Commonly Available Resources Of Lovely Stuff Like Instructional Specialised Tutorials
*Acronym created by CorinaMarie
The following article has links to various threads, tutorials, websites etc for any new players or others who are a little overwhelmed with information overload on the Simtropolis site.
Be aware you will have to do some reading on the threads but there is some very good information in them and I think you will find them helpful.
Have fun with the game and happy hunting!
PLEASE Feel Free to Make Your Own Suggestions
MODS YOU WILL WANT TO HAVE
NAM (Version 35 just released) - Here
This will actually fix bugs in the game. Even Vanilla players should have this.
There is a custom installation available so if you don't want all the bells and whistles you can get a pared down version if your computer can't handle the entire mod.
When using NAM it's highly recommended to get the SC4Fix.dll because that prevents crashes when hovering a puzzle piece over a TE lot. They say it's a good idea even without NAM installed.
Here is another link to the SC4D Wiki: NAM Tutorials section. It's not anything like complete, but hopefully in time this will be home to all the NAM documentation online.
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION MOD (IRM) by @T Wrecks - Here
FILLER SET FOR IRM - Here
Essential for good looking industry.
He did a fantastic job with this and I gather it took two years to complete. A big thank you to T Wrecks; it really makes a difference.
SPAM - SPAM MOD for all those farms you want to create - found on the PLEX
EXTRA CHEATS PLUGIN - Here
You will want this for sure even if it is just to plop a commercial or industrial building in your city. Sadly Residentials cannot be plopped as they will abandon. It does way more than that!
HiTech Industry fix. - Here What is this?
Below is the blurb from the file download.
Short summary: due to a presumable rounding/arithmetic error, almost every IH lot in the game didn't offer any high wealth ($$$) jobs so far, while still creating demand for R$$$ residents though.
Tutorial for applying the HiTech Industry fix - Here
MARSH'S EXTENSIVE MAYOR-MODE PLOPPABLES LIST - Here
This has stuff you are going to want and should know about.
Note:#1: SimPeg's files along with Paeng's files are available on the PLEX, here at Simtropolis. Marsh crossed them off the list as sadly SimPeg disappeared in July/2015 due to server issues.
Note#2: SC4Devotion LEX requires you to be a registered member in order to download.
LIVIN IN SIM'S TOP TEN MODD SUGGESTIONS - Here
Some of his suggestions are already listed here such as the NAM and the Extra-Cheats but his other suggestions are quite useful.
City Tile Background - Blue skys with/without clouds - Here
Replaces the ugly grid background on the edge of your city tiles. Below is a small blurb from the file download description.
This mod replaces the default Maxis city tile background by the realistic sky texture. Sky Background Mod Day Set 1 contains 7 different textures (various colors, with and without clouds).
You can choose only one texture at a time. Please read the enclosed readme carefully.
Cori's Shoppe Series:
A great way to personalise your region, is to install mods that alter the Terrain, Rock, Water, Beaches and Trees used. With just these few mods, you will totally transform how your game looks. Cori / @CorinaMarie has been kind enough to create a series of "Shoppe's" where you can browse through all the available options to find your perfect set. Check those out with the following links:
Cori's Rock Shoppe (Linkys to and Pictures of every Rock Mod)
Cori's Water Shoppe (Linkys to and Pictures of every Water Mod)
Cori's Beach Shoppe (Linkys to and Pictures of every Beach Mod)
Cori's Terrain Shoppe (Linkys to and Pictures of every Terrain Mod)
Cori's Jolteon's Tree Shoppe (Linkys to and Pictures of almost every Tree Mod)
C.O.R.I.M.A.P.S. - A Tutorial for SimCity 4 (Quick alternative realistic map making method)
Want unique maps? Try this! Her tutorial for map making is brilliant! No hyperbole intended.
I wasn't interested in making maps myself but as I was creating this article I thought I should read up on it. Who knew clouds and map making went together. I'll have to try it myself.
Check out @rsc204's* tutorials - These are really good and worth your time.
New to the NAM? Check out my tutorials on YouTube. Latest upload: Guide to new NAM 35 features.
*p.s. - I'm MGB over on SC4D and a member of the NAM team.
Another tutorial recommended by rsc204 (not his) Tutorial here
Note: The tutorial is playing at Intermediate level; recommend beginners use the "easy" level but will give you a good overview.
