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Cyclone Boom

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About Cyclone Boom

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    City-builders, simulation games, technology, websites, problem solving, graphics & photography.
  • City-building game(s)
    SimCity 4

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  1. Show us your city's detail/close-ups

    In the smallest island of Daffy Duckland... Here we see the former mansion of Great-Great Grandma and Grandpa "CB Sim IV" who built an even larger home on a much larger island, near some other larger town. Constructed in the early 19th century, they hoped for a swift return on their investment. However after much searching for a buyer, they never found one. The little boat dock once located on the south side has long since fallen into disrepair. Rumour says what remained of it washed away in the great storm of '09. Local residents on the mainland are curious about the history surrounding the property. There's a real sense of mystery and especially why no descendants have ever claimed ownership. No one has showed any interest in restoring what is still a prime real estate location, with magnificent panoramic views for miles and miles. Also some have observed how the planted trees within the gated perimeter oddly never have any leaves. The local mayor was questioned about the mansion at a recent Council meeting, but declined to comment.
  2. Logistics Centres MegaPack

    Excellent! I'm delighted to hear you got it working. Very interesting. The loading order is something which didn't occur to me and it sounds a logical conclusion. A quick test now placing all the Logistics plugins inside a single subfolder and I wasn't able to replicate the results myself. So maybe there's a difference with how Mac systems (or specific versions of SC4 with or without the EP1 Update) process the loading order. Also as you say, perhaps there was something initially overriding with your other content and it didn't agree with that combination for some reason. The fact others have reported similar issues involving missing models makes me think it's likely there were conflicts or overrides taking place, possibly contributing to the brown boxes which display intermittently given timed props are used. Those "LCP_Prop" files of 4 KB in size are which reference props placed on the lots, although they aren't actually models themselves. For example, 8 of them point to Maxis RCI buildings as used for offices on the 5 Logistics lots. Removing the entirety of this folder and many things no longer display. Each of the models including the warehouse were missing, with the exception of a few trucks. I didn't get any brown boxes either in this case, but it seems likely to be a factor with these small yet significant files not being loaded correctly. Sometimes technical mysteries such as this are tricky to decipher, and the reasons for things functioning as intended (or not) aren't always apparent. Given there are a number of files which make up a set such as this, I suppose there's possibly more chance for things to not quite work as designed. Maybe this explains why the installers place the files in this subfolder structure, and so to avoid there being such issues. You're welcome. I've added a note onto the file in hope to inform others who encounter this. It's very likely you're not the only one who experienced the exact same issue, and where restructuring the files will also be the solution for anyone else reading. Glad we could finally get the bottom of this at long last!
  3. Logistics Centres MegaPack

    This is very peculiar indeed and if you've got all the files needed and intact. Also should the PEG OOPS mod not provide any more clues with how it accurately highlights the location of the missing models (as opposed to brown boxes which occupy a greater part of the lot's area). Just in case, I've uploaded the Logistics set containing all the dependencies in two formats. Firstly the structure as created by the installers with the "Models" and "Props" subfolders present. Then I've compressed them all into an individual DAT file using that JDatPacker tool. Once unzipped in full, the total size for both weighs in at 34.2 MB. As follows (links valid until July 24th): LogisticsPack.zip LogisticsPack_Compressed.zip Install one of these at once since both contain the same content items, just in a different format. Again as a precaution I recommend testing in an empty Plugins folder, so then to remove other possible variables such as overrides. If either of the above linked packages still doesn't work, I'm really unsure what else to suggest. A random possibility I wonder about is since I recall you mentioned your game isn't patchable with the EP1 Update. Perhaps that may well be the deciding factor here if the Logistics set specifically references modified data from that official patch. Or it could be there's a similar bug to the 1/1000 capacity issue for some stations. I really hope this finally works out for you.
  4. Logistics Centres MegaPack

