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Installing a Region Downloaded from the STEX

Original Author: MallowTheCloud
Rewrite: Vandy
If you are interested in contributing to the OmniMaps section of the Simtropolis Omnibus, please PM OmniMaps.

The original information for this article was written by MallowTheCloud and all credit goes to him. Other contributors to this information include the following:

T Wrecks

This information has been consolidated, rewrittent and presented in this article. Please note that this article ONLY covers information for installing standard region maps on the STEX. It does not cover how to install a map created using the SC4Terraformer or SC4Mapper application. Information for installing SC4Terraformer-created maps is covered in the Installing a Map Created by SC4Terraformer article. Information for installing SC4Mapper-created maps is covered in the Installing a Map Created by SC4Mapper article.

There is a definite set of steps which need to be following in order to successfully install a map downloaded from the STEX into SimCity 4. Faithfully following the below steps will install a map in almost all instances. At the end of these steps, there are a number of caveats and exceptions listed that could occur when installing a map as well as possible solutions for them.

Downloading the Map Files from the STEX

1) Find a map to be downloaded by searching the STEX. Note the name of the map.
2) Navigate to the following path: \\My Documents\Sim City4\Regions. (Typically, this path is under the C:\ drive path.)
3) Create a new folder naming it with the same name as the map to be downloaded. Note the name of the folder created.
4) Go back to the STEX, and click on the map link to open the Map window.
5) Once the Map Window is opened, there typically is a picture of the map image and a picture of the config.bmp file.
6) To download the map image, click on the Download link to display the grayscale image for the map.
7) Right-mouse click on the image and select the "Save picture as..." choice.
8) Navigate to the region folder created in Step 3), above.
9) Save the grayscale map image in the region folder using the default name of the file.
10) In the top right-hand corner of the Map Window, click on the "Back" link.
11) If there is a Config.bmp link (not all map files have a config.bmp file), click on the link to open the File Download dialog box.

NOTE: Concerning config.bmp Files.
If the map being downloaded does not have a config.bmp file included, one must be created before installing the map. Please consult the Config.bmp: HowTo Make It Yours article for instructions on creating a config.bmp file.

12) In the FIle Download dialog box, click on the "Save" button.
13) Navigate to the region folder created in Step 3), above.
14) Ensure the file name is config.bmp then click on the "Save" button.
15) The map has been downloaded and saved to the computer.

Installing the Map Files into SimCity 4

16) Launch the SimCity 4 game.
17) From the Main Menu of SimCity 4, Click on "Load Region" and open an EXISTING region.
18) THEN click on "Load Region" and open the region created in Step 3), above.
19) The configuration of the the config.bmp is displayed.
20) On the keyboard, press and hold the following key combination: Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R.

NOTE: Wireless Keyboards
Typically, wireless keyboards do not support more than three simultaneous key combinations. It will be necessary to use the appropriate key combination for the wireless keyboard being used to simulate the Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R combination. The normal wireless keyboard combination to use is [Alt Gr] + Shift + R.

21 This will bring up the Grayscale Image File dialog box.
22) Browse to the folder created in Step 3), above.
23) Select the grayscale map image JPG file and click on the OK button.
24) SimCity 4 starts to render the region and a "Creating New City" screen appears.

BE PATIENT. Depending upon the size of the region, the number of city tiles and the speed of the computer, rendering of the region takes anywhere from five (5) minutes up to a number of hours to complete.

Caveats and Exceptions to Installing a Region.

SimCity 4 won't recognize the grayscale JPG map image
If this problem occurs in Step 23) above, try typing in the name of the region in the File Name box of the Grayscale Image File dialog box. It has been reported that doing this will cause the grayscale JPG map image to be recognized.

Ensure the map image being used is actually a true grayscale image of 256 colors. Open the grayscale JPG map image in a graphics editor such as Irfanview, GIMP, Paint Shop Pro, PhotoShop, etc. If it is not a 256 color grayscale, convert it and resave it. Then, use the converted and saved image in Step 23), above.

There are holes in the rendered region or the region stops rendering.
Ensure that all screen savers and other minor background tasks are turned off before launching SimCity 4. These type of interruptive applications interfer with the rendering of a SimCity 4 region. It might be desired to turn off the monitor while rendering if there is concern about image burn-in on the monitor screen. If this is done, be sure and periodically check on the status of the rendering by turning the monitor back on.

If multiple accounts are being used on the computer, ensure that the logged on account is not exited while rendering.

Pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R does not bring up the Grayscale Image File dialog box.
Before pressing the key combination, try pressing the "Esc" key on the keyboard a few times.

If pressing "Esc" does not work, try creating a different region folder with a slightly different name. Copy the map files into the new folder and follow the installation steps above again.

