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Introduction and Guide to Simtropolis

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  • Basics of Using the Forum Software


    Creating A New Topic 

    In every forum there is a nice, big button called Start New Topic. Simply click that to begin.



    That will bring up the post editor:


    ^ The important parts of the above are:

    1. Title - This is what will be shown in the list of threads in that forum. Make the title something descriptive with regard to the content you are creating. Avoid titles such as "Help!" or "Hey" and the like.
    2. Tags - These are used by the search function. You must enter a minimum of two tags. Make them relevant to the post content.
    3. Message Box - This is where you type the actual content of your post.
    4. Notify me of replies - If this does not show in green with the check mark as in the above picture, click it to enable replies notification. (More about notifications in a moment.)
    5. Submit Topic - After you have completed all of the above click this button to finalize the topic creation. It will then show as a thread in the forum's list.


    Selective Quoting 

    When replying to one or more posts in a topic you may want to quote only part of the message. Use your mouse to highlight the part you want to quote. A Quote this bubble will then appear. Click that.



    I then personally type an x and hit the enter key as a place holder. Continue highlighting and quoting the lines you plan to reply to.


    Once you have everything you want quoted then delete the placeholder x and type what you wish to say.


    Bountiful Bunch of Buttons 

    Most of the buttons in the editor are self explanatory. You can mouse over them and a description will pop up.


    Some of the more mysterious buttons are described below.


    The Link Button


    First off, let's say we are going to provide a link to something we want the reader to click. We can copy the URL and paste it right into the post. If it is a link to something on Simtropolis, it will convert itself into a preview style box. So instead of it looking like this:


    It will show up like this:

    However, let's say we don't like either of those options and would like a word or phrase to show up as a clickable link. We could type something like the following and highlight the word we want to be the link.

    Dear reader, check out my map tutorial here. Then we click the Link button.

    And it pops up a window like this:


    ^ Notice the word "here" is automatically placed in the Link text field. Had we highlighted several words they would all show there.

    We click in the URL field box and paste the URL into it. Now it looks like this.


    Then click the Insert into post button. Our text now shows with the word "here" clickable.

    Dear reader, check out my map tutorial here.


    Linking to a Specific Post

    Sometimes we want to draw attention to one particular post within a thread here on Simtropolis. How do we get that URL? Find the Posted date or time link located in the upper left of the post. With a sophisticated browser (such as Firefox) you can then right-click and select Copy Link Location. That will put the URL for that post into your clipboard. Then you can paste it into your post directly or via the Link box.


    So then I could write: Yum created a map in this post. Or I could simply paste the URL and let the editor change it to a preview like this:

    Ok, so what if your browser doesn't offer any option to copy the link location by right-clicking it? Simply click that Posted date or time link. Your browser will refresh with the link you need in its URL address bar. Then you can copy it from there.


    Linking to Something Offsite

    Sometimes you'll want to link to something which is not on Simtropolis. (Wait! There are other sites?) Those only have two options for displaying the link. It's either like this:


    Or by using the Link box to make it look like this:

    Clip2Pic (v1.0) by wouanagaine


    The Emoticons Button


    (Borrowed from @Cyclone Boom's post here.)

    With emoticons, there are a few others (50 in total), which can be expanded in the menu:

    Emoticons Expand.png

    Just click "Simtropolis" as highlighted to reveal the full family. *;)

    It'd be interesting to know if anyone's ever memorised all of the shortcut access codes:

    :) ;) :D :thumb: :golly: :8) :P
    :lol: :yes: :ohyes: :party: :idea: :read: :???:
    :rofl: :kitty: :} :] ^_^ :no: :ooh:
    0:) :ducky: :bunny: :wub: :blush: :* :ninja:
    :whatevs: :uhm: :meh: o.O :lost: :nyah: :(
    >.< :noway: :yawn: :zzz: :sly: :cry: :O
    :boggle: :drool: :dead: >:( :hmph: :angry: :rage:

    (If you paste all that into a post, bingo!)



    The Spoiler Button


    This option has a couple of uses. Let's say you are requesting help for tweaking your SimCity 4 files so it will recognize your video card (GPU) and one of our gurus (such as @rsc204) requests that you post your auto-config log. Well, that thing is quite lengthy and there's no need for making everyone have to scroll and scroll (and scroll) to get past it to continue reading the thread. So, click the Spoiler button and paste your text inside of it. Then it will look like this in the completed post.