    @Synergy67 All looks good there in the root of that folder, with 12 files present including the lots and "LCP_Props". Comparing the other contents of your list though, it appears you're missing 4 files which would get automatically placed inside the "Models" subfolder. As follows: WarehousesBATPropsPartA.dat [Download] WarehousesBATPropsPartB.dat [Download] BSC Mega Props - JES Vol01.dat [Download] BSC MEGA Props - SG Vol 01.dat [Download] I see you've got the jestarr_AdditionalPropModels.SC4Model file which is included with the installer for the main Logistics pack. These other dependencies will each add additional props and also the warehouse models themselves. I'm not aware specifically what the FileJuicer tool is capable of, but it will need those above 4 DAT files to be fully extracted. Maybe if you've got them placed elsewhere in Plugins it's worth adding them inside "Models" when testing without any other plugins? Just in case there's anything overriding and causing a conflict of functionality. Also with there being another version of the SG Vol 01 props here on the STEX, it could be that the newer one is required (which Cori and I used for testing). Let me know if this doesn't work out and the 4 files don't extract properly. I could then upload them to the WeTransfer temporary storage site, where hopefully it'd be a simple case of downloading that and copying them over from a zip archive. For the file loading on Mac, from what I've heard this is a specific issue with the version of SC4 as released by Aspyr. So although your system will likely be capable of supporting over 850 files, it's possible the problem is triggered at the application level and as such is unavoidable. So overall I think 2 possibilities here are either missing or incomplete dependencies, or a plugin limit is preventing SC4 loading them into memory.
  5. My Education Questions

    @twalsh102 Thanks for compiling the data. Testing in Excel 2010 and all looks good here too: (This is the "Advantages Penalties" tab.)
  6. Logistics Centres MegaPack

    So, I've had some time to investigate this with @CorinaMarie and we've made a few findings... Scanning with the DataNode tool, there are no unlisted prop or texture packs. It seems as long as the 4 linked dependencies are fully installed and loading from one's Plugins folder, each lot will display correctly providing there is a sufficient water supply before being built or grown. Should there be no supply or not an adequate one, the lot enters an "inactive" state where no objects on the lot will display whatsoever. Here are both ploppable versions built without water: Then once adding a supply and re-plopping the one on the right side: (The lot needed to be built again to reset this behaviour and make it show as normal.) Onto the brown boxes... Something to consider here is many props added to the lots are based on prop families. This means each occasion one of the lots is built (growable or ploppable), the game randomly selects from a range of available models. Therefore it creates variations in the types of warehouses, trucks, and containers which are shown each time. Another thing is several of these props are timed, meaning they'll only display at certain hours of a Sim day (according to the game's internal clock which continues even when the simulation is paused). We suspect this is the reason why you noticed the big brown box vanishing all of a sudden, while the other two persisted. A quick bit of detective work and I was able to track down the likely source of the big box. Inside the Lot Editor it reveals the placement of each item on lots including props and textures. There are two freight train props which are positioned stacked at the north most side. This appears to approximately correspond to the alignment of the box, with the width determining the size and it being horizontally centred. The game chooses from various sizes of brown boxes to best represent the area of the missing model. As I've tried to annotate with the orange square on the Lot Editor's top-down perspective view: Then for the other two smaller boxes, there are "no entry" fences either side in the top left and top right corners. These are identical apart from the difference of the vertical positioning. As follows: Given you've installed all 4 of the listed dependencies in your Plugins, by now you might be wondering about the possible cause of the brown boxes. Well, this is where it gets ever so slightly technical. As you may have heard there happens to be a file limit for the Aspyr Mac version of SC4. Now I'm not sure whether this involves the total files in one's Plugins folder, or whether it's per subfolder (I'd guess the former, but then again that would only be a guess). Either way, in which case the suspicion is this could be preventing all the required dependencies from being loaded into memory, and resultantly causing missing models and descriptor references. For a way forward from here, we suggest testing with only the Logistics files and the 4 dependencies added in your Plugins. First of all rename your existing Plugins folder to something else and/or make a complete backup. Then try testing in a new sandbox city with just the Logistics set being loaded. The idea being to check whether the total file limit is a factor, and ensure you've got all the needed files present and correct. Just remember to give them a water supply to ensure the models display. Should there still be boxes at this point, it might be worth trying to extract the files using FileJuicer and ensure there are 36 files included for the Logistics Centres and the 4 dependency packs. For me this totals up to just over 34 MB. If everything appears to be working, the next step will likely require compressing the files using DAT packing. This means custom content is added inside container files with the .dat extension. The aim to reduce the total number of files which are placed in one's Plugins folder, while still making them available for the game to load. It also marginally saves on the size due to the benefits of data compression. I'm no expert at this personally, but the basic idea is to still keep a parallel uncompressed set of your custom content. This would then be separate to your compressed items. So whenever making changes to whichever BATs, lots, or mods you wish to use, do so for the uncompressed set, then re-pack them as needed into your actual Plugins folder. I believe it would be possible to pack everything into a single DAT file, but it might be worth doing them according to a structure depending on the various types of content. Apparently there is an optimal size with regard to loading speed which is around about 384 MB. (However it might be necessary to exceed this for the Mac depending on the constraints of the total file limit.) One tool which is cross-compatible for Windows, Mac, and Linux is the newer JDatPacker available on the LEX. We hope this provides some direction of a way forward and that this works out for you. And of course if you're unsure of any of this or would like additional guidance, feel free to ask away here or post in the forums.
  7. Maps, maps, maps

