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Plugin overdose made my game unplayable seek advice on reforming

Started by Philopolymath, March 01, 2022, 11:31:21 PM

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I'm interested in functionality far more than eye candy and skyscrapers. I like to have many rural/ag centered communities support/converge to a big city both inland and coastal.
I am comfortable with and enjoy using NAM and CAM.
I enjoy striving for hyper efficiency in High Density and Low

I much prefer rail over roads and highways and again have minimal needs for eye candy.
I use SIMPLE DTR rail extensively with no wish to go deep into fractional or realrail or single track nor to get heavy into the Automata eye candy.

I also enjoy, wish the ability to restrict development to a consistent set or theme of building styles. Especially for residential. Nor to do I wish to get to heavy into developing specific types of industry or ag or airports or ports tourism etc... until I have settled my functionality issues and gained more experience.

I find this one of the most difficult things to do to.
I was almost getting comfortable with making region/city specific plugin folders when an overdose or cross contamination of plugins ruined ALL playability.
Trying to employ and enjoy too many options is probably what got me into trouble.
I've lost hundreds of hours worth of well developed regions

I've spent many many  more hours reinstalling and downloading and managing plugins and testing  and READING advice than actually playing and developing nice well functioning cities & regions.
I have 7gigs of plugins and still get the odd brown box. despite having all the requisite dependencies (Kolkof castles)

There is so much (Wonderful) content to choose CSX SM2 SFBT etc...But much of it offers the exact same functionality so it's redundant and silly to have 40 different rural rail stations available in the menu. Likewise with residential

I like to play on hard with minimal cheats so I MUST manage balanced growth civics utilities etc.. Experience has shown this impossible without employing updated mods (especially for garbage) I hate having to resort to cheats to solve problems.

Some DevTeams have much better development in specific areas ( SFBT tram GLR HSR etc...)
It would take many lifetimes to test or employ the interoperability of all of them.
Often the functionality seems only of benefit if ALL the region or city employs the civics or utilities in conjunction within the same DevTeam.
The reward buildings are sometimes a nice bonus but usually not worth chasing and many are rather useless. I understand demand and caps and have no need of a cam counter or census vault. I do love the buildings that offer info on
Some are seamless and integrate perfectly

It seems BSC has matured to be one of the most stable and offers ample variety sufficient to meet all my desires of playstyle and flexibility.

So I guess I'm looking for advice how to get back to having a functional game with minimal pain of sorting through plugins and dependencies.

Is there not some software to manage organize all the plugins?
I have experience with cleanitall and mappers but am hoping to avoid needing to learn to use ireader or scndatanote....unless it's explained how they can serve to help my dilemma.

FYI I am a OLD fan of sim city and played the original on C-64 on a monochrome monitor.

Again my compliments and gratitude to all the devotion and development contributions.

I have very little precious time for recreational entertainment as such SC4 is the ONLY game I allow myself as a distraction.
I wish to play it and enjoy it easily. And I'm a little mad at myself for loving it too much and coming close to plugin burnout by overdose overreach.

But you see I have a life long love for Sim City as it was the very first video game I even played on my C-64 with a monochrome monitor and 5" floppy drive.



Perhaps I'm reading things wrong, but it seems like what you are asking for is a bit paradoxical. On the one hand, you want things to work better, but on the other you don't want to invest a lot of time into the process and still want to use custom content.

My experience with SC4 started with about a year of casual play, with pretty much only the NAM mod installed. One day everything just clicked and I quickly fell into the trap of rushing to download and install as much content as I could. Not very long thereafter, a really cherished city just sort of broke, constant problems and nothing I could do would solve it. After a bit of research it seems most likely I had simply gone too mad Plopping things rather than letting them grow and fell victim to the issues outlined here.

My next Plugins suite was a lot better, I took a bit more time, but still was just stuffing content in, so I could create cities. This makes sense, who really wants to spend all their time with mods, all of us ultimately would prefer to spend our time playing the game and creating wonderful cities, right? Well unlike my first attempt, my cities were fine and I even still play the San Fransisco region this Plugins suite was built for. But, this time my error was that my Plugins just got too messy and unorganised and became a totally unmanageable nightmare. I didn't ditch it, but I have never re-used it for another region since either.

