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    Dirktator

    SimCity 4 and the NAM - How to best enjoy this city-building masterpiece today

    You might have come across our guest article about SimCity 4 and the Network Addon Mod over on GOG.com a few days ago. Due to format restrictions, we couldn't include a full compliment of screenshots to really show off the NAM. For posterity and for the benefit of those who didn't see it, we're including the full article here with all the screenshots that were intended in the original. - Dirktator
     


    SimCity 4 and the NAM – How to best enjoy this city-building masterpiece today.

    Despite being released in 2003, SimCity 4 continues to offer an unmatched city-building and story-telling experience, while also being supported by an active game community. And you can be a part of it!

    Developed by the once venerated, now defunct game studio, Maxis, SimCity 4 has managed to withstand the test of time remarkably well, unlike many of its contemporaries.

    Turning a “good old game” into something great!

    Not only has SimCity 4 survived, it has thrived with new creations offered daily by content-makers, and has even evolved with substantial player-developed modifications like the Network Addon Mod.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of the Network Addon Mod, but you’ve never tried it out. Or maybe you’ve never played SimCity 4 at all and wonder how a game from 2003 can still hold up? Read on to see just how one addon can add so much!

    Fixes original bugs, but it’s more than just fixes!

    The Network Addon Mod (NAM) is actually a collection of many addons, fixes and improvements to SimCity 4’s transportation network system, pathfinding accuracy and performance; all made to work and play seamlessly together for a vastly improved simulator experience.

    Originally, the Network Addon Mod (NAM) had a very simple goal: to fix a number of transportation-related issues that still remained in the game after the release of the Rush Hour Expansion and SimCity 4 Deluxe in September 2003.

    But as development of the mod went on, many contributors began adding new features to the transportation system.  In some cases, to expand what already existed, and in others, to create entirely new systems altogether. 

    Since 2004, work has spiraled out such that there are several expansion packs’ worth of new content, all contained in this single, free, player-created mod! 

    The NAM brings new possibilities to the game that are simply impossible to do with the “vanilla” game.

    Unlock the Maxis simulator – Run it the way it was originally designed

    When you install the NAM, not only will you get all the fixes and tweaks that have been refined over years of playtesting and feedback, but you’ll also be playing the simulator as it was originally designed

    The thing is, Maxis had programmed a very sophisticated and robust traffic simulation engine that most people have never experienced! 

    This is because of the hardware limitations at the time, Maxis had to significantly tune down the simulation parameters in order to allow the game to run on 500Mhz Pentiums, prevalent specs for that era.

    The result of that down-tuning is that the traffic patterns in the base game often simply follow the shortest distance, and fail to take into account the speed and capacity differences of the different networks. Basically, this prevented the game from working the way it was intended.

    For instance, with that down-tuned simulator, one could spend the money to build the faster, higher-capacity road-types, or a rail transit system, but the residents would completely ignore it and instead clog up tiny residential streets as they tried to get to work. If you’ve played the vanilla SimCity 4 for long enough, you will have likely seen this happen.

    Fixing this key part of the simulator allows the NAM and its numerous new and improved systems, to provide a rich and engaging simulating experience that you’ll never get with the vanilla SimCity 4.

    Several Expansion Packs’ worth of content – all in one place, for free!

    But more than just fixes and improvements, the NAM brings several new transport options unavailable in “vanilla” SimCity 4 such as a slew of enhancements to the road system, including diagonal streets, more bridge options, specialized lanes and roundabouts.

    You’ll get elevated viaducts for a number of normally ground-level transportation networks, such as Roads, One-Way Roads, Avenues, and Railroads.

    st-gog11.jpg
    Industrial/office park district, with RealHighways, Network Widening Mod features, and One-Way Road Roundabouts on display.
     

    st-gog12.jpg
    Avenue Roundabout and Wide-Radius Curves near an office park.

    Prefer things on the ground instead? Use the Ground Light Rail (GLR), a ground variant of the Elevated (Light) Rail network, which comes in draggable form.

    Or maybe you want a mix of ground and elevated that can run in, on or over other surfaces? You can do that, too, with the NAM’s “Dual Networking” options.

    st-gog1.jpg
    Fractional Angle RealRailway and Network Widening Mod (Narrow 4-Lane Road) in action.
     

    st-gog2.jpg
    Fractional Angle Roads and Diagonal Streets in a suburban residential setting.