    Just adding to what @CorinaMarie said above... The formats both Mapper and Terraformer support are somewhat more advanced and allow renders of a much finer 0.1 metre precision. The real advantage here I suspect is for those maps which are based on DEM data where the accuracy would be preserved. I'm not familiar with the exact technicalities between each format, but basically the program interprets the data and forms a visual preview based on each height elevation level. Then once saving the region, it processes and writes out each of the city tiles. Therefore fully completing this step which SC4 otherwise only supports with the rendering of 8-bit greyscale bitmaps. In the user guide for SC4Mapper, I found a bit more info: So indeed, I guess it's one of those things really where some mappers have preferred the newer format. Then given the benefits of accuracy, see no reason to create a greyscale alternative which may otherwise appear inferior compared to a Mapper created map. For fictional terrain not based on a real world location, I suppose it's not so much of an issue since imagination plays a big part. Those are only comparable to the surrounding area they reside in. There are still a few of this type available on the STEX. However should anyone on Mac wish to use one of the SC4M based maps, I'm more than happy to export the saved city files as I recently did here for @Synergy67 and the Pacific Rim National Park. I imagine the reason authors didn't consider doing so themselves is due to the sheer file size. Back in the days when maps were more frequently uploaded, this would otherwise create issues with site bandwidth and storage. Also I believe there used to be a capped limit for the total size of each STEX upload.
  8. Revisiting Prop Pox and Prop Theory

    I was going to post this sooner, but got caught up with a few things... Just over a month ago I replied to this status posted by @Artimus. They mentioned about returning to the game and had a previous city affected by Prop Pox which would need to be redeveloped. Given how it's already proven to be a solution, I recommended giving the SC4Fix a try. Maybe it could be salvaged when all hope would've been lost. Then as another case in point of how useful the fix is to cure Prop Pox, a couple of weeks back I received a reply to confirm it did just that. As follows: How wonderful, and I was absolutely delighted to hear this good news. So seeing as it hasn't been active for a little while, I'm bumping in reply here to spread the word and hopefully make others aware of @simmaster07's sensational achievement. To whoever is reading, whether a returning member or someone who's discovered ST from Google searching a Prop Pox fix, this is the one. (The file can be downloaded from the STEX, and see the initial post for additional info.)
  9. No Space for Plugins in SimCity 4