Cue attempt number 3... This time I was going to learn from my mistakes, I wasn't going to rush anything, but take my time and do everything properly. Nothing gets in my Plugins folder, until it's been tested and seen to work fine, nothing! 4-5 years in, it's still way smaller than the first two and has far less variety within it. But the trade off, it's meticulously organised, I know where to find anything in it. I've edited about 50% of the content to re-order it's position in the menus, in some cases even change the menu things are in. It is incredibly personal and a labour of love, I have spreadsheets full of data that tracks everything related to just 3GB of content and that includes a full NAM install. Alas, there is much work still to do, it's a never ending task and quite time-consuming. I rarely play any more, I spend all my time messing with modding and maybe I'm 1/4 of the way to what I want to have eventually. But, my game is rock solid stable, tidy and organised and mostly free of fluff. Overall this is better, but as you can see, there is a balance between Play and Setup, I think I'm probably too far in the Setup direction frankly, but everyone is different too. Since I create, that tends to lead to not playing the game, I know many other modders who rarely do also. That said I must play, every now and again I need to, otherwise I loose all interest in doing anything related to the game. I'm happy to report, I'm in play mode recently and really enjoying it.

I think the first question you have to ask yourself here, am I beyond the point of no return. In other words, can your current setup be rescued and fixed, or would you be better off starting over and doing things differently/better?

Secondly, focus on what really matters to you first, make that your priority and leave everything else to one side. If I've caught everything correctly, that would appear to be:

  • NAM & CAM
    These mods are big deals, because they change the game. But installing both is not so complex and once done, they should just work, so no major complexity here.
  • Utilities
    If you are building regions with millions of Sims, you will need upgraded utilities and Civic buildings to handle the capacities. That's not cheating, it's simply updating the content to reflect another way of playing.

    I will add though, a city can look totally identical, regardless of whether it has 300k or 3million sims in it. Some people are so fixated on these numbers, they seem to loose sight of that fact. For me, I'm only really interested in the visual, i.e. how my city looks when it's built. I want things to function, but I couldn't care less how many sims reside in my cities/regions.
  • New Buildings
    After you get the basics covered, undoubtably you'll need some new content, R/C/I would be my first priority. A few stations are probably useful too, you lament having many rural stations, but the real question is do you want the variety having them offers? If you'd prefer lean and mean and don't mind repeating the stations in your cities, because it's really about functioning transport systems, then I'd cull them. But when I'm really building, I try not to duplicate a single station within a region, certainly never in the same city. If that's your goal, then you are going to need a few choices.

I think if you prioritise those areas over all else to begin with, you'll have the basics in place to put you on the right track. But the key is to be targeted and focus on what really matters, especially to begin with, at the expense of everything else.

P.s. If you don't think you need the Census Repository, I wonder if you really understand it's purpose? It's not about a pretty building, and let's face it, it's just one anyhow. It's about the data it provides, which is really invaluable for keeping track of how well your region is developing, spotting potential troubles ahead and knowing what's needed to grow.


Thanks for reading I knew many others have gone through the same pains and stages.

I thought I made it clear I already have several times attempted to do exactly what you suggest.
Keep it clean & focused organized.
I realized and mentioned that BSC offers the best material to support CAM so already concentrate on integrating BSC

I never plop R/C/I buildings only civics utilities and rewards and landmarks

To be clear all my problems complaints with CAM are related to AG/farming
Cam works fantastic for CO CS IH ID IM I have no problem getting to stage 15 in those.

Yes the census vault offers very useful info and I do use it, Along with several other buildings for water, waste, fire police protection coverage etc.....My point was if one does not understand caps and demand and drivers the vault will be of little help. And if I develop carefully it rarely tells me anything I don't already know.


I don't mind starting over and investing time to get CAM FARMING up to speed.
I only wish to minimize the effort and be efficient and effective.

I'm only giving CAM a chance because I've maxed out PEG and thought the CAM offered higher stage (>5th) Farming/ag but frankly the content options are pitiful and the CAM 6-7 ag package is useless as an industry/job source. It does not seem like CAM will even come close to matching PEG in functionality in ag/rural.

"Fantozzi Colossus Farming" seems to be the only options for stages >5 They do work well but are also useless for jobs...My stage ONE SIMGoober farms create MUCH more jobs. Even Maxis farms out perform many of the custom stage 4&5 farms for employment

And I am comparing them fairly under exact same conditions

Ditto for many of the others Dutch CSX MedStyle I've tried them all.
Many are absolutely beautiful & fun to watch bloom especially Lotties Nursery my absolute favourite
JMyers farms are also excellent but again employment varies dramatically with which field spawns with it.
His hydro's and set of stage 3's sometimes 'out job" all others but NOT his dairy..why?
CSX farms and fields also work fine and do seem to scale up the employment with each stage increase better but again are no match for many low stage 1 farms for jobs.

I'm confused as to why low stage farms consistently outperform higher stage farms for employment.
Is not the whole point of higher stages to offer higher density/more employment as an INDUSTRY.

I've also noticed it is always better from an employment perspective to make one large farm over several small ones. More small farms means lower acreage lower profit lost to higher costs of roads and water power supply servicing.
And sometimes CSX farms produce MASSIVE AIR pollution but zero water...clearly something is wrong with that.

