By Indiana Joe
Hi all, Matt here.
Coming back from a few years of rarely touching the game, and being rather disconnected from the shrinking but still active and amazing custom content community, I found myself feeling renewed interest in playing. 15 years after this game was created, it has long been a tradition for the enthusiast player to customize it heavily to their liking. In a nutshell, I wanted to build a fresh new plugins folder, and I wanted to document the thought process. I know very well the feeling of spending more time customizing than actually playing, so I wanted to have a theme of simplicity, and of keeping the traditional spirit of gameplay that the creators at Maxis originally wove into the game, as it was that unique charm that drew all of us into the game in the first place.
This one is going to be quite the essay, so buckle up (and also written at 2 AM, when you have all your best ideas ) I will discuss some of the philosophy I am going in with as I plan out this plugins folder and it's "final form," and then some content-specific practical planning for customizing each aspect of the game.
In fact to make it more of an interesting article than an essay, I think I'll drop in some old screenshots of mine from throughout the years, from random unrelated scenes and projects.
A quaint small town on a bay, its name forgotten among all the other sleepy little communities that are easy to quickly build in the game, yet look like they have been nestled in the hills for generations.
Over the years I have collected a fairly moderate size of plugins for the game (3 and a half gigabytes worth, but who's counting?). While I kept my own plugins folder relatively organized, it was the plugins themselves that did not mesh together very well. There can be much inconsistency between countless different authors. The perfect solution to this would be to use the wide array of creator tools made by the community to customize each lot to one's own standard. But I think I can save a lot of time by limiting the number of cooks in the kitchen. I will focus on a few high-quality creators that have a large catalogue of content that is consistent in design. I will probably still end up making many of my own edits, but the less of this I am able to do, the more accessible this project might be to a reader who wants to follow in my footsteps and use this as a guide to build their own folder.
A second main issue is the sheer size of the available custom content. A mile-long menu of lots to scroll through in the game makes for a poor playing experience. Of course there is a mod to address this: Daeley's Advance Menu Navigator. While impressive in its time, it is a dated and imperfect mod. My intention instead is to limit the number of total ploppable items I include in the game, for a more traditional experience. I aim for a style of gameplay that feels like a new expansion pack for the game; the mythical follow-up release to Maxis's Rush Hour.
"Limit" will in fact be a central theme to the folder. There has to be a balance between having too many repeat buildings and lots, and having an overwhelming amount of custom content. The folder never has to be "complete" per se, but will set up a structure such that anything added will fit right in, like an identical link at the end of the chain. Nothing new will be added that massively changes the way everything works, outside perhaps of updates to major mods. Now, in 2018, I feel is a great time to do this, which brings me to the subject of timing.
A shopping center, featuring a mall, a few restaurants, and a smaller strip mall. Sims come in droves on the weekend to spend exorbitant amounts of money on trivial materials and gimmicks.
When is a good time to build a plugins folder for SimCity 4? Somewhere on the highest mountaintop in Timbuktu, a wise monk ponders the answer. The answer is...now! No, really, not as in "it's never too late to start," but actually now in 2018.
My personal renewal in interest for the game is 90% nostalgia of course, and another part of it may be the new desktop computer I built this year. The desktop is where I discovered and fell in love with the game; it has a different playing experience with a bigger monitor and comfy office chair. I left home to go to college and had less time to play, but also the game was less enjoyable on a laptop. Not to mention all of the graphics driver issues that come with that setup.
In the time that I've been gone, the community has waned and slowed down. Many left for other city builders. EA was disappoint as per usual. Colossal Order stole the show with the beautiful Cities: Skylines. SimCity 4 is an aged bottle. But that is a good thing. Imagine, for a moment, the plugins folder you are building in 2009. The NAM is new, lots of content is being made. 2 years later, and your folder is outdated. You've got obsolete stuff in there, and it requires constant maintenance. By 2013, the new SimCity drops and everyone hates it. Go back to ol' SC4 and your plugins folder and now it needs to be updated to add all of the new HD content, updated mods, etc. etc.
