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How to Install a Map From the STEX

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#1 Simtropolis Help Squad

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:39 PM

There are a few different map formats on the STEX that you need to be aware of. The following tutorials will explain how to install each format.

Installing a Region Downloaded from the STEX

Original Author: MallowTheCloud
Rewrite: Vandy


The original information for this article was written by MallowTheCloud and all credit goes to him. Other contributors to this information include the following:

blade2k5
hym
sim1234
T Wrecks


This information has been consolidated, rewritten and presented in this article. Please note that this article ONLY covers information for installing standard region maps on the STEX. Information for installing SC4Terraformer-created maps and SC4Mapper created maps is covered in the tutorials below.


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.
8) 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.


Installing a Map Created by SC4Terraformer
Author: Vandy
Installing a map created by SC4Terraformer is quite different than creating a grayscale map image and installing it in SimCity 4. The following information details the necessary steps to install a map in SC4 that was created by SC4Terraformer.

NOTE: File Format for SC4Terraformer-Created Maps
The typical file type for SC4Terraformer-created maps is a zip archive ( .ZIP ). These instructions assume that the map files are contained in a zipped archive.

Occasionally, a SC4Terraformer -created map may only contain a .SC4M file (which is the file used by SC4Terraformer). If a zipped archive is not the file type to download, ensure you download whatever files are available for the map and place them in the folder you designated for the map files (as shown in the below instructions).

1) On your computer, determine a folder location to which the map file will be downloaded.
2) Find a SC4Terraformer created map to be downloaded by searching the STEX. Note the name of the map.
3) Click on the Download link of the map.
4) Click on the "Save" button.
5) Navigate to the folder location identified in Step 1), above then click the "Save" button.
6) In the folder location identified in Step 1), above open the zipped archive.
7) If the zipped archive contains folders, extract the files using the “Use folder names” option. Otherwise, just extract the files.
8) Navigate to your \My Documents\SimCity4\Regions folder and create a folder named the same as the downloaded map.
9) Copy the downloaded map’s config.bmp file into the newly named region folder.

NOTE: Concerning config.bmp Files.
If the map being dowloaded 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.

10) Launch the SC4Terraformer application and open the newly named region folder.
11) In the SC4Terraformer Toolbar, click on the Global Tools drop down arrow.
12) Click on Import image then click on the Browse button (shown as in a button).
13) From the “Choose an image” dialog box, navigate to the folder in Step 1), above and select the .SC4M file.
14) Double-click the .SC4M file to enter it into the “Import image” dialog box.
15) Click the OK button to import the .SC4M file into the SC4Terraformer application.
11) In the SC4Terraformer window, click on File – Save (or Ctrl+S).
16) At the “Warning” dialog box, click the Yes button.
17) The SC4Terraformer application creates and saves city information in your newly created region sub-folder.
18) Close the SC4Terraformer application and launch the SimCity 4 application.
19) Open the newly created region.
20) The new region is displayed and colored as it was seen in SC4Terraformer.
22) Open a city but DO NOT reconcile the edges.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT reconcile the edges.

23) The city will be displayed in SimCity 4 colors and terrains. The city is now ready for development.
24) Make sure to save the city before exiting it.
25) Repeat Steps 22) through Step 24) for each city in the map.

Note that the process explained in Step 22) through Step 24) above can be done on each city during the same SimCity 4 session or be done on an “as you go / when ready” basis. Once all the cities have been rendered in SimCity4, the entire region will be displayed in SimCity colors and terrains and be ready for development.

Installing a Map Created by SC4Mapper

Author: Vandy
Installing a map created by SC4Mapper is quite different than creating a grayscale map image and installing it in SimCity 4. The following information details the necessary steps to install a map in SC4 that was created by SC4Mapper.

NOTE: File Format for SC4Mapper-Created Maps
The typical file type for SC4Mapper-created maps is a zip archive ( .ZIP ). These instructions assume that the map files are contained in a zipped archive.

Occasionally, a SC4Mapper -created map may only contain a .SC4M file (which is the file used by SC4Mapper). If a zipped archive is not the file type to download, ensure you download whatever files are available for the map and place them in the folder you designated for the map files (as shown in the below instructions).

1) On your computer, determine a folder location to which the map file will be downloaded.
2) Find a SC4Mapper created map to be downloaded by searching the STEX. Note the name of the map.
3) Click on the Download link of the map.
4) Click on the "Save" button.
5) Navigate to the folder location identified in Step 1), above then click the "Save" button.
6) In the folder location identified in Step 1), above open the zipped archive.
7) If the zipped archive contains folders, extract the files using the “Use folder names” option. Otherwise, just extract the files.
8) Navigate to your \My Documents\SimCity4\Regions folder and create a folder named the same as the downloaded map.
9) Copy the downloaded map’s config.bmp file into the newly named region folder.

NOTE: Concerning config.bmp Files.
If the map being dowloaded 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.
10) Launch the SC4Mapper application.
11) From the Toolbar, click on the Create Region button.
12) From the "Do you want to create a region from?" prompt, click on the SC4M button.
13) From the "Choose a SC4M file" dialog box, navigate to the folder in Step 1), above.
14) Highlight the .SC4M file and either double-click on it or click on the Open button.
15) The .SC4M file will be imported into SC4Mapper and display on-screen in a 2D overview with city borders.
16) Click on the Save Region button.
17) In the "Region Name" dialog box, enter the name of the region you've downloaded and click the OK button.
18) Once the save is completed, click on the Quit button.
19) In the "SC4Mapper" dialog box, click on the Yes button to quit the application.
20) Open the newly created region.
21) The new region is displayed and colored as it was seen in SC4Mapper.
22) Open a city but DO NOT reconcile the edges.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT reconcile the edges.

23) The city will be displayed in SimCity 4 colors and terrains. The city is now ready for development.
24) Make sure to save the city before exiting it.
25) Repeat Steps 22) through Step 24) for each city in the map.

Note that the process explained in Step 22) through Step 24), above, can be done on each city during the same SimCity 4 session or be done on an “as you go / when ready” basis. Once all the cities have been rendered in SimCity4, the entire region will be displayed in SimCity colors and terrains and be ready for development.





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