two problems I encountered: 1.) I couldn't find a situation as similar to mine that was talked about, but more commonly, 2.) When the topic was discussed I quickly got lost because, as I have mentioned in other postings, I am very bad with technical, computery stuff, and as soon as I see something like, "Yeah, just find the CPU nozzle and turn it to 1, then find the file of doodidleedoo in the squagager database, then make sure that your version matches the goobiddy-doobah, and that should solve the issue." it's like being a Muppet Baby and hearing the adults talk. That last part is probs an outdated reference, but I'm old, so deal with it. Anyway, point of the rambling is that I need help, extremely dumbed-down so I can pull tactics on this mofo. Step-by-step directions with simple terminology will get you treated to a large pie at Totonno's in Coney Island, courtesy of yours truly. This option can be substituted with Nathan's if you don't wanna do pizza, but don't barf if we ride The Cyclone right after. 

Ok, here's my deal: I had SC4 on disk from when it first came out in the year a long time ago. Windows 10 ruined my existence. SC4 disks don't work anymore because of some bunk things I heard about called Safe Something or Other. Was told I had to get digital version of game. Got it from Origin on the internet. Saw after I got it that a buncha people says the Origin version sucks don't get it. Cried a little. I can play the game for, like, 2-3 hours and everything is cool, but after a certain amount of time the game crashes to desktop, but the bunk Origin box is open with all their advertising crap and I see a picture of the SC4 logo with the words "Pick up where you left off" or something like that, basically the computer rubbing it in the it's more powerful than me. I save constantly when I play, so I don't know why it crashes. I defrag my computer once or twice a week (I know, it's amazing I know about degragging, I learned it, I'm not completely hopeless). I also do 'Disk Cleanup' before I play SC4. That's the deal, hope you awesome people take pity on me like you usually do, and help me solve this issue. Thanks in advance homies. 

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In easy: you need to make the game believe it is running on an older computer, without multiple CPU cores, because simcity 4 gets overwhelmed with them.

Now, I don't know how that's done with the origin version (I'm using a disc on windows 7, where the fix is more straightforward), but I guess @rsc204 would know how.

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Thanks for responding @matias93. And I sure wouldn't be surprised if @rsc204 would know, he's bailed me (and I'm guessing many others on here) out of problems before, haha! Take care bud. *:) 

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There's a nice little video about this by @chimeran in this thread. It is written for Windows 7, but the concept is the same. Once you find the shortcut to SimCity 4, the rest will be exactly as shown in the vid. If you already have the shortcut on your desktop then the instructions you need start at 1:37.

Here's a direct linky to said vid:

 

3 hours ago, matias93 said:

I guess @rsc204 would know how.

Ofc he knows. @rsc204 knows everything!

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14 minutes ago, CorinaMarie said:

Ofc he knows. @rsc204 knows everything!

Sorry but in this case I don't know how Origin works, having never used it myself.

Although the solution would depend upon how you launch the game. If SC4 has a simple shortcut you can run to start it, then the instructions by CorinaMarie would work fine. But if the application is launched from within the Origin client, this will need to be done another way.

Just a thought however, can you be more specific about when it crashes? Whilst changing the application to run on one core is a must on modern systems, it's not the only thing that can cause CTDs.

Quote

Modern PCs all use Multi-Core CPUs or Processors, that's like the engine inside your PC that runs everything. Rather than having one of them, most have a minimum of four these days, which work together. But SC4 was made before such changes and can't handle bits of code switching between various cores, hence if you don't disable that feature for the game, you get CTDs.

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Origin  Link[edit]

Origin Game Properties Example.png
 
Instructions[3]
  1. Open the Library, then Right Click on the game's box art and select Game Properties.
  2. Select Advanced Launch Options.
  3. Write any arguments in the field box, then click Save.

In Steam, you need to add' 'CPU-1' - Honestly having never used Origin, i'm not sure if that is the correct one here

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21 minutes ago, MissVanleider said:

-r1920x1080x32

^ This part will depend on your screen's resolution.

 

21 minutes ago, MissVanleider said:

-w

^ And this is if you want to run the game in a window instead of full screen. If you have once used the -w and later want to go back to full screen you have to use -f. (Removing only the -w if you have used it once is not enough to make it go back to full screen.)

