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How To Install STEX BATs, Lots and Maps

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#1 Simtropolis Help Squad

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 01:38 AM

Author: Dirktator
Please bear with us while links are updated.

Please PM Dirktator or STomnibus if you have any questions about this article.
This guide will help you install all the custom content found on the STEX CD. Additional help is always available online, so if a problem exists that is not covered here, please visit us and find the answers you need! We are here to help! Thanks to Simtropolis moderator, DragonAnime for helping with this guide!

  • How to Install STEX BATS and Lots
  • How to Render STEX Maps
  • How to Fix Missing Props & Buildings
  • How to Organize Your Plugins Folder
  • Common Definitions
  • Frequently Asked Questions

For additional help and information, please visit the forums. Post a question if an issue is not covered here.

How to Install STEX BATs and Lots

Installing SimTropolisEXchange BATs and lots is a very simple task, first off you will need to know what a BAT is. A BAT is commonly known to the members of Simtropolis as a 3-D model that is made using what the BAT stands for, Building Arcitect Tool. If you would like to use the BAT to make your own custom content you might want to check here, and a great tutorial here*, and you remember hearing the term "lot", what is that you ask?

A lot is the entire structure of something in Simcity, including the building, fauna, decor, and ground tiles, and you may create your own lot using the Lot Editor program, which is defined as an official Maxis release that allows for customization of lots in SC4, using this program you may move props, buildings, trees, etc. This program may be found here.

You didn't want a guide explaining how to use the Lot Editor, and the Building Architect program now did you? forum/i/expressions/3.gif Now that you know what BATs and a lots are, you are ready to install these two different types of custom content. Every BAT and lot you see must be unzipped and installed to the My Documents/Simcity4/Plugins folder, or a sub folder in the plugins folder. It is also very important to read the READ ME file that might come with the BAT and or lot you download to the plugins folder, because it might have different instructions to install it otherwise.

How to Render STEX Maps

SimCity 4 can create new regions from grey scale jpeg files. It does so by interpreting 256 shades of grey into a "height map", with shades closer to white being higher and shades closer to black being lower. A medium grey represents sea level.

Once again installing STEX maps is quite a simple task that is very likely to be mistaken in the Simtropolis community for a hard task to do.
First off create a new folder in the My Documents/Simcity4/Regions and name it whatever you would like the region to be named (I will name it Long Beach). Next, please download the .jpg to the folder you have created, My Documents/Simcity4/Regions/Long Beach (i.e.).

You should see "config.bmp". You need this for the region in-game to be configured correctly. Install this also to your My Documents/Simcity4/Regions/Long Beach (i.e.), make sure to rename it "config.bmp" once it is in your folder.

Next you are ready to render your map to your SimCity 4 game. Now, go to the open region icon, then find your region folder you have named, once the region has loaded you should see a whole region of plains, this is normal. Hold Shift+Alt+Ctrl+R to open up a window of your folders. Navigate to find your region which should be in the My Documents/Simcity4/Regions/Long Beach (i.e.). Now, click on the jpg file, it should show an hour glass, this is normal, and then it will begin rendering the map, you will see it loading, small city, medium city, and large city tiles for the whole process of rendering. This will take any amount of time, resulting from your computer speed or the region size.

Some last quick things to know: The default location for the maps if you can not get the region to work in the My Documents/Simcity4/Regions location, try using the C: Documents and Settings"UserName"My DocumentsSim City 4Regions location for all of the steps above.

How to Fix Missing Props and Buildings

This is also very easy to fix. How do you know you are missing props or buildings? Well if you are missing certain things on the lot, whether it is trees, cars, or a whole building, it is usually when props or buildings are missing. This is because a user is missing certain dependencies which are required for the lot or BAT to work correctly. The most common solution to fixing this is reading the READ ME file, this gives links or descriptions of where you can get the desired dependency. The most common problem of missing props and buildings is a brown box over your BAT or lot with Simcity.com written along it. It is also a very good idea to have the building and vehicle props from the official site for most user created lots to function correctly. They can be found here, these should be installed to the My Documents/Simcity4/Plugins folder, like all other downloadable content.

