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Looking at my profile I see it was four years ago when I first happened upon these forums.

I really liked SimCity 4.  I bought the "SimCity Limited Edition"  and I wasn't happy with it at all. So I kind of fell away from the game. Recently I decided to get back into it.

When my Mom died & I was moving into her house, I found the old "SimCity 4 Box" set during my packing. All of the fun I had playing the game was enhanced when I learned that I could create & use my own maps. I have always been into photography so I have Photoshop on my pc. I had so much fun making those maps, & tweaking them to work better.

Many years ago I did buy the STEX Collection of discs, but I can't find them now. Being a pack rat helps & hinders all at the same time.... you know you have it somewhere, you just can't locate it within  everything else. So I will be purchasing everything again (I always seem to find the originals after I purchase the replacements). I'm asking for a little help, please...? I remember having a problem, years ago, when I had items stored in the wrong folder & it would create issues when trying to use stuff that was dependent on it. The help,.... would any of you experts be so kind as to direct me to creating the right folders for the right items in order to keep all of it working properly, please?

I will be downloading the NAM as well, but I won't do so until I have the new discs so I can get it all stored properly. I was pretty disgusted before when I couldn't use certain items & I really want to avoid that this time. 

Until I get the discs I will be dabbling in photoshop creating maps.

Thank you in advance for ANY help you may provide. 

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  • Original Poster
  • Also, I have a problem out of the gate.... there was a problem with the box of discs I found so I had to download the game through Steam. Now when I make a city the city names all have "de facto" behind them.

    Could someone explain that to me, & / or suggest a "fix", please?

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    Hiya, @Violator31. Welcome back to Simtropolis! *:)

    The very best idea with plugins is to go slow and test in a sandbox region. There are many good ideas in the Show us how you manage your plugin folder thread. My own personal tip is to keep a copy of any original download in a separate location outside of the SimCity 4 folder so you always have it too. For maps I'll point you to my C.O.R.I.M.A.P.S. - A Tutorial for SimCity 4 in case that method is of any use to you. Then you can also look in these threads for chosing terrain related mods:

    The default mayor name is de facto. That should change when you start a city in Mayor Mode naming the city tile and giving a mayor name. (I use the dot . for my mayor name so it obscures less in region view.)

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    If your game is Deluxe Edition or if you've the Rush Hour expansion pack, then you're recommended to check my guide:

    Otherwise, you might want to redeem your key to Origin. A word of warning, don't buy the game on the platform, just redeem the key. If you buy it, your bought game isn't patched and unpatchable. Thanks.

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    Hi Violator31, and glad you've found your way back to the community. *:)

    The site may look a bit different now and with a few new names around the members and staff, but it's still chugging along after all these years.


    As Cori wisely hinted at above, for any new or returning player to SC4, one key bit of advice I recommend is the strategy of simplicity.

    The diverse world of custom content makes it so easy to get overwhelmed and lost. I've been there myself and quickly spent more time trying to systematise a plugins set, instead of simply enjoying building cities. After making a fresh start, what I've since realised is how a ton of content isn't needed to enjoy SC4, especially if mainly interested in the gameplay side than solely focussed on artistic design. That does depend on personal preference though, so there's no right or wrong answer. In any case, content can be used to enhance the style of cities you wish to create. The mapping side is also a great place to start. First gaining inspiration and providing a solid foundation to build upon.


    In terms of the structure of one's plugins, by default there are two locations at:

    C:\Users\<Username>\Documents\SimCity 4\Plugins
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Maxis\SimCity 4 Deluxe\Plugins


    Although both will work, I believe the general suggestion is to use the "Documents" Plugins. For one reason that it wouldn't be deleted in the event of uninstalling the game, and also is only specific to the individual user account it resides under (should there be multiple on a shared system). Something to bear in mind is as described here, there's a loading order which the game will follow. This is important to consider since those items which load last will override those which load before. Therefore for some items of content like terrain mods and the NAM, they suggest adding those inside folders prefixed by zzz_ or something similar.

