A1.01: Basics and Technical Issues
A1.01.1: Query the Hottest Keys
The query option is one of the most important tools in the game. Use it to determine a whole host of information. You can also use it to click on any building and then change the name of it. Although that does not make the building historical or unalterable. It can still be destroyed by the computer when redeveloping.
And if you want to follow a MySims or a car or change the traffic lights, simply do this:
You can check out the list of hot keys at the back of the provided manual although most of them seem quite useless and superfluous to me and seems only to appear there to fill up the back of the manual. For example there is a hot key of obliterating the city. I do not know how you play your city but this is not C&C, there is little violence and you would definitely not need a hot key for obliteration.
The following are the more useful hot keys, the hottest of the hot.
1) Home & End: Turn the building around for placement.
2) Shift: Turns off auto roads. Simply press shift after dragging the zone but before releasing the mouse button.
3) Esc: Undo. Sort of. Cancels zones, roads, etc, only if you have not released the mouse button.
4) G: Shows the grid. Great for counting and planning.
5) /: Query. Use with bulldoze to prevent accidental demolition.
6) B: Bulldoze / Demolish.
7) Ctrl S: Save City
1) (Home or End)
Turn the building around for placement.
Turns off auto roads. Simply press shift after dragging the zone but before releasing the mouse button. Make sure that you have the patch installed.
Switch the layout of the zoning before laying it.
Undo, sort of. Cancels zones, roads, etc, only if you have not released the mouse button.
Shows the grid. This is great for counting and planning.
Query. Use it with bulldoze to prevent accidental demolition.
Bulldoze / Demolish.
Dispatch fire fighters.
9) (Control) (P)
10) (Control) + (Shift) + (S)
Takes a picture of your city as it is appearing on the screen at this moment. This is a very useful hot key as it allows pictures which may not be possible if you went through the clicking on all picture button process.
Centre on Cursor.
12) (Control) + (Shift) + ©
Toggle terrain contours.
13) (Control) + (S)
15) (Control) + (Shift) + (Alt) + ®
This is to record a clip of your city.
16) (Control) + (Shift) + (O)
Just in case you are wondering, this is the obliterate hotkey.
A1.01.2: Multiple City Save Games and file locations
1) Save Games
For those of you who complain about the lack of save games slots, you could always just copy the region to another folder. Go to:
This is also the place to put any cities you download. You have to place the city in the region in want it to be.
2) File locations
MyDocuments > SimCity 4 > Album
B) Bug Report:
MyDocuments > SimCity 4 > Exception Reports
C) Recorded Animation:
MyDocuments > SimCity 4 > Recorded Animation
D) Original Regions:
C:\(or wherever you installed the game) SimCity 4 > Regions
This is for if you messed up the original regions and want the original back.
E) Music for the game / Custom Tunes:
SimCity 4> Radio > Stations > Region > Music
SimCity 4> Radio > Stations > Mayor > Music
A1.01.3: Custom Tunes & Animation
You can play your own music simply by placing the music (MP3) into this
For Region Music:
For City Music:
Then when you play the game open up the Audio Option and select the custom tunes.
Simply hit (Control) + (Shift) + (O) to begin. Enter in the various information such as file name, rate, time, output and frame count. The clip will be stored in your Recorded Animation folder.
A1.01.4: Technical Issues
Firstly, I should state that I am NOT a technical expert or even a technical person at all. However, these problems occurred frequent enough for me to pick some things up.1) Game Requirements:
You can easily check the requirements on the box although the game really requires a lot of power such that even if you are above the recommended your cities if they are huge may encounter lag.
There is a good test program to test your computer systems vis-à-vis the game requirements. It is found in the game folder itself:
2) GDriverWindow--DirectX Error (1)
This is one of the most common problems I see. The error you will most
probably see is "The configuration file (Graphics Rules.sgr) cannot be
parsed using built-in rules."
There are two plugin folders. The one I am talking about is the one in your MyDocuments folder.
Do not place any of the downloaded things into this folder if not the game will not start. I suggest that after installation of the game and the patch you go and check this folder out to see what should remain in there. Nothing.
The reason why an uninstall does not work is because the game does not delete the SimCity 4 folder under MyDocuments unless you actively specify it. Delete what ever you have placed there.
3) GDriverWindow--DirectX Error (2)
However, there is another more drastic method. Since I am not well-versed in computers, I am unsure as to whether is this message a generic type for multiple problems or not. If above solution does not work then you may attempt to try this but do it at your own risk and discretion.