How to Organize Your Plugins Folder

This can be a very long and dreaded task, but once you are done you will be very happy with the result forum/i/expressions/2.gif. For me, the easiest way to organize my plugins folder is creating individual folders for different things I download, i.e. a seperate folder for mods, skyscrapers, low rises, miscellaneous (this can be highway lights, or highway sound barriers, it doesn't matter), parks, educational facilities, whatever you choose. From those different folders, it is a very good idea to have many sub-categories, like in your skyscraper folder you have created, I would have many ones like NDEX, jtportland, PDA, etc, etc. Also in the mod folder, it would be a good idea to keep different folders like train mods, plane mods, regular mods, your water and rock texture mods, and any other mods you may use, this is very necessary because mods can conflict with eachother, so you can quickly remove the different mod if you need, that is another reason why it is good to keep your plugins folder organized. There was a good organizing your plugins folder set here.

Common Definitions

  • BAT: Any building or other structure created with the Building Architect Tool.
  • BSC: The BSC stands for the BAT Squad Certification. These are folks assigned to help BAT lot development and quality.
  • Custom Content: Anything that adds on to or modifies SimCity 4, excluding official Maxis releases.
  • Gmax: A stripped-down, free version of 3DS Max that allows for modeling and creating of 3-D objects in video games such as Simcity 4.
  • Growable: A lot that grows on its own when zoned for in SC4.
  • Landmarks: Supplementary ploppable buildings in SC4 that are based on real-world structures, and provide a boost to commerce.
  • LEX: An abbreviation for the former Lot EXchange, which was replaced with the STEX.
  • Lot: The entire structure of something in Simcity, including the building, fauna, decor and ground tiles.
  • Lot Editor: An official Maxis release that allows for customization of lots in SC4. You can move props, buildings, trees etc.
  • Maps: The layout of the terrain of your region. You can download one from the STEX, or make one yourself.
  • MEX: An abbreviation for the former Map EXchange, which was replaced with the STEX.
  • Mod: A file that somehow changes the game. This can range from different textures, to ordinances, to tools within the game. These are usually made independently from Maxis by modders.
  • NDEX: A team of excellent BATers. NDEX is an acronym for the original members: N74704, DuskTrooper, Equinox, and an X for asthetics.
  • Network Addon Mod (NAM): A mod created by modding experts to enhance the transportation capabilites of Simcity 4.
  • PDA: A BATing threesome. It stands for Poole, Diamond, Ardecila. Poole is jtportland, Diamond is geoffdiamond.
  • Ploppable: A lot that can be placed directly in the game without having to zone for it.
  • RCI Ploppable: Ploppable building that provides jobs. It is currently not possible to account for the Residential part, because of abandonment due to high commute times.
  • Region: A large plot of land comprising of many cities. Each of these cities are playable, and can make various deals with their adjacent cities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions
F.A.Q. The purpose of this section is to answer some common questions that may be asked about downloadable content in the SimCity4 game.

Q I see all the props on a downloaded lot from the STEX, but the building, why is this happening?
A This is simply because you are missing the building props from the official maxis site, you can find those here.

Q I see the building on a SimGoober building I have downloaded, but no cars, props?
A This is simply because you are missing a dependency that is needed for the BAT to function correctly with all the props, check the read me file for a link.

Q I am confused with these Auto Installers that BSC, and SimGoober use in most of their BATs, can you explain?
A Of course! These Auto Installers install the BAT, lot, props you download to a special folder My Documents/Simcity4/STEX downloads so you have any of that team's content you download easily and available to delete or modify if you'd like.

Q I am always getting an error saying incorrect region size, care to explain?
A You may have not downloaded the config.bmp required for that region to work correctly, that file can be found next to the .jpg greyscale file at the map download/save file page.