    It includes the Network Widening Mod (NWM) which provides wider (and narrower) draggable variants (many with capacity boosts) to the game’s core Road and One-Way Road networks.

    More road options to play with like expanded Avenues with 6 lanes, or expand One-Way Roads up to 5 lanes. Get even finer control by adding continuous turn lanes, or adding a turn lane to your One-Way Roads.

    st-gog14.jpg
    Lakeside business/resort district, with 4-Lane One-Way Roads and Narrow 4-Lane Road from the Network Widening Mod.
     

    st-gog10.jpg
    6-lane Avenue from the Network Widening Mod in a suburban setting.
     

    st-gog7.jpg
    New FLEX Turn Lanes and Signalized One-Way Road Intersections in a business district.

    Tired of grid-like cities? The NAM offers myriad grid-busting options, including wider radius curves and fractional angles to many different networks types. If you love roundabouts these are improved with many enhancements, from smaller Street Roundabouts to multi-lane Avenue and Dutch Turbo Roundabouts.

    st-gog5.jpg
    One-Way Road Roundabouts, Ground Light Rail, and Ground Light Rail-in Road Dual-Networking in an office district.
     

    st-gog13.jpg
    Suburban residential area, with Wide-Radius Curves and Fractional Angle Networking.
     

    st-gog15.jpg
    Farms and factories, featuring RealRailways, Elevated Road Viaducts, and Road Wide-Radius Curves.

    The entire railway system has been overhauled with multiple height levels and modular interchange capabilities.

    Everyone loves building highways. Here, the NAM doesn’t disappoint by offering an entirely new Highway System with several width variants, up to 5 lanes per direction, multiple height levels and modular interchange capabilities.

    If you love interchanges, the NAM’s intersection capabilities let you design that monster 8-way Avenue intersection you really wanted.

    st-gog17.jpg
    Mammoth arterial intersection, featuring the upcoming FLEX Turn Lanes and Network Widening Mod (7-Lane Turning Lane Avenue).
     

    st-gog8.jpg
    Partial cloverleaf interchange, built using the RealHighway (RHW) system and One-Way Road Roundabouts, plus Road Wide-Radius Curves.
     

    st-gog9.jpg
    Busy suburban junction, built using the RealHighway (RHW) system, Network Widening Mod (5-lane Turning Lane Avenue), Street Wide-Radius Curves, and turn lane functionality.
     

    If you still wish to use the game’s base “Maxis” Highways, a number of interchange options, plus a full-on reskin are available. 

    The NAM also includes Euro/international road and highway textures. And the Street Addon Mod (SAM) will provide 10 (soon to be 11) texture variants for the base Street network!

    Railways get a complete overhaul with the RealRailway (RRW) system, which offers a more realistic version of the game’s base Rail network, plus a number of new options for switches, curve radii and fractional angles, plus – coming in Version 36 – draggable viaducts.

    st-gog3.jpg
    RealRailway FlexTrack and Single-Track Rail in a dirty industrial area.
     

    st-gog4.jpg
    New FLEX Turn Lanes (coming to the upcoming Version 36 release) and Signalized One-Way Road Intersections.
     

    st-gog6.jpg
    Four-level stack interchange, built using the RealHighway (RHW) system's modular components.
     

    st-gog16.jpg
    Bustling office district, with Ground Light Rail-on-Road Dual Networking, Network Widening Mod (5-Lane Turning Lane Avenue), and Street Addon Mod Parking Lots on display.

    If you’re a glutton for even more control, you’ll love the Traffic Simulator Configuration Tool (TSCT), a handy program that allows one to customize some parameters of the NAM's “tuned-up” traffic simulator, including different capacity levels (ranging from extremely low to ultra high) and mass transit usage

    SimCity 4 is arguably the best city-simulation game ever produced by Maxis. Nearly 15 years old, the game has proven its longevity in large part due to a legion of highly devoted fans and communities like Simtropolis.com.

    The Network Addon Mod brings so much to your city-building game that it’s a crime to play without it!

    What you need to get started 

    You'll need SimCity 4 Deluxe with Rush Hour Expansion, get it here from GOG.COM

    The NAM is available for both PC and MAC versions of the game, get them from Simtropolis.

    If you want even more, we've collected some of the best buildings and lots for SimCity 4 in our Simtropolis Exchange (STEX) Collector's Edition discs, given as a gift when you Donate!


      Edited by Dirktator  



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