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T Wrecks

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July 4

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About T Wrecks

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    Simtrop Aficionado

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    SimCity 4

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  1. Hey Matt, nice to see you again! I'm enough of a nerd to find your thread very interesting as well - even more so because I'm currently in the process of rebuilding a plugins folder myself. Obviously, this means that I am currently musing about many of the things you outline above. Regarding the overall situation, I agree wholeheartedly: Content creation has slowed down to a manageable pace these days, the big game changers are already existing. The huge amount of existing content makes it possible to be picky and choose quality over quantity unless you're going for something exotic. IMO, there is a certain threshold (it cannot be pinpointed, but it's there) where a city's overall look tips over from "varied" to "cluttered": while you may need a certain amount of buildings in order to maintain sufficient variety to conceal repetition (let's face it, there's always going to be repetition!), just throwing in a huge amount of buildings according to a "the more, the merrier" approach can result in a city that looks like Frankenstein's garbage can: too many different styles, no consistent quality, no common theme. My personal approach is similar in some aspects and different in others: I want to have sufficient variety (not maximum possible!) in all departments, without compromising on quality if I can. The key measure of quality is the BAT blending into the game's background, and I mean that quite literally: If I place a single-family home BAT among Maxis single-family homes and the BAT stands out visually, I ditch it. Noticeably overscaled/underscaled? Ditch. Oversaturated? Ditch. Too low on details? Ditch. So far I have slashed the sheer number of items considerably, but the few that I kept have far more lots and variations. I think my "low-density residential" folder for the old tilesets (Chicago 1890 and NY 1940) has gone down from 30+ to about 10 entries. Those, however, are extremely varied, top-notch quality, and relotted to my personal taste. As a bonus, many are slope-friendly, too! I try to cover all wealth levels and styles and pick options (if applicable) accordingly. I sort the ones where I'm sure into wealth categories. Then I look at the remaining ones, and if these are offered in two versions, I go for the one I need more. For example, I used to use Aaron's NYBT Tapscott Houses for low wealth. However, I feel like I have enough options there that look more like low wealth. That's why I'm going to go for medium wealth this time. I keep an eye on interesting stuff, but I prioritise covering the minimum for each category over adding more to categories that are already suffiently filled. I do not use seasonal flora. In fact, I have "de-seasonalised" KOSC's Maxis Mansion Overhaul as well as many other lots. Seasonal looks good, make no mistake. However, it is cumbersome to use because the game wasn't actually made for it. So count me among the ranks of #Team Evergreen. I don't use the SPAM because I'm not too fond of prop-based fields. I don't use CAM, either. One thing want to try is the "at least one landmark per tile" rule. It can be a small one like a church or a water tower. I never use the small landmarks, neither Maxis nor custom. I hope my menus won't get blown up too much, but I can always mod item order... Some download recommendations: Residential, low density I use @CycleDogg's low-density residential stuff - it's marvelous, slope-friendly, full of variety, and... not always lotted to my taste. Some of the textures were just too lush and utopian for my taste, plus the huge trees, and seasonal at that... That's why I relotted it all. @jmyers2043 has published a wonderful collection of small homes with custom foundations for use on slopes. In the context of my personal plugins, they were better suited for medium wealth, so I relotted them all. @IDS2 has made a wonderful set of Minneapolis houses. @AndisArt's SC2013-style homes are great. @kingofsimcity's Maxis Mansion overhaul is an obvious recommendation. @Bipin has some interesting content, too. Among all the great stuff he has made, I particularly like some of @mattb325's mansions. Some of @SimGoober's stuff has withstood the test of time remarkably well. I keep using the Highgrove and Hagerman mansions. I bade farewell to many others, though. Residential, medium density In the style I'm going for, there are lots of interesting wooden buildings made by @CycleDogg and @spa. Some NY-style stuff that's great is made by @Aaron Graham, @tag_one and - a BATter often underrated - @Don Miguel. Commercial, low and medium density I think the two first go-to artists in this department are @madhatter106 and, once again, @jmyers2043. I haven't advanced much further than that, so no recommendations yet. My list obviously relates to North American turn-of-the-century to Art Deco styles, too. If you go for European or anything else, YMMV.
  2. Show us how you manage your plugin folder