Q I am still getting error messages when rendering a map, what else could be wrong?
A Some things to try: make sure the .JPG is a greyscale jpeg and not simply a grey RGB jpeg. You can use an application like Photoshop to convert an image to greyscale and try again. You may want to try to resize the JPG down to no more than 1025 wide and no more than 1025 high. Some PCs may have trouble with sizes larger than this.

Q I see all these different categories on the STEX, All files, Lot files, BAT files, Prop files, 3Ds files, Textures, Maps, and one that says upload, can you tell me what these all mean?
A No problem! All files is a current listing of every single file on the STEX. Lot files are files created with the Lot Editor program that have been uploaded to the STEX for anyone to use. BAT files are those of created with the Building Architect Tool, prop files are used in many BAT and lot files design that are required for those different BATs and lots to work properly. 3Ds files stand for 3D files that are use for editing in the BAT program for anyone's use to finish, but make sure to give the original uploader's credit .

If you have any questions about this article, please PM Dirk or STomnibus.



#2 hudson229

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:11 PM

how do you access the BAT buildings in-game?

#3 Kifflom112

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 08:14 PM

Buggi Cheats or just find them in the landmarks menu.
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#4 Bolland

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 06:43 PM

I think there should be a warning that rendering a map will reset tutorials. So you should back up those cities! (lost my huge Rush Hour Tutorial this way)

#5 sc is awesome

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:12 PM

I tryed how to upload the ST EXchange but it still will not work.:???: Can you help me?:???:

#6 CaptCity

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:19 PM

I tryed how to upload the ST EXchange but it still will not work.:???: Can you help me?:???:

Perhaps try at a different time. If still doesn't work, you might post the specific issue here.

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#7 Lexington911

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:51 AM

Ok i'm new to the site and installed a bunch of lots that have in their description "no dependency" and have extracted them into my plugings folder, yet I cannot find them under any of my ingame menus am i missing something, is bat editor and lot editor required for the use of custom plugings?

#8 CaptCity

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:00 AM

Welcome to Simtropolis...

No, you don't need the BAT or Lot Editor to use custom content. A couple things to check...

First, when you say "extract", you mean that you "unzipped" the downloads before placing them in the Plugins folder. Zip files won't be read by the game.
Second, what specific items are you trying? You may have downloaded what are known as "growables". These types won't appear in the menus.

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#9 Killersim

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:25 PM

The map part i don't really understand,I need pictures to see what to do.

#10 SAGAR

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 07:58 AM

WHERE I HAVE TO DOWNLOAD LOT FILES IN SIMCITY 4. i have downloaded few of them from this site but i don't know where to paste these files in simcity 4 can some one help me

#11 CaptCity

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 11:53 AM

Welcome to Simtropolis...

WHERE I HAVE TO DOWNLOAD LOT FILES IN SIMCITY 4. i have downloaded few of them from this site but i don't know where to paste these files in simcity 4 can some one help me

Other than maps, files downloaded from the exchanges need to be unzipped and place in the My Documents/SimCity 4/Plugins folder. You might check this guide for specifics.

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#12 MissingDice

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 11:02 PM

  • I'm trying to render one of the maps i downloaded and used the ctrl alt shift r method, selected the JPG file and it still will not load. It still stays a plain.
  • Thank you.


#13 CaptCity

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 11:31 PM

Does the cursor change to an hour glass? Also, there are different map formats. Are you sure it is the types that requires in-game rendering? Which map is it (link or exact name)? There could be an issue with the upload. It's rare, but does happen occasionally.

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#14 KonstantinII

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:15 PM

how do I unzipped files?

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#15 yunxiang

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 12:03 AM

Windows XP and up can open compressed folders and have them act like regular folders by default. You would just select the files you want to copy into the plugins folder, and do so regularly (right click menu or dragging).

You can also use a decompressor program, like {7 Zip}.
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#16 Avskygod0

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 05:33 AM

-snap-

Edited by Avskygod0, 13 August 2012 - 05:42 AM.


#17 cwong

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:14 PM

Hi, I am new to the site and need some help. I go to the ST/ Exchange and download a file from the BAT section. After that, I get taken to WinRAR. When I go to extract the files an error message appears saying access is denied. Where am I going wrong? Thanks for the help.

