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CorinaMarie

C.O.R.I.M.A.P.S. - A Tutorial for SimCity 4

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Cori, your imagination and your IT knowledge are mind blowing ... And now you're moving into literary romance with the farm region !!!

But my main point is that I'm stumped. When I first your read  your maps posts (about two weeks ago), I tried the "Grey Cloud Trick" and I paid dirt with a first map. But since then I can't get another one. I have tried about 20 or 30 times and no luck. So I checked that first map into the config.bmp and the gray.bmp and, of course, checked your tut to the point I almost know it by heart. Since I noticed that there are other people in the same situation, it encouraged me to post this comment.

 

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  • Original Poster
  • 59 minutes ago, huzman said:

    But since then I can't get another one. I have tried about 20 or 30 times and no luck.

    I'd love to help. Can you be more specific about what isn't working out?

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    hello Mademoiselle Cori

    Well, I follow to the letter the instructions you posted above. No problem getting the grey maps. I see no problem in creating a new region, copying the proper config.bmp into the region. I use the 'magical formula' to get the grey map. And when accept every thing... Pouf! Nothing happens. I notice this because I get the arrow cursor and not the 'generating' cursor.

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  • Are you using GIMP to make your config.bmp? I'd been using my PSE to make them since I know it so well. I only got GIMP to write this tutorial so it'd be a program everyone could have for free. I did, however, make a config.bmp using GIMP the other day and I found that when saving I had to select the compatibility option and select the Do not write color space info option. Is that possibly the root of the problem you are experiencing?

    If that's not it, perhaps you could attach your grayscale and config.bmp file and I could take a gander at them.

     

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    Now that's quick !

    I used Gimp for the grey map all the way down to the "export file" with no problem. I use an old PSP for the config.bmp with no problem either. After quitting these programs, I check with irfanview my results and I don't see anything wrong. Then I check the relation between the two bmps (12x12 for the config and 769x769 for the map, fer inztance,) again no problem. As for posting them it will be a little later, since I made so many tries, my comp is peppered with them. But I'll get back to you soon.

    Merci very much.

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  • Original Poster
  • On 20/01/2017 at 3:00 PM, huzman said:

    OK ! I cleaned a bit around my hard disks and here they are; I hope the attached files works. It did. the x files are the bad ones and the + ones are the good ones. Sorry that the maps show opened.

    Alrighty. I believe I have some answers for you, but first: It's ok the pictures show as opened. The forum software recognizes .jpgs and so it decides it really ought to show them as a picture.

    Anyhow, I went ahead and started with the first set. (The x ones.) I cleared out my Plugins so what you'll see are vanilla renderings.

    That grayscale was actually in RGB format which SC4 does not like. The second one is true grayscale so I know you know about converting them. Prolly, like me, when being a bit flustered it's easy to simply forget one of the steps (or to grab the wrong file for attachment). I could bore you for a couple hours with all the trouble I had from mistakes I made when I first started trying to render maps.

    So, I converted the cartex.jpg image to grayscale:

    47-img0130.jpg

     

    And renamed configx.bmp to config.bmp. I opened the game into that region and here's what I saw:

    48-img0137.jpg

    ^ That part with the large tile bleeding into a medium along with the missing tiles along the edges seemed odd.

    So, the first thing I did was replace the config.bmp with one of my 16x16s that I'd painted all blue just so I could see if it would render. Here's what I got:

    49-RV-16-Large.jpg

    ^ That shows me your height map (the grayscale) is fine. The size of 1025x1025 is correct for the 16x16 config.

    Next I pulled up your Config.Bmp in my imaging program. Here is an oversized version so we can see it:

    50-h1-config-org.jpg

    I checked and each of your Red, Green, and Blue are perfectly 255 (FF in hex) like they need to be. Good job there.

    The problem is as simple as the layout doesn't fully take into account the tile sizes for small, medium, and large tiles. Here's what the game is expecting:

    51-Grid-Tile-Sizes.jpg

    So, the valid parts of your config.bmp are:

    52-h1-config-valid-parts.jpg

    ^And the spaces I've left white are not allowed to be green because they don't form the full 2x2 needed for a medium tile.