    Basically, it depends on what the mod is supposed to override. Sounds trivial, but it's really the rule to go by. ---------- Most mods will override in-game content (default content, Maxis content, 'Vanilla' content). In-game content loads with the game and, hence, before any plugin whatsoever. So if a mod overrides in-game content, it is sufficient to place it somewhere in your plugins folder. Example 1: Terrain. Your terrain mod overrides what? Yup, Maxis terrain. Maxis terrain loads with the game. Plugins load after. So loading order is absolutely irrelevant for your terrain mod. Just relax, place it anywhere you want. Example 2: Day 'n' Nite modd. This mod overrides what? Yup, Maxis nigth settings. I mean, how many night mode alteration mods do you have exactly? 10? 5? 3? No, only one. So place it anywhere and you're fine. However, there are also mods that override other mods. This - and only this! - is where loading order is relevant at all. Example 1: Uniform Streetlighting Mod (USL). The USL overrides what? Streetlights. Where do we have these? In the vanilla game, sure. BUT we also have these in the NAM! Indeed, the STEX description explicitly states: "USL adds new and replaces existing in-game and NAM T21 network lots responsible for appearance of street and roadsides, avenue medians, roadside light poles etc. " So it overrides the game and the NAM. To override the game, any location in your plugins folder would be fine. But to override the NAM, it needs to load after the NAM. So here you need to make sure that NAM loads before USL. Example 2: Maxis Tree HD replacement. What does it override? Maxis trees. So put it anywhere and you're fine. What if you used other mods that override Maxis trees, though? Think about the SFBT Street Tree Mod, which overrides Maxis street trees with Cycledogg trees. If you want to keep the SFBT STreet Tree Mod, but have the trees replaced by HD girafe/Orange trees, you need to make sure that the SFBT Street Tree Mod loads first and the Maxis Tree HD Replacement mod after. So you see, it's all just some basic common sense. Many mods out there are offered with a lot of zzz's where it's not needed. Sometimes it's just so the mod doesn't vanish somewhere among your other stuff. Follow the rule sketched above, and you should be fine. All that zzz business has been blown up to insane proportions and turned into some kind of holy cult or wizardry, and now people feel insecure when the underlying pattern is actually dead simple. Likewise, I recommend you ditch the totally unintuitive folder naming convention, all that senseless Z and underscore juggling: Was that "zzzzz_____Mod" or "zz________Mod"? Or maybe "zzzzzzzzz____Mod"? Wait, how many underscores do I have? What I see last in the Windows Explorer loads first in game, or was it the other way around? Is "_____" three or four underscores? How about this: z01_NAM z02_[mod that needs to override the NAM] z02_[other mod that needs to override the NAM] z02_[third mod that needs to override the NAM] z03_[mod that needs to override both the NAM and any or all of the "z2" mods] Basically, you just sort by priority, and it's literally as easy as 1-2-3, PLUS it is shown in the Windows Explorer in exactly the same order as it is loaded by the game, and it is totally transparent and intuitive. You can also use numbers like z10-z20-z30, and if you need to wedge something between z10 and z20, you just use "z11". ------------------------- In your example, loading order should be like this: Maxis HD Tree Replacement: irrelevant, UNLESS you want it to override other stuff. Network Addon Mod: don't touch, the NAM guys know what they are doing and the installer needs to find it. SPAM: irrelevant UNLESS you use a traffic simulator that conflicts with the NAM z__NAM: unfortunate that the underscore juggling begins here, but leave it. Simfox Day'n'Nite mod: irrelevant. Terrain: irrelevant. USL: needs to load after NAM (and "z__NAM", to be sure - you could use "zz01__NAM" to be sure it loads after, and start using numbers starting from "zz01_" from this point onwards) Weather: I dunno what it does, honestly. My guess is that it's actually irrelevant, but it might have to load after your terrain mod. I hope this post was at least a bit helpful. My key point is that all this stuff is not some kind of dark magic, and it's made way more complicated than it needs to be.
  3. RRetail Development

    Surprising amount of windows on that "little something" considering your last BATs! I think you could use a bigger (higher-resolution) wall texture, though (brick?). The tiling is rather noticeable even at this zoom level.
  4. JP Schriefer's BATs

    I just noticed it now that you said it! It's certainly true - gives the building that slight Escheresque vibe. But seriously, since changing perspective is not an option, I guess the only halfways practical remedy would be a slight widening of the "steps", perhaps aided by some subtle texture clues... however, this would alter the original shape (I assume that it's a rather precise recreation) and one of the key features of the building. Odd case!
  5. Kellydale2003's BAT Mine

    Yay for your dad! Diarrhea and too short arms for those responsible for losing your HD, though, as we say in my country. I laughed when I saw Scotia Plaza because that would, in fact, have been my suggestion. There is (or was?) an old version of it floating around somewhere, and I remember how I was intrigued by the shape, but ultimately ended up ditching the BAT because it wasn't very high quality unfortunately. Looks like we'll soon have a far superior replacement!
  6. SM2 GE Solar Power Plant

    Lovely "animation" (timed props), by the way! I like how the technician inspects row after row, then hops into his pickup and drives off. Neat!
  7. Oh, that would be great. Thank you for updating the thread with this very encouraging piece of information!
  8. JP Schriefer's BATs