    Log generated on 8/21/2016, 08:48

    hardwareDriver = true
    DXT = true
    fullscreen = true
    MMX = true
    FPU = true
    backingStore = true
    forcedFSAA = false

    userName = Administrator
    appName = SimCity 4
    version = 1.1.640.0
    osVersion = Windows NT 5.1
    computerName = CORI-2015-01-18
    CPU = GenuineIntel
    sglDriverName = DirectX
    sglDriverVersion = 2.0
    driverName = nv4_disp.dll
    driverVersion =, GUID: D7B71E3E-4052-11CF-D277-23B10EC2CD35
    cardName = NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 (Microsoft Corporation)
    cardVersion = Vendor: 10de, Device: 0312, Board: 91231462, Chipset: 00a1
    cardIdentity = NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 (Microsoft Corporation)
    soundDriverName = smwdm.sys
    soundCardName = SoundMAX Digital Audio
    buildType = Release

    cpuSpeed = 2793
    memory = 2048
    freeMemory = 1724
    screenWidth = 1024
    screenHeight = 768
    screenBPP = 16
    videoMemory = 125
    textureMemory = 125
    textureStages = 8
    bogoFPS = 0
    bogoMPPS = 0

    applying Sound
    applying high sound detail
    applying City Detail and Day/Night Settings
    applying City Detail and Day/Night Settings>
    applying high computer power
      option 9 = 3
      option 13 = 1
      option 15 = 3
    applying Texture Quality and Building Variety Settings
    applying Texture Quality and Building Variety Settings>
    applying high memory
      option 3 = 3
      option 14 = 3
    applying Variable Speed Automata
    applying default
      option 10 = 1
    applying Standard hardware
      option 0 = 1
      option 1 = 1
      option 2 = 1
      option 4 = 0
      option 5 = 1
      option 8 = 1
      option 7 = 1
      option 6 = 1
      option 11 = 0
      option 12 = 0
    applying Standard hardware>
      option 1 = 2
    applying Standard hardware>>
      option 0 = 2
    applying Standard hardware>>>
      option 2 = 2
    applying Standard hardware>>>>
      option 4 = 1
    applying Standard hardware>>>>>
      option 11 = 1
    applying Two stages
    applying Lotsa vidmem
    applying Not Slow GeForce
    applying Fast card
    applying Fast card>
      option 12 = 1
    applying Fast card>>
      option 1 = 3
    applying Fast card>>>
      option 0 = 3
    applying Fast card>>>>
      option 2 = 3
    applying Fast card>>>>>
      option 4 = 1

    Visual Effects       current:   3 recommended:   3
    Cars/Sims            current:   3 recommended:   3
    Shadows              current:   1 recommended:   3
    Atmospheric effects  current:   0 recommended:   1
    Water effects        current:   1 recommended:   1
    Software/Hardware    current:   1 recommended:   1
    Cursor               current:   1 recommended:   1
    VariableSpeedAutomata current:   1 recommended:   1
    Translucent UI       current:   1 recommended:   1
    Graphic Detail       current:   3 recommended:   3
    Building Load Speed  current:   3 recommended:   3
    Texture Quality      current:   3 recommended:   3

    forcesoftwaredriver = false
    renderdynamicview = true
    renderstaticview = true
    renderwatereffects = true
    rendercloudsandfog = true
    forcepointsampling = false
    forcebilinear = false
    forcenoalphablend = false
    forcenoalphatest = false
    rendershadows = true
    renderdecals = true
    usesecondstage = true
    forcedebugtexture = false
    renderparticleeffects = true
    renderflorashadows = true
    renderterrain = true
    showupdateregions = false
    usecursoreffects = true
    drawlottextures = true
    drawlotfoundations = true
    drawlotwalls = true
    forcetexturerepeat = false
    usescreenshake = true
    renderui = true
    useupdaterectclipping = true
    usevertexbuffers = true
    showboundingboxes = false
    useoverlayculling = true
    rendersnapshot = false
    noaddsigned = false
    nopartialbackingstorecopies = false
    usescreenflash = true
    renderautomata = true
    preferopaque = false
    displayalertborders = true
    drawlotopaquetextures = true
    useviewcleanup = false
    doautozoomandrotationchanges = true

    viewoffsety = 0
    viewoffsetx = 0
    texturebits = 32
    lodoffset = 0
    shadowdebug = 0
    maxparticlestarget = 10000
    particlelodoffset = 0
    effectprioritylevel = 5
    backingstoremaxzoomall = 5
    backingstoremaxzoombuildingsprops = 5
    backingstoremaxzoomterrain = 5
    backingstoremaxzoomflora = 5
    shadowquality = 2
    minvehiclezoom = 3
    minpedzoom = 4
    cursortype = 1
    depthoffset = 2
    debugtexture = 0
    dirtyrectmergeframes = 2
    sounddetail = 2
    buildingvariety = 2
    buildingloaderspeed = 1
    modellodoffset = 0
    stringtexturecachesize = 1024

    particleeffectslod = 5
    splattexturescale = 50
    texbindmaxfree = 8
    particledensity = 1
    particledamping = 0
    particlescale = 1
    lightingupdatedelta = 0.0001
    shadowmodelthreshold = 12
    demolishmodelthreshold = 12
    rendermodelthreshold = 6
    rendermodelthresholdscroll = 40
    particlesizethreshold = 300
    maxvehiclepct = 1
    maxpedpct = 1
    opaqueuialphavalue = 0.55

    Another use for the spoiler is in general conversation. It could go like this.

