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brianc1327

Neighbor deals

24 posts in this topic

I am building up the default area Maxisland.  Actually, I get about a dozen cities built up, decide on a "better: way to do it, then blow up all the cities and start over.  I use this power plant:

I don't know if it is a "cheat" or not because of the amount of water and power it produces for free, but it should produce enough power for a large amount of cites (my best guess is 50 to 100).  

This is my problem:  Suppose you had a region that had 50 cities, and they were laid out in a big strip going from east to west, and you put one of theses power plants in the westernmost city, built it up, then started on city 2 and got all your power in a neighbor from city 1, and went on in that manner, getting all the power (except city 1, which is the actual producer) from business deals.  

This would work fine if city 1 sold all of its excess capacity to city 2, ad so on with city N selling all of its excess capacity to city N+1 ( the price of "neighbor deal" electricity seems to get more expensive the further you get from the producer, but since I am using the "super cash park," the cost is really irrelevant).

Well the problem I have is that the amount that city 1 sells to city 2 is not all of its excess capacity, but about 2 to 3 times the capacity of city 2, and since not all the excess capacity is sold, I quickly run out of "excess capacity" by the time I get to city 5 (or even earlier), and cannot increase how much the power deal is increased.  

A solution that I have come up with, which only works some of the time, is to go back to city 4.  I immediately get a message that its demand + neighbor deals threatens the local supply, but since demand has gone up, I can increase the amount of power that city 4 buys from city 3.

 This changes the "power balance" between cities 3,4, and 5, but it does not actually get more power from the actual producer (city 1), to do that, I have to work backwards, doing that in each city until I get to city 2 and can actually increase the amount that is put into the system by city 1.

Like I said, sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not, or at least does not seem to.  My current solution is to put one of these power plants into city 5 and just not worry about figuring out how to increase the neighbor deals. In fact, I am considering putting one of these into every city and cancelling all the neighbor deals, since neighbor deal are kind of a pain in the royal butt anyway.

Well anyways, I have seen posts that seem to refer to this problem, and some sort of solution to it, perhaps through a mod available here on Simtropolis or elsewhere.

I have looked through as many mods that affect business deals, and can't seem to find any that alter them in the way I want.

I guess my question is there any such mods, or is there a solution to this problem, or should I just put one of these power plants in each city and forget about the neighbor deals.

Brian Christiansen

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First things first: almost nobody here cares about cheating anymore. It is so generalised that it's ridiculous to accuse somebody of cheating, even more when the results are so visually stunning. So relax with that. 

The problem with neighbour deals is that they were thought on a one to one basis, not a regional one; SC4 is in fact a very bad regional simulator and this kind of problems also arise on traffic management and population caps. 

To illustrate my point, let me give an example: on my first region, after getting my main city collapsed by garbage, I tried a regional approach, designing a small tile on a corner as a wasteland city (with Mad Max paraphernalia and all --I said, first region). It worked great when recieving the detritus of the closest towns, but once I tried to reach the big city I was up to fix, the plan botched trying to cross an almost empty tile: the disparity on garbage supply and demand (or allocation, nobody demands garbage) made that empty tile incapable of 'soaking' the trash from the neighbour tile sending it. 

This is not to say it's impossible to create a functional network of neighbour deals, but that you need very similar cities to make it work on long distances and for the same resource. As it would need careful planning to distribute the tasks efficiently and would generate strange and unnatural patterns on the region, I ended surrendering to cheaty measures, as clean incinerators or those chutes Pegasus did, that throw the garbage to the empty vacuum of the tile border. It's even more unreal, but is easier to hide than a huge garbage yard every two tiles. 

With electricity you have the same options: either you planify and take time on fixing neighbour deals every time the demand or supply changes, or you distribute the production. Luckily, you can make this more realistically, using solar panels, wind turbines, buoy tidal generators or even self generating electrical substations. There are several options for that on the STEX and elsewhere, along with fancy energy plants that can be camoufled as generic industries. 

