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Author Topic: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed  (Read 3394 times)

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Offline Torch

Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« on: February 14, 2009, 06:29:29 PM »
First off, in addition to the Subject line info, I am also a NOOB at forums, I am sure I will make some Forum Faux Pas, apologies in advance, I fully expect and will be disappointed if I don't get some Admin rewrite/critique.

I also realize that if you are reading this, your time is important, so I will try to keep it brief, but I still have lots of questions, so while you may think it's too long, rest assured I have poured over this to at least attempt to keep it concise.  It has taken me hours of pouring through the Forums to try and make sense of my issues, and it is with trepidation (remember, Forum Noob) that I even attempt this.

So why do I do it?  Simple.  I have been a SC fan since its inception, but I have never had success at it.  I've put it down so many times and picked it back up that I can't even count that high.

My desire?  Those big beautiful fully integrated Regions.
My Reality?  Pathetic looking gridded blobs, liberally sprinkled with "rolling areas" of "no Job Zots"
My setup:  Mac: Non Intel based G5 and Intel based Air (Interesting note here, G5 crashes routinely, I have to save A LOT, Air hasn't crashed yet, not even with '09 NAM): SC4 Rush Hour: Mac SC4 Rush hour update: Jan 09 NAM (I didn't have any previous version of the NAM installed)

My questions:

1.  Are those big cities really "grown"?  Or has someone modded their game to where they can just plop down any thing they want at any time they want?

2.  I have the NAM installed, of course had to do it manually on a Mac, how do I know if it is working?  I get the puzzle pieces, so I assume I did it correctly, but what about the other, less visible stuff in the mod, like the traffic updates, how do you know?

I hate to do it, but here is a picture of my directory tree, does all this look correct for a manual install?

(wow, I'm such a Noob, I'm not even sure if I added this picture correctly, but it shows up in preview ok (at least for the next 90 days, or so MobileMe tells me), so I guess it's correct)

3.  I have the trial version of File Juicer, and have dropped in some custom content, SimGoobers Plop a shop, (BTW, his content looks great, I want some, but don't know what to do with it) and here is what I get:

The question:  What do I do with all this stuff now?  Where does it go?

4.  Absolutely NOOB question:  What is the difference between a plop-able and a grow-able?

5.  Mac Registration issues:  I may have figured this one out partially, but again, don't know what to do about it.  Some content, like the Urban Housing Mod, doesn't need to be run through the Juicer because it gives you .sc4lot files.  In a readme, it stated I need to get the "blahblahblah" file from, which required that, in order to download, I had to register my game, which when I did that, I got an error, couldn't validate my registration code.  Why?  Because the Mac version is distributed by ASPYR, not EA Games (...everything challenging, not Challenge Everything!). 

Bottom line, can't register with EA, so can't get the content needed for the Urban Housing Mod, which I wouldn't know what to do with anyway, because I'm such a NOOB!

Okay, I've ranted enough, but hope I have proven that all I really want to do is be able to get the enjoyment that I know is locked up inside the (can't even call it a game) "experience" that is SC4, but need some direction in modding/adding custom content and certainly in basic building strategy.  I am tired of No Job Zots when the sim with the Zot got it because his commute was too long, and the sim next door commutes three times as far very contentedly (I spend ALOT of time in the query tools).  Are rolling waves of No Job Zots just part of it?  I don't see any of those in the pictures of cities I've seen posted, so it must just be me!

Thanks in advance to any who can assist and have been patient in the reading.

Terrell, aka, Torch

Offline callagrafx

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Re: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 06:50:40 PM »
Okey dokey, let's answer a few

1. Yep, but at the same time, carefully crafted by zoning.  The reason you are getting no job zots is because you have too many people, not enough jobs, so you need to zone more industrial (to start with). Use the demand graphs to help you juggle the demand.

2. NAM looks like it's OK, but hopefully a NAM'er will confirm that

3. Copy .sc4model, .desc, .sc4lot files to your Simcity 4 plugins folder and they will, if ploppable, appear somewhere in the menus, probably landmarks.

4. The names give it away somewhat, don't you think?  $%Grinno$% Plops you place yourself, growables will appear ingame depending on demand, zone and a few other factors.

5. Heh....Yep, sounds about right.  However, this site is hosting the same content that you'd find on the official site.....Look to the top of this forum....See the button marked "EA support"?  Click on that and see what's there  :thumbsup:

Remember that this is a simulator and things take time to grow.  Have a look around and see what others have done and are doing, but most importantly, like any game, it's a skill that can be learned, with patience and time.
The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it

Offline nerdly_dood

Re: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2009, 06:58:57 PM »
I should mention that many BATs and other mod files are in *.DAT files - they can also go in the same plugins folder as the *.DESC, *.SC4LOT and *.SC4MODEL files.
My days here are numbered. It's been great and I've had a lot of fun, but I've moved on to bigger and better things.
Glory be unto the modder and unto the fun and unto the city game!

Offline Tarkus

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Re: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 07:09:40 PM »
Torch, it looks like your NAM installation is exactly as it should be.  The traffic update files are in the Traffic Controller subfolder on the Mac version, and it appears you have Simulator Z Low installed (a good choice), with its associated Volume Data View mod.  It usually takes a few "game years" before the traffic changes fully take effect.  The most visible change you might notice with the new traffic plugin is the congestion patterns around intersections--this is fully intentional.

If you haven't installed the NAM or any other transit plugins before, everything should be working perfectly.  Most of the issues that people have with the NAM are the result of folks installing a newer NAM version without deleting the older version, which can result in the new features not functioning.  If you have any more questions on the NAM end, feel free to ask in the NAM Place board, or drop me a PM. :)

-Alex (Tarkus)

Offline bwatterud

Re: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 12:45:13 AM »
Everyone else's pretty much covered it.  With regards to File Juicer, you only need to (and should only) put .dat, .SC4Lot, .SC4Model, and .SC4Desc files in your plugins folder (anything else won't break your game, but they will increase loading times).  Also, might I suggest you come up with a system of organization for your plugins folder, and not just dump everything you download straight in.  This makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot glitches/bugs, and makes it easier to find something you might want to remove.  And it's a lot easier to organize as you go than it is to organize once you already have half a gig of plugins to sift through. 

My desire?  Those big beautiful fully integrated Regions.
My Reality?  Pathetic looking gridded blobs, liberally sprinkled with "rolling areas" of "no Job Zots"
With regards to this, don't worry about it too much, it takes time to learn these things.  I've been playing since at least 2005, and just managed a decent looking, somewhat functional, small town a couple of months ago. 

Offline Torch

Re: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 07:46:00 PM »
my thanks to all who replied to this post.

A couple of follow ups:

When I juice a file, I don't get any .desc files.  If I am reading the replies correctly, .dat is, for all intensive purposes, the .desc. 

Also, I think I can name the files anything that makes sense to me, just don't change the extension.

and lastly, I can add any subfolders to the plugins file that I need in order to impart organization to my plugins.

have i got all that right?

Offline bwatterud

Re: Old Mac User, SC4D Noob, Lots of SC4 Help needed
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 10:10:08 PM »
1.  Sorta.  It isn't necessarily the desc file, but it's still something you should put in (it could also be either some extra models that are used on the lot, or a custom query window). 
2.  Yes.  I think it might not even matter if you change the extension (as long as it's one of those four), but I'd keep them the same for organization (and also the fact that I might be wrong).   
3.  Yes.