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

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Here's the results of my experiments with the water and land heights.  I didn't include the seawall placements as that seems to be another topic.


So 74 and 84 are the magic numbers.  In between is the slush or underwater sand-bank.  In Region view the slush doesn't show up, it is rendered as water, but in City view more slush gradient shows up.   When water is considered inland it will appear darker/deeper and water transport automata did not appear in inland waters.

Using automata generators I found that the non-network connected boats and ships will float on any surface below 84, the cruise ship especially easily.  The networked ferry will plop at 84 and ferries will run ok at 74. 

74 seems to be the minimum depth for water transport.  Beach gradients extend from 84 to 92, then the grassy embankment gradients extend from 92 to 98 where rock cliffs start to take form.  

For bridges my first discovery was that a ground rail bridge will cross nicely at 92 allowing ferries underneath and with a very minimal hump.  At 96 elevated and mono rails will cross at level height allowing ferries and with no hump.  Road, ground and elevated highways cross at level height at 100.   At 110 most bridges will cross with no hump and at ferry-allowed height.

I did not test using UDI because I never use it. Turning off UDI is one of the first things I do at the start of a city.  I find the UDI icons to be like flies buzzing around a plate of food.  

Below is the greyscale used in this experiment:


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20 hours ago, huzman said:

...although I know I'm giving up a lot of goodies. Must try those missions somewhere though.

I think each "goody" is available via other accomplishments, so you're not necessarily giving up anything, just one route to each. If you decide that you really need to unlock things for your city, then there's a cheat for that.

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10 hours ago, RandyE said:

So 74 and 84 are the magic numbers... ferries will run ok at 74. 

So if my ferry's water end is "slush" (shallower than 74), then it won't carry passengers? That makes 74 a magic number indeed, because deeper water causes more lot-depression when plopping, The ferry, port, garbage-dock etc seems to average the elevations, sometimes sinking a lot so deeply that I can't connect roads or rails to it.

Fortunately, my garbage docks and container ports don't seem to care about water depth (or bridge heights). I'll keep an eye on my ferry terminals. I may need to resculpt their sites and replop the terminals. If so, then at least one ancient thread about how to plop coastal facilities (and advising shallow water to ward against lot-sinking) might benefit from an update.

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15 minutes ago, jeffryfisher said:

So if my ferry's water end is "slush" (shallower than 74), then it won't carry passengers?

In my experiment I only tested the levels and visuals of function, but not the actual functionality of any of the placements (such as ferry passengers).   I also didn't test the Marina directly because I was using a pure vanilla plugin folder with only a money cheat so no rewards available.  As far as I could tell no water placement would plop lower than 84.  I didn't test to see if ferries would travel across slushy areas between 74 and 84, but they sailed nicely across the 74 water level.   I think if the ferries are actually seen then it means somebody jumped on board for a ride.    

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On 30/3/2017 at 6:20 PM, CorinaMarie said:

I believe it now falls in the Abandonware category. I'll attach it here with the caveat that if Ordio does not want it to be available it will be removed. The file is a Windoze .msi installer file. I've also included an archive of the help page. It's in the Mozilla Archive Format so you will need Firefox and that addon to view it. (It's not required to use SCRACC.)



I can't download SCRACC.ZIP with this error....



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  • Original Poster
  • 19 minutes ago, AsimPika3172 said:

    I can't download SCRACC.ZIP with this error....

    Phooey. We are going thru some growing pains as we've moved files and such. Dirk is working on this one right now since I reported it. Try back in an hour or so and let me know if you get it then. If all else fails I can re-upload it under the new file system. (But we'd rather fix the existing bug.)

    Edit: @AsimPika3172 Woot! Dirk did that fast. Try the linky now and it should work.

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    First off, @CorinaMarie, I would like to say I think this tutorial/method is great. Lately I've been sucked into mapmaking however I never really moved beyond MS paint as a kid in the 90's. I've always been more of a pen and pencil sketchbook artist sorta unwilling to embrace the digital revolution. With this tutorial I was easily able to jump in and get my feet wet. Thanks for making it so straight forward and easy to follow.

    Second, have any of you out there got any tricks up your sleeves for adding noise or randomness to a GIMP grayscale heightmap?

    I haven't been able to get any good cloud shots lately but what to use my own stock/base image to make my map more personal. With varying amounts of success I've had some fun using this method on close up shots I've taken of eroded rocks from my local beach, Christmas tree lights and their glow, and other random croppings from my photo library. They all come out a little too smooth though. I've been doing Gaussian Blur to initially clean up my heightmaps a little, you know... taking out the ugly spikes and pits. But I would like to add some more variation after the fact. Is there another filter type that I haven't stumbled upon yet that will lead to something like this? I'm trying to avoid manually painting or smudging in ridges and cracks in the environment.

    I have a feeling if I could wrap my head around layering an image things would be headed in the right direction. I wouldn't mind using a sourced image, such as someone else's clouds *;), as my 2nd layer. But that overwhelms me each time I try it out. If anyone can link me to some simple instruction on the subject that would be great but it's not exactly what I'm looking for right now.

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  • Original Poster
  • 7 hours ago, MJWitski said:

     I would like to say I think this tutorial/method is great.

    Thanks! I'm glad to see you like it. *:)


    7 hours ago, MJWitski said:

    Second, have any of you out there got any tricks up your sleeves for adding noise or randomness to a GIMP grayscale heightmap?

    Oodles of them. *;) Basically you want to explore the Filters options in GIMP. When I've played around with this I do them before the GBlur.


    So, here we are in GIMP in the Filters menu, mouse over Noise, then over to Hurl... The hover tip says: "Completely randomize a fraction of the pixels".

    01 Filter Menu.jpg

    ^ Note: The grayscale shown here already had the noise added. (I couldn't easily find my pre-finished one, but I'm just showing the menu choices.)


    Click that and here's the popup dialog box where I've adjusted the Randomization to 10%:

    02 Hurl 10%.jpg


    Then I added the Gaussian Blur:
    03 Gray.jpg


    Here we are with it rendered in the game and in one of the city tiles:

    04 Vanilla.jpg

    ^ Grid is on to better see the effect of the noise. No terrain mods loaded in this pic.


    Here's the same pic, but with my fav terrain, rock, water, and beach mod;

    05 Columbus.jpg

    ^ This makes it a bit easier to see the lumpiness.


    Zoomed in a bit showing vanilla:

    06 Vanilla.jpg


    And same with terrain stuff:

    07 Columbus.jpg


    A lot of this whole method is trial and error. Pick various filters and settings and give them a try.

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    Just getting back into playing SimCity 4 after long absence, and wanted to create my own regions, but was getting totally frustrated. Then what a miracle I came across you wonderful post. Love your hints on using the different features in GIMP, am also using the SMUDGE TOOL.

    So am now busily making several of my own regions.

    Many thanks for your wonderful article, much appreciated indeed.

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