Edit: Problem Solved.

Edited by cwong, 14 August 2012 - 11:19 PM.


#18 Avskygod0

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 04:23 PM

I found a big box in a middle of my city! I am sure it's a BAT!

#19 yarahi

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 04:40 PM

Then you need to do the following:
  • Go to city, use query tool and find the name of the Bat/Lot that is giving you a brown box
  • Search up the file on the exchange (stex, lex, plex...)
  • Make sure you have ALL listed dependencies
  • install any missing dependencies
When you get back to the city after doing this, the box should be gone, if not: repeat all steps listed above

(sure I made those steps as a list, ST bug going on?)

Edited by yarahi, 15 August 2012 - 05:41 PM.

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#20 toolbox642

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:09 AM

i can't seem to get any of the custom regions to work. once i have downloaded it and added into C:\Program Files\Maxis\SimCity 4 Deluxe\Regions everything goes fine. but when i start the game and look in the list of regions, the name/folder doesn't appear at all

#21 annlou

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 07:48 AM

This might sound like a really daft question but, do I have to leave the image files in the plugin folder or can i remove them the same as the text files and just leave the other data files in place?

Thanks :???:

#22 Lexjuh

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 04:28 AM

I still do not get it completely regarding BAT, LOT and Props.

BAT = just the graphic without any dependencies included?
LOT = Graphic + functional + (most) dependencies?
Props = Small graphics used by BAT & LOT (i.e. dependencies)?

And I tried to render a region, Capenewham AK is the name I believe. It has a ~700 kB jpg, how longish does it take to "render" (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+R) in SC4? It was busy 2 hours yesterday untill I lost my patience....CPU is an AMD 5600+ X2 (2.8GHz) and 4GB Ram .

#23 m17aka7

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 06:22 AM

I have a problem and i don't know if it's becaouse my windows 7 isnt in english but whenever i want to render a map i pres ctrl+alt+shift+r the window pops up but it doesnt allow me to go into documents and settings in order to get to the bmp file, can someone haelp me ?

#24 CaptCity

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:48 AM

This might sound like a really daft question but, do I have to leave the image files in the plugin folder or can i remove them the same as the text files and just leave the other data files in place?

Thanks :???:


Image and text files can be removed from the Plugins folders and stored at another location. The game reads all files in the Plugins, but only uses certain ones, so if there were a large number of these 'extra' files, the game could take a little longer to load. The only files required to be in the Plugins are those with prefixes ending in lot, desc, model, or dat.

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#25 DanielCoffey

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:06 AM

I have two bad links to report in the OP at the top of this thread...

The links in : How to Fix Missing Props and Buildings and in I see all the props on a downloaded lot from the STEX, but the building, why is this happening? are broken because Apple MobileMe is now closed.

#26 JadeCat95

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:00 PM

I read, understand, and utilize the sorting of folders explained here, and I appreciate taking the time to give that information. However, I have a question about the possibility of even further organization of the DLC.

My question is this; Is it possible, either by folder organization or file modification, to have the addons more organized IN GAME? For instance, I would like to have, in the IN GAME menu, all the restaurants grouped together, all the gas stations grouped together, all the parks grouped together and so on. So all the restaurants would be, say, at the top of the sub menu for landmarks. Under that, the next group of landmarks would be the gas stations etc.

Is this possible?

#27 fauzzimuhamat

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:36 AM

I want to know how to install map in sim city 4. I can not use it?

#28 jason leo

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:08 AM

It is based on the type of the map
If the map is a SC4Region file then simply extract them to the region file in the documents.
If the map is a grayscale map, then you must render the bmp. file first before you could use it.
However, some maps will need SC4Mapper to work.
If you need more information, read this article.

#29 diamondjoe

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:33 AM

Im new to this and not sure how to install the depencies.....at the moment im using the non dependencie lots which are great, but there is some cool ones i want to get my hands on.........help!!

#30 pmatti586

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:45 PM

what about rendering *.SC4M files without SC4 terraformer




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