    In terms of the NAM, the installation has been developed somewhat since you may have previously used it. Now there are options to fine-tune your setup. The installer can be re-run at any time, and features logic which detects currently added components. Along with custom content as a whole, it might be worth testing out specific elements of the mod since there are endless possibilities. Some features like the RHW and RRW do have a rather steep learning curve, even though they're so flexible.


    By the way, you may have discovered that a few months ago there's been a major breakthrough in the modding scene to finally cure Prop Pox.

    I hope like me that dreaded bug has never been an issue for you and your cities. But if it has, the big positive news is the fix has proven to remarkably revert all signs and symptoms of Prop Pox infected cities. So you might find this thread of interest, along with the new release of the SC4Fix. This ingenious DLL file also resolves the crash when hovering a NAM network puzzle piece over a transit-enabled lot.


    For the "SimCity 4 Box" set, one thing to check is whether that includes the Rush Hour expansion pack or is the Deluxe Edition. These days many content items including the NAM require a fully patched version of Rush Hour or Deluxe. As long as this is included in the Box, you'll be good to go once installing the published patches. Since I suspect this will come in the format of a disc-based game, these patches are available to download from the Maxis Files page here at ST.

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    12 hours ago, chfzdn said:

    you might want to redeem your key to Origin. A word of warning, don't buy the game on the platform, just redeem the key

    Last I read in these forums, even a key redemption from Origin is the borked version that is unpatched and unpatachable, so Origin should be avoided by everyone all the time.

    Also: If you have disks, you can run in Windows 7 or 8 (not Win-10) IF you uninstall update KB3086255.

    Also also: If you have a 64-bit system, then you need the 4GB patch. It comes automatically in the NAM, which is one of the first mods you want.

    There are some other patches and fixes that are "must haves"; they're listed in some other thread that should be pinned around here somewhere.

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  • Original Poster
  • Awesome. 

    Great advice. Thank you CorinaMarie, the  links will be a huge help. In just the little bit of reading I did there last night I was able to find the answer to one of the issues I ran into before = I didn't expect the game to read into the sub-folders. I had everything in one folder. Kinda like the junk drawer in the kitchen (or that box of nuts, bolts, nails, etc). Just that info alone will help.

    I do have the discs but ran into a snag when installing them. Quite possibly it is directly related to what jeffryfisher mentioned, I do run windows 10 / 64 bit. I ended up making the purchase through Steam. Is there anything I should do in addition to that? The game plays fine. Looks great, no hic-ups.

    Cyclone Boom, I will be going slow & easy.  I have a region going right now only using the options that were "stock". I figured if I were to get the STEX Collection I could trickle items in until I get a better handle on incorporating more.

    When I was playing, a few years ago, I had a lot of fun with the NAM Network. As I'm typing this I do remember having issues connecting cities though. Not every time, but It was very annoying. 

    Again, Thanx to all for the help so far & try not to get to annoyed if / when I return with more questions later.

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    2 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    I do have the discs but ran into a snag when installing them. Quite possibly it is directly related to what jeffryfisher mentioned, I do run windows 10 / 64 bit. I ended up making the purchase through Steam.

    Yes, that would be correct. I'm afraid Windows 10 systems are incompatible with all disc based versions of SC4, and also many software titles of the same era. The problem being they all use the SafeDisc method of copy protection. Microsoft intentionally removed support for this by not including it as a standard OS function. This came after what happened when they released the infamous security patch KB3086255 which disabled the driver on Windows Vista, 7 & 8. Their justification was likewise citing security reasons, since the driver file (secdrv.sys) supposedly makes a system vulnerable to known flaws. These were never properly patched, so they decided to drop it.

