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What is NDEX?

NDEX is a team of members dedicated to speciaized tasks. Some [most] of the team is comprised of BAT modelers, some of whom are experts and use 3dsMax professionally, others of whom use gmax and Maxis' BAT utility. There are now a few members who make lots after receiving a model from another team member. There also is an 'amalgamator' (guess who?) who takes the models, exports them (if the models are too big to be exported on the modeler's computer - I also will occasionally modify a person's work before exporting it, touchups and the like), gives them properties scaled to match the default ingame buildings', adds functionality, writes custom UIs (I have a helper in that department now - Greyveil), adds the minor details such as extended menu descriptions, custom menu icons, and the like. Generally, I make the lot files, but more and more, the team's dedicated lotbuilders will do this part of the process. Sometimes the original modeler has an inspiration and makes the lot.

NDEX is somewhat like the BSC, except not nearly as specialized. We don't have a member for each and every step of the process, and also do not have the benefits of having people who happen to code LUA and such outside of SimCity on the team (a.k.a. Daeley), and that sort of thing. This doesn't really hold us back, though; we leave the big fancy stuff to the BSC and produce simpler things without as many bells and whistles, so to speak. Furthermore, NDEX's team members tend to be younger. Originally, all of the members were in their late teens, but that's changed now. The average age is something like 21, I'd estimate offhand.

How was NDEX formed and why?

Essentially, the team was created due to my frustration at BATters' lack of care with what they did with models after exporting them. I was tired of seeing ugly lot editor-generated icons in my menus, I was tired of lots by the same modeler being scattered everywhere within my game menus, I was tired of having lots with names such as Custom Ploppable or kja;sdlk2, and I was tired of having lots that consumed as much power as a fullsize suburb should (Plugin Manager default values are really skewed, FYI). So - to start with - I offered to help DuskTrooper tweak his models. At first he was a bit dubious, but after a while he realized it was good to have somebody touching up his stuff (probably 'cause he got to be that much lazier, lol). Shortly after that I formed NDEX in hopes of pooling talents so the community could see more detailed and well-rounded lots and BATs. From there it grew pretty crazily; our one thread expanded into a forum, and we kept on getting bigger!

Why did you name the team NDEX? What does it mean?

Originally, after what I recall as being an agonizing chat on the matter, the team concurred to call itself NDEX', the letters standing for N74704, DuskTrooper, and Equinox. The E was thrown in so it sounded decent and was pronouncable, but soon after Eburress joined and he became the 'E'.

Why do you (Equinox) upload everything?

Originally, the plan was to have a Simtropolis account registered as NDEX, and uploads submitted through that. When Fosterk's login account somehow stopped working right as he was ready to upload the S.S. Sepsis, he asked me to do it for him (partly because he wanted to give me credit for making the query and doing the modding, much to my annoyance, and also because he was becoming very impatient to see it on the Exchange). After that, somehow, Fosterk broke the account registered as NDEX (don't even ask how he did it, haha, I have no idea to this day), registered a second one named NDEX™, and proceeded to break that one as well. After conversing a little, the team decided to just have me upload the first productions, and give credit whereever I could, until the NDEX accounts were fixed. Eventually they were fixed, but by that time we had several items uploaded under my name, and the team realized that it would look best if the official grammar-and-spelling-obsessed member was doing all the front-end work. ^_^

That's why the NDEX original thread shows up as being started by a Deleted User: that was NDEX account #1. After the first few uploads, people realized that I wasn't the one doing the modelwork, just the amalgamator. To be honest, it's pretty hard to miss the fact that the models aren't mine, lol. The authors' names were in the STEX description twice, in the menu description, and in all of the query windows, when we began, to try and emphasize the point.

Why is there a lot of stuff in your original NDEX thread that hasn't been released? I thought the mission statement was to overcome the DuskTrooper effect (showing but not releasing).