4) Graphics options
As usual there is a trade-off between speed of the game and quality of it. Patch 2 will automatically set the options rather low, at least in my opinion. So if the graphics look bad, simply change the quality and determine if you can stand the lag in the game.
5) EA Technical help
If you have problem operating the game simply send them a message. It is under their technical support, Ask a question tab. You do not need actually need to know their address. This is their main support site.
Although it should be noted that, often your first reply will be an automated one but do not despair and persist. I did once think of sending in multiple mails just to determine the various sets of automated response and trigger words but I think that sort of would be frowned upon.
6) Permanent Green Highlight Bug
If, you see your hospitals or education highlighted as green even if they are not selected, do not worry. Simply go to the data view, and select the respective health, education, etc view. Then after selected, click on the all off. They will no longer have the green glow.
The registration process I recalled was quite complicated. If I remember it correctly, this is the process:
Again if you have problems send an message to them. They solved, my problem within hours.
This I must say is one of the most complicated registration process ever. However, it is a good effort against piracy. So if you see anyone or if anyone asks you for your key, do NOT give away your key. And also report all piracy regarding the game to this EA email address:
For online piracy email contact:
1) Check all files updated
The patch update is problematic. Whether you patch automatically or do it manually, make sure you check that all the relevant files are indeed updated. The list of files can be found on the patch page. Although, I personally seem to have a problem with the ’dbghelp.dll’ file as it not only did not take the 2003 stamp date but it seems to have taken a 2001 stamp date.
2) Patch Log
You will have a patch log called:
It is found in the same folder as the patch file you downloaded if you used the automatic patch. Not too sure where it would be if it was done
automatically. This lists what files were patched and whether was it
successful at the patch.
3) Region Identification
The second problem is for those who has problem with the automatic patch and have to do it manually. Make sure your region is correct. The problematic is the Asian edition. Just because, you live in Asia and bought the game there does not mean that the game is an Asian edition one. If it is English, there is a high chance that your edition could be the North America one. I do not think there is a way to actually determine your region by looking at the files or game itself.
The things that could your is an American edition are: (i) Right hand drive and (ii) American spelling. However with regards to American spelling, I am unsure whether is it similar for all the English games. If it is not then look for words such as "harbor" v "harbour" or "color" v "colour." The spelling without the "u" is the American spelling. These words will sometimes appear as park of the message in the news ticker.
4) Failed patch
Finally, if you game did not patch properly as in the files were not fully updated, the only way to resolve it is to reinstall everything.
A1.01.7: Online Play: SimCityScape
You can find more information at the site but this is a brief overview. This online gameplay is available at the official website:
2) 9 Regions Available
3) Game Play concept
It is quite simple. You get to pick one region and you have up to 5 days to play with it and to end your turn. You may upload it and make as many changes as you want. But after 5 days or if you choose to end your turn early your turn is up then another person can take over. You may not play the same city consecutively although you may play a city multiple times. After certain amount of time, Maxis will reset the region and the good ones I suppose will get into their hall of fame.
4) Download Region
You can download their "premade region configuration folder" and place it at My Documents\SimCity 4\Regions\ to extract and create your city. It is a 2k zip file. Yes, 2k I did not have a typing error. It is small. This is not required for playing the online game and download it only if you want to duplicate their region for your own play.
A1.01.8: Simtropolis Patch
This is not an official patch at all. It is put together by fans of the game. It is located at the Simtropolis site:
The following is one of the official words by Maxis on it:
’Users install, run and download those "mods" from Simtropolis completely at their own risk. Maxis is NOT responsible for ANY errors, crashes, problems or any other issue that you may have if you have downloaded and applied any unofficially supported mod files to your game. Nor is Maxis required to help anyone who has altered their game with any patches/mods/downloads that are not from Maxis themself. Players should also expect that any future patches and/or expansion packs and SimCityscape "may" NOT function properly with the game if you have downloaded any unofficial mods/patches/files and applied them to your game.’
A1.01.9: City Size
There are three city size that you can select. And each tile is 16 by 16 metres.
A) Small: 64 by 64 tiles = 1024 metres / 1Km
B) Medium: 128 by 128 tiles = 2048 metres / 2Km
C) Large: 256 by 256 tiles = 4096 metres / 4km