 

See also: Tutorial:Shortcut Parameters and Shortcut Parameters on SC4Devotion's Wiki.

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10 minutes ago, CorinaMarie said:
28 minutes ago, MissVanleider said:

-r1920x1080x32

^ This part will depend on your screen's resolution.

haha yes sorry, I did a bit of googling / cutting and pasting when I was being paid to be doing something entirely different! - MissVanleider bears no responsibility the accuracy of this information or for your computer exploding!

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I understand when Brooklyn81 mentions feeling like a muppet baby and the adults are talking, after a couple of years reading through it I think I now have the "concept" of some of those things, not all or very detailed but I get the concept.   I have also seen what seems like 101 different ways to setup the game to avoid CTDs.  Here is the basic sum of what causes a CTD, the computer can not handle the extra amount of directions you are giving it through the game, such as zoom out too fast, you are telling it to show you everything in the city at the same time and before it gets a chance to do that you ask it to zoom out again and show you everything yet again. The computer goes "sorry too much work I shut down the game".  Sometimes instead of zooming it is scrolling or trying to plop something that does not exist in your plugins folder.  Sometimes it is saving the game then zooming in or out directly after will cause a CTD.   These still happen in my game from time to time if I rush things, but for the most part I can play for 4 to 5 hours, I have recently pushed it and played or had the game running for 8-9 hours without a CTD.   I originally used a disk but now use a digital version (gog), I use the SC4 Launcher, link below. The launcher basically takes all the different tech ideas mentioned such as how many cores to use and makes it so you can do it by just clicking on one thing on a window that opens and has other options that help, I have had few to little CTDs since I have used the Launcher and know what caused my CTD such as saving then zooming without moving/scrolling first. I strongly suggest this and especially for my fellow not so tech savvy players.

 

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@philforhockey51 many of us know that feeling. It is best to not worry about it! This game does seem to appeal to a very broad range of players and not all of us have too much experience with speaking in backslash! I think actually using the site and trying some things has really improved my understanding over time, although i admit from a fairly low starting point

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Also, one related question--did you get your Origin copy by redeeming your CD key with them, or did you pay to buy it from them?  If you've paid, you've probably gotten stuck with an unpatched and unpatchable copy of Version 1.1.610, which can't install the Network Addon Mod, have nightlighting on custom buildings, and is missing a number of stabilizing bugfixes.  If you redeemed the key instead, however, you're okay.

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@CorinaMarie, ok, since you suggested something before everyone else, I'm trying the method shown in the video first. If this doesn't work I will go down the responses one by one and try the other methods. I did what was shown in the video, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for your time, I will let you all know if this worked.

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*UPDATE* Ok, I employed the method @CorinaMarie posted w/video, and the first time I played my game crashed after just 5 minutes! :angry: But instead of abandoning all hope, I tried again, and this time my game lasted a little over 3 hours with no crashing *:D, until I turned it off myself because I needed to go to sleep. So, I think all is well now, but it is going to take some more plays to see if the game is going to crash or not. Now back to your regularly scheduled program....

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6 hours ago, Brooklyn81 said:

... my game crashed after just 5 minutes! :angry:

Assuming the -CPUCount:1 is now active that says there is something else causing the crash. Btw, you can use that 2nd option I posted (the linky to the WikiHow article) to check that the game is set to using only one core. So, additionally it's always a good idea to have:

installed as well. That helps alleviate other weird crashes.

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I always get confused when I see people talking about using one core, I use 3 and leave the fourth for background computer stuff.  Maybe thanks to the launcher but when I was using only one the game crashed more. 

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@Tarkus, I didn't feel like dealing with whatever bunk phone calls or whatnot to redeem my CD with Electronic Arts, I just threw $20 or whatever at the problem and purchased the digital version (Origin version). I didn't know there would be a big difference. How can I tell which version # of SC4 I have? I already tried right clicking on the SC4 icon on my desktop and went to 'Properties', but I couldn't find it. I have NAM installed and it seems to be working ok, but then again I don't know how to use most of NAM so maybe the game isn't ok. 

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If it let you install the NAM, it sounds like Origin might have actually given you the good digital version.  You'd need to look at the actual executable itself rather than the shortcut.  For an Origin game, it should be in C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition\Apps--the file will be named SimCity 4.exe.  If you click properties on that, you should be able to get the version number.  If it's 1.1.641, you do indeed have a properly updated digital version.  If it's 1.1.610, however, you got the infamous nerfed copy.