Skylines is still growing with official updates and custom content, perhaps in a few years it will be easy to make a perfected collection of content for it. But now is the time that I can sit down and make a SimCity 4 plugins folder, and it will feel relatively stable. New content is coming out but not like in the past, when the mod landscape was changing from year to year.
Playability, Having Fun, and Having Style
Downtown with a busy boulevard, public hospital, and a civic plaza. Someone needs to water that grass between the hospital and town hall parking lots.
As previously said, I want to focus on making the game fun to play. There should be a balance between realism, which can never be perfectly achieved anyway, and "game." Every piece of added content will build off of what the game provides, and statistics will be balanced in accordance with the traditional game. A few exceptions will be the traffic simulator and agricultural simulator, modified by the NAM and SPAM respectively. These mods are well-balanced, well fleshed-out, and improve the game experience tremendously.
Also, nothing should feel like cheating. It will be an immense project to try to re-balance the financial aspect of the game. Going into this I hope to have consistent prices and incomes from various lots and objects. Having goals and struggles are a huge part of what makes the game entertaining and engaging, and I think the sandbox play style that many players have gone towards has also turned some away by the boredom that comes with it.
I envision a consistent style across my game, building off of the American architecture and city layout that Maxis designed. Fortunately most content available conforms to this. I will try to stick to High Definition content as well, as there is plenty of it available. There are some good collections of old lots that use SD props, but fortunately many of them have been re-made or re-lotted.
Alright, this is the end of the rambling article. I'm going to split this up and make another post organized into specific sections of the game and the custom content I will use. Thanks for reading~
I searched the forum's and couldn't find where to post my question.
First, I am running Windows 10 64 bit, Direct X version 12, Processor: AMD A10-8700P Radeon R6 10 Compute Cores 4C+6G (4 CPUs)-1.8 GHz. Memory: 8192 MB RAM
The problem I am having is Lot Editor will not run with Folders in my Game Plugins Folder. If I remove the Plugins folder, Lot Editor will start fine, then I add the Plugin Folder back, Lot Editor will not start. In Task Manager it shows the Lot Editor " Not Responding ". I have to end the Task to close the Program. I am running the Lot Editor in Compatibility mode " Windows XP (Service Pack 3). I also have the "Run this program as an Administrator" selected. Do I have to make a separate folder, Like in PIM-X ( which I have never used) and only add the Plugins I want to work with?
I haven't used Lot Editor since around 2011 on a system running Windows 7 and it worked fine with folders in my Game Plugin Folder.
Any help would be appreciated.
first time poster from germany here.
to get the important stuff out of the way upfront: you guys are awesome! thank you very, very much for making my childhood time waster no.1 addictive again.
here is my problem: i downloaded a rough 3,2 GB in props and mods..but the dependencies are confusing the hell outta me. is there a chronological order in which to install them? they seem to come at random and totally out of any consistent categorization(?). i installed the lot of them...and wouldn't you know...CTD's all the time. :/
i would be VERY thankful if one of you wizards could tell me if there is a proper order for installation..and if i HAVE to use cleanitol all the time (not understanding that tool at all...o have two master degrees and that darn creation makes me feel..well..stupid^^).
i checked tzhe forum to see if this question was asked before but i couldn't find anything..so sorry in advance if this problem has been discussed to death already.
again, THANK YOU! this is a whole new experience of SC4, and i'm lovin it.
Like most of you folks, I have a huge back-catalog in a spreadsheet somewhere of assets I plan on making some day.
Well, here's my list.. This is just the stuff I want to make, It's alright if there is already a good asset on the workshop for it, it's just for my own pleasure.
This isn't going to replace the refinery project, I'll still keep updating that thread. I just wanted to have a place to keep my other assets organized and seek advice from everyone.
I'll have to clean up the list at some point, but for now it's just a data dump. I have some more things I would like to make, but I don't have a design picked out yet, so I left them off for now.
Oil Refinery - Oil Processing
Oil Refinery - Cargo Train Station
Oil Refinery - Cargo Ship Dock
Maintained Parking Lot Set
Park, in road menu
Steelworks - Cargo Train Station
Steelworks - Ore Processing
Steelworks - Ore Processing
Road Maintenance Building
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