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For what I’m trying to accomplish, as far as I can tell, I should be using either SC4 Tool or the iLive Reader. I would like to be able to edit certain parameters of buildings in the game. For example, changing the radius for police, fire, education, etc. I would also like to change how much power is generated from power plants, how much water is generated by water pumps and towers, etc. Basically do everything (hopefully) that can be done in SimCity 3000 here.


I’ve tried both SC4 Tool and iLive Reader but can’t seem to find the buildings I’m searching for. I’m truly starting from scratch and need some assistance on either of these programs. Any help is greatly appreciated! :)

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Both applications rely on you opening the file containing the components you wish to modify. This is usually quite easy for custom-downloads, but less so for the original content, since those are contained in a very large file, SimCity_1.dat. Opening that would probably be overwhelming, but there is another factor to consider, it's generally not a great idea to modify the files that come with the game. Ideally you want to create an override containing just the files you need with such alterations. I'd do that using iLives Reader, then use SC4Tool to modify things, since it's much more user-friendly for a beginner. If you are comfortable enough with the process, you can do the later part in Reader too, just make sure you edit your custom versions, not those in the original SimCity_1.dat file.

  • Create a "patch" file containing the files to edit.
    iLives reader can be quite complex at first, just understanding the data in front of you might be overwhelming. This is a good technique to find things more easily however:
    1. Open iLives reader application.
    2. In the far left, under "Loaded DAT", click on Simcity DAT, to open up this group of sub-options.
    3. Here you click on simcity_1.dat to load that file.
    4. Next, click on the "Navig." (Navigator) button in the toolbar, a new window should open.
    5. Now the contents of the file is organised into more logical groups.
    6. As an example, let's alter a school, which is a "Civic Building", open that category up.
    7. You now have the option to view either the Lots or Buildings, for editing values, you need the later of these.
    8. Not all names will be obvious, but in this example we can see Large High School / 9-12Large School / K-8SmallSchool / Larger_elementary School. As mentioned, that's not necessarily obvious. By clicking on the first one, then selecting either the "User Visible Name Key" or "Item Icon Key" entries, you get the name as it appears in the in-game menu, then the Icon. Viewing those should help ensure you've the right one.
    9. Once you've found the one you need, click again on the main entry, let's use Large High School here, you will now see on the right pane a list of properties or the "Buildings Exemplar" in it's entirety.
    10. Right click this entry in the left pane and select "Add to Patch".
      Note: you can continue to do this for multiple exemplars in one go, but for now, it's probably best to just do one at a time until things are clear.
    11. Now back to the main interface, on the toolbar click on "Patch". Another window opens up.
    12. Here under "Entry", will be all the exemplars or components you've used the Add to Patch function with. Simply click "Create DAT" to take those files and add them into a new file, which we can edit as desired. Note by saving such files in the root of Documents\SimCity 4\Plugins, they will already be where we need them for later.
      Give the new file/(s) a meaningful name, so you will know exactly what it contains.
  • Open the file created previously with SC4Tool, to make the necessary edits.
    1. Upon opening SC4Tool, select the option "Edit all properties of BATs and lots in a user-friendly editor."
    2. Use the Open icon from the toolbar (folder with downward facing arrow), by clicking the arrow part and selecting "Open" from the list.
    3. Browse to where you saved your new DAT file and select it, to open it for editing.
    4. Now you can see all the various properties and edit them as desired. The main ones for what you're trying to do are "Catalog Capacity" / "School Student Capacity". Both of which should be identical values and dictate the capacity of the School. The former is needed to ensure you see the correct values when scrolling through the menus in game. The later property is what affects the actual capacity itself. "School Coverage Radius" sets the radius of the school.
      Note: These properties will have slightly different names for other types of buildings, but it's all pretty intuitive and a description is displayed at the bottom of the right pane when a property is selected on the left.
    5. Once finished, click on Save (by clicking the arrow part) / Current File to save your changes.
      Note: By default SC4Tool will now have created an auto-backup of the last save state of any files you saved. These are easily denoted by changing the file extension to .sav. You should move such files out of your plugins folder entirely. But they might be useful if your changes cause problems. To restore these files simply alter the file extension back from .sav to .dat, in effect allowing you to return to the last working version in case of problems.
  • Now you are ready to try your modifications in-game.

It's also important to note here that when you change values like the Radius and Capacity, existing lots in cities will NOT auto-update. Also, if the values no longer match those when it was placed in your city, you will end up with bugs and likely CTDs if you try to delete them. In short, you must enter your cities and remove any instances of such lots, before you modify the values. Then once you've done so, go back and replace them. You can achieve this by simply moving your override files temporarily, outside of the Plugins folder, to restore the original values. I'd also recommend for testing your changes, use a new, blank region and not an existing one, to avoid problems. Only when you are sure you've made all the changes you want, then replace existing instances of such lots.

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  • Original Poster
  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Followed your instructions step-by-step and it worked like a charm! :)

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