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For the Eager, Yet Overwhelmed Newcomer

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#1 beebs

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 05:17 PM

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For the Eager, Yet Overwhelmed Newcomer

New to SimCity, Simtropolis, or been out of touch for a few years? Wondering what the heck a NAM or a BAT is? And just what the heck is up with those brown boxes?! This article will take you through the basics of registering your game, whether from a hard copy of the disc or from Steam, the essentials of Simtropolis, and a jumpstart into the world of Custom Content, to bring your game to a level beyond what you could imagine is possible.

I would like to thank A Nonny Moose for his contributions and influences on the creation of this article.

Rush Hours, Deluxe Editions, SimCity Boxes, Oh my!
Before starting on registration information, we should make a clarification on just what the differences in these versions are. The short answer is nothing. When Maxis released Rush Hour, the expansion pack to the original SimCity 4 game, they released two versions: one simply the expansion (SimCity 4: Rush Hour); the other, a version that included both the original game and the expansion pack (SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition). It makes absolutely no difference to the game whether you own the Deluxe Edition, or Rush Hour.
Now, just what is the SimCity Box? After the release of SimCity Societies in 2008, EA released this version which contains SimCity 4, SimCity 4: Rush Hour, SimCity Societies, SimCity Societies: Destinations, and The Sims Carnival: SnapCity. The story here is the same with Rush Hour and the Deluxe Edition: it makes absolutely no difference.

In the event that you happen to be a long time player who does not own Rush Hour or the Deluxe Edition, it should be noted that the expansion pack is required to make use of 99% of the custom content available on this site. I will explain that further later on.

Registering and Updating the Game
Before playing, you need to pick up the two (2) necessary EA-released patches to your game for it to work correctly. In recent months, it has been noted that the official EA SimCity 4 Deluxe site has been taken down. So as not to leave these players hanging, some mirrors have been set up containing the assorted official updates.

Important note: If you purchased your game from an authorized download sourse, you may not need any further updates. Check the properties of the game's .exe file. If it indicates you have version 1.1.641.0 or if you already have version 1.1.640.0, you will not need further updates.

For the standard, PC version updates, check out here:
SC4Devotion

Own the Mac edition and can't open .exe's? Check out this thread:
Get your Maxis files here!

Bought your copy off Steam?
Steam comes pre-patched! Yay!

You should apply the two updates to the game in this order: EP1 to fix bugs, and the BATupdate to allow nightlights.
When you are finished, you should check to see that the version number of the .exe file for the game in Program files/Maxis/Apps has been updated to 1,1,640,0. This is proof that your updates worked.

Optional Upgrades and Tools
You may notice on the mirror sites, a number of other downloads available. Among these are new landmarks, new rewards, the Lot Editor, and Building Architect Tool (BAT). These are all optional, and are not necessary for the games function or the addition of but do add content, and functionality.

So, just what do these BAT and Lot Editor things do?
The Lot Editor allows you to construct new lots, using the buildings, textures, and assorted prop pieces included within the game. The Building Architect Tool (BAT) allows you to construct new 3D models, and is what is used to create new buildings, trees, seawalls, spaceships, and everything inbetween. Using the Lot Editor and the BAT in tandem, the world is yours to create.
It should be noted that both these tools have a sizeable learning curve. We do have a number of tutorials here to get you started, the most notable of these being the BAT Essentials Tutorial on the Omnibus.

Unleashing the Game
At this point, your game is ready to go! The appropriate patches are in place, and the game is as optimized as Maxis and EA could make it. So where to now?

Many players are happy to play the game without any custom content, relying simply on what Maxis has provided. It is indeed very possible to create beautiful cities using only what content Maxis provided. But, many would also point out that the game can be so much more. In the 8 years since the release of the game, the amount of custom content available brings the game to an entirely new level. Players can recreate their hometowns with stunning accuracy, watching roads twist and curve, with even the correct corner market in place. Players can build in the desert, in futuristic settings, or on Mars. The custom content community has taken a finite game and given it infinite possibilities. And the question I'm sure you're asking by this point is, where do I begin?

