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Maxis Building Architect
Tool (BAT) and Addons
The Building Architect Tool (BAT)
is actually a suite of tools. It includes the Building
Architect gamepack for gmax™, the Plug-in Manager, and
an updated version of the Lot Editor.
The roles of the three separate tools can
be summed up as follows: The Building Architect enables you
to create models in a 3D environment and export SimCity 4
Deluxe game ready content. The Plug-in Manager enables you
to create plug-ins for the game and modify the simulation
properties for those plug-ins. It is with this tool that you
can define a model as a house, a prop or even (but not limited
to) a landmark. The Lot Editor enables you to place your new
plug-ins on lots and get them into the game.
This suite of tools acts as a complete pipeline
that is based on the same tools Maxis used to create the SimCity
4 games. Each tool is a stand alone application and each can
be enjoyed on it's own merits. If you find that 3D modeling
is not your forte perhaps modifying simulation properties
and tuning data in the Plug-in Manager better suits you. If
creating and arranging lots is your passion, B.A.T. just made
that even more fun by enabling an entire community to create
custom content for all or your lot creation needs.
And, if you just enjoy playing the game,
the amount of custom content that's out there for you to enjoy
is about to explode.
The Building Architect Too (BAT)l
is actually a suite of tools. It includes the Building Architect
gamepack for gmax™, the Plug-in Manager, and an updated
version of the Lot Editor.
This suite of tools acts as a complete pipeline that is based on the same tools Maxis used to create the SimCity 4 games. Each tool is a stand alone application and each
can be enjoyed on it's own merits. If you find that 3D modeling
is not your forte perhaps modifying simulation properties
and tuning data in the Plug-in Manager better suits you.
If creating and arranging lots is your passion, B.A.T. just
made that even more fun by enabling an entire community
to create custom content for all or your lot creation needs.
What is gmax™?
gmax is a free 3D modeling tool based on
Discreet's award winning 3ds max(tm). This powerful tool
enables you to create models at the same level of quality
and better as the models created by artists at Maxis.
You can download this Discreet's tool for
free from Turbosquid at: Turbosquid- Gmax
How to install the Building Architect
To install the Building Architect Tools,
download the installer (10.2 MB). From your local machine
double-click on the SC4 B.A.T. installer.
The Building Architect Tool is a gamepack
for gmax. You must have gmax installed prior to installing
The B.A.T. installer will install to your
gmax gamepacks directory all the files you need to run B.A.T..
A Plug-in Manager is also installed as
part of the B.A.T. suite. The Plug-in Manager
will be placed into your \program files\maxis\SimCity 4
To launch the B.A.T. gamepack for gmax
you will need to double-click the program found in \gmax\gamepacks\BAT\SC4BATLauncher.exe
must run gmax through the SC4BATLauncher in order to access
the Building Architect Tools.
To launch the Plug-in Manager you will
need to double-click the program found in \program files\maxis\SimCity
is supported by SimCity 4 Deluxe (or SimCity + Rush Hour)
only. You will need to have a copy of SimCity 4 Deluxe to
install the B.A.T. tools and use B.A.T. buildings in game.
New Lot Editor
To fully appreciate all that B.A.T. has
to offer you will need to update your Lot Editor program.
The update version enables you to replace buildings on lots.
This is an important feature to have if you want to fully
enjoy working with custom buildings. You can get the latest
copy of the Lot Editor by following the "Lot Editor"
NOTE: In order
to ensure full functionality, download of the SimCity 4 Update
and the Lot Editor are recommended.
B.A.T. has opened up possibilities with custom buildings
in SimCity 4 Deluxe like no other tool before it. To get
the most out of your B.A.T. when you play SimCity 4 Deluxe
you will want to apply this new update to your game. The
update will enable those custom buildings that have night
time effects to display properly in the game.
To get this update click on the "SimCity 4 Update"
link found to the left..
update is only needed if you want to see the night effects
of custom buildings that were exported from the Building
Architect gamepack. If this is a feature that does not interest
you than it is not necessary to apply this update.
A few users have noticed problems with building textures
in the game after utilizing the B.A.T. or downloading new
lots with B.A.T.-created content. This problem is especially
apparent on larger buildings. If you have noticed something
like this, please download this very small (31KB) script file.
Place the file into your GMAX scripts directory (typically
located in C:\\gmax\gamepack\bat\scripts\ where C: is the
drive letter containing software applications), overwriting
the old version of the file already in that directory.
Some people have been reporting an error when running the
Plug-in Manager that came with B.A.T. The "RunTime"
error problem has been fixed with the following file.
Note: The problem was a result of us building the Plug-in
Manager with Unicode. People with Windows 98 and some people
with XP were not able to run the application for this reason.
The unicode enabled the application to accept double-byte
languages and other non-standard English characters. With
the fix above that capability is lost. However, if you can
not run the Plug-in Manager now try the file above and things
should be better for you.
Tricks and Tips
The Building Architect Tool and gmax™ both have hefty
learning curves that may cause a certain degree of confusion
for some users. In an effort to make it easier for our community
to release high-quality buildings created with the BAT, we
have a couple of useful tips to help you out.
The Building Architect Tool, in combination with gmax, is
a powerful one-two punch for custom content creation in SimCity
4, but let's face it - this stuff ain't easy. The gmax download
comes bundled with a very helpful set of tutorials, which
we encourage everyone to read in order to get their head around
the basic interface and some of the fundamentals of 3D modeling.
Still, in order to take your building creations to the next
level, you might want to check out these fine tutorials available
on other websites.