The two tutorials below are actually in the Simtropolis Omnibus - I found these very helpful:
Creating-straight-edged-coastlines-canals-and-ports by Rochfort
Making-money-the-easy-way by soldyne
“Can't Find It? Ask Here” - Here
This Simtropolis thread is a “Must Read” IMO. You will find all sorts you didn't know you wanted. As well, if you include a screenshot of a building or whatever you saw and can't find the file etc. someone will most likely know what it is and give you the file link. How cool is that?
Plugins Folder Management
Links: Plugins Folder Show us how you manage your plugins folder
Links to discussions about managing your plugins folder - highly recommend doing this "before" you download masses of content. If you don't think about organising this beforehand you will regret it. Advice from someone (me) who didn't know about this and now has to spend too much time sorting things out...so be warned.
The two threads are relatively recent and the second thread has actual pictures of people's plugin folders. This will give you some very good information about how to manage your plugins. These are suggestions only as everyone has their own way of thinking but it will give you an idea of how some of them manage an astronomical 7 GBs of content.
CasperVG's Custom Content lists - Here
Thanks to @Yarahi for the recommendation.
Categorised by type - eg:
Ports, Harbour and Industrial
Railways and Stations
It's a treasure trove even if it is a bit old. It will keep you busy with downloading.
“Disclaimer”: The STEX links do not work and it is beyond the scope of this article to fix anything, however you can Google the creator's name ie: “frogface on STEX” and at least one file will come up, click on his activity, click on “files” and you will get the complete list of his files on the STEX. I tried this with 2-3 creators names and it seems to work fine.
LEX links seem to be working.
BACK TO SC4 - Here
@CorinaMarie suggested this thread which has some more information.
Initially when I looked at it quickly, I thought I would simply delete the duplicates, however I didn't realise there was a rather longer list than expected.
@RandyE's DOS directory list (Do look up some of the files mentioned)
(More) Basic Fixes
WEBSITES WITH CUSTOM CONTENT
City-Builders website by @catty-cb - Here
Many SimPeg files and others are over there. Her website has other goodies you may want to investigate as well. Do browse!
(to download you need to register on the site)
Working Man Productions website - Here - some good content there.
Non-English SC4 Custom Content Sites - Here
Thanks to @Yarahi for this recommendation which was posted by @Haljackey. Some will need Google translation. Worth looking into.
I pulled out some of the links as they were scattered about in the thread.
Polish: SimCityPolska - Here
French: Toutsimcities - Here
German: SimCityKurier - Here
Not Sure: Capital SimCity - Here
*Japanese SC4 site links - Here
*Note about the Japanese sites listed above at SC4Devotion - not all of the links work and I understand they frequently change or disappear.
ST: When did you first get SC4, and what do you remember about your first experiences with the game?
Paeng: I got it right off the shelf on release. Then I got annoyed with it and put it back on the shelf. Until RH came out, now that was quite the day...
ST: Was SC4 your first involvement with SimCity, or did you already have a history with the sim games?
Paeng: Nah, I played on and off since the very first version... but it was always more of a seasonal thing - none of the early versions could put me in a trance like SC4 does... not even the fabled SC3000 ;-)
ST: What aspect of SC4 do you enjoy most – what keeps you coming back?
Paeng: In the beginning it was clearly the region play, then with RH the network stuff... Then, later again, MMPs and all the green stuff...
ST: Before we jump into the all the custom content questions, I’m curious… what is your favorite Maxis lot/BAT?
Paeng: Maxis defaults are quite underrated - actually I like most of it... well, after some cleaning up, I'll admit ;-) The main reason why I don't use much of it any more is the inconsistent scale. I guess I like their grungy industrials best, and still use them a lot, too.
ST: Do you recall the first plugin you installed?
Paeng: Nope. Actually I was off the grid for quite a long time in the early 2000s, until about 2005 or 6... lots of RL, two sons in puberty... you know ;-) So basically I slept through the early custom content era... and when I woke up to it, I started downloading with a vengeance.
ST: What led you to Simtropolis at first? Can you remember your initial impressions of the site?
Paeng: Well, by the time I was getting interested in city builders again, I quickly realized that there had been a lot of batting, modding and lotting going on - behind my back, so to speak LOL... so I started some in-depth research that quickly led me to places like ST, SC4D, SimPeg and many other fan sites and repositories in all corners of the world... I pretty much stayed in lurk mode then - there was so much to catch up with, so many different 'philosophies', opinions, emotions... So for the next year or two I dug in quietly, reading tons of material in all the forums, while polishing up on my playing skills and building up a first collection of custom content - really without any plan to ever start producing stuff on my own.