After rendering, the land is at different heights but it is all under water.
It is possible there is something installed in the SimCity 4 plug-in folder that alters height. Ensure there isn't a heigh altering file in the plug-in folder.

It is possible the downloaded map requires a height mod. Ensure the description has been thoroughly read to determine if a height mod is necessary for the map to render properly.


tem jeito de resumir ai?
como baixar regiƵes com cidades prontas?
how do you do septs 5 throught 12 :???:
Aug 02, 2011 - 04:17 AM
I get as far as the greyscale image box and it never recognizes the image. Never even begins rendering...
I have tried this many time, but it never works. What am I doing wrong? :(
don't forget it's not in your SC4 installation folder by in my documents :D

what is STEX???!?!
I have gone through this process.... repeatedly. The map never begins being rendered.
Oct 23, 2011 - 08:11 PM
What/where in the world is this "Map Window" referenced in steps 4-10?

I'm looking at http://www.simtropol...anattan-cookie/ - not seeing any "map window" other than the image itself, which opens up pop-up with screen-capture, not a greyscale or config file image.

Every time I try to open this in a new region I get the "region bitmap size" is incorrect error (though I've checked it and it's 1025x1025)

Thanks for any clarification!
I'm just the same, I don't see anything? I don't see any map window, i've tried downloading it though in winRAR. Help please :boggle: http://www.simtropolis.com/forum/files/file/26568-vatania/
I can't do it in Rush Hour
Wow, well, this $%&^! just doesn't work.. why is this included in the omnibus still?
how come there is no "Creating New City" screen appear when i loading the new region after i finished all the step??
I did what you said but it never starts rendering
Apr 07, 2012 - 01:15 AM
I'm so sick of this site & installing things.

I'm so sick of this site & installing things.

then why are you even here

what is STEX???!?!

STEX is the Simtropolis Exchange...the area where users can upload their custom content for you to download.
Yea I have tryed and tryed. I love that people make these maps there awesome. But hell I can figure it out. How about you make a youtube video for me and everyone else. I would more than enjoy it thank you
Yeah it doesn't seem to be loading for me either. I tried installin the region from this site and I only get the previous region or a region with just the green terrain without any water.

Any response to this??
This confused the hell out of me at first, but then I got around to it in the following way:
1: Shut down Simcity 4 if it's running.
2: Download config.bmp and the jpg of a map somewhere you know where to find the files
3: Place these two files in a new folder, located in the Regions folder where Simcity 4 reads its data (usually in My Documents\SimCity 4\)
4: Start Simcity 4.
5: Click the Region-button
6: Choose to load a Region
7a: If your newly created folder does not show up, you've created it in the wrong place and have to go find it again, restarting from step 3.
7b: If your folder does show up, click it. The Region you chose will load, but it will be all flat.
8: Press the keyboard combination Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R.
9: Browse to the same folder you created in step 3.
10: Open the jpg file located in that folder.
11: The "Creating New City" phase starts.
12: Kick back for a long long time if you're using a big Region.

Note: The renderer is horrible. When it's generating tiles from the heightmap jpg (the one you open in step 10) I get such random results it's not even funny. Alot of the times it generates 3 tiles and leaves everything else flat. I can't tell you why this happens but at least I get a pointer from this post: http://community.sim...ge/#entry291766
I'm not sure how to tackle this one, but at least I get something to render.
Collin Pugeda
Jun 22, 2012 - 10:26 AM
It took soooo long at the starting New City part :(
I've followed these instructions several times to a tee and all I get are big flat water worlds after rendering. Well, at least it appears I'm not the only one. =(
I have had quite a bit of success thus far with downloading and installing region maps, however, when I render them - which does work, and is much faster via software versus hardware even though I have a 3GB GTX 580. I have made sure to turn everything off that isn't absolutely required. The interesting thing for me is that I get the very same errored results whether using hardware or software to render the new map.

I've attached a pic of my results when rendering. The very same error - with those blue stripes at the bottom of each city square - happens every time, and only on large city tiles.

When I load the city itself, the rendering error does not appear - which is to say if I go into a city tile the rendering error doesn't appear in the single tile image. Saving the city with some development doesn't help, nor does changing the edges.

Any help would be very appreciated. I just bought SC4 on Amazon a couple months ago and have just started trying to learn the game and how to play with custom content. (I love mods for every game that supports them.) Anyway, without further ado...

The image looks like this:

Posted Image
Sep 16, 2012 - 12:13 AM
The game crashes when the rendering process starts. Dunno why...
Thank you so much for this article, worked first time for me :-) have got some great maps to play with now even if they did take forever to render