    Let's take out the grid lines from the medium and large tiles so it's more apparent how the game sees this:

    53-h1-config-valid-parts2.jpg

     

    So, I just filled in those white pixels (which were originally green) with red to make a valid config.bmp. (Any of the red that form a 2x2 square could be painted green to make a medium tile, but it needs to be all 4 pixels. Same for 4x4 green could be painted blue to make a large tile.)

    54-h1-config-workable.jpg

     

    So now in the game before rendering it looks like this:

    55-RV-2.jpg

     

    And after rendering like this:

    56-RV-3.jpg

     

    Also, I started with .jpg for my grayscales too, but later decided I liked the non-compression of .bmp for them. With the .jpg it'll make subtle changes that our eyes won't notice, but the game will.

    Let me know if this helps.

     

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    Just in case you want to make life easier, having made your heightmap, you can use a little application, SC4 Mapper to make the Config.bmp for you. The great thing about it is that you simply select where to place L, M and S tiles, it then works it all out for you. Not only that, but since it knows what is and isn't valid, it will always produce an image that works.

     

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    Yeah !

    8 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

    That grayscale was actually in RGB format which SC4 does not like.

    It never came to mind to check THAT, which it should. Also the white tiles tip is a  great one. A big thank you.

     

    7 hours ago, rsc204 said:

    you can use a little application, SC4 Mapper

    Thanks to you too. I have stayed away from those kind of addons, since I'm learning the ropes of SC4D for the time being. The TUTs in Youtube are a great help as they correspond exactly to what I'm tackling now

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    On 24/07/2016 at 1:46 AM, CorinaMarie said:

    I noticed is having mods for terrain, rocks, water, and beaches...

    I loaded many of them, but I don't know where to place them. I mention this because I have a lousy result with the generating maps : very high coast edges, no beach  slopes,  very little heights inland, very narrow rivers, I could go on but I won't bother with them. Actually, I rather want to find these solutions than examples. Want a Parisian post card ?

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  • Original Poster
  • 5 hours ago, huzman said:

    I loaded many of them, but I don't know where to place them.

    They go in your Plugins folder which is under your SimCity 4 folder in your Documents folder. If you haven't seen them here's picture catalogues of each:

    Use only one from each category. One thing I recently discovered is some of them have altered the Terrain Properties exemplar with regard to erosion settings so you might get different results with different terrains installed while rendering.

    5 hours ago, huzman said:

    very high coast edges, no beach  slopes,

    I found using the Burn Tool set to 150 pixel size is good for smoothing out the river banks. (I edited that into my first post a little while back.)

    5 hours ago, huzman said:

    very little heights inland

    The highest you will get with the default ImportScaleFactor of 3 is 765 meters. This setting can be adjusted using iLive's Reader if you want taller hills and mountains. There is a related variable for the maximum terrain height that needs adjusted accordingly if changing the scale.

    5 hours ago, huzman said:

    very narrow rivers

    The width of your rivers are based on the pixel size brush you use to paint them. In my guide I used the default 20 pixels. Try 40 or 60 and see how you like that.

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    You did it again ! I needed a glass of water and I was drowned by the avalanche of info here. Thanks a bucket !

    It's going to take me a few years to load and install all the mods and their dependencies, but then, I shall be very selective and do a few of them.

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    Geological Terrain & Water
    I create (or try) to build my gray maps. I'm having trouble with beaches and gently slopes, they are very abrupt and there's land in the water which makes them unsuitable for construction and harbors.
    My question is about the different heights of land and likewise for water. How does one go about determining height ?
    The screenshots shows these very clearly.

    @CorinaMarie tackled the smoothing of beaches with Gimp which are spot on, but my experience with that technique left me a little unsatisfied. My questions here have to do with Heights and how to identify them. I just went to the C.O.R.I.M.A.P.S. thread and most images are not showing. I saw some references to the heights while roaming around, so I presume that there must be some documentations about it. And that would be great.

