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How to extract a building from SimCity_1.dat

Started by RippleJet, February 28, 2009, 07:18:56 AM

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Whenever you want to modify a property for any in-game Maxis building, you face the same problem...
You know you can see the building's properties in Reader or SC4Tool, but...

How can I extract that in-game building and save it as a personal mod?

First of all, you will need iLive's Reader.
And you will need to know that virtually all in-game buildings are located in a file named SimCity_1.dat.

In addition to that, it's quite a simple process to extract any exemplars from SimCity_1.dat.

Open Reader, and you should see the following, an empty file called blank.dat:

Click Simcity DAT in the left pane. When this expands you will see all in-game files.

Click the first file in that pane, simcity_1.dat.

Click the Analyser button in the toolbar on top:

When the Exemplar Analyser pops up (as a separate window), click Tree:

Now click the Search button and Reader will retrieve all exemplars from SimCity_1.dat:

As you can see, the tree structure makes it quite simple to find whatever file you're looking for.

Let's see if we can find the in-game water pump.
Click the + to the left of Water and then the + to the left of Buildings.
Click Water Pump, and the content of that exemplar will appear to the right.

Now, right-click on Water Pump, and select Sync. with file ? from the menu that opens up:

This will cause Reader's main window to locate (syncronize with) this file.
If nothing else is shown since before, this is the only entry that will be listed.

You can also syncronize the main window with other exemplars, e.g. if you want the water tower as well:

After this, close the Exemplar Analyser by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner.

Now, click the first of the two exemplars shown, which is the water pump.
You could always double-check that the Exemplar Name corresponds to what you wanted.
In this case the Exemplar Name is UW14x14_WaterPumpingStation_1F49.

Now, remember that you should never make any changes directly to SimCity_1.dat.
Thus, right-click on that exemplar, and select Copy file(s) from the menu that opens up:

You could also have pressed Ctrl-C from the keyboard.
In order to paste this exemplar into your own file, click on Loaded DAT in the left pane.

This will take you back to where you started Reader, with just a blank.dat file showing.
Click this file, and then right-click in the empty white area where the Entries should be.

From the menu that opens up, select Paste file(s):

You could of course also have just clicked the white area and pressed Ctrl-V on your keyboard.

At this stage you have an unsaved file called blank.dat, containing only one exemplar;
the building exemplar for the in-game Water Pump.

Now is the time to save, and to give it a proper name (still with the file extension dat though).
I usually save an unmodded copy of these, before starting to mod any properties.
Thus I can always go back and start over from that one, in case something screws up.

In other words, click File and Save as, and save it in your plugins folder,
or in a custom folder you've got for your own mods (sorry for the Swedish in the image)...

Let me also finish with a slight warning...

If you ever change the property Budget Item: Cost (= monthly cost) for any civic building,
be sure to bulldoze all such buildings in all cities in the game before starting to use such a mod.

Otherwise you will most probably find your city/cities suffering from the Phantom Funding Sliders Bug.


What a great tutorial! Thanks so much for this info!!


Very handy! &apls

Could you check my following train of though and tell if it goes into right direction and actually arrive to any station of meaningfulness?

If I want to create a blocker for certain Maxis building I would have to:
1. find said building in Dat1.
2. copy it's exemplar to new DAT file
3. clear it's parent cohort

And if I want to remove some of the landmark made growable in CAM I should open CAM1.dat and remove LOT exemplars


Quote from: SimFox on March 12, 2009, 11:59:42 AM
3. clear it's parent cohort

No, clearing the Parent Cohort property would only remove those properties that are inherited from the Cohort Exemplar it is pointing to.

There are several ways to create blockers though, and blockers can be based either on the building exemplar, or the lot exemplar.

In the Building Exemplar:

  • For residential and commercial buildings, remove all Occupant Groups referring to building styles (0x2000, 0x2001, 0x2002, 0x2003).
  • For industrial buildings, remove all Occupant Groups referring to industrial subtype (0x3000, 0x3001, 0x3002).

In the LotConfig Exemplar:

  • Either set the Growth Stage to something not allowed (higher than 15, 0x0F),
  • or set the LotConfigPropertyZoneTypes to a value that isn't a growable zone, e.g. 0x00.

Quote from: SimFox on March 12, 2009, 11:59:42 AM
And if I want to remove some of the landmark made growable in CAM I should open CAM1.dat and remove LOT exemplars

You can do it that way, but I would recommend to create a blocker in accordance with one of the options above.


Great tutorial!!
I have a question. Pardon me if it's stupid, maybe it's just my bad english, here it goes: what do you mean by creating a blocker for a maxis building??


They simply were talking about modifying files to prevent one or many Maxis buildings from appearing in the game, "a blocker" I don't know what else you can call a file that prevents something instead.


Thank you! I just asked because I'm beggining to learn how to mod and manage the ilive reader. By the way, I want to look at some tutorials on simtropolis, but it's showing a message tat its web adress doesn't exist. What's happening??


The blank page is because that website goes off line sometimes. Its easier to edit a website off line sometimes, but I guess we will have to wait until later.


Hm... So they are having a hard problem, cause it's iffline since yesterday. Maybe it's time to upgrade the server.
And i thik I have a problem with my Reader. It shows the exemplar name instead of showing the building's name itself.


  If the name you see in-game is not the Exemplar name of the Building Exemplar, then it is linked to by the property User Visible Name Key.  This property is the hex id of an LTEXT (I believe in the "Local" file, not SimCity_1), and does make it harder to find the exact building/lot you want to work with.
  RippleJet only synced to some Building Exemplars in the tutorial.  If he had clicked on "Lots" instead of "Buildings" in the analyzer, there wold be a "Lot Preview" option there (I believe, it is in the Navigator).  It may help you to find what you want.
  Otherwise, your first patch may be to set all of the User Visible Name Keys to 0x00000000, 0x00000000, 0x00000000.  This will have the actual Exemplar Name show up in-game.     


Thanks. Now another question: I put the exemplar on the blank.dat, and blocked it. Now I just have ti save it and put the dat file on my plugins forder and this building wil never grow at my city anymore?


Correct.  Just to ensure that it loads correctly, you may want to put the dat into a folder that starts with the letter "z".  Depends upon how well you know your plugin folder.


OK, thank u very much. As soon as I know the Reader better and get more experienced I'll try to make my own MODs. And certainly I'll come back here with more doubts!!


Hello RippleJet,
I need to modify the capacity for a Maxis building, but after I click on simcity_1.dat, analyser, tree and then appear the list of buildings (Residential, Commercial, ecc), I can't see all the buildings linked to that category. For example: I can't see in Buldings, Large water pump, Water pump, ecc.
How can I do? Thanks.


Firstly, you did load the SimCity_1.dat and waited for everything to load, before opening the Analyser?, otherwise it won't have the data to populate. Personally at this point, I'd use the Navigator function instead, I find that more intuitive, but the process is really much the same, I suspect using the same function since it looks practically identical.

Using the method outlined, if there is no + next to Buildings/Lots to expand it, I find it's necessary to press F5 and refresh the data. Then, this appears and you can find the items. Navigator does not require this extra step.