ST: Describe your progression into the world of SC4 custom content. Was it a particular lot or BAT that inspired you to take the first step?
Paeng: No, it was more a lack of particular lots and Bats - when I started building cities using more and more custom content, I kept hitting snags and dead ends, where I just could not build things the way I envisioned them. I spent endless hours on the exchanges looking for that one piece that would fit. On top of that I was already drifting away from large city vistas, tinkering with more rural settings.
ST: Speaking of first steps, what was the very first thing that you lotted using the LE?
Paeng: Tehehe... I had this sleepy rural town, and there was supposed to be a bus stop with a pedestrian overpass - fit for small town... but all the textues, props and lots I found were too urban for my liking... that's when the bubble burst, I hit the forum wailing: "How the hell can I get this the way I want it?!" You guessed it - all answers were like "Get the Lot Editor", "Use The Reader", "Learn how to Bat"... So I started with the easiest obstacle to overcome - the Lot Editor.
ST: Your first STEX upload was a in June of 2009. You started your now famous ‘Mountainview/Paengia’ City Journal about a month earlier. What prompted you to begin sharing your creations with the SC4 community?
Paeng: Well, the moment I started lotting, I knew this is just my thing... so I started to look around for stuff that I can turn into lots... the security fences were basically a lotting exercise, and the fence props were there, hardly used - because they were "just" props. Then someone said, hey - this is a useful little set, you should put it up at the Stex... So I did, and to my surprise folks started downloading and indeed found it useful.
ST: You have created and shared a wide range of lots over the past 6 years, but they all share some common characteristics. For one, you have a keen eye for the right details and a knack for eye pleasing designs. You also tend to focus on sets that have modular capabilities. How did this ‘Paeng’ style come about?
Paeng: I strongly dislike the grid. I hated the fact that everything is forever bound to squares and rectangles. Now I can't change that basic SC4 principle... but I can do a lot to at least break that appearance. I can combine a couple of 1x1s with a 4x4 - it is still made up of squares, but it appears to be an irregular shape. That is the simple approach I took, and it continues throughout almost all the lots I created. Not everybody uses them that way, but if you look closely, most of my pieces can be combined any which way with other pieces, even if they come in seemingly unrelated sets... That's why I also use as few "dependencies" as possible - basically I use the same set of "essentials" in all my releases... Of course there are exceptions to that, certain specialty items would just suffer if I don't add special ingredients as well... but I rarely 'splurge'.
As for my keen eye - thanks :-) Indeed I'm a stickler for details and not satisfied before I get that tickle in my gut...
ST: A large number of your lots are influenced by the prolific BATer Pegasus. How did you come about to work so closely with one of the top SC4 custom content creators?
Paeng: As mentioned I was drawn early on to rural settings... so the style of Pegasus held high appeal for me, aside the fact that he is a fantastic Batter (and taught me the ropes with the Reader). Add to that the fact that the Simpeg community is smaller and generally more quiet and relaxed than others - something I need for my mental make-up, I'm over 60 by now and the brash vigor of the very young does not always sit well with me ;-)... you can see why Simpeg.com became my home base. My early work is based on the 'Mountain Theme' - I probably turned every Bat and prop of that set inside out at least once...
At some point Peg and I worked close together on a re-launch of the Simpeg site --being a (former) web-developer, my skill-set happened to match the needs-- and during that time we decided to finally tackle the Agricultural Mod - something that had been a long-time topic with some members of the Simpeg community, like Rebecca and Craig, plus a host of others volunteering for work and input and beta testing. The result was the - Pegasus doing the Bats and most of the modding, Becca and Craig most of the lotting, myself doing some lotting and modding as well as the documentation and packaging. Many addons followed, like Becca's Irrigation Canals, my Access Roads, Craig's Agri Industrials and many more...
Regretfully, Pegasus has since retired from producing Custom Content - but he left us the simpeg keys... So Craig and I are sort of commissary webmasters, fortunately supported by a whole bunch of great people to help. Visit Simpeg and you'll know who they are :-)
ST: I think most custom content creators would consider their work a hobby, but like anything in life, some parts are more fun than others. What do you consider your least favorite part of the Loting process? Your favorite?
Paeng: I start with my favorite... The greatest fun is to work with other people having a similar mindset for custom content. I seldom lack ideas - but it's all so much richer and rewarding when you can do it with a bunch of people who enjoy it as much as you do.