    Image2.jpg

    Image1.jpg

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  • Original Poster
  • 1 hour ago, huzman said:

    ... most images are not showing.

    I checked just now and they are back. This is an unfortunate side effect of when my image hosting site (Photobucket) goes goofy. I'll see if I can attach the relevant pic here:

    58a9da70486b3_BurnTool.jpg.d55f7620f396cbe4f3e181767b50b4f2.jpg

     

    1 hour ago, huzman said:

    @CorinaMarie tackled the smoothing of beaches with Gimp which are spot on, but my experience with that technique left me a little unsatisfied.

    You could try changing the range of the Burn Tool to Highlights for those steeper banks which are represented by the lighter shades of gray.

     

    1 hour ago, huzman said:

    My questions here have to do with Heights and how to identify them.

    This is a valid question and I confess I went with what others said about the grayscale color number when I said: Providing you have not installed a Height Mod with an alteration to the scale factor and/or sea level, grayscale 83 is slightly below sea level. Lower values are farther under water. Grayscale 84 is slightly above water. Higher values are then higher elevations up to a max of 255 (white).

    This could use some further exploration to see if the GIMP grayscale numbers really do correspond correctly.

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    This is good indeed. I am surprised that there are 171 levels of terrain above water !!!???

    14 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

    This could use some further exploration to see if the GIMP grayscale numbers really do correspond correctly.

    I intend to do just that, not only with GIMP.

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  • On 20/02/2017 at 8:16 AM, huzman said:

    Not in my case, sorry to inform.

    However, the images from @Yum and @BC Canuck show well.

    Hmm. That's weird. As a test would you please try going to the first post in this thread and doing a Ctrl+F5? That's supposed to force a cache refresh. If that doesn't work, it might be worth trying to manually clear your cache. The second paragraph here has linkys for all major browsers for how to do that.

     

    On 20/02/2017 at 7:58 AM, huzman said:

    This is good indeed. I am surprised that there are 171 levels of terrain above water !!!???

    Yes. Providing you are using the default settings for the Terrain Properties in Simcity_1.dat. Here's what it looks like:

    57-Terrain-Properties-Default.jpg

    ^ The relevant parts are the SeaLevel which is at 250 meters by default.  Then the ImageImportScaleFactor (default is 3) determines how many meters correspond to each grayscale value. When you divide the 250 sea level by that 3 you get 83.3333 which is why 83 is to be slightly below water and 84 is to be above. With a max grayscale value of 255 that makes the maximum height be 255 * 3 = 765 meters. And yes, 255 - 84 = 171 levels above sea level.

    There are several other variables which affect how a map is rendered. I once spent a couple hours trying out different settings. I thought my tests proved that none of them changed anything, however, I wasn't aware at that time that the B98_Beach_Extend.dat I had installed is the very same Terrain Properties Exemplar and it was loading after my A Test.dat and therefore overriding everything I tried.

    There's a brief explanation of each of those variables on the SC4Devotion Wiki here in case you are curious.

     

    On 20/02/2017 at 7:58 AM, huzman said:

    I intend to do just that, not only with GIMP.

    I look forward to the results of your tests. One thing I learned subsequent to posting this thread is that instead of typing 40 into red, green, and blue one can enter 16 into the Gray Value and it makes those three show 41 (pretty close to 40). For a test I believe trying 83 in there and painting a large section followed by 84 painted next to it would be a good test.

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    I just finished a first test and right away I can say

    On 20/02/2017 at 1:05 PM, CorinaMarie said:

    For a test I believe trying 83 in there and painting a large section followed by 84 painted next to it would be a good test.

    It ain't good. Too much low level water and unsuitable for harbors. On the terrain side, there is a lot of land that can't be settled.

    My test includes 4 levels of water and four levels of terrain. I used increments of 3 but they are hardly visible. About the water,  I tried level 82 but it created a lot of sand. My suggestion is to next to the 83 one should then choose a really deep level like 74 or 77 or more. That's my next task. There's more to it, but like they say, 'To be continued.'