Most of the time, this is due to the modeler not being satisfied with the creation and not allowing me to upload it. This is especially true of N74704, who never seems to be satisfied with his work. Other items just kind of fizzled out, or lost my interest, and faded away ... don't revive them; if we wish to release something old, we will, in a newer and better form - you just have to be patient.

Your queries make my game crash!

What the heck is going on?!

I know; all older NDEX lots are in the process of being updated and rennovated. Hang tight, don't query, and watch the STEX!

Alternatively, you could fix the problem for yourself if you have the NDEX Global Essentials.dat file that's included in all lots that have been updated or released recently. Open the lot file you're having problems with (either the ploppable, growable, or both) in the Reader and click on the Exemplar File. Find the property called Query Exemplar GUID and double-click on it. If it is a residential lot, then change the value to 0x0DEAA200. If it is a commercial lot, then change it to 0x0DEAA100. Press the Apply button at the bottom of the window, and save the lot. Now when you query the lot ingame, you'll get the new NDEX query. I advise deleting the old custom query's DAT file at this point, to conserve some RAM.

If you would like to remove the reference to the NDEX queries and just use the game's defaults, then just look at my post in this thread .

Can I have [blank] model by [blank]?! It's really awesome!

No - no matter how awesome it is, there's a reason or two as to why it's not on the STEX.

I can't find the file NDEX Global Essentials.dat mentioned in the STEX details window! Where can I get it? I'm really getting annoyed!

The file is sitting right there in every NDEX download that requires it. I always link to dependancies not included; since there are no links to that file, it would be implied that it's included! Don't get mad at me, please! Just read the directions!

I have a problem with [lot name]! It crashes my game! You bastard - I just lost five hours of work!

Two words: save button. It's there for a reason. When you're using cutom content, you should realize there are certain risks, such as game crashes. This doesn't justify me uploading a flawed product to the Exchange, but it does put things in perspective. I never upload things that crash the game intentionally; if something crashes in my tests, I try and ensure that it is fixed completely before I upload. However, I only have one PC and one system configuration ... I can't always catch bugs.

I don't have a ginormous beta testing squad, either, because I have been told in the past that people just want to see as much stuff on the STEX as they can get their hands on. Having a Beta Test Squad would quadruple (if not more) the amount of time spent per BAT uploaded to the Exchange, and I don't really want that. The rarity of bugs makes it hard to justify spending all that time looking for bugs that probably aren't there.

Please alert me of bugs and/or issues politely (either via PM here on Simtropolis or instant message: DigitalCynic96 - AIM; spartan117nls@hotmail.com - MSN), and I will set about fixing it right away.

How come older NDEX lots don't count towards the little Total # of NDEX Lots counter, and when will that be fixed?

(thanks to Cjah for the question)

They'll all be updated eventually (when I have time) but you can make them count towards the total by adding one really easy property. Here's how to do it.

Open the Reader. Open the SC4Lot file you want to count towards the total (growable or ploppable). Click on the Building Exemplar file. Double-click on the property titled OccupantGroups. In the Values as Text field, add this to the end, without quotes: ,0xb5c00d01 Press the Apply button immediately to the right of this field. (You should see another value added to the list at this point.) Press the Apply button at the bottom of the dialogbox and save the lot.

I *think* that growables should automatically be changed, and ploppables will need to be re-plopped, but I'm not 100% sure on that. (This is due to the fact that the game embeds lot and Building data into the savegame files, for plops at least.)

I have downloaded your files and see in the readme you say to only have one copy of the file bsc_Essentials_OG.dat present in your plugins folder at a time. However, I have downloaded a BSC lot recently which has placed a version of the file that has been modified more recently than yours. Which do I use?

(thanks to buckbeach for the question)

Always use the most recently-modified version of the bsc_Essentials_OG file. I don't know when updates are made to it, and I don't know what those updates do, to be honest, but I trust the BSC has everyone's best interests in mind. So, in other words, always take the most recently-modified version.