There are a number of exchanges available for you to browse. Here on Simtropolis, the STEX is perhaps the largest, and one of the oldest exchanges devoted to SimCity 4. The other primary English exchanges are SC4Devotion and SimPeg. You could say that SC4Devotiion is the high-tech site, and that Pegasus is the theme site, and you wouldn't be far wrong. These sites both require free registration in order to download, as Simtropolis does. The SimCity community expands far beyond English speakers, however - other communities include German and Japanese sites.

You may have noticed when downloading the patches that the official SimCity site also has an exchange. We do not recommend the use of that site. As EA dropped all support some time ago for SimCity, the exchange was allowed to run rampant. Many files contain viruses, and other such things that your computer may not enjoy.

Growable? Ploppable? What?
As you browse the exchanges, you'll notice these phrases on assorted files throughout. The answer to this could not be simpler. A growable lot means that it will grow on its own with the appropriate zoning, as if it were any building created by Maxis. Ploppable lots allow you to plop the building as if it were a landmark. Some ploppables retain their commercial/industrial nature and provide jobs as though they were grown.
It should be noted that at early points in the exchange, you may run across residential ploppables. These do not work, and will abandon some time after plopping.

So, I've Downloaded Some Stuff. Now what?
Installation of downloads really is simple. This article by our fearless Dirktator outlines the process of installation. Some downloads now come with .exe installers, which simplifies the process even more - the installer does all the work for you.

The next question you may have is where the heck do I find my ploppable items in the game? Some items will be pretty intuitive as to where they are located - Educational facilities are located in the Schools menu, policing facilities in the Police menu, etc. But what about that great skyscraper advertised as a ploppable? Those will generally be located in the Landmarks menu. Nearly everything else (parks, churches, etc.) will be located in either Parks or Rewards. And if you just can't find it anywhere, consult the ReadMe that should have been included with the download. It should state where it is located in the menu system in game.

Brown Boxes, Everywhere!

Posted Image

Uh oh! This may look tragic, but it doesn't mean your game is wrecked. You just missed downloading some dependencies. Wait, what? Dependewho?

Dependencies are separate files that a lot uses to complete itself. If Download A cannot find the appropriate dependency, it reverts to the lovely boxes you can see in the picture above. It may not look like it, but each lot is actually filled with bits and pieces of other files to make the bigger picture. The trees, the benches, the garbage cans, the swimming pools you see on assorted lots are all individual pieces, that come together to create a house, a park, or a shopping complex.
All downloads on the SimTropolis EXchange are required to list all dependencies needed to work properly. If you've looked everywhere and just can't find that dependency, or if the dependency package is locked, please make a post here, and one of our friendly members will help you out.

You may have further questions in regards to dependencies. As with installation, I would like to refer you to another article that goes into much further detail. The Dependency Debate by north_country_dude goes into great detail about the pros and cons of dependencies, and answers a few of the common questions you may have about them.

So what should I download?
Building tastes vary from person to person. Personally, I prefer the drab, 1970's concrete buildings, while many prefer the sleek, glass modern skyscrapers. Because of this, I'm not going to recommend any particular buildings - but I can recommend some mods that are considered the best and the greatest.

* Network Addon Modd, or the NAM. This mod was first conceived with the discovery of an unfinished road network Maxis left in the game. The talented modding community has taken this and turned it into entirely new road networks, gave us roundabouts, and allows us to create true metropolitan cities with roads to match. This can be found here on the STEX, or at SC4Devotion.
If you're interested, here is the "official" NAM Thread with links to the different parts used with NAM and some FAQ's. If any issues come up while using NAM, there is a support thread here. Various NAM Team members frequent the thread and gladly help out.
* A terrain and water modd. When you first launch the game, the grass and water seems realistic enough. A bit off perhaps, but hey nothing can be perfect. Not true - modders have been able to create new textures for the terrain and the water, which makes the Maxis textures look like off-colored drawings. Cycledogg has made a number of varying terrain modds, and there are assorted water textures on the STEX, each varying for the kind of water your city needs.
* SimMars. Certainly this modd is not for everyone, but this article would be deficient if it weren't mentioned. SimMars transforms SimCity to Mars, complete with textures, buildings, road networks and music to match. The work done on this is exceptional, and it sits with the NAM as the greatest projects to improve the game that SimCity has seen.
* Everything else listed here. Livin in Sim has created this top ten list of great modd's that should be essential. A few other members have listed their contributions as well, and I would highly recommend them all!