    That's strange then. Are you absolutely sure you've fully extracted (copied out) all the contents of the zip files as @CorinaMarie explained above, along with installing any dependencies? Also a consideration is some items of content are packaged in a zip file which then contains an installer (.exe). These are common for the BSC prop and texture packs, and will need to be run and the steps followed in order to copy the necessary files into your Plugins. There will be one step to confirm the path is correct, where many installers ask to create their own predefined subfolder structure in the process. This can be left alone or altered as you wish, as long they're successfully copied to somewhere in Plugins. The most common file formats for SC4 include: .dat = A multi-purpose container commonly used by mods to store exemplar properties, but can also compress other game data or models. .SC4Model = The actual BAT model files themselves as used by custom lots. .SC4Lot = Stores the configuration data relating to a lot's properties and assigned props & textures. .SC4Desc = Known as the descriptor file, this is used by some content items to reference a model. These are the files which should be located inside Plugins for each item of content, whether a mod or custom building (BAT). For more info, this thread goes into greater detail about the various formats and how they're processed by the game when loaded in sequence. Should all the files appear present and correct, it might help us to diagnose the possible issue if you could specify which items you've tried to install. The term "mods" can cover many modifications to aspects of the game, so there are numerous types and combinations. Some mods may alter variables in the simulation and thus don't not appear in the menus or be instantly obvious at first glance. Or for growable RCI buildings, they'll depend on there being adequate demand for them to develop.
  10. My Education Questions

    Hi there @MasterHallowed1, To help those with the knowledge to best answer your questions, I've added an English translation to your post. Also I think since this is a generic topic related to SimCity 4, it will be more visible if moved to the SC4 General Discussion forum as I've now done. In terms of your question (which I hope is translated properly), I'm personally not an expert at this specific area of the game. However, I'm aware sufficient demand is needed to develop high tech industry. This is achieved when a city's population increases and sustains its EQ level. It can be assisted by maintaining low pollution and crime in the surrounding areas, which then improves the desirability for high tech. This will become easier over time as a city progresses and is educated with schools and colleges. Another consideration is to have an adequate number of R$$ or R$$$ residents, since high tech buildings offer higher paying jobs. I also suspect commute times contribute to the efficiency, so I suggest placing plenty of bus stops to provide your Sims with more options for travelling to work.
  11. Dragonxander's Earthworks Tutorials

    This sounds like a really great prospective series to help with explaining a range of terrain-based concepts. Just adding to what @CorinaMarie said above, should you wish inside each new tutorial as submitted, you're welcome to create a few additional back-to-back posts. These can be used as placeholders should you ever need extra info to be added in sequence. Should this be of benefit, feel free to reply as many times as needed, and just make it known they're to be held back in reserve. Then a staff member or yourself can hide them so they'd be publicly invisible (in the "Options" menu). From this point you won't see them shown in the thread since hidden posts are only visible to staff. So whenever you'd like them to be restored, simply let us know in here or via PM.
  12. Subway Strategies

    Cool. Thanks for the correction. I've made an amendment to my previous post above to prevent any confusion over this. (And it is another excellent CoriTip™ of yours after all, so we wouldn't want misinformation to spread over how the method can be applied.) Speaking of shipping it off, this reminds me of a rather ingenious method involving tipping the trash right off the tile. I like the Black Hole Management lot though, and will give that a go myself sometime if garbage starts to become an issue. From some quick searching around I notice how there are two versions available on the STEX here and here. I see the v2 has a higher capacity, so that might be more useful for larger overloaded cities. Though I guess it's really a personal preference in terms of the lot design, and the properties could always be adjusted to one's liking if desired.
  13. No Space for Plugins in SimCity 4

    Hi there @DBJisDa1, Maybe just double check the full path (as shown in the location bar of Windows Explorer) is in the format of: C:\Users\<Username>\Documents\SimCity 4\Plugins Additional subfolders can be added inside, which will be processed according to the loading order. There's also another Plugins folder located in the root directory where the game is installed, and I believe this is also included with the structure as set by the Steam version. However the "Documents" folder is recommended for convenience since it's where most custom content installers usually default to. Also being located in your local user folder, it wouldn't be wiped out if ever uninstalling the game. The same also applies to any regions which are inside: \Documents\SimCity 4\Regions Note: At least on Windows 7, I notice how the system recognises "My Documents" the same as "Documents". If navigating to the former, it jumps to the latter. Whereas on Windows XP and earlier systems, I recall there was the "My" part of the user folder name for local document storage. I'll tentatively say yes it is, and I hope they do work. But there's only one way to find out... Should it not already be present after running the installation as @rsc204 said, I found the local "SimCity 4" directory containing Plugins and Regions will be created upon starting the game. So should it somehow not be the correct location with the proper structure, that may well do the trick. (As tested here on the disc based version of SC4 Deluxe.)
  14. Subway Strategies

