Types of Custom Content for SimCity 4
SimCity 4 still retains a cult following, more than 15 years after it's release, and a large part of the reason why is custom content (aka mods). The game was designed from the ground up, to accommodate very significant changes and enhancements, by anyone with the technical knowledge to do it.
Finding new mods is just like getting a game upgrade.
There are also a surprisingly wide array of types of mods, from new buildings, to changes in transportation capabilities, to changes in economic gameplay, to new capabilities in decorating your cities, to regional and city census facilities, to in-game graphs and visualisation tools, to tools for building new custom content.
- 1 Fixes and Patches
- 2 Transit Networks
- 3 Transit Lots (aka Stations)
- 4 Census Mods
- 5 User Interface
- 6 In-Game Visualisation
- 7 Custom Region Maps
- 8 Slope Mods
- 9 Customising Land, Sea and Sky
- 10 Decorative Plops
- 11 Ploppable Landmarks and Parks
- 12 Growable Buildings (RCI)
- 13 Economic Mods
- 14 Tools for Building your own Custom Content
Fixes and Patches
Prevention is better than cure. This DLL is dead easy to install, very widely used, and it will inoculate your game against the Prop Box Bug. It also fixes the CTD Bug when you hover a puzzle piece over a transit station ... not intentionally, of course! For either of those two things alone, this is DLL is worth it, but this DLL also improves memory management, which may make your game run faster, too, especially if you're starting to install more mods.
Additional Maxis Content
Game Balancing Fixes
These fixes are not for something that is broken so much as a little bent out of shape. A purist might regard these as cheats, but each one of these mods improves the game balance and playability, so a large number of players are happy to install these.
- I-HT Bug Fix
- Industry Doubler
- Commercial Services Doubler
- Functional Landmarks
Fixes so that certain educational buildings no longer have a negative effect on eduction (EQ) levels of your cities.
- Opera house fix
- Less abandonment
- No kickout
Increase Game Difficulty
On the basis that these game balancing mods are making the game easier, some feel that there also needs to be something to make it harder.
- Landfill Eraser by cogeo
- Neighbor Deal by cogeo
Network Addon Mod (NAM)
Decorative Changes to Transit Networks
Want a New York taxi or a Sydney bus, special steam engines, or horses and buggies in place of cars. It's all just a download away.
Automata mods seldom cause any grief, because they are strictly cosmetic ... all about the look and feel of your city.
Street Addon Mod (SAM)
SAM in the NAM already provides 11 styles of street for improving the visual appeal of your neighbourhoods. If' you still have a hunkering for something extra, there's other SAM styles you can download, too. Just make sure they work with the NAM!
Automatic overrides for the Maxis default Street, even without using SAM .
Similar to the Sidewalk Mods, but there's so many things that can be altered, just for cosmetic appearance, without changing how the underlying traffic network works. The Maxis Highway Override is one example of a reskin. Here's another couple which are alternatives to the Maxis Highway Override:
Again, these are cosmetic reskins, but they support different highway features to the Maxis Highway Override. In short, Maxis Highway Override supports additional interchange and ramp styles, but all orthogonal. These two asphalt highway reskin mods support diagonal highway interchanges such as the Trumpet and diagonal T-Interchange.
Transit Lots (aka Stations)
Tunnel Lots and Transition Lots
- Taxi stand, converts pedestrians to cars, at the office end of a long mass transport commute.
Savefile Extract Tools
Custom Data Views
Region View Customisation
Region View Export
Custom Region Maps
Greyscale Import Files
Sick of bumpy roads, crazy bridges, and unrealistic railway slopes? A slope mod will fix all that, but does increase construction difficulty.
The good news, is that if your slope mod is causing you trouble, you can temporarily remove your slope mod just for a particular construction project. Improving the aesthetics and realism of your cities is just a slope mod installation away, but which one to chose? This tutorial runs compares some of the better known slope mods:
Customising Land, Sea and Sky
The underlying SimCity 4 textures are all customisable. Everything from cliffs, grass, trees, seas and shorelines, can all be controlled, with options varying from icy tundra, desert wilderness, to tropical, spanning both the beautiful to the bizarre. These mods affect the appearance of all your cities, but don't affect gameplay at all.
Cori's Shoppes are the gold standard tutorials for helping you choose how you want to control the appearance of land and sea. While we're all spoilt for an overwhelming number of choices, just remember that there's nothing to stop you from installing one set of terrain mods now, and changing them over at a later date. You can even use a different terrain mod each day.
God-mode Tree Mods
Custom Tree Controllers
I haven't figured out the mysteries of tree controller mods, yet, except that they cause CTD bug if you plant some flora that depends on a custom tree controller, and then try removing the mod. This looks tricky!
Ever try to build a lake, stream, or river, and finding it just doesn't work to terraform all the way down to sea level? Now you can have water where you want it.
Ponds, streams, and ploppable water. Waterfalls and culverts. Irrigation ditches. Even God-mode rain.
Just note that some of these are MMPs, and others are Park lots.
Ploppable Landmarks and Parks
- Irrigation ditch sets – some of these increase agriculture desirability, so could be considered parks for farms!
- Overhanging lots to fill in diagonal areas
Unlike Streets however, Pedmalls can be decorated just like a Park lot can. Unlike regular Parks, Pedmall Parks allow sims to walk through them.
Growable Buildings (RCI)
RCI stands for Residential - Commercial - Industrial, so RCI buildings are the growable buildings that grow in your residential, commercial and industrial zonings.
Growable Building Sets
- "the CAM is not a modpack to add buildings to the game."
- "the CAM is not a modpack to add buildings to the game."
The Colossus Addon Mod (CAM), is not a Growable Building Set, but there are many CAMeLots sets that are designed to be CAMpatible.
With Maxis growable buildings, it's more a case of what you don't want growing in your backyard:
- Pedriana Plants Killer
- No Dirt Farms
Note, however, that blocking large numbers of Maxis growables can upset game balance, which can impact economic growth of your cities. Proceed with caution!
Money does grow on trees!
Jobs grow on trees, too!
Demand mods ... economic growth on demand
- Farm Desirability Mod
- Clean Air Act
Health, Education, and Public Safety
These vary from fixing the Organised Crime Bug, to turning the civic services mountain into a molehill. Some of these mods are just revamped versions of the Maxis civic services, while others are capable of superhero transformations of your cities that change the whole focus of the game.
Your choices are about a balance of gaming style. What is cheaty for one person, is exactly the preferred way of playing for another.
- Police Stations with enhanced criminal catching capabilities
- Crime Doesn't Pay
- High Capacity Civic Buildings
- Radius Doubler
Garbage and Pollution
Some of these are a bit cheaty, or maybe very cheaty, but if dealing with garbage and pollution is a bit too close to gritty reality, there's no reason to put up with it.
- Garbage barge ... export your garbage to become someone else's problem.
- Garbage holes
- Air pollution scrubbers
- High capacity water treatment facilities
Airport and Seaport
Note that Airport Shuttle mods are an actual airport in miniature, reskinned to look like a shuttle service, so they have a similar set of complexities and installation dangers posed by the big airport mods.
Airport and Seaport mods may be related, or they may be separate. Install with caution and back up your cities!