    The good news is the Steam version doesn't utilise this method of DRM. It instead uses a special form of copy protection integrated with the Steam client, meaning it will run fine on Windows 10 and any system which doesn't support or allow SafeDisc. Steam and other non-Origin digital retailers are currently known to sell SimCity 4 Deluxe as fully patched, meaning there's no need to manually install the EP1 or the nightlights update for custom BATs.

     

    2 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    Is there anything I should do in addition to that?

    One possibility you may wish to consider (which is highly recommended) is to add the -CPUcount:1 parameter as a startup command. This will force the game to run on a single processor core which helps with stability on modern multi-core CPUs.

    For Steam as explained here, check for a "Launch Options" or similarly named button in the game client Library page. Then add the parameter in the properties box provided, allowing it and any others to take effect upon running SC4. Just add a space in-between each one as the format requires.

    A list of the other commands which could be useful (such as for a custom resolution) can be found in this resource.

     

    2 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    ... try not to get to annoyed if / when I return with more questions later.

    Not at all, keep them coming. That's what we're here for. *;)

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  • Original Poster
  • I have downloaded the NAM & I am getting the crash when trying to drop some of the items. I know there must be a simple fix for this. I downloaded the 4GB patch but I get the prompt in this photo;

    GkCWehS.jpg

    I do remember this driving me crazy before also. 

    I was trying some of the stuff out in a blank city just so I didn't mess anything up. 

    I was also trying to edit a map in photoshop & download it to a new region.... I failed somewhere along the line. This is no big deal. I can figure it out later. Gotta take off for work right now (damnit). It's a matter of the file sizes not matching. I downloaded a file from here & used it as a "model, "template". I will just need a little more time to get this right..... taking notes on file size / dimensions etc. This was one of my favorite aspects before & it will be again as soon as I get my "master" copy sized correctly. 

     

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    25 minutes ago, Violator31 said:

    I have downloaded the NAM & I am getting the crash when trying to drop some of the items. I know there must be a simple fix for this. I downloaded the 4GB patch but I get the prompt in this photo;

    If you just double click the 4_GB patch, it will fail. You need to specify (using command line arguments) which file you want it to patch. The simplest method of installing this is by running the NAM installer properly, during the install, it will find the correct file and manage this for you automatically.

    Psst... you are using the NAM installer, right? Because as a NAM developer, I'd struggle to get the right files out of that package to make the NAM work. The installer is there for a reason, because doing it any other way is just far too complex.

    28 minutes ago, Violator31 said:

    I was also trying to edit a map in photoshop & download it to a new region....

    Well the basics of this aren't too hard, make your greyscale heightmap, save as a 16-bit PNG, then use an application (I prefer SC4 Terraformer) to import this image and convert to SC4 format. It's important that your image is the right size and the correct type of PNG file, information on which is around here somewhere.

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    2 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    I was also trying to edit a map in photoshop & download it to a new region.... I failed somewhere along the line. This is no big deal. I can figure it out later.

    When you get back to this part, let me know. I've learned quite a bit about making grayscales for direct rendering by the game. No need for the other tools, tho some of them offer more options such as SC4Mapper overcomes the height variation limitations. (I'm not saying don't use SC4 Terraformer or the other programs. Just that you can create and render maps without them should you desire.)

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  • Original Poster
  • 8 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

    When you get back to this part, let me know. I've learned quite a bit about making grayscales for direct rendering by the game. No need for the other tools, tho some of them offer more options such as SC4Mapper overcomes the height variation limitations. (I'm not saying don't use SC4 Terraformer or the other programs. Just that you can create and render maps without them should you desire.)

    I just needed a little more time to monkey with it. I knew right away that my map did not match the dimensions as the config file.

    I downloaded a map from here  "Tyne & Wear" just to get the config & map sized to match. Then I brought the map into photoshop to edit it. This is a 1st attempt. Keep in mind that it is a rough draft, just to get the right size pixels for the brushes to make the rivers without them being too deep. This will not be the one I will be using, I want to make the hills a little more prominent (not too much though).

    gsn2KNw.jpg

    When I downloaded the NAM I did use the installer. When I got home from work I uninstalled it & started fresh. I do not remember exactly which items it was that created the crash, but I am going to try a lot of different stuff to see if everything works now or not.