    But I still don't know how to up-load a zipped region.

    I still don't have the images in @CorinaMarie tutorial in this thread although I can see them in other threads. Are you using that 'Pocket-site' ?

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  • Original Poster
  • 8 hours ago, huzman said:

    It ain't good. Too much low level water and unsuitable for harbors.

    Oops. I should have clarified my test idea wasn't meant to be the solution. What I was suggesting was to see if 83 was unbuildable and slightly below water and 84 was beechy, buildable, and slightly above water.

     

    8 hours ago, huzman said:

    On the terrain side, there is a lot of land that can't be settled.

    I'm guessing with the random erosion and such that might cause some to drop below sea level.  The test, however, is a success if each side is relatively close to what we expect.

     

    8 hours ago, huzman said:

    My suggestion is to next to the 83 one should then choose a really deep level like 74 or 77 or more. That's my next task. There's more to it, but like they say, 'To be continued.'

    Seems like you are definitely on the right track here. I look forward to you continuation.

     

    8 hours ago, huzman said:

    But I still don't know how to up-load a zipped region.

    When I was doing my initial testing I used a single large tile so game load and rendering time would be minimal. If you zip one up that size it it will likely be well under the 4mb limit for an attachment. Then just select the Choose Files... in the lower left below the typing box and browse your comp to select the zip.

     

    8 hours ago, huzman said:

    I still don't have the images in @CorinaMarie tutorial in this thread although I can see them in other threads. Are you using that 'Pocket-site' ?

    This is weird. I'm just using the same regular (free) Photobucket account I created about 4 years ago. I'll browse this thread from work tomorrow as a guest and see if I see my pics or not. I'm curious if you see any of the zillions of pics in my Shoppes threads?

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    7 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

     

    16 hours ago, huzman said:

    I still don't have the images in @CorinaMarie tutorial in this thread although I can see them in other threads. Are you using that 'Pocket-site' ?

    This is weird. I'm just using the same regular (free) Photobucket account I created about 4 years ago. I'll browse this thread from work tomorrow as a guest and see if I see my pics or not. I'm curious if you see any of the zillions of pics in my Shoppes threads?

    I can see all images very well. 

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  • Original Poster
  • On 22/02/2017 at 8:57 AM, huzman said:

    Well yes. Thanks to the tips from @CorinaMarie I just loaded them. Look at the time and date info.

    Am I understanding this right? You did the Ctrl-F5 or cleared your cache or something and now all the pics in this thread show for you?

     

    I downloaded and opened up your region. Here's a topographical map I made of it:

    58-Nourvelle-Topo.jpg

    ^ The seams between the 4 city tiles are not perfect, but it does give a pretty good overview of your whole region. I presume these are the step increments from like 74 to 92 grayscale?

    When I made one for my farm region I drew grid lines to hide the seams:

    Spoiler

    59_62-Topo-Map.jpg

     

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    I'm sorry to say that I still don't get any images. (I suspect that Pocket site). Your 'Shoppes' are off too. I did the F5 trick. No luck. I used CCleaner and got rid of ALL caches, and everything it does which is lot. No luck. Now, in other sites or even other threads here, everything works.

    The seams are voluntary.

    So back to this thread : I'm working on 83-84 thing. Forget doing 82. In fact, When leveling a coast with the leveling tool in Divine Mod, I got rid of those 82,83 and such and I was able to build all the 3 harbors available and settling houses was good enough. I haven't finished that region so 'Stay tuned, coming soon !'

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  • 7 hours ago, huzman said:

    I'm sorry to say that I still don't get any images.

    Well, phooey. I'm out of ideas. I did view this thread as a guest from work today and all the pics showed. That tells me neither ST nor PB is the culprit.

     

    7 hours ago, huzman said:

    (I suspect that Pocket site).

    (I don't even know what that is.)

     

    7 hours ago, huzman said:

    I haven't finished that region so 'Stay tuned, coming soon !'

    I'll be waiting.