    Have you seen that new murder mystery movie?


    The butler did it!


    Another way to use the spoiler is to first type or paste your text, highlight it, then click the spoiler button. The end result is the same. Of note: The spoiler does not reduce page load times. The entire page is rendered first, then the spoiler mask is placed over the content to be hidden.


    Edit 2017.09.23 - We've added Spoiler Labels.

    You will now get a pop up like this:

    Spoiler Label Edit.jpg

    Which allows the spoiler to have a label.


    And inside you just type or paste whatever you want to be hidden.

    While in the editor you can double click on the gray spoiler title bar to re-pop up the spoiler edit window in case you want to change the label text.

    A minor bug (IMO) is that you will not see the label while typing, editing, or previewing your post. The labels only show up once you submit the post. (This plugin was free so it's definitely worth the price paid.)


    The Code Button


    This one is handy for when you prefer that the post editor software leaves your text alone. Let's say I'm explaining how to post a picture and I want to show what the direct URL for it looks like. If I paste it right into my post it's going to resolve itself into an image. Sure, I can click the popup to say remove formatting, but then it's a clickable link. By using the Code box I can show it like this:


    Or let's say I want to show some actual programming code so I do this:


    But it adds colors I really didn't want like this:


    Notice the HTML thinger in the lower right of the code box? That's a drop down menu. Click it and select No Syntax Highlighting.


    And now it shows like this:

    Set ExactMoment=%date:~-4%%date:~4,2%%date:~7,2%_%HH%%time:~3,2%%time:~6,2%


    The Preview Button


    This offers different views to show how a post would appear on different devices, which is quite neat.
    See this article for more info.


    On Getting Beeped - aka Notifications Settings

    To set up your notification preferences you can go to the drop down of your user name. That pops up this window and you click the Account Settings linky.



    On the window which pops up next look over on the right side to find the Other Settings. Click on Notification Settings.


    These are the settings I find most relevant:

    • Automatically follow new content I post
    • Automatically follow content I reply to
    • Play a sound when I receive a notification

    That window looks like this:


    And you'll also notice I have removed the tick (check mark) from the Show popup window when I receive a new personal message because that is simply annoying. You will still get a regular notification when you receive a new message.

    Now, scroll down from there and you will see a long Notifications List. Most are self explanatory, but I want to point out the Someone mentions me in a post. It looks like this:


    That is for when you use the @ mention feature. To use it in a post you type the @ symbol and then start typing someone's display name. Once you see it in the list, click it to embed the mention.


    And then it will look like this: @CorinaMarie and if that person has Mention Notification enabled, they will get beeped.


    More Ways to get Beeped

    Let's say you are reading a topic and would like to be notified of replies, but you are not going to make a post in that thread. (Oh, and btw, Topic and Thread are used interchangeably with regard to content in forums. They refer to the exact same thing. I have no idea why a thread is a topic. To me thread is something I use to sew on a button or to hem my skirt. But, anyhow, back to writing this guide...)


    Following a Topic

    At the top right side of a topic there is a Follow button.


    Click that to pop up your options.


    Then click the Follow button in the popup.


    Following a Forum

    This is the same procedure as for following a topic with the exception you click the Follow button when viewing the forums list instead of a particular topic. When you follow a forum that will send you a notification when a new topic is posted.


    Something Fun

    Let's say we are discussing something or other and would like to have an image be a clickable linky like this:



    First I posted the linky to my picture and waited for it to resolve itself into an image. Then I double clicked it while in the editor and pasted the linky of where I wanted it to link to. Like this:



    Final Words

    All of the above tips should be sufficient to help you get going here on Simtropolis. Feel free to ask about anything not covered by creating a thread here in the New Members Information forum or over in the Simtropolis Related forum.


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    Thank You for the Continued Support!

    Simtropolis relies mainly on member donations to continue operating. Without your support, we just would not be able to be entering our 15th year online!  You've really help make this a great community.

    But we still need your support to stay online. If you're able to, please consider a donation to help us stay up and running, so that we can help keep bringing SimCity players together to share our creations.

    Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

    Expand your city with the best from the Simtropolis Echange.
    Make a donation and get one or all three discs today!


    By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

    Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

    Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

    More About STEX Collections