From there you could look through the CJ section to get ideas or run through the STEX and other exchanges to see if anything "jumps" out at you. As I mentioned before, if you can't seem to find something, make a post here and someone is bound to help you out.

How do I win?
SimCity is different from most games, as there is no set end point. Your success is based on goals you set. For many, a balanced budget and proper governance of a successful city without "godly" intervention (ie. cheats) makes a successful game. For many, the accurate recreation of a real life city is the goal, generally with the assistance of assorted budget cheats. For others still, it's simply to create the best city they can. Set your own goals and adjust as you achieve them.

For all flavors of player, however, we do have an assortment of tutorials here on Simtropolis to help you on the Omnibus. The sections that will interest you most are SimCity 4 Tutorials and SimCity 4 Reference. Check back from time to time, as we do continue to add articles!

Hopefully, this article has helped you get started. If you have any further questions that this article didn't answer, the folk in the forums and the chatroom are always eager to help, and any member of the Simtropolis Help Squad would be more than happy to give you some tips to the right direction. Posted Image

#2 LuapYllier

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 10:48 AM

This is exactly what was needed. Would have reduced many of my initial questions a few weeks ago. Great Job.
Some of the threads you lead to through the text are not in linky form though, intentional?

Edited by LuapYllier, 04 June 2011 - 10:50 AM.


#3 jacksunny

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 10:49 AM

Yes this was much needed. Thank you :yes:

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#4 beebs

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:10 AM

This is exactly what was needed. Would have reduced many of my initial questions a few weeks ago. Great Job.
Some of the threads you lead to through the text are not in linky form though, intentional?


Whoop.. did I miss a few? I'll do a check through this afternoon.

Glad you guys like it :) If there's anything you feel I've missed going over, let me know and I can add a section on it.

#5 CaptCity

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:13 AM

I believe all that were meant to be links have been repaired. Please post if something else isn't appearing. Thanks.

A wise man once said, "I am not yet a wise man."

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#6 jacksunny

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 06:58 PM

The link to the updates at SC4D is broken, can you please fix it. Thanks.

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#7 CaptCity

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:06 PM

The link to the updates at SC4D is broken, can you please fix it. Thanks.

Done... Thanks.

A wise man once said, "I am not yet a wise man."

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#8 Cityruler

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 05:35 PM

Great post Beebs ! certainly a great help for newcomers like myself.

#9 jblack2010

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:44 PM

wow you did a good job making to help newbies :thumb:

#10 Steijer

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 01:40 AM

Getting back into the game after a long time of other commitments, this was exactly what I need, thanks!

#11 aintnorock

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 05:15 PM

Getting back into the game after a long time of other commitments, this was exactly what I need, thanks!



ditto. thanks.

#12 ggamgus

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 07:15 PM

This looks nice. I think I'm going to follow this... :D
New signature under construction...

#13 samalexander

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 12:09 PM

I've been playing Sim City 4 for a few months now, so glad I've stumbled across this! I have the various editors on download and can't wait to get exploring.

Thanks for this guide, very, very helpful :D

#14 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 04:25 PM

I've been playing Sim City 4 for a few months now, so glad I've stumbled across this! I have the various editors on download and can't wait to get exploring.

Thanks for this guide, very, very helpful :D


If you are going to BAT, run the "BAT Essentials" tutorial from the Omnibus. Every paragraph has some new, important point.

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
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#15 goodyou

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:37 AM

Glad you guys like itPosted Image.

#16 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:01 AM

Glad you guys like it.


Context please. Like what?

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.
JohnNewSig.gif
"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Walt Kelly

Come join us at the Moose Factory


#17 goodyou

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:38 PM

Yes this was much needed.

#18 annlou

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:34 PM

Hi
When clicking on Simcity link to get patches the page just comes up with an error. It makes me think that the page does not now exist.

Any advice gratefully received.

Thanks

#19 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:22 AM

Go to http://sc4devotion.c...orums/index.php scroll down to the EA Support link and click it. Accept the agreement and follow the links.