Brainstorming, throwing ideas around, solving problems together, continuously learning from each other, or just generally shooting the s*hit - that's what makes it worth all the time we sink into this... passion. Hobby does not really fit :-)
Then of course the actual lotting process - slowly seeing your idea taking shape, pulling together all the right ingredients until there is harmony - very zen.
My least favorite? Probably the time between packaging and release. That time when you're all alone and need to check every lot one by one to tweak little things, finalize LTexts and Descriptions, remove the ballast, make icons, write the readme - the nitty-gritty stuff... that's time-consuming and concentration-eating WORK.
ST: Since this is a sort of hobby (in the sense that custom content creators are not paid for their work), what keeps you motivated to continue releasing new creations for the SC4 community to enjoy? How much do comments in the download section mean to you? Do you get a thrill seeing your lots pop up in CJs?
Paeng: The motivation - that this game is still alive after all these years, still attracts new players, and is still not depleted as far as new discoveries and new techniques are concerned... and that it still attracts people to pick up Custom Content Creation and come up with amazingly unique stuff...
Comments - I had to learn not to let them get to me... I have spoken to producers who were about to leave it all behind (and some who actually did), just because some jerk made a snide remark, or because some troll pulled the ranking down... On the other hand it's uplifting when a comment is really "speaking" to you, taking the time to form at least a full sentence. But I can fully understand that not everybody has the time or is in the mood to do this all the time.
So naturally - seeing one of our items pop up in a CJ is always thrilling - it's the best applause we can get.
ST: You have been loting amazing creations for almost 6 years now. Is there any one of your creations that you are particularly proud of? Are there any fun stories or facts relating to some of your works that we don’t know about?
Paeng: Since you ask for one personal favorite, then it has to be my & - if only for versatility and size, it has something for everybody... and there are countless hours in that one, both for me and any player ;-)
Though most credit must go to those who provide us with a sheer endless stream of models - they are the true heroes. Personally, I can't Bat if my life depends on it.
Funny stories you don't know about? Not really - It's All In The Lots... LOL
ST: Has your experience with loting had any influence on your personal or professional life? Are there any skills that you have developed over your SC4 career that have helped you beyond the world of this game?
ST: What advice would you give to a new member of this community who was planning on creating their first Lot/BAT?
Paeng: Go into Lurk Modus. Get a feel for the community. Read up on the tools - everything you need to know is out there. Search for answers yourself. If you have questions left, ask them in a precise manner. Download lots of files and analyze them inside LE. Don't upload your first lot to the Stex. Have Fun!
ST: Simtropolis is organized into ‘player’ and ‘builder’ categories. Regarding the ‘player’ section, do you have any favorite CJers that you enjoy following? What are your favorite SC4 ‘scenes’ (i.e., towering metropolises, urban sprawl, rural landscapes, etc.).
Paeng: To be honest - I basically rely on BTT + 10... without that fantastic resource I'd probably miss out on a lot of CJs... so if you look at BTT plus its yearly top 100, then you know what I'm looking at - as much as time permits.
Well, it's no secret that I much prefer rural settings. Once in a blue moon I get the urge and build up some "Towering Inferno", though even that will usally be a seaside resort, or a rich enclave in the middle of nowhere LOL... But mostly I like to zoom in on bucolic settings.
ST: On the ‘builders’ side, do you have any favorite BATers that you enjoy following? What was your most recent download from the STEX?
Paeng: Same as on the player's side... I'm an avid collector, and with the roughly 15Gb I have collected so far, I daresay I have seen most of it - so I know who the good Batters are, if they put up something on the Stex, it's an automatic download... If I tried to list them all, I'd surely forget half of them.
Of course I have a soft spot for all these guys who concentrate on the smaller buildings - mid- and lowrise COM and RES, so guys like MattB or Madhatter come to mind, or the guys who make great series of props, like NBVC or Murimk or Shokthrpy... but again - I can't really single out anybody, there are just so many who make fantastic content available to us...
My latest Downloads are -
ST: SimCity 4 has been out for over 12 years now. Are you surprised that this community is still going strong all these years later? What do you think is the secret to its longevity? Do you think there will still be new content being created 12 years from now?
Paeng: No, I'm not surprised - we have to remember that this game's history goes back much farther than SC4... all in all we're talking about what? Almost a quarter of a century? There is a reason for this long-time appeal - something no ego shooter can ever get near... probably because it is constructive, not destructive?
12 years from now? Hard to say - there may still be small groups of afficionados everywhere, but the community as a whole will be totally different. Just imagining what technology can do in 2027 is kinda... mind-boggling.