Sunday, September 21


Well, That's A Surprise

Now that I have a working PC again, I wanted to get some games reinstalled on it.  The Sims 2 already went on - thanks to a utility that recovered my license keys from the registry on my old PC.

I wanted to reload SimCity 4 as well, because you need it to create custom regions in The Sims 2.  I had my whole games directory from my old PC backed up, but clearly there was no way SimCity was going to work without the correct keys in the registry.  And while I had all the disks, I couldn't find the license key for the original game.  (I did find the box, manual, and key for the Rush Hour expansion pack.)

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I restored the directory and tried it.  And it worked.  Perfectly.  First time.  Under Vista 64, an operating system undreamt of when the game was released.  So points to Maxis and to Microsoft on that one.  (Part of the reason it worked is that SimCity 4 was designed to run on Windows 95/98/Me, which didn't have a registry at all.  But part of it has to be good coding.)

SimCity 4 was the thing that lead my to build my previous PC, because the machine I had at the time couldn't cope with its absurd memory requirements.  I had a whole 512MB, and as my city grew, the game would grind to a halt.  Surely it couldn't be using all that memory?  Surely it was.  So I added another 256MB - all the motherboard could take with the modules available then - and it ran better, briefly, before I collided with the Windows Me 512MB memory limit and the machine corrupted its own operating system and fell down and died.  (I later rebuilt it with 1.25GB and XP, used it as a development box at work, and eventually gave it away.  As far as I know, it still works.)

Anyways, the last time I played SimCity 4 in any depth was on a 1.2GHz Athlon with 512MB of memory and a 128MB GeForce 4600.  I now have a 2.6GHz Athlon 64 X2 with 8GB of memory and a 1GB GeForce 9600.

It's pretty darn zippy.  I'd love to see a SimCity 5, but this will do for now.  (Maybe I'll try SimCity Societies some time, but reports are that it's pretty much an abortion.)

I've also got Railroad Tycoon 2 and 3 on here.  Expect productivity to plummet.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:21 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 419 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Hey Pixy, my v.1 "Banner" template seems to have disappeared.  Any way you could load me a default one?  (Or tell me where I could find it?)

Posted by: Old Grouch at Sunday, September 21 2008 10:53 AM (oHrKR)

2 Oh, just a heads up: Sim City 4 has issues with hyperthreaded or multi-core processors (and I'm sure it has issues with multiple processors). The symptom is a crash to desktop at some point (usually takes about around one to three hours, just when you're getting into the game and forget to regularly save and... oh, let's not get into rants, yet...). The fix is to set the affinity of the program to only the first core, which you should be able to do in task manager. What I've done what find the program WinLauncherXP and use that to start up Sim City 4 forced to only one core, and no more CTDs on my 2.5 GHz AMD Phenom Quad-core. I've only had hyperthreaded and multi-core systems (Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz hyperthreaded and AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.2 GHz) since I played Sim City 4, and I would end up uninstalling the game in disgust after shelving it for months at a time (and much research with no success finding anything to fix this). It was only a few days ago when trying out the game that my search for a cure at least pointed out the possibility of multi-core being a problem for the game. Testing that showed I could now play the game for many, many (did I mention many) hours without a single CTD! Unfortunately, that did mean I also wasted alot of time playing Sim City 4 instead of doing something a bit more productive... Oh, I don't know if you can use the WinLauncherXP for Windows Vista 64, but if you have CTD issues, hopefully this can start you off in the right direction in fixing it. The specs of the system I'm now enjoying SC4 on: 2.5 GHz AMD Phenom X4, 3 GB of RAM, a 640MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS, running Windows XP Home. Yeah, the game is really snappy now. Even with it running at a 1680x1050 widescreen resolution and with a mod to vastly improve the path finding of the sims in the city...

Posted by: Nick Istre at Monday, September 22 2008 01:31 AM (8qn8u)


I know I put paragraph spacing in that post! Hmm, a thought, hold on...

... Yup, figured. Looks like the javascript-based editor doesn't get loaded in Chrome. Well, to do things the old-fashioned way (And make better use of the Preview button).

Posted by: Nick Istre at Monday, September 22 2008 01:40 AM (8qn8u)

4 Well, now the banner is back but I can't see it in my template list.  Should I say "thanks" or "WTF?"

Posted by: Old Grouch at Monday, September 22 2008 07:21 AM (O8afF)

5 That's a WTF, I'm afraid.  But let me try something...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, September 22 2008 09:36 PM (PiXy!)

6 Thanks Nick.

I have a new version of the editor which should work in Chrome, but haven't had a chance to install it yet.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, September 22 2008 09:37 PM (PiXy!)

7 Nope, wasn't what I thought.  I suspected a corrupt index in the database, but I ran a full scan and everything's clean.  Which is great, but doesn't quite explain why you can't see your template.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, September 22 2008 10:31 PM (PiXy!)

8 Hey Pixy: Did I get banned by Ace over the weekend? I left a couple of critical comments there one night, and the next morning I couldn't find any sites. If he wants me gone after 5 years of commenting at his site, then I'm gone, but I'd like to visit other sites.

Posted by: geoff at Tuesday, September 23 2008 06:48 PM (9gEre)

9 No, if you get banned all that happens is that it rejects your comments.  It sounds like you can't see the server for some reason.

The most likely possibility is that the server was just overloaded when you were trying to access it.  With the elections and everything, it's running flat out.  I'm moving some sites to a new server to try to make things run a bit better.

Give it another try and let me know if you're still having trouble.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, September 23 2008 09:38 PM (PiXy!)

10 It's not the server load. It's been like this for at least 2 full days. I can get to sites via an anonymizer, but I can't get there otherwise (with either FireFox or IE). There's no access delay from work, nor using the anonymizer, but when I try to surf there normally, it can't find the domain.

Posted by: geoff at Tuesday, September 23 2008 11:05 PM (YkbuS)

11 Geoff,
What happens if you try TRACERT?

(Run->"cmd" (opens a DOS window),
at prompt type "TRACERT" (case doesn't matter)
Should end at address
If you get a "can't find the site" message, your ISP's DNS server is screwy.  If it locks up somewhere along the way, there's a network routing problem that will have to work itself out.)

Posted by: Old Grouch at Wednesday, September 24 2008 02:04 AM (rublp)


Thanks, Old Grouch - I'll try it when I get home.

Posted by: geoff at Wednesday, September 24 2008 03:09 AM (NU8R3)

13 Tried the Tracert thing: got a "Unable to resolve target system name" error. I assume that means that between Saturday and Sunday the DNS server went south?

Posted by: geoff at Wednesday, September 24 2008 05:39 PM (9gEre)

14 I've had problems before where customers of one particular ISP couldn't see  I'd suggest you email them and ask them to check.

Also, try typing
in the DOS window.  That will tell you whether you can reach the server.  If you can reach the server but can't get to the sites, then it's definitely a DNS problem.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, September 24 2008 08:38 PM (PiXy!)

15 I successfully pinged, so I guess I just wait for the bee* (the DNS bee, that is). *Obscure Quark reference.

Posted by: geoff at Thursday, September 25 2008 02:13 PM (ynsah)

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