-Tarkus

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Thanks a lot @Tarkus, I did check where you told me to and unfortunately I do have version 1.1.610. Do you suggest that I download the 'SC4Fix: third-party patches for SC4' that @CorinaMarie posted earlier in this thread, or the 'SC4 Launcher' download as suggested in this thread by @philforhockey51, or both, or neither? Corina and Phil, please feel free to respond to this as well as Tarkus. Thanks. 

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Dang, that's a bummer. >.<  I'm guessing your NAM install must have come from an old plugins folder from when you were still using a disc copy? The NAM installer spits out an error message and stops installation if it encounters a 1.1.610 copy.

SC4Fix won't fix the issues with 1.1.610--it's designed to solve a notorious crash-to-desktop that exists when NAM puzzle pieces are in close proximity to stations or other Transit-Enabled (TE) Lots.  EA/Maxis released a patch to solve the 1.1.610 issues back in 2004, the EP1 Update 1 patch, which upgrades the game to Version 1.1.638.  However, because Origin has altered the checksum of the executable, as a product of removing the original SafeDisc DRM for their own DRM, the official patch cannot be applied to Origin Version 1.1.610 copies.

One Simtropolis user successfully got a refund from Origin over this (albeit after considerable wrangling with their customer service) back in February.

If you can get a screenshot of your version number, that would greatly help my efforts in documenting Origin's continued failings with SimCity 4.  I may make another push to get some more coverage on this, as it seems Origin reverts to screwing customers when no one is looking.

-Tarkus

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@Tarkus I didn't understand most of what you said, because computery, but I will take a screenshot that shows the version number I have and include it at the conclusion of this message. I really can't stand dealing with red tape stuff/customer service people unless it's totally necessary (problem with my electricity or medical bill or something), so I might just have to deal with the annoyances of having a bunk game.
IMG_0582.jpg.b4c7d7c78c0e3f8374f6c92f50de9cfd.jpg 

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Thanks for posting that screenshot (that's what the like is for--major unlike for being stuck with a bunk copy).  It actually helps a lot with documenting everything--the date modified info matches up with the other recent Origin versions I've seen, and suggests that Origin reverted from the proper 1.1.641 digital copy to their special nerfed 1.1.610 edition in November 2015.  Unfortunately, that does mean that there's probably a lot of unsuspecting people who got jobbed by Origin, as it took over a year for the first confirmed reports of this happening.

I'm going to try fighting the system again, to see if I can force Origin to do the right thing. 

The one thing you might be able to do still to get a legitimate copy without having to shell out is to redeem your CD key with them--for some reason, they give the CD key folks the proper 1.1.641 version for free, but the people who pay $20 get screwed.

-Tarkus

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@Tarkus, thanks for all your responses and information, I actually understood a decent amount of that last comment (I'm just barely above the functional level of 'Amish' when it comes to computers). I see that you've been aware of this issue for a while and you're fighting the good fight against it, that's cool man. I don't worry about buying another game, but I'm worried that all the hours I've spent working on my city will be for naught, as I'll lose my city when I get a new game. I've only spent 14 hours on the game since I got it, but I don't get a lot of time to spend on SC4 these days, and really like the city I have built up. I'm sure there's a way that I can save my city then implant it into a new SC4 I might purchase, but I know, for me, that it would be very complicated to try to figure out. 

I will look into this GoG website because I seen that a lot of people say they get good copies of SC4 from there. I know the longer I put off buying a new one, the more I'll spend time building my city that will probs get erased anyway, haha. I'm not sure, but I think I threw away my SC4 disks right after I bought the game from Origin. If I would've known what was in store I wouldn't have tossed 'em. I'll take a quick search of my crib but I'm 99% sure I threw them away. Besides, don't know if I'd even want to deal with customer service goons for 45 minutes on the phone, even if the effort would end up with me having a legit game. I'll have to figure out what tactics I'ma pull. 