    On a somewhat related note, this reminds me of a neat trick @CorinaMarie taught me about landfills. Since higher wealth levels consider them a NIMBY influence, it can be worth placing them in a more desolate part of a tile. (Maybe the perfect place would be in one of your patented Industry Pits™ such as from your Twinridge tile.) When located in the wilderness, unlike what logic may suggest, landfills needn't be connected to the main city via a long and adventurous road through the mountains. In fact any landfill zones only require a street or road access, with a minimum of one residential somewhere along the route, and also a place where they can work. This can be anything from a Farley's Foundry, to a Fire Station (or other ploppable lot with jobs). The residential is needed for the lone trash worker to live in, and the workplace is where the logistical operations of the landfill processing are managed. Or in the case of a Fire Station, it can be useful to prevent the property burning down all of a sudden, since the coverage area provides automatic fire protection. So this way by zoning landfill anywhere remote and out of the way from civilization, they can still successfully process trash for the entire tile. They're very proficient at hurling those 25 ton garbage trucks cross-country through flora blasted cities forests. Very cool. I believe this is an area which is particularly special about SC4 and where it really excels. There are many creative strategies which can be used for fine-tuning various aspects. That way it's possible to best tailor the gameplay to one's liking. I'm still learning about them all the time from these kinds of discussions, and I'm sure it will continue when I get around to explore SC4 again. I think the great thing is how Maxis intended SC4 to be multi-dimensional, and it's all about being open to new strategies like this and having a little bit of patience. I personally feel it's how the game should best be played. Not rushed, but being aware at every step. To observe details from the data provided by the simulation, and then make decisions on what to change or tweak next. There was an Omnibus article I recall reading about toll booths. Basically how it's possible to force traffic to take certain paths and therefore maximise the total income gained. Since with nowhere to go, the poor commuters must travel on the designated route and dispense of a chunky portion of their salaries. Similarly by using other networks whether rail, subway, or even ferries, it's possible to design the layout of a city to help with optimising traffic flow, and resultantly improve commute times. There's quite literally near endless possibilities.
  15. Post station fix requests here

    I can confirm this testing here on Windows. For both Park-A-Lot and Park Place, the redundant .sav files are bundled with the package. Loading up the game whilst also including the regular .SC4Lot files, I noticed how the correct names and menu descriptions were displayed. However by removing the proper lots and just keeping the .sav files inside and loaded from my Plugins, it then showed up the "Custom Ploppable" text in the menus and likewise when querying them. Like so: (I merged 2 images so both appear selected.) @Synergy67 Perhaps there's a difference with the plugin loading order on Mac compared to Windows systems? That may explain if there wasn't an override, since quite conveniently on Windows the .SC4Lot file extension comes alphabetically after .sav (meaning the former will load afterwards with an identical file name). With both files present, I was able to force the .sav to override by prefixing a "zzz_" at the start. Comparing them I've found the exemplar properties have a similar structure, though there are a few notable differences. There were no LTEXT files inside which specify a name and description, and also I see how there are other entries missing or altered inside the .sav file including costs and pollution. For the two exemplars (building properties and lot configuration data), the combined difference in the total size is 80 bytes less. While that may sound trivial, it only takes the odd value out of alignment to cause unpredictable results. This leads me to believe it could potentially be a previous version of the file, and therefore the properties are incorrect or incomplete. So overall, I think it's safe to conclude... If ever noticing any .sav files in content items, they're likely to mess something up in one or many ways, and as such can be safely removed.
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