Network Now Working: SimCity 4′s Network Addon Mod

By Graham Smith on December 21st, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

It's still pretty, too.

You: SimCity… Network… Not this again! What are EA up to n– Wait. SimCity 4? Network Addon Mod?

Me: The latest SimCity might have been hamstrung by infrastructural problems, but there’s no reason your love affair with Maxis’ fair city-builder need end there. SimCity 4 has enormous cities. SimCity 4 had no internet requirement. SimCity 4 had… all the same traffic problems as the more recent release. But! It also had a vibrant modding community that’s still working on fixing problems and making the game better today. This pre-release (i.e. alpha release) of version 32 of the Network Addon Mod is testament to that. NAM improves the game’s pathfinding, fixes bugs in the base game, and adds “a myriad of new transport network items, ranging from ground light rail, to fractional-angle roads, to roundabouts, and much more”

Roundabouts!

Here’s an expanded list of features from the ModDB site, because it’s the nerdy detail of it all that excites me so much.

  • The NAM Elevated Viaducts for Roads, One-Way Roads, and Avenues are now available in a draggable form, at both Level 1 (7.5 meter) and Level 2 (15 meter) heights, complete with FLEX Height and On-Slope transitions. Overpass situations involving one or more diagonal networks are not yet supported, and will not be available until a future NAM release after Version 32.
  • Elevated Rail-over-Avenue and Elevated Rail-over-NWM Road-4 dual-networking support has been added, complete with a new station supporting both networks.
  • The initial phases of the RealRailway (RRW) system have been added. This feature must be selected as part of a custom install.
  • The RealHighway (RHW) system has been expanded to include the QuickChange interchange system, which blends the RHW’s modularity with the ease of Maxis Highway construction techniques for certain situations, which will be expanded in future NAM releases. Additionally, several new types of FLEXRamps are available–please read the instructions in the description text. FLEX Transitions have also been given stability improvements for certain situations.
  • Coupled with the RHW system, the NAM now offers Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) functionality, including stations.

And so on.

NAM isn’t the only SimCity 4 mod worth installing, nor the only mod still under development. The SimCity 4 Devotion website and forums reveal a community still humming away with activity, and there’s a lot that’s worth looking at. That includes downloadable saved games, new buildings to turn your city into Tokyo or some other real world hotspot, and expansive mods and total conversions.

Despite its age, SimCity 4′s high-resolution sprites still look fantastic. Time has even been kind, as today’s faster computers have a better time rendering all those hundreds of sprites than my machine did when the game was first released.

If you’re looking for a spot of management and city-building this Christmas, you could do worse than dig out your old copy. Because no matter how hard they try, there’s hardly a single game developer that can match the ouput and commitment of their community. The Network Addon Mod is available from ModDB, and the SC4D Lot Exchange contains plenty more to browse.

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38 Comments »

  1. Siannah says:

    If there’s only one reason to love PC gaming, it’s this one – mods.

  2. ulix says:

    Problem with NAM and many other SC4 mods: the interface isn’t built for them. After installing a couple of buildings and road-items, navigating through them really becomes a chore.

    Anyone know a remedy for that? I think modders can’t mod the interface, so probably no.

    • BTAxis says:

      I was going to comment on this too. While the NAM is fantastic, it can be a right pain to make use of it because of the awkward interface.

      • BlackeyeVuk says:

        Only specific intersections and some stuff that is dedicated for one purpose is broken down in sections. Something like lego like building.
        However roads do have proper place and pictures in game interface. Also you CAN drag and build now. Actually you can do that for a long time now. Also NAM does work with other mods too. If you are interested in different roads and stuff.

    • 0positivo says:

      The other problem is that simcity 4 modded is as stable as a drunken one legged elephant on a bicicle
      Crashes and other problems are awfully common

      Still a brilliant modded game, but after losing the Nth supercomplex higway juncture to another CTD, you start losing the will to endure

      Funny. Skyrim is also heavily moddable, but unstable. Am I starting to see a pattern?

    • Kollega says:

      Actually, while looking for good city journals recently, I saw one mod called DAMN (D-someone’s Advanced Menu Navigator) that hijacks the advisor menu to display all the mod stuff in a more convinient fashion. I think you can get it on SC4 Devotion too.

    • jdenm8 says:

      (One of the Mod Devs here) We can’t do anything about extending the default UI (We can edit layout and such, but new actions need new code hooks in the source code, which we don’t have), but there’s a pack at Simtropolis which adds compatibility with Daeley’s Advanced Menu Navigator (DAMN) mod. That’s the best we’ve been able to achieve so far.

      Have a look for the DAMN on the LEX (SC4 Devotion Lot Exchange)

      • nthooze says:

        What about something like the Nexus Mod Manager for games like Skyrim. I’ve been modding SC4 for years and it is a mess to manage. I’ve recently gotten a copy of Skyrim and dove into the mods for it, discovering the nexus mod manager was such an amazing find!!! It’s open source… maybe it can be adapted for SC4… Here is a link…
        http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/modmanager/?

  3. BlackeyeVuk says:

    Aye. Mods.

    Tons of mods for this game. Simply baffled I am. Currently there is about 32 gb worth of them on me game. My comp will explode if I add any more of them…

  4. Fiatil says:

    Shame that SimCity 4 is a tad bit crashy on modern systems. I get an occasional graphics bug that is annoying but fixable if you mess with it from time to time, but the random crashing that starts to happen after awhile is a tad much for me. I love it so much though.

    • BTAxis says:

      Yeah, it crashes about once an hour for me, it can be frustrating.

