Original Author: MallowTheCloud
Rewrite: Vandy If you are interested in contributing to the OmniMaps section of the Simtropolis Omnibus, please PM OmniMaps.
The original information for this article was written by MallowTheCloud and all credit goes to him. Other contributors to this information include the following:
This information has been consolidated, rewrittent and presented in this article. Please note that this article ONLY covers information for installing standard region maps on the STEX. It does not cover how to install a map created using the SC4Terraformer or SC4Mapper application. Information for installing SC4Terraformer-created maps is covered in the Installing a Map Created by SC4Terraformer article. Information for installing SC4Mapper-created maps is covered in the Installing a Map Created by SC4Mapper article.
There is a definite set of steps which need to be following in order to successfully install a map downloaded from the STEX into SimCity 4. Faithfully following the below steps will install a map in almost all instances. At the end of these steps, there are a number of caveats and exceptions listed that could occur when installing a map as well as possible solutions for them.
Downloading the Map Files from the STEX
1) Find a map to be downloaded by searching the STEX. Note the name of the map.
2) Navigate to the following path: \\My Documents\Sim City4\Regions. (Typically, this path is under the C:\ drive path.)
3) Create a new folder naming it with the same name as the map to be downloaded. Note the name of the folder created.
4) Go back to the STEX, and click on the map link to open the Map Window.
5) Once the Map Window is opened, there typically is a picture of the map image and a picture of the config.bmp file.
6) To download the map image, click on the Download link to display the grayscale image for the map.
7) Right-mouse click on the image and select the "Save picture as..." choice.
Navigate to the region folder created in Step 3), above.
9) Save the grayscale map image in the region folder using the default name of the file.
10) In the top right-hand corner of the Map Window, click on the "Back" link.
11) If there is a Config.bmp link (not all map files have a config.bmp file), click on the link to open the File Download dialog box.
NOTE: Concerning config.bmp Files.
If the map being downloaded does not have a config.bmp file included, one must be created before installing the map. Please consult the Config.bmp: HowTo Make It Yours article for instructions on creating a config.bmp file.
12) In the FIle Download dialog box, click on the "Save" button.
13) Navigate to the region folder created in Step 3), above.
14) Ensure the file name is config.bmp then click on the "Save" button.
15) The map has been downloaded and saved to the computer.
Installing the Map Files into SimCity 4
16) Launch the SimCity 4 game.
17) From the Main Menu of SimCity 4, Click on "Load Region" and open an EXISTING region.
18) THEN click on "Load Region" and open the region created in Step 3), above.
19) The configuration of the the config.bmp is displayed.
20) On the keyboard, press and hold the following key combination: Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R.
NOTE: Wireless Keyboards
Typically, wireless keyboards do not support more than three simultaneous key combinations. It will be necessary to use the appropriate key combination for the wireless keyboard being used to simulate the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R combination. The normal wireless keyboard combination to use is [Alt Gr] + Shift + R.
21 This will bring up the Grayscale Image File dialog box.
22) Browse to the folder created in Step 3), above.
23) Select the grayscale map image JPG file and click on the OK button.
24) SimCity 4 starts to render the region and a "Creating New City" screen appears.
BE PATIENT. Depending upon the size of the region, the number of city tiles and the speed of the computer, rendering of the region takes anywhere from five (5) minutes up to a number of hours to complete.
Caveats and Exceptions to Installing a Region.
SimCity 4 won't recognize the grayscale JPG map image
If this problem occurs in Step 23) above, try typing in the name of the region in the File Name box of the Grayscale Image File dialog box. It has been reported that doing this will cause the grayscale JPG map image to be recognized.
Ensure the map image being used is actually a true grayscale image of 256 colors. Open the grayscale JPG map image in a graphics editor such as Irfanview, GIMP, Paint Shop Pro, PhotoShop, etc. If it is not a 256 color grayscale, convert it and resave it. Then, use the converted and saved image in Step 23), above.
There are holes in the rendered region or the region stops rendering.
Ensure that all screen savers and other minor background tasks are turned off before launching SimCity 4. These type of interruptive applications interfer with the rendering of a SimCity 4 region. It might be desired to turn off the monitor while rendering if there is concern about image burn-in on the monitor screen. If this is done, be sure and periodically check on the status of the rendering by turning the monitor back on.
If multiple accounts are being used on the computer, ensure that the logged on account is not exited while rendering.
Pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R does not bring up the Grayscale Image File dialog box.
Before pressing the key combination, try pressing the "Esc" key on the keyboard a few times.
If pressing "Esc" does not work, try creating a different region folder with a slightly different name. Copy the map files into the new folder and follow the installation steps above again.
After rendering, the land is at different heights but it is all under water.
It is possible there is something installed in the SimCity 4 plug-in folder that alters height. Ensure there isn't a heigh altering file in the plug-in folder.
It is possible the downloaded map requires a height mod. Ensure the description has been thoroughly read to determine if a height mod is necessary for the map to render properly.