    Is there a way to pause the game & get back to the desktop? I have tried it by hitting the "Windows" key, it does work but when I go back to the game it's pretty sketchy...... clouds flashing & the screen jittery. In other games I can pause them, run the cursor over my 2nd monitor, click anywhere & be out of the game. Then when I get back to it, it's fine.

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    4 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    I just needed a little more time to monkey with it. I knew right away that my map did not match the dimensions as the config file.

    Cool. I'm glad to see you got this worked out.

     

    4 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    Keep in mind that it is a rough draft, just to get the right size pixels for the brushes to make the rivers without them being too deep.

    I fully understand. I went thru the same testing and learning and tweaking too.

     

    4 hours ago, Violator31 said:

    Is there a way to pause the game & get back to the desktop? I have tried it by hitting the "Windows" key, it does work but when I go back to the game it's pretty sketchy...... clouds flashing & the screen jittery. In other games I can pause them, run the cursor over my 2nd monitor, click anywhere & be out of the game. Then when I get back to it, it's fine.

    There are dozens of threads and posts where peeps have reported goofy colors and artifacts from "tabbing" out and back into the game. Since you have dual monitors I'd suggest running the game in full sized windowed mode. I have both of my screen's desktops set to 1280x1024 and I set my game to the same resolution. I've set it right in the game settings since it's an option there. (There are command line switches/parameters one can set for custom resolutions too.) So, the Target line of my game startup icon is simply:

    "C:\GOG Games\SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition\Apps\SimCity 4.exe" -CPUCount:1 -w -gp -intro:off

    The -w is the switch to make it windowed mode. To get back to full screen replace it with -f as you can't just remove the -w to change back. Then the -gp tells the game to pause while it doesn't have focus. This isn't actually needed in most cases, but I like it so time stops and nothing catches fire while I'm off doing something else like Googling for something or other.

    I personally do not have my task bar auto hide so that means the game's User Interface is partially obscured.  There's a neat little mod to fix that and @Cyclone Boom has written an excellent tutorial for peeps who might want to alternate between running windowed and full screen: Tutorial: Method for Automated SimCity 4 Screen Mode Switching

    And now by running the game in windowed mode you can just move your mouse over to the 2nd screen and do whatever you want to do then move back and play.

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  • Original Poster
  • 6 hours ago, Jackspital said:

    welcome back

    Thanks.

     

    6 hours ago, Jackspital said:

    I hope that all these great people here have helped you run your SC4 game again and helped with modding too,

    I maybe a little dense..... unable to be helped *:P ... I'm still struggling with the NAM crashing on me, but as I know it is of course something I am doing wrong, I haven't perused a solution yet. I'm sure that once I start asking more questions there will be people eager & quick to help. I just don't want to wear out my welcome right away, plus I don't have the time to devote to it right now. I'm not computer illiterate, but I'm no where near the status of most people around here so I kind of need a little time to go step by step (mostly in order to soak it in & I can manage by myself later). 

    Creating the maps in photoshop & then getting them to have active cities is a lot of fun for me. When I was playing before, it was a regular thing for me to have more than just a few regions that I visited regularly just because they were on maps I created. I am currently creating a "grid" to use, in photoshop, that represents where each city is. That way I can coordinate the waterways to be accessible on most of them. I thought I had it down, but last night I realized I was off somehow. Then, after getting into bed (still pondering my miscalculations) I decided to count each of the tiny squares along the top & side of the city to get the right sized rectangle. I'll get it down & make it work pretty soon, then I will spend quite awhile designing the map, downloading it, tweaking it, downloading it, repeat, etc. (somehow that is fun for me).  

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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!

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    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