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    8 hours ago, huzman said:

    Your 'Shoppes' are off too. I did the F5 trick. No luck. I used CCleaner and got rid of ALL caches, and everything it does which is lot. No luck. Now, in other sites or even other threads here, everything works.

    Sounds like an ISP issue to me; either that or an overactive anti-spyware program blocking the IP address of the host.

    I'd try looking at these threads at an alternate location, either a library or school away from your home. Alternatively but requiring more setup, you could try a proxy server, but I'd save that for later unless you're familiar with them, because even the free web-based ones are often more work than they're worth.

    Other test would be trying to load the images directly, either by right-clicking "view image" or seeing if you can access normal photobucket.com period, away from ST.

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        Saving the Scripts
        Both work by saving them as command line scripts with the .cmd file extension. This can be done using any plain text editor, including Windows Notepad.
        Personally as hinted above, I would recommend Notepad++ for the benefit of the code syntax highlighting. It also handily comes with many other features for manipulating text, featuring a powerful find & replace tool with regex ability (advanced search mode). But in terms of what's required here as a simple copy, paste and save to file, these are just little extras which you may find useful for other projects in future.

        The end goal is to have both scripts saved, ideally for convenience to the same folder.
        For instance:

         
        The actual task of saving is very simple. I'll describe the steps for both Notepad++ and Windows Notepad using the windowed mode code. However as this part may well be self-explanatory, feel free to skip the following instructions and continue onto setting up the desktop shortcuts.
         
        Using Notepad++
        OR
        Using Windows Notepad
         
        Creating Desktop Shortcuts
        To run either of the scripts, it's possible by navigating to their folder and double clicking on them. This will do the job just fine. However for accessibility and since it's probably what you're already familiar with, I recommend linking each via a shortcut placed on your desktop (or wherever is convenient).
        Then there will be two shortcuts – One referencing the windowed script, the other for full screen.
         
        Step 1 of 3
        First make a copy of your existing SC4 shortcut.
        Or if you don't have one already, go to your game's installation path and open the Apps subfolder. Then right click the executable file ( SimCity 4.exe ), and in the context menu choose: Send to > Desktop (create shortcut). Then make a duplicate copy so you've got two exactly the same.

        Rename accordingly to whatever you'd like them called.
        For example:


        For the next steps I'll explain the process with the windowed shortcut. Repeat the same for your full screen one...
         
        Step 2 of 3
        The next task involves editing the Target path in the shortcut.
        Right click and open the Properties. Then remove the current path pointing to the game's executable. This is no longer needed because the script does this part, along with passing the parameters to set a custom resolution and toggle between windowed or full screen modes.
        Then paste in the path to the script like so:



        Note: This can be easily obtained by navigating to the script, holding the Shift key, then right clicking and choosing the Copy as path option.
        If you copied in a path which didn't contain spaces, the quotation marks will automatically be removed from the Target line upon saving and opening the shortcut Properties. Those are only needed to preserve a path should there be any spaces included.
         
        Step 3 of 3
        Click Apply, then OK and close the shortcut.
        Repeat for the full screen shortcut or vice versa.

        At this point it's good to go, but there is an additional adjustment possible should you wish...
         
        Addendum
        A big thanks to @CorinaMarie for inspiration behind this idea, helping me with technical aspects, and also sharing many valuable suggestions along the way.

        There could be other uses with this or similar techniques.
        For example, to potentially expand and tailor scripts specifically to:
        Move another mod file in and out, such as the Diagonal Bridge Enabler. Control sets of custom content by moving multiple files in and out of your Plugins folder as needed. Have a multiple choice option in the command line for using certain shortcut parameters. Log the time when starting SC4 to keep track of how long you're in the mayor's office. Create incremental backups of your Regions before starting the game.
        So that brings this tutorial to a conclusion. Once you've saved both scripts and created the shortcuts, the game can then be fully enjoyed in either full screen or windowed mode with a simple double click. Hopefully this may come in useful and even inspire other possibilities. Be creative!
        Any feedback, comments or questions welcome.
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