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NAM Inner Workings

Started by The NAM Team, March 31, 2008, 12:53:20 AM

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The NAM Team

2A. NAM Inner Workings

This document very briefly covers the inner workings of the NAM. This is intended as a brief overview only, nothing more. For a more technical understanding & breakdown of the content/files that NAM deals with &/or specifications, please refer to the Network Specs & also NAM Technical Notes.

1. NAM
The NAM deals with various sets of internal (SC4) files, the most important of which are called "RUL" &/or "INI Network" file(s); it is these files where any network placement is first initiated/instigated. Both kinds of files are unique to SimCity 4 engine, which means only 1 set of these can exist and function properly at any one time. One and one only. Additional RUL/INI files can not be added to the game (some limited exceptions apply), and RULs/INIs with the same Type/Group/Instance ID (TGI ID for short) can not operate simultaneously. Additional networks also can not be added, technically. Though work-arounds may appear to have been found on the surface.

2. Networks versus Lots:
NAM deals with Networks and Networks only. Not Lots. There is a distinct difference between the two, internally. Networks are handled differently by the game compared to Lots, Lots like those used for a building for example. As such, there is a completely different process involved in the handling & creation of Network Related items compared to Lots.

3. Networks
(A) In order for any network tile(s) to be recognized by the game, valid code for it must first exist in a RUL/INI file.
(B) In order for any network tile(s) to appear in-game, valid data (Exemplar) file(s) & valid Model file(s) &/or valid Texture file(s) must exist.
(C) In order for the network tile(s) to function properly, carry commuters, a valid path file must exist for each network tile(s) in question.
(D) All of this applies whether an item is a draggable item (which includes bridges), or an interchange item i.e. highway ramp, cloverleaf, puzzlepiece etc. This also applies whether an item is by itself, intersects with the same or different network.
(E) Tunnels: Tunnels are one of the only exceptions to which (A) applies, due to the trigger being initiated in the exe.

4. Draggable versus Ploppable Network Items:
(A) Draggable: refers to selecting a network tool and dragging/drawing a section of network in-game. This also includes Bridges, which are considered draggable.
(B) Ploppable: refers to selecting a network tool and ploppable a section of network piece by piece, such as an interchange, highway ramp, cloverleaf, puzzlepiece, PedMallTiles etc.
(C) The same rules and principles apply in section 3 above, regardless if an item is draggable or ploppable in-game. The main difference between draggable and Ploppable is in the handling & coding of any valid code required for the RUL/INI file(s) involved, which defines network placement.
(D) There is a RUL & INI file that deals with *both* Draggable & Ploppable network items, but these particular RUL & INI files are typically for additional coding relating to additional bug fixes &/or coding/feature enforcement (some exceptions apply).

5. Ploppable Networks
Generally, Ploppable Network items require more work, as their internal coding requires more attention and more technical understanding. Additional work for Ploppable network items requires knowledge and understanding of HEX or Hexadecimal, due to the modding environment involved. There are also (in-game) size limitations that exist, due to how this particular content is handled internally.

6. Menu System
As mentioned above in section 3, there is a distinct difference between Networks and Lots. There does exist a particular RUL file that handles the Menu'ing aspect of particular Network items, in relation to data (Exemplar) files, and this applies to Network items only. Not Lots. Building Lots are not able to make use of this file, due to the differences between how Networks & Lots are handled by the game.

7. Limitations
There are some limitations with what can be done with the game with the files we have to work with. Because of this some minor &/or major bugs/issues exist and can occur.

For more detail on valid code, structure, process, network creation, issues, limitations etc and for a greater understanding of the files and systems involved that the NAM deals with, it is recommended that you read the Network Specs and also refer to the NAM technical notes.

NAM 2008© All Rights Reserved.

2B. Network Specs
The attached file details the network specifications for files related to NAM. Please refer to the attached file for further information.