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.
JohnNewSig.gif
"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Walt Kelly

Come join us at the Moose Factory


#20 rockygallman29055

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 06:01 PM

I feel like I need to take a class for all this. I'll get it sooner or later. I see all the pics of all your cities and I want mine to look like that. Now!!
This is a great site.

#21 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:48 PM

I feel like I need to take a class for all this. I'll get it sooner or later. I see all the pics of all your cities and I want mine to look like that. Now!!
This is a great site.


Welcome to the great conversation.

You will find this is a very useful thread. It was constructed initially to help a member who was "all at sea". Have fun.

Edited by A Nonny Moose, 24 May 2012 - 08:49 PM.

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.
JohnNewSig.gif
"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Walt Kelly

Come join us at the Moose Factory


#22 Scott MacLlama

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:48 AM

A Remarkable Guide and Introduction; Thank You, A Nonny Moose.
I have acquired my SC4 + Rush Hour from Steam. What can I, and can I not, do with it...apart from uninstalling it and getting a pack from Amazon or similar?
My Regards

#23 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 11:17 AM

Well, if you find the SimCity 4.exe and check, you should find that you have build level 1,1,641 which is fully patched, diskless and ready to go. If you want to run without Steam's nonsense, make a new shortcut to the .exe, put it on your desktop and everything you see here about command line options applies. You don't have to log on to Steam unless you feel they deserve to snoop around in your system.

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.
JohnNewSig.gif
"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Walt Kelly

Come join us at the Moose Factory


#24 husher

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:32 PM

Heres a tip for all newcomers:, when you start a new reigon, don't pick a random tile anywhere on the region, start at one corner with a small village on a 1 x 1 tile, then slowly expand outwards from it, i've tried this as an experiment and it's worked well; I've done 11 villages( o n 1 x 1 tiles) and 3 towns (on 2 x 2 tiles) and so far have almost 200k sims just in one small corner of the region!( i used a unmodified plains region for this.)
What i've done as i'm going along is to build up road and avenue infrastructure in a grid pattern linking the tiles together, this helps the sims move about more freely.
What i've done is to play each village and town up to 20 game years before moving on to the next so far the results have been quite satisfying
why not try it, yourself.

#25 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:28 AM

This is a pretty good strategy. The only modification I would make is that make sure the tile is in the black. Not hard to do, and I find this more satisfying than not.

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.
JohnNewSig.gif
"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Walt Kelly

Come join us at the Moose Factory


#26 Nielsen

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 06:54 PM

Great thread, much appreciated. I think it would be appropritate to include in the OP that the version number for the pre-patched purchasable download is 1.1.641.0 and not 1.1.640.0 :)

Edited by Nielsen, 11 June 2012 - 07:12 PM.


#27 CaptCity

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:30 PM

Great thread, much appreciated. I think it would be appropritate to include in the OP that the version number for the pre-patched purchasable download is 1.1.641.0 and not 1.1.640.0 :)

It was kind of there, but made it clearer. Thanks.

A wise man once said, "I am not yet a wise man."

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#28 thowwoht

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:05 AM

I cannot thank you enough. As a returning player from the days when this game was brand new, I am astonished to see what the custom community has done and I felt extremely lost when I started to look around. Great walk-through to get up to speed and resources to start digging around for, at the very least, the most commonly used mods. I now feel less and less like I'm missing out on something big as, thanks to this thread and this community, it's all put out front.

Edited by thowwoht, 26 June 2012 - 09:06 AM.


#29 The_City_Builder

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:45 AM

May I just say the the BAT Tutorial in the Omnibus cuts off early? I don't know what to do next. :???:
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#30 A Nonny Moose

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:35 AM

May I just say the the BAT Tutorial in the Omnibus cuts off early? I don't know what to do next. :???:

It is multi-part. You should just go on to the next piece.

 

 

Beware: Emancipated user.  No Windoze for me.
The teacher opens the door but the student must enter himself. - Ancient Chinese Saying
Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. -- Victor Hugo
I haven't lost my mind -- it's backed up on tape somewhere.
JohnNewSig.gif
"We have met the enemy, and he is us" - Walt Kelly

Come join us at the Moose Factory





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