    I can only echo @matias93! Good to know you haven't left us altogether.
  9. Random buildings and requests

    This looks wonderful! About time I got that Yocco's documented, packaged, and uploaded, eh?
  10. BachVille Power Station

    You really need to list the dependencies, though. "probably also this..." and "might need a BSC prop pack" won't do. Do you have an idea how many BSC prop packs there are in total? You're leaving downloaders alone with a lot of guesswork because how are they supposed to know what you used? None of this should be any guesswork on your part, however. You can easily track which dependencies you use: Simply... rename your active plugins folder to something else, make a new - and completely empty - plugins folder, and put only the lot in question inside, plus its supposed dependencies. Then you can start the game, plop your lot, and see if everything appears as it should. If it doesn't, you missed a dependency. Rinse and repeat until you have identified all dependencies. If you think that sounds tedious: This is exactly what you are burdening downloaders with right now. An easier approach is to start lotting with a dedicated plugins folder in the first place. Then you can be sure that you didn't use any other dependencies than those select few that you copied into your lotting folder.
  11. No textures after download

    He mentioned in the STEX desciption that he left large aread blank on purpose so you can fill them using MMPs that you like, though. Quote from STEX description: So this part is intentional.
  12. No textures after download

    Whoops! Haha, now that's lot design redux. It's mainly textures, though. By the looks of it, BSC Mega Textures 1-2-3, CP's SCILT textures, and probably something from SHK/KOSC for the parking should fix most of the issues at least, if not all of them.
  13. Show Us What You're Working On

    Now that's knowledge promptly - and well - applied! You know, sometimes I can't help but marvel at the many things we can do with SimCity files using techniques that are actually blunt and primitive. The more experience I have, the more I appreciate the guys who programmed this game engine. It's all the more lamentable that we'll never get the source code, because the "chassis" of the game is clearly modding-friendly, and with a few more changes, I'm sure this undercarriage could accommodate for many more spiffy features. On another note, I'm already looking forward to watching you apply your new tool kit!
  14. No textures after download

    The Reader doesn't list or miss dependencies. The LD file inside the lot file lists dependencies, but only props. It ignores textures completely, and isn't that reliable anyway. The PNG file is just a reduced screenshot from your Lot Editor viewport - if you have everything, it will show everything. Once it is generated (when you save), it's static. In your particular case, my money would be on Cycledogg's (C.P.'s) SCILT textures. How to solve this problem? While you can apply scanning and analysing tools, I think strict dependency control is the better approach: Make an empty folder for your project and keep only those files inside that you'll need and use. The list of dependencies will then, at a maximum, correspond to the content of your project's dependency folder. Make a list of all dependency packages that you think you used, and test your lot while having nothing but the lot itself and the list of alleged dependencies in your plugins folder. (You can use the "buildingplop" cheat of the Extra Cheats DLL to simply test-plop anything including growables.) WIth time, this will get easier because you'll develop a good idea of what each of the packs contains. Trust me, having made/edited lots by the hundreds myself, I know what I'm talking about. Plus, these days it's easier because most creators just have one or two mega packs instead of more than ten individual prop packs.
  15. SC4 Plugins Structure Discussion

    Yes, that is the way I approach it for my downloaded stuff, too (you wouldn't believe the amount of anal retention visible in my plugins structure!). However, this discussion is about the upload side - how do we offer stuff on the STEX? Sorting it into categories along the lines you described would be difficult, not least because one and the same building can be offered in several versions. Now if you have a modern building that can be used as high-tech industry, city college or hospital - how do you organise the ZIP inside? If you throw the lot files into individual folders depending on function, where do you keep the model? Or do we expect uploaders to upload three ZIPs, one for each function? Can we agree on a categorisation? What if a building has two or more categories by default, such as a landmark version of a commercial building that's offered as a reward? Is it "Commercial"? Or "Landmark"? Or "Reward"? I think @Tyberius06 was worried about a simple default structure that would allow at least some degree of control for the novice / "basic" user, the main point being that non-game files are automatically placed somewhere outside the plugins folder. With the suggested scheme, a user who is lost could at least post a screenshot and ask for the item - just like in the "Can't find it - ask here!" thread -, and if the others can identify it, he would be able to locate it in his plugins. This is not the one solution to end them all, and it is not the most refined system. However, it is practical and manageable, avoids the problems I outlined in the above paragraph, and is still vastly preferable over slapping it all into one folder haphazardly. "Power users" like you and me will, of course, still arrange things to their liking - which won't be made more difficult by the suggested system, either - as opposed to the installers that the system is meant to replace!