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This can work, but there are some things about the way neighbour deals are designed that may appear to thwart your efforts. Cogeo made a great mod that makes the neighbour deals more flexible, you might want to take a look at that:

But the real problem is that you have to keep revisiting cities along the chain of supply to alter the deal amounts. Because you can't sell more than x times the amount of a service to a neighbour, than it requires. Although that figure takes into account any further selling of the service, you need to get the game to adjust the figures as things change. I.e. opening all cities one at a time to increase the amount they can purchase. Although this doesn't necessarily work intuitively. It helps to cheat things along sometimes, by adding a swathe of industrial temporarily to increase demand. Then selling the power off and removing the industrial to free up the power that's now being sold onwards.

As such, I find it much easier to do this with a more centrally-located utilities tile, since the number of neighbours is reduced significantly. Although I do often get too lazy to go through each city and just plop utilities in other places where supply is needed instead.

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When I first learned of the ability to daisy chain utility usage across multiple tiles I enthusiastically embarked on that grand idea. The game itself fought me at every turn as mentioned by others. I concluded it simply wasn't worth the hassle and now each of my tiles gets their own power supplies. A compromise could be to have your super duper power plant in the tile of your choice and then have substations (which are modded to produce some electricity) in the other tiles. Then run the massive power lines from the power plant to the substations. Perhaps a combination from this list:

  1. PEG Power Tower Pylons (paints them all a realistic silvery-gray color)
    1. (My patch for the odd non-colored one here.)
  2. Electrical substation
  3. Transformer Substation
  4. Power Transformer 2

And there are others, but these are just to give you the idea. *;)

 

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9 hours ago, brianc1327 said:

In fact, I am considering putting one of these into every city and cancelling all the neighbor deals, since neighbor deal are kind of a pain in the royal butt anyway.

Yep *:thumb:
Neighbor deals can be fun at first, but once the novelty wears off it can be a huge hassle to try and manage, especially if you begin to build a large web of them.  There are so many waste/power/water options available on the STEX now, you should be able to find something you can use in each city/town/hamlet that you create :)

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On SC4Devotion, that last comment would have deserved a karma point. It's a fantastic method and I'll keep it for my next region. 

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Most probably, as @rsc204 said, the problem is due to a limitation set by game designers: a city may only import power or water up to 2.5 times its "needs" (own consumption plus export deals). And this makes things quite complicated and tricky, especially if the city consumes any non-zero amount of power or water, as noted by @Prophet42.

For example, if your city imports 2000MWh, exports 1000MWh and has a house consuming 2MWh, you cannot increase the import deal to daisy-chain the power, because the city's "needs" are 1000+2=1002MWh, and 2.5 times this is 2505MWh, so increasing the deal to 3000MWh would exceed this. You can try selectively installing/uninstalling one of my mods to manipulate the deals, for example the 500MWh mod would allow you to increase the deal to 2500MWh, then install the 250MWh one to relay it farther and so on, but this is very tiresome as it requires not only visiting each city to modify the deal, but exiting and restarting the game as well (to install/uninstall the mods).

An alternative solution could be to further mod my mods, namely increase that 2.5 times limit (eg make it 5.0 or 10.0, or even 10000, to practically eliminate it). You can open the mods in the Reader; the property names are quite self-explaining, and there's a description too at the bottom-right pane, so you should have no prob here.

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4 hours ago, cogeo said:

An alternative solution could be to further mod my mods, namely increase that 2.5 times limit (eg make it 5.0 or 10.0, or even 10000, to practically eliminate it). You can open the mods in the Reader; the property names are quite self-explaining, and there's a description too at the bottom-right pane, so you should have no prob here.

This seems like the most eloquent solution here. I'd suggest some testing in a non-important region first in case bumping this modifier too much might cause unforeseen problems much like too much capacity borks hospitals. I can envision the drop down menu selection having a limit we don't know about for how many options it can display and going with a 10,000x capacity might goof that up. (And then again, it might be just fine. I'm guessing for the potential snag.)

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As per the suggestions, for this region, I will just dump the neighbor deals and put a super-duper water/power plant in each town (for the smaller footprint towns, I will perhaps mess around a bit with the improved windmills, that produce more power than the default ones).

Perhaps I will start a new region at some point in the future (or blow up my current one), and see if I can make the power deals work in the way that prophet42 suggested, and try to do the same thing with garbage and water deals as well.

As for modifying the mods like cogeo suggested, I know that I currently don't have the tools to do so (sc4.bat?), and am still a tiny bit unclear as to where to get them (somewhere on this site, sc4devotion maybe?, I think that GMAX, which I think is needed for sc4.bat, is avilable from  https://www.turbosquid.com/gmax?).

Brian Christiansen

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38 minutes ago, brianc1327 said:

As for modifying the mods ...

For the alteration suggested you only need one of the Readers.

For the 1.5.4 you go to that linked message then click the v1.5.4 linky at the beginning of the post.

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I downloaded version 1.5.4, and tried running the setup.exe, three different ways, from a limited account but with administrator account credentials, actually logged into the administrator account, and logged into the administrator account, butt with my antivirus, avast, totally turned off, and all 3 times I got a message that the Microsoft visual C++ runtime library would have to be installed, I have no idea if the setup.exe tried to install it directly, or if it tried to download it from somewhere such as the Microsoft site.

Well, anyway, in all 3 attempts, I got the error message that I already had a newer version of the runtime library than was being installed, and instead of the installation program "thinking" something like "hey cool, a newer version," it saw this as an error, and would not install the ilive reader.

I have no idea what to try next to get it to install, perhaps unistall the new runtime library (I have no idea what I am using it for, and if it would "break" anything if I did), so I can install the old one, make the installer use the newer version of the runtime somehow, or see it installs/works under linux/wine.

Brian Christiansen

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Well, I'm still using the old version of the reader, because it does cover me, and the new one is known to have some issues with running scripts. But you can install the one you prefer, of course. I would suggest to install one of the two anyway though, as this is the most essential modding tool for SC4, and you need it to check/review/fix/further mod custom content.

As for the Visual C++ Runtime, you can download and install the exact version asked by the Reader Setup. Don't worry, it won't uninstall or overwrite the other ones. You can have multiple versions installed, as they are "parallel", independent packages. Applications load and use the closest matching one. Run Control Panel->Programs and Features to see which version(s) you have installed. Microsoft has actually done a good job here! *:lol:

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@brianc1327
I also use the old version of Reader without any issues.  There is also another option - the SC4Reader Tool by Tropod.  I haven't personally used it, mostly because I'm an old curmudgeon and am pretty set in my ways.  But I know @rsc204 uses it, and if it has his endorsement, then I'm a believer.  

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There are some exemplars that 0.9.3 just doesn't understand:

01_Building Dev Exemplar.jpg

 

But 1.5.4 does:

08_img0009.jpg

 

So it really depends on whichwhat you are planning to edit for whether or not the later version is needed. When I made my AgPay5x.dat I did it in 0.9.3 but when I made my No_Kickout_Lower_Wealth.dat I had to have 1.5.4 to even be able to see the appropriate variable.

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3 hours ago, brianc1327 said:

I got a message that the Microsoft visual C++ runtime library would have to be installed

That sounds like Microsoft Foundation Classes (mfc). To run a program built on it, you need the matching dll version (e.g. mfc110u.dll); a newer one will not suffice. As Cogeo says, you can have several of them (my C:\WINDOWS\system32 folder has 34 files starting with mfc...). I think I dropped another one in there a couple months ago when I installed iLives 1.5.4

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6 hours ago, brianc1327 said:

I got a message that the Microsoft visual C++ runtime library would have to be installed, I have no idea if the setup.exe tried to install it directly, or if it tried to download it from somewhere such as the Microsoft site.

Then you need to find and install this yourself, sometimes you can't redistribute libraries with your applications. But if the error said you needed it, I can't imagine it tried to install it.

6 hours ago, brianc1327 said:

Well, anyway, in all 3 attempts, I got the error message that I already had a newer version of the runtime library than was being installed

There is a good chance you need both the 32-Bit (x86) and 64-Bit (x64 / ia64) versions then. Perhaps you have one but it's the other one the application requires? Note this is nothing to do with your operating system, but you need the matching version for the application.

4 hours ago, SimCoug said:

There is also another option - the SC4Reader Tool by Tropod.  I haven't personally used it, mostly because I'm an old curmudgeon and am pretty set in my ways.  But I know @rsc204 uses it, and if it has his endorsement, then I'm a believer.  

I switch between many tools, for example here I have both the 0.93, 1.5.4 versions of Reader in addition to SC4Reader and switch between the three depending on the task at hand. But for this sort of edit, I'd stick with the Reader instead, either version works fine. But as Corina points out, 1.5.4 can interpret some data the older version can not.

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The new Reader corrupts files.

It corrupts queries, but it has the nice visual query editor, so what I do is I edit the query in the old reader, and then open it in the new reader side by side to kind of use it like a preview. 

And then I think it also corrupts lot files (I forget which exemplars/properties) which is why some of my lots have technical problems. 

 

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3 hours ago, jeffryfisher said:

1.5.4?

Here's an explanation I recall about 1.5.4 and it's potential to corrupt the save file:

On 12/23/2016 at 2:51 AM, twalsh102 said:

From my experience with Reader 1.5.4, yes, there are occasions where it will corrupt some subfiles (usually one or more of the png files, and sometimes one or more of the LTEXT files; occasionally an XML subfile or one of the exemplars; never seen it corrupt the entire file) during a save.  However, I think I've narrowed down the cause to only certain circumstances:   I used to see corruption a lot.  It turns out that I was in the habit of saving the file after every little change (i.e. make a change in the lot exemplar, save the file; make a change in the building exemplar, save the file; make a change in one of the LTEXTs, save the file).  Since I've changed to just saving the file once after making all the desired changes to subfiles, I don't experience corruption.  Or,  if I do "accidently" save the file before I'm done making changes, if I close the file, and then reopen it before making further changes, this also prevents any corruption.  So, saving the file multiple times while still open invariably leads to corruption in my experience.

I've been using 1.5.4 when 0.9.3 cannot interpret the variables I need to get to. I don't do any of the fancy stuff like scripts or such. I just go in and edit the values (or add variables) I need, save and exit. If I'm going to work on another .dat file I exit 1.5.4 completely in between. So far I've not seen any of the potential negative effects. My guess is the troubles come up for the power user rather than us casual editor peeps.

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1.5.4 works for the most part, a lot of the problems were from an older point revision and were actually fixed, but the bugs with the newer reader versions have put a lot of people off using it. PNG file corruption is very subjective, since a lot depends on the source image there. In my use, I've never seen the latest release corrupt or break anything, it works and is stable. If I didn't hate the ribbon interface so much, I'd probably have switched over completely.

If you do encounter a bug, please report it and upload the related files. Those bugs won't be magically fixed without some user interaction (informing the developer) and so far as I know, Tropod is still supporting the software.

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20 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

On 12/22/2016 at 11:51 PM, twalsh102 said:

I was in the habit of saving the file after every little change

That's how I operate, so I'd get into trouble if I used it  :(

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I have Ilives reader installed an am in it looking at the plugin NeighborDealsMod_MinDeal500_MinProfit33%.dat and the Exemplar(?-or variable, because it certainly looks like a variable name) called Nda_MaxOverDemandFactorForBuyer, and its description reads "... is the maximum amount the buyer can buy," with a value of 2.5.  I take it I need to increase this  value to something like 100 (I think probably something like 10 would do it, but I just want to be safe.

There is also a Exemplar(?) in the file called NeighboDealMod_MinProfit33%.dat that has all the same properties as the previous.  Do I need to change both or do I need to delete one of these files out of my plugins folder.

I also assume that this variable increases not only the power that can be purchased in a neighbor deal, but the trash and the water as well.

Brian Christiansen

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I don't have the mods you are looking at, but based on the names I'd guess that the 2nd one leaves these variables unchanged from the original in SimCity_1.dat:

  • NDb_MinDealAmoutWater = 1000
  • NDb_MinDealAmoutGarbage = 1000
  • NDb_MinDealAmoutPower = 1000

And in the first one those 3 variables have likely been set to 500.

Both will likely have:

  • NDc_MinDealProfitFactor = 0.33 (rather than 0.1 of the original)

So yes, remove one or the other of the mods. (As it is whichever loads last is the one that is taking precedence.) Then tweak the 2.5 of Nda_MaxOverDemandFactorForBuyer to 10 or 100.

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