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no need to lose your city, I forget exactly but when you download the new file you will still have the SC4 folder in documents and you can just click and drag/copy the region you are working on in the old region folder within the old SC4 folder and move it to the new, or something like that, I think the Launcher also allows you to choose which game file to use so you can direct it to the new game but still use the old SC4 folder including plugins, albums, etc

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A couple things that may be useful to know. Your cities and plugins folders will transfer between any versions. If installing another version of SC4, you should always uninstall (remove) the previous one first. When you do that, you should get an option to keep your existing data. That way when you install a new version, it'll all be right there waiting for the new game. Personally I'd make a copy of both the Plugins and Regions folders, inside the SimCity 4 folder located in Documents on your computer. Just in case something goes wrong, you'll have everything you need then.

The key benefit of the GoG release is that it's totally DRM (Digital Rights Management) free. DRM is like an electronic code, if for whatever reason it can't be validated, the software using it will fail to work. The DRM on the original disks won't work with Windows 10, because Microsoft removed the drivers needed to validate them from Windows. Origin added a custom new DRM to their copies, Steam also have added DRM to the copies they sell. But GoG don't sell games with DRM (certainly for the most part), so once purchased, it will always continue to work, provided you keep the installer you download. If for some reason you loose that, provided the GoG website exists, you are free to re-download any game you have bought if you need too. GoG also, on the basis of customer feedback, have added the single core switch by default to their version. To my knowledge no other vendor has done this, yet it's pretty much mandatory on a modern PC of the last 10 years. This is just another example of how GoG support what they sell, rather than just simply make money selling as much as they can with no attempt to make life easier for the user.

Would I pay $20 again today to fix your current issues? Nope I wouldn't, perhaps I'm stingy, but on principle I'd annoy Origin until I got satisfaction (refund). That said, I know I'm in a minority here, for many people it's easier to pay once more, but EA are making a lot of money on people re-buying the same products again and again. This is why I'm anti-DRM, you should never have to re-buy a product you paid for. But if you wait for a sale, GoG sell SC4 for around $5, sadly you've recently missed one, but they come up at least twice a year. I'd probably stick it out with the current version until then, but for $5 I'd take the GoG version knowing it should be the last time you have to pay for SC4, period.

The basic problem with the unpatched version of SC4 is that some serious bugs remain which may ruin your enjoyment of the game. Since Maxis patched these problems almost 15 years ago, it's ridiculous to think EA are selling a copy where such fixes can not be applied. It's embarrassing too that their competitors all sell patched copies of their game at the same time. The problem is shaming EA/Origin into fixing the issue, which is proving harder this time because SC4 is old hat and not newsworthy. I don't think there is any evil plan going on there, it's probably more sheer incompetence/not caring about the consumer on the part of EA. But it's sad that their systems/procedures seek to ignore feedback, rather than firms like GoG who seek to improve what they offer. Long and short, avoid Origin/EA's products.

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16 hours ago, Brooklyn81 said:

I think I threw away my SC4 disks

!!!

Never ever toss content. You never know when you might sell it, redeem it, give it away to a niece or nephew running on an old Win-XP toaster, or find a way to run it again inside some other program that pretends to be a compatible old machine.

I'm running the disk-based version of the game because I still have a disk-based copy of Win-XP patched to service pack 3. If/when I am forced to WIn-10, I'll install Linux along side it and use WinE to run the older Windoze games that Win-10 has abandoned. However, I'll try to install Win-XP on another machine before I do that.

BTW, I'm shocked that SC4 can't run under Win-10 even in compatibility mode. I thought that compatibility meant having old drivers.

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2 hours ago, jeffryfisher said:

BTW, I'm shocked that SC4 can't run under Win-10 even in compatibility mode. I thought that compatibility meant having old drivers.

Compatibility Mode doesn't relate to drivers insomuch as the x86 codebase. However in the case of SC4, it's not required, the code works just fine even without invoking it. The problem is the driver for Safedisc copy protection (DRM), MS removed it citing security issues. They said it was the responsibility of the manufacturer behind it to patch the driver. Who in turn said that it was the responsibility of MS to patch as the code was part of Windows. Either way, it's all very fishy and killed off thousands of old games in one swoop. But the real problem is ultimately users, if people cared enough to stand against such anti-consumer practices, companies would be forced to act better. But instead most people simply repaid to replace everything, which wouldn't surprise me if that was the real motivation behind the whole thing.

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42 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

... which wouldn't surprise me if that was the real motivation behind the whole thing.

What!?! Big, super rich companies don't have my best interest at heart? I'm shocked! :O

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