      • bipaular says:

        I had the same problem; turns out modern multicore CPU’s aren’t friendly to SimCity 4.

        To fix this, add “-CPUCount:1″ to the shortcut as an argument.
        If you’re running SimCity 4 on Steam, open its properties and add “-CPUCount:1″ under “Set Launch Options”.
        Worked like a charm!

        Edit: Check this thread on the Steam forum for more specific instructions:
        http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1685749

        • Zankmam says:

          Where do I add that command line? How do I add this to the “shortcut”? Do I literately just click “rename” and add it to the name?

        • Gammro says:

          I’ve had zero crashes after running with these parameters:
          C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /C START “Simcity 4″ /high /affinity 1 “D:\Games\Maxis\SimCity 4 Deluxe\Apps\SimCity 4.exe” -w -intro:off -CustomResolution:enabled -r1440x900 -CPUCount:1

          But you have to set the “start in” folder to: “C:\Windows\System32″

          What this does, is it launches SC4 with high priority through the command line, and sets affinity to core 1. Then all the windowed crap and resolution settings etc. and finally the piece of code that makes it work singlecore, but now it has only 1 core to work with, making it even more stable.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Windows 7 64-bit by any chance? This is always the wobbly bridge to be crossed when I want to buy old classics. My 64 bit machine so often just goes “BLOODY FOREIGNAHS SPEAKING FOREIGN”. And shows its disdain by displaying the screen all wrong or crashing.

      There’s usually a community fix but it would be nice if say Steam let you know W7 may struggle. Alternatively if it’s not abandonware and a fix exists, and you’re, you know, taking my money…. patch? Chaps?

      • iseemonkeys says:

        Do this when you start up the game and it will stop any crashing. task manager-details-simcity-4-set affinity- check one cpu only. Problem solved but you need look up how to do the permanent way, i forgot how to do it.

  5. jumblesale says:

    Can I finally build the Swindon of my dreams?

  6. Lemming says:

    I love modders. Putting half-arsed developers to shame since….well, forever.

    • Smashbox says:

      SC4 is NOT a half-assed game.

      • Lemming says:

        I never said it was. I was referring to the latest Sim City, and how modders of this version make that new one ever more an embarrassment. That OK with you?

      • Canadave says:

        In a lot of ways, it kind of was. The original SC4 release was kind of broken in a number of ways and was missing a number of features because they had to rush it for the Christmas season. I remember reading the comments of one developer who said it was between 85 and 90% done when they shipped it.

        Now, Rush Hour and the mod community really fixed it up, but it definitely had some major issues for the first year or so that it was out.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Nope. They really don’t. And many “awesome” modders who take up the developer’s seat end up making shit games.

  7. iseemonkeys says:

    You forgot to mention the most important website http://www.simtropolis.com/ with loads of mods and extra content along with city journals. You can see why I only played Simcity 5 for two hours hour and played simcity 4 for almost 10 years now. http://community.simtropolis.com/journal/1925/entry-19404-jennai-the-names-poor-rather-poor/

    For the people who had trouble with crashing you can fix that two ways. One way is temporary way you need to do any time you start the game. task manager-details-simcity-4-set affinity- check one cpu only. Problem solved but you need look up how to do the permanent way.

    • Robmonster says:

      Those are some great screenshots on your link. Are these with modded in buildings? I must admit the modding process seems a title overwhelming. The ModDb site seems to assume you already know everything you need to know…

  8. Doganpc says:

    I was looking for a reason to add this to my steam library and tell EA that i’m not going to buy SimCity Online er 5… All praise the creative unemployed!

  9. cpy says:

    If only it had update for interface.

  10. ulix says:

    Is SimPeg down permanently? That would be a real shame…

    • blunder says:

      Nope. Simpeg.com is still alive and kicking. If it appeared we were down it’s the occasional problem with the web host.

      ~blunder
      simpeg moderator

  11. Leaufai says:

    Looking back, vanilla SimCity 4 is also quite the mess. Not SimCity 2013 levels, but it’s not perfect. You need to blanket your cities with police stations, hospital, schools, etc. due to the incredibly small ranges, regional interplay is wonky and the pathfinding is just terrible. Streets are impossible to use once you get over a 10,000 peopled due to bad pathfinding weights for each road type, but your traffic advisor still laments you for building too many expensive roads. Gridlock is virtually impossible to avoid if you want to have any type of normal looking city. Luckily mods solve almost all these problems. Kind of a bad game that it needs mods to work properly.

    • Fataleer says:

      I found out that when my cities have around 150,000 ppl, it becames a traffic mess no matter what model for transportation network I use. (Not 10k, if you do it right, you expand after your current zones are of higest density and fully developed — it takes a small space and this can be very effectly laid out — traffic does not become much of a problem.)

      I believe this is normal, since any real city with over 100,000 ppl becomes a traffic mess without some sort of mass transit system. And in Sim City it works quite the same — create very dense subway network and your streets become ok / avg commute time decreases to (for huge cities) reasonable 30-40 mins.

      And, you cannot really tell if streets are cluttered from visualisation (cars) because SC4 does not work that way. You can observe it in coloured streets mode (traffic density).

  12. oyog says:

    I’d like to recommend drunkapple’s accurate scale, real world maps. They’re amazing!

  13. JustAchaP says:

    Try to play SC4 yesterday, it froze my PC. Hmmmm…

  14. Neurotic says:

    Anyone else still have some love for SC3000? I still play that for a little variety now and then, plus I love the colour palette.

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