These are the issues I'm looking to discuss and resolve...Perhaps I've chosen the wrong place I will repost in a Cam farming section.





Firstly, sorry if I rather missed the mark with my initial response. My intentions were simply to cover the fact we've all been here and give some very general tips where it's important to prioritise certain things. Some of the things I mentioned were quite knowingly off topic to your specific questions, but in the general realm and after all this is a place for discussion, where others may come across such threads and find such useful, even if you personally didn't.

Indeed I failed to address the question regarding Mod Management Software and the simple answer is that unfortunately there isn't really anything that will help you in this regard. The LEX dependency tracker can help keep track of those files you've previously download, Cleanitol can be useful to both check if you've all the deps you need for a given mod or remove those files a newer version or merged pack replaces. But as for something that just handles these processes completely, not only does no such thing exist, it's unlikely it ever will.

You are right that CAM farming is not really utilising all the available growth stages, but then Farms are unique in that Maxis never intended players to use them for more than 'kickstarting' the initial RCI demand cycle. It's pretty much hard-coded into the game that IR demand eventually dies completely, there are things you can do to slow this down, but ultimately when your population is well educated and higher-level Industry starts to become more predominant, IR takes a back seat. However, the CAM only adds support for higher stage farming, to take advantage you need higher stage lots, which beyond stage 5 in reality means Fantozzi's CAM-Farming mod, I know of nothing else that really utilises them.

It seems like you missed that SPAM (PEG) and CAM are completely incompatible with each other. Generally speaking you should use one or the other and this may explain some of the dysfunctional things you aren't happy about.

Different creators use different modding and 'logic' when setting the properties of their creations. Yes, in theory PIM-X solves this by providing a standardised base-line for such, but that also assumes every mod you have was made using it and kept with the default figures. So another problem I suspect you have, is simply that not all of your content is modded the same way, leading to disparities. You can fix those that don't seem to 'stack up', by running them through PIM-X's re-calculate as function. This will look again at the relevant details and alter the number of jobs and other properties to standardise them.

Why do larger farms work better than smaller ones, well each field lot will have a handful of jobs, whereas the Farm itself has a pre-defined number of them. If by the overall footprint, the fields add up to more workers than the farm does, then of course the fields will be better since they also don't need anything to provide those jobs. I suspect this is where the SPAM/CAM compatibility issues are causing you problems, because a key part of SPAM is increasing the number of jobs on the fields. A farm grows, the game has a list of field types that can be 'attached' to a given farm and those will fill in any separated zoned area not covered by the farm itself. Almost certainly, those fields are mostly coming from SPAM, but in cases where the numbers dip, presumably those are non-SPAM fields. You shouldn't use farms with SPAM that were not intended for or modded to work with SPAM either, so your setup really does you no favours in this regard. A similar thing may explain why lower stage farms outperform higher stage ones. If you've a Mix of regular, CAM and SPAM content, all competing with each other, the stats will be horribly inconsistent.

There really is no need to just add another post if you don't feel like you've gotten the right answer to your question. That's kinda bad etiquette and even if you posted in the wrong place, please allow the staff to move your topic rather than just duplicating your question in other places. Ultimately I am trying to help you and where you posted makes no difference to the response you will get or how easily people will see your request.


AHA....THIS IS USEFULL INFO INDEED, I knew SAPM was not compatible I made a completely clean install for Cam but I probably did leave some SPAM fields in a plugins prop subfolder...I thought the Cam farms would only select Cam fields specifically designated for them...It did work that way for several farms like sugar melons peanuts.. The dependency tracker is wonderful, as is Cleanital all I've used them both heavily.

I had no problem getting regions well into the millions, driven in large part by many small Ag towns and was still able to generate Ag demand for new small cities and keep  the existing ones stable with no growth, keeping them well serviced but unschooled.  Many of the closest adjacent interconnected were even able to get rather dense 20-30k but the Farming area took up 80% of the city. But I also had to better isolate the workforces to prevent intercity infinite traffic loops.. The census vault was quite helpful for that but it never seemed to give the advertised 30k Cap Ag relief. Play Cam on the Rural setting does make a huge difference.

Anyway the diagnosis offered gives me new understanding I need to resolve the problem. Thanks again


Quote from: Philopolymath on March 04, 2022, 09:16:41 AMI thought the Cam farms would only select Cam fields specifically designated for them...It did work that way for several farms like sugar melons peanuts..

Every farm has a list of the fields it will work with, but I suspect many of them at least allow for the game-default fields to grow. This is where the problem with SPAM 'crops' up, because the SPAM fields are probably re-using at least some of